Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Pro-Life, No Exceptions.

It's not just an abortion stance. Not to me. It is the deepest, most fundamental conviction I own: that the fundamental dignity of the human person is the beginning and the end of my political philosophy. I think the gravest indictment of the Democratic Party I could articulate is this: If every Republican became an anti-abortion George McGovern or Paul Simon in exchange for the end of the evil of abortion, and its advocate, Planned Parenthood, no Democrats of any consequence would take the deal.

You want to lecture the GOP on its anti-child, anti-family, anti-mother policies after birth? Fine; I'd probably join you. It wouldn't allow any of us to affirm corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, and policies that don't work. Liberals can shout, "Seamless garment!" until the final resurrection; if we don't oppose abortion in all its forms, we're close to useless. There is no garment, if the emperor has no clothes.

If it sounds at once like a political speech, and an intra-Catholic family fistfight, it is. We're the ones with the broadly-applicable social teaching; we're the ones with the treasure hidden in a field; I don't care if most people don't want to hear about God; we can't and we won't shut up about Him.

Back to the point, I don't concede this notion that pro-lifers only care about babies; I've got a list of liberal heroes as long as my wingspan; I'd sell my house for an army of Nat Hentoffs among the Democratic political class. Most of the great statesmen died before I was born; the ones in their place dash off ad hominems about people they don't know, in order to feel superior. And while carrying the banner for Murder, Inc., they don't even have a right to feel that way!

I long for agitated discussions about just wages, instead of about when life begins; it's actually settled science, and legions of intelligent people want to pretend it's a religious conviction. It's not my job to assuage your guilt; it's my job to tell the truth. Religion tells you that murder, adultery, and tons of other things merit the fires of Hell; physical sciences tell you other useful things; philosophy tells you how to think logically, and how to discern truth by reason. It was only the foolish who conspired to pretend that all these things had no harmony; it was other ideologues who decided that only the physical is real; we have gotten stupider, while vainly pretending we are "enlightened."

I don't fully have the right to apologize to Rebecca Hamilton that a great many Republicans outright denied her pro-life credentials and achievements because she comes from the other tribe, but I'll do it anyway. I love everything you write, Mrs. Hamilton. I love your honesty, your faith, your conviction, and your charity. I will pray that many more arise like you.

Some have said that they are hard on Republicans because there is still hope for us; you have a funny way of expressing your optimism! You have no right to write off the Democrats--though they deserve a large amount of disdain, so long as they persist at the highest levels in defending murder--or to write off the Republicans, whom you arrogantly scold as though no one here agrees with you. Before the age of Christian engagement on abortion, Republicans were its defenders! Before the Democrats largely became spineless, irreligious consequentialists, they were its steadfast opponents, and rightly so.

Archbishop Cupich recently spoke about a great many issues that ought to be of concern to us as Catholics. Because he also spoke on so many issues that could easily be identified with the political left, he drew swift ire from conservatives like Dr. Mirus, who pointed out that murder is in fact graver than theft, for example, and that it's highly possible to be concerned about a great many issues, and that to endeavor to possess an holistic approach is not to deny truth about any area of human life. It still does not entail concurrence with means or methods, at the level of prudential judgment. The fact that some who self-identify as conservatives or Republicans might take a facet of social doctrine and attempt to make it into a matter of prudential judgment does not relieve a liberal or non-conservative from making a real argument in favor of his means or methods. I agree with Dr. Sowell, in this respect: the average progressive has too long pretended he is the only one of good will and formed conscience. The existence--in theory, or in fact--of holes or blind spots in my social vision makes this no less infuriating.

Finally, it is my fervent hope perhaps most of all that the common good is acknowledged as real by those who style themselves as defenders of individual liberty. I also hope that those who style themselves as defenders of the weak and marginalized will apply that conviction to all without exception. Moreover, I hope that the common good is not forcibly re-defined as an odious collectivism. Let this be my one rhetorical flourish. I can recall when the Nation magazine published what would become the book "How We Survived Communism, And Even Laughed." Fears of government oppression are too numerous and actual to be so roundly mocked. This remains true if the most odious of socialisms is invoked to deny the legitimate exercise of political authority for the common good, or, to use the terms of our Declaration, the general welfare.

No comments: