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On Legitimacy

On Legitimacy

Hello, everyone.

It is Sunday, September 2, as I type this sentence, so you can see this diary has been 2 weeks in its birthing.  Anyway, here it is.

This is Tuesday evening, 8/21/12, and unless you live in a universe far, far way, you doubtlessly have heard about Todd Akin’s preposterous statements that he made in a TV interview in St. Louis this past Sunday.  Here, thanks to the website “Yahoo! Answers,” is Akin’s statement:

“During his televised interview Akin was asked on his stance of several different issues, but when asked if he supported abortions for women who had been raped he responded by saying “It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” than commented . “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin than said that he would rather the focus on a rape be on punishing the rapist and not “attacking the child.””

I swear, this guy makes Woody Woodpecker, Elmer Fudd, and Popeye sound as profound as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

I am not going any further with Akins’ moronic stupidity.  What this diary is about is the concept of legitimacy.  I will revisit the statement in that context.

Before we begin, however, we need a working definition of some words, and for that, we turn to our old friend, the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

First, legitimate:

1a : lawfully begotten; specifically : born in wedlock

b : having full filial rights and obligations by birth <alegitimate child>

 2: being exactly as purposed : neither spurious nor false <alegitimate grievance> <a legitimate practitioner>

 3a : accordant with law or with established legal forms and requirements <a legitimate government>

b : ruling by or based on the strict principle of hereditary right <a legitimate king>

 4: conforming to recognized principles or accepted rules and standards <a legitimate advertising expenditure> <alegitimate inference>

And now, rape:

1: an act or instance of robbing or despoiling or carrying away a person by force

 2: unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent

 3: an outrageous violation

So given the dictionary definitions of the two words, there is no logical way under the sun that the concept of “legitimate rape” can exist.

Back when I was younger, girls used to scream and run away from me, yelling “rape!” while they did so.  But I digress.

Given its normal usage, “legitimate” can also be rendered as “true,” “valid,” and “the real McCoy.”  For instance:  Suppose that the Minnesota Twins enter September with a 100-40 record, each of the starting rotation approaching 20 wins, and four position players batting around .330.  One could say that they are a legitimate contender for the World Series.  Or say that a heavyweight boxer has a record of 23 and 2, with 20 of his wins by knockouts.  He would be called a legitimate contender for the heavyweight crown.  In both cases, the Twins and the boxer are “the real McCoy,” or the real thing.

Ideas can be described as legitimate.  So can things like wars, artifacts, or artwork.  Let’s take wars.  How many of this country’s wars were legitimate – that is, fought for valid reasons?  Let’s see.

The Revolution and the War of 1812 – those were both legitimate because England had a VERY difficult time letting go of its American colonies.

The Mexican War – Texas had seceded from Mexico and had been brought into the Union.  This was a situation much like that of the American colonies, so one can consider the Mexican War to have been legitimate.

“54 40 or fight” – In 1844, Democratic presidential candidate James K. Polk planned to claim and go to war over the entire territory of Oregon for the United States. The northern boundary for the territory was latitude 54o 40’ north.  The border between the US and Canada is at 49o north.  Since the purpose of the war – which did not occur – would have been merely territorial expansion, THIS war would not have been legitimate.

The Civil War – Nothing needs to be said.  The North wanted to end slavery.  The South wanted to keep slavery.  This was a legitimate war on the part of the North.

The Spanish-American War – Spain destroyed the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor.  The war was legitimate.

World War I – President Woodrow Wilson fought valiantly to keep the United States out of the war.  However, Germany committed so many atrocities – including the sinking of the British ship Lusitania – that Wilson and the United States had no alternative but to join the war, so this war was legitimate as well.

World War II – Pearl Harbor.  Enough said.  This war was legitimate also.

Korea – This was a United Nations Police Action, rather than a war that the United States pursued.  The purpose was to stop the spread of Communism in Asia, a legitimate cause.  This war was legitimate.

Vietnam – This war was based on the supposed attack on two American boats in the Gulf of Tomkin.  However, so far as I know, there has never been any hard evidence presented to support the claim of attack.  This war then was not legitimate.

Grenada – about this little caper, Wikipedia says, “Triggered by a bloody military coup which had ousted a four-year revolutionary government, the invasion resulted in a restoration of constitutional government. It was controversial due to charges of American imperialism, Cold War politics, the involvement of Cuba, the unstable state of the Grenadian government, and Grenada’s status as a Commonwealth realm.”  So considering all this, plus the fact that there was no threat to the United States, this war was not legitimate.

The first Iraq War, or “Operation Desert Storm” – The only rationale for THIS war was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.  Again, no clear-cut threat to the United States was ever laid out, so this war was not legitimate either.

The second Iraq War – The rationale for THIS war was 9/11.  However, Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with that event.  There has been some good substantial evidence presented that the only REAL rationale for this war was a vendetta against Saddam Hussein.  Thus, a non-legitimate war.

The War in Afghanistan – This war WAS legitimate, in that its goal was the death of Osama Bin Laden, who was believed to have been behind the mayhem of 9/11/01.  President Barak Obama oversaw the death of bin Laden, so in effect this war’s mission has been completed.

And finally, War With Iran?  On one of the network evening news shows tonight (8/24/12) – I think it was on CBS – Mitt Romney said that he would go to war with Iran if Iran acquired nukes.  This would NOT be a legitimate war because only to the degree that it supports the Middle East country that it toadies for, would the US be at risk.  This would be nowhere near the risk that Al Queda (or however they spell it) would be.

So yes, wars can be legitimate or illegitimate.

And so can ideas.

Let’s take the idea of “pro-life.”  Is this idea or philosophy legitimate?  To arrive at the conclusion that it is, several questions would have to be answered.  Here are some.

1. What is your definition of “life”?

2. Does life exist outside the womb?  If not, then what is the FACTUAL basis for you making such a determination?

3. Are you opposed to the concept of war?

4. Are you opposed to the concept of capital punishment?

5. Many well-trained doctors and scientists have proven that the use of stem cells can assist in curing diseases and helping the body to heal.  Do you support the idea of stem cell research?

6. There have been countless episodes of mass shootings in this country in the past several years, in which countless innocent victims have been murdered.  Do you support stronger gun control legislation?

7. You “right-to-life” people make a huge bally-ho about abortion.  Do you make as much noise about the victims of war, people executed on death row, and innocent victims of shooting rampages?

8. Do you support and vote for political candidates who support cuts in the defense budget, are opposed to war, seek to eliminate capital punishment, and seek stricter gun control legislation?

I could go on, but I think that these eight questions are sufficient.  And if one “pro-life” person answers “no” to even one question, then that person’s claim to being “pro-life” is not legitimate.  Don’t forget that the concept of legitimacy carries with it the concepts of truth and validity.

Maybe I should add a ninth.  I found this on the Crooks & Liars site:

– – – – – – – – – –

Take a little bit of madness and mix it with a steady diet of Fox News, and you’ll get David Kappheim.

Via Huffington Post:

“A Florida man “obsessed with Fox News and the Republican party” felt that his girlfriend was too “liberal” — so he decided he had to kill her.

“Police arrested David Kappheim, of LakePark, on Saturday after the 60-year-old threatened a woman’s life because of her supposed political orientation, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“The report recounts several incidents in which Kappheim allegedly arrived “stark naked” at the home of his girlfriend’s friend, choked his girlfriend and told her that he would “kill her and burn her home,” the Palm Beach Post reports.

“Kappheim explained to a sheriff’s deputy, “He was very conservative, and his girlfriend was liberal and he felt he was going to have kill her,” according to the arrest affidavit, according to WPTV.”

As tempting as it may be to write the guy off as just another crazy person, I think we do so at our own peril. When they’re feasting on eliminationist rhetoric and hearing everyone all the way up to the Republican nominee claim what America “needs is an American”, it’s not hard to see where reality and illusion blend into delusional, authoritarian, deadly behavior.

Roger Ailes and the crew over at Fox News should be ashamed, but I’m sure they’re just sorry the liberal got to live after all.

– – – – – – – – – –

My ninth question is this:  Are you comfortable with the idea of a whackjob like David Kappheim walking around carrying heat?  Because if you are, not only are you merely an anti-abortion campaigner and NOT a pro-life person, you are also crazier than a pet loon!!

If you want an example of true legitimacy, look no farther than Mr. Michael Higgins, president of Ireland.  Here is the URL for a must-see video.  And everything that Mr. Higgins says in legitimate and true.

http://www.upworthy.com/a-tea-partier-decided-to-pick-a-fight-with-a-foreign-president-it-didnt-go-so-we?c=upw1

Here is the lead-in to the video:

“Aug 22 2012

“A Tea Partier Decided To Pick A Fight With A Foreign President. It Didn’t Go So Well.

“Michael D. Higgins (who was elected president of Ireland last year) is fed up with over-the-top Tea Party rhetoric, and he isn’t afraid to show it. Listen to him call out radio host Michael Graham on everything from health care to foreign policy in this heated exchange from 2010. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one.”

Anyone who is capable of thinking an original thought will thoroughly enjoy the video.  Others who let other people do their thinking for them – probably not.

On the website “The Mahablog,” in an article about one guy’s pathetic effrorts to support Todd Akins’ moronic stupidity, the anonymous author makes a comment about Steve King, a representative who is – UNFORTUNATELY!! – from Iowa.  The comment is a classic:  “Considering where he keeps his head, he probably hears very little beside digestion and gas.”  In view of their lack of offense at Todd Akin and his stupidity, the same thing can be said about the “Tea Partriers” and Evangelical Christians.

Let’s end this diary with a lofty noble thought.  I found this on Daily Kos on Friday morning, 8/24/12:

Tweet of the Day:

New Orleans minister who led marches against gay “Southern Decadence” fest convicted of public masturbation http://t.co/&#8230;

—    @Will_Bunch via web

Now ain’t it just like that so-called “pro-life” crowd to pull a stunt like this one?

And just think of those poor sacred lives that will never know or enjoy the privileges of womb citizenship because this preacher saw fit to waste his seed!  Shame!  For shame!!

Like a snippet on Daily Kos puts it:  “You Can’t Fix Stupid!”  Ain’t it the truth?!?!

Have a good day.

Bill

 

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September 5, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Politics, Religion

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