Part 1 — What my grandmother can teach us about fear and politics

The dark side of human nature has and will continue to enthrall, excite, and scare us. Are most of us really capable of extreme levels of twisted violence? Were some people born evil or did circumstances turn them into monsters?

The answer is most likely simultaneously both and neither. The scientific community has, for the most part, moved past the age-old nature vs. nurture debate in favor of a more sophisticated understanding based on constant interactions and feedback loops between biology (all the way down to genetics) and the environment.

As a result of these interactions, each and every one of us has a certain number of ‘bugs’ embedded deep in our psyche. …


Why we cannot judge politicians based on the quality of their policy choices

Do you agree that the most important task of politics is to

put the best people in place to make the best decisions for all of us?

If you do, you’re likely in the overwhelming majority.

At first glance, it’s easy to overlook the fact that this idea is in sharp contrast with democratic representation where the job of politicians is to make policy according to what we, the people, want.

In a Trustee system, once in power, leaders make policy they think is best even if it goes against the public will. …


Representation is a central tenet of democracy.

We generally want our politicians to make policy according to what we, the people, want.

If you feel that way and think that politics is important, you should read on because I will demonstrate that this is close to impossible.

Okay, the title was a bit of a clickbait. I will not ‘prove’ that democratic representation can’t work in the mathematical sense of the word. What I will show is that it can only occur with very severe limitations that are built into the very system of politics as we know it.

Let’s start with how representation is supposed to work for a single policy issue. …


In my previous article I analyzed President Trump’s view on abortion, a hot-button issue in American politics.

It’s only fair to continue with his prospective rival in the upcoming presidential election.

Abortion has been a tricky policy issue for Joe Biden. As a practicing Catholic, it always pinned his personal and political beliefs against each other in a seemingly unsolvable conundrum. His response relied heavily on the separation of church and state. Too bad the church saw it differently when it denied the former VP Holy Communion for his political stance on abortion.

Reflecting the issue’s importance, Joe Biden has mentioned abortion reasonably often during his nearly 50-year-long political career. I will use all the sources I could find to critically assess his view. …


Not all policy views are equal.

When we determine monetary policy, it’s probably a good idea to put higher stock in an economic analyst’s view explained in a reference-filled and well-structured 15-page article than in the incoherent ramblings of a self-styled Facebook/Youtube expert.

It is reasonable to expect that people who make policy, such as the President, fall closer to the former category and hold at least somewhat sophisticated views in most policy areas.

Abortion has been one of the hot-button issues of American politics for more than four decades. According to a Gallup poll conducted between May 1–13, 2020, 24% of Americans said the candidate they may consider must share their views on abortion. A further 47% said it was ‘one of many important factors’. …


3 Final Steps Toward a Complete Policy View

This article is the last in a seven-piece series dedicated to a complete policy view on abortion. (If you’re interested in how we reached this point, please view its predecessors here.)

Seven? Why would anyone want to read so much about the same issue?

So far I’ve only disclosed one reason why you might: to become bulletproof in relevant political discussions or debates. Starting with the next article, we’ll see that we’ve in fact been building toward something far more ambitious and more widely applicable.

Before we reap our rewards, however, there is one last article to write and read. Because we are still missing something. Three big-picture components to be exact: Ideal, Priority, and Personal Process. …


A Brief Analysis of the Donohue-Levitt Hypothesis

As we saw previously, there is much you should know before you get to enjoy the cozy sensation of being fully prepared and protected when you enter a discussion or debate about abortion.

Some of this knowledge takes the form of a simple number. Even in such cases, it is usually not easy to obtain and verify the piece of information, let alone analyze its impact on your arguments.

To make matters more complicated, much of the knowledge needed relies on a relationship between two or more variables. …


4 Recommendations On How to Use Knowledge in Decision Making

There are many ways your opponent may try to throw you off in a debate. One is by bringing up something that fundamentally challenges your argument in a way you have no answer for.

Despite our conscientious preparations culminating in the latest article in this series, you may still be vulnerable to the following verbal jabs:

  • Only 0.69% of abortions are done for the ‘hard cases’, such as to protect the mother’s life or health, rape, or incest.
  • At around 22 weeks in utero, the fetus has the ability to feel pain. …

Variables That (Should) Dominate Most of the Abortion Debate

I ended the previous article in this series on the note that

abortion policy’s impact on various individuals depends on specific policy solutions and circumstances.

Let us now review these solutions and circumstances to complete our checklist of what you need to win every abortion debate you choose to enter.

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Circumstances and solutions are crucial for abortion-related decisions. They seem complicated but are manageable with the right structure. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

1. Circumstances

What circumstances matter for the abortion debate? Some, such as whether the mother’s health is in serious jeopardy, are regular staples of the conversation. But how could we arrive at a comprehensive overview of everything we ought to consider?

Personal stories are a great way to start. And Medium is a great place to find such stories. So I began by conducting a fairly thorough Medium search, which yielded many tales, each with its own personal perspective and insight. …


In my previous article we continued our journey toward winning every political debate. In particular, we saw that abortion’s impact on the mother and the child is far from simple or straight forward.

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Figure 1. Simplified Saturated Policy View for abortion including impact on the fetus and the mother

In this article we will finish the left-hand column. Our main question is a derivative of the original:

Who, apart from the fetus (1) and the mother (2), is impacted by abortion and how?

About

Balazs Feher-Gavra

A political scientist (Ph.D.) and social psychologist (MA) fighting for a better world the only way I know how: on the battlefield of idea(l)s.

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