Now, I know that the principles of rational thought are not popular these days, equally in schools as in parliaments, but one has to wonder at the willingness of so many to have their intelligence, whether real or imagined, so brazenly insulted, and their compassion manipulated, as it is by the abortion lobby in the case of the "rape exception".
The rape exception is the one argument that most irritates me. Not because of its inherent dishonesty - one expects only dishonesty from people conniving to murder helpless infants - but for the blind, drooling stupidity of the people who buy it, normally without the slightest examination. Or perhaps I should say the willing connivance of the marks. It is said that people who go to carnivals with a few shillings to spend on the ring-toss game, actually want to be swindled. Why else would one to go a carnival?
When I am talking to school groups about abortion, naturally after we have painstakingly gone through and demonstrated the existence of a human being in the womb (don't they tell these kids any more where babies come from? What are they doing in all those sex-education classes in kindergarten anyway?) someone in the back of the room will invariably put his (it is always a he) hand up and say "Yeah, but what about rape?"
He says this for two reasons: he has been taught that favouring abortion for rape is a mark of deep sensitivity and that "sensitivity" is a sure fire method of getting girls into bed, and that it is a stumper. He believes, in effect, that because the pro-life position is inherently flawed by its hatred of women and desire to oppress and subjugate them, that this is The Big One that will always end the discussion. This, he believes will establish his feminist political cred...which is also a sure fire method of getting girls into bed.
He expects me to have no answer, and sadly, this is the case with most of the people who consider themselves pro-life. In Britain, I would suggest, because there is no pro-life movement to speak of and those who imagine themselves to be pro-life have not the slightest notion of what it means, it is doubly the case. The British "pro-life" "movement" has failed so absolutely because it is based on warm fuzzy feelings towards cute little babies and depends wholly on a vestigial culturally generated moral sense that can now be found only in the previous generation, who themselves only ever had a hazy grasp of the meaning of the word "principle". Once the little old ladies, cooing gently over the sight of a sweet-faced cherub are gone, even that will vanish. And nothing will replace it. The world will belong to Generation Why. Maybe we could re-name them Generation Why Not?
What is saddest, and most ironic, about the eagerness of most of our progressively minded modern people, as well as many "pro-life" people, to defend the rape exception, is that they love it because it is held up as a model of compassion and toleration towards the victimised. This is especially tempting to pro-lifers who are possibly tired of being called EVIL FASCISTS. They long to be included in the ranks of the tolerant and compassionate. The same people will, with precisely the same earnest expressions, tell you all about the evils of capital punishment. They have such strong feeeeelings, you see, for the downtrodden, the oppressed, the victimised.
But no one stops to wonder who it is exactly that is doing the "holding up". Who exactly, has told them that abortion is a requirement in cases of pregnancy due to rape? And what are their motives?
But these goodthinkful people will not question the motives or origin of the received wisdom. That's why we call it that. When you ask them why they support the death penalty for the children of criminals, they simply look at you with a fullwise goodthinkfully blank expression and you can almost see their grey cells desperately rushing to batten down the hatches and close the sea doors.
"Doubleplusungoodthink. unoft, plusungoodthink or ungoodthink. Oldthink is unwith BB and party. oldthinkers unluv doubleplusgood waylive BB command. Oldthinkers oft is crimethinkers. Oldthinkers oft make crimethink."
When giving talks in schools, I was able to relieve the tedium by setting these sorts of traps and watching the poor chumps dive eagerly into them. (Even more amusing than tripping blind people).
"Hands up everyone who supports the death penalty." Never any takers for that one, especially in Catholic schools.
"Good. It is true that most western progressive countries, those who have been governed for centuries by the rule of law, have abolished the death penalty. Even for serious crimes like treason, murder and rape.
"We do not execute rapists, in the hopes, perhaps, that they will be reformed. Or perhaps only on the grounds that it is simply wrong to kill, even to kill a dangerous criminal."
General agreement, but at the same time a vague sense of discomfort growing...they know something is going on, but haven't the acuity to guess what.
"Now, let's examine a country that does have it. Communist China has more capital offenses [brief pause to explain the terms 'Communist' and 'capital offense'] than any other country in the world. And they carry out more executions than any other country. Even than the United States.
"Let us pretend for a moment that you are an official of China's legal system charged with carrying out executions. Would you consider granting clemency to a rapist?" [pause to explain 'clemency'.]
...nod nod nod...
"What about to the rapist's 18 month-old daughter?"