"I'm like a newborn baby," Dr. Henry Morgentaler told the CBC's Evan Solomon about surviving a recent stroke and heart operation. "I enjoy being alive."
The irony wasn't lost on Solomon, who then asked the Canadian abortion doctor "how does a guy who's seen so much death (in Auschwitz and Dachau, where he was imprisoned as a youngster) fight for a cause which many people believe is a form of killing?"
"I won't deny there's an inconsistency," Morgentaler answered. "Maybe I've deluded myself."
It does seem to demonstrate a thing I've been thinking about.
It is actually impossible that Henry Morgentaler does not know where babies come from. He is not just a doctor, but an adult with a normal intelligence. The only possible explanation of how he could have done what he has done is that he is insane. That the cognitive dissonance has driven him mad.
And if it has happened to him, the leader of our abortive society, the Moses who has brought us into the fleshpots of Egypt, it has happened to the rest of us too. We must all be, at least to some degree, insane.
We are all, or nearly all, suffering from a sort of societal cognitive dissonance.
Recently I wrote:
There is never a point at which one is unmovable. Human beings cannot become so calloused as to be insensible. It is recorded that those involved in the killing in the German T4 euthanasia project in which disabled children and other vulnerable patients were killed by lethal injections, gassing and starvation, went slowly mad. Drug and alcohol abuse rose significantly among staff and they began to display bizarre psychological and behavioral problems.
There is something interesting that can happen to the human mind when faced with something impossible to accept. I have observed it quite closely in the last ten years or so. I don't know what the psych majors call it, but there is something that human beings can do to their own minds when they are faced with a truth about themselves that is unface-able. It is an unconscious unhooking of connections, as if they are trying to de-connect themselves from themselves. I have seen it many times and I think this is the answer to the puzzle of people no longer being able to make logical connections.
Logical connections -- "If A and B are equal, and if C equals A, it also must equal B", sort of thing -- are apprehensions of Truth, an immutable and indestructible thing that will not bend to our preferences and can only be acknowledged, not changed. A thing, in other words, beyond our power that rules us.
The trouble with truth is that when it comes to true things about one's self, it is mostly something unpleasant.
In our times, the truth about abortion is one of the most unface-able things going.
Nearly everyone is quietly in support of abortion being legal. At the same time, it is, given the amount of sheer data available to everyone, actually impossible for anyone to deny that abortion is the wanton murder of an innocent child. This means that we are nearly all in support of the wanton murder of innocent children.
A and B are the same, and if C is the same as A, it is the same as B.
Of course, the main way we have learned to deal with this is avoidance. Our television screens are daily full of horrifying things. Crime, war, disease, famine etc. We all know horror, but it is the kind of horror we can deal with because it is always someone else's horror. I have read that the normal reaction of an ordinary person when a horror comes to visit is "Why is this happening to me?" because we have all been trained to assume that we are going to be the exception to horror. We are supposed to be exempt. And mostly we are. It is true that everyone suffers, but most of us suffer in ways that are more or less bearable. It is still true that only a minority of us gets cancer, or is robbed, or raped. In this society anyway.
But the abortion horror is one that is with all of us all the time. Given the numbers since the late 1960s when governments started legalising, it is likely that you who are reading this have had an abortion. Or knows someone who has. Very likely, in fact.
But more than that, everyone without exception, is complicit in abortion being the plague that it has become. It is our fault. And we know this. Even the people who know what abortion is have not stopped it. We have all made excuses. We do it every day. Of course, the only way to deal with this unbearable truth is to push it aside, drown out the noise it makes, to disconnect those logical train cars from each other and try to leave them behind on the track.
But every once in a while, a person has The Moment. It is that supremely terrifying instant when he realizes beyond a doubt that he is evil, the bad guy. He is, himself, the enemy of goodness and right. He is on the wrong side.
I remember mine, and know it for what it was, a moment of grace, the hosts of angels hovering around desperate to rescue me from my own delusions. And of course, it did not come all at once, but was the culmination of years of careful mental and spiritual preparation. But even with it being mitigated, it was not one I would ever want to repeat. It is, however, one that I would fervently wish on everyone, because the alternative is much worse.
This utterly unbearable Moment is one of complete agony. To realise that you are the monster in your nightmares. As Uncle Jack once wrote, to fear one's self is the last horror.
I remember it perfectly well. I was just getting ready for a bath and was reading a book. It was 1998. Between one sentence and the next, I suddenly realised that I had been on the wrong side all this time. I was in the wrong. A year later, I started to recover my equilibrium. Probably the most painful year of my life.
After that, the task of life is to start the dreary process of re-connecting those abandoned rail cars, and being vigilant against the ever-present temptations to disconnect them again.
Maybe we can hope that Dr. Morgentaler's mild shrug, "Maybe I've deluded myself," is part of this necessary preparation for his own The Moment. I pray fervently that he does experience this one most horrifying instant, before he dies, that is.
But it does look, from the outside at least, that it is merely a manifestation of the disconnect. For a man who has made killing infants his life's work, and who has done so much damage to his society in the process, the disconnect must be very large indeed. That he is able to shrug mildly in the face of being called a mass murderer of infants and say, "Maybe I've deluded myself" and then reach calmly for another cup of tea, makes me think we've got a ways to go yet.
It is a disconnect so wide that it must encompass nearly all of his mental energies. It would require the entire re-writing of reality to keep it undisturbed. I think the only word for it is insanity.
To some degree or other, it is a form of insanity that we all must share. It is this form of insanity, that Dr. Morgentaler calls "an inconsistency" that makes us all, to one degree or another, unable to make logical connections. It is the one area of the mind that absolutely must remain suppressed for us to get on in daily life. Let the logical capacities out for a moment and we will end up screaming in terror at what we are.