Problems Solutions and Trade Offs

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Occasionally, a columnist must issue an apology for something he wrote that, while seeming correct at the time, later proved to be misguided. Today, is one of those occasions where I must take the time to write a retraction concerning a column I wrote some time ago. Although it has been roughly four years since the column appeared, I am still compelled to offer an apology.

The issue concerns the use of pictures of the aftermath of abortion and whether the pictures should be displayed on college campuses, which are obviously populated by scores of women who have, in fact, suffered through the trauma of abortion. Four years ago, I took the position that the pro-life movement should not be doing that. The publication of that opinion constituted a serious error of judgment on my behalf. Accordingly, I offer an apology to my readers as well as an explanation of how I arrived at that incorrect conclusion.

Liberals have a tendency to think in terms of problems and solutions, not in terms of tradeoffs. We see this all the time. A liberal will identify a social problem. Then, he will attempt to identify a solution. The bad news for the rest of us is that the liberal “solution” usually involves government intervention, not private initiative.

The “problem” I identified four years ago came from a survey on campus censorship – one that I gave in my Introduction to Criminal Justice class every semester. I simply asked which book they would like to see banned from the library and which person or group they would like to see banned from campus. I then moved into a discussion of how the growing tendency to censor (with government backing) threatens our campus environment.

For years, the KKK and the Black Panthers vied for first place among the groups my students would most like to ban from campus. Then, in 2008 I was hit with a shocking new development: students voted “pro-lifers” as the group they most wanted to see kicked off campus. Their reason was simple: they sometimes showed pictures of aborted babies.

I saw this as a “problem.” Therefore, I wrote suggesting a “solution.” The solution was that we, as pro-lifers, should voluntarily abandon the practice of showing such pictures on campus. I did not advocate government backed censorship – the kind of advocacy we expect to hear from liberals. I just thought that voluntary abandonment of the practice would be the best “solution.” In retrospect, the suggestion was more than just naïve. It was stupid. And I am very sorry I ever wrote the column.

Living in an imperfect world among fallen people does not generally facilitate finding solutions to problems. Life is not that simple. Instead, it involves the making of decisions involving trade-offs. The decision of whether pictures of aborted babies should be displayed – even on campuses among those who have experienced abortion – is no different. So I should not have approached the issue like the liberals analyzing things within a problem/solution framework. I should have examined the trade-offs.

Put simply, the use of graphic abortion pictures on college campuses will upset women who have had abortions. They will also upset men who have financed abortions – especially those who actively pressured women into having them. But a greater number of people will be awaked to the fact that abortion involves the dismemberment of innocent human beings. Confrontation with those pictures will put the lie to the assertion that the unborn is nothing more than a clump of cells. The confrontation will draw an unmistakable moral distinction between the picking of a scab and the termination of a pregnancy. There may be negative aspects to showing the pictures. But they are far outweighed by the information they convey and the moral impulse they compel.

Put simply, we cannot enable those who would deny the American Holocaust in order to reduce emotional discomfort. That is not an acceptable trade-off. It sounds more like a final solution.

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Mike S. Adams was born in Columbus, Mississippi on October 30, 1964. While a student at Clear Lake High School in Houston, TX, his team won the state 5A soccer championship. Mike Adams graduated from C.L.H.S. in 1983 with a 1.8 GPA. Mike Adams was ranked 734 among a class of 740, largely as a result of flunking English all four years of high school. After obtaining an Associate's degree in psychology from San Jacinto College, Mike Adams moved on to Mississippi State University where he joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity. While living in the fraternity house, his GPA rose to 3.4, allowing him to finish his B.A., and then to pursue a Master's in Psychology. In 1990, Mike Adams turned down a chance to pursue a PhD in psychology from the University of Georgia, opting instead to remain at Mississippi State to study Sociology/Criminology. This decision was made entirely on the basis of his reluctance to quit his night job as member of a musical duo. Playing music in bars and at fraternity parties and weddings financed his education. Mike Adams also played for free beer. . Upon getting his doctorate in 1993, Adams, then an atheist and a Democrat, was hired by UNC-Wilmington to teach in the criminal justice program. A few years later, Adams abandoned his atheism and also became a Republican. He also nearly abandoned teaching when he took a one-year leave of absence to study law at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1998. After returning to teach at UNC-Wilmington, Adams won the Faculty Member of the Year award (issued by the Office of the Dean of Students) for the second time in 2000. . After his involvement in a well publicized free speech controversy in the wake of the 911 terror attacks, Adams became a vocal critic of the diversity movement in academia. After making appearances on shows like Hannity and Colmes, the O'Reilly Factor, and Scarborough Country, Adams was asked to write a column for Townhall.com. . Today Mike Adams enjoys the privilege of expressing himself both as a teacher and a writer. Mike Adams is also an avid hunter and reader of classic literature. Mike Adams published his first book, Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel, in 2004. His second book, Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts "Womyn" On Campus, was published in 2008.