As I feel that I have said a thousand times on this blog, I am deeply opposed to abortion. The number of abortions I would like to see happen is zero. Zero is an acceptable number of abortions for me, despite what you might have heard.
I am not opposed to abortion because I’m part of an ideologically pure subculture that takes that as its shibboleth. I am opposed to abortion because I think that life is valuable, and human life is particularly valuable. Human life is so valuable that it would be a grave evil to try to terminate it, and indeed so valuable that it would be gravely evil even to act with disregard for its flourishing. This goes for everyone: unborn children, born children, disabled people, people in the LGBTQ community, women, people of different races than I am, people in different countries or cultures than mine, immigrants, condemned prisoners on death row.
And, I suppose, even Baby Hitler.
Apparently we all have to talk about Baby Hitler right now, because Ben Shapiro brought him up at the March for Life. Ben Shapiro took the mic in front of hundreds of thousands of people, in order to proclaim his support for the pro-life movement, and what he said, among other things, was, “The argument, I guess here, is that would you kill baby Hitler? And the truth is that no pro-life person on earth would kill baby Hitler, because baby Hitler wasn’t Hitler, adult Hitler was Hitler. Baby Hitler was a baby. What you presumably want to do with baby Hitler is take baby Hitler out of baby Hitler’s house and move baby Hitler into a better house where he would not grow up to be Hitler, right? That’s the idea.”
I don’t know why Shapiro saw fit to bring up Hitler in the first place. It reminds me of some kind of reverse Godwin’s Law, wherein we bring up Hitler as quickly and frequently as possible to preempt the comparison.
I’m going to try to break down one of the many ways in which his statement is rubbish. I couldn’t possibly cover them all. But first of all, of course Baby Hitler was Hitler. There can be no question of that. I just googled it to double check, because I know that a lot of historic bad guys took on fake names– Josef Stalin was actually Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, for example, and I can see why he changed it. And I’ve confirmed that Hitler wasn’t always Adolf; he was baptized Adolphus. But from the moment he first came to be, he was Hitler.
Oh yes, Hitler was baptized. He sang in the church choir and considered priesthood. He mourned deeply for his little brother who died of the measles. His father, Alios, spanked him when he misbehaved at school. He wanted to be an artist but Alios wouldn’t send him to an art conservatory. This fact actually made me feel sorry for the bastard when I learned it– I also always wanted to be an artist, but my parents didn’t get me lessons. They wanted me to be a teacher instead. Of course, I didn’t cope with my disappointment by committing genocide; I just bought art supplies with my allowance and tried to teach myself. I’m still not terribly good. I’d say my paintings are about as remarkable as the paintings painted by Hitler which I have seen, and I feel the urge to add that to my CV: fair to middling still-life painter, about as good as Hitler.
He stirred up the madness of that was in his nation, he murdered everyone who wouldn’t go along with his plan, and he committed genocide.
He might have done that if he hadn’t been baptized and raised in the Church, of course. You will find monsters and tyrants of all faiths and no faith at all, in this world. He might have done that if his father hadn’t spanked him. Good parenting is very important, but you’ll find violent people out there who were raised by gentle parents and gentle people who were raised by violent parents. He might have done that if his brother hadn’t died; having a beloved sibling die can change a person. But it doesn’t have to change a person into somebody evil. The trauma of her sister Bonaventura’s death is what made Saint Catherine of Sienna even more determined to live a life of sanctity while she had time. He might have done it, even if he’d become an artist. There are evil people out there who are well-trained artists.
Evil people are people who make evil choices. That’s all they are. They’re baby Hitlers who grow into grown-up Hitlers and do evil things, until you can’t even say the name “Hitler” without calling to mind that evil. But they start off as human beings who are just like us, and they do evil things for ostensibly good reasons. They might be quite convicted that their motives are pure. Because of that, there’s a danger that you might not realize what you’re seeing until it’s too late.
Hitler was Hitler from the beginning, and later Hitler made vile choices, and he was surrounded by people as bad as he was who not only condoned but glorified his choices, and next thing you know, people all over Europe were shoving their neighbors into cattle cars and ignoring the black smoke rising from the chimneys above Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald. They justified it to themselves. They made it feel like the right thing to do. They just wanted to be safe and have a healthy, prosperous society, and they’d heard this was the way to do it. They were told that this and that group of people were the ones mucking it all up. So they followed orders. People from all walks of life followed orders: priests and nuns, doctors, nurses, teachers.
Throughout Europe, you could also find people who made good and heroic choices as well.