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Mark Steyn: The strange death of the liberal West
The Telegraph (U.K.) ^ | 03/22/05 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 03/21/2005 1:19:32 PM PST by Pokey78

I am, as Tony Blair might say, deeply passionately personally deeply personally opposed to abortion. But, unlike him, I think it ought to be an election issue.

Not because of my personal beliefs: I happen to believe a lot of what we call "late-term abortion" is in reality early-term infanticide, but, if you don't accept that that's a human life that's being destroyed, my deeply personal passionate beliefs aren't likely to sway you one way or another. That's where so-called progressive politicians such as Blair and John Kerry have it all backwards: the point about abortion is not that it's a "matter of conscience" for individuals to "wrestle with", but that it's a crucial part of the central political challenge of our time.

Almost every issue facing the EU - from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities - has at its heart the same glaringly plain root cause: a huge lack of babies. I could understand a disinclination by sunny politicians to peddle doom and gloom were it not for the fact that, in all other areas of public policy, our rulers embrace doomsday scenarios at the drop of a hat. Most 20-year projections - on global warming, fuel resources, etc - are almost laughably speculative. They fail to take into account the most important factor of all - human inventiveness: "We can't feed the world!" they shriek. But we develop more efficient farming methods with nary a thought. "The oil will run out by the year 2000!" But we develop new extraction methods and find we've got enough oil for as long as we'll need it.

But human inventiveness depends on humans - and that's the one thing we really are running out of. When it comes to forecasting the future, the birth rate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2005, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2025 (or 2033, or 2041, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management, Systemic Racism and Gay Studies degrees). If that's not a political issue, what is? To cite only the most obviously affected corner of the realm, what's the long-term future of the Scottish National Party if there are no Scottish nationals?

When I've mentioned the birth dearth on previous occasions, pro-abortion correspondents have insisted it's due to other factors - the generally declining fertility rates that affect all materially prosperous societies, or the high taxes that make large families prohibitively expensive in materially prosperous societies. But this is a bit like arguing over which came first, the chicken or the egg - or, in this case, which came first, the lack of eggs or the scraggy old chicken-necked women desperate for one designer baby at the age of 48. How much of Europe's fertility woes derive from abortion is debatable. But what should be obvious is that the way the abortion issue is framed - as a Blairite issue of personal choice - is itself symptomatic of the broader crisis of the dying West.

Since 1945, a multiplicity of government interventions - state pensions, subsidised higher education, higher taxes to pay for everything - has so ruptured traditional patterns of inter-generational solidarity that in Europe a child is now an optional lifestyle accessory. By 2050, Estonia's population will have fallen by 52 per cent, Bulgaria's by 36 per cent, Italy's by 22 per cent. The hyper-rationalism of post-Christian Europe turns out to be wholly irrational: what's the point of creating a secular utopia if it's only for one generation?

Shortly after 9/11, I wrote in these pages about one of the most curious aspects of the new war - the assurance given to Islamist "martyrs" that 72 virgins were standing by to pleasure them for eternity. The notion that the after-life is a well-appointed brothel is a perplexing one to the Judaeo-Christian world, and I suggested that Americans would be sceptical if heaven were framed purely in terms of boundless earthly pleasures.

But, on reflection, if the Islamists are banal in portraying the next world purely in terms of sensual self-gratification, we're just as reductive in measuring this one the same way. America this Holy Week is following the frenzied efforts to halt the court-enforced starvation of a brain-damaged woman for no reason other than that her continued existence is an inconvenience to her husband. In Britain, two doctors escape prosecution for aborting an otherwise healthy baby with a treatable cleft palate because the authorities are satisfied they acted "in good faith". You can read similar stories in almost any corner of the developed world, except perhaps the Netherlands, where discretionary euthanasia is so advanced it's news if the kid makes it out of the maternity ward. As the New York Times reported the other day: "Babies born into what is certain to be a brief life of grievous suffering should have their lives ended by physicians under strict guidelines, according to two doctors in the Netherlands.

"The doctors, Eduard Verhagen and Pieter J. J. Sauer of the University Medical Center in Groningen, in an essay in today's New England Journal of Medicine, said they had developed guidelines, known as the Groningen protocol."

Ah, the protocols of the elders of science. Odd the way scientists have such little regard for scientific progress. It's highly likely that many birth defects - not just the bilateral cleft lips - will be treatable and correctible in the next decade or two. But once you start weighing the relative values of individual lives, there's no end to it. Much of that derives from the way abortion has redefined life - as a "choice", an option.

In practice, a culture that thinks Terri Schiavo's life in Florida or the cleft-lipped baby's in Herefordshire has no value winds up ascribing no value to life in general. Hence, the shrivelled fertility rates in Europe and in blue-state America: John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest birth rates; George W Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest.

The 19th-century Shaker communities were forbidden from breeding and could increase their number only by conversion. The Euro-Canadian-Democratic Party welfare secularists seem to have chosen the same predicament voluntarily, and are likely to meet the same fate. The martyrdom culture of radical Islam is a literal dead end. But so is the slyer death culture of post-Christian radical narcissism. This is the political issue that will determine all the others: it's the demography, stupid.


TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society; Editorial; Germany; Government; News/Current Events; Russia; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: abortion; austria; belgium; bluestates; britain; bulgaria; canada; cary; czechrepublic; denmark; england; estonia; eu; eurocrats; euroepanunion; europe; europeans; euros; finland; france; germany; greatbritain; greece; holland; hungary; ireland; italy; johnfkerry; johnkerry; latvia; lithuania; luxembourg; malta; marksteyn; netherlands; norway; poland; portugal; romania; scotland; slovakia; slovenia; spain; steyn; sweden; switzerland; uk; unitedkingdom; wales
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1 posted on 03/21/2005 1:19:35 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78

The Shaker Party....


2 posted on 03/21/2005 1:22:09 PM PST by big'ol_freeper (World Series Champion Boston Red Sox!! Has a nice ring to it.)
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

Steyn ping!


3 posted on 03/21/2005 1:22:15 PM PST by Pokey78 (‘FREE [INSERT YOUR FETID TOTALITARIAN BASKET-CASE HERE]’)
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To: Pokey78

The next thing I expect American hospitals to be pushing are "advanced directives" for new moms. They can sign a statement instructing the hosptial personnel to leave the baby in a pan of water to die if it isn't quite perfect when it comes out.


4 posted on 03/21/2005 1:26:07 PM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: Pokey78

When you see Democrats talk about being pro-Choice, just remember Terri's fate and know what they really mean by 'ProChoice'; the really mean 'ProKilling'.

The Modern Democrats - Beria still lives!


5 posted on 03/21/2005 1:26:49 PM PST by JFK_Lib
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bttt


6 posted on 03/21/2005 1:29:17 PM PST by eureka! (It will not be safe to vote Democrat for a long, long, time...)
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To: Pokey78
Liberals are abstractly compassionate and personally hedonistic. That means they will support higher taxes for "the children", as long as said children are not personally known to them.

Children who might interrupt a career or a dinner are the ultimate bondage for a self-absorbed Manhattan professional woman, because she would have to put another human being before herself. She will gladly pay through the nose to the federal government for the abstract children to assuage her conscience about the concrete one she had killed last week.

7 posted on 03/21/2005 1:32:04 PM PST by Taliesan (The power of the State to do good is the power of the State to do evil.)
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To: Pokey78
An unintended consequence of liberal philosophy -- they kill their dem voters of the future. And we, with our "respect life" blink (Implicit Association Test concept), create more voters.

In practice, a culture that thinks Terri Schiavo's life in Florida or the cleft-lipped baby's in Herefordshire has no value winds up ascribing no value to life in general. Hence, the shrivelled fertility rates in Europe and in blue-state America: John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest birth rates; George W Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest.

8 posted on 03/21/2005 1:32:30 PM PST by GOPJ (Liberals haven't had a new idea in 40 years.)
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To: Pokey78
Ah, the protocols of the elders of science...

Now, that is nasty. One might define "brief life of grievous suffering" to apply to anyone ever born.

9 posted on 03/21/2005 1:34:32 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: JFK_Lib

the Death-o-crat Party!


10 posted on 03/21/2005 1:36:30 PM PST by maica (Ask a Death-o-crat: "When did you decide to support death in every situation?")
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
But, on reflection, if the Islamists are banal in portraying the next world purely in terms of sensual self-gratification, we're just as reductive in measuring this one the same way.

Wow.

12 posted on 03/21/2005 1:39:55 PM PST by Tax-chick (If you can't baffle them with b*ll, nuke them with Niceness!)
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To: Pokey78
John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest birth rates; George W Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest.

That, in context, is a fascinating statistic. Thanks for the ping!

13 posted on 03/21/2005 1:41:41 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg (I'm entitled to ... bite off your left ear.)
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To: Pokey78

Mark didn't mention the sure-fire population reducer---the nuclear explosion. Coming to some of you courtesy of an Islamic Center near you.


14 posted on 03/21/2005 1:41:44 PM PST by jolie560
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To: Pokey78
To all: Go check out the movie "Soilent Green" (if you can find it) This is the New World to come. Full of the results of world population control and mind-thought. The movie is a prophecy like many of the other left wing releases in the past 30 years.
15 posted on 03/21/2005 1:41:45 PM PST by clearsight
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To: Billthedrill
Ah, the protocols of the elders of science...

Now, that is nasty. One might define "brief life of grievous suffering" to apply to anyone ever born.

-------------------------------------------------------

More and more, I like Mark Steyn.

16 posted on 03/21/2005 1:42:54 PM PST by headsonpikes (Spirit of '76 bttt!)
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To: Pokey78
Thanks Pokey

I've been almost quided to death today.

FMCDH(BITS)

17 posted on 03/21/2005 1:43:07 PM PST by nothingnew (There are two kinds of people; Decent and indecent.)
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To: Billthedrill

Sounds like Hobbes, only more glib.


18 posted on 03/21/2005 1:44:15 PM PST by George Smiley (This tagline deliberately targeted journalists.)
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To: Pokey78
America this Holy Week is following the frenzied efforts to halt the court-enforced starvation of a brain-damaged woman for no reason other than that her continued existence is an inconvenience to her husband.

Thank you Mark Steyn for a neat summation of Terri Schiavo's case. And thanks to you Pokey!

19 posted on 03/21/2005 1:44:38 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: JFK_Lib

The party of Death:

http://registeredmedia.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=7&pos=0


20 posted on 03/21/2005 1:44:52 PM PST by Hawk44
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To: GOPJ
An unintended consequence of liberal philosophy -- they kill their dem voters of the future.

Known as the Roe Effect!

21 posted on 03/21/2005 1:46:28 PM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Pokey78

Thanks for the ping, Pokey!


22 posted on 03/21/2005 1:46:35 PM PST by alwaysconservative (Can someone point out the Constitutional purpose in the Congressional "inquiry" on steroids?)
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To: Pokey78
If only a million babies are born in 2005, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2025 (or 2033, or 2041, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management, Systemic Racism and Gay Studies degrees). If that's not a political issue, what is?

Mark never leaves me without a LOL.

FMCDH(BITS)

23 posted on 03/21/2005 1:49:45 PM PST by nothingnew (There are two kinds of people; Decent and indecent.)
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To: headsonpikes

Mark Steyn for UN SecGen.


24 posted on 03/21/2005 1:56:16 PM PST by AmishDude (The Clown Prince-in-a-can of Free Republic!)
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
That's where so-called progressive politicians such as Blair and John Kerry have it all backwards: the point about abortion is not that it's a "matter of conscience" for individuals to "wrestle with", but that it's a crucial part of the central political challenge of our time.

Almost every issue facing the EU - from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities - has at its heart the same glaringly plain root cause: a huge lack of babies.

Lack of babies and the revival of XIX free market ideology have the same roots.

26 posted on 03/21/2005 2:05:10 PM PST by A. Pole (The Law of Comparative Advantage: "Americans should not have children and should not go to college")
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To: Pokey78

To really save Western (European) culture we'd have to do the following:

1) Ban abortion execpt in extreme circumstances such as ectopic pregnancy.

2) Prohibit all extensions of marital rights to anyone outside of marriage.

3) Allow employers to discriminate against single mothers, divorcees, atheists, and homosexuals & lesbians. This will have the effect of immediately reducing the numbers of those groups.

4) End welfare in every possible form. Social safety nets will be found in the churches once again and in nuclear families once again. Government spending should also be reduced to eliminate the 'other' welfare: Public Employment.

5) Prohibit immigration by Muslims, atheists, Communists, and any other undesirables.

6) Eliminate tax exemptions for non-Judeo-Christian faiths.

7) Require competency in English, Christianity, and Citizenship as a condition of citizenship for immigrants. Further, Citizenship boards should have the right to reject applications for citizenship arbitrarily.

8) Require a minimum two-years of public service from EVERYONE in some form or another as a condition of suffrage. People who do not serve their country should not be allowed to vote. You want to vote? Serve.

9) Amend the Constitution so that all of the above are legal and so that Constitutional rights are only allowed to US Citizens.

Honestly, I'm afraid we'll be living in a Sharia State before anyone has the balls to do any of this.


27 posted on 03/21/2005 2:05:51 PM PST by PeterFinn ("Tolerance" means WE have to tolerate THEM. They can hate us all they want.)
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To: clearsight

"Soylent Green"


28 posted on 03/21/2005 2:08:36 PM PST by PeterFinn ("Tolerance" means WE have to tolerate THEM. They can hate us all they want.)
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78
The 19th-century Shaker communities were forbidden from breeding and could increase their number only by conversion. The Euro-Canadian-Democratic Party welfare secularists seem to have chosen the same predicament voluntarily, and are likely to meet the same fate.

What a shame. Those Democrats made such nice furniture, too.

30 posted on 03/21/2005 2:11:53 PM PST by irv
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: Pokey78

BTTT


32 posted on 03/21/2005 2:13:01 PM PST by spodefly (This is my tag line. There are many like it, but this one is mine.)
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To: hellbilly

When you read Steyn, you keep thinking he cannot top what he wrote last time. His combination of wisdom and wit has never been seen in our lifetimes, and we MUST begin to push for more exposure of this genius with words and political thought.


33 posted on 03/21/2005 2:15:05 PM PST by Zivasmate (" A wise man's heart inclines him to his right, but a fool's heart to his left." - Ecclesiastes 10)
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To: Pokey78

For my next birthday wish, it is going to be that I might meet a man as smart and conservative as Mark Steyn. LOVE steyn bump!


34 posted on 03/21/2005 2:15:16 PM PST by lawgirl (Please support me as I walk 60 miles in 3 days to support breast cancer research! (see my profile!))
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To: Taliesan

Excellent post. Thanks.


35 posted on 03/21/2005 2:15:48 PM PST by servantoftheservant
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To: AmishDude

I agree with Steyn most of the time but abortion has very little to do with the birth dearth, although I do see his argument is it is also part of a pervasive way of thinking on many issues

I believe in Canada the rate of abortion has begun to decline steadily, actually and on a per capita basis, which is good news......and the 2000 stat was 105,000 abortions which is hardly going to stop the birth dearth in a country of 30 million.....Canada has also been more conservative in this area as well, in part because a large percentage of our hospitals are Catholic based/funded/supported hospitals, a hiccup from the days of the French in early Canada,

for example, I'd never heard of partial birth abortions which I think is disgusting......until it was an issue in the US

the birth dearth is a function of a whole host of other factors, the days of popping out the sprogs until menopause rescues you, like my poor old Grandmother, who had 12 kids in 24 years, are gone....except of course in the countries where they can't seem to feed or support those large families, it amazes me that poor malnutritioned women can pop out that many sprogs


36 posted on 03/21/2005 2:17:50 PM PST by llama hunter
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To: llama hunter

I think Steyn's point is that abortion is more of a symptom than the problem itself


37 posted on 03/21/2005 2:22:30 PM PST by AmishDude (The Clown Prince-in-a-can of Free Republic!)
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To: lawgirl

You're going to have to fight me for such a man, Lawgirl!!

Steyn is my ultimate fantasy man, and I'm serious about that. His wife is ONE lucky woman...


38 posted on 03/21/2005 2:23:19 PM PST by HanneyBean
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To: antoninartaud
You are describing a planned "national arrested development campaign" which is succeeding excellently.
Go to "savethemales.ca" Plenty of articles describing the process of inflicting "arrested development" on society.
39 posted on 03/21/2005 2:24:00 PM PST by clearsight
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To: big'ol_freeper
"The Shaker Party...."

Hey! The Shakers were celibates, capitalists, and darn good farmers!! (Concepts foreign to most Democrats).

40 posted on 03/21/2005 2:24:31 PM PST by LibFreeOrDie ("We're led to believe it's painless, peaceful, - even humane" - Alan Shore ("Boston Public")
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To: Pokey78; SJackson; dennisw; veronica

<< Ah, the protocols of the elders of science. >>

What a cheeky prick this feller is.

That just might be his cheekiest ever!

Gotta love'im!

Thanks for the ping, Pokes.

Blessings -- B A


41 posted on 03/21/2005 2:24:40 PM PST by Brian Allen (I fly and can therefore be envious of no man -- Per Ardua ad Astra!)
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To: Pokey78
The martyrdom culture of radical Islam is a literal dead end. But so is the slyer death culture of post-Christian radical narcissism.

Blunt, but true. Great article.

42 posted on 03/21/2005 2:26:04 PM PST by Lorianne
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To: llama hunter; AmishDude

<< ... I'd never heard of partial birth abortions which I think is disgusting ... >>

"Disgusting?"

"Disgusting?"

Wow.

I'da lent toward "monstrous," meself.

Or "barbaric."


43 posted on 03/21/2005 2:28:05 PM PST by Brian Allen (I fly and can therefore be envious of no man -- Per Ardua ad Astra!)
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To: PeterFinn

Thanks........so that's why they couldn't find it at the movie rental.......helps to spell it right........ok........


44 posted on 03/21/2005 2:29:45 PM PST by clearsight
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To: BartMan1; Nailbiter; Forecaster; stanley windrush

ping ...


45 posted on 03/21/2005 2:31:16 PM PST by IncPen ( The Liberal's reward is self-disgust)
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To: HanneyBean

En garde!! ;-) I totally agree- Mark Steyn is a good conservative woman's dreamboat!


46 posted on 03/21/2005 2:32:10 PM PST by lawgirl (Please support me as I walk 60 miles in 3 days to support breast cancer research! (see my profile!))
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To: PeterFinn
6) Eliminate tax exemptions for non-Judeo-Christian faiths.

What an idiotic idea.

7) Require competency in English, Christianity, and Citizenship as a condition of citizenship for immigrants. .

English and Citizenship proficiency are fine, but the Christianity requirement is bigotry of the highest order and incompatible with the notions of religious freedom this country was founded on.

8) Require a minimum two-years of public service from EVERYONE in some form or another as a condition of suffrage. People who do not serve their country should not be allowed to vote. You want to vote? Serve.

Slavery to the government in return for exercising the franchise? I think not.

9) Amend the Constitution so that all of the above are legal and so that Constitutional rights are only allowed to US Citizens.

So, the government could put permanent residents and tourists in death camps, if it wanted to?

47 posted on 03/21/2005 2:32:53 PM PST by Modernman ("They're not people, they're hippies!"- Cartman)
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To: PeterFinn

INTERESTING

To really save Western (European) culture we'd have to do the following:

1) Ban abortion execpt in extreme circumstances such as ectopic pregnancy. A LITTLE LIMITED THERE, THERE ARE OTHER SITUATIONS WHERE THE MOTHER COULD DIE AS A RESULT OF HER PREGNANCY BEYOND AN ETOPIC PREGNANCY, I TAKE IT YOU WOULD ADVOCATE FOR THE MOTHER'S LIFE OVER THE FETUS, AT LEAST, IF THREATENED...

2) Prohibit all extensions of marital rights to anyone outside of marriage. INTERESTING CONCEPT

3) Allow employers to discriminate against single mothers, divorcees, atheists, and homosexuals & lesbians. This will have the effect of immediately reducing the numbers of those groups. SOUNDS A LITTLE TALIBANISH MY FRIEND, YOU LOSE ME ON THIS ONE.... ESP SINCE MANY DIVORCEES ARE WOMEN LEFT BEHIND BY MEN WHO THINK WITH THEIR DICKS, SO IF YOU WANT TO INCLUDE MALE DIVORCEES IN THAT LIST TOO AND SINGLE FATHERS?

4) End welfare in every possible form. Social safety nets will be found in the churches once again and in nuclear families once again. Government spending should also be reduced to eliminate the 'other' welfare: Public Employment. SORRY MY FATHER THE MOST CONSERVATIVE DUDE YOU WILL MEET THINKS SOCIAL WELFARE IS FINE BECAUSE AS HE PUTS IT, THE POOR PEOPLE PUT THAT MONEY BACK INTO THE ECONOMY WHICH BENEFITS US ALL - AND HE IS RIGHT WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, AND HE SAYS HE'D RATHER PAY FOR BUMS TO STAY AT HOME THAN WASTE MONEY ON THESE FEEL GOOD MAKE WORK PROJECTS OF THE GOVERNMENT (THEY LOVE THOSE IN CANADA) AND HE'S RIGHT, IT'S CHEAPER....JUST YOU PAY THEM ENOUGH TO SUBSIST, SO THE MORE AMBITIOUS TYPES MIGHT TRY TO GET OFF WELFARE, TOO LITTLE AND THE CRIME RATE GOES UP, IT WORKED IN ONTARIO EH?

5) Prohibit immigration by Muslims, atheists, Communists, and any other undesirables. COMMUNISTS AND TERRORISTS AND CRIMINALS FOR SURE.....

6) Eliminate tax exemptions for non-Judeo-Christian faiths.
THEN ELIMINATE TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR ALL FAITHS, REMEMBER PTL? JIMMY SWAGGART?

7) Require competency in English, Christianity, and Citizenship as a condition of citizenship for immigrants. Further, Citizenship boards should have the right to reject applications for citizenship arbitrarily. COMPETENCY IN ENGLISH AND KNOWLEDGE OF THE CULTURE, CERTAINLY, THEY EVEN DID THAT IN SWEDEN AND THE MUSLIMS COMPLAINED AND SAID THEY WOULD LEAVE SWEDEN, AND I SAID TO MYSELF AND SWEDEN IS GOING, YES, THAT WAS THE POINT, LOL

8) Require a minimum two-years of public service from EVERYONE in some form or another as a condition of suffrage. People who do not serve their country should not be allowed to vote. You want to vote? Serve. I THINK IT IS GREAT IDEA. I HAD TO LAUGH, IN ONTARIO THEY NOW REQUIRE EACH STUDENT TO PUT IN 40 HOURS, YES JUST 40 HOURS OF VOLUNTEER COMMUNITY SERVICE AND WE HAVE PARENTS GRIPING TO THE EDITOR OF OUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER, HELL I PUT IN TONS MORE HOURS OF VOLUNTEER SERVICE IN HIGH SCHOOL AND IT WASN'T A REQUIREMENT....

9) Amend the Constitution so that all of the above are legal and so that Constitutional rights are only allowed to US Citizens.

Honestly, I'm afraid we'll be living in a Sharia State before anyone has the balls to do any of this.


48 posted on 03/21/2005 2:33:01 PM PST by llama hunter
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To: Allan

Bump


49 posted on 03/21/2005 2:33:41 PM PST by Allan
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To: lawgirl

Hey he's mine,

let's mudwrestle for him, LOL


50 posted on 03/21/2005 2:33:45 PM PST by llama hunter
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