No reason to be embarrassed — a plurality if not a majority of Americans support its positions.
Now let us speak of “social issues.” Now let us show how extreme and antediluvian we are. Now let us be horribly insensitive. Now let us give “the vapors” to the coastal elites. Now let us drive the establishment media batty.
Now let us win an election while sticking to our well-considered principles.
In fact, now let us win an election because we stick to our well-considered principles. And then watch the heathens howl.
Okay, we should take back the word “heathens.” That was just puckish alliteration. But the rest of the above litany should stand. The howling “elites” can bay at the moon all they want. We’re right substantively, and we’re right politically. Social conservatism is a winning philosophy.
Majorities of Americans (or in some polls, clear pluralities) call themselves “pro-life.” Every state that has held a referendum on recognizing homosexual relationships as “marriages” has voted not to do so (or, more precisely, has voted to define marriage as being only between a man and woman). Wholesome movies regularly do better at the box office than sleazy ones do. Americans prefer being “tough on crime” to being lenient. Americans tend to like local control of schools, parental involvement and choice in education, and traditional curricula. Far more Americans feel strongly in favor of gun rights than in favor of gun control. Americans treasure families and neighborhoods, and oppose governmental intrusions into them. We don’t like governmental racial preferences. We are deeply patriotic. We far prefer conservative judges to liberal ones. And we still are a faithful people, with churches and belief in God a very important part of most of our lives.
Also, we know deep down in our cores that candidates who draw a connection between family breakdown and out-of-wedlock births, on one hand, and cultural and economic ills like crime, delinquency, and lack of economic mobility, on the other, are absolutely right. Statistically, the case in favor of this argument is irrefutable. Psychologically, we know it is right. And we’ve known it is right for nearly half a century. We didn’t even need a “conservative” to make that case for it; we relied, quite correctly, on the social-science findings of the politically liberal (or center-leftist) Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Finally, we believe with every fiber of our beings that voluntary associations, churches, and local associations are better at ameliorating social ills than are governments, especially the federal government. When we talk about cultural values and social concerns, we usually do not do so because we want government to impose our values on others through government programs; instead, we either want government to get out of the way of these intermediary institutions (or of the family), or else we want the government to do no more than make it easier for those institutions to act.
About the only issue on which we would indeed have government “interfere” is on abortion — but that’s only if one accepts the liberal line that it is only the mother’s interest, not the child’s, which is being interfered with. “Choice” is fine, of course, unless the choice involves taking a human life.
On one level, there is a simple and straightforward logic to protecting the child. If governments exist for no other reason, they exist to protect the innocent from external, physical harm. If the child in the womb is human (which, of course, it is, scientifically speaking), and if it is life (again, by definition it is), then it is irrefutably human life. The only questions involve concepts such as “viability,” “ensoulment,” and the value of human life at a pre-born stage. Those who want to forbid abortion are doing no less than protecting human life from what they regard as murder — a job (stopping murder) which is a moral imperative for every legitimate government that ever existed.
Now this does not mean that the sympathies of pro-lifers can’t be with the mothers affected. In fact, it is far easier to sympathize with the mother than with the less-than-physically developed, certainly not intellectually or emotionally developed (to say the least), accumulation of living tissue fully dependent for sustenance on the mother inside which it grows. And the mothers deserve our sympathies. The very trajectory of their lives is at issue. They have a right to be scared. They have a right to have doubts. More than that, they may well have legitimate moral concerns of their own. Not all mothers considering abortion are morally serious, but some are. It’s just that their moral system of values puts more emphasis on quality of life than on “mere” existence of human life. That value system might itself be seen as immoral, but it is not an unserious or unconsidered position.
All of which is why the issue of abortion is so difficult — and why the various positions on it merit more respect from all other positions, for all other positions, than just about any issue in the public realm today. It also means that it is incumbent on pro-lifers to do whatever is in our power to treat both mother and child humanely and to help ensure the best pre-natal care and the best post-birth opportunities for both of them. It would do pro-lifers good for us to express these concerns more openly, and to act in accord with them.
One big problem, though, is that the establishment media tends to show far less respect for us than we do for the mothers. Our entirely valid moral concerns are pilloried, belittled, and even treated as if those concerns are flat-out hateful. The “elites” often show no moral reflection at all, but rather a sneering and sometimes vicious set of double standards.
Newt Gingrich was absolutely right, indeed profoundly so, in Tuesday night’s debate when he said this:
“I just want to point out, you did not once in the 2008 campaign, not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. OK? So let’s be clear here. If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion. It is not the Republicans.”
The lack of media attention to this bizarre and lonely “stand” of Obama’s speaks volumes about media values. It makes the establishment media into moral reprobates for refusing even to understand that this is, or should be, an area of controversy.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online