Debate Club at Auschwitz

Debate Club at Auschwitz April 29, 2009

Over at Vox Nova, a classic example of the sort of soft apologetics or “Coalition for Fog” technique I have seen deployed successfully for years by Bush apologists is deployed with similar effect by the Obama apologists of the Left. To wit:

Question to Ponder
April 28, 2009
“I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John” (Lk 7:28a). Anyone know if he ever spoke against abortion? Infanticide? Euthanasia? Any “pro-life” issue at all?

Now why did Jesus think he was great?

Zippy remarks on the strategy at work:

I have called the blog Vox Nova “debate club at Auschwitz” because the contributors generally take an airy academic inclusive approach to publicly discussing abortion, in this day and age with the mass scale horror all around us, on a blog which specifically advertises itself as Catholic perspectives. One of the contributors publicly stated that subsidiarity justifies the pro-choice position, for example, and other contributors have defended him. The point to the “Debate Club at Auschwitz” label is precisely that ambivalent public airy academic discussion in the presence of an actual moral horror which should be unequivocally rejected is inappropriate, like a debate club airily and academically discussing the Jewish Question at Auschwitz.

It isn’t an accusation that the Debate Club is gassing the Jews, or is in favor of gassing the Jews. Rather, it is an observation that there are times and places where it is simply wicked to engage in airy, public, ambivalent academic discussion of certain kinds of moral horror. One of those times and places is here and now; one of those subjects is abortion. Deliberate engagement in airy ambivalent inclusive public academic discussion is perfectly capable of itself – the discussion – being a form of wickedness, in certain circumstances.

The same thing applies to the Right’s public airy academic ambivalence on torture in the face of the fact that we have tortured prisoners, at least one and probably more of them to death, in the GWOT.

The unwinding of the pro-life movement from the inside by strongly associating it with despicable moral wrongs that appeal to the political Right, the home of the genuine pro-life movement, is Satan’s plan. We get to choose whether we will cooperate with that plan, or not.

That includes not waffling over the supposedly puzzling question of whether waterboarding is torture. Waterboarding prisoners as we have done is torture, without any question or ambiguity. You are either with the torturers, or against them.


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