There's No Shame in Being a Liberal
For example, since most people are presumably happy and relieved they weren't dismembered and sucked out of their womb, it's just good manners to extend the same courtesy to others.
Of course, someone who hates his life or detests or devalues himself (or others) will reason otherwise, but that's the whole point: note that I use the qualifier normal. Obviously, when dealing with an abnormal person, all bets are off. Until quite recently, "normality" and "reason" were pretty much synonymous terms. A person who had gone mad had "lost his reason."
In fact, let's consult the thesaurus and consider some of the synonyms for crazy: bereft of reason, reasonless, irrational, unreasonable, haywire, off the hinges, minus some buttons, one brick shy of a full load, rowing with one oar in the water, etc.
Each of these implies that something vital is missing. And that missing thing touches on the essence of our humanness, which has to do with reason, or, more to the point, being able to give reasons. Only human beings can give reasons for what they believe, plan, do, and have done.
But reason isn't "just anything." It cannot be the same as "giving pretexts," at which human beings are also fiendishly adept. Rather, reason is either universal -- which is another way of saying absolute -- or it is not reason (and then there is no reason). For example, the principle of the excluded middle cannot be true on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or true here but not in another cosmos. Rather, it is true, period.
How do we know this? Because if it weren't true, we could never know it. In other words, there are certain axioms of reason that permit reason to take place, and without which it cannot. If something isn't even what it is and not something else, then surely we cannot reason about it.
Note, for example, how such a perversion of logic permits the leftist's unseemly enthusiasm for abortion. The Constitution makes reference to people and persons, but nowhere, of course, does it distinguish between persons inside and outside the womb. This is because the Framers weren't rubes or idiots, and did not want to appear as such. In a document intended to speak to the ages, they didn't want to insert clauses and qualifiers that any minimally educated person already knows, and only an ill-educated or miseducated person can not know.
For example, Arkes points out that many of the Framers didn't want to include an explicit prohibition of ex post facto laws, since the injustice of such is self-evident to any reasoning person. To permit ex post facto laws -- in which the state can prosecute behavior that was legal at the time it was undertaken -- undermines the very basis of jurisprudence. And just as there are axioms without which reason or justice cannot take place, there are moral axioms without which moral reasoning is impossible.
The Constitution does distinguish between persons, for example, between persons over and under age 25 (to be a representative), between persons who have been citizens for more or less than seven years, or between persons over and under 30 (senator). But nowhere does it suggest, imply, or even hint at the notion that a person under 25 or 30, or a citizen of less than seven years, is not a person. Indeed, even slaves were persons, which was an explosive little premise inserted into the Constitution that would assure the eventual elimination of slavery, on pain of a fatal self-contradiction.
So how did we ever get this crackpot idea that a person is not a person if he is less than nine months old, and therefore doesn't come under the protection of the law? Before 1973, it never occurred to any normal person that an eight month old human being isn't a human being. What sort of reasons were given, what sophistry promulgated, what semantics deployed, to deny that self-evident truth?
It occurs to me that one of the properties -- or penumbra, if you will -- of reason is that human beings are a little embarrassed when they are exposed as being unreasonable. In fact, more generally, if you consider the sources of shame, they often revolve around the exposure to public view of a side of ourselves that is "less than human," or animal.
What puzzles me is how the justices responsible for the judicial sophistry of Roe v. Wade weren't positively mortified at their abandonment of reason, if not while writing the decision, at least afterwards, when it was picked apart and exposed for what it is. A normal person responds to the shameful exposure of his lack of reason by rectifying the situation. (Think of Col. Nicholson's mortification in Bridge on the River Kwai, when he exclaims, What have I done?! That's the reaction a decent man, albeit too late to undo what he's done.)
But an abnormal person, either because he cannot tolerate shame or because he has abandoned it altogether, will dig in his heels and insist that he is being reasonable. You will have noticed that one of the problems in arguing with a leftist is not just that they are unreasonable, but that they cannot be shamed.
Examples are far too numerous to chronicle: Ted Kennedy was not ashamed of his treasonous contact with the Soviet Union to try to undermine President Reagan; Jane Fonda is not ashamed of her deep-throated support for our enemies; Jimmy Carter is not ashamed of his anti-Semitism; Obama is not ashamed of his spiritual apprenticeship under the vile Rev. Wright; Jesse Jackson is not ashamed of his personal enrichment through corporate blackmail; Joe Biden is not ashamed of his sudden abandonment of natural rights law when it became necessary to slander and vilify Judge Bork.
Arkes describes the process through which Justice Blackmun hatched the novel idea that a human being isn't one. Since he couldn't find it in the Constitution, he noticed that whenever the latter refers to "persons," they're always doing something, "such as voting or migrating or escaping from being extradited" (Arkes).
Ah ha! The next point is subtle, perhaps too subtle if you're not a constitutional scholar, so pay close attention: notice that you never see folks inside the womb voting, or migrating, or being extradited. "From these clues he concluded that 'persons' did not refer to people before they were born and mobile." This is a clear instance of bogus induction to a first principle, which means that it isn't really first. Rather, it's just the secondary conclusion of a prior false premise. Might as well argue that a paralyzed or sleeping person is no longer himself but something else entirely.
Recall what was said above about giving pretexts rather than reasons. Only an abnormal person does this, at least without feeling shame. I know this because of my work as a forensic psychologist. When I write a report, I never want to reason in such a way that I am ashamed of what I am saying.
But the typical forensic psychologist has no shame (to say nothing of the attorneys, who have long since overcome their ability to feel shame), and that is what I am up against. You know, whores. People who conclude first, and find the pretexts later.
Even on its face, Blackmun's logic doesn't pass the snuff test, because you'd better have some extraordinarily compelling reasons to justify the snuffing of millions upon millions of unique human lives. Why? Because the first sentence of the Constitution states that its very reason for being is to secure certain specified Blessings for ourselves and for our Posterity (upper case letters in original).
Posterity, what does that mean? Among other things, it means future generations, who are by definition none other than the presently unborn. They too are entitled to the Blessings secured by the Constitution.
And what is a Blessing, anyway? In my dictionary, to bless means to consecrate or hallow, or to pronounce holy.
Human life is sacred. Who knew?
The security of a people... must lie in a frequent recurrence to first principles. --John Marshall