Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Huckabee’s reasonable higher law

Rod Dreher calls our attention to this very winsome Beliefnet interview, in which MH explains his God’s law remarks in terms that any proponent of natural law could accept. Here’s a snippet:

Well, I probably said it awkwardly, but the point I was trying to make– and I’ve said it better in the past – is that people sometimes say we shouldn’t have a human life amendment or a marriage amendment because the Constitution is far too sacred to change, and my point is, the Constitution was created as a document that could be changed. That’s the genius of it. The Bible, however, was not created to be amended and altered with each passing culture. If we have a definition of marriage, that we don’t change that definition, that we affirm that definition. And that the sanctity of human life is not just a religious issue. It’s an issue that goes to the very heart of our civilization of all people being equal, endowed by their creator with alienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


I think that whether someone is a Christian or not, the idea that a human life has dignity and intrinsic worth should be clear enough. I don’t think a person has to be a person of faith to say that once you redefine a human life and say there is a life not worth living, and that we have a right to terminate a human life because of its inconvenience to others in the society. That’s the real issue. That’s the heart of it. It’s not just about being against abortion. It’s really about, Is there is a point at which a human life, because it’s become a burden or inconvenience to others, is an expendable life. And once we’ve made a decision that there is such a time – whether it’s the termination of an unborn child in the womb or whether it’s the termination of an 80-year-old comatose patient -- we’ve already crossed that line. And then the question is, How far and how quickly do we move past that line?

And lest you think he’s playing the Confederate card, consider this:

And you also have states that not only practice abortion, but if Roe v. Wade is overturned, we haven’t won the battle. All we’ve done is now we’ve created the logic of the Civil War, which says that the right to the human life is geographical, not moral. I think that’s very problematic. That’s why I think that people like Fred Thompson are dead wrong when he says just leave that up to the states. Well, that’s again the logic of the Civil War – that slavery could be okay in Georgia but not okay in Massachusetts. Obviously we’d today say, “Well, that’s nonsense. Slavery is wrong, period.” It can’t be right somewhere and wrong somewhere else. Same with abortion.

Finally, on the matter of his "compassionate conservatism," he offers this measured response, with which even Fred Thompson couldn’t disagree:

I’ve said that, that I’ve felt like as Christians and particularly even as Republicans, we needed to address issues that touched the broader perspective, and that included disease, hunger, poverty, homelessness, the environment. And it’s not a matter that we’re going to become left-wingers. I don’t think that at all. I think taking care of the earth is a matter of stewardship. It’s not about global warming, it’s about stewardship and responsibility. Things like hunger and homelessness. And it’s not about having a government program, it’s about simply reminding each of us as individual citizens that this is an area of our own responsibility. At my own church… our church is very, very engaged in everything from dealing with hunger, poverty, and we reach out to a lot of people. We don’t ask the government to do it. We do it ourselves as a church. It’s part of our ministry. The only reason the government would get involved would be that the other social institutions – primarily the family the church the neighborhood – failed. If the family or church does its own work and does it well, then there’s no reason for government to ever get into these things at all. The ideal is that they wouldn’t, that they’ll do a lousy job of it generally.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Discussions - 25 Comments

Impressive...boils downs the prolife arguments of a Hadley Arkes into intelligent statements. And, perhaps seeing the beginning articulations of a more thoughtful Huckabee approach and stance to non-believers; that is, he may have a coherent philosophy about politics and religion after all.

But nonetheless, people, do not vote for the man! He may be from Hope and be a preacher, but he hasn't got a prayer.

I'm glad a few people are starting to realize that Huck has a better grasp on natural law, in part because he is a pastor, than any other candidate in the field.

These clarifying comments are very important, at least for those of us who had major worries about his ability to be bilingual. On another hand, I do think Romney is more rationally articulate on bioethics and marriage. I'm not sure how I'd rate them on their understanding of the Constitution and constitutionalism. Perhaps a topic worth a post, Peter?

But Fred should be defended agaist Huck's criticism even in regard to the conversation about abortion: Abraham Lincoln did not argue for a policy of abolishing slavery everywhere in the US. He defended the constitutional right of each state to determine whether it should keep slavery legal or not. His POLICY, rooted in the moral conviction that slavery was a profound evil, was to use all the peaceful powers of the federal govt. to get rid of slavery where it could -- in the territories and via other federal laws and acts that deligitimated it -- in order to confine and gradually extinguish it in the states where it remained. The coming of the Civil War of course made it impossible for him to follow that policy to its end. But Fred's view is more comprehensive than Huck's and truer to the final purpose of getting rid of abortion everywhere, not just -- as Huck complains -- "geographically." Huck's view impresses me as much closer to the abolitionism Lincoln emphatically rejected.

If you so fear, Clint, it is only because you do not hear. You can make a case that I was wrong to have hoped for Giuliani over and against the other (also bad) choices and attempt to make a better case for any one of them, but you cannot say that I favored him for reasons other than that I believed his victory would offer a set of circumstances best calculated (given the existing alternatives) for prevailing in the many important battles (including, especially, the social ones) we will face in the coming years. I believe I made a tolerably clear case for my position and--while I have never been perfectly sanguine with Giuliani because of his social views--I was satisfied that he was not an evangelist for his (wrong) side of the issues. I thought we might not gain much ground on those issues with him as president, but I did not think he would cause us to lose ground either. I expected him, frankly, to stay out of the way. And moreover, I was hoping for a presidential election where abortion would not be much in focus at all . . . because when it is in focus, it has become a cartoon debate that persuades no one. But I guess it will remain an academic point. My man and yours seem both to be down for the count.

Let me say that I do not consider political victories on these issues to be real victories unless they are grounded in a clear expression of public opinion. Otherwise we end up having this kind of stupid conversation where everything depends on the president's views on abortion (and the court's). That really does show you how tenuous such a victory is. I understand the deep frustration of social conservatives who must feel that public opinion has no outlet because of the over-reaching of the court in Roe--and so that Presidential opinion and the wisdom of the President in picking judges is all there is. But this concedes too much to the other side who want to dictate to public opinion through the courts and the executive with their "superior" understanding of what ought to be. Public opinion can be made healthy on this subject--as it once was--but short-lived political victories are not the primary means of accomplishing this goal. Public opinion is everything.

Even Roe did not drop out of the sky and fall into the laps of the court. Their bizarre logic in Roe may have fallen out of the sky (or out of some other unmentionable place), but the sentiment that made them want to rule in favor of protecting abortion rights was certainly in response to a growing public sentiment open to allowing access to abortion. It was already legal in some states and the much discussed moral decline of America was well underway in 1972. If you now think public opinion is anywhere near a clear position of social conservatism on this issue or the host of others connected with it and that public opinion will tolerate election after election focused mainly on these things . . . well, let me gently suggest that you re-think that. People--even people who don't like abortion--will lose patience with it. And it won't save one baby. Social conservatives need to keep tilling the vineyard of public opinion and they have to be smart about it. There is some evidence of small success among young people--but it's not enough that social conservatives can assume that they now have a claim to political laurels on that basis alone.

Preach it Dennis! That's exactly right.

The only reason the government would get involved would be that the other social institutions – primarily the family the church the neighborhood – failed.

So Federalism only exists if the states and locals haven't failed? Whose definition of failed?

Julie and Dennis miss a key thing that Lincoln (and Huck) did not-public opinion. Slavery was much more popular in 1860 than abortion is in 2008. See that even recent movies are now pro-life, proving how conclusively we have won the public opinion battle. Roe could easily be overturned, and abortion nationally regulated down to extremely rare instances (life of mother, rape, incest exceptions remain popular and politically necessary) if without a civil war-but that would require a candidate like Huckabee who understands how and why people believe what they do and can communicate with them.

Clint #7, Julie, and Dennis:

I think the difference between Huck and the abolitionists is that the abolitionists believed that the Union was founded unequally--in other words, the Abols agreed with Taney and that is why they wanted to jettison the Union--it was racist. Huck contends that the Declaration was not speaking of white equality, but equality of all men, and hence it is that which informs the Constitution--at least he does so most of the time.

It's always complicates the argument unnecessarily when we try to draw exact comparisons between the slavery debate and the abortion debate. There are similarities, but the slavery debate is not here reincarnated. Erik's point demonstrates why this is the case. Huck is not simply like the abolitionists of old--but he might be something like the Radical Republicans of Reconstruction. That's why Dennis' point is still valid. I don't think we can yet say that we NEED a constitutional amendment to put abortion on the path to extinction. Pushing for it may make things worse. It is a legitimate argument to say that the status quo ante Roe would be an acceptable line of demarcation. It would be wildly imprudent, in my estimation, to push for more than that just now. And I'm almost always skeptical about amendments on policy matters. It cheapens our Constitution. Clint's assessment of public opinion jumps the gun in my view. Movement is certainly coming. But we've got to run a marathon, not just a sprint around the track.


Great post here, and, agreed. I think you are correct about not needing an amendment. And, of course, this is what makes the Thompson position more prudent and a more persuasive. And, I also agree about amendments cheapening the Constitution. This is what makes the statement by Huckabee that the Constitution was intended to be modified so troubling.

Good point in #8 Erik. As for amendments, we amended the constitution to end the "policy" of slavery, so why not the "policy" of abortion. It was made to be amended, and if we could pull it off there is no cheapening. Rather an amendment by the process is the highest practice of our great constitutional and republican self-government. Compare that with judicial, legislative and executive unofficial changes to the constitution and tell me what cheapens it.

As for public opinion, I'm for pushing the nation as far as it will allow. That means leading, not following. Huckabee would set public opinion (which is already in our favor) for serious repeals of the "right" to an abortion. The other candidates will merely follow public opinion around.

We've been in a marathon for 30 years; some people like to run the race forever, I prefer to finish the race that is set before us.

I have no disagreement with the idea of amending the Constitution to ban abortion everywhere. But you make a mistake in thinking that amending the Constitution is a way of resolving a serious political debate. It is not. Constitutional amendment is a process that takes place AFTER the debate is over -- the final act of the political drama, so to speak. Have you looked lately at what it takes to amend the Constitution? Have you noticed that less than 10% of the voters, scattered over 13 small states, are enough to stop an amendment the other 90+% are on fire to ratify? Has our friend Huck considered the mountain that has to be climbed just to get the minimum 67 Senators to allow the states to ratify? Or that Presidents don't even get to sign or veto amendments and thus have no constitutional role in the process? For over 30 years, through Republican and Democratic Congresses, the human life amendment has gotten nowhere. In fact such a simple "slam dunk" as an amendment to protect the sacred American flag from being desecrated can't even get out of the Congress! Anyone who leads with a constitutional amendment to solve an issue in deep controversy -- and abortion is such an issue -- is fooling you or, worse, fooling himself. The abomination of abortion, which is the lynchpin of the culture of death, can only be eliminated step by step, with federal legal limits, executive orders, and hopefully judicial decisions under better Justices. It is only AFTER the struggle is over, when abortion has practically disappeared, that a constitutional amendment can bring closure to this latest sad chapter in the history of man's cruelty to man. This may seem frustrating to all of us who suffer the shame of defending the most wonderful political system ever devised, besmirched by the stain of abortion which in fact has no constitutional basis whatever. The Framers knew what they were doing when they made it possible to amend the Constitution but practically impossible to do so just to solve political controversies -- which is what John Marshall meant when he said that the Constitution should not be read as a "legal code."

Julie, comment 21 is a splendid and serious treatment of the politics needed to end the Roe regime and resecure the natural right to life of all human beings, not excepting the unborn.

I want to point out, though, that the judiciary is far from being mere passive players following public opinion in broad social questions. The Roe decision in 1973 was preceded by the 1965 Griswold v. CT. opinion. Those who brought Griswold -- claiming the right to buy or sell contraceptives on "privacy" grounds -- knew very well that they were laying the foundations of the ultimate argument to write abortion rights into constitutional law. The Court's Griswold opinion contains some of the most lovely rhetoric testifying to the right of married people to privacy from govt. invasion. It was followed in 1972 by Eisenstadt -- all that music about marriage promptly disappeared, and the Court held that contraceptives could not be denied to unmarried persons because that would be unequal legal treatment! In other words, the Court itself nurtured the "privacy" argument step by step until it had opened up the groundwork to mandate abortion rights in 1973.

By all means we must do the cultural work of changing minds and changing hearts. But Presidents and Congresses as well as the Supreme Court can also move the process step by step to prepare public opinion, not just follow it, toward the moment when abortion, that relic of barbarism, is banned and the natural rights proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence are truly secured to all human beings.

Dennis, you are certainly right that there are those in government who view themselves as members of the vanguard and try to push social change through the channels as far as they can push and, thereby, move public opinion along with them and their social agenda. Clearly, they do not view themselves as mere passive ciphers of public opinion. However, if public opinion were as healthy as it ought to be on these matters, no amount of this pushing contrary to its norms would be tolerated in these public officials. The folks who view themselves as in the vanguard and push a social agenda contrary to traditional norms know this. That's why they were patient in going about it (to a point--though you can argue that the "sexual revolution" was evidence of it getting a bit out of their control in the '60s and '70s). They went from Griswold to Eisenstadt--and not the reverse--precisely because they were sensitive to public opinion. Of course, their sensitivity to public opinion is less Lincolnian and more Machiavellian--but that's a much longer discussion.

Again, very nicely put, Dennis.

Let me say that I do not consider political victories on these issues to be real victories unless they are grounded in a clear expression of public opinion.

Julie, we can use the same rhetoric and support the same issues, but my fundamental disagreement with your insistence on snail-like change is with your demand for such "a clear expression." Life is not clear. You and I can't express our thoughts with overwhelming clarity, so how can the "public opinion" as a whole. If we need to wait around on a "clear expression," we might as well run around taking the pulse of the general will.

I agree that public opinion is necessary to pay attention to and form, yet for the very reason that it is never clear, we must take political action long before the issue is settled. Dennis does a nice job of explaining some of the history of right to privacy and how it led public opinion to Roe. It is time for conservative politicians-if there are any-to lead. That does not mean sitting around talking and reasoning; it means taking action. Academics are too slow to act, which is partly Lincoln's condemnation of abolitionists oddly enough-all talk and no action. You talk about these principles but are too timid to take an implementing action. If you're waiting for a clear expression of the public opinion, your time would be better spent searching for the Holy Grail or any other "[un]real victory."

I think then, Clint, the real thing we about which we disagree is the current state of public opinion. You seem to think that it's already pretty healthy and just waiting for the right "leader" to call for the charge. I disagree. Such a charge (if called for) either will not come or, if it does come, it will fail for lack of ample reinforcements. I'm sure it would all be very grand and exciting for the young warriors. And there was a time when I would have been first among the recruits. But now I think we need the right arguments to inform public opinion first (like sending in the air cover before the battle) to help shape the field before we charge. A great statesman would be quite useful in helping to transform such an education into the dramatic action you crave. But where is he? (You don't honestly believe it is Huck, do you?) And there is a real danger in dramatic action that you seem happy to ignore. The Civil War ended slavery . . . but at a horrible, horrible price. Perhaps it was worth all that sacrifice, or perhaps it just could not be avoided, but I would be loathe to make that judgment. That's probably one reason why Lincoln was quite happy to characterize the devastation as God's judgment. If such a statesman is not around, and a grand conflict is not "irrepressible", we'd be wise to take our victories in smaller bites. And you should consider--before you decide--that small bites are easier to swallow and much less likely to choke.

Dennis (#13) I concur with Julie. Brilliantly put.

On rereading Huck's statement in Dr. K's blog above, I see that he is quite mistaken on this fact: "I think that people like Fred Thompson are dead wrong when he says just leave that up to the states. Well, that’s again the logic of the Civil War – that slavery could be okay in Georgia but not okay in Massachusetts." But that precisely was NOT the logic of the Civil War. The South did not secede for that reason, nor did the Union resist secession for that reason. The slave states had enjoyed their constitutional right to have slaves without being molested for over 70 years. Secession took place because the slave states were convinced, by their reading of the "House Divided" speech and elsewhere, that the newly-elected Lincoln would ABOLISH their 'states right' to keep their peculiar institution legal. Thus the process of secession began the moment Lincoln was elected in 1860, and a number had already done so before he was inaugurated in March 1861. Lincoln pleaded again and again -- notably in his First Inaugural Address -- that he had neither the constitutional authority nor the intention of touching slavery where it existed, but his pleas were to no avail. Moreover, in the Confederates' Constitution, the right to own slaves was absolutely guaranteed over the whole Confederate "nation." Huck has it exactly backwards. It was the concern about OVERTURNING the status quo in which states could choose to be free or slave that became the logic of the Civil War.

Dennis your comments in 13 and 16 are nicely argued, yet historically problematic.

In 13 you said But you make a mistake in thinking that amending the Constitution is a way of resolving a serious political debate. It is not. Constitutional amendment is a process that takes place AFTER the debate is over -- the final act of the political drama, so to speak.

In 1868 was public opinion 90% convinced that "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens [specifically newly made Black citizens] of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law?" History would show this was hardly a final act of the political drama. The federal government had to coerce states to ratify the amendment, state governments and people resisted, and 75 years of dodging this amendment as much as possible followed. Still it was a good and necessary amendment that put in place the society we have today. It made possible the attack on segregation and racism that took over a hundred years to root out. It was a wise amendment that set in motion the debate that took a lot of to finish. Amendments should be used when necessary and when politically possible.

Amendments 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, and 26 were not "slam dunks" on public opinion either.

In 16 you quote Huck: Well, that’s again the logic of the Civil War – that slavery could be okay in Georgia but not okay in Massachusetts, and go on to point out that the logic of the civil war was the fear of this popular sovereignty ending. This is true, but certainly Huck's point was that the original compromise that allowed slavery as a state's issue to take root was the problem. Once the south had 75 years of Constitutional slavery, they would not relinquish it without a war. That speaks to Huck's point of rooting out the Constitutional right of an abortion as quickly as possible, before it becomes too entrenched because eventually changing it will become more rather than less difficult.

Clint, I appreciate your thoughtful objections to my comments, and as is often the case, more would have to be said to make the points clear. But only briefly here: 1. I don’t think I said that any particular percentage of public opinion had to be convinced of anything in order to amend. I meant that the issue was hardly or no longer in debate, not that some people had doubts, which is different. 2. The Reconstruction amendments 13, 14, and 15 are difficult cases because they came as the constitutional resolution of a civil war. I do not think they were strongly resisted by large constituencies in the Union states. The subsequent entangled history of the amendments, and efforts of Congress to enforce, and of the Supreme Court to distort, them in later years is not at issue here.

I can’t go thru all the others you mention, but I don’t think any of them were seriously contested by the time of ratification. The prohibition movement for example was about 70 years old or more, and began having political successes state by state long before the constitutional amendment was finally enacted in the post-World War I reform enthusiasm. By the way, it is among the best examples of a political issue being forced into the Constitution, and the need to repeal it just a few years later should caution conservatives about forcing political questions into the nation’s organic law.

You speak of the “south…not relinquish[ing slavery] without a war.” That is true. However Lincoln had made it clear that he had neither the power nor the purpose of making them relinquish it. Moreover – a point I did not make in my earlier post – the Dred Scott decision of 1857 had opened the door – without an amendment, no less! – to a coming Supreme Court threat to make slavery a constitutional right everywhere in the country. There were at least 2 cases in federal courts after Dred Scott raising this very issue, based on language in Taney’s opinion, that would eventually have found their way to the nation’s highest tribunal. In other words, the pro-slave states were attempting to force slavery back into the free states. It was not the division of the states into slaveholding and free that caused the war, but the anxiety on each side that the other wished to OVERTURN AND END that division. For most of the first half of the 19th century, statesmen of the stature of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay labored to keep the status quo division with compromises of many kinds. Those compromises were constitutionally sanctioned since they were rooted in the Constitution’s own compromises with slavery. Lincoln identified the deeper problem correctly, however (and this is probably what Huckabee was thinking of), in the “House Divided” speech, the point of which was that the free and slave states no longer held any moral ground in common. Strictly speaking they were losing their common citizenship in one country since common citizenship requires a shared understanding of what is just and unjust. Lincoln saw that in time one side or the other, or both, would try to end the division and make the Union all slave or all free, “all one thing or all the other.” And so it happened.

Today’s division over the abominable practice of abortion is morally identical but the political differences between now and the early 19th century – as Julie suggests above – are crucial. For one thing, whereas slavery was unquestionably protected by several clauses of the pre-Civil War Constitution, abortion has not a single remotely relevant protection. The idea that one word, “liberty,” in the 14th amendment means it is ok for one human being to take the life of another is so logically inane and morally obtuse that it is laughable, the Casey “mystery” opinion to the contrary notwithstanding. The other difference is that pro-abortion and pro-life forces are not geographically divided in a way that would make another civil war possible along geographic lines. It is true that many on either side have lost any sense of common citizenship with the other side, and that both sides would like to make America “all one thing or all another.” And it is sad that so many homes in America today are a “house divided” over abortion, children against parents, brothers against sisters. Resolving this awful situation will take years and patience, but it will not become, thanks be to God, the logic of a new civil war. Wise statecraft can make progress step by step in ending what early Republican platforms used to call a “relic of barbarism.”

Lincoln asked Seward--between his election and his inauguration--to deliver a speech in the Senate which offered 3 points of conciliation to the South. One of them was to reinvigorate the fugitive slave law and overrule state non-enforcement of it. The anti-slavery Lincoln, who understood just as well as anyone the immorality of slavery and the compromised moral position its existence put the United States into with its own principles, nevertheless was willing to enforce the re-enslavement of fellow human beings for the purpose of maintaining the Union (and, we may say, putting slavery back on the course to ultimate extinction in its own good and proper time consistent with maintaining the "last best hope for the future of mankind"--our Republic).

Interestingly, after the Civil War was over and before the 13th Amendment was passed, Lincoln insisted as negotiations proceeded that if part of the settlement included re-enslaving people who had been freed by the events of the war and the Emancipation Proclamation (which was only operative as part of his war powers) then someone else would have to be enlisted to do that job. He would not do it. It is worth contemplating what all of that means and demonstrates both about fundamental principles and about political prudence. When the war was concluded (and even the Confederacy was enlisting former slaves as soldiers and had pretty much given up most of its hopes for slavery) it was fair to say that there had been a sea-change in public opinion. However, Lincoln was never insensible to the fact that that sea-change came at the very steep price of 600,000 dead Americans. For as long as he could, he held out hope that the "irrepressible conflict" (as Seward had once imprudently called it) might be repressed. Much as Lincoln hated slavery and much as he desired to see public opinion changed on the subject, he hoped as (any civilized person should hope) that there were less lethal ways of changing it. This is why Lincoln never could have been an abolitionist or even a Radical Republican. He was nothing if not patient.

I agree with Dennis that there is not much danger of anything like a Civil War breaking out on the abortion question because there is nothing like a geographical or sectional difference of opinion. However, the other thing Lincoln rightly feared about escalating the rhetoric and fanning the flames of the anti-slavery push was that it could do more harm than good to the cause of ending slavery and preserving the integrity of the Republic. It is fair to be righteously indignant about the moral injustice of abortion just as it was to be indignant over slavery. But it is wrong to be wild with rage and fury and blind to all political realities concerning it. Reason has to guide the actions of its opponents, not just emotion (though I have no problem with emotion informing reason). One way Lincoln always maintained his head and attempted to maintain the heads of others in his time was to remind people that the sin of slavery was NOT just a sin of the South. To paraphrase him he said, "They are what we would be in their circumstances." Slavery was a sin of the entire country. The Southerners who supported slavery were not necessarily worse from the point of view of morality than the Northern know-nothing who didn't want slavery for the simple reason that he couldn't stand to have black people around him. The abolitionists might have considered something of Christian charity and judged their Southern brothers less harshly had they but thought of the circumstances that led them to their "beliefs" and considered how difficult it was for them to extricate themselves from the falsehood. And even after the abolition of slavery, it would be decades (some would say more than decades) before there was anything like a general feeling in the public that racism, itself, was wrong. The problem is that people just don't change their minds very easily--even when the opinions in it are pretty obviously stupid. And if you want to convince them that their opinions are stupid, it rarely works to keep reminding them that they are stupid.

Pro-life advocates need to keep emphasizing that they are, indeed, PRO-LIFE and further that they sympathize with the plight of women who find themselves in very difficult circumstances. They need to keep emphasizing alternatives and work for improvements in adoption laws. They need to work for parental consent and even--in those cases--be open to the suggestions from those who point out the horrible circumstances some young girls find themselves in where parental consent is a horror. Abortion is not just the sin of those who do it or choose it or support the right of its existence. It is the sin of the whole country because we have all--in many ways we do not care to admit--supported a culture that has devalued human life in a thousand (or a million) little ways for many decades now. We have to work to improve that culture before we may expect to see a "sea-change" in public opinion on the abortion question.

Julie, in Lincoln's Temperance Address, which of course was in some respects an urging to rhetorical moderation among the movement, he also praised the Washington principle of labor for all now living, as well as all hereafter to live. Prudence, reason, and the like are all well and good, but we can never forget to labor for all now living. Lincoln condemned "cutting people loose" in the hopes of forming a better society without drunkards in the future. We must at once be both moderate in our application and immoderate in our spirit. I fear that your compromises with Giuliani and the like have too often forgotten the duty to labor for those now living, or in the case of abortion, about to live.

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