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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The New Civil Rights Crisis

Some greater reflection on the state of affairs is in order on this, the 36th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion in America. I would like to continue my theme from my previous post, and draw some further parallels to the civil rights movement involving segregation and blacks. With that debate becoming increasingly moot with the election of a black President, a civilized society must look for the next great civil rights debate, at least the focus will so shift.

I argue that the next great civil rights cause is not to be found in the realm of a small quasi-protected class. No, we have a much more significant class of Americans who are more defenseless than any race or group in history. They are more preyed upon (and for even flimsier reasons) than the Jews in Nazi Germany or black races used in the slave trade. They have no right of association, and cannot lobby on their own behalf. They are differentiated only by their stage of development, and come from all races - though we know minorities in this group end up being killed far more often than non-minorities. They have no voice of their own at the critical time, they cannot vote, and they rely completely on society and those who are charged to care for them for their fate. The unborn babies killed since 1973 total close to 50 million now. If one were to take the number of those killed in this unprotected class, merely in the United States, and make it the population of a country, it would be the 24th largest in the world. The total taken worldwide, then, must be a staggering number, something nearly impossible to comprehend, when a million+ people attending an historic event is called "a sea of humanity."

But let's talk about some of the truly strange arguments in favor of abortions that bring back the echos of past discrimination against classes of humanity. Two such arguments go something like this:

1. The babies in their mothers' wombs are not human beings, and, so, for convenience sake, we can make the decision about how they are to be treated, and which rights they should get; inability to choose on this front would mean greater poverty, greater drains on society and a declining America;

2. Abortion is actually a humane result for most of these children who would grow up in poverty or difficulty, or else be adopted into families who they feel no connection to, and who can not possibly love them as much as their birth parents. Those who are anti-abortion are fanatics, wackos and ideologues who want to unjustly force a way of life on others, and it is time to move past our differences on this issue, long resolved by the force of time.

Let us put aside the logical arguments against these positions for this post. These two pro-abortion arguments are efforts, in either case, to justify the positions one takes to end the life of another, and appease conscience.

I'd like to focus on the words of John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Calhoun was an instrumental force in driving the country to Civil War, and, among other things, he actually regarded slavery as a positive good. Do either of the arguments above share logic with Calhoun's words below?:

Experience has proved that the existing relation, in which the one is subjected to the other, in the slaveholding States, is consistent with the peace and safety of both, with great improvement to the inferior; while the same experience proves that . . . the abolition of slavery would (if it did not destroy the inferior by conflicts, to which it would lead) reduce it to the extremes of vice and wretchedness. In this view of the subject, it may be asserted, that what is called slavery is in reality a political institution, essential to the peace, safety, and prosperity of those States of the Union in which it exists.


I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good - a positive good. . . . I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other. Broad and general as is this assertion, it is fully borne out by history. . . .

I might well challenge a comparison between them and the more direct, simple, and patriarchal mode by which the labor of the African race is, among us, commanded by the European. I may say with truth, that in few countries so much is left to the share of the laborer, and so little exacted from him, or where there is more kind attention paid to him in sickness or infirmities of age. Compare his condition with the tenants of the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europe - look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind superintending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poorhouse.

But I will not dwell on this aspect of the question; I turn to the political; and here I fearlessly assert that the existing relation between the two races in the South, against which these blind fanatics are waging war, forms the most solid and durable foundation on which to rear free and stable political institutions. It is useless to disguise the fact. There is and always has been in an advanced stage of wealth and civilization, a conflict between labor and capital. The condition of society in the South exempts us from the disorders and dangers resulting from this conflict; and which explains why it is that the political condition of the slaveholding States has been so much more stable and quiet than that of the North. . . . All we want is concert, to lay aside all party differences and unite with zeal and energy in repelling approaching
dangers. Let there be concert of action, and we shall find ample means of security without resorting to secession or disunion.