SkepDick (quoting Alexandra Erin): “The Shirley Exception is a bit of mental sleight of hand that allows people to support a policy they profess to disagree with. It’s called the Shirley Exception because… well, I mean, *surely* there must be exceptions, right?” The post is talking about the belief that it’s okay to have extreme, harsh laws about immigration, abortion, etc. because in practice, on a case-by-case basis, the law will spare people who don’t deserve it: “Surely, they think, surely the leopards will know to only eat the “right” faces, the faces that need eating, and leave alone all the faces that don’t deserve that. But if we try to lay out rules to protect faces from being eaten by leopards, people will take advantage. Best to keep it simple and count on decency and reason to rule the day.”
And so they support a policy which has no exceptions or wiggle room in the conviction that “deserving” people will get some wiggle room anyway. And therefore figure they shouldn’t be criticized for supporting an abortion ban with no exceptions or an immigration ban or a medical policy that allows insurers to deny coverage to pre-existing conditions — sure, the law says that, and they support the law, but that’s not how they want it enforced! They should get credit for good intentions right?
I’ve seen similar arguments elsewhere. Libertarian economist Bryan Caplan, for example, argues that the absolute authority husbands had over their wives and their wives’ money in the 19th century didn’t affect women’s freedom: most husbands probably didn’t abuse it, or the couple worked out some sort of arrangement. So it’s not like he’s in favor of husbands beating their wives or spending their money, he’s just cool with them having the right to do it. Or consider Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who argued that pre-existing health conditions are the result of people not taking care of their health. He implies at the link that pre-existing conditions that don’t result from unhealthy lifestyles should maybe sort of get an exception — but none of the plans the Republicans have proposed require insurers separate the sheep from the goats. And insurers are unlikely to do it: if they can exclude or charge higher prices for pre-existing problems, why wouldn’t they?
The simple fact is, laws which do not allow exemptions or exceptions are often applied without any exceptions or exemption. It’s like novelist Kristine Kathryn Rusch says about contracts: don’t sign if someone tells you “don’t worry that’s just boilerplate we won’t actually do that.” Assume they’ll actually do that, then ask if you can accept that.
In other news:
Religious conservatives suddenly discover Bill Clinton shouldn’t have been impeached.
What Republican controlled states and Democratic controlled states do differently. Vox explained the anti-BDS laws referenced at the link, which I hadn’t heard about.
Some states still allow marital rape.
LGM argues the driving force on the right is the desire to protect the social hierarchy (white and male on top). Perhaps that explains why they’re still sore about the fight against Brett Kavanaugh — how dare a woman block the path of an upper-class white dude just because he assaulted her!
The Supreme Court has made it easier for police to arrest protesters or people filming police misbehavior.
Someone suggest to anti-gay Pensacola state Rep. Mike Hill that we should have the death penalty for homosexuals. Hill’s response: “I wonder how that would go over?”
6 responses to “The Shirley Exception and other links”
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