Friday, November 30, 2012

San Francisco is so bossy.

"Paper or plastic?" is no longer a question in SF. Plastic bags have been banned. Paper bags are an option as long as the customer will pay $0.10 per bag. One SF customer claims, "It's not about control, it's about reminding us what's good for us." But when "reminders" involve bans and penalties, it comes to the same thing.

Sure, $0.10 is pretty inconsequential, but it's the very notion that gets me--trying to push people around even regarding something as trivial as buying and bringing reusable bags for their groceries. I feel the same way about San Francisco's 2011 ban on free Happy Meal toys, New York's ban on super-sized sodas, and Missouri's recent (failed) attempt to raise taxes on cigarettes.

And here's the thing: I think smoking (that is, being a smoker, as opposed to having a cigarette every couple of weeks or something) is idiotic, because it's so bad for you. Similarly, I think drinking lots of soda or eating lots of junk food is foolish (as opposed to having a treat every now and then). Over one third of American adults are obese and the rate is only rising. So I do see the reasoning behind a lot of these efforts. But I just think people should be free to make idiotic choices--if we're only free to make the choices everyone else agrees with, it's not all that free.

Aside: I'm not saying we're on the verge of some fascist dictatorship or anything. We are obviously still very free compared to many people in the world, and I appreciate that. But I don't like the mentality behind the government pushing people around "for the greater good." It makes me feel indignant, and very weary.

The SF paper bag situation annoys me more than the other examples, though. It's one thing to try to curb the obesity epidemic or decrease cancer rates; again, I don't agree with these methods but I see why other people think it's necessary. But bossing people around over their use of paper products? That's even weaker. From what I understand, paper decomposes relatively easily, and it doesn't look like we're on the verge of running out of trees.

...The end.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nice Guys, Part II: A Diagram

I've seen some men claim that women say they know what they want, but they don't really know what they want. These ladies say they want a nice guy but then they date jerks. Some thoughts:

  1. Many people (men and women) date jerks when they are still entering the dating world. There's no substitute for experience, and without experience you're a lot more likely to overlook red flags that would warn more experienced people not to bother dating someone. This doesn't mean inexperienced people don't know what they want; it means they haven't yet learned how to locate what they want. You'll notice a lot of people may date jerks for a little while, but once they realize their partner is, in fact, a jerk, they move on--because a jerk isn't what they want.
  2. On the other hand, some people date a jerk, learn that the person is a jerk, and then...keep dating that jerk. I don't pretend to have a good explanation for this. In fact, it drives me crazy. However I'm not convinced that a) this is a phenomenon exclusive to women or b) that most--much less all--women do this.
  3. There is a lot more to attraction than whether someone is nice or a jerk. Off the top of my head (in no particular order), there's work ethic, ambition, passion, physical attraction, honesty, loyalty, playfulness, confidence, optimism, sense of humor, education, religious views, political views, socioeconomic status, family history, and so on. There are all sorts of combinations of these traits and more that may lead to initial attraction and/or long-standing relationships.
When people talk about the "nice guy" situation no one seems to bother to define "nice guy," but in my experience it tends to mean a thoughtful man who is not all that confident. Those two traits seem to be consistent in "nice guys," while I've seen everything else vary. 

I hope it's obvious that the following diagram is a simplification. Not every single woman wants a confident guy necessarily, and I've known women who stayed and seemed satisfied with guys that weren't all that thoughtful. Also, the diagram doesn't take into account the myriad of other possible factors in attraction. Just assume they're all lurking in the center somewhere.

The only point I'm trying to make here is that the options aren't simply "nice guys" or jerks. Most women who say they want a nice guy do, in fact, want a nice guy, but that doesn't mean "niceness" is the only thing they're looking for.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Nice Guys

So some girls say they want to date nice guys. But they also tell (alleged) nice guys that they just want to be friends. "Nice guys" get frustrated at the inconsistency.

Some "nice guys" then get mad and start bashing the women who want nice-guys-except-you. And some women respond by pointing out that he couldn't have cared all that much about you as a person if he rejects your friendship when you don't want to be romantic. (See here. Warning: crude language.) Of course, if you treat her like crap just because she doesn't want to date you, you aren't actually a nice guy to begin with, so the whole conversation is moot.

But not every nice guy who complains is a secret asshole. I think it depends on how you complain--what you do and say.

And, really, this goes for both genders. I'd think it'd be obvious that you can both care deeply about someone and have romantic feelings for that person. If the romantic feelings aren't reciprocated it can get be quite painful, and I don't think complaining about your pain is an inherently jerk thing to do.

On the internet it seems like all the "nice guys" who complain aren't at all nice anyway, but in reality I've known plenty of guys I considered genuinely nice who struggled in the dating world for other reasons. I can see how that would be really frustrating.

Books for Daughters

Saw this on Pinterest:

Books for daughters that are about brave girls rather than just pretty princesses.

Apparently these are books that feature brave female protagonists, instead of princesses waiting to be saved. I don't know if I'd pick these books specifically, but I like the idea. 

People complain about parents "indoctrinating" their children, but from what I can tell the difference between indoctrinating your kids and teaching your kids is whether or not the observer agrees with your lessons.

I'm fine with "indoctrinating" my kids--I think my viewpoints are correct and morally right. (Obviously, else I wouldn't hold those views.) I do want my kids to learn to think critically and form their own opinions, but that doesn't mean I'll act as if I have no opinions of my own. I expect I'll try to raise my kids to hold the same views I do. Why wouldn't I?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Science Denial

Came across this short article from the National Center for Science Education. In it, author Joshua Rosenau discusses the causes of science denial (denying evolution, climate change, vaccinations).

Rosenau claims there's a disconnect between scientists and science deniers: scientists will focus on scientific facts and evidence, while deniers will focus on moral and social repercussions.
The conversation might begin with a dispute about the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, the significance of antibiotic resistance, or the veracity of Archaeopteryx fossils, but before long the discussion leaps to the implications of evolution for the human soul, morality, or religious truth. Discussions about vaccines may open with fears about autism, heavy metals in preservatives, or how many antigens a baby’s body can handle, but rapidly shift to anger about limits on parents’ rights to make choices for their children. Climate change conversations rapidly shift from science to free market capitalism and private citizens’ right to make decisions about their families and their homes. Without addressing these fears first, it is impossible to correct scientific errors and undo the harm caused by science denial. [emphasis added]
Rosenau explains that science denial gets rooted in social identity. Perhaps creationists feel they can't really be Evangelicals if they accept evolution. Same thing with climate change and being conservative. Maybe parents of children with autism feel more socially supported by the anti-vaccine groups than by medical offices.

Trying to force feed evidence to people is only so effective when we don't address the social, emotional, and psychological reasons for denial in the first place. It may be more effective to highlight people within these social groups that already do accept the scientific claims. As Rosenau says,
The messengers most likely to break through will be those who share a social identity with the science-denying audience. Their mere existence undercuts the belief that an individual cannot belong to this group and accept the science.
He goes on to list examples of people already working from this strategy.

I think most people prefer to see the world in black and white; it's easier to understand and work with. In fact, a big part of why I like the sciences is because the answers are black and white. Objective evidence is unaffected by human emotion, social custom, or even morality. Scientists (being human) may cloud the truth through error or even sabotage, but with enough people following the scientific method, the truth wins out. Science leads to more than never-ending, conflicting opinions; it leads to verifiable answers. I love that.

While scientific truths may be black and white, peoples' beliefs are all shades of gray. Our thought processes are complex, and we form our beliefs based on many factors in addition to (or in spite of) raw evidence.

Promoting scientific truth, then, may require a more complex strategy than reiterating  evidence and deriding anyone who resists. We'd like for everyone to be purely logical and rational, but that's not how people are. We can't just talk about chemistry, biology, or physics; we need to talk about emotions, social identity, religious beliefs, political views, psychological states. Science denial isn't just about physical reality; it's about people.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Abortion and Rationality

Philosophers have proposed, and studies have suggested, that people form opinions based on their emotions first, and after the opinion is formed they find a way to rationalize it.

Emotion ---> Opinion! ---> Rationalization

We may like to believe we first carefully think about the logic behind ideas, then form our opinions, and then let our emotions follow the conviction of our rational minds. And maybe some people do that, or at least do it better than others.

Thoughts ---> Opinion! ---> Emotions

Or maybe the emotions do come first, but some people are better at separating out the emotions and forming opinions without them. I'm sure it varies from person to person.

Emotion (set aside) ---> Thoughts ---> Opinion!

Overall, though, I suspect most of us have emotions first, thoughts after. Think about the times you've debated someone about politics or religion or anything else and their counterarguments have been nonsensical. If their thoughts make no sense, why are they so convinced of their perspective? Because it's not their thoughts that guide them. It's their emotions.

The abortion debate is no exception. None at all. I expect people form their opinions based on feelings even more often when an issue is more morally complex. Complexity makes it harder to think it through. And abortion--despite what some  insist--is morally complex.

Perhaps this is part of the reason one side talks much more about abortion in cases of rape, even though those situations account for less than 1% of abortions. Perhaps its the reason the other side uses photos of late-term abortions or late-term fetal development, even though over 90% of abortions are performed in the first trimester. People gravitate toward the extremes, where the morality gets a little less complex, the emotion a little more raw.

I suspect it's also true that opinions formed based on emotion are harder to change than opinions formed based on thought. Perhaps this explains why American views on the morality of abortion haven't varied that much in so long?

[Re-posted at Secular Pro-Life.]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Ideal America: Black Friday

In my ideal America, retailers would absolutely be allowed to be open Black Friday, but they wouldn't bother because so few people would choose to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday. Stores would be as empty as they are when everyone gets snowed in. People who work with the public would get the time off to spend with their families, unless they volunteered to work the holiday, just to have minimum coverage.

The same goes for Christmas day, by the way.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Philosophy X

Philosophy X (could be political, religious, whatever) says its adherents should do a, b, and c good deeds, but most of the adherents to philosophy X follow a distorted version of the philosophy that leads them to do x, y, and z bad things. OR most of the adherents of philosophy X do a, b, and c good things, but there's a high correlation between adhering to philosophy X and also doing x, y, and z bad things. We want to get people to stop doing x, y, and z.

So do we try to get rid of philosophy X itself? Or do we try to get people to see the ideal (true) version of philosophy X and respond accordingly?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Positive & Negative Rights

If I understand correctly, negative rights oblige inaction and positive rights oblige action. 

You have a negative right to not be killed--someone can't hold your head underwater and drown you, for example. But what if someone walks by and sees you drowning? Do you have a positive right to be kept alive--is that person obliged to jump in and try to save you? If you are left to drown your negative right isn't being violated--no one is killing you. However your  positive right (if you have one) is being violated.

Freedom of speech is a negative right--you have the right to not be silenced. If freedom of speech were a positive right, maybe it would be more like the right to have people listen to you. If you say whatever you want but no one listens to you, your negative right is not being violated though your positive right (if you had one) would be.

Right to counsel is a positive right--you have the right to be represented by an attorney, including having counsel appointed if you can't afford it yourself. If right to counsel were a negative right, maybe it would be more like the right to not be stopped from hiring an attorney. Again, notice the difference: if you can't afford an attorney, the negative right isn't being violated. No one is stopping you from hiring an attorney, you just can't afford one. But if you can't afford an attorney, your positive right is being violated--the right to be represented by counsel.

In summary, I guess negative rights basically mean "You leave me alone as long as I'm leaving you alone" and positive rights basically mean "You have to provide me something."

It seems like people increasingly think of rights as positive rights. Rights to education and health care, rights to information (see California's recently defeated "Right To Know" proposition), rights to retirement income, and so forth. 

I think any society needs a bit of both negative and positive rights, but if we had to pick one type or another I'd lean towards "you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone" over "you owe me stuff and I owe you stuff."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Inspiration from Strangers

I love it when I see middle-aged (or older) people studying at the junior college (or anywhere else). It's the same way I love seeing overweight people working out. I just love seeing anyone making the hard decision to start improving themselves. It makes me feel vaguely proud of everyone. It's never too late to start making good choices.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Matthew 7:1

You know the phrase "Judge not, lest ye be judged"? What if you are okay with being judged?

I judge people who are behaving stupidly or immorally, and I expect them to judge me the same way. I'm not asking for special treatment. If I'm doing something stupid or immoral (and I find the two often coincide) then I think I would want people to judge me, and push me to get my head on straight and stop doing those stupid or immoral things.

Maybe when people say "Don't judge me" or "Don't judge others" they mean something different than I do by "judge." I suspect they mean "don't assume you know enough details about the situation to have an accurate reading of what's going on" or "don't think you're better than people, consider some of the things that you've done yourself" or simply "don't be hateful." I like this idea:

And while I agree with being kind and taking care not to assume too much or be arrogant, I don't think that's all there is to "judging." I think some people take the "no judging" thing to the point of "no thinking" or "no standards."

When you see immorality, or just plain stupidity, you should point it out. People won't necessarily change, or listen to you at all, but it's not wrong to stand up for what you think is right, and similarly, there's no reason to fear other people holding you to the same standards. I do judge people, and I expect them to judge me in return. Not hate me, not scream at me, but to tell me when they think I'm in the wrong. I'm fine with that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Balance

There are many important factors in the abortion debate. I try to weigh all factors in forming my perspective. I am pro-life, but I don't pick the side lightly. It seems the only options are restricting a woman's control over her body or allowing the unrestricted killing of human fetuses. I take both outcomes seriously; something is sacrificed no matter which side you choose, and I think a lot of people recognize that.

But not everyone. A lot of people insist the issue is black and white, that their own view is the only obvious view. I think this happens because--out of the many factors that play into abortion--people decide which factor they think is the most important...and then they refuse to consider anything else.

For example, I've seen pro-choicers say that whether the fetus is a person is irrelevant because no person has the right to use your body against your will. I'd depict their perspective like this:

Similarly, I've seen pro-lifers say that it makes no sense to grant a rape exception because the fetus is a human being no matter how he or she was conceived. I'd depict their perspective like this:

I disagree with both of the above perspectives. I think both the humanity of the fetus and the woman's bodily rights matter. In my opinion, the scale should look more like this:

One factor may still outweigh another, but it won't outweigh by as much as if there were no other factors to consider. We can certainly argue over which factor has more weight, why it has more weight, and how much more weight it has. But those are very different arguments than asserting that only one factor matters at all.

When considering only bodily autonomy and humanity, I believe one person's bodily autonomy does outweigh another person's humanity. After all, we don't require people to donate blood even if it means other people will die without blood donations. We don't do this because your bodily autonomy--your right to decide whether or not to donate blood--is considered more important than the life of a man who will die without a blood transfusion. The dying man still has his humanity--no one is saying he's not a human being--but his humanity doesn't somehow mean you can be forced to donate blood. 

Some people say this does make the dying man's humanity irrelevant. After all, whether he is human or not, you still don't have to donate blood, right? Who cares whether bodily autonomy outweighs humanity a little or a lot--in the end it still outweighs, so why even talk about humanity?

Because humanity and bodily autonomy still aren't the only factors to consider. Other factors must be added to one side of the balance or the other, and the accumulation of multiple factors may tip the scales. For example, what if the man is dying because of you? What if you consented to some action you knew risked putting his life in danger? Maybe then the scale would look more like this:

Take away any one of the factors on the left, and bodily autonomy wins out again. But the combination of factors on the left is another story.

Now, there are actually many, many more factors to consider on both sides of the scale. My point in this post is not to give an exhaustive argument for why I think most abortions should be illegal. My point is simply to say that there are a lot of factors in the abortion debate, and while some of them weigh more than others, they all weigh something. Keep that in mind.

[Re-posted at Secular Pro-Life]

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pro-Lifers & Birth Control, Part II

So my last "Pro-Lifers & Birth Control" post was also posted on the Secular Pro-Life blog, and I was pleased to see a lot of points raised both on the blog and on the FB page that I hadn't necessarily thought about. I like it when that happens.

There were probably enough ideas to inspire several more blog posts, but for now I had one particular question:

Is it more important to talk about what people are doing or what people could do?

Many pro-lifers (including me) point out that if you can't handle a pregnancy in your life right now, you could refrain from intercourse. And many pro-choicers scoff in response, because we all know most people aren't refraining from intercourse.

Similarly, anti-contraception folks point out that women are getting pregnant while using contraception.* But contraception proponents insist the abortion rate could drop because women could use contraception correctly and consistently.

The common assumption (however questionable) is that pro-lifers tend to be anti-contraception and pro-choicers tend to be contraception proponents. So I think it's kind of funny that these groups focus on what could be happening in one case and what is happening in another.

To answer my own question, I'd say we must talk about both what people are doing and what they could do. How else can we figure out how to help people get beyond the "are" to the "could"?


*According to Guttmacher, 48% of unintended pregnancies involve women who use contraception (5% from women who consistently and correctly use contraception, 43% from women who use contraception inconsistently or incorrectly.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2D Politics

So I voted for Gary Johnson. I didn't agree with every stance he had, but I agreed more closely with his stances than any other candidate.

That should be reason enough, but as a bonus reason I am really weary of the two-party system. Some people have claimed Romney was just "Obama Lite" and that the two are basically the same. I don't go that far; I see a lot of differences between them. But I do think there are a lot of other ways to combine social and fiscal stances than the combinations the Democrats and Republicans offer, and I think there are a lot of people who wish alternative combinations were viable options.

I think this quiz sort of gets the idea. Instead of a spectrum of Left to Right, it adds a second dimension. Check it out, see where you land.

Pro-Lifers & Birth Control

Gallup says 89% of American adults consider birth control morally acceptable. Gallup also says 50% of Americans describe themselves as "pro-life."

Let's assume all of the other 50% (the people who don't describe themselves as "pro-life") consider birth control morally acceptable. That leaves 39% of Americans who both describe themselves as "pro-life" and consider birth control morally acceptable. In other words, at a minimum, 78% of self-described pro-lifers consider birth control morally acceptable. But you wouldn't know it, would you?

I thought I was a minority in being both anti-abortion and pro-birth control. The polls say most pro-lifers are fine with birth control, so why doesn't it seem that way? I have some theories.

1) Pro-lifers who are more active in the pro-life movement are probably both more vocal and more ideologically "pure." In other words, perhaps the majority of self-described pro-lifers are fine with birth control, but the majority of pro-life activists (the people we hear from the most) are not?

2) "Birth control" is a vague term. There are many different types of birth control, and some are more controversial than others. For example, maybe most pro-lifers think condoms are a good idea but reject the morning after pill. Would they say, generically, that "birth control" is morally acceptable, or no?

3) The religious right is vocal about opposing the birth control mandate. People conflate pro-lifers with the religious right (and there's certainly a correlation, but still it's not quite accurate). People also conflate not wanting to pay for birth control with thinking people shouldn't be allowed to use birth control.

Anything I'm missing? Why do you think there's such a discrepancy between the perceptions of the pro-life movement and what an average "pro-lifer" actually thinks?

[Re-posted on Secular Pro-Life]

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stupid Abortion Conversations

She was on birth control and he used a condom. They did everything they could to avoid pregnancy!
Well, not everything. They still had sex.
Why do you hate sex? Why do you want to punish women?
Pointing out that sex can cause pregnancy is a statement of fact--not a preference, not a moral judgment. Don't try to act like there's no connection between sex and pregnancy and then accuse anyone who corrects you of hating sex. You don't have to hate sex to understand how pregnancy happens, guys.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Changing Minds

Many people have told me arguing on the internet is a waste of time. I've told other people that myself (not that it stops me at all anyway). Most of the time you are arguing with people who don't have any real interest in exploring your thoughts or their own. Most of the time people just want to "win" and will ignore difficult questions, get sarcastic and defensive in the face of resistance, refuse to acknowledge any decent points at all on the other side, and so on. I'm sure I have done all of these things myself at one point or another.

But sometimes you have conversations with people who really are curious about the thoughts of those they disagree with, and who really are interested in exploring their own thoughts. Even if I don't specifically change my mind by the end, I almost always learn something from those conversations. It's very satisfying.

I think people rarely change their mind over a single conversation. So when others say "I've never seen anyone change their mind about this" I don't find it all that convincing. It's hard to "see" people change their mind, because a lot of times it happens gradually with enough time and opportunity to really digest different viewpoints, try out different arguments with others, test the arguments' strengths and weaknesses, and develop conclusions. I bet a lot of times even the person changing her mind doesn't necessarily realize it's happening right away.

And I've realized recently that, actually, I have changed my mind about many things over the last five years or so, and a lot of that has been due to online debates with people who really wanted to talk it out. Now, rarely have I reversed positions entirely, but even if I don't 180, I suppose I do...90? 45? Even if I still disagree, I at least come to better understand the opposition's arguments.

And maybe people on the other side of the fence find a "90 degree" conversion insufficient, but I think it matters. Consider a topic you feel strongly about. Imagine all the people you know who strongly disagree with you. Now imagine that, tomorrow, all of your opposition came "halfway" around to your view. It'd make a big difference.

I attended an ethics lecture a couple of weeks ago, and the professor claimed people rarely change their minds based only on thinking a lot about a topic--people are more likely to change their minds based on talking a lot about a topic, particularly with a friend who disagrees. He asked us to consider the last time we changed our position on something significant. Why did we do it?

So go on. Why did you do it?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Don't say it unless you can back it up.

You know, it's not just that good arguments can persuade me. It's also that bad arguments can dissuade me.

There have been plenty of times when I've gotten into conversations about a subject on which I am pretty ambivalent--I don't see a very compelling argument for one side or another. Then a proponent of one side gives me a really poor argument for his side, and that alone makes me feel more inclined to agree with his opposition.

Is that even logical? There's no rule saying one side has to be right. Depending on the situation there could be numerous alternatives besides those presented by two sides, or even if there are only two alternatives, those two alternatives could suck equally but for different reasons. If I haven't been given a good argument for the opposition, why should I think the opposition is correct?

But I do. If I hear enough people say foolish things for their own side, I start to assume (hope?) the other side must be smarter. And I bet a lot of people assume that.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Larger Agenda

If we suddenly stopped arguing about the legality of abortion and just skipped straight to an appeal to morality independent of legality (as if that's even possible), how would people react?

Secular Pro-Life once talked about how 68% of Americans believe abortion should be illegal after the first trimester. The blog post ends by asking, "Why, then, has it been so difficult to unify and enact meaningful change?"

One of the blog followers commented,
Most pro-choicers that I know do not think abortion should be legal after a certain stage of the pregnancy. As for the policy making (just speaking of the conservative side), abortion bills are usually written by/for or framed in such a way that makes them appear more as small steps towards making abortion completely illegal. They do not come across, despite what some policy makers say, as "for the benefit of the woman or society", but as part of a larger agenda by very religious conservative people. That makes average/everyday pro-choicers very nervous and so it is fought.
How many people would work to legally restrict abortion if they weren't afraid that the end goal was to legally eliminate abortion?

Similarly, how many people would work to legally restrict abortion if they were confident that exceptions for the life of the mother and rape would be preserved?

Even if we could change hearts and minds such that no one chose to get an abortion, I think I'd still want abortion to be legally restricted. After all, what does it say about my society that it is legal to kill an innocent person, even if no one actually chooses to do it? What would you think of a society in which it technically wasn't illegal to kill an infant, even if no one ever chose to do it?

But sometimes I do wonder if, on a practical level, the pro-life movement could get more done with a different strategy.

[Reposted on Secular Pro-Life]

Friday, November 2, 2012

Actually, the law *is* based on my morality.

It's also based on your morality. And the morality of your classmates, coworkers, and cousins. Your best friend and worst enemy and your next door neighbor whose name you can't remember even though you've seen her several times a week for years.

It goes like this:

Morals --> Opinions --> Votes --> Law

On a practical level, we have no "intrinsic" rights. We have the rights that we, as a society, have agreed we should have and that we, as a society, are willing to formalize in legislation and give the force of law.

So how do we determine which rights to recognize as a society? We argue about it. A lot. Sometimes with careful application of already-commonly-accepted philosophical points. Sometimes with snide comments and swearing and screaming. We have strong opinions about what counts as a "right" and who should have which rights and why. And we vote.

Our opinions (and thus our votes) are based on many things, I'm sure. One of those things is our personal moral views.

And why shouldn't that be the case? I would hope that people argue and vote based on what they think is right. Of course I don't always agree with what they thinks is right--I often hugely disagree. And I'll argue with them and vote against them. But I respect that they are acting according to their conscience. Even if I think their conscience is stupid.

Usually when people say "Don't push your morals on me!" they mean "Don't push your religious perspective on me." I can understand saying "Look, we don't all agree that God exists or, if he does, that he is all good, all powerful, and just. Why should the rest of us have to play by the rules of someone we think is imaginary?" Yes. I get that.

But "I don't agree with your religious teachings" is quite different from "Don't push your morals on me!" We all push our morals on each other--that's the only way it works. One person thinks it is immoral for two men to get married. One person thinks it's immoral if two men can't get married. A lot of people think it's immoral to have legal abortion. A lot of people think it would be immoral to outlaw abortion. And on and on. And most of us work to get society to accept, encourage, and even enforce our morality.

In a democracy, laws are based on collective agreements about morality. What else could they be based on?