Thursday, August 14, 2008

Necessary Moral Evils

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things does not belong.

Linda Hirshman writes a piece for Slatedotcom, "Unnecessarily Evil", with a subtitle including the phrase "the morality of abortion". I can't tell if the author means that there are evils that are moral, or that there are things that are evil in a merely moral sense -- you know, in a way that has no real effect in the world, but just might bother someone in the still, sleepless hours before dawn. But that can't be it, can't it? Cuz there's things like, uh, cheating on your wife, which doesn't matter, since it's only about feelings, and there's, like, killing someone, which has a real, physical, permanent effect. But the author means the second one. Killing someone. So that can't be it.

Killing someone? Is that what the author means? -- in the same paragraph and or sentence as the word "abortion"? Yes. I'll prove it. The subject is of course abortion, the author is an abortionist, and the context is how the Democrats are reclaiming the high ground on this topic. So. Killing someone. Proof.

"The Democratic Party platform of 2008 finally dropped its old abortion language ("safe, legal and rare") .... [and] says instead, 'The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.' Should a woman desire to bear her child, the Dems advocate prenatal care, income support, and adoption programs to help her there, too."

There. Did you see it? The author missed it, inevitably. "Should a woman desire to bear her child, the Dems advocate..." There, did you see? "...bear her child..." "...her child..." "...CHILD..." It's not very subtle. How could the author have missed it? Abortion is about killing a child.

"Edward Lazarus, who clerked for the author of [Roe v Wade], Justice Harry Blackmun, called the decision "the Emancipation Proclamation for American women." But if Roe was Emancipation, the past three decades have felt like the Jim Crow South. Unable to repeal the decision itself, opponents made abortion as illegitimate as possible."

Lazarus. A name familiar to us from several biographies of a well-known Jew. Lazarus, who was called back out from the bowels of death itself. Now another Lazarus comes forth, to the sound of small bones cracking beneath his feet. He compares childbearing to slavery. He sees no difference. The author complains that abortion has opponents who do not see it as legitimate, and are therefore bigots. Lazarus. A man who is intimate with death. And is there some biblical character after whom the author might be named? Linda Hirshman?

Linda means lovely in the romance languages. Melinda means gentle one. Not helpful. Belinda means beautiful snake, which is probably meaningless. Odilia, somehow related, means in Hebrew praise god. This must be a coincidence. I can find no connection between a beautiful serpent and some god who demands praise. Hirsh- is Yiddish for deer -- gazelle or hind, a noble and graceful beast. Often hunted. And -man, made from dust, inbreathed with the spirit of God. Well. Such reasoning has brought us no insight. I see no relevance in any of this. A dead end.

The author expresses disapprobation at the thought that, of all people, Barack Obama "compared women's regrets over their past abortions to white people's regrets about past bigotry. This Clintonian compromise -- that abortion was a necessary moral evil -- had become the most progressives could hope for." Which the author sees as unfortunate, somehow unfortunate. Because "the emancipation of women may once again become a legitimate political position. It is time to revive the moral argument for protecting a woman's right to choose: Abortion is about the value of women's lives."

A clear statement. A shot across the bow.

The position is taken that pragmatics is a losing argument -- morality is what wins. Abortion as liberation. A slight reframing, and privacy is no longer "secrecy," but "autonomy." Some might characterize such a twist as equating freedom with irresponsibility. But that's why there are two sides to the issue. The Supreme Court is quoted with approval, thus: "at the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." They have failed to grasp that most fundamental concept inherent in liberty: it is inextricably bound up with responsibility. There is no morality, outside of the context of a society. God makes laws. We can define words and concepts any way we wish, and hope that we are understood. We must act rightly.

Well. I thought I could read all of that piece. I can't. Not without being paid to do so. I'll leave it at this: the left has ensured that there are laws protecting the eggs of endangered species -- turtles and condors and so on. It's a good thing. The left would, it seems, see the destruction of the Western way of life, rather than of any more rain forests. The left believes that abortion is about the value of life, of women's lives.

What is necessary cannot be evil. What is moral cannot be evil. What is necessary must be moral. What is moral, is necessary.

Turtle eggs, rain forests, human fetuses. One of these things is not like the others.


No comments: