If an average person said something like “people who call themselves ‘pro-life,’ and yet support the death penalty are idiots,” I would probably let it slide. I have a problem with political science senior saying it; however, because it indicates a lack of depth of scholarly inquiry.

Looking at this apparent oxymoron just a little closer, a thoughtful person may come to the realization that the label “pro-life,” while accurately describing the belief in the right of the unborn to live, might actually be a bit of a misnomer. Let us begin by imagining that a better label would be “pro-responsibility.” Now, if we look at Mr. Ingram’s argument, we would be able to see that the unborn child did nothing wrong, was not responsible for its conception and as such doesn’t deserve the death penalty. When an adult chooses to take another’s life, however, they are responsible for their actions and as such should face the death penalty. Notice how the underlying concept of responsibility enables one to make a consistent argument.

In this short-attention span society that we live in, sound bites and short labels have become a necessity to quickly and succinctly define a point of view. Mr. Ingram bemoans this fact in his article when he points out that he is a multi-dimensional person tagged with the one-dimensional label of “liberal.” I would sincerely hope that by their senior year, political science majors would have learned to look beyond the superficial labels and have really begun to try to understand different political viewpoints.

Kevin Cumblidge

Cal Poly grad 2002

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