Sunday, September 9, 2012


Margaret Carlson has an... interesting... article on Bloomberg.

The actual topic of the article is fairly mundane. It is, simply put, a middle of the road take on abortion, probably where most of us tend to fall when we bother to think about it.  If anything it stakes out a position on abortion that seems positively.... conservative.

That, by itself, is hardly interesting.

What is interesting, however, is the tone of the article, the choice of words, phrases and images.

In short, the article uses some of the most virulently pro-abortion (as opposed to pro-choice) language to stake out a position that is entirely the opposite.  It takes a full reading to really sink in what she's doing, lacking that gleeful indulgence that marks out biting satire. Perhaps, too, it takes a bit of familiarity with the arguments on the Right and Left.

I honestly don't think she meant it.  If I had to guess, Ms Carlson probably intended, honestly, to put forth a reasonable, moderate position about Choice, if only because the positions being taken by some of the most vocal pro-choice lobby have crossed over into out and out pro-death.  This is not a new phenomenon, viewed by old feminists gleefully celebrating their abortions in t-shirts.  Ms. Carlson undoubtedly does not wish to be excoriated by the feminists and the radical left, but some bit of her remanent moral center cried out at the simple fact that at some point you stop disposing of fetuses and begin cheerfully slaughtering children.

However, she has been so immersed in the casual biases of the community she occupies, the cocooned and closed environments of the media and the political-urban left that she cannot see that she is attempting to do so using arguments and language that were entirely designed to denigrate the very people who would be her 'fellow travellers' on this particular journey.

It is a fascinating case study in witnessing someone drowning in a bubble, entirely unaware that they, in fact, are in one.

The very core of her argument is a good one to make: When does life begin?

I understand why religious leaders and anti-abortionists chose to go with 'conception'. Its easy, a clear bright line with no shades of grey.  On can clearly mark a stand at 'Conception', and it seems impossible to me that, using that as your banner, you could ever find yourself in a moral quandry. No one is ever 'almost conceived', after all.

However, it is also a remarkably poor choice for convincing ordinary people. No one ever formed an emotional attachment to a blastocyst, after all.  People often don't even know that they've concieved for weeks after the fact.  Thus the blind, fantatic resistance to morning after pills, or for that matter basic contraception, turns ordinary people off of the whole idea of being pro-life. 

I know that I, for one, find the idea of putting the genie back in the bottle, in this case referring to non-procreative sex, an amusing bit of hubris wherever I see it. 

But there does need to be a line. Life, and thus the right to life, must begin somewhere. In their rush to stake out positions opposed to the pro-life movement, the pro-abortionists, dragging the poor, unsuspecting pro-choicers, have gone farther the other way than even the 'at conception' crowd has done.

Opposing a 'Babies Born Alive' act?  You now are making a case for murdering actual infants, stripping away even the veneer of 'pregnancy'.  I have read non-satirical suggestions, some deeply reasoned and rational, that mothers should have the legal right to do away with children as old as five.

Murder, it seems, no longer is a crime.  Simply declare oneself an abortionist and the deed is as moral as any, you are merely exercising choice.

It goes further as well. Some years ago, before Obama was elected president, when Ted Rall was still relevant, he (Rall, not Obama), suggested in all seriousness, that all persons under the age of 25 who found themselves pregnant (willingly even) be frog marched to a clinic and have their children forcibly aborted.

Is it any wonder that he is no longer relevant?

These are not normal, healthy ideas.  In fact, Ted's chosen age is remarkable from a biological standpoint, in that it is at that age that fertility begins declining in women. While it is certainly possible to get pregnant after 25, it gets increasingly harder, and complications, to include autism, rise.

So why sugget them?

See the title of this post. Once one has accepted a position as moral and right, one will often begin forming an entrenched idea that everything necessary to win is also moral and right. The pro-abortion crowd wishes to push the barriers of what is, and is not, acceptable and so thereby strengthen their own position.... all the while forgetting that, should they win the extreme positions they've advocated will not suddenly go away but will become the new front lines in the cultural war.

So too on the other side. Once the pro-life movement begins advocating an end to contraception, as they do, and once they begin gaining ground in support of ending abortions, then not only will we see more anti-contraception movements, but we'll start seeing people advocating for a return to chastity laws, sex only for procreation even in marraige and other extreme positions.

This isn't necessarily to suggest that everything is a slippery slope. Most poeple will reject positions too far from the ordinary.  What does create the slippery slope is when the winning side begins aligning to marginalize their opponents, to demonize them, to shape the entire political discussion so that opposing the new status quo is almost impossible.

What we see in Ms Carlson's article then, is the common man point of view  rejecting the (currently) extreme position, while being walled in by the entrenched language that only demonizes any and all opposition.

Were I a normal person I should be horrified to see this.  However, I can see a thousand other ways that our civilization is doomed, and I can see the seeds of the next civilization already planted in the fertile, rotting zombie corpse of our current one.  For myself I may have some fear, but for the future?

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

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