Abortion: the modern death cult that rejects Nature

By embracing today’s abortion Death Cult up to and including birth, the self-identified party of science and Nature rejects both science and Nature.

Abortion is in the news again as some states legalize it up to the moment of birth while other states already have or are talking about limiting it to the moment before the first detectable heartbeat. Those who oppose abortion talk about the rights of “preborn” babies; those who support abortion talk about women in chains, enslaved to white male legislators. Although I started out my political life as completely pro-abortion, at a certain point I realized — quite reluctantly, I might add — that the anti-abortion people had the better argument because . . . science or, more accurately, Nature.

One of the things that the Left is always anxious to impress on the world is that it is the party of science. It dons this mantle because it sees science as something that stands in opposition to religion. to Leftists, religion — at least conservative Christianity and Judaism — is about blind, mindless faith. Its adherents owe fealty to texts that are 2,000 or more years old, going back to a time when humans were primitive and had no understanding about how the world worked at a scientific level. It was a world of magic and invisible, malignant forces that showered people with an invariably inexplicable, random brew of life and death, love and hate, and good and evil.

Faith, therefore, is bad because it’s inherently irrational and illiterate about the world around us.

In addition to embracing “science” (which I always imagine Leftists saying the way it’s said in Thomas Dolby’s 80’s hit “She Blinded Me With Science“), the Left has also embraced Nature (said in the same tone, I’m sure as “science”). They do so in part because Genesis gives man dominion over Nature and works assiduously to distinguish humans from other animals, and in part because capitalist and colonialist oppression are seen as enemies to the untouched wonders of communist, indigenous nature. (Ironically, of course, communist countries have been blights on their lands and poor indigenous people care only about getting enough food in the here and now, which often means treating their environment very badly.)

In theory — and often in fact — it’s entirely possible to balance religion, science, and Nature. Problems arise when there are overlaps. For religious people, when science and Nature crash into each other, or crash into religion, it’s religion which, even if it’s not a practical guide, offers moral guidance. For Leftists, though, who operate without that moral religious foundation,* when science and Nature clash, they look not to God, but to politics — and, more specifically, to identity politics as their guide.

It’s this abandonment of an overarching morality that leads to the self-styled party of science and Nature taking ridiculous stands, such as saying that a person’s sex exists on a continuum largely affected by external factors, never mind that genetically there are only two sexes. Likewise, politics also assures Leftists that the fetus is totally unrelated to a baby. Neither science nor Nature dictate either of those stances. Only politics does.

“Politics as God” also explains how the party of science and Nature completely rejects the fact that, at a core, biological, animal level (and remember,to them, we are one with Nature’s animals), it’s so unfair that women have to bear children that this reality too must be rejected. Because really, that’s what all the abortion arguments boil down to: It’s not fair that men can walk away from sex while women end up with what one Leftist author calls “the incredible violence of pregnancy.” It’s not fair that men can walk away from the baby but that women, once the baby is born, find themselves responsible for caring for it. And yes, women can and do walk away, but most don’t. Once the baby is born, Nature makes sure that women’s chemical make-up sees them sticking with it.

It’s Nature, not a bunch of “old white men,” who decreed that women are the vessels of procreation, with all the upsides (creating a life, loving a child) and downsides (loss of control over her body, pain, illness, etc.), that come with it. Thankfully, it’s science that has reduced maternal mortality to infinitesimal numbers in the modern era, as well as introducing the wonders of the epidural.

Science also proves absolutely that there is a complete continuum from conception to birth and beyond. That’s why any scientific mind has to laugh at the author to whom I linked above who writes “I am intimately acquainted with, and sometimes sympathetic to, the conviction that life begins at conception—the idea that a clump of tissue, generated even under the most unfortunate and cruel of circumstances, shows God working the most sacred miracle on Earth.” You see what she did there: The Nature-created, science-confirmed moment when the continuum of life begins has been divorced from both Nature and science. Now, instead of being a fact, a reality, it’s merely a “conviction.” Only in the anti-Science world of the pro-abortion left does one have irrefutable biological fact transmuted into a “conviction” tied to religion.

Finally, it’s morality — Biblical morality — that holds that, just because Nature is unfair to women, that unfairness doesn’t give women the automatic, unfettered right to snuff out the life they are incubating.

As religious people know, the Bible is not about fairness. As I’ve said often, the Old Testament is about justice, while the New Testament is about grace.  Only Marxism is about “fairness” — except that this ostensible fairness is always based upon a zero sum game in which one person’s “fair” victory is another person’s loss — with the loss determined as “fair” provided that it furthers Marxism’s political ends.

Nature is unfeeling. Nature does not care that the lion, rather than lying down with the sweet lamb, usually eats it. Nature does not care that a drought that starve countries or that an earthquake can level kingdoms. Nature simply is . . . it’s a relentless, unfair force in which living species’ prime directive is to cling to life in whatever way they can. Religion tempers that prime directive with morality. Marxism tempers that prime directive with raw power and selfishness.

That’s how you end up with a large segment of the American population arguing that it’s entirely “moral” to kill a human life for someone else’s convenience — an argument that sounds remarkably like the Nazi justification for the gas chambers. After all, once you decide that certain lives in the abstract are valueless, it’s as easy to kill them as it is to stomp a termite.

Incidentally, what I just said does not mean I’m opposed either to just wars or to the death penalty. People can be called to account for things they’ve done (such as cold-bloodedly murdering someone) and for allegiances they formed (such as joining ISIS for the joy of conquest, rape, and totalitarian control).** But to kill humans simply for “being,” unrelated entirely to their choices — well, Biblical morality doesn’t square well with that approach.

On abortion, Leftists think they’re taking a stand for women and against the patriarchal God of the Bible. What they’re really doing, is screaming against Nature’s unfairness and, in their effort to show their dominance over Nature, more and more openly embracing the same path the Nazis did: Namely, declaring that certain humans aren’t human at all but are, instead, inconveniences, encumbrances, and parasites, and therefore entirely deserving of being snuffed out.

This is how you get from an anguished “safe, rare, and legal” to the view of Princeton’s chaired “ethicist,” Peter Singer, that parents should have up to a month after birth to decided whether to terminate their infant. Singer’s idea is based upon parents confronted with serious genetic imperfections or birth defects that would make raising a child unduly difficult or expensive. However, once you give parents the right to determine whether a child’s life is worth cultivating or deserves execution, that viewpoint easily extends to cover the “imperfections” of parental exhaustion, frustration, and inconvenience. It’s a slippery, steep slope from “safe, rare, and legal” to Sparta and Nazi Germany.

I’ll go back to my starting point, which is that I grew up completely embracing the Leftist view that it’s not fair that the pleasures of sex are always pleasurable for men but, for women, can have life shattering consequences. What maturity has brought me is an understanding that life isn’t fair because Nature isn’t fair. We can recognize that fact, that scientific reality, by turning ourselves into monsters, or by embracing the inevitable and folding a respect for life into our world view and our actions.

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*I know that there are Leftists who regularly attend church or temple. However, when political values crash into religious values, it’s always the religious values that yield. An extreme example is the Lefty who called Jesus a drag queen pedophile to harmonize religion with his own world view. You can see here a more centrist Leftist approach to Jesus, which puts a Marxist spin on everything, in order to create a Christian theocracy that would come as a big surprise to the original writers of the Old and New Testaments.

** I understand that innocent people invariably get swept into the maelstrom of wars into which their leaders drag them. Not every person who donned the German uniform was a Nazi. Some were naive souls fighting for an abstract “Fatherland” unrelated to the Nazis. Others were conscripts who had the choice of certainly being executed in a prison yard for refusing to serve or taking the chance that they could survive the battlefields. One of the many hells of war is that it’s a nation’s leaders that make the choices and the nation’s soldiers, only some of whom are true believers, with most of them being just fodder, doing the dying.

Academia: the incubator for total abortion and all other bad ideas

Academia — that is, the world of colleges and universities — is the incubator for all of the worst ideas in America, with abortion as the latest example.

I’ll start with a three-part time-line, and then get to my point:

1. 1993, Practical Ethics, 2nd edition, a college text-book by Peter Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne:

n Chapter 4 we saw that the fact that a being is a human being, in the sense of a member of the species Homo sapiens, is not relevant to the wrongness of killing it; it is, rather, characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings. This conclusion is not limited to infants who, because of irreversible intellectual disabilities, will never be rational, self-conscious beings. We saw in our discussion of abortion that the potential of a fetus to become a rational, self-conscious being cannot count against killing it at a stage when it lacks these characteristics – not, that is, unless we are also prepared to count the value of rational self-conscious life as a reason against contraception and celibacy. No infant – disabled or not – has as strong a claim to life as beings capable of seeing themselves as distinct entities, existing over time.

The difference between killing disabled and normal infants lies not in any supposed right to life that the latter has and the former lacks, but in other considerations about killing. Most obviously there is the difference that often exists in the attitudes of the parents. The birth of a child is usually a happy event for the parents. They have, nowadays, often planned for the child. The mother has carried it for nine months. From birth, a natural affection begins to bind the parents to it. So one important reason why it is normally a terrible thing to kill an infant is the effect the killing will have on its parents.

It is different when the infant is born with a serious disability. Birth abnormalities vary, of course. Some are trivial and have little effect on the child or its parents; but others turn the normally joyful event of birth into a threat to the happiness of the parents, and any other children they may have.

Parents may, with good reason, regret that a disabled child was ever born. In that event the effect that the death of the child will have on its parents can be a reason for, rather than against killing it. Some parents want even the most gravely disabled infant to live as long as possible, and this desire would then be a reason against killing the infant. But what if this is not the case? in the discussion that follows I shall assume that the parents do not want the disabled child to live. I shall also assume that the disability is so serious that – again in contrast to the situation of an unwanted but normal child today – there are no other couples keen to adopt the infant. This is a realistic assumption even in a society in which there is a long waiting- list of couples wishing to adopt normal babies. It is true that from time to time cases of infants who are severely disabled and are being allowed to die have reached the courts in a glare of publicity, and this has led to couples offering to adopt the child. Unfortunately such offers are the product of the highly publicised dramatic life-and-death situation, and do not extend to the less publicised but far more cormnon situations in which parents feel themselves unable to look after a severely disabled child, and the child then languishes in an institution.

Infants are sentient beings who are neither rational nor self- conscious. So if we turn to consider the infants in themselves, independently of the attitudes of their parents, since their species is not relevant to their moral status, the principles that govern the wrongness of killing non-human animals who are sentient but not rational or self-conscious must apply here too. As we saw, the most plausible arguments for attributing a right to life to a being apply only if there is some awareness of oneself as a being existing over time, or as a continuing mental self. Nor can respect for autonomy apply where there is no capacity for autonomy. The remaining principles identified in Chapter 4 are utilitarian. Hence the quality of life that the infant can be expected to have is important.

2. 2013, Planned Parenthood lobbyist Alisa Lapolt Snow, testifying before the Florida House:

REP. JIM BOYD: So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?

SNOW: We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician.

REP. DANIEL DAVIS: What happens in a situation where a baby is alive, breathing on a table, moving. What do your physicians do at that point?

SNOW: I do not have that information. I am not a physician, I am not an abortion provider. So I do not have that information.

I can’t find biographical information on Snow, but I’m willing to bet she’s a college graduate and, judging by her look in the video, probably post 1985.

3. January 30, 2019, Ralph Northam (Dem), Governor of Virginia, educated at the Virginia Military Institute and Eastern Virginia Medical School, where he got an M.D. and after which he practiced as a pediatrician:

If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

AND NOW TO MY POINT: Whatever starts in academia does not stay in academia. Academia is where:

  • Kids are taught to hate individual liberty and the free market, and to embrace all manners of socialism and other totalitarian governance;
  • Bishops are educated and then refuse to excommunicate Catholic politicians who vote for “post-birth abortions” (i.e., murder);
  • Jews and Asians, who are the people most likely to send their kids to college, produce generations of people who aggressively advocate for policies that are terribly damaging to them, everything from antisemitism and Israel hatred to academic quotas;
  • People are taught that democratic, pluralist, open Israel is evil and that the Palestinian communities, rife with misogyny, homophobia, antisemitism, anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism, anti-Christianity, anti-Hinduism, and myriad other anti’s and phobias, are superb societies that should be allowed to use genocide to eliminate Israel;
  • Climate change madness, which is not supported by a scintilla of actual science, but does rely on a regular input of fraudulent temperature data, finds its intellectual home; where young people are taught that there is no such things as biological gender;
  • Young people are told that their feelings trump everything and that rational thinking is a product of toxic, white masculinity;
  • Non-white people are taught anti-white racism;
  • Women are taught to hate men and men are taught that they are rapists; and
  • Every other mad idea that pollutes the Western world is born and grows.

These ideas, unless stopped, will destroy our world. We already see how the end plays out with the abortion, which went from Singer’s boring academic arguments to the official position of the pediatrician governor of Virginia.

I grew up in a pro-abortion family and, to be honest, never thought much about it at an ethical level. I just knew it was a good thing and thought that those who analogized it to the Holocaust were being silly. I was wrong. Terribly wrong. It was a slippery slope and we have gone way behind the Holocaust, because the Nazis at least provided a justification — a terrible, false, totally evil justification, but still a justification — for what they did:

If I could ask Congress to do one thing, it would be to withdraw every penny of federal funds from America’s colleges and universities. In five years, the madness would be over.

Modern philosophy, untethered from morality, is just nihilism in fancy dress

Talking to college students brought home that modern philosophy is a nihilistic numbers game intended to support a given philosopher’s preferred goals.

With colleges winding down for the year, young adults are returning to my community. This has yielded some interesting conversations, and given me a first person insight into the nihilism that passes for deep thinking and philosophy at American universities.

It all began when one of the young adults mentioned enjoying a philosophy class at school. As best as I can tell, most of the class was discussion, with students trying to figure out the philosophical or moral path in response to a series of hypotheticals. One hypothetical envisioned a car with no brakes that was heading for five people, with the only alternative being a hard swerve to the left, that would hit one person. The student said that one of today’s modern philosophers holds that the driver should sit there, unmoving, as the car heads towards five people because it’s wrong to take any affirmative action that might kill even one person.

The way the student described the course reminded me strongly of my Tort class, back when I was a first year law student. The teacher would pose a hypothetical and pick a student to answer that hypothetical. As soon as the student answered, the teacher would throw in a factual twist and, subject to that twist, again ask the student to answer.

For example, in a civil liability case for an assault that left the plaintiff with a broken jaw, the teacher would begin by saying that the defendant hit the plaintiff. Then the scenario would repeatedly change with the defendant intentionally hitting the plaintiff, but not meaning to hurt him; with the defendant intentionally moving his arm, but not meaning either to hit or hurt the plaintiff; with the defendant carelessly moving that same arm; etc. The hypotheticals might also address the plaintiff’s conduct (was he attacking the defendant? did he carelessly put himself in the line of fire? did he have an unexpected glass jaw?).

At the time, I found these professorial interrogations terrifying because I actually believed there was one right and moral answer. In fact, there is no moral answer. As in law school, so it is in the actual practice of law: There is only a constantly shifting legal battle, with each side advancing those facts and legal theories that most benefit its case.

Indeed, there should be no doubt about the fact that the law is completely unrelated to morality. I figured that out in my third year, when all but one person from my graduating class sacrificed a Saturday to attend an all-day review class on “professional ethics.”

The only student who didn’t attend, a very dear man who had grown up in Latin America, the son of Christian missionaries, explained that the Bible was the only book he needed to study to prepare for the test. He was also the only student in the school’s history to fail that exam.

In the context of law, “professional ethics” are merely a set of rules intended to ensure that attorneys do not engage in professional behavior that can harm past or present clients. There is no morality involved.

Just as law is unrelated to morality, it seems as if modern philosophy is too. In pre-modern, as opposed to post-modern, times, philosophy existed within the confines of Judeo-Christian morality. You could certainly debate nuances to death, but you were still constrained by the big ten — that is, by the Ten Commandments. From the rabbis to Thomas Aquinas, the Bible was the starting point for abstract discussions or for concrete debates about issues affecting people in daily life.

Back then, nobody needed to debate, as modern university students do, whether it’s “ethical” to kill a healthy person to provide organ transplants for five sick people. For the students in the philosophy class, the debate was a numbers game. That is, they struggled, in the abstract, with whether all five transplants would go well, justifying one death, or whether a healthy person was worth more than a sick one. They were actuaries, not philosophers.

For old-fashioned philosophers operating within Biblical parameters, however, the starting and stopping point for such a debate would be “thou shalt not murder.” That is a fixed moral principle that must be the foundation for the discussion the students had. The debate that occupied them for an hour took me a minute: My morals are clear that we don’t murder. That Judeo-Christian backdrop is why the Chinese harvest organs from prisoners and we don’t.

I am happy to report, incidentally, that the college student said that his classmates ultimately concluded that murder was not the answer in response to the proposed scenario. Even in a nihilistic academic environment, there is hope.

The reality is that, without a moral construct, philosophy is simply a way to intellectualize whatever outcomes one prefers. That’s why Peter Singer, an endowed philosophy chair at Princeton University, can argue that parents should have a 30 days period after their baby is born to decide whether or not to kill the baby, a position even more extreme than that espoused by the average abortion-obsessed Leftist.

Wikipedia offers as good a summary as any of Singer’s “philosophical” views on life and death:

Singer holds that the right to life is essentially tied to a being’s capacity to hold preferences, which in turn is essentially tied to a being’s capacity to feel pain and pleasure.

In Practical Ethics, Singer argues in favour of abortion rights on the grounds that fetuses are neither rational nor self-aware, and can therefore hold no preferences. As a result, he argues that the preference of a mother to have an abortion automatically takes precedence. In sum, Singer argues that a fetus lacks personhood.

Similar to his argument for abortion, Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of personhood—”rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness”[41]—and therefore “killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living”.[42]

Singer classifies euthanasia as voluntary, involuntary, or non-voluntary. Voluntary euthanasia is that to which the subject consents. He argues in favour of voluntary euthanasia and some forms of non-voluntary euthanasia, including infanticide in certain instances, but opposes involuntary euthanasia.

Religious critics have argued that Singer’s ethic ignores and undermines the traditional notion of the sanctity of life. Singer agrees and believes the notion of the sanctity of life ought to be discarded as outdated, unscientific, and irrelevant to understanding problems in contemporary bioethics. Bioethicists associated with the Disability Rights and Disability Studies communities have argued that his epistemology is based on ableist conceptions of disability.[43]

Singer has experienced the complexities of some of these questions in his own life. His mother had Alzheimer’s disease. He said, “I think this has made me see how the issues of someone with these kinds of problems are really very difficult”.[44] In an interview with Ronald Bailey, published in December 2000, he explained that his sister shares the responsibility of making decisions about his mother. He did say that, if he were solely responsible, his mother might not continue to live.[45]

When I raised Singer as an example of the selfish, morality-free nihilism that passes for modern philosophy, the other people involved in the conversation were quite sure that I was making things up in order to justify my arcane, impractical conservative views. Then, when I offered to send them links proving Singer’s viewpoints, they hastily declined that offer. They did not want to know.

The second topic that impressed itself on me was also moral in nature, but arose in an anthropological context. I don’t remember the genesis, but the issue that arose was whether to interfere in observed cultures  — that is, should the anthropologist attempt to change his subjects’ minds on things the anthropologist finds morally objectionable? The student said “Never!”

Okay, as an observer, perhaps not. But what about the situation in which you have government control over a culture engaging in reprehensible acts? The answer was still “Never!” And the reason for that answer was that we lack the moral authority to impose our values on others.

Rather than getting into a fight about modern Islam (with all its genital mutilation, honor killings, gay murders, etc.) how Western countries should address Muslim practices within Western borders, I retreated to the past. My choice of subject was the British response to suttee in India. Suttee (or sati), for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is the old Indian practice of requiring a widow to climb onto her husband’s funeral pyre and be burned alive.

Suttee can be traced back to the 1st century BC, so it was deeply embedded in certain parts of Indian culture when the British started colonizing India in the early 17th century. The British, while disapproving of the practice, nevertheless let suttee continue unhindered for the better part of two centuries so as not to upset the Indian population and interfere with trade. That changed in the early 19th century.

In the late 1820s, William Bentinck, Governor-General of the East India company, refused to bow either to laissez faire trade principles or to the 19th century’s version of cultural relativism, which was to state explicitly what modern relativists believe implicitly: One cannot expect high standards of behavior from primitive, non-white peoples.  Instead, Bentinck insisted that, under British rule, suttee end.

The following passage may be written in the ornate, verbose, polysyllabic style of the 19th century, but the meaning is clear — Indians are people too and it is every moral person’s obligation to steer them away from barbarism:

The first and primary object of my heart is the benefit of the Hindus. I know nothing so important to the improvement of their future condition as the establishment of a purer morality, whatever their belief, and a more just conception of the will of God. The first step to this better understanding will be dissociation of religious belief and practice from blood and murder. They will then, when no longer under this brutalizing excitement, view with more calmness acknowledged truths. They will see that there can be no inconsistency in the ways of Providence, that to the command received as divine by all races of` men, “No innocent blood shall be spilt,” there can be no exception; and when they shall have been convinced of the error of this first and most criminal of their customs, may it not be hoped that others, which stand in the way of their improvement, may likewise pass away, and that, thus emancipated from those chains and shackles upon their minds and actions, they may no longer continue, as they have done, the slaves of every foreign conqueror, but that they may assume their first places among the great families of mankind? I disown in these remarks, or in this measure, any view whatever to conversion to our own faith. I write and feel as a legislator for the Hindus, and as I believe many enlightened Hindus think and feel.

Descending from these higher considerations, it cannot be a dishonest ambition that the Government of which I form a part should have the credit of an act which is to wash out a foul stain upon British rule, and to stay the sacrifice of humanity and justice to a doubtful expediency; and finally, as a branch of the general administration of the Empire, I may be permitted to feel deeply anxious that our course shall be in accordance with the noble example set to us by the British Government at home, and that the adaptation, when practicable to the circumstances of this vast Indian population, of the same enlightened principles, may promote here as well as there the general prosperity, and may exalt the character of our nation.

Call Bentinck’s reasoning “enlightened colonialism,” if you want.  In practice, it meant that Bentinck recognized the Indians’ humanity, and demanded that they elevate their conduct consistent with that humanity.

The college-educated young people in front of me simply could not acknowledge that it was more respectful of Indian culture to save the lives of millions of women than to allow social pressure to force them into painful and terminal self-immolation. The most that the students would concede is that one ought to “educate” the Indians not to burn their wives.

The fact that two-hundred years of British pressure had failed to change the dynamic was irrelevant. The fact that the practice was profoundly misogynistic didn’t matter. And the fact that millions of women died in agony could not stand up against their bedrock principle, which is that we our Western morality is weak, if not bad, and should never be imposed from above on other people.

These nice young students and I were at an impasse. I believe that the combination of Judeo-Christian morality and the Western Enlightenment produced the best possible set of moral rules. We have certainly failed always to abide by them, but that has nothing to do with their intrinsic virtue. As a guide for conducting our own lives and dealing with others, both at the individual and the state level, there is nothing better, more humane, or more respectful of each individual’s worth.

But that’s not what they’re teaching at college. Instead, the professors contend that we have nothing to offer the world and that our morality is no better than anybody else’s. In that context, philosophy is little more than a numbers game, aimed at figuring out how best to achieve a stated goal. I left the conversation quite depressed.

Photo creditPhilosophy, by dakine kane. Creative commons license; some rights reserved.