Hope in the Face of an American Holocaust

It’s a couple months old, but I recently came across an incredibly powerful essay Kyle-Anne Shiverputs the evil of abortion in stark clarity and historical context. An exerpt: wrote on American Thinker, which
The whole problem with growing up and becoming intellectual is that we stop making the fundamental connections that children innately make.  We stop being able to see the threads of evil for what they really are.  We watch evil morph, change the colors or characteristics of its stripes, and we are fooled.  Again and again mankind is fooled into embracing evil’s new form, even while decrying those who perpetrated evils past.


The child sees clearly the common threads.  The child can connect an evil father with an evil slaver.  The child can see that the evil which ensnared Anne Frank is the same evil that Martin is railing against.  The child discerns that a Jewish life is the same as a black life is the same as a white life is the same as a young life is the same as an old life.  The child could easily, with no prompting whatsoever, see a sonogram and tell you it’s a baby.  The child does not dissemble and rationalize and wish for convenient ignorance. 



To paraphrase Martin, dehumanizing one human being dehumanizes every human being.  And dehumanizing leads inexorably to more and more dehumanizing.  The line between who is on the legal list of those who can be treated as property to be disposed of becomes more and more blurred.  Until doctors are killing live infants with scissors slammed into the backs of their tiny heads.  And intellectualized adults can try to explain the difference to a child who knows better.

And just in case that’s too depressing, you should also check out Robert George’s reflections on the life of Bernard Nathanson, the abortion pioneer who eventually reformed and became a pro-life hero. Nathanson’s story should give us all hope that, if light can transform even the darkest hearts, it can also work on the bleakest times:

There are many lessons in Bernard Nathanson’s life for those of us who recognize the worth and dignity of all human lives and who seek to win hearts and change laws. Two in particular stand out for me.


First is the luminous power of truth. As I have written elsewhere, and as Nathanson’s own testimony confirms, the edifice of abortion is built on a foundation of lies. Nathanson told those lies; indeed, he helped to invent them. But others witnessed to truth. And when he was exposed to their bold, un-intimidated, self-sacrificial witness, the truth overcame the darkness in Nathanson’s heart and convicted him in the court of his own conscience.


Bernie and I became friends in the early 1990s, shortly after my own pro-life writings came to his attention. Once during the question-and-answer session following a speech he gave at Princeton, I asked him: “When you were promoting abortion, you were willing to lie in what you regarded as a good cause. Now that you have been converted to the cause of life, would you be willing to lie to save babies? How do those who hear your speeches and read your books and articles know that you are not lying now?” It was, I confess, an impertinently phrased question, but also, I believe, an important one. He seemed a bit stunned by it, and after a moment said, very quietly, “No, I wouldn’t lie, even to save babies.” At the dinner he and I had with students afterward, he explained himself further: “You said that I was converted to the cause of life; and that’s true. But you must remember that I was converted to the cause of life only because I was converted to the cause of truth. That’s why I wouldn’t lie, even in a good cause.”


The second lesson is this: We in the pro-life movement have no enemies to destroy. Our weapons are chaste weapons of the spirit: truth and love. Our task is less to defeat our opponents than to win them to the cause of life. To be sure, we must oppose the culture and politics of death resolutely and with a determination to win. But there is no one—no one—whose heart is so hard that he or she cannot be won over. Let us not lose faith in the power of our weapons to transform even the most resolute abortion advocates. The most dedicated abortion supporters are potential allies in the cause of life. It is the loving, prayerful, self-sacrificing witness of Joan Bell Andrews and so many other dedicated pro-life activists that softens the hearts and changes the lives of people like Dr. Bernard Nathanson.


May he rest in peace.

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The American Principles Project has been at the forefront of what I believe to be the most important fight within the Right going on today: whether or not conservatism is going to remain pro-life and pro-family, or if it’s going to degenerate into a slightly less embarrassing version of libertarianism. I’d like to call your attention to their blog, Get Conservative, which has a petition you should sign to voice your support for all of conservatism’s indivisible facets.

Leon Wolf, Scourge of Pseudo-Cons Everywhere

Leon Wolf, author of a gloriously merciless review of Meghan McCain’s book Dirty Sexy Politics, has a couple of excellent posts up at RedState taking to the woodshed some not-so-conservative views and figures who reside on the Right.

First, CPAC and GOProud apologists:

Of course, conservatives have always been willing to wander into the arena of ideas and engage in spirited debate with liberals. Who can forget Buckley’s famous exchanges with Gore Vidal? It positively begs the question, however, to assert that CPAC is a place where this must occur and that conservatives must be willing to attend for this purpose or they are shirking their responsibility.

Many conservatives (including myself) live their lives surrounded by combative liberals, whether in the work place or in our social circles. We are constantly on the defense of our principles. The very reason we attend CPAC is that it is healthy once a year to be around like minded individuals and recharge our batteries for the fight in the upcoming year. It is not the Free Exchange of Ideas and Debate Club Conference. It is the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Of course, the post attempts somewhat to skirt this problem by asserting that conservatives can believe in all kinds of ideas. This assertion is based on a faulty taxonomy of conservatism that could well have been pulled from an essay written by a left-wing journalist assigned to cover conservatives like they were Gorillas in the Mist […]

It is of course the libertarian’s right to believe and think as he does, but it is important for conservatives to be honest with ourselves on this point: many areas in which the libertarian desires to reduce the size and scope of government are borne of fundamentally liberal instincts.

Second, pro-appeasement libertarians:

You see, there is almost nothing more important to Gillespie and his ilk than being blasé about Islamic terrorism. At this point, it has actually become tiresome. Yes, Nick, we are all very impressed at how very little you care about the government protecting the lives of your fellow citizens, and we are all admiringly agape at your daring suggestion that we have nothing to fear from Islamic terrorists. The victims of the families of 9/11, the USS Cole bombing, and the World Trade Center bombing I’m sure find you edgy and cool and would like to hear your views on the relative merits of The White Stripes and The Black Keys at their next cocktail party.

Of course, the real “point” of Gillespie’s post is for a hard-boiled Libertarian to lecture mainstream Republicans on what they ought to do to win elections. Ordinary people might find this as out of place as me lecturing Kobe Bryant on what it takes to win NBA titles, but Gillespie manages the trick with such panache that none of the other authors or commenters at Reason (who are also smarter and much more in tune with todays voters than anyone who might read such a pedestrian site as RedState) seem to notice what a majestic buffoon he makes of himself in the process. To recap, the Republican party has held the White House for 20 of the last 30 years with pro-life, anti-gay marriage candidates; the Libertarian party has never cracked double digits in a Presidential election, ever. Even in 2008, with Republican brand identity at generational lows and a relatively high profile candidate in Bob Barr, the Libertarians managed to get beat by Ralph Nader who was running without the Green Party nomination. If we are smart enough to follow Gillespie’s advice, someday the GOP nominee might well reach the soaring heights of barely beating Cynthia McKinney. 

Expert articulation of critical messages. Go read ’em both.

Yes, Sarah Palin Is a Social Conservative – And Conservatives4Palin Is Off Its Meds

Hat tip to Lisa Graas for linking to one of the most mind-boggling blog posts I’ve seen in a good long while. It seems Chris Cillizza, in an overview of the 2012 GOP field, hurled an absolutely unfathomable insult at Sarah Palin: he called her a…a…social conservative!

While Palin has spoken forcefully against President Obama’s fiscal policies, her rise to prominence has largely been built on very strong support among social conservatives.

Doug Brady at Conservatives4Palin is very, very upset about this:

This simply makes no sense. Just because the Lamestream Media concocted a phony “Sarah Palin is a religious fanatic who thinks dinosaurs roamed the earth just last week” narrative the moment McCain selected her doesn’t make it so, and Tea Partiers know this (unlike, evidently, Washington Post pundits). Indeed her entire political career has been based on fiscal, not social, conservatism. To be sure, she is personally a social conservative, but that did not figure prominently, if at all, in any of her political decisions.

The issue, then, isn’t that Cillizza insulted Palin, but that he innocuously identified her as something Brady considers contemptible. To normal people, “social conservative” denotes a handful of political views, chief among them opposition to abortion and gay marriage. But when Brady hears it, his mind immediately jumps to “religious fanatic who thinks dinosaurs roamed the earth just last week.”

If you wanna argue Palin’s tenure as Alaska governor was defined by fiscal matters, fine. If you wanna argue she’s devoted the bulk of her commentary since then to small government and economics, fine. But make no mistake, Palin is indeed a social conservative (the “normal people” variety, not the “religious fanatic” one). Palin’s always embraced the pro-life movement, with many of her fans inspired by her choosing life for baby Trig, despite his Down Syndrome. She supports the Federal Marriage Amendment. And she’s freaked out leftists with her discussion of the Founders’ faith in God.

Anecdotally, I have attended several Tea Party events. Everyone I have spoken to has the highest regard for Governor Palin…due to her fiscal conservatism. In fact, none of the Palin supporters I know (and there are many), including myself, could be characterized as social conservatives. Her appeal is to libertarian leaning fiscal conservatives because that is how she has governed.

Wait a minute. Is this guy – a die-hard supporter Sarah Palin – really claiming not to have ever encountered pro-lifers or marriage defenders among her supporters? Really? Under what scenario is this plausible? In what universe is this tool not lying?

This is simply bizarre – Doug Brady opposes Palin on social issues, yet defends her from an imaginary attack as if they’re on the same page. Is he such a diehard Palin fan that he simply can’t accept that his heroine parts ways with him on anything significant?

I like Sarah Palin, but clowns like this don’t do her any favors. Cults of personality aren’t healthy, no matter who they coalesce around.

New on NewsReal – In Search of the Statist Social-Con Menace

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My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Earlier this week, I asked Lori Heine who and where the “statist control freak” social conservatives she’s afraid of are, pointing out that what’s commonly referred to as the social conservative agenda isn’t statist at all. She responds by conceding that her fears might be overblown, but still has a few concerns:
People like Farah and Sprigg make a lot of noise, and everyone outside the audience of the mainstream conservative media hear this noise and make much of it.  Do they make too much? That is quite possible.  But besides Freiburger and a few like him, how many on the Right are stepping forward to set the record straight?
Sadly, I am aware of no conservative—social or otherwise—who tackled the Sprigg story, other than me. Perhaps some simply missed it, but I suspect many chose to ignore it in the hopes that it would just blow over. Bad move, guys. But Farah is another matter. Lori notes that Coulter slapped him down, but so did plenty of others, including NRB, Right Wing News, Red State, Big Government, and more. Besides, many on the Right have been sick of the Birther conspiracies Farah’s been peddling since well before the HomoCon scandal, so it’s not surprising that many wouldn’t bother wasting time with him in the first place.

Indeed, recall that anti-gay buffoon Ryan Sorba got soundly booed by the conservative audience of CPAC 2010, leading one lefty blogger to opine:
When conservatives are standing up for gays, and Democrats treat us like we are an embarrassment, there’s a problem.
Lori continues:
Not only the hard Left, but also much of the political middle believes that social conservatives are dangerous.  This is exactly why the Tea Party movement deemphasized social issues in the first place, and it is also why it has enjoyed so much success.
While fighting fiscal disaster might have been Priority Number One for the Tea Party, Lori makes too much out of the alleged distance between Tea Partiers and so-cons:

NewsReal Debate to Watch – UPDATED: "Swelled-Headed Narcissists"?

Yesterday I objected to my NRB colleague Lori Heine’s criticism of social conservatives as “statist control freaks.” At her blog, she has some more remarks on the subject. She mention’s she’s got a NRB rebuttal to my piece waiting in the wings, so I’ll hold off responding for now. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Here’s Lori’s NRB reply. I’ve penned an upcoming response which entails some of the themes she touches on at her blog, so I’ll use this space to comment on something else she said yesterday:

First of all, I will again explain my take on social conservatism in general. According to my understanding, it can really only be said to mean one of two things. Either it concerns itself with politics — which is to say, with the workings of government — or it is the self-definition of swelled-headed narcissists who fancy themselves more moral, or more pious than anybody else (usually without any substantial evidence to back it up). NRB’s editors take issue with lumping all social conservatives together as big-government meddlers, and perhaps they are right. But I have not yet heard a better definition than the two that I have given.

Er, what? I’m not sure just what the first option’s supposed to be referring to, and the second – “the self-definition of swelled-headed narcissists who fancy themselves more moral, or more pious than anybody else (usually without any substantial evidence to back it up)” – is an egregiously insulting mischaracterization that’s hard to take seriously. Speaking of a definition “without any substantial evidence to back it up”…

Social conservatism actually isn’t all that hard to define. I’d argue that it’s simply the recognition that a self-governing society cannot be sustained without certain moral principles and institutions, and that while, to use Vindicating the Founders author Thomas West’s phraseology, government can’t “by itself produce the passions and convictions” America needs, it can “weigh in on the side of them” in certain ways, within the confines of the Constitution and consistent with natural liberty.

America’s Founding Fathers certainly didn’t believe that protecting natural rights and maintaining basic infrastructure were government’s only proper functions: George Washington tells us that morality, one of the “firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens,” is an “indispensable support” to political prosperity. John Adams writes that policy should “regulate” human passions, because it is “of the highest importance” that they be “arranged on the side of virtue.” Charles Rowley of George Mason University writes that for James Madison, “a republican order must have a moral content, a cluster of values, without which it would lose its meaning.” Even the Founders we consider relatively secular agree—Thomas Jefferson fears what might become of nations which fail to admit “a chapter of morality in their political code,” while Benjamin Franklin hopes the nation’s “virtues public and private grow with us, and be durable,” because “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

Also, It’s a little surprising to see myself referred to as a “doe-eyed innocent”; that’s certainly not what a lot of other people would call me

UPDATE 2: Here’s my NRB response.

New on NewsReal – Are Social Conservatives "Statist Control Freaks"? Not So Fast

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

This weekend, NewsRealBlog’s Lori Heine objected to Ann Coulter’s recent column attempting to tie WikiLeaks enabler Bradley Manning to the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Today, she responds to several critical commenters. I’m not terribly interested in revisiting DADT right now—my position is that I’ll defer to military experts on what changes should be made to the current policy, but I insist that the decision be based on military criteria alone, not political correctness or kowtowing to the whims of the radical gay Left.  Lori argues her position well, and successfully refutes several of her critics.
However, I must take issue with the way she conflates social conservatism with statism:

One form of fun of which big-government statists on the social Right never seem to tire is the purity game.  True believers must toe the line and never stray from it, even one jot or tittle.  “You are no conservative,” another commenter harrumphed at me.  Since this person evidently thinks only the big-government, control-freak statists on the social Right are the “real” conservatives, then according to his definition of course I am not.  Nor would I ever want to be.

What I am is a former Leftist progressive who has come to the conclusion that libertarian conservatism is – for a wide variety of reasons – the right direction for America to take.  The relentless and childish tug-of-war of the past few elections has convinced me that the Left and the statist Right are actually as alike as Tweedledee and Tweedledum and that they are, together, pulling the country apart.  Just as Leftists view any liberal who believes in small government and individual initiative a heretic, so do those on the Right who view anyone who does not share their fantasies about Granny Government and her all-powerful magic wand “not a real conservative.”

What I think of the “purity game” is no secret, either, but here I want to consider this talk of “big-government, control-freak statists on the social Right” who believe the government has an “all-powerful magic wand.”

Maybe I just missed them, but I’m struggling to recall a significant number of examples of this nefarious social-con variation. To be sure, there are a select handful of individuals who come to mind—for instance, Joseph Farah and Peter Sprigg—but beyond that, I don’t know how any significant, respected portion of the social conservative movement fits the bill.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.