Fascinating Article from an Old School Lefty

who opposes abortion.  He captures nicely the bizarre way in which the Left, on this one obsessive point, completely opposes itself in the most tortured way:

Listening to fellow pundits on the left react with rage and disbelief to the support by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, for halving the abortion time limit to 12 weeks, I was reminded of the late Christopher Hitchens. “[A]nyone who has ever seen a sonogram or has spent even an hour with a textbook on embryology knows that emotions are not the deciding factor [in abortions],” wrote the Hitch in his column for the Nation magazine in April 1989. “In order to terminate a pregnancy, you have to still a heartbeat, switch off a developing brain . . . break some bones and rupture some organs.”

It is often assumed that the great contrarian’s break with the liberal left came over Iraq in 2003. His self-professed pro-life position, however, had provoked howls of anguish in progressive circles 14 years earlier. It has long been taken as axiomatic that in order to be left-wing you must be pro-choice. Yet Hitchens’s reasoning was not just solid but solidly left-wing. It was a pity, he noted, that the “majority of feminists and their allies have stuck to the dead ground of ‘Me Decade’ possessive individualism, an ideology that has more in common than it admits with the prehistoric right, which it claims to oppose but has in fact encouraged”.

Blob of protoplasm

Abortion is one of those rare political issues on which left and right seem to have swapped ideologies: right-wingers talk of equality, human rights and “defending the innocent”, while left-wingers fetishise “choice”, selfishness and unbridled individualism.

“My body, my life, my choice.” Such rhetoric has always left me perplexed. Isn’t socialism about protecting the weak and vulnerable, giving a voice to the voiceless? Who is weaker or more vulnerable than the unborn child? Which member of our society needs a voice more than the mute baby in the womb?

It is one of the great mysteries that a political tradition built on “looking out for the little guy” should, in this one obsessive and fanatical place, be so absolutely blind.  The comboxes after the piece are eloquent testimony to the blindness.

The guy’s a Brit, but there are analogs here in the US.  I spoke to a prolife Democrat over the weekend, a devout Catholic and very politically savvy.  One of the things that drives him crazy is that the Susan B. Anthony list spends more money working to defeat prolife Democrats than to elect prolife Republicans.  In other words, once again we see the institutionalized and politicized “prolife” movement functioning, not out of conscience to save babies, but out of corrupt and cynical will to power as a sort of feeder chute to shunt suckers into voting GOP no matter what.  We should be *encouraging* prolife Democrats and strengthening them, not destroying them so that fakes like Romney and Dejarlais and the rest of yakking servants of mammon and power can run the show.  I’ll welcome anybody from either side of the aisle who is seriously. And frankly, I trust a prolife Dem (since they always pay such a high price for their convictions) rather than some GOP fake pol who just  mouths the prolife blah blah because it’s what the base wants to hear.

In the end, it always comes down to what they do, not what they say.

“So many sheep without.  So many wolves within.” – St. Augustine

Update:  A reader writes:

Right on Mark-  my own experience being a candidate and state leader for pro-life Dems was so disheartening that I have moved to NPA status and really have nothing to do with the major party system at this point- coke v. pepsi and I hate soda pop. I expected to get hammered within the Dem activist circles- and did- but what took me by surprise was how the pro-life organizations left me hanging even as I contacted them and called them and put into writing how I would make legislative charges for the pro-life cause- down to challenging Roe v. Wade et al and regulating fertility clinics from creating more human embryos than they would implant and thus creating a pool of frozen humans in physical limbo waiting to be used, destroyed or sold to the embryonic stem cell researchers. Add to this my track record as a religion teacher and willingness to use the bully pulpit to try to educate the electorate and to fellow Dems as to the insanity and immorality of aborting unborn children.  I was facing a “pro-life” Republican incumbent who I never heard breathe a word about pro-life causes- yes he voted for pro-life bills but there was no initiative on his part and he came across to all as very lukewarm where his pro-life convictions would only help him with his base of support. The end of my campaign came I believe because the pro-life organizations had a policy of never going against even a nominal pro-life incumbent Republican- they wouldn’t even use my promises to work concretely for pro-life legislation to extract more commitment from the nominal pro-life Republican I ran against. I was so disgusted by the process-  the mainstream Democratic choke-hold on policies against pro-life- and the mainstream pro-life organizations who are really just water boys for the Republican Party- compromised and compromisers in the face of the genocide of the unborn- I believe Jesus Christ had a word for the lukewarm- something about spitting them out- be hot or cold- stop playing political games and stop pretending that Republicans and the pro-life organizations are without sin in the pursuit of ridding America of abortion on demand. I think after this election it is past time for an honest soul-searching national conference of pro-life leaders and activists to come clean about the unhealthy links to Republican party politics. One last point- it seemed that most pro-life Republicans were more interested in my views on taxes and immigration than they were in my pro-life commitments- so much for priorities of voting pro-life- it would seem that most people vote according to their perceived economic interests first and foremost – pro-life or not.

  • http://www.dymphnaswell.blogspot.com Dymphna

    Thanks so much for this–on many levels!

  • JoFro

    My god, that combox was a depressing read!

  • Sean O

    Right on the money again Mark. Being Pro-Life is a way a viewing & interacting in the world. It has NOTHING to do with being a REPUBLICAN. And obviously nothing to do with being a DEM.

    • Andy

      I couldn’t agree more – Pro-life is not restricted to a political party -

  • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

    What Sean O said.

    It is one of the great mysteries that a political tradition built on “looking out for the little guy” should, in this one obsessive and fanatical place, be so absolutely blind. The comboxes after the piece are eloquent testimony to the blindness.

    What makes you think the dems were ever for the little guy? How did you put it?

    In the end, it always comes down to what they do, not what they say.

    Leftist history has been one long screwing of the “little guy”.

    • ivan_the_mad

      “History has been one long screwing of the “little guy”.” There, I fixed that for you.

      • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

        Touche, sir. ;) I’ll give that to you.

    • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

      What makes you think the dems were ever for the little guy?

      Seriously? All the people I know on a local level, Democrats who go to work, raise their families, and don’t seek high elective office, are Democrat because the little guy. You can argue all you want that various Democratic policies have had the unintended consequence of screwing over the little guy, but you can’t deny that helping the little guy was the intended consequence.

      Seriously, you should take this fight to Rod Dreher’s blog, or the Commonweal blog, or The New Republic blog, or someplace like that. Interact with the frequenters of those comboxes for a few months, treating them politely and taking them seriously as St Thomas recommends, and see if you can hold on to your fantastically parochial view of Democrats as the party of abortion and communism.

      • ivan_the_mad

        Hudge and Gudge are equally adept at exploiting people.

      • c matt

        Seriously?!? The Dems’ fanatical adherence to abortion is a “fantastically parochial” view? Maybe on the communist part you could have an argument, but the sine qua non of the Democrats is abortion – or did you miss the recent convention?!?

        • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

          For the Catholic and Evangelical Democrats with whom I am most familiar, the party’s support for abortion is seen as a kind of necessary evil that they wish weren’t there but they’ll just have to deal with since it’s part of the package deal. Kind of like pro-lifers not being particularly happy with the kind of radical fiscal and social libertarianism that informs much of the Republican Party (especially here in New England where I’m from) but they’ll just have to deal with it since it’s part of the package deal.

          Sometimes we pro-lifers (and Republicans) even get tricked into thinking fiscal and social libertarianism is actually a good thing, or at least a necessary thing, in order that we have a well-running economy that produces (sh*tty) jobs so that people can actually live. Similarly, sometimes otherwise pro-life Democrats get tricked into thinking abortion is at least a necessary thing so that women (the little guy) who have been hung out to dry in an individualist libertarian society, don’t get screwed over in more ways than one.

          I’m not saying I agree with their assessments. I think it’s a deal with the devil that will take us to hell. I am saying that it’s not just eeeevil feminists and baby-killers who find themselves supporting the Democrats or even the Democratic abortion policies.

      • Ted Seeber

        I deal with Democrats a LOT being in Oregon, on the local level. I don’t know about communism (frankly, I think the right is beating a long-dead horse on that one), but on the fanatical devotion to the extermination of the uns, Democrats in Oregon hold true. Right down to being indignant that a person with a terminal illness *might* have the right to hospice care.

  • Tim S.

    Right on Mark- my own experience being a candidate and state leader for pro-life Dems was so disheartening that I have moved to NPA status and really have nothing to do with the major party system at this point- coke v. pepsi and I hate soda pop. I expected to get hammered within the Dem activist circles- and did- but what took me by surprise was how the pro-life organizations left me hanging even as I contacted them and called them and put into writing how I would make legislative charges for the pro-life cause- down to challenging Roe v. Wade et al and regulating fertility clinics from creating more human embryos than they would implant and thus creating a pool of frozen humans in physical limbo waiting to be used, destroyed or sold to the embryonic stem cell researchers. Add to this my track record as a religion teacher and willingness to use the bully pulpit to try to educate the electorate and to fellow Dems as to the insanity and immorality of aborting unborn children. I was facing a “pro-life” Republican incumbent who I never heard breathe a word about pro-life causes- yes he voted for pro-life bills but there was no initiative on his part and he came across to all as very lukewarm where his pro-life convictions would only help him with his base of support. The end of my campaign came I believe because the pro-life organizations had a policy of never going against even a nominal pro-life incumbent Republican- they wouldn’t even use my promises to work concretely for pro-life legislation to extract more commitment from the nominal pro-life Republican I ran against. I was so disgusted by the process- the mainstream Democratic choke-hold on policies against pro-life- and the mainstream pro-life organizations who are really just water boys for the Republican Party- compromised and compromisers in the face of the genocide of the unborn- I believe Jesus Christ had a word for the lukewarm- something about spitting them out- be hot or cold- stop playing political games and stop pretending that Republicans and the pro-life organizations are without sin in the pursuit of ridding America of abortion on demand. I think after this election it is past time for an honest soul-searching national conference of pro-life leaders and activists to come clean about the unhealthy links to Republican party politics. One last point- it seemed that most pro-life Republicans were more interested in my views on taxes and immigration than they were in my pro-life commitments- so much for priorities of voting pro-life- it would seem that most people vote according to their perceived economic interests first and foremost – pro-life or not.

    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com Beadgirl

      Sheesh, what a depressing experience, Tim S. It’s this sort of thing that really makes me lose hope we will ever see an end to abortion.

    • Steve P

      Thank you for that heartfelt reply, Tim S.

      How would one go about organizing such a conference of pro-life leaders? I think you are right that they take a long-overdue look at this dysfunctional relationship.

      I’d welcome anyone to weigh in on how to make that happen, how to influence those who are in leadership positions, etc. about capturing the attention of those who have sold out to a political party. Or would we just get a lecture from them about how you have to be “practical” and “realistic”?

      Thanks again for your witness.

      • http://disputations.blogspot.com Tom K.

        Are you calling for a New Evangelization of the Pro-Life Movement?

        That would be great — but, as Tim indicates, a lot of people have noticed that the current evangelism allows them to vote for lower taxes.

    • Kirt Higdon

      A sad story, Tim, but one which is all too common. I’ve heard of Republicans getting expelled from Republican organizations for being too seriously pro-life and I’ve heard of Catholics being banned from Catholic pro-life organizations and blogs for the grave fault of pointing out the pro-abortion activities and positions of various Republican politicians. Needless to say, the same purge mentality is operative among Democrats and that has long been the case. The difference is that the Democrats do not even pretend to be pro-life whereas the Republicans will tell whatever lies are necessary to get the pro-life vote.

    • Kristen inDallas

      I am a pro-lifer who does not consider myself a defacto Republican. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Please tell us if there is anywhere we can go to find more information about Dem pro-life candidates, even independent ones, or Repubs if they are actual advocates of life rather than just toeing party lines. I imagine they (the non-repubs) get burried by the “traditional” pro-life groups, as well as by their own parties. If there is no such resource, there ought to be, and I’d be more than happy to help. (though I’d have no idea where to start with candidates, I could probably help with web space, promotion etc.)

    • MattyD

      Tim S, thanks so much for posting! That’s an extraordinary account. Very illuminating.

  • quasimodo

    ” Isn’t socialism about protecting the weak and vulnerable, giving a voice to the voiceless?”

    No, not really. It’s about letting the Socialist do your planning and thinking for you because you are not competent.

    • Ted Seeber

      Um- given the normal capitalist attitude of looking on anybody poor as “not competent”, exactly what is the difference?

      • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

        Earlier you said: “I don’t know about communism (frankly, I think the right is beating a long-dead horse on that one)” and you know what… I’ll give that to you, sometimes the right can beat a dead horse. But in the same way, the left (and others) beat the dead horse of capitalism’s attitude towards the poor. Or rather we can compromise: the right will give up the boogeyman of communism if the left will give up the boogeyman of social darwinism/objectivism.

        • Ted Seeber

          I’ll tell you what- the day that capitalists stop actively profiting off of usury and kicking people out of their houses for getting sick and not being able to pay the mortgage, or on the left stop killing the uns and actually start CARING FOR THEM instead, is the day you get to declare class warfare over

          • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

            So then the day socialists stop complaining about inequality and complaining about “the rich” (and so on and so on) is the day we get to declare communism over.

            In other words, if you don’t want to give up your “dead horse” then don’t complain about the other side not giving up theirs.

            • Ted Seeber

              The difference being that the communists didn’t just complain about inequality- they went out and blew up the rich. Then they proceeded to kill off all the minorities.

              I don’t see social justice Catholics doing that. Some of the eugenicists in secular social justice circles yes, but not social justice Catholics.

              Even the worst redistributionists would leave the rich man a huge share of the wealth.

              • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                So – again – you have justifications for your “dead horse” just like capitalists have their justifications for their “dead horse”.

                Again, it’s a simple compromise: if you don’t want to be strawmanned, than give up strawmanning the other side. See also.

            • The Deuce

              Especially since “capitalists” give more charity than socialists. In other words, the left’s “cold-hearted capitalists” dead horse is not only false, but the opposite of true.

              • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

                The discussion at hand is social justice, not charity. Non sequitur.

        • ivan_the_mad

          “the dead horse of capitalism’s attitude towards the poor” Let’s not anthropomorphize an economic system. We can speak of the attitude of capitalists towards the poor. It is not a good one. Ted is right, usury is rampant and people are getting kicked out of their homes because they can’t pay their mortgages.

          • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

            Well we can talk about the socialist’s attitude towards the poor (high on rhetoric, low on results).

            Meanwhile, I like how someone breaking their promise to pay another party means that the 2nd party is being unjust to the first. (never mind that the 2nd party not receiving that sum means they will probably have to then break a lot of their promises and on and on it goes…) Of course, it’s not like anyone forced the “capitalist” to lend to the poor… oh wait, the subprime lending law did! I mean, it would be even funnier if say… the banker didn’t kick out any “poor” (though how poor are they if they have a house), only to then lose everything because he/she didn’t have any money to keep up their shelter and food, and then became poor – then you’d all declare them saints.

            Your economic ideas failed and yet you blame the players for following the rules you set even though the rules say “everybody loses”. It would all be so funny if it wasn’t so tragic.

            Hey, brilliant idea just came to me: if you’re so upset about usury, then start up an alternative. Either yourself or get your church to lend out money to everyone. I guarantee that as soon as everyone hears you offer no interest rates (and no consequences for defaulting on the loan), the other banks will go out of business. Stop whining about the system and create a competing one to get people out of the other.

            • ivan_the_mad

              I don’t like anthropomorphizing capitalism or socialism or any ism because it obscures the fact that it’s really people making moral or immoral choices, not an impersonal force.

              Usury is wrong, always, from the OT onwards, and maintained by the Church.

              Not everyone who lost their house when the bubble burst was involved with that. People lost their jobs and then their home.

              • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                So, again, set up your own competing bank/system.

                Or it sounds more like you’d rather complain about the problems than taking the real steps you can to fix them. Preaching against usury (or whatever) will always be far less effective in reaching people than showing them why the alternative is superior.

                • ivan_the_mad

                  “So, again, set up your own competing bank/system.” I don’t need to do that to affirm what the Christian faith has taught for centuries. It’s not about what’s better, it’s about what’s right.

                  • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                    So, again, no different than Evangelicals with Evolution. (not lying, you’ll hear them say it’s “in line with what the Christian faith has taught for centuries” all the time)

                    Of course, they actually try producing research showing the counter, so now it just seems like you’re coming up with excuses to justify your own envy and sloth.

                    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

                      But the Christian faith hasn’t taught anything regarding evolution, least of all not for centuries. The Christian faith has actually taught that usury is a sin for nearly two millenia. That Aquinas makes the most intelligent defense of this teaching certainly does not mean it originates with him.

                      Makes a difference, does it not?

                    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

                      And way to go, accusing complete strangers of cardinal sin on no basis other than their rejection of your very modern ideology!!!

                    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                      accusing complete strangers of cardinal sin on no basis

                      Just like they’re doing about rich people and/or rightists?

                      Your rebukes would hold more weight if you applied them evenly.

                    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

                      No one here, in any of these discussions, has accused even the most vile right-winger of any of the cardinal sins.

                      Yes, your ideology of “capitalism and classic liberalism” is predicated on using man’s propensity to commit the cardinal sins as a method to encourage efficiency. Read the very thinkers who developed your ideology, man! They weren’t ashamed of harnessing man’s avarice and gluttony in pursuit of utopia. If you are, abandon your ideology.

                      It’s really that simple.

      • quasimodo

        Doesn’t apply to a single capitalists I know. Your mileage may vary

  • James Isabella

    “It was a pity, he noted, that the “majority of feminists and their allies have stuck to the dead ground of ‘Me Decade’ possessive individualism, an ideology that has more in common than it admits with the prehistoric right, which it claims to oppose but has in fact encouraged”.”

    Heh, heh…

    Leftists: Its my *body* you can’t tell me what to do with it!
    Righties: Its my *money* you can’t tell me what to do with it!

    • quasimodo

      Lefties: You have to pay for what ever I do with my body in the name of hedonism.

      • Alma Peregrina

        Righties: You have to pay for what ever my bank does with my money in the name of profit.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

          SNAP! Wish I had thought of that!!!

  • http://industrialblog.powerblogs.com IB Bill

    Well, I was a Democrat and 20+ years ago became a pro-life Democrat. I didn’t find virtually any Dems who were welcoming on that issue, and many were quite hostile. Still, I put up with it because I thought Democrats were for the “little guy.” Then I realized that they were actually making things more difficult for the little guy, especially through its cultural war, and were every bit as corporatist as the Republicans. Then I realized they were actually more corporatist and pro-Big Business than the Republicans. Then I realized they were actually doing enormous damage to the minority communities, and needed to be brought kicking and screaming into looking at the impact of their policies. I’m not a big fan of the Democrats. Unfortunately, that leaves one with the Republicans or a Don Quixote-esque third party.

  • http://www.orthosphere.org/ Proph

    The left “completely opposes itself” on abortion? Are we so sure about this? Can we really not see *even one possible way* that abortion can be crammed into the leftist worldview?

    Some time ago a particularly insane degenerate named Ginette Paris wrote a book which was given the completely un-ironic title “The Sacrament of Abortion.” Now how can it be the case that that which has a sacramental character in a particular worldview also somehow doesn’t fit the worldview? Isn’t it possible that the people on the inside maybe know what they’re thinking and doing and saying, and we outsiders are just misapprehending them?

    Consider this: the leftist “concern for the little guy” is largely a fiction, as has already been pointed out. Nations organized along radically leftist lines have typically been horrible places to live, complete with gratuitous repression and state-sponsored serial killings. The welfare of the “little guy” has never been the left’s primary concern. The “little guy” has never been anything more than a blunt object with which to bludgeon whatever institution the left wishes to destroy. It doesn’t matter that, once that institution is destroyed, the little guy is typically worse off. Deinstitutionalization is a good example of this: we went from having the severely mentally ill being kept and cared for in maybe not optimal conditions to having them freeze to death under highway overpasses or mass-murdering people on college campuses. For that matter, most of what the left is all about in the name of the “little guy” does him more harm than good. Porn’s a good example for this. If you’re a middle-class leftist limp fish who needs help making it across the finish line with his life, porn might be great. If you’re the 99% of people who are impressionable, naive, irresponsible, impulsive, easily addicted, affectively immature, in the formative stages of sexual development, or just have normal, healthy sex drives, it’s not great at all. It’s a positively horrible thing. Which side, the 1% or the 99%, does the left care about in this case?

    Take divorce, too. Divorce is great, if you’re a wealthy leftist who bores easily of his family and wants an easy way to escape his obligations. Not so great if you’re poor, if your livelihood or mental health are dependent on your family ties, if you’re a child, etc. For those people, divorce = broken homes = all kinds of problems. Does the left care about the 99% who suffer from divorce? Of course not. After all, it’s a “right.”

    The “little guy” is nothing in the leftist worldview. What matters is not other people, but the self, with all its desires, ambitions, and perversions, and gratification of the same. It is only with respect to liberalism as totem worship of the sovereign self that its support for abortion (and divorce, and pornography, and etc.) makes sense. The self must be accommodated at all costs. And if the cost is 50 million dead babies (sorry, “blastulae”), well, if you want an omelette…

    • Ted Seeber

      “The left “completely opposes itself” on abortion? Are we so sure about this? Can we really not see *even one possible way* that abortion can be crammed into the leftist worldview?”

      I’m sorry, I can’t. Eugenics and social justice just don’t mix in my mind, at all.

      • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

        I will say this, I mostly agree with you on eugenics. (it always seemed to me that if the government wants to run ponzi-like welfare schemes, then the last thing it needs to do is restrict births)

        However, there is a long history of people mixing eugenic talk with a lot of the sj rhetoric (takes all kinds, huh?). I can share sometime with ya if you’re really curious.

        • Ted Seeber

          I’d much rather we shared the real definition of economics and social justice:
          http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/2009/07/history-of-caritas-in-veritate.html

          Than more writings from atheists.

          • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

            1) It’s not necessarily all from atheists. Some are even from Catholics, other christians and/or other faiths.
            2) Then all you do is talk past other people.

            I thought it should be obvious that in order to evangelize one must first learn the language of the target. Saying “no you learn my language and then I’ll evangelize you” is… well rather silly and ineffectual.

            • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

              It may have escaped your notice, but this blog is “Catholic and Enjoying It!”

              Here, you are the evangelist. The rest of us already share a common language in which we are trying to have a discussion. You are welcome to join in, but you are the one who needs to learn the language in order to understand the discussion

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

      Consider this, everything you write of radically leftist regimes is equally true of radically right-wing ones. And also that conflating the radical segment of either wing with that wing as a whole is deception.

  • Nate

    Really nice article by this guy. It would be interesting to do a study and find out the following. Get a bunch of self-professed liberals/progressives/lefties, and present them with these two hypothetical candidates:
    1) A Randian objectivist who a) promised to fund Planned Parenthood and push an abortion agenda and b) promised to do everything in his power to make gay marriage legal across the land.
    2) A candidate with a Ralph Nader’esque agenda re the environment, education, and the economy, but who also promised to appoint pro-life judges and endorse an amendment that would make gay marriage illegal.

    If we asked a liberal to rank which of these two candidates was preferable, my guess is that most would prefer (even if they didn’t endorse) the pro-choice Randian.
    Gay marriage and abortion are the true litmus tests, me thinks.

  • Seamus

    I believe it was during the 1996 campaign that I discovered that the National Right-to-Life Committee was in the tank for the Republican party. Instead of being neutral, or supporting a real pro-life candidate for president (such as Howard Phillips of the Constitution Party), they were pushing Bob Dole (presumably on the “sucks less” theory). They’ve never gotten a dime from me since.

  • Ghosty

    I was a pro-life atheist with leftist-leanings for most of my life and I can completely identify with this. It really frustrated me that the ideals of helping the poor and downtrodden, which was a very real concern within my circles, seemed to disappear when the poor and downtrodden weren’t yet born. To me the pro-life stance was a simple and obvious extension of my social values, and I believed that allowing abortion eroded the fabric of society.
    To this day I won’t bring God or Faith into the debate over abortion, because my best arguments were honed in my atheist days and are, I believe, far more effective at reaching those who are hostile to the Faith.

    Peace and God bless!

  • Mark R

    The Left exists to give shape and content to other ideologies. At its best it points out prophetically to real problems, but in recent years it is institutionalized as much as any of the culprits it seeks to reveal. The Left did not develop into a mere “attitude”, the UK at least, until after the General Strike of 1926, when educated sympathizers from the Liberal and Conservative parties thought that coal miners got a raw deal.

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

      And the conservatism is the absence of ideology. Guffaw.

      • ivan_the_mad

        I think so, but I get my ideas from Kirk, who wrote that conservatism is not an ideology, it is local to a specific time and place, and shies away from prescriptions.

        Now, if we mean conservatism in popular American parlance, then yes, many guffaws.

        • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

          Yes, but Kirk would classify me as highly conservative. And I was written out of that movement long ago.

  • Ted Seeber

    Why are the uns- the unwanted, the unplanned, the unborn- worse criminals than the murderer? What makes them so deserving of the death penalty?

  • Mark Lennon

    Communism is an ideology of international socialism firmly entrenched in Marxist dialectic historical analysis. Anyone conflating it with a progressive tax system and a welfare safety net would be far better served enrolling in freshman level poli sci courses at the local community college than arguing in internet comboxes.

    • ivan_the_mad

      But then we’d be precise with our terms, and where’s the fun in that?

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      And anyone conflating capitalism with Randian thought would be far better served enrolling in freshman level economics courses. (etc)

      But we all hate giving up our best debate points.

      • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

        Mr. Lennon pointed out that Communism is a very specific brand of socialism. He did not say it, but progressive tax structures and welfare safety nets are features of Capitalist systems, methods used to promote stability in an inherently unstable system. That is, they are two of the preferred methods capitalists use to avoid riot and revolution. Successful non-violent means, at that.

        Capitalism is a broad category, like socialism. Objectivism, what you call Randian thought, is a subset of the category capitalism, much as communism is a subset of the category socialism. You have not only inverted his point in your response, but you have done so to erect a straw man, as no one in this comment thread has conflated the two. In fact the only reference to Objectivism in this entire discussion, was by a commenter named Nate, who referred to it as Randian, just as you have, rather than by its proper name, objectivism.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          In fact the only reference to Objectivism in this entire discussion, was by a commenter named Nate, who referred to it as Randian, just as you have, rather than by its proper name, objectivism.

          Oh right, so when Ted said something like:

          Um- given the normal capitalist attitude of looking on anybody poor as “not competent”, exactly what is the difference?

          That wasn’t referring to “objectivism” because he didn’t use the actual term (just one of its tenets).

          lol Zeki, you’re so intellectually dishonest it would be tragic if it wasn’t so funny.

          • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

            No, he wasn’t conflating capitalism with objectivism. If you disagree with his assessment of capitalists by and large, just say so. But to call this an example of conflating all capitalism with objectivism is just silly.

            As for your barbs, they hold no weight. You’ve already dismissed a professional economist as an ignorant hack, because she questioned a tenet of your ideology. You conflate correlation with causation time and again. And when faced with a broad view of modernity as a coherent whole, one you lacked the ability to comprehend you yourself admitted, you dismissed the author with the most racist trope available to Americans.

            So how long before you turn 24?

  • The Deuce

    It is one of the great mysteries that a political tradition built on “looking out for the little guy” should, in this one obsessive and fanatical place, be so absolutely blind.

    It’s not so mysterious when you realize that it isn’t a blind spot at all, and that Leftism was always about unlimited power and nothing else all along, with all that “little guy” stuff just being PR.

    • http://hezekiahgarrett.wordpress.com Hezekiah Garrett

      No more so than the sine qua non of the right being the acquisition of wealth and power, good old fashioned avarice, with all that “economic freedom” and “market efficiency” stuff just being PR.

      Neither is remotely true, and both are highly uncharitable.

  • bob

    “Yes, a woman has a right to choose what to do with her body – but a baby isn’t part of her body. The 24-week-old foetus can’t be compared with an appendix, a kidney or a set of tonsils; it makes no sense to dismiss it as a “clump of cells” or a “blob of protoplasm”.

    This reminds me of my high school biology class in 1974. The teacher was a wonderful man who has since died. He was an agnostic Jew, more likely atheist. His background was not just in biology and other sciences, he was a professional artist as well. I vividly remember a lecture on human development he gave, with very nice illustrations drawn in several colors of chalk describing the progress of pregnancy. He was making point after point about how *this* was the mother’s circulation, *this* was the baby’s, how their *two* systems worked together in pregnancy, how the placenta works. As he came to the end of this talk, his voice rose almost to a shout: “..and THAT is why when people discuss an unborn baby, it is NOT right to say it is part of a WOMAN’S body!” There was a silence as everyone in the room was just shocked at his volume and the force with which he delivered that last line. And the bell rang. He timed it perfectly. He was a drama teacher at one time, too. I bet no one else ever forgot that lecture either. It was just 2 years beyond Roe, and that line about a baby being “part” of the mother was all the rage. I’ll always be grateful for a secular, scientific explanation of why abortion is not just a simple procedure. At the time I was an Episcopalian. They were no more likely then than now to come out against abortion on demand, so I had to learn pro-life facts from my agnostic public school teacher.

  • Paul M

    Especially considering there’s not a line in the bible about abortion, unless you play fun games with the “real” meaning if hebrew words.
    If anything, the OT is solidly not merely pro-abortion, but pro infanticide. And beyond. Check out the story of Abraham and Isaac. Leaving alone the point that the “happy ending” was obviously pasted in after the fact (the seam is at “and God spoke to Abraham a second time …”), there’s not a hint in the story that Isaac’s life was not Abraham’s to give.
    See leviticus 27:28-29. A man *owns* his produce, his livestock, his slaves – anything in a man’s house is simply chattel.

    • Mark Shea

      Goody. A fundamentalist atheist. Thanks for playing.


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