Token Dissonance

Black & gay, young & conservative. A Southern gentleman writes about life and politics after Yale


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A Ballad of Fallen Choices

“O thou man of God, there is death in the pot.” –2 Kings 4:40

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” –Genesis 50:20

"Whether they're a disposable clump of cells or viable human life with intrinsic human rights, what difference, at this point, does it make?"

“Whether they’re a disposable clump of cells or viable human life with intrinsic human rights, what difference, at this point, does it make?”

Long ago, in another era of acrimonious government, there was something of a moral (or at least political) consensus in America that held the willful destruction of a human life, whether developing in the womb or already bequeathed into the world, to be a terrible act. Among conservatives and a great many liberals and independents, this conviction manifested in the pro-life movement. For Bill Clinton’s Democratic Party, the homage that abortion advocacy paid to life, even as the once and would-be future First Family barred a prominent Pennsylvania Democrat from that party’s convention for his pro-life views, was the now tatterdemalion campaign facade of, “Safe, Legal, and Rare.” Even Barack Obama echoed that throwback mantra as recently as 2010.

Whether 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will maintain the old formulation or condemn it with the extreme prejudice she has shown so many of her husband’s political stances remains unclear. After all, it has been absent from the Democratic Party platform since the Obama era, to the bemusement even of Democrats who consider themselves “pro-choice but not pro-abortion.” Yet it seems that pro-choice and pro-abortion activists are marching “forward” and taking public offense at the once quotidian supposition that abortions should be rare.

Whether the formerly bipartisan moral consensus among the officeholders, activists, and Very Serious People of those antediluvian, “fewer abortions, please” days was genuine or an instrumental facsimile maintained and then terminated for political expediency is anybody’s guess. But in any case, though public opinion on abortion has not changed much in decades, the ancient consensus has gone the way of the nephilim.

Nowadays, the strident champions of unfettered abortion access cannot even, as my home-state lawmakers discovered recently in Tallahassee, acknowledge that a child who survives a botched abortion should receive medical care rather than be killed should either mother or doctor wish it. The Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee even went so far as to fein insult at the contention that a fully-formed, almost-born baby should not be dismembered. Somehow, it seems that defending the notion that unborn children who could survive outside the womb should not be summarily killed is enough to trigger liberals to cry havoc and beckon the dogs of the so-called “war on women.”

This all brings us to my friend Josh Hammer, who is a law student and Federalist Society member at the University of Chicago. We do not agree on everything (well, actually, we agree on most things, but all that philosophical concordance is less interesting to talk about), but I have always found his impressively bookish legerity to be rivaled only by his assertive passion for conservative values. As any self-respecting citizen (and academic) ought to be, Josh is intellectually curious and eager to engage with people who disagree with him. So he went to a campus event featuring a late-term abortion provider to discuss that provider’s contention that his Christianity inspired his peculiar line of work.

To summarize what transpired: Josh refused to shake the man’s hand before engaging in respectful if heated conversation, was chastised by pro-choice activists, and then found that a heated argument he had with another attendee over his presence had been publicly broadcast in a naked attempt to shame him and potentially assault his employability. Because, apparently, it is a newsworthy horror that a Jewish law student would argue the case of the majority of Americans who oppose late-term abortion (likely out of a general opposition to killing innocent children) to a late-term abortionist speaking on campus.

It is understandable that some would tut-tut Josh’s refusal to shake the hand of the late-term abortionist—after all, Winston Churchill (one of Josh and my heroes) famously said of his decision to employ full diplomatic courtesies in conveying a declaration of war to the Japanese ambassador in December 1941, “When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.” Of course, Josh is not the killer in this situation, and it is far more impolite to attempt to professionally ruin a disagreeing interlocutor than it is to spite a hand that exalts in the abolition of the unborn with claims of divine inspiration.

It is likewise rather indecent to prestidigitate away the gruesomely rational line from late-term abortion to “after-birth abortion” (otherwise known as infanticide) when pro-choice extremists and their Democrat enablers (like Barack Obama) are, as mentioned earlier, assailing laws that would protect infant survivors of abortion. One almost wonders how long it will be until these enlightened advocates of “reproductive freedom” push to reclassify Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as “after-birth miscarriage.”

But since we are being polite, it costs little to charitably posit that Josh may have done something or other worse in more than a quarter century of life than refuse to shake the hand of man he believes, not unreasonably, to be a murderous religious fanatic—and many of those worse things would probably still not merit public spectacle or professional ruin. To be certain, any opponent of religious extremists killing with impunity because “God said so” should give pause before condoning, let alone celebrating, the work of a man convinced that his God of Life has called him to the grotesqueries of destroying any unwanted human children right up until—or even after—emergence from a uterus.

What skeptics and opponents of unfettered abortion should take from Josh’s ordeal is that where extreme pro-choice activists cannot avail their fanaticism against public opinion, the federal Capitol, or in most state houses, they will endeavor to overwhelm their opposition through the sociocultural cache of the Democratic Party and the elite forces—from major media outlets to law offices—that can be cowed into obeisance.

They cannot be allowed to succeed. The lives, rights, and integrity of future generations may well depend on it.


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A Legitimate End

Image courtesy of 'Around the Wicket Gate' by C. H. Spurgeon

“You’re all alone in a parallel universe, dude. You can take off your tie.” –Dracopol

Let’s start with the obvious: Todd Akin is an idiot. Indeed, his contemptible asininity renders his presence on the House Science Committee at once bemusing and disturbing. So before I continue, let’s all have a hearty laugh at his expense. I’m glad we all agree that Todd Akin is not fit to represent anyone.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s deal with the Left. Predictably eager to avoid their failed policies, our liberal friends want to make Akin a general indictment of the Right. Sure, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have abandoned Akin to his madness. And yes, Ann Coulter called on him to make the sacrificial play for the good of the Party, with the editor-in-chief of RedState being far blunter about it. And ok, the leader of the Party, Mitt Romney, did not mince words in condemning the congressman and rebuking the policy of forcing a rape victim to give birth. But the Family Research Council defends Akin, right? Surely, they must speak for the conservative movement! (Spoiler: they don’t.)

The defenders of the president would have us believe this election should hinge on fringe social positions pushed by a conspiracy of monomaniacal extremists. So let me make this clear: I do not support Todd Akin. In case the preceding paragraph has not made this obvious: the Republican Party does not endorse his inanity. Are there conservatives in Congress who oppose abortion? Of course. Do some of them have uncomfortably hardline views on the issue? Definitely. But you need only look to the failed Personhood Amendment in Mississippi to see there are limits to how far the pro-life movement goes. And some Republicans, albeit a small minority, are still prochoice.

The GOP is a diverse party, and reasonable people can disagree about the extent to which abortion should be legal and available, and how federal law should differ from state law. But Todd Akin is not normal. He is an invidiously cruel joke told at our expense to confirm every liberal reduction of conservatism to pathology. For his complicity in this, Todd Akin deserves and will get no sympathy from the Right. Duly have we cast him out to beg his fortunes from the streets, and duly will we move on beyond him.

I trust Akin will meet a “legitimate” fate. As for you, Mr. President, onward to November.

Update: Rep. Akin is refusing to bow out gracefully and has released an ad seeking forgiveness. That might be an easier pill to swallow if he were not insisting he meant “forcible rape” instead of “legitimate rape”. As surprises nobody who is not Todd Akin, this “clarification” does not remotely reduce the mendacious idiocy of his original statement. “Forcible rape” is the source of many unintended pregnancies, and is closely linked with family and domestic violence. Mr. Akin, if you won’t take “No” for answer, then do us all the minimal kindness of caging your unrepentant hostility to truth and good decency.