Friday, February 10, 2012

Eradicating the Cosmic Law at the Moral Root

Let's talk about the culture war in general and about abortion in particular, since the latter is one of several major flashpoints, where two elements come into contact to produce combustion.

This article (HT G the VdL) summarizes a few of the areas of truly irreconcilable conflict, irreconcilable because their differing first principles can under no circumstances be brought into harmony -- any more than one could harmonize, say, the logical principle of non-contradiction with its converse (although Raccoons understand that the two modes of logic actually exist harmoniously in vertical consciousness, where symmetrical logic rules the night; but that would take us far afield, so let's just stay down in secular 4D for the purposes of this post).

Now, one could say that our first principles are embodied in the Constitution, but that wouldn't be quite correct. For in reality -- and this should be axiomatic -- the Constitution itself reflects certain first principles for which its very purpose is to protect, e.g., life, liberty, religion, property.

And to the extent that the state fails in its duty to preserve and expand these rights, we also have an intrinsic remedy called "revolution." This was the very remedy the Founders exercised in declaring independence from the crown. It is not something to be spoken of lightly, for it is the nuclear option. It is when a culture war goes hot.

In each case of conflict, the flashpoint is caused by the aggression of the left, an aggression they like to call "progress." For example, for them, a reversion to pre-Christian, pagan polymorphous sexuality is "progressive," whereas for us it is just irony.

One of the principle acts of cultural aggression occurred with Roe V. Wade, which involved a handful of elites running roughshod over the democratic process.

Before that, the most egregious example of judicial tyranny might have been the Dred Scott decision, and we all know where that led. In each case, a few men from a narrow class of elites declared that certain human beings were beyond the pale, and not entitled to any legal protection. In so doing, they conjured a kind of non-existent being, since even animals have some intrinsic rights.

And just as in Dred Scott, the decision was entirely arbitrary, and simply deployed legal and metaphysical sophistry in the service of arriving at the desired end.

What I mean is that, if there were no such thing as abortion, it would never have occurred to anyone that a fetus is anything other than a human being. Obviously, crushing, dismembering, and sucking the brains out of a baby is by no stretch of the imagination "natural," and yet, for the left, it is their bedrock right, the one for which they will go to the mat every time if you should want to limit it in any way, shape, or form.

Without the least fear of polemicism, it can be affirmed that this represents a complete inversion of the first principles that animated the Founders. The left may well be correct in rejecting these principles, but they should at least be honest about it, as was, for example, one of our ur-progressivess, Woodrew Wilson, who spoke openly of his contempt for the principles embodied in our founding documents.

Rather, Wilson was an avowed Hegelian and Darwinian, meaning that, like everything else, the Constitution was subject to evolution. It reflected no permanent truths about human nature or about political philosophy, for the simple reason that there is no such thing.

Now, like many of you, I began life as a doctrinaire and unthinking abortion advocate. To this day -- and I want to be completely honest -- I have some residue from that era which I don't quite know how to resolve, more on which as we proceed.

Actually, allow me to present these while I'm thinking about them. We can all agree that the Holocaust was a great evil, so great that anyone would have been morally justified in killing a Nazi in order to try to end or limit it. Why would this be justice? Because of the sanctity of innocent human life, for starters.

That being the case, since a fetus is the quintessence of innocent human life, why is it evil to kill abortionists? There is a tiny fringe of activists who apparently believe that it is acceptable. I believe they are wrong, but why are they wrong? Since I want to be completely logical, this is an area where I have difficulty accepting the implications of my own first principles.

Outta time. To be continued...


julie said...

Since I want to be completely logical, this is an area where I have difficulty accepting the implications of my own first principles.

Not much to add yet, but this is a great topic. It'll be interesting to see where it leads.

I read the Taki article earlier, too; he does a great job of laying out the irreconcilable differences, but I don't know if I agree entirely with his belief that a great lot of nothing is going to happen. In the near future, he's probably right, but at some point - perhaps sooner than later, should Obama get another 4 years - something has to give.

ge said...

Spare the abortionists! [but chop off their fingees!]

Rick said...

What Julie said.

"That being the case, since a fetus is the quintessence of innocent human life, why is it evil to kill abortionists?"

You don't want to kill them. You want them to stop. I think it is the "means to end" thing. And at least another of Spitzer's principles I can't recall precisely at the moment. And it is not really a war. You are not "out of options". You are still free and have liberty. An enemy combatant or home intruder, mugger takes those away.

Example, they'd have nothing to do if you could convince each woman it wasn't an option to consider. Why stop at each woman for that matter. Each neighbor. It seems very doable when Spitzer writes it.

Rick said...

Oh, the thing about convincing the woman. You see, killing the abortionist cares not at all about the woman's soul.

mushroom said...

In a way both Dred Scott and Roe are about who gets to define personhood. The reality is that nobody defines it, it is a given, the thing that defines everything else.

As to killing abortionists, I have to agree with Rick. I might consider an abortionist an accomplice to murder, but it really is about the mother's choice. It is akin to, though not the same as, blaming guns for murder or matches for arson. Unlike a match, the abortionist has a free will and could choose not to kill babies for a living.

But, as long as women can choose not to kill their babies, it will be wrong to kill abortionists.

William said...

An acorn is not a tree. Red herring.

ted said...

I appreciate your honesty about the struggle to stay logical and consistent with your principles, and your past political worldview still pulling at you. I am not as far along the right spectrum as you may have come. So although I see the dire need for core principles (which the left lacks), I still hold on the idea that these principles are conditional - meaning more that they are always context dependant. I realize this is a slippery slope (and I welcome arguments against this), but I do believe our principles must be fully lived with the cultural relevancy of our times. Hence, we can’t always assume that our principles will be lived out as idealized, and that they may play out in different ways with added complexity. I am not advocating for a living Constitution, just some humility as to how we engage it. As mentioned, Spitzer’s “the end does not justify the means” is also something to always consider.

Verdiales said...

Off the top of my head:

Killing an abortionist is wrong because it is a sin against the first commandment, as all sins are. It is to act "like" a god.

By killing abortionists, we preclude the possibility of their repentance and salvation.

It also of course violates the divine commandment "thou shalt not murder."

We are not to sit in judgment of beings, but of their actions. It is their actions we rightly condemn.

Cf. MOTT on Justice

We would also be vigilantes exacting revenge, the executors of "wild" justice, and thereby rip up the social contract.

Abortionists are (currently) legal hit men. Calling the hits are the babies' own mothers.

Instead of murdering abortionists and mothers putting out contracts on their own children, I believe we should continue to tighten legal restrictions on the former and vastly improve our effectiveness in loving the latter out of their inclination to murder their own children.

Verdiales said...

Oh, and fight like hell to overturn Roe v. Wade, which is a joke of a piece of legal reasoning. Has anyone read it lately? It's an embarrassment to any legal bench. I'd like to know the names of the clerks who helped draft that crap.

re: acorn/tree

I always find it interesting that people object to this analogy. The imagination inclines to see these as separate objects. But the reality is that, at the moment of conception, the acorn has been planted and is starting to divide and grow. You can be an atheist and recognize that fact. William, if you're a musician, think of it in Yeats' terms: how can you separate the dancer and the dance?

At conception, we were all there in miniature, and all in motion. We were humans, and we were be-ing.

There is no getting around that.

William said...

Abortion rates declines most worldwide where it is safe and legal.

If you want to live in a theocratic society that outlaws abortion, I'd suggest you move to Iran or Saudi Arabia.

Van said...

"Now, one could say that our first principles are embodied in the Constitution, but that wouldn't be quite correct. For in reality -- and this should be axiomatic -- the Constitution itself reflects certain first principles for which its very purpose is to protect, e.g., life, liberty, religion, property."

Double Yep on that one.

I've been having a back 'n forth with a guy form 'the old neighborhood' recently, and he can't get his head around the idea that Rights come from a recognition of reality, and not from the reality of what a legislator writes on, or erases from, paper.

"bbBut progressives just want to give us more rights, that can't be bad!"

Just. Painful.

Magnus Itland said...

Abortionists come in pretty late in the process. The obvious answer is for us guys to not impregnate women who aren't particularly interested in having kids. It is usually not very hard to guess. It is also rather less painful for us to abstain from this than it is for women to go through pregnancy, so we should be the first line of defense.

Next line are the ladies, obviously. Again, a little preparation goes a long way if you know you can't go through a pregnancy.

The health care personnel only comes in when basically all is already lost. They generally see themselves as an alternative to coat hangers.

Even in Genesis, Adam was judged first, then Eve. The serpent came in third, despite being rather more proactive than your average abortion clinic.

Verdiales said...


Would you say the same thing to an abolitionist? "Live somewhere else?"

What a good guy you are! So very fair-minded! A credit to our republic!


In a Nazi death camp:

1. Murder is unjust.
2. Innocent people are suffering that injustice.
3. That Nazi guy, Jozef, is committing that injustice.
4. The injustice will continue, which is unjust.
5. I can murder Jozef.

So it would be just of me to murder Jozef.


Bonhoeffer faced this and made his choice. I would like to think I would have done the same: kill (or try), confess, beg for divine mercy. The choice to murder in this case, however, presumes on God's mercy, which sins against the first commandment.

I think about this in the context of Stalin's slaughter of the Polish officers in Katyn forest. Why didn't the soldiers rise up and kill their captors? Grab the damned gun and kill the Russian bastard! You'll probably die, but at least you won't die on your knees!

But they did die on their knees. And went straight to God.

(Actually, the Russians shot the officers like cattle, one bullet to the head, on a chute, and then dumped into a trench.)


As usual, spot on.

Rick said...

"Since I want to be completely logical, this is an area where I have difficulty accepting the implications of my own first principles."

I want to say that logic will only get us so far. Especially here. Or there would be no need of religion. Religion, Christianity, for example, pleads for self sacrifice, and often; love thy neighbor. I'm not sure logic could ever make sense of that. The "do unto others as.." (if I recall correctly) in Spitzer's book of principles says to do this ultimately because it bears on your own rights. Whereas, say, Christianity will ask you to do unto others even to your expense. Such as, how you would die for your children so that they might live.

John Lien said...

I always get stuck on the rape and incest dilemma. I know it is probably a small percentage of pregnancies but if we are being consistent about protecting the innocent baby I can't see an alternative to making the poor woman complete the pregnancy. Right?

Let's make it worst case. Familial incestuous rape. It just happened. An anti-implantation drug can be given right on the spot. We are not even sure the egg was fertilized.

I'm telling ya, I'd allow her to take the drug.

You with me? Ok, what if it is two days later?, A week later? A week, 6 hours, 27 minutes and six seconds later?

I don't have the answer.

John Lien said...

I guess, "familial incestuous" rape is redundant.

julie said...

Mushroom, I might consider an abortionist an accomplice to murder, but it really is about the mother's choice.

Is it, though? Yes, of course the mother has the final say (though really, how many underage teens brought in by their molesters have any choice in the matter? They're too young to legally consent to sex, but they can legally consent to an abortion?), but how many reach that "decision" after having been told by any number of people who are "concerned for her welfare" or even "concerned for the baby" that the best thing for all concerned is for the baby to die? Planned Parenthood certainly isn't in the business of suggesting alternatives to abortion, and I doubt many other clinics are, either.

And have we forgotten the example of "Dr." Kermit Gosnell? If memory serves, a lot of his "patients" weren't there willingly.

Further, given the details of the abortions he performed, the body parts he kept, and all the rest of the sickening truth of his practice, can anyone honestly claim that, for instance, had they come across him behind his clinic with a screaming infant having its spine "snipped" with a pair of scissors that it would have been wrong in any wise to stop him, with lethal force if necessary?

Now of course, he's an extreme case, to the best of our knowledge, in that his practice was so blatantly, squalidly and undeniably evil. Yet in truth, where do we draw the line? What's the true difference between him and the doctors who perform abortions just a few weeks earlier and in cleaner, more clinical surroundings?

Now for the record, I agree very much with the points everyone else has made. Yet there is a part of me that looks at the abortionist and wonders if Justice doesn't cry out for something more than a shrug.

John - great question, and definitely a difficult one to answer. I find I'm being drawn more to the Catholic stance; the Anchoress linked a while back to a great story of a woman who was raped as a young girl, before abortion was legal. She had the baby, gave her up for adoption, but wondered and worried about the child her whole life. Many decades later, still alive in her nineties, she was contacted by one of her grandchildren. Their mother wanted to find her. The family was reunited, to everyone's joy, and the grandchildren who were born as the result of that long-ago rape had grown up to be extraordinary people.

Every life has value, given a chance.

Even so, it is a difficult question. Within the first few days, when what is there is truly just a tiny cluster of cells floating freely (the only point where it can rightly be compared to an acorn) and so fragile that the majority never manage to survive past those earliest stages, is it wrong to ensure that a fertilized egg can't implant under such awful circumstances? That is more challenging to answer than when there's a heartbeat, and the embryo is recognizably human and thriving.

Verdiales said...


All these are tough situations.

In case of rape, even incest rape, can we reasonably ask:

Why take it out on the kid?

Why is it ok? We care more about mom because ... she's bigger? Because she suffered unjustly and deserves the right to kill so she can get out of it? Wouldn't that just compound her suffering? We know that mothers who kill their children are haunted by that choice, some to the point of madness.

The problem with evil is that once you give it some fuel, it starts burning indiscriminately. Everything gets burned.

We want to make it go away, but I'm afraid the only way to do that is to love, love, love. More than ever! We are so selfish! Where are our hearts, with God? Or with what passes away, like the grass?

There is nothing easy about any of this, even in thinking about it.

Verdiales said...


I'd tackle the abortionist first and grab the scissors. They can lock me up. If I ever see that, I'm going for them, and the doctor will have to stab me to stop me.

Rick said...

I hear you, John. But maybe it should not be an easy answer. These days it is a somewhat easier decision to make for many; if they don't consider the yet-to-be-born a person. I don't have an answer either. For some reason I want to say that numbers almost don't matter -- as William favors and promotes some statistics about Roe v Wade has proven less abortions. If one person is of infinite value, what is 100? 100 x infinity? One hundred is treating this and that person as a "group" again.

I have been focusing more on the mother's soul lately; or keeping in mind all the souls involved. The Orthodox Christians have something similar they wrap their heads around. They say the soldier who must kill bears an unfortunate scar on his soul no matter the circumstances. His soul is not without "damage" for lack of a better way to put it. Way it is. Still need the soldier. Still need the person. Father Stephen had a post about it.

Maybe it is better to remember first that this yet-to-be-born is a person and wait till we have a problem.

This is why I really don't care all that much about overturning Roe v Wade at the moment. If you can convince someone the yet-to-be-born is a person (always) that law won't matter.

julie said...

I think the problem here, at essence, began as part of the slippery slope. At some point, everybody agreed that sometimes it's okay or even necessary for a mother to kill her unborn child. From then it became all too easy to think that almost any "adverse" circumstance justified that killing. Further, to quiet the consciences that naturally object, we tell ourselves a great many lies to make it all seem okay. "Just tissue." "They can't feel anything." "You won't suffer any long term effects."

We began with a faulty premise, and compounded that fault with blatant untruths - untruths which simply cannot stand in light of improved technologies and the knowledge that many if not most women who have an abortion do suffer long term consequences. Those who favor abortion are fighting very hard to keep people ignorant of the truth. Ultimately, I think the best way to change things is to make sure that every bit of that truth becomes common knowledge.

Verdiales, and Rick, just so.

John Lien said...

Thanks guys for considering my worst-case scenario. I sincerely appreciate your thoughts.

Funny thing, I started the post with a firm belief to let the zygote live but as I added details to the situation my emotions took over and I supported her taking the abortifacient as I was imagining the immediate horror and wanting the quick fix for the injustice.


Now, I'm back to let the zygote live!

mushroom said...

I can tell you that a good friend of mine, a guy I worked with, had exactly the rape dilemma with his daughter. I think she was sixteen at the time and was raped. She found out she was pregnant. They were a good Catholic family, and my buddy came to me and told me about it, asking me to pray for them. I don't think there was ever any question of abortion -- it keeping the baby themselves or putting her up for adoption. They kept her and raised her more as a daughter than a granddaughter. She was a beautiful little girl, and she is, I think, around 19 or 20 now. The world is a better place for her being here.

Remember what Joseph said, "You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good."

Van said...

The law's purpose is to maintain justice between individuals in society, and if Rights are right, how can they be wrong? How can Rights be in contradiction to each other?

There is a moral question, and there is a legal question, and their answers are not necessarily the same - there are many moral questions where the law has no place. The problem is that there are more than just a few issues involved: there are those of the baby, the mother, and questions of the purpose of the law in society and the maintenance of justice.

The child is an infant human from the moment the egg is fertilized.

The mother is a human as well and has a right to her life and all that typically entails, including control over her person and the actions she chooses to take.

A parent has a right to govern the lives of their children, and in the mother's case, while that child is within her, right or wrong, that includes power over life and death.

The long arm of the of the law's reach ends at your skin, it reigns in the space between individuals, not within them. For the law to take either the Chinese model of forcing abortions, or the conservative model of preventing the mother from living her life as she sees fit... it is a monstrous violation of Rights, either way.

But what of the child?

The child is not yet IN society, but 'outside' it, within the mother - it is out of the jurisdiction of the law and until it makes its way out of the birth canal and into society, she has the sovereign power over it.

Whatever the circumstances which bring the pregnancy about, the subject is a horrible one to contemplate, if she chooses to abort the baby she will be ending a life - I cannot imagine that being acceptable - but I can't imagine granting to govt the power to intrude its will upon that of the mothers.

Abortion is wrong... but do you have the legal right to do something about it? Can you rightfully transform the law into a tool to violate the mother's right to live her own life?

I can't see how.

The better path, I think, is to teach people right and wrong, so that recourse to the law in such matters in not necessary.

mushroom said...

... how many reach that "decision" after having been told by any number of people who are "concerned for her welfare" or even "concerned for the baby" that the best thing for all concerned is for the baby to die?

Well-thought out and expressed as always, Julie. I agree. And I am very uncomfortable with a government that sanctions abortion to the point that it can seem like "the right thing to do". It is not compulsion, but you can see compulsion from here.

My initial thought was more in comparison with the Nazis killing Jews in concentration camps. There, because the victims were deprived of all choice, killing the perpetrators to save the innocent was justifiable.

Here, at this time, we still have the avenue of persuasion open to us. As long as choice is even theoretically involved, lethal force is not justifiable.

As far as overturning Roe v. Wade, Verdiales has mentioned that it was a bad legal decision. It has always been a matter of the federal government intervening where it has no jurisdiction.

If Roe were overturned tomorrow, it would not make abortion illegal anywhere in the United States. It would simply turn the issue back to the several states and allow them to regulate the procedures and the facilities as they choose. Aren't these people for choice and diversity?

I can guarantee that abortion would not ever be illegal in Rhode Island or California, New York or Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, etc., and probably not in Austin, Texas.

Rick said...

Mush at 2/10/2012 04:14:00 PM,
Thank you for sharing that. Beautiful story.

Rick said...

John, I'm glad you brought it up.
This has been a good thread.

Gagdad Bob said...

Breaking story: not everyone from Murfreesboro TN is a total jackass.

It is interesting how often one finds that a conservative is simply a liberal who has been abused by fellow liberals for deviating from the party line. If the author of this piece continues to critically examine his positions vis-a-vis reality, and to follow first principles to their logical ends, in ten or twenty years or so he may become Coon material.

Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, he looks like Jeff Spicoli:

"Just what do you think you're doing, Mr. Bell?"

"Er, eatin' some pizza and learnin' about Islam?"

Rick said...

Van, I'm not sure if all of this is true:

"A parent has a right to govern the lives of their children, and in the mother's case, while that child is within her, right or wrong, that includes power over life and death."

Yes, the right to govern them, as opposed to anyone else having a greater right to govern them. But the governing is not for your sake, it is for their sake. So is it your right or theirs? So I think that while a person is in your care, and that their life depends on this care, you have an obligation to protect their right to their life.
I'm trying to think of an example, but can only come up with this. Not sure if it fits. It's more or less a true/false question:
It is not wrong to kill a person if they are unconscious.
Never? Sometimes? When?

Van said...

Rick, thanks for catching that, I worded it badly, I meant to have a stop in there, I didn't mean the 'govern' to extend into the 'includes power'. As you say, 'But the governing is not for your sake, it is for their sake.', and that is the responsibility of the parents, not for their sake, but for the childs.

However, while the child is within her, she does have the power of life or death over that child - I'm not saying in anyway that it would be right for her to choose death for the child, only that the power is there under her control.

And to be clear, I do think it would be a moral wrong, to put it mildly, for the mother to abort her child, but what I'm not seeing is how what happens within her, can become a public, legal issue.

I don't like this conclusion, btw, I'd be happy to be argued out of it, but it's something that I don't see an alternative to without making an arbitrary exception to legal rights.

Rick said...

Thanks, Van. I had a feeling I may be taking that part out of context.

"but what I'm not seeing is how what happens within her, can become a public, legal issue."


Gagdad Bob said...

Good news for Skully.

julie said...

I saw that earlier. Kind of explains why it's easier to read the Wake in the middle of the night. Or after a round of Guinness, I suppose...

Re. that Spicoli guy, I hope he keeps on traveling the way he's going. Lord knows we could use some people in Hollywood who are actually interested in truth.

julie said...

Apropos the post, Gerard has these words of wisdom from Abe in honor of the old man's birthday. And of course, an obligatory troll has already popped in to note just how evil he was...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Master Bob!

Wait 'til I tell my granddaughter!

One thing the study don't mention is how difficult it is to remember the creative moments in detail after a bender (or a blender...don't ask).

Fer instance, I know for a fact I have personally solved many of the great problems facing mankind while drinkin' only to ferget it during the hangovers (yes, sometimes I have more than just one hangover at a time).

I reckon the only way around this problem is to have a personal scribe that follows you around all the time recordin' everything....or a Skully-cam if you will.

Then again, that may also be a very bad idea since we seem to have so many nancies in our culture now.

I'm sure I'll figure out how to retrieve this valuable information next time I'm drunk, which should occur in around five hours, give or take a beer and shot.

And just think about all the priceless art I have created that the bartender threw out in the garbage (my canvas is bar napkins).

Or the masterpiece songs n' ditty's I made up.
Seems most folks don't agree that they were masterpieces but then agin, they were drunk so don't listen to them turkeys.

Skully, rennasauce man extaordinaire.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Great discussion about abortion and how that relates to first principles.

I do think education is one of the best ways to fight abortion (for instance, how it ain't nearly as "safe" as pro-abortionists would have you believe).

However, unless and until we get rid of a public education system that would never consider telling the truth about abortion (or anything else) it will be an uphill battle at best for the most part.

I would also think that we need more sane laws (a headache should never be the equivalent of a mother's life being in real danger) and underage children should never be able to get an abortion on their own (with plans to deal with any prospective abuse of course).

IOW's, besides a real education and getting the feds out of the abortion industry, as well as thoughtful laws that prevent abortionists from being counselors and propagating that abortion is just fine, we need to make sure we follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law irt women who feel that abortion is the only option they have.

While at the same time respecting the unborn baby's right to life.

Definitely no easy answers here irt first principles or the law, for that matter.

Aren't first principles moral? I think that ultimately they must be although they may not always appear so at first glance.
However, leftists will never believe that.

Legalizing the truth would go a long way towards mitigating abortions and hopefully we'll get to see how far someday.