About five years into the program, the dormitories were built. It was a natural offshoot of the work, and a work of charity as well — more and more women in need were applying to be part of the program.
And of course no one was obliged or compelled to be a Benefactor — the requirements were clearly spelled out, and there were counseling requirements to be met before a woman was accepted into the program.
Terminology was set in the early stages. The clients were called “Sponsors”. Advocacy groups pushed for the term ‘parents’, but the language of parenthood was fraught in cases where there were anywhere between two and five parties involved in the development of the fetus, and the directors thought it best avoided.
The term for the surrogates had gone through many evolutions. “Surrogate” itself was considered too clinical, “Carrier” was too demeaning, and “Mother” was, off course, right out. Eventually a cadre of outside consultants settled upon “Benefactor” as striking just the right note — women helping others, giving the precious gift of parenthood to others.
Nye has been a prime example of this across a wide swath of public controversies, from climate change to abortion. With regard to the latter, Nye infamously appeared in a YouTube video promoting abortion rights in which he contended that pro-lifers lack a proper “scientific understanding” of “the facts.” But in fact he is the one who seems to be confused: Nye proclaims that “fertilized eggs are not human”—even though an egg, once fertilized, ceases to exist as the one-celled embryo called the zygote comes into being. He continues that the sperm joining the ovum “is not all you need. You have to attach to the uterine wall, the inside of a womb, a woman’s womb.” It could be argued that implantation is the point at which a woman becomes pregnant. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the biological nature of the embryo itself. Besides, embryology textbooks—real science—tell us that a new organism or, to put it another way, a human being comes into existence once fertilization has been completed.
More to the point, science can only tell us the biological nature of the entity destroyed in an abortion; it cannot tell us whether the destruction is right or wrong.
I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report. The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut. I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security. Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet. I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome. Let us take the Jew by surprise for once!
Your first effort on this matter is rather good, but I think we can improve upon it. Incidentally, tell the Greek in his portion of the report to work in a subtle reference to one of Tiberius’ victories with the legions. Tiberius claims to despise flattery. The old fraud, he loves flattery if it isn’t obvious, and I want him in a good mood when he is reading this report, probably the most important report of my career.
Aside: Whenever I read about California in the NYT, I get this sort of Dr. Livingston vibe, as if they’ve sent civilized people out into the dangerous wild to gather intelligence on primitive but remarkably sophisticated (meaning: like New Yorkers) tribes. Not as much as I get when reading about the South – there, the vibe is more like: Surprisingly human-like Southerners may be our closest living relatives, after dolphins and Californians. But I digress…
These are not too bad watercolors. They’re not spectacular, but if you don’t know anything about the artist, you probably wouldn’t mind having a poster of one of them, or buying a postcard with the image. You could probably find similar in local art and history museums, sort of the “Local Minor Masters” type of exhibit.
Which is, of course, true. But not everything that calls itself a “right” is a right, and the opportunity for rights freeloading—for policy decisions to masquerade as rights—offers many benefits while abetting intellectual sloppiness and dishonesty. I say that because, once upon a time, a first-year logic student would have recognized the logical errors of begging the question and proof by assertion.
That’s why “rights freeloading” has grown in recent decades, and why those prone to spin new “rights” out of whole cloth usually pursue their artifice in the judiciary rather than the legislature. The latter suggests there are two legitimate views to a question; the courts give us winners and losers.
The problem with such tactics, besides demonizing the loser, is that it also tends to fossilize the discussion: a legislative choice, once adopted, can be undone at the next election. A judicial decision, once enshrined, is practically permanent and accountable to no one.
Finally, ersatz “rights” tend to displace real ones. Glendon shows us the problems of “rights creep,” i.e., the elevation of policy choices to the status of rights. If Gresham’s famous law reminds us that “bad money drives out good,” so—applying Glendon’s insights—I offer Grondelski’s Corollary: “‘rights’ tend to drive out rights.” Consider the track record on abortion: fathers have no right (no “interest,” as the courts put it) in the survival of their unborn children; parents have no rights to prevent their minor daughter from obtaining an abortion without their consent or even in some cases knowledge. Now, on “transgender rights,” other users of a public shower, locker room, and/or bathroom are told they have no rights to a truly single sex environment. On homosexual “marriage,” others have no right to decline to apply their professional talents or services to solemnize what they find ethically or morally wrong; conscience rights are subordinated to state power. Catholic social services are increasingly being driven out of the adoption arena because they have the silly, intolerant notion that a child to be adopted (i.e., a child who has already been objectively hurt by deprivation of a father and mother) has no inherent right to be adopted by afather and a mother.