In Memoriam

 

From Michael Paulsen’s incredible essay on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, posted today on RealClearPolitics, a piece that manages to be both scrupulously objective and emotionally devastating:

After nearly four decades, Roe’s human death toll stands at nearly sixty million human lives, a total exceeding the Nazi Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, Pol Pot’s killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined. Over the past forty years, one-sixth of the American population has been killed by abortion. One in four African-Americans is killed before birth. Abortion is the leading cause of (unnatural) death in America.

And later:

Roe is a radical decision and a legally indefensible one. But what really makes Roe unbearably wrong is its consequences. The result of Roe and Doe has been the legally authorized killing of nearly sixty million Americans since 1973. Roe v. Wade authorized unrestricted private violence against human life on an almost unimaginable scale, and did so, falsely, in the name of the Constitution.

It is hard to escape this conclusion, but not impossible—and many certainly try. I will not here belabor the question of whether the intentional killing of innocent, dependent, vulnerable human children is a grave moral wrong. My concluding point concerns the lengths to which we will go to deny the reality of this holocaust, because it is almost unbearable to contemplate and still go on living life as if nothing is terribly wrong. The cognitive dissonance is simply too great. And so we have become, in effect, a nation of holocaust deniers.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @BasilFawlty
    Nobody’s Perfect:

    Michael Paulsen’s implicit conflation of millions of American citizens who made a difficult, lawful choice with the Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust is repulsive.

    · 6 minutes ago

    Didn’t the Nazi perpetrators act lawfully?

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Nobody’s Perfect: Michael Paulsen’s implicit conflation of millions of American citizens who made a difficult, lawful choice with the Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust is repulsive.

    Why throw in “difficult” there, NP?

    Does the fact that it’s a difficult choice for some women affect its moral value or disvalue even one iota?

    Further, who says it’s a difficult choice? For some it is, for some it isn’t at all. There are lots of women out there who think abortion is great. Lots more who dislike it but who have no doubt about it all, morally speaking.

    As for lawful, owning slaves was once lawful too. It was still immoral.

    What makes it a holocaust is that it is, as a matter of indisputable fact, the mass slaughter of innocents.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NobodysPerfect

    What makes it a holocaust is that it is, as a matter of indisputable fact, the mass slaughter of innocents.

    “Mass slaughter”? A mass slaughter is what happens when government loads people onto cattle cars and transports them to extermination camps.

    That’s a very different thing from an individual woman making her own, lawful choice.

    Now that’s an indisputable fact.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @AaronMiller
    Nobody’s Perfect:

    A mass slaughter is what happens when government loads people onto cattle cars and transports them to extermination camps.

    That’s a very different thing from an individual woman making her own, lawful choice.

    The key word in that sentence is “lawful”. Suppose government told everyone they would not be prosecuted for hacking up their neighbors with machetes. Would it not be slaughter because the government merely condoned individual choices?

    Murder is an individual’s choice. Law isn’t.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Nobody’s Perfect: What makes it a holocaust is that it is, as a matter of indisputable fact, the mass slaughter of innocents.

    “Mass slaughter”? A mass slaughter is what happens when government loads people onto cattle cars and transports them to extermination camps.

    That’s a very different thing from an individual woman making her own, lawful choice.

    Now that’s an indisputable fact. · 11 minutes ago

    When masses of women make that same choice it becomes a mass slaughter.

    One of horrors of abortion is that many more “ordinary Americans” are implicated in it than “ordinary Germans” were implicated in Hitler’s crimes, or Russians in Stalin’s.

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Nathaniel Wright: Those who perform abortions and those who defend the “right” to kill the unborn don’t do so out of some affirmative hatred of the unborn. There is little rhetoric (outside of the Zero Population Growth movement) asserting that the unborn are a virus, a cancer, or are vermin.

    To me it’s not the “affirmative hatred” that’s the essence of the evil of the holocaust; its rather the de-humanization of a whole class of persons. You can de-humanize with affirmative hatred or you can dehumanize by moral indifference. Either way, it’s one set of people arrogating to itself the right to dispose of another set.

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    Nobody’s Perfect:

    Michael Paulsen’s implicit conflation of millions of American citizens who made a difficult, lawful choice with the Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust is repulsive.

    There’s no such thing as an “implicit conflation.” Either you’ve conflated something or you have not. The Holocaust comparison was with respect to body count, not motives for–or the “difficulty” or legality of–the killing. (Murdering Jews and “useless eaters” was entirely legal in Nazi Germany. So that abortion is legal proves what, exactly? It’s also right?) You might have noticed other mass-murder events in the comparison. Why are you focused on only one?

    The morality of taking innocent life is the point here. You may disagree with whether an aborted child is a really a life, but you can’t deny that if it is life it is wholly innocent. The device of citing well-known events to express by comparison the magnitude of something less-well known is hardly unusual or inappropriate . . . it works perfectly here as a rhetorical device to convey a viewpoint. Rather than arguing the viewpoint, you want to stifle highly effective rhetoric. Could it be because the former is indefensible?

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Leigh
    katievs

    To me it’s not the “affirmative hatred” that’s the essence of the evil of the holocaust; its rather the de-humanization of a whole class of persons. You can de-humanize with affirmative hatred or you can dehumanize by moral indifference. Either way, it’s one set of people arrogating to itself the right to dispose of another set. · 4 minutes ago

    Very well said.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen

    Let’s say those sixty million people lived. What then? The chances are that the vast majority of them would be living below the poverty and dependent on a welfare state that has plunged us into debt. Sure, there is adoption, but there are issues with that, like finding enough resources for prenatal care and financial support for the mothers. How do people reconcile a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to? And how can people wish to deny abortions to women, but also wish to deny them access to contraception to prevent pregnancies in the first place?

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @michaelkelley

    Getting bogged down in the aptness of Paulsen’s analogies might make one miss one of his main points. The one about the sheer, mind-boggling magnitude of the abortion wave since Roe v. Wade. The numbers are staggering.

    Of all the bull markets our culture has produced, infanticide may be the biggest of them all.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @NathanielWright

    Katievs,

    I wanted to highlight this quote because it is exactly what I was saying.

    “To me it’s not the “affirmative hatred” that’s the essence of the evil of the holocaust; its rather the de-humanization of a whole class of persons.”

    What I call nihilistic absence of malice is your dehumanization of a whole class of persons.

    Nihilistic absence of malice is, to me, horrifying. To be able — even for a moment — to have no ability to induct to the Teleological ends of the act of conception is unfathomable and inhuman. How can one not immediately imagine the life story of a growing child?

    To be able to deny that a fetus is a child… To remove any capacity for empathy for the unborn… is to be the Last Man. One must have no true capacity for love, save maybe for the self.

    Some can be tricked into this state for a time, but I don’t think that can last if a person has any capacity for empathy.

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Percival
    Karen: Let’s say those sixty million people lived. What then? The chances are that the vast majority of them would be living below the poverty and dependent on a welfare state that has plunged us into debt. Sure, there is adoption, but there are issues with that, like finding enough resources for prenatal care and financial support for the mothers. How do people reconcile a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to? And how can people wish to deny abortions to women, but also wish to deny them access to contraception to pregnancies in the first place? · 7 minutes ago

    Karen, you’ve just pushed the whole issue closer to the Nazi Holocaust, not further away.

    • #12
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @BasilFawlty
    Karen: Let’s say those sixty million people lived. What then? The chances are that the vast majority of them would be living below the poverty and dependent on a welfare state that has plunged us into debt. Sure, there is adoption, but there are issues with that, like finding enough resources for prenatal care and financial support for the mothers. How do people reconcile a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to? And how can people wish to deny abortions to women, but also wish to deny them access to contraception to pregnancies in the first place? · 11 minutes ago

    Does application of the “kill them before they suffer” rationale have a cut-off age, or is it flexible?

    • #13
  14. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Percival

    That last came off a little rough, and I apollogize, but it was roughly the same argument that was used to justify getting rid of the “useless eaters” in Germany. All very reasonable sounding at the start, but ultimately it led to something fiendish.

    • #14
  15. Profile Photo Inactive
    @michaelkelley
    Basil Fawlty

    Karen: Let’s say those sixty million people lived. What then? The chances are that the vast majority of them would be living below the poverty and dependent on a welfare state that has plunged us into debt. Sure, there is adoption, but there are issues with that, like finding enough resources for prenatal care and financial support for the mothers. How do people reconcile a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to? And how can people wish to deny abortions to women, but also wish to deny them access to contraception to pregnancies in the first place? · 11 minutes ago

    Does application of the “kill them before they suffer” rationale have a cut-off age, or is it flexible? · 2 minutes ago

    Well, Basil – preferably before they incur any college tuition.

    • #15
  16. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I think the problem with the argument is that in order to accept it you must already agree with the author, so it change no hearts or minds.

    I think to suggest that society is engaged in a de facto holocaust or mass genocide is to assume that you know when life begins. The rhetoric is one of babies unborn. But why not of cells undivided? Do you really believe that the morning-after pill has the same moral equivalence as a gas chamber? Can you at least understand why others are unpersuaded by the notion that an unviable, non-sentient organism is not the same as a child?

    Can you then understand why for a woman contemplating abortion, making that call between a sperm cell entering an egg and child being born vaginally is a “difficult” decision. I come out on the side of erring on life beginning sooner than Roe v. Wade allows, but I don’t presume for a moment to cast that conclusion as obvious or count myself morally superior to those that choose to regard fetal viability as “life.”

    • #16
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen
    Percival

    Karen: Let’s say those sixty million people lived. What then? The chances are that the vast majority of them would be living below the poverty and dependent on a welfare state that has plunged us into debt. Sure, there is adoption, but there are issues with that, like finding enough resources for prenatal care and financial support for the mothers. How do people reconcile a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to? And how can people wish to deny abortions to women, but also wish to deny them access to contraception to prevent pregnancies in the first place? · 7 minutes ago

    Karen, you’ve just pushed the whole issue closer to the Nazi Holocaust, not further away. · 26 minutes ago

    Is that a bad thing?

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    Karen: Let’s say those sixty million people lived. What then? The chances are that the vast majority of them would be living below the poverty and dependent on a welfare state that has plunged us into debt.

    Perhaps, then, we should establish a parental income-level requirement before allowing babies to come to term? Because, let’s face it, some of those poor bastards get born without a college fund. No more impoverished bastards! Kill them in the womb unless Mom and/or Dad can demonstrate a good middle class income! Now that’s a country I can be proud of!

    • #18
  19. Profile Photo Contributor
    @MollieHemingway
    Trace Urdan: I think the problem with the argument is that in order to accept it you must already agree with the author, so it change no hearts or minds.

    I think to suggest that society is engaged in a de facto holocaust or mass genocide is to assume that you know when life begins.

    I have, of course, had friends who have had abortions or encouraged their sexual partners to do same. It is staggering to think how many men and women have been involved with abortion. And the issue is difficult and there are people on all sides. But we all know when life begins, even if we pretend otherwise. It’s not a matter of feeling or assumption.

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    Percival: That last came off a little rough, and I apollogize, but it was roughly the same argument that was used to justify getting rid of the “useless eaters” in Germany. All very reasonable sounding at the start, but ultimately it led to something fiendish. · 24 minutes ago

    Since you’ve nothing for which to apologize, your apology is not accepted. Well there is one thing . . . murdering “useless eaters” was never “reasonable sounding.” It was always fiendish to even have that verbal construct.

    • #20
  21. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen
    Percival: That last came off a little rough, and I apollogize, but it was roughly the same argument that was used to justify getting rid of the “useless eaters” in Germany. All very reasonable sounding at the start, but ultimately it led to something fiendish. · 24 minutes ago

    If that was directed at me, I didn’t consider it rough. It was the same argument, and it’s one the Left uses today. It’s why eugenics was supported by the Left, not the right. However, conservatives won’t reconcile how they have a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to. Because this is not addressed is why I believe Democrats can still draw minorities and the poor to their side, while simultaneously advocating for the demise of their (minorities and poor) offspring.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Karen said: How do people reconcile a simultaneous contempt for those who chose to bring children into a cycle of dependency and for those who choose not to?

    Where is the contempt? You seem to be setting up a dichotomy that doesn’t exist. Not all the pro-life people I know are perfect, but I can’t recall ever having experienced contempt for those who are poor and have children.

    Instead, as an example, just three weeks ago I organized a baby shower for Birthright, an independent organization that helps women in need directly, with counseling, clothing, baby supplies, etc. My church had an Epiphany shower and we raised money and collected new supplies. All of the handmade blankets and booties and diapers and onesies and bibs didn’t say “contempt” to me, but rather, “LOVE.”

    I’ve worked at Good Counsel Homes, which provide homeless pregnant women and mothers and children a place to live, job counseling, child care so they can complete an education, etc.

    All too often, pro-abortion advocates sneer that pro-lifers only care about women and babies before the baby is born. This is a slander. There is no contempt, except towards prolife.

    • #22
  23. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Karen
    HVTs

    Karen: Let’s say those sixty million people lived. What then? The chances are that the vast majority of them would be living below the poverty and dependent on a welfare state that has plunged us into debt.

    Perhaps, then, we should establish a parental income-level requirement before allowing babies to come to term? Because, let’s face it, some of those poor bastards get born without a college fund. No more impoverished bastards! Kill them in the womb unless Mom and/or Dad can demonstrate a good middle class income! Now that’s a country I can be proud of! · 14 minutes ago

    I think folks are misreading my initial post, thinking that I’m an advocate of abortion because in effects more low-income and minority groups. I think if you read my entire post, instead of taking a few sentences out of context that it would be clearer. What I’m asking is for pro-lifers to address why they have such high regard for the unborn, when those unborn, if born, would likely be part of dependent class that conservatives see as a “problem?”

    • #23
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Karen said: And how can people wish to deny abortions to women, but also wish to deny them access to contraception to prevent pregnancies in the first place?

    Contraception fails. More than half of the abortions in the US are performed on women who were using contraception when they became pregnant. The problem for them was not lack of access to contraception. Increased access to contraception will never reduce the numbers of abortion in this country.

    Further, I do not believe contraception is good medicine. I believe that contraception damages women’s health by interfering with their reproductive cycles. I also think it damages human dignity and leads to disunity between the sexes.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    Karen

    I think folks are misreading my initial post, thinking that I’m an advocate of abortion because in effects more low-income and minority groups. I think if you read my entire post, instead of taking a few sentences out of context that it would be clearer. What I’m asking is for pro-lifers to address why they have such high regard for the unborn, when those unborn, if born, would likely be part of dependent class that conservatives see as a “problem?”

    As Mama Toad points out very politely, you’ve concocted an absurd straw man argument. I’m against abortion and I’m against govt policies that promote welfare dependency. That’s inconsistent how, exactly? It follows logically that being against welfare dependency means I should favor killing the innocent?

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Nathaniel Wright: Katievs,

    What I call nihilistic absence of malice is your dehumanization of a whole class of persons.

    Nihilistic absence of malice is, to me, horrifying. To be able — even for a moment — to have no ability to induct to the Teleological ends of the act of conception is unfathomable and inhuman.

    That’s how I understood you, Nathaniel.

    The only place I thought we might have a disagreement is on the rhetorical value of the analogy with the holocaust.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @OttomanUmpire
    Trace Urdan: I think to suggest that society is engaged in a de facto holocaust or mass genocide is to assume that you know when life begins. The rhetoric is one of babies unborn. But why not of cells undivided? Do you really believe that the morning-after pill has the same moral equivalence as a gas chamber? Can you at least understand why others are unpersuaded by the notion that an unviable, non-sentient organism is not the same as a child? · 34 minutes ago

    You’re suggesting three separate things, Trace: (1) we don’t or can’t know when life begins; (2) that there’s no moral equivalence between gas chamber and a morning pill; and (3) that an unviable, non-sentient organism isn’t the same as a child.

    1. Biologically, it’s hard to argue that an activated oocyte isn’t human life, whether viable and sentient or otherwise.
    2. They’re not morally equivalent. One is deliberately killing an innocent human life, the other a guilty one. [I hasten to add thet I meant the use of gas chambers in enforcing the death penalty. Trace, I now understand that you meant this in reference to the Nazi Holocaust. To that, I’d say that each is morally reprehensible. To say that one is worse than the other is to engage in a sort of which-life-is-more-deserving assessment that I’m not equipped to answer.]
    3. Of course a fetus or even newborn isn’t what we commonly mean by “child.” For that matter, a comatose person on life support is neither viable nor sentient.
    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @NormD

    Troy, its deeply disappointing to see you blame Roe for abortion. Abortion existed before Roe and even if Roe were overturned, that would simply return the decision to the states, most of which would legalize abortion. If some states made abortion illegal, people would simply go to states where it was legal.

    Blaming Roe for 60M deaths is intellectually dishonest.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    NormD: Troy, its deeply disappointing to see you blame Roe for abortion. Abortion existed before Roe and even if Roe were overturned, that would simply return the decision to the states, most of which would legalize abortion. If some states made abortion illegal, people would simply go to states where it was legal.

    Blaming Roe for 60M deaths is intellectually dishonest. · 1 minute ago

    Concocting a Constitutional ‘right to privacy’ instead of affirming the Constitutional duty to protect innocent life . . . that’s what led to all those deaths.

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Inactive
    @katievs
    Trace Urdan: I think the problem with the argument is that in order to accept it you must already agree with the author, so it change no hearts or minds.

    I don’t think this is true. I think there are lots of people who have been woken up to the essential evil of abortion by the moral passion of those who “cry aloud and spare not”.

    But why not of cells undivided?

    At the moment of conception a completely new and absolutely unique human being is formed. On this point there is no doubt. To deny is to fly in the face of science and philosophy, not to mention Revelation.

    Do you really believe that the morning-after pill has the same moral equivalence as a gas chamber?

    To hold that both are evil is not to hold that they are equally evil.

    I don’t presume for a moment to cast that conclusion as obvious or count myself morally superior to those that choose to regard fetal viability as “life.” ·

    That’s a nasty red herring.

    Who is counting themselves as morally superior to anyone?

    • #30
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