Popular Opinion Is a Bad Argument
More than 700 authors and publishing agents have signed an open letter to Penguin Random House demanding the publisher cancel a book deal with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
John StonestreetMaria Baer
More than 700 authors and publishing agents have signed an open letter to Penguin Random House demanding the publisher cancel a book deal with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. The signatories dramatically claim the book would be a violation of international human rights, because of Justice Barrett’s vote in the Dobbs abortion case.
Random House officials say they still plan to publish Justice Barrett’s book. But it is notable that this open letter didn’t appeal to morality, biology, or even political philosophy. Instead, the signers appealed to popular opinion. “International human rights organizations widely recognize abortion access as a fundamental human right,” they wrote.
It’s an irrational argument. Some international human rights organizations do not recognize abortion as a fundamental human right, and every institution in the world could and still be wrong. Abortion supporters should be wary of appealing to mob opinion because if the pro-life movement keeps changing hearts and minds, popular opinion could change. The question is, “What’s right?”
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