Repost: Why, for the pro-life movement, to rest is to die

Proph has just pointed to an example of how the acceptability of abortion has become so taken for granted by the elite that it’s being used to argue for the next atrocity.  I thought that might make this a good time to look back at one of my old posts about the effort it takes just to keep abortion from becoming a settled issue.

Whenever elections come around, Republicans always start pleading for a “truce” on social issues.  This truce is, of course, entirely one-sided.  It’s not like they’ve made an agreement with the ACLU or the gay activists for an end to agitation on the other side.  That itself should tip us off that the truce in question is actually an unconditional surrender.  In any event, social conservatives, and the pro-life movement (or as I like to call it, the “fetal-rights movement”) can never lay down its arms for a second.  If it did, it could never pick them up again.

Let me start out by stating a fact that everyone knows but no one at any point on the political spectrum will say, because it’s in no one’s interest to say it:  abortion will never be restricted in the United States in any serious way.  Never.  Not in a million years.  Americans would legalize cannibalism before they would restrict abortion.  They would elect Darth Vader president before they would restrict abortion.  They would turn over the country to foreign conquerers before they would allow any woman to be denied the right or opportunity (including, if necessary, the funds) to murder her prenatal child.  The stated purpose of the pro-life movement–to criminalize abortion–is utterly hopeless.

Why is it hopeless?  First of all, the entire elite class is pro-choice, and nothing is done against their will.  Second, liberalism bases human dignity not having a human essence, but on having an active will, which excludes the unborn, infants, and the mentally incapacitated.  Third, liberalism demands that sex have no intrinsic meaning, which can only be made to seem true if its telos is eradicated.

Most significantly, the evil of abortion can never be admitted, because America could never bear to assume the guilt that this would imply.  It would mean that we have committed the greatest crime in human history, the greatest mass-murder of all time.  Even this understates the magnitude of our infamy, because our murders were not, like those of the Jacobins and Bolsheviks, directed primarily at strangers, but rather at our own children.  And this was not only allowed by statute, but according to our Supreme Court, demanded by our fundamental constitution.  In God’s sight, America is more contemptible than Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.  Simple justice, it would seem, demands that the USA be exterminated, its cities burned, and its ground sown with salt.  That we be utterly forgotten is a greater mercy than we deserve.  No country can bear to admit this about itself, unless it also believes in some supernatural agency for redemption.

Just because a movement is hopeless doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a useful purpose, though.  The constant agitation of the pro-life movement has succeeded in getting the issue of abortion labeled as “controversial” in the public mind.  This is no small feat.  Compare what’s happened to other reactionary causes when they ceased to be thought controversial.  Two examples would be the Italian Risorgimento and women in the military.  Today, these are not considered controversial:  it’s just assumed that any sane person would see how obviously good these things are.  So, for example, that nitwit Father Leo thought it was a good idea once to compare Jesus Christ to Garibaldi.  So, looking at the recruitment ads on the television, one would hardly guess that there are any men in our armed forces.  If I were to tell someone that unprovoked Piedmontese aggression was not justified just because it was sucessful, or that men who let their women defend them are cowards, I would simply be regarded as a lunatic.  These are settled issues.

Most of America, and all of the elite, would like to “settle” on abortion, too.  In this case, though, there’s a minority that’s large and vocal enough that they can’t convincingly do it.  Everybody knows that abortion is controversial.  If I want it outlawed, most people disagree with me, but they don’t regard me as a lone nut.  You can have supposedly noncontroversial commercials about a soldier coming home to her children–we’re all supposed to find this heartwarming.  You can’t yet have heartwarming commercials about a mother and daughter bonding over memories of their first abortions.  Even most of the pro-choicers would find that creepy.  Even in their minds, abortion has been flagged as “controversial”.

The instant pro-lifers stop making noise, this issue will be “settled” just like all the others before it.  If, a year later, someone tries to take up the cause again, people will look at him like he’s a lunatic (rather like when I say something about wanting the Papal States restored, or hoping for a Stuart restoration in England).  Hardly anyone can bear that sort of social ostracism (which is why I let so very few people in on my sympathies).

To sum up, our situation is like that of the last remaining humans in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  If we fall asleep for a second, our souls are sucked out, and we become pod-people.

28 thoughts on “Repost: Why, for the pro-life movement, to rest is to die

  1. “Whenever elections come around, Republicans always start pleading for a “truce” on social issues. This truce is, of course, entirely one-sided. It’s not like they’ve made an agreement with the ACLU or the gay activists for an end to agitation on the other side. That itself should tip us off that the truce in question is actually an unconditional surrender.”

    I’ve made this argument dozens of times. This is why I immediately ditched Mitch Daniels–his very first act as a prospective candidate was to shout at the socially conservative wing of the party that it was time for a “truce,” because there were other more pressing issues at hand. Anybody who makes such a statement had permanently outed himself as a social liberal, and a person who just hates having to do business with the knuckle-draggers to his right.

  2. Let me start out by stating a fact that everyone knows but no one at any point on the political spectrum will say, because it’s in no one’s interest to say it: abortion will never be restricted in the United States in any serious way. Never. Not in a million years.

    Most significantly, the evil of abortion can never be admitted, because America could never bear to assume the guilt that this would imply.

    I don’t agree at all, Bonald, with this, or much else that you say here. Slavery was beaten. Abortion can be, too. Entire nations can repent. Hopelessness is not a virtue.

    • There’s a slight difference worth noting. For one thing, all the momentum favored the abolitionist movement. The trend is going the wrong direction for us — pro-abortion sentiment is solidifying and radicalizing, not softening. For another, the abolition of slavery, as Dr. Charlton has argued before, was essentially a fulfillment of the foundational leftists principles of the United States. Banning abortion would require a mark deviation from its principles. I think a lot would have to go wrong for the left before we could reach that point.

      • Things like 4-D ultrasounds (posted on YouTube and Facebook) tend to be softening some pro-abortion sentiment. The biggest problem is that *sexual permissiveness* is strengthening, which leads to abortion as an escape hatch.

        Second, antebellum pro-slavery attitudes in the U.S. were hardening as well, to the point where some radicals advocated that dull-witted white men be enslaved for their own good.

        The fact that slavery was geographically confined certainly made it easier to abolish and to dismiss as an abberation, however.

    • George McKenna wrote a fascinating article for The Atlantic in 1995 in which he argued that the nation’s current abortion debates are analogous to the nation’s slavery debates circa 1850. He offers a Lincolnian way forward on abortion:

      ‘In this debate I have made my own position clear. It is a pro-life position (though it may not please all pro-lifers), and its model is Lincoln’s position on slavery from 1854 until well into the Civil War: tolerate, restrict, discourage. Like Lincoln’s, its touchstone is the common good of the nation, not the sovereign self. Like Lincoln’s position, it accepts the legality but not the moral legitimacy of the institution that it seeks to contain. It invites argument and negotiation; it is a gambit, not a gauntlet.’

      While the Lincolnian position may be seen as ultimately cowardly, it’s hard to imagine much better alternatives given the national polarization on the issue.

    • A bit off-topic, but I believe slavery was beaten since it was no longer profitable, not because of genuine sorrow and repentance.

      Employers found it cheaper to make men work like slaves in factories without providing shelter, food and retirement. To be a slave guaranteed you all that. Why waste your money on a slave when you can get men to work for pennies?

      In any case, it did take a civil war to put an end to it in the south, and even after that, you’d have men return to their former masters, begging for work.

      We are the slaves now, and we’re treated worse than ever.

  3. It’s a simple and undeniable fact that those who “believe” in a mother’s “fundamental right” to kill HER child in utero BELIEVE in THEIR mother’s “fundamental right” to kill THEM in utero. Ergo, “believers” in abortion are not liberals, but self-annihilators.

    Of course, your typical self-annihilator will pathetically counter that “it would not matter” if his mom had aborted him because he “would not know anything, anyway.” And yet he cannot see that this is actually nothing more than the consistent response of those that are averse to their own existence.

    Self-annihilators should not get a voice at the table.

    “My mother has/had no right to kill me in utero.

    A simple, direct and unambiguous declaration that is not susceptible to any religious and or scientific debate over personhood, viability, consciousness, etc.

    • I’d be more sympathetic to this claim if it were not the case that the left has gotten *very* good at stealing our children from us and indoctrinating them against us.

      • @Proph,

        Have you watched the talk or read Kaufmann’s book? He describes religious movements that historically have been able to successfully not just hold their own population-wise but dramatically increase their numbers, by socially and culturally separating themselves from the larger secular society.

      • Mormonism has been around for close to 200 years. The Amish have been around in the US for around 300. Neither have taken over yet. The claim is, what, that, assuming the environment stays the same for the next four or five hundred years and that the US population stays isolated that some religious group or another is going to take over? And the liberals are going to just sort of sleep through it? No death camps? No forced sterilizations?

        I like the policy implications of this view: lifeboats not soapboxes. However, the mechanism is silly. One of the problems with HBD being quasi-taboo is that HBD is full of monomaniacal goofballs.

      • @Bill,

        Really, just watch the talk. It’s funny that you mention that Mormons haven’t ‘taken over yet’ … but the Senate Majority Leader is Mormon, and the leading Republican candidate for President is Mormon. Kaufmann is looking at a time frame of the next 80 years or so. Again, look at the Ultra-Orthodox, whose children are now approx. 25% of 1st graders in Israel, yet 50 years ago were almost an afterthought to Israeli politics.

  4. Religiosity is heritable, so child stealing is going to run into diminishing returns. Make that has run into diminishing returns. Those most inherently resistant to liberalism will end up having more children. Combine Kaufmann and Darwin and we can pretty much all see where this is headed.

    Really, in the future it will be quite clear that any philosophy that privileged individual pleasure over family and community was never going to win. Not that that won’t create its own problems.

  5. Bonald,
    It seems clear that if Roe v Wade were overturned, a large number of states would promptly enact restrictions on abortion. Do you disagree with this, or think that it doesn’t count?

    • Yep. Just vote for Mitt Romney. He’ll appoint Justices who will vote to overturn Roe v Wade. Certainly, he won’t appoint anyone like O’Connor or Souter or Kennedy . . .

      • My *point* is that there are a number of states where the populace and even the politicians appear to be ready to institute serious restrictions on abortion. I seem to recall that some states are actually prepared to ban it.

        I do not see how this situation is compatible with the statement that “the entire elite class is pro-choice, and nothing is done against their will,” or that “the evil of abortion can never be admitted, because America could never bear to assume the guilt that this would imply.”

        How do Bonald and those who agree with him reconcile the two?

  6. abortion will never be restricted in the United States in any serious way. Never. Not in a million years.

    True. But what implications for action should we deduce from this? As you say, closing up shop on the pro-life movement is not the answer. But, since winning is not an option, arguments along the lines of “voting for Republicans is our only hope of winning” are crap. And there are really no other compelling arguments for voting for that revolting bunch of bloodstained retards, con-men, and plutocrats. The pro-life movement should move wholesale into the Constitution Party or should create its own party and should set about destroying the Republican Party as quickly as possible.

    There are other places this reasoning leads. I think your claim is that “working within the system” can’t possibly work, and this I agree with. But, to believe that is to believe that one more of the check-boxes in the Just War Theory (here just revolution version) is checked. I don’t think it is at all clear that violence won’t work—physical courage does not seem like a major characteristic of our depraved elite. The British elite seemed to notice mortars falling on Parliament and nearly successful efforts to, errr, “target the national command authority.”

  7. I wonder how long before the cup of God’s wrath is full–are we not hard at work filling it as quickly as we can?–and he pours it out? When he does, look out below. All the liberals in the world won’t be able to put Humpty back together again.

  8. Slightly off topic – I wonder whether the US commenters above who confidently assume that slavery is still abolished are correct?

    Certainly slavery is back in the UK, in what might be termed ethnic enclaves, as anyone who reads the ‘tabloid’ newspapers knows – and it is clear that the cases which reach the stage of prosecution must be the tip of an iceberg. I would guess there are a few thousand actual slaves in the UK; and many tens of thousands of women who live under conditions of tied serfdom.

    My point is that this has happened here (in the home and origin of abolitionism) despite *everybody* imagining themselves to be 100 percent anti-slavery. The fact is that anti-slavery is such a low priority (compared with political correctness) that abolition sentiments are nowadays no more than self-congratulatory hot air.

  9. In Mother Theresa’s words, we are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful. Regardless of the odds, which I agree are stacked against us, we still need to be hopeful, as the Spirit does what the Spirit does.

    As in Kristor’s post is correctly explained, liberals are scared. They should be.

    When I was born, a conservative was some type of alien species, hateful of mankind. Over time, the unquestioned success of liberalism has shown its putrefaction. Now, conservatism is a bigger force, though not triumphant… We reactionaries are the next phase, and the dissemination of ideas through the web is only helping. While I am not an optimist in the short term, I have faith that our cause will remain alive, as the gates of Hell won’t overcome it.

  10. The difference between slavery and abortion is that the Cathedral opposed the former, but is positively giddy for the latter. And the Cathedral always wins. The Cathedral will have to be overthrown. Hopefully some green shoots of civilization will remain on the day that happens.

    • Perhaps a brief clarification may be in order here. The term “Cathedral” – or “The Cathedral” – referred to above is one coined by ‘Mencius Moldbug’ at “Unqualified Reservations” ( Moldbug’s working of the concept is subtle and wide-ranging – heavy sledding alert – but its essence may be grasped in the following set of quotes:

      “These ‘mainstream’ institutions look very, very like the set of information organs that we’d expect to see in a type 1 society. And their product is clearly a synopsis. Yet they are clearly not subject to any kind of central coordination. I think the post-1945 mainstream synopsis is important enough to be a proper noun. Let’s call it the Synopsis. Let’s also give the set of institutions that produce and propagate the Synopsis – mainstream academia, journalism and education – a name. Let’s call them the Cathedral. What explains these phenomena?”

      “But first, let’s nail down our terms. The great power center of 2008 is the Cathedral. The Cathedral has two parts: the accredited universities and the established press. The universities formulate public policy. The press guides public opinion. In other words, the universities make decisions, for which the press manufactures consent. It’s as simple as a punch in the mouth. The Cathedral operates as the brain of a broader power structure, the ‘Polygon’ or ‘Apparat’ – the permanent civil service. The Apparat is the civil service proper (all nonmilitary officials whose positions are immune to partisan politics, also known as ‘democracy’), plus all those formally outside government whose goal is to influence or implement public policy – ie, NGOs.”

      “The triangle of professors, bureaucrats, and public opinion is stable, because the professors teach as well as advise. Of course, there is a time lag. The system experiences some strain. But it will stay together, so long as the polarity does not randomly reverse – ie, because Cthulhu decides to suddenly swim right rather than left. …But no. Cthulhu may swim slowly. But he only swims left. Isn’t that interesting?…And we are starting to piece the puzzle together. The leftward direction is, ‘itself’, the principle of organization. …And the left is the party of the educational organs, at whose head is the press and universities. This is our 20th-century version of the established church. Here at UR, we sometimes call it the ‘Cathedral’ – although it is essential to note that, unlike an ordinary organization, it has no central administrator. No, this will not make it easier to deal with.”

      • I was listening to my local NPR affiliate (WNYC) today on the drive into work. Leonard Lopate (very devout, venerable leftist) had some guy from Media Matters on there (apparently a very devout leftist, dear Leonard has no other type on his show) who had written a book apparently called The Fox Effect. The show itself was not remarkable, nor do I doubt any faithful Orthosphere reader would have any trouble predicting the heart-rending content of the discussion. What I found remarkable was only this: That here, within the signal pattern of W (frickin’) NYC, the synopsis, the assumptions that inform that synopsis, is unquestioned and utterly unquestionable. Of course Fox News is propaganda (strike breast); of course Fox News has “dragged” the GOP so far to the right that political consensus is now impossible (strike breast… visualize poor, downhearted Olympia Snowe); of course viewers of Fox News prefer to have their opinions handed to them, rather than coming up with them in their own little minds (strike breast… and plead for more education funding).

        One freaking network. One! Out of the dozens of others, here now tilts slightly to the “right” (a right so leftward they would have been considered hippy-dippy free love socialists perhaps 20 years ago)… and the good, thoughtful, devout folks at NPR would have us believe that civilization itself is at stake on account of it.

        Cthulhu, indeed, always swims leftward, and it is the righteous duty of his propaganda organs (basically everything up to and including Fox News) to make sure no one ever notices.

  11. “Many are the strange chances of the world, and oft will help come from the hands of the weak, when the wise falter.”

    Ours is to carry on, with or without hope.


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