Capitalism Equals Abortion

There is a rather outrageous political piece on Crisis Magazine by John Zmirak called “Amnesty Equals Abortion.” The point of it is to say that if and when we give amnesty to illegal immigrants, they will support pro-choice Democrats in elections. If more pro-choice Democrats get into office, we will see an increase in abortions. Therefore, amnesty equals abortion.

My initial reply said what the title of this post was this

I know, I will write a piece which says “capitalism equals abortion” pointing out how abortion is just one of many things traded on the “free market.” I will also point out that jobs equals abortion, because people with jobs will be able to pay for abortions. I will also write on how corporations equals abortion, because corporations pay for health insurances from companies which pay for abortion.

There is so much wrong with this line of reasoning. It uses rather remote cooperation with evil and equates it with being the same thing as direct, formal support for it. This is something we find quite common in political debates, and it should not surprise us. The error of this kind of thinking is easy to see, and it is why those who do not agree with it, do not try to make equivalent statements like “capitalism equates abortion” unless they are trying to demonstrate through analogy or through a reductio ad absurdum the fault in the argument.

Some of the other replies to the post rightfully point out various problems people have with Zmirak’s arguments;  one of the best comes from JohnMcG. He explains that this is in reality similar to the kinds of arguments one hears in support for abortion:

The ultimate problem with the main argument is that it sees people as instruments.  The immigrants aren’t people whom we must treat in the most virtuous manner possible; they are potential votes that will either help or hurt our cause, and their treatment depends on how they will help or hurt that cause.

Isn’t that the pro-choice position?  The moral status of the unborn child doesn’t matter — what matters is how they impact *my* life; and if they conflict with my larger goals, they can be disposed of.

I find it extremely unlikely that a pro-life society is going to be built on this.

This is what is wrong with Zmirak’s post. It is instrumental. It is destroying the human person for the sake of a good goal. The ends justify the means. It is yet another form of consequentialism. But JohnMcG’s point is succinct; abortion is supported, for the most part, by the same rhetoric; abortion is justified through consequential ethics as well. If we want to establish a culture of life, we must overcome the morality of death: consequentialism.

We must support human rights, even if the people being given the rights might abuse them. We cannot use some sort of “future crime” as a basis of dismissing their human dignity.  We cannot equate support the freedom we give to a human person with the outcome of that freedom if they abuse it. Finally, we must not let claims of “abortion support” due to remote material cooperation of abortion be the end all of all political debates, for we will find such remote material cooperation can be applied all around the political spectrum. After all, a stronger argument can be made for capitalism equating abortion than any amnesty program for illegal immigrants, yet, if someone went about to show all the ways capitalism helps the abortion industry, I doubt the capitalists would change a single thing.  Some want to use the abortion card on others, but, in the end, rarely do they care about their own cooperation with evil. This is the reverse of what it should be: Jesus said we should get the plank out of our own eye before trying to remove it from the eyes of others.  Please, Lord, let us do so!

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  • The bald Mexican

    Really, Henry, I am saving this stuff for when they have calls for your canonization as proof that you tried your best to educate the ignorant. But really, the Zmirak article you cite is one of the most vile hit pieces I have read even for Zmirak, and seeks to shock rather than make an argument. “See, if you let in all those Mexicans [let’s face it, they are Mexicans, border fences aren’t going to keep out all of those Indians who overstay their visas] you will be giving more power to the baby killers!” He even threw in some references to abolitionists just for good measure. Really, the tone of the whole piece is almost hysterical, and almost not worthy of comment. Crisis Magazine, formerly known as Inside Catholic, formerly known as Crisis Magazine, has reverted to being a right wing rag, and should probably just be ignored from here on out. I have written for them in the past, and now I regret it.

    The only solution to all of this is to smash capitalism, and drag out the bourgeoisie and shoot them (I am well aware that this is a Catholic website and you all think that’s wrong. So be it.) There is no other way around it. The free flow of goods and capital will entail the flow of labor, and there is no way around that. Even from the natural law perspective (Zmirak has argued against this, but no reputable Catholic theologian would back him up) sneaking across a border to steal is perfectly legitimate to feed your family and not starve to death, and sneaking across the border to work is even less of a no-brainer in terms of morality. And punishing people for doing so may be necessary in some bizarre twisted capitalist fantasy, but it is by no means virtuous from a Christian perspective. That’s why I am all for open borders: borders are already open to import tons of cheap corn into Mexico to put subsistence farmers out of business, so if they have to come here to work, so be it. Until the system is ultimately fixed, I am on the side of the poor and oppressed, against the bankers and the websites and bearded liberal arts professors who defend their interests with obnoxious hit pieces.

    • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

      Really, Henry, I am saving this stuff for when they have calls for your canonization as proof that you tried your best to educate the ignorant.

      Thanks, though I am no saint, and there will be no calls for my canonization. But hopefully people will one day read all of this and learn from history.

      I know. Probably not.

      But really, the Zmirak article you cite is one of the most vile hit pieces I have read even for Zmirak, and seeks to shock rather than make an argument

      I thought, more or less, the same. But I made a quick reply saying I would have to write a post with the title Capitalism Equals Abortion. I also ended up thinking it might help _someone_, just one lone person, see through all the posturing. I hope so.

      The only solution to all of this is to smash capitalism, and drag out the bourgeoisie and shoot them (I am well aware that this is a Catholic website and you all think that’s wrong. So be it.)

      Well, I think we can agree with overcoming capitalism, but the other, I think the best solution is to convert instead of shoot — but you know that as you said. It is not an easy position to be in, I agree.

      Even from the natural law perspective (Zmirak has argued against this, but no reputable Catholic theologian would back him up) sneaking across a border to steal is perfectly legitimate to feed your family and not starve to death, and sneaking across the border to work is even less of a no-brainer in terms of morality.

      Another great point. It is exactly as any traditional Catholic would understand it. Capitalism has warped morality so much.

      Until the system is ultimately fixed, I am on the side of the poor and oppressed, against the bankers and the websites and bearded liberal arts professors who defend their interests with obnoxious hit pieces.

      And once again, not too surprisingly, we agree.

      However, when you say:
      Crisis Magazine, formerly known as Inside Catholic, formerly known as Crisis Magazine, has reverted to being a right wing rag, and should probably just be ignored from here on out. I have written for them in the past, and now I regret it

      I fear we cannot ignore it, whatever name they choose. Some people there I believe mean, and for the most part, do well. Some people, obviously, I do not. However, I think if we ignore what is being spread about, all we do is end up with the same kind of problem the Counter-Reformation had with the Reformation.

    • http://kassian1.wordpress.com Pentimento

      I didn’t know that Inside Catholic had become Crisis once again. It strikes me that Deal Hudson changed its name in the first place in order to distance himself from certain scandals with which he was associated when he was Crisis’s editor. But public memory is mercifully short, and that’s as it should be; we are constrained, as Catholics, to believe that the man is repentant and forgiven. Nevertheless, I stopped reading Inside Catholic long ago because of just the sort of piece that you link to.

      Anyway, it seems — at least assuming that John Zmirak is writing without irony — that a more pragmatic approach (as well as a less hateful and a less rationally- and theologically-tortured one) would be to exhort Republicans to champion the cause of illegal immigrants themselves, in order to gain the massive voting bloc that Zmirak anticipates for Democrats should an amnesty be granted. Reagan did it in 1986, after all, and Republicans, presumably including some who considered themselves pro-life, rallied around him.

  • Kurt

    At one point in my life I would have wanted to suppress the Zmirak article because of the harm it would do to the Pro-Life Movement. Now I think the best thing is to circulate it widely.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/voxnova/ Sofia Loves Wisdom

    Good grief!

  • LM

    Why doesn’t Zmirak just cut to the chase and just advocate gassing all members of the “colored races”? After all, we all know that blacks are all just a bunch of crypto-communists who vote Democrat so they can get welfare, contraceptive devices, and abortion. This article is a prime example of why the “pro-life movement” has such a hard time attracting people outside of a certain segment of white Catholics and evangelicals. If I wanted to be insulted all day, I’d rather just go to the Stormfront site. At least they’re upfront about what they believe.

    • http://arturovasquez.wordpress.com Arturo Vasquez

      Black people = abortion. We should have never abolished slavery, when we forced black people to breed, and when they failed, the master himself would help in the favor by raping the slave women. One of the dirty little secrets of the slave trade was that there was a whole commercial enterprise in breeding slaves just to be raped by their masters. Hey, at least they weren’t aborting babies, right?

  • http://forthegreaterglory.blogspot.com/ Michael Denton

    Yeah, this was a terrible article. What really bothered me apart from the concerns you pointed out was that it suggested we ought to condition the right to vote on whether they would use this vote “properly.” While I think that these debates have historically surrounded the issue of whether to expand democracy to certain groups (and in the modern day surrounds the fears of many surrounding the Arab Spring), it strikes me as a profoundly undemocratic view. If the right to vote means anything, it is that it ought to be granted regardless of what the voters choose to use it for. The concern ought not to be “ought we give the right to vote to those who will vote poorly” but rather “how can we convince people to use their vote wisely?”

  • http://www.thefeverchart.com Mark Gordon

    Picking up on where Arturo Vasquez left off, you could even conjure up a logic like this: Pro-Life = Abortion! Here’s the argument: “Look, if we keep trying to prevent abortions among key elements of the Democratic Party base – the poor, African-Americans, Latinos, etc. – we’re eventually going to succeed; and when those people stop having abortions, their kids are going to grow up and vote for pro-abortion Democrats. So, please, for the sake of life, stop promoting life!”

    If is twisted, even evil, logic. The logic of politics, not of faith. But then, these people are more “conservative” than they are Catholic, and always have been.

  • Kurt

    Actually, the Pro-Life movement has been pretty clear they want to keep it illegal for me to vote in congressional elections. They should just come clean and say they are fine with a military coup if the generals are anti-abortion.

  • boinquo

    I never imagined growing up that I would be insulted daily and that my family would be treated like dangerous subhuman trash because of who we are.

  • Nate River

    Great article Henry.

    Speaking of that irrational article by Zmirak, I wonder if that type of illogical discourse and nonsense will still be around say 10 years from now. I just can’t see a sentient and rational being using that type of logic and not mean it as a satire.

    • http://roadgoeseveron.wordpress.com Henry Karlson

      Sadly, I fear more and more of this kind of rhetoric, not less. While I agree that sentient, rational human beings couldn’t accept this kind of logic, remember, we have a movement working very hard to destroy our education system, and I fear the result of this is that this kind of rhetoric will increase and those who are rational will be mocked and bullied.