…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.