Barbara Coombs Lee, head honcho at the assisted suicide advocacy group Compassion and Choices, has written a column in the Huffington Post that lies about me. She doesn’t mention my name, perhaps because that would permit people to look me up and find out for themselves about whether what she writes about me is actually true. She references my recent National Review cover story on assisted suicide—“A Myth is as Good as a Mile”—but without the courtesy of linking it so that her readers can see whether she told the truth about what I wrote. There’s a reason for that. In the article, I exposed the “Oregon Myth” that assisted suicide there has been without abuses in that state. Letting people have easy access to my piece would, thus, be shall we say, inconvenient to shoveling the propaganda.
Coombs Lee is free to link or not link, grapple with my actual criticisms or pretend they don’t exist, as she chooses. In fact, not doing so is par for the course with this crowd. The assisted suicide movement doesn’t like to engage with their opponents’ actual arguments.
But she is not free to lie about my positions on unrelated issues. From her post.
As one might expect, the writer opposes personal choice in most important life decisions. A believer in intelligent design, he opposes contraception, stem cell research and choice in dying.
I don’t oppose “stem cell research,” but I don’t want to take the space to get into the nuances of that. I am not involved in intelligent design, and indeed, have repeatedly written that for my purposes of human exceptionalism, it doesn’t matter whether we were created, designed, or evolved by happenstance. Not only that, whether or not I accept ID is irrelevant to assisted suicide and thus, is merely a clumsy way of knocking down a straw man in the eyes of people who might think ID is theocracy—which it isn’t, but as I said, that is irrelevant to my work.
Lee might excuse this by saying I am affiliated with the Discovery Institute, best known for promoting ID. Let’s give her that for the sake of argument. But that justification doesn’t excuse the flat-out-lie that I don’t believe in contraception, a claim for which there is absolutely no basis by any stretch of the imagination. I have never publicly opposed contraception. (Nor has the DI.) Indeed, I don’t oppose contraception. She just made it up whole-cloth. Again, par for the course. The lie furthers the cause, so who cares about intellectual integrity?
Coombs Lee’s mendacity illustrates something people need to know about her: Truth doesn’t ultimately matter in her advocacy. What counts is the emotional narrative—including outright fear mongering and libeling doctors as “torturers”—and winning by any means necessary.
But you should ask yourselves, if Coombs Lee so easily fabricated the falsehood that I oppose contraception, if she could lie so easily about something that simple and basic—what else isn’t she telling the truth about?
Update: Barbara Coombs Lee acknowledged her error here (see comments), but as of 3:26 Pacific Time, has not corrected her post over at the Huffington Post. Moreover, I wrote a comment to the post correcting the record, and the HP has not allowed it to be posted.
Update 2: Despite Barbara C. admitting on this blog that she was wrong, her piece at the HP still falsely claims that I oppose contraception. I have twice tried to post on the comments section that she is in error, and neither have apparently survived moderation. It would thus appear that the HP doesn’t care about truth and factual accuracy, and apparently, BCL isn’t much interested either. But I already knew that.
Well, two can play that game. Barbara Coombs Lee believes in drowning kittens! Yea, that’s the ticket.
Update 3: More than 24 hours have passed since I twice tried to get the HP to correct a factual error in BCL’s column. No go. Clearly, the HP doesn’t care about accuracy, but in the propaganda value of statements. That’s fine with me. Confirms what I suspected.
But, as I said above, two can play that game. Barbara Coombs Lee believes in drowning kittens and puppies! The Huffington Post has editorialized that Bernie Madoff did nothing wrong! Hey, this is fun.