Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Sarah on Abortion

Well, here’s a very eloquent speech she gave, which very accurately shows how extreme Obama’s record is on this issue. Would that she could have used this evidence in the debate with Biden, challenging Joe to talk about the real differences between the two Democratic candidates on this issue. Joe, of course, really thinks ROE was some kind of compromise, is for outlawing partial birth abortion, and is against federal funding of abortion. Why wasn’t she ready and able to do this? I suspect it wasn’t her call.

Discussions - 34 Comments

I suspect it wasn’t her call.

That's right! She's in bed with the Rockefellers now and there are consequences to that. STILL think the GOP is the conservative party?

Hey, Gov. Palin - if I thought abortion clinics were basically centers of infanticide I would actually go physically stop people from doing the act, regardless of the law (after all, if someone were about to kill a baby I would stop them no matter what, even if it was illegal!).



Why don't you and your "culture of life" put your money where your mouth is? Oh yeah, that's right. Cause it's not the same thing. Because the fetus is still biologically attached to someone else's body and reproductive system. But, I mean, if you guys all really think they are literally killing babies, I would say you're a pretty morally lax person if you haven't acted on it. You guys probably live near these places. It's not difficult for you to do. Sneak in and raise some hell (knock stuff over, scream at people to get out, tell the doctors they're killing children, etc). Or is it really not the same thing as killing babies? I wonder how Palin would answer that if Biden shot the above sentences back at her Jesus-loving, multi-tongued, filled with the spirit, anti-abortion rhetoric.



P.S. - what would a "rational discussion" on "life" look like? Palin shouting: "Abortionists are terrorists! Just like Obama and all his crony buddies - such as Ayers, the terrorist! Terrorist! Job creation! Killing babies! AARRGG!" Heh.

I would actually go physically stop people from doing the act

Not without an organized physical resistance (i.e. a revolution or civil war), otherwise you would just end up in jail like a hand few of those who resisted just as you suggest.

That's the thing about a holocaust Matt, it goes on right under the noses of the "rational" such as yourself (whether it's Jews, unborn children, etc.)...

Not without an organized physical resistance (i.e. a revolution or civil war)



If you really thought people were killing babies en masse, wouldn't it be a damn good reason to start an organized overthrow then? At the least, I would certainly throw everything I had (money, time, etc.) into saving those slaughtered babies by organizing. It would consume me. I don't know many pro-lifers like this, though.



That's the thing about a holocaust Matt, it goes on right under the noses of the "rational" such as yourself (whether it's Jews, unborn children, etc.)...



See . . . I always got the feeling those Holocaust museums were built to keep that from happening.

At the least, I would certainly throw everything I had (money, time, etc.) into saving those slaughtered babies by organizing. It would consume me.

Of course, when this fails (as it has up until now) the question then becomes "then what?". This is exactly where many pro-lifers are now. Similar to where abolitionists were between say 1750 till 1850. One just keeps trying to enlighten your ignorant neighbor, one person at a time.

I always got the feeling those Holocaust museums were built to keep that from happening.

To sound a bit like Yoda, search your feelings Matt :) Do you REALLY think that any sort of museums would change the world, or so significantly, or do much at all for the significant injustices of this world?

Matt, you raise an interesting point about how people should deal with the coexistence of democratic constitutional government and a great moral wrong. Lincoln rather than the more radical abolitionsists is probably our best guide in this. When there is a great wrong it is better to work through democratic and legal means (even if they work agonizingly slowly) rather than use extralegal violence to get your way. Extralegal violence would probably introduce even more evil into the system even in the unlikely event that the violence succeeded in eliminating the original wrong. If the goal is doing as much good as is realistically possible (as oppossed to satisfying one's own outrage), there is no contradiction in recognizing abortion as a great wrong and instisting on democratic and constitutional action as the only legitimate form of redress in a democratic republic. Not just on Roe, Palin is a better democrat and a better constitutionalist than her critics.

Pete,

I would not hold out Lincoln and the American government post civil war as a good example. Our post civil war government with it's there-are-no-limits-to-centralized-power is the far greater evil than slavery was. Roe could not have happened if there were any real limits to "federalism". The coming civil war worthy tax regime of 80% or so (necessary due to all the promises of SS, Medicare, etc.) is traceable to this form of government.

Slavery is going to look like a small wart compared to the killing of the unborn and the collapse of America...

Christopher, I am afraid that I have to disagree with the notion that Big Government in its current form is a greater evil than slavery. Anyway, its not like those are our only two choices. And as for Lincoln, I was referring to the form of anti slavery activism that he advocated pre-Civil War. The Civil War occured because Licoln's slavery supporting opponents chose to destroy the Constitutional system rather than not get their own way.

And on Roe. Its not like the Supreme Court didn't violate precendent, and original intent in order to impose its will and declare an entire group of people constitutionaly ordained nonhumans prior to Lincoln: I give you the case of Dred Scot, which has several similarities to Roe. Radical judicial activism is not simply a Big Government thing.

Matt, I have a question for you. Why do many liberals argue that it should be "safe, legal, and rare?" If it's perfectly legal and not immoral, why should it be rare? Why not have lots more abortions? Why not abort every "fetus?" When are liberals going to start being proud of their abortions and sing for joy at their "human right" as you have previously called it?

Big Government in its current form is a greater evil than slavery

To the extant that Big Government IS responsible for the current abortion regime, then it is a greater evil than slavery. Slaves at least had a chance at life and happiness (unlike the unborn).

Civil War occurred because Lincoln’s slavery supporting opponents chose to destroy the Constitutional system rather than not get their own way.

What is the "Constitutional system" without the right to object? It becomes a logic you can't escape - it leads directly to central planning. That is its fatal flaw

I give you the case of Dred Scot,

For all it's flaws, Dred Scot did not impose slavery on anti-slavery states. Roe is an order of magnitude worse. Roe is the logical outcome of a "Constitutional system" that leads directly to centralized power...

Don't mean to sound so "heavy", but really just look at the results (modern day "Constitutional system") and where it is heading...

Why do many liberals argue that it should be "safe, legal, and rare?" If it's perfectly legal and not immoral, why should it be rare? Why not have lots more abortions? Why not abort every "fetus?" When are liberals going to start being proud of their abortions and sing for joy at their "human right" as you have previously called it?



I think you misunderstand this particular issue in regard to the typical "liberal" creed. I don't think too many liberals are jumping up and down for abortion because they see it as something very traumatizing. While they may not recognize the fetus as a human being, it certainly does not get relegated into the same emotional category as, say, one's relationship to a chair. I wondered whether or not you were grasping that when you asked your question (and please don't try to make that audacious claim: it makes no sense that just because fetus =/ baby that fetus = chair).



I would certainly say (as I believe many "liberals" would) that the right to control one's reproductive system is a human right. To sing about abortions? That is something entirely different. Lots of women believe that other women should have that right, but choose not to personally abort their respective fetuses because they see the principle of the human right, but also the emotional stress of abortion (something which, I don't think, many people sing about). Many "liberals" would argue that many abortions (emotionally traumatizing abortions) come about because women don't have access to the medications which give them control over their reproductive system (birth control, condoms, etc.) or haven't been taught how to properly use such contraceptives.



I think I towed the party line pretty well on that one. I hate doing that.

Good job Matt, you did! It's a good restatement of liberal philosophical anthropology: We are not really objective beings, but containers of "emotions" if you will. So our psychological interior life defines what is right and wrong, at least when it comes to life and death...

I give you the case of Dred Scot, which has several similarities to Roe.



Sure. Legally. But morally? I think killing babies is a bit more over-the-top than slavery. Wouldn't you agree? Would George Washington ever kill a baby? Or would Jefferson have thrown that pragmatically into the Constitution, guaranteeing its acceptance for thirty years, to keep the country afloat (assuming that that was what it took). I don't think so.

Christopher, Lincoln understood Dred Scot as being preliminary to legalizing slave ownership throughout the country and the logic of the decision seems to support him. I don't think Big Govenment = Roe. There is just no straight line between Social Security and abortion on demand (much less the Emancipation Proclamation = Roe), though there is some less than direct line between a certain kind of libertine welfare state liberalism and abortion. And Christopher, what do you mean by "the right to object"? If you mean the right to remonstrate or participate in elections, it is unimpeded (except to the extent that activist judges violate both constitutional and democratic norms a la Dred Scot). If you are referring to the right to secede as the only practicable alternative to Big Government and all its works than we might as well pack it in and congratulate the left-liberals on their victory. I think a decent constitutionalism is the better alternative to both Big Government liberalism and John Calhoun style States Rights. What is amazing is the similarities between the liberalism of Roe and the States Rights radicalism of Dred. Both pervert the Constitution in order to declare a large group nonpersons and therefore subjectable to infinite abuse. One does it in the name of localism and the other in the name of evolving rights. The antidote to a dehumanizing centralizing statism is not a dehumanizing localism. A politics that repects the Constitution, democratic elections and human rights ALL AT THE SAME TIME seems to be the best chance for a decent (though not utopian) politics.

Matt, why does it bother you so much that the citizens of a democracy would seek to redress a great wrong through legal democratic activism rather than through terrorism? Why is it so wrong for them to seek a strategy that attempts to reconcile their commitments to the rule of law, democratic politics and human rights? Is it because supporters of Roe are so willing to sacrifice their constitutionalist and democratic principles in order to impose their own vision of human rights, that they would feel better about themselves to see their opponents do the same?

you are referring to the right to secede as the only practicable alternative to Big Government and all its works than we might as well pack it in and congratulate the left-liberals on their victory.

Should have been clearer - yes, it is the only practical alternative. Human nature being what it is, the temptations to centralized power is too great. Not sure how this is a "left-liberal victory", perhaps you can explain.

I think a decent constitutionalism is the better alternative to both Big Government liberalism and John Calhoun style States Rights.

History of the US (and other western "democracies") is of course a big fat repudiation of this statement.

The antidote to a dehumanizing centralizing statism is not a dehumanizing localism.

On the contrary, it seems to be the only solution - as for every 1 "dehumanizing localism", there is another which is life affirming.. A politics that respects the Constitution, democratic elections and human rights ALL AT THE SAME TIME seems to be the best chance for a decent (though not utopian) politics.

Unless there is a flaw in that Constitutionalism. I think there is, a centralizing tendency that so far has ruled (with nary a slow down in our whole history) without an alternative...

I think one of the big difference between us is that I believe that a decent, conservative politics is possible within the framework of modern America.

I also find us much blessed. However, I don't think it will last much longer. All conservatives have been able to do is slow down the relentless march towards centralized big government a few steps. I am 39 years old. When I am 69, our tax burden will easily be 80%, perhaps more. The government will be our retirement, our medical provider, our home lender - the point of the sword will be in almost all aspects of our lives. Shoot, we may even be getting our fast food from it!

You say "there is no use thinking we will", but I have to disagree. It is simply dishonest to not note what is happening - sounds almost like your wanting to wish a centralized leviathan away. It has not helped "conservative activism" - look how long they have hitched their wagon to the GOP, and for what?

Matt, why does it bother you so much that the citizens of a democracy would seek to redress a great wrong through legal democratic activism rather than through terrorism? Why is it so wrong for them to seek a strategy that attempts to reconcile their commitments to the rule of law, democratic politics and human rights?



Oh I dunno. Maybe because following the legal way of doing things leads to people ignoring their own morality so often they forget where they put it.



Terrorism? Really? Would I be a terrorist for killing a man about to stab a baby to death (let alone suck its brains out and chop it's head off)? Come on, now. You guys are smarter than that.



What bothers me is people who equate abortion to killing babies and don't act at all like the killing of babies is actually going on. Your "rule of law" and other abstract blah blah blah is great for theoretical thinking (and I like that stuff too), but I am more interested in how people actually are. I wouldn't be surprised if some people have been so brainwashed by a pre-approved morality set out for them by the government that they wouldn't steal for food if their kids were starving (or, again, stop people from killing babies because that's not the "right", "democratic", "principled" way to go about it).



Keep reaching . . .

I wouldn't be surprised if some people have been so brainwashed by a pre-approved morality set out for them by the government



I shouldn't just criticize government here. In keeping with the leftist tradition, one could replace "government" with "religion", "television", "capitalism", etc. Just clarifying.

Keep reaching . . .

Matt, your reaching. There are all sorts of injustices in the world, and yet you yourself are not there with the same moral logic you would impose on pro-lifers.

Tell me, why are you not in the Sudan (or China, or who knows how many other places)? We KNOW there is killing going on there in the name of tribe, religion, etc.

The answer is of course we know these actions (killing the man who kills the unborn) are futile until a certain point - the point of revolution (i.e. civil war).

Don't worry, as soon as we reach that point, I will be there, and I will not hesitate to shoot you right between the eyes...

Christopher, Tax rates are higher than I would like (and are going to get higher really soon)but even then it will still be a long way from being universally controlled/coddled by government. Its not 1950s Bulgaria and the last 20 years demostrate the ability of a conservative politics to produce a wealthier, freer, safer country. It didn't get us back to the pre New Deal era, but then again I don't want to go to the pre New Deal era. I don't know what are tax rates will be n 30 years, I imagine the things we do will have alot to do with what the tax rates are - in fact where alotof poicies are. For better or worse, I don't think we are predestined to go Left or Right and despair and triumphalism are both equally destructive

Matt, don't worry, I won't shoot you. I get that you would choose violence or Civil War rather than live in a society, even a democratic and lawful one, where you consider a great moral wrong is taking place. Maybe you would have been an insurrectionsist in pre Civil War or pre Civil Rights America. I doubt you would have done your own side any good and one would think that actualy advancing you cause would play some role in your choice of tactics. But your description of the rule of law and democracy as abstract "blah blah" really is revealing about where you and alot of apologists for judicial activism stand on those things.

Christopher, your call for violence and civil war is about as vile a post I have found on these conservative web sites. I have already spooled it to other sites. ABC news might even feature it in their special on hate speech online.

Tell me, why are you not in the Sudan (or China, or who knows how many other places)? We KNOW there is killing going on there in the name of tribe, religion, etc.



Chris - are you kidding? Those atrocities aren't occurring right down the street from me. I think proximity counts for quite a bit. I see that suffering on the TV. I see the people who suffer from abortion in my neighborhood!



Don't worry, as soon as we reach that point, I will be there, and I will not hesitate to shoot you right between the eyes...



Yes, yes, yes, so scary. Looking forward to it.



I doubt you would have done your own side any good and one would think that actualy advancing you cause would play some role in your choice of tactics.



Pete - not if your cause is to realize your own morality, regardless of the status of "the whole" movement or revolution or whatnot.

Matt, if your goal is to find the most extreme and unlikely to succeed method of carrying out one political goal among many without a care as to whether it actually makes things worse or better, then you are right. You are also nuts. But I don't think you are nuts, you are just frustrated that prolifers have adopted a set of tactics that make it more likely that they will limit at least abortions in the long run (no guarantees of course), as oppossed to more radical methods that are doomed to fail. You can demand that your opponents either adopt terrorist methods or shut up, but I don't think they are going to take you up on your proffered choices. They are probably also ok with you stating that their refusal to adopt your self-serving choices is illogical.

Pete your patience is impressive...and fine arguments. Matt, you have no idea how utterly frustrating and offensive what you have said is to those of us who are pro-life. For the fact is, yeah, we get used to the lil' ol' Holocaust going on all around us, hidden away in the clinics. What is the U.S. number now? 30 million? 40 million? Alas, a tragedy for every woman involved, a moral corruption of every official involved, and a premeditated killing. We sacrifice and swallow a good deal of our outrage at that because we believe in democratic and peaceful methods. That is, we make the sacrifice for the sake of living in peace with people like you...we do it because we reluctantly admit the fact that, contrary to elementary logic about what the fetus is and about morality and rights, the argument against abortion is evidently hard for many people to get or accept. We could set up a clandestine network of bombers. We could stage Operation Rescue-like sit-ins on a truly mass scale, and cause havoc like you've never seen. But we don't. We routinely denounce those who even suggest the possibility of doing such.

But accepting the public verdict on abortion is the price of democracy, er...I mean, the "mixed regime" of liberal democracy and judicial mandate we live under, and by "public verdict" I mean the official verdict on abortion imposed upon and taught to the public. That's right, we refrain from violence and from lesser forms of social disturbance, against the callings of our consciences which scream against the everyday Holocaust, but WE DON'T EVEN GET TO VOTE ON IT. And if we manage to elect a president who simply allows us to (perhaps) move within one vote of overturning that which keeps us from voting on it, the Dems and the "Sane" Repubs scream THEOCRACY! They think the world will end if Roe goes down, even though abortion-on-demand could still be defended by plain old American democracy.

Matt, may I humbly suggest that if it seems inconcievable to you, and even at times to myself and other pro-lifers, that Roe v. Wade could be overturn, it is because we've all been a little too-well trained to accept the current status quo. We live, so to speak, under the regime of this thing, abortion-on-demand. It shapes me, and it shapes you. In both cases for the worst. I stifle or forget my moral outrage, you do not even allow yourself to admit it. So here we are. You accuse us pro-lifers of hypocrisy, because YOUR stubborness, YOUR politics, YOUR cooked-up "morality," YOUR media-mindset have worn us down, have made us bracket our moral outrage into a little corner of slim possibility. And we maintain that little self-editing corner, for the sake of living civilly with you, for the sake of living democratically and peacefully. What do you give us in return? Where is the sacrifice of the Democratic Party on this issue? Oh, Barack let-the-born-alive-baby-die Obama woos us by telling them he won't be one of these Dems who call the prolifers theocrats. Gee, thanks. And then he lies about his record for abortion to boot, and still, many a pro-life evangelical will vote for him. So glory and gloat in this season of conservative discomfort...but don't kid yourself about the dynamite that remains present on the abortion issue. If your Dems succeed in shutting down evey avenue of debate and democratic influence on this, you'll see whether moderate-hearted and constitution-minded social cons like myself will be able to dissuade those who would like only too much the opportunity to prove to the likes of you that they are serious enough the hidden Holocaust to organize highly divisive civil disobedience and perhaps even to kill.

I think proximity counts for quite a bit.

I have to give you a lot of credit Matt, you are consistent. "proximity" is very important in liberal philosophical anthropology, because only something proximate can be painful or pleasurable. How can a distant moral evil (something that disturbs the emotions which is the foundation of right and wrong) be a moral evil since it is not proximate? It can't - thus it can't really be a moral evil.

Pete,

peaceful, civil rule of law is of course the norm and to be defended at almost all costs. However, history proves that sooner or later (it has already happened once in our countries short history) that something more important comes along, and is worth fighting for. Peace at all costs is no peace at all...

Pete writes, You can demand that your opponents either adopt terrorist methods



Again, I'll ask: would it be a terrorist act for me to kill a man who was about to kill a baby? Why do you, a pro-lifer, call it terrorism to intervene in such cases? And then you mention my "self-serving choices" of options for the pro-lifers out there . . . *sigh* If someone wants to claim there's a third way - that of peaceful, democratic protest and petition - I won't deny that. I'll just ask them if they would do the same thing if they saw a man, down the street, about to kill a baby. It's the pro-lifer's refusal to accept that it is not so black-and-white that forces me to push the issue like this. I am nuts, though (after all - I'm exploring this issue with the people of NLT . . . I must be either nuts . . . or bored).



Chris - glad you've got it all figured out. Televised moral evil . . . the digital ripping of actions/situations from their cultural context . . . Certainly that is what we should turn to for examples of moral judgement.



Carl - nice post. Sorry you have such a tough struggle. I would too if I were you.

Now we have two people posting on NLT advocating violence against pro-choice positions. They are willing to kill and die for rapist's rights to pre-select whatever woman to bear their child. The pro-life position is anything but 'elementary logic.' The teleological arguments have long since failed to convince. What we have is a group of people holding to a religious metaphysical picture that 12% of the american people hold. That is even fewer than the 22 percenters that still support Bush. Something tells me the people who post advocating violence here (not you, Mr. Scott) are the same who shout things out at Palin rallies.

Matt, maybe you would have intervened just so bravley if you saw a great but legal injustice (an 1850s slave market for instance), but I tend to doubt it. Though at the same time I do not doubt that you would try to defend someone from an illegal action (like say a black man being attacked by white supremacists today). On has law and a decent chance of success on its side and the other is both criminal and futile. I can see why you would want your opponnets to marginalize themselves, but I suppose they are just going to go on trying to advance their shared beliefs in human rights, rule of law and democratic politics as against your contempt for at least the last two of those things. They may lose your good opinion of them, but thats probably a price they are willing to pay.

Heh. Alrighty then. I'm glad you are so intuned to my moral compass.

Matt, I sure didn't mean to be rude, but I'm not the guy who called the rule of law "abstract blah blah" in an earlier post. Maybe you didn't mean it. I sure hope so.

Christopher, as a political matter, any politics that seeks a return to seccesion is hopeless and helpless in the face of the Left. It is a political loser and deserves to be and if the only alternative to Big Government, Big Government wins. Thats what I meant. Even if it were politically possible, a consistent politics of seccesion is absurd in practice. The Confederacy showed us this. While Southern states declared seccesion for themselves, they would not allow it for their own, more local, minorities (least of all the slaves). In a constitutional democracy, the right to seccesion at will remains as Lincoln called it the essence of anarchy.

I think one of the big difference between us is that I believe that a decent, conservative politcs is possible within the framework of modern America. In fact I find quite a bit to be decent about the country around me. I think that the state is too big, too lawless and in many ways encourages self destructive behavior but judged by comparative rather than utopian criteria, we really are blessed with what we have. We have not become the centralized anthill that many have feared (partly because of conservative activism) and there is no use in thinking that we have or that we are destined to do so. A politics of Reagan really is possible and preferable to a politics of either Calhoun or Marx.

I'm forcasting a return to Big Government liberalism under the forthcoming Obama administration but I have one message to my fellow conservatives: don't give in to despair, bitterness or radicalism. If our ideas of limited government, rule of law, free markets and individual rights are as right as we think they are and we are worthy of them, we won't quit on them or our country. Alot of galling defeats are ahead of us and recovery from some of them will be very slow, but oppurtunities for conservative reform will come if we make ourselves ready for them.

Maybe I'm a day late and a dollar short, here, but I find it somewhat amusing that this discussion is being carried out by MEN. Men who don't have to even FACE the responsibility of actual pregnancy - abortion - birth - or even suffer the trauma of miscarriage (with either a wanted or unwanted pregnancy). While I appreciate the passion and conviction spoken here - you all can talk about this all you want. But you will NEVER truly have to make a decision about abortion - or live with your choice the rest of your life. Get off your high horses and put your gloves away. Outside of morals, religion, freedom - thank God (or your lucky stars, Matt) that you will NEVER have to stare this decision in the face for yourself.

Debbie, while I understand what you mean, most completely, but disagree in one important way. Men DO have to face the choice. Women have abortions in such numbers, not only because of their independence, but because of their dependence, which is the part of the choice the father of the child has in his hands. The dependence of a woman who is pregnant, a mother, in late pregnancy, right after birth, and off into motherhood, has got to be one someone. Who supports her then? If she sees no support, her choice is just as awful as you say. I know it.

Every man who fathers a child has a choice. He can support the child, or he can walk away. This leaves the choice to the mother, and it is one hell of a choice.

I am sorry not to be able to explain better or clarify. I have far too much to do and nowhere near enough time, just lately.

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