Monday 23 October 2017

John-Paul McCarthy: It's all about thought – not thoroughness

As the abortion coverage showed us, complex topics require analysis, not talking heads.

VINCENT BROWNE: His coverage was a masterclass in rigour
VINCENT BROWNE: His coverage was a masterclass in rigour

John-Paul McCarthy

WHEN the late Ronald Dworkin taught classes on the American republic's aversion to the humble referendum, he used to direct his students to the Irish abortion debate between 1983 and 1992.

Dworkin could never understand how the same constitution could give a newly fertilised egg precisely the same legal status as its host while also recognising the right of this very host to leave the State so as to destroy the 'unborn'.

Can the people be 100 per cent principled, 40 per cent of the time, he wondered?

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