Gideon's Blog

In direct contravention of my wife's explicit instructions, herewith I inaugurate my first blog. Long may it prosper.

For some reason, I think I have something to say to you. You think you have something to say to me? Email me at: gideonsblogger -at- yahoo -dot- com

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Monday, March 18, 2002
An excellent follow-up piece by Michelle Cottle in The New Republic about the Yates trial. Here's why I like it: there's plenty of room to debate who else besides Andrea Yates should be tried for their involvement in the deaths of her five children. But there's no real room for debate about her own guilt. And attempts by NOW to excuse her are particularly egregious examples of our victim culture. There may be many guilty parties in this case, but there are exactly five victims and they are all dead.

And the other reason I like it: she clarifies what the proper prophylactic response would be if we wanted to enact one. To whit: restrict the freedom of would-be parents. If you are not satisfied that criminal justice is the big-picture way to prevent crimes like this one, then you either have to restrict people's freedom to have children (crazies get sterilized, or some such) or you have to restrict the general freedom of crazy people (institutionalize them involuntarily, or some such). If you respect people's freedom to procreate (something NOW usually cares a lot about) and their freedom to manage their own health (ditto), then you run the risk that they will fail to live up to the responsibilities of these freedoms and, in an extreme case, even commit murder. Michelle Cottle is sanguine about the prospect of the government forbidding certain people to be parents (in an update of Oliver Wendell Holmes' line, "three generations of imbeciles are enough"). I am much less so. But clearly that's the honest choice: freedom and accountability or government control of human reproduction and/or mental health.