Monday, September 15, 2008

Stupid or Evil?

Now here's something interesting.

Camille Paglia, a woman not known for backing away from a point, has come right out and said what we've been saying for a long time.

People who want to kill babies, ought to own up to the fact. Trying to pretend that there is only a 'blob of cells' in a pregnant lady's middle is making the abortion movement look as if they are mired in self-delusion, or outright stupidity.

Now, Camille isn't the first feminist to make this point. Naomi Wolfe said some years ago at a baby-eating conference something along the lines of "We must not allow the discussion even to touch upon the existence of the unborn child. We must continue to point the debate exclusively at the issue of women's rights because once are in that contest we lose. If our opponents hold up a baby and we hold up a pair of scissors, we lose."

It's just that Camille's little blast is the first time anyone has dared to say the M word.

She tells abortionists and their friends to "face the ethical consequences" of embracing abortion. "I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful," she said.

She say that to support abortion, which she does, one must face up to the fact that one has decided that murder, mass murder to be specific and on a scale unimagined in the darkest fantasies of 20th century dictators, is just fine. Global mass murder is what you have to support. She challenges abortion supporters to stop skulking around behind euphemisms and evasions and intellectual and emotional dishonesty.

Which is...I don't know exactly. I don't really think it is good. I think it is a bit weird to tell the truth. Is it a good thing to call for people to embrace and defend murder instead of trying to pretend that the act in question is not murder? Well, no. The fact that abortionists and their supporters are trying to avoid the issue is actually a sign of moral health. Or at least, of less moral ill-health. Which is worse, a person who tries to convince himself that there is nothing wrong with what he is doing, or a person who goes out to deliberately commit a heinous crime, justifying it by saying, 'at least I'm being honest with myself'?

Perhaps Miss Paglia is ready to accept he logical moral consequence of being pro-murder-of-innocents, but I get the impression that the rest of the abortion world is not.

If you say, "I'm pro-abortion, even though I know it is the murder of innocent children" is, even in our greatly morally corroded society, an outright admission of being in the wrong. To admit to such a thing is to admit to being evil, and even now, most people understand that being evil is wrong. It's being on the wrong side.

It is evil to want to murder infants. We still tenuously cling as a culture, to that idea. It is, for example, still for the moment a crime to murder a born child.

We remember the assertion by Catholic theologians that no one ever objectively wills evil and it looks as if Miss Paglia thinks she is taking some kind of moral high ground even by favouring murder. I think she is trying to say that it is a lesser evil (that woefully misunderstood concept) to want to kill innocent children because it safeguards the higher good of defending women's absolute autonomy. But she certainly seems to be testing the limits of the principle. Insisting on the absolute right to murder babies to safeguard personal autonomy seems to be coming awfully close to willing evil for its own sake. Especially since it does not take much examination to discover that autonomy, even according to the secularists' standards, isn't really that great shakes as a higher good. People who have tried absolute autonomy have found it wanting as a first principle of life...those who aren't in prison, that is.

I think I've said it before, that we have replaced nearly all other social and individual goods with our new cultural highest good: autonomy. It is outlined in the work of bioethicists as one of the three Principles of Principlism: Justice, Beneficence and Autonomy. As bioethics evolves in practice in hospitals and universities, it seems that of the three, that are often in conflict in individual cases, autonomy is increasingly winning out in the battle for supremacy.

But Mizz Paglia's point is a difficult one for people who like to eat babies. They have held their appetites up to the world as an example of moral superiority. Women's rights above all, and all that.

I imagine that given a choice between declaring themselves too stupid to understand where babies come from ("We don't know when life begins, therefore we must have unlimited abortion") and just plainly in favour of murdering innocent children, they're going to pick the first thing.


Mark S. Abeln said...

Historically, people have not feared crossing the line. The consequence is usually widespread slaughter of those of us outside of the womb, followed by great patriotic wars to eliminate such awful regimes.

In the aftermath, the lefties do lots of hand-wringing about how awful everything got, and end up blaming someone else.

Aaron Traas said...

Quite frankly, I appreciate Ms. Paglia's intellectual honesty. It's refreshing. This is not to say it isn't disturbing or even evil -- but at least she's willing to admit openly what countless feminists believe.

A few years ago, a friend of a friend had an episode in college where a condom ruptured during coitus with her boyfriend, and decided to go for a "morning after" pill. My friend, the young lady in question's very Catholic room-mate, did everything to convince her to not do so -- going so far as to offer to drop out of college and take care of the child. She even effectively convinced the potential young mother that life begins at conception. The response? "I know it's murder -- I just can't deal with having a baby right now."

I've encountered this kind of attitude many times in my life -- mostly in high-school, where I debated countless people about abortion. I quite honestly think a sizable percentage of people who are pro-choice think it's murder, but are OK with that.