If achieving world peace required torturing a single baby, asks a character in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, would it be worth it?
"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature -- that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance -- and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth."
The liberalism that Barack Obama seeks to complete answers Dostoyevsky's question with an emphatic yes. What is Obama's abortion-on-demand-forever policy but the building of a modern American way of life upon the graves of tortured babies? And not just the unavenged tears of one baby but millions of them.
This week, however, Obama did avenge the tears of terrorists. World peace, he said, isn't worth theirs. He lectured the CIA that "What makes the United States special and what makes you special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and ideals even when it's hard."
Obama's prim pontifications about America's "values and ideals" inspired Chris Matthews and Jack Cafferty, among other deep and careful thinkers, to mull over the question: If torturing terrorists works -- as the Obama administration had to admit grudgingly this week -- is it okay? No, of course not, the chattering class proudly concluded.
One wonders why. What do they care? Having already accepted abortion and euthanasia -- which are nothing more than the expedient killing of the unborn and the elderly -- why should the expedient torture of terrorists, a lesser evil, trouble them? Oh, that's right: the terrorists are guilty and the guilty under the ministrations of modern liberalism never suffer. Pain in modern life is for the innocent.
Terrorists, we're told by pro-abortion liberals, suffer excruciating pain while the ejected unborn and euthanized elderly feel nothing. And even if the latter do suffer pain, say these liberals, that pain is worth it. After all, abortion and euthanasia sustain a pleasant and peaceful lifestyle for the strong. Let the dead bury the dead. Or, as the Supreme Court has said, imagine the disruption to America's way of life if stare decisis in the case of Roe v. Wade disappeared and women couldn't plan their careers and futures without the expectation of legal abortion for years to come.
Obama's liberalism is not an opponent of human rights abuses but an embodiment of them. The CIA restricts itself to methods far less ruthless than those permitted by the platform of the Democratic Party. When will Obama bring his own platform into line with the Geneva Accords?
It is a little late in the day for Obama to worry about America's moral reputation. Resisting evil even "when it is hard" hasn't interested liberalism for at least four decades. It rests on an ideology of expedient evil and crass utilitarianism.
With St. Paul, Western civilization, before modern liberalism ransacked it, said: "One may not do evil so that good may result from it." But then modern liberalism came along and reversed the formulation and now insists in the case of everything from therapeutic cloning to killing unborn children to dehydrating the elderly that one should do evil so that good may come from it.
Obama only now rediscovers the Christian ethic for terrorists, even as he weaves the "fabric of human destiny" with the tissue of tortured children.
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