Tuesday, December 02, 2008

FIRST RECTIFY

Over at ‘The American Prospect’ Ann Friedman is running a play with which We should all be familiar. (“Don’t Call it a Culture War”, here).

Her specific topic is “LGBT rights”. Specifically, she doesn’t think it’s the right way to proceed – letting the issue be ‘labeled’ as (just another) front in the “culture war”. After all, quoting Peter Beinart’s illumination over at ‘The New Republic’, “culture war no longer sells”.

So what We got Us here is a problem in ‘defining’ and – perhaps in essence – marketing (Goebbels got much of his propaganda theory, We recall, from the ground-breaking American marketing whiz, Edward Bernays). The stuff has since gone to college – or to Academia – where it has been washed, waxed and re-badged as ‘defining the narrative’ or ‘defining the frame’. To maintain control of the narrative is a primary objective of all ‘Advocates’. The product itself – the idea, the agenda, the grounds for the idea, its workability, its costs, its consequences, and – increasingly – its performance over time … all these are secondary, if not utterly irrelevant. Packaging is all. Sort of like how Detroit (a large city in the upper Midwest, known in happier times as the seat and capital of the American and the world auto industry) has been conducting its business for a couple-four decades now.

This has been a major milestone on Our road to serious disconnection from substance and reality and, in consequence, from real, life-giving politics in a democracy. It’s all a matter of defining and keeping-up appearances. After a while, it was theorized, people would ‘get it’, or at least ‘get used to it’, and so – now a familiar piece of the national furniture – nobody would think (or dare) to object. The agenda will have established itself as a ‘fact on the ground’ – that’s worked so well for the Israeli ‘realm’ these past sixty years.

Our own thirty or forty-year experience with the thing, on multiple ‘fronts’, has shown the theory to be somewhat insufficient to account for events. But We aren’t supposed to notice that; consequences are ‘oppressive’ insofar as they ‘limit’ or complicate what should be clear as a bell to any correct-thinking citizen. Vietnam and Iraq – wars that destroyed far more than they accomplished, in the recoil as well as in the projectile – come to mind, by perverse coincidence.

As I’ve said before, the solution to that problem involved the upbringing of numerous cadres of children and youth who don’t remember how democratic politics are supposed to work, and who – worse – have been taught not to think and to analyze but merely to hold the ‘correct’ opinions and direct their still molten emotions only at ‘correct’ targets. And it also involved the importation of far too many immigrants who never knew, whose own original political experiences make anything here look ‘good’, and who are simply happy to be ‘here’ and are willing to let it go at that.

Oy.

She proposes to her readers that “we’ll continue to lose until we can successfully relabel LGBT rights [as] a civil-rights issue [italics hers] situated firmly within the context of other civil-rights struggles, not an issue mired in the culture-war swamp of moral controversy.” She immediately adds, parenthetically, that “(To a lesser degree, the same goes for abortion rights.)”

Well.

She brings out clearly and succinctly the problem that has bethumped Us for lo these many decades since about July 10, 1965. The first-phase of the ‘Negro’ civil-rights movement was significant in two ways. First, there was and had been general national public consensus (the Southrons and the Klan-minded excepted) that “all men are created equal”; the Founders had only grudgingly accepted the continued existence of race-slavery as the price of getting the country Founded at all, Congress had outlawed it in the early 1800s, and then there had been that Civil War thing. In the late 1950s and early 1960s national attention and a long-simmering outrage was focused on effecting the political rights that had been ‘won’ in that Civil War, only to be undermined over the course of the next 90 years.

Ensuring that ‘the Negro’ had full civil rights as had been promised was to bring to fulfillment a long-standing commitment that the country had made, had bled copiously for, and had – with too much moral lassitude – allowed to be undermined by Jim Crow. Just about ‘everybody’ agreed on that.

Second, Martin Luther King’s ‘southern civil rights movement’ (see my immediately previous Post) was a unitive call to all Americans to fulfill a national commitment and in doing so to participate in a restoration, a ‘rebirth’ and ‘rededication’ to what had been the spiritual integrity of the American ideal.

It was a powerful and life-giving national experience.

Indeed, as even Richard Rorty points out in “Achieving Our Country”, the ‘old Left’ of the 1930s and prior appealed to a ‘fraternal’ unity, and the efforts for workers’ rights, as even the Progressive legal struggles for child-labor laws, were unitive (the employers being the only objectors). And King, as noted, appealed to not only a common American-hood but to a spiritual and ideal communion in which all Americans might come together (the Southrons excepting themselves).

This is hell and gone from what has been the standard tone of the post-’65 Revolutions of the Identities. Even where – as Friedman’s article exemplifies – a connection is drawn to ‘civil rights’, it is a tactical ploy, and precisely does not call to any broad and deep American unity, and precisely does not seek to speak-forth its agenda and cause, but rather seeks to clothe them in misleading euphemisms and impose their objectives by ‘spin’ and stampede and end-runs around that American unity which to the Identities does not exist and cannot exist in the first place. This is not a democratic movement in any substantive sense of the word. Some serious rectification is in order here.

That follow-on phase of the civil-rights movement embraced i) a negative, demanding and divisive agenda (not a little redolent of ‘ressentiment’) and ii) a de-facto revolutionary method of getting those demands met, a method which by definition (‘revolutionary’) eschewed the slow consensus-building of a democratic politics for an immediate and imposed submission to their will and program.

Nor did the demands of that program enjoy any wide grounding in public awareness.

Worse, other ‘movements’ – Second Wave Feminism the primary one – embraced the same revolutionary method, seeking also – as the later phase of the black civil-rights movement – to establish without delay their own demands, most of which did not enjoy broad public acceptance. And especially prominent among those ‘demands’ was the right to ‘abortion on demand’ (as it was first known and as, alas, it is now being plumped these many decades later); and this ‘abortion’ was cast as a ‘civil right’, as if it were ‘merely’ a follow-on to the rectification of black civil political rights around which the King movement had coalesced, black and white together, male and female, Americans all.

As Confucius would have advised, one must first accomplish a ‘rectification of names’: the issues have to be correctly identified before any rational assessment could be made as to what might be reasonably accomplished in regard to them. This is akin to Sun-Tzu’s advice and to general military strategy and command principles that you have to know what you’re facing before you engage in any action (Vietnam and Iraq anyone?).

But ‘rational assessment’ and ‘reasonable accomplishment’ through the processes of a democratic politics were not the route selected by the second-phase black civil-rights movement, nor any of the follow-on movements. Instead, imposed-action-from-above was embraced, with a concomitant democracy-dulling ‘valorization’ of political correctness, foregoing public deliberation and debate, out of a fear of being labeled (labeling, again) ‘insensitive’, ‘racist’, and later ‘genderist’ and just plain stupid enough to not ‘get it’.

Rectifying names was not on the menu; ‘real’ liberals didn’t do it, nor did ‘real’ citizens.

Thus the matters of more-than-political equality, matters of just what the government would guarantee and how much the government could guarantee and how far the government could go in enforcing such guarantees – all huge questions worthy of and in need of great, wide, careful deliberation – were simply ‘imposed’, as Lenin had done, by ‘elites’ who very much did ‘get it’. The choice presented to the citizen was ‘you’d better get-it, or you’re going to get it, and if nothing else just shut-up and mind your own business’. It was clearly not a programme designed to enhance or respect democratic process. And how it came to be the standard operating procedure of ‘liberalism’ in this country is a book crying to be written.

Certainly, the phrase and term ‘reproductive justice’ makes no sense on its face, nor the associated mantra of ‘full equality’. They are obviously ‘names’ in dire need of rectification. But that is precisely what the proponents of those phrases don’t want to happen. After all, that could lead to swamps of ‘moral’ controversy – and that’s not only going to slow the revolutionary achievement down, but it’s – did We not know? – useless to mention ‘morality’ because that’s a private thing and the civil-rights of having one’s ‘reproductive justice’ and ‘reproductive freedom’ is a public thing. Anything less or otherwise is simply ‘oppression’. And a ‘denial of civil-rights’, just like – We are meant to unthinkingly infer – slavery and Jim Crow were a denial of the civil rights of America’s black population.

And the fact that forty-years of imposition has not dulled public doubt? And the fact that decades of this and that ‘plan’ being imposed and still not working even unto the present day? And the fact that there appear some very possible unforeseen consequences that have undermined and deranged the very fundaments of Our democratic politics?

Correct-thinking ‘liberals’ do not allow themselves to be distracted or detained by such matters, it would seem.

And in consequence of the ‘liberals’ having become something else indeed – whether they intended to or not – the Republicans and ‘conservatives’ cobbled together a Frankenstein’s monster of a coalition uniting greed-crazed corporate wealth and God-haunted fundamentalists and Southern-besotted militarist ‘patriots’ . The wealthy were allowed to pull all their old tricks to enrich themselves on the backs of the national peasantry and create an oligarchy; the Fundamentalists saw themselves as subjects of King Jesus for whom a ‘democracy’ was merely a polite and traditional form with no substance; and the militarists saw the citizen’s only true role as being to support the military exploits of the nation. Something for everyone: the wealthy controlled the military-corporate complex, the Fundies could baptize and deputize the military into God’s righteous right-arm; and the militarists would be given benefit of cash and clergy by the other members of the axis.

Now I don’t know what LGBT ‘rights’ are at issue here. I can agree with Richard Rorty – but only for a very short distance – that the past decades have gone some way towards making the country less “sadistic” (his term, not mine); it is incumbent upon a Citizen to respect other Citizens. Whether and to what extent ‘rights’ are involved is a legitimate – and pressing – matter for examination.

But Friedman proposes that the label ‘civil rights’ “is less divisive … the very act of involving the term ‘culture war’ signals that we think something is controversial when, in fact, equal rights should be the furthest thing from it.” What this constitutes is an effort not to rectify the name but to use a deceptive name in its place. Just what “equal rights” means is something that has to be explored.

As best can be gleaned from the abortion movement’s dictionary, “equal rights” means that the government is bound and beholden to cancel out the male ‘advantage’ – imposed, as it were, by evolutionary Nature itself – of not having to be ‘stuck’ with the results of having sex. Now that’s quite a bit to digest; is even the U.S. government in a position to be doing such a thing? Is it even wise? But then on top of that, it turns out very quickly that the means of ensuring such “equality” is by letting the female abort the human life she carries if she so decides – which for quite some time was considered a primitive and uncivilized act in most of the world’s advanced civilizations.

I am not taking a position on the matters here; but I think it can be clearly seen that these matters require a huge lot of thought and deliberation. There are monstrous questions here, not excluding Our regressing as a civilization and a society. A little attention must be paid, surely.

Is the denial of ‘civil rights’ worth the wait? Well, I’m not sure We’re dealing with ‘civil rights’ here – certainly I don’t easily equate a black citizen’s right to vote and to be not-lynched with a female’s nullification of evolution’s plan for sustaining the species. I’m open to learn more, but please don’t try to stampede me and to do it under the false-name strategy that it’s not a stampede but rather a long-delayed redress of civil-rights.

So this is not quite so simply a matter of “fundamental civil-rights” as opposed to “a minor culture-war skirmish”, as Friedman sums up. Although her tone reminds me of Justice Scalia’s recent plaint that folks should just forget ‘Bush v. Gore’ and ‘move on’. Surely Mussolini, Goering, and Al Capone sought to make the same sort of case on their own behalf – and Bush, Cheney and a raft of others may do yet. Although not the captain of the ‘Titanic’, who had the decency to accept responsibility for his stunningly fatal frak-up; he, lest it be forgotten, was a ‘male’ and raised as a ‘Victorian male’ at that – such a fuddy-duddy, whose example – some might bray – need not detain Us here. I would disagree.

And I point out – not irrelevantly – that We have yet to experience the full consequences of the damage done to Our integrity and viability as a moral society by indulging in the falsely-labeled invasive war for WMD, and further by subjecting Our troops for so long to a soul-shredding darkling frakfest reeking of failure if not outright defeat. When those troops come home, as they inevitably will, what profound wounds will they bring into Our midst, unseen even more than clearly observable, which will rightfully demand Our attention even as they present profound challenges to Our traditional sense of Ourselves as a decent and civilized society and culture? Our too-easy and too-quick actions, taken on the basis of hugely un-rectified ‘names’, now promise vast and unseen consequences.

I will do everything in my poor power to respect – as fully as possible – LGBT citizens and female citizens. But I’d like the respect of being allowed to find and evaluate the truth, and deliberate as to what is workable. I do not want to see ‘them’ penned up like cattle and treated like sheep; I would expect in return not to be stampeded like cattle nor treated as a ‘dumb’ sheep.

And We all will see what can be done.

Which, nowadays, is a very pressing question on so many levels of Our common life and weal.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

We all agree that there are many cases where government should take the lead even in advance of full consensus. Foresight is a quality of leadership.

Consumption of cigarettes has been reduced by 40% in the period 1965-present by the government's crushing of a corporate conspiracy (through its power to tax and legislate on public health).

That forty year period is not quite as obscene as the century that elapsed between the post Civil War amendments and the effective political emancipation of blacks in the south but it is no model of effective government either.

For democracy to work, free speech and press are essential. The facts must be allowed to be presented to the public. Some facts are so repugnant to our articulated goals as a polity that they are allowed to survive only at the cost of the destruction of the health and welfare of the republic as a whole.

I would include prima facie violations of equal protection of the law as fair game for "the nine old men" whatever the consensus may seem to be in the rural south, religio-ethnic ghettos of the north or anywhere else.

We get in trouble only when the court 'legislates' in areas where science is mute and the political process in the other branches has already been corrupted.

12:40 PM  
Blogger publion said...

Yes, foresight is a quality of leadership. But note the cigarettes: how intrusive has government had to go, by ‘being ahead’ of a general consensus? What happens when you’re not supposed to smoke even in your own apartment? And how soon does government have to ‘impose’ rather than ‘lead’? And look where 'second-hand smoke' has led.

Rawls was big on this, and provided a ‘philosophical’ justification for the left-liberal (as it is currently defined) predilection for deciding something is ‘good’ and that any ‘reasonable’ person would assent to (Rawls seemed to define ‘reasonable’ as anything-Rawls-wanted), and that they were thus justified in going to the courts in order to circumvent the legislative and deliberative public process (which public, being composed of ‘unreasonable’ folks, is a distracting and counterproductive process in the first place).

This is the nub of why Rawls and all his pomps and works is actually antithetical to democratic process; and has demonstrated such poisonous fruits in the body-politic and in political processes. I recall Rawls agreeing with Michelman’s assertion that there is (or should be) a constitutional right to welfare: that’s a very big leap, and should be widely deliberated, but the Rawlsian approach would be to ‘create’ new constitutional ‘rights’ that a lumpish public is not prepared to ‘see’ for the great and insistent necessity Rawls sees it to be. Phooey. It’s anti-democratic and has done great damage.

Ditto wayyyy toooo much of the ‘rights’ content post-1965. To insist that this or that ‘right’ is as clear and publicly acceptable and inherently justifiable prima facie as the removal of Jim Crow – which was the strategy of the post-1965 ‘rights revolution(s)’ – is a bridge too far for a democratic politics. Sugrue is right to raise FDR’s Second Bill of Rights; but only as a topic for broad and deep discussion: ‘positive’ rights require government to ‘impose’ even more than to ‘educate’; nor can any government restrain itself to mere ‘education’; government’s natural urge is to ‘do’ (and of course, each ‘right’ will require its own bureaucratic entity to ensure and administer if not also enforce it).

And when government is not only imposing ‘acts’ but seeking to ‘change’ attitudes, then how deeply invasive must it perforce become? Not just ‘quotas’ but the attempt to ‘judge’ the dispositions of citizens. Or – hardly better – the retreat from judging ‘intention’ to merely looking at ‘outcomes’ regardless of their intent, a strategy which violates the citizenry’s fundamental sense of ’fairness’ and threatens to undermine the legitimacy of government itself – or turn Us all into Italians or Soviet citizens, quietly ignoring and avoiding the incorrigibly ‘unfair’ government power.

Purely as a matter of the psychology of governance – and perhaps ‘leadership’ – then, this is a dangerous and corrosive approach.

Nor are its dire consequences mitigated by ‘philosophers’ who come up with ‘justifications’ for the whole thing.

No wonder then that a) the ‘rights revolution’ has led to a government as invasive and impositional as the National Security State – indeed, has worked willy or nilly in synergy with the control objectives of the National Security State – and b) has led to a derangement of democratic politics through the alienation of the citizenry from government.

The ‘field’ may be for a while left to the ‘imposers’, but sooner or later the basic psychology of the citizenry will lead to a ‘pushback’ that cannot be adequately described as mere ‘backlash’; or else a citizenry so widely alienated from government that popular legitimacy will no longer suffice to enforce government’s writs, and more authoritarian methods will be adopted – for no government will simply ‘come to its senses’, especially under the conditions that obtain in this country today.

This is a recipe for the loss of the Republic.

I completely agree that truth and facts need to be presented to the public. Thus a free press/media, independent of both government control and corporate ‘profit’ debauchery, is essential. Repeal the Clinton-era Telecommunications Act and all the other legislation and regulations that allowed concentration of media, and in the hands of profit-based corporations. (Get rid of PACs, too, as I’ve said, to wean Congress off its legalized kickback-addiction.)

But you’re going to run into as much obstruction from the ‘rights’ Advocacies (‘facts don’t matter’) as from any ‘corporate’ or ‘Republican’ source. ‘Truth’ is fungible – socially ‘constructed’ – and they consider themselves far more enlightened – and thus far more ‘authoritative’ – than the citizenry. But the crux of the American problem nowadays is that the Constitution envisions the citizenry as making such ‘constructions’, for the very sane reason that the citizenry are going to have to accept such ‘truth’ and live by it.

The recalcitrance of the citizenry has prompted all manner of rationalization on the part of the ‘rights-revolutionaries’: ‘backlash’, this or that –ism, a lumpen citizenry that ‘just doesn’t get it’, merely a perception-and-packaging problem; and a righteousness that mirrors – but only darkly – pre-1861 abolitionism. Lincoln saw, that you can’t simply turn a national society and culture and a people around on a dime any more than you could turn a large ocean-going steamer around on a dime; it’s at the very least hugely imprudent, no matter how justifiably ‘unjust’ the offending problem is.

Unless, of course, you do it through the awefull offices of Ares Ferox et Atrox – as Lincoln was forced to do, but as I hope will not have to be done again, and for ‘rights’ that are hardly self-evident to the citizenry.

‘Equal protection of the laws’ you rightly raise. But that simply means, I think, that government cannot make a law and thus create a situation that doesn’t apply to all equally. ‘Abortion’ deals with a ‘reality’ that is not created by the government but by (take your pick) Nature, Evolution, God, which is rather beyond what the Constitution was designed to do.

Additionally, We cannot escape the bedrock reality that large numbers of citizens – hardly irrationally – have a profoundly seated sense that taking humanoid (if one doesn’t want to say ‘human’) life for the mere convenience of another human being is somehow not ‘right’. So if for no other reason than the psychology of governance, imposition under these circumstances would be a lethally unwise path for any government to take.

To say, as I believe the Court said in ‘Casey’, that ‘Roe’ may well have been a bad call and even ‘activist’, but that by this point ‘so many have come to rely on it’ that to overturn it would greatly inconvenience them … well, that’s rather akin to saying in 1860 that slavery as affirmed by ‘Dred Scott’ is probably bad and even evil and that the case was badly and even wrongly decided, but by now so many people have come to rely on it … and that brings Us back – regresses Us – to a verrrry darkling path indeed.

This, I think, will be a clarion lunacy of the current age, visible ‘from space’ to future historians: that the ‘liberalism’ that finally ended Jim Crow and lynching almost immediately declared ‘abortion’ to be a positive good (and a ‘right’ under Equal-Protection). This lunacy has fractured the Democratic Party, perhaps beyond any hope of repair.

And the consequent irony, and more than irony, is that the Dems made such a move in order to lash to themselves a voting-bloc that – they thought – would guarantee them electoral viability and even dominance. Yet, 35 years later, it seems fair to say that if it hadn’t been for the entire national economy collapsing like the cavalry coming over the rise to rescue them at the last minute, the Dems would have seen the treacherous loon McCain and his incomprehensible running-mate win the election.

3:05 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Wherever the facts do matter - as on public health issues like smoking and other forms of pollution - science should rule and be immune to conspiracies of lying CEO's who have bought off all the relevant regulatory agencies and Congressional sub-committees.

In the event of paralysis in the other branches, it is in the very nature of the Supreme Court to vindicate the rights of trampled minorities like accused felons etc. These rights exist whether or not they are recognized by a particular government at a particular political juncture.

The natural law frame of the preconditions for a dignified human life - as laid-out in Pacem in Terris and tracked by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - does indeed implicitly recognize a right to "welfare" in appropriate circumstances whether or not same is "acknowledged" by governmental fiat.

Taking a vigilant Supreme Court out of the mix has left us with the "unitary executive's" approach to war making, torture, science, the problems of poverty etc.

I think you misunderstand the meaning of Roe. The genius of the Founders allows for the fact that Supreme Court justices also read the newspapers. There were almost 800,000 abortions legally performed in 1973 and, until the present, there has been a consistent majority in this country prioritizing the mother's control of her own body in the first trimester of pregnancy. The 'trampled minority' in this case was poor women without the money to travel to a state jurisdiction which happened to already allow abortion. The direct interests of theologians and social conservatives in this matter were weighed in the balance and found wanting.

4:43 AM  
Blogger publion said...

But ‘science’ – even when accurate and not simply twisting itself in the service of ‘advocacy’ – still cannot get ahead of The People’s ability to absorb it. What We are dealing with primarily in all of this – I think – is not a matter of Truth or even Morality (give me a minute) but rather of Prudence in governance. That is, the primary ‘good’ in all of this is the continued health of the Constitutional Republic, because if We lose that then We lose everything.

And –morally – if We lose that, then We have brought a great absence-of-good back into the world, and into that vortex ancient evils of tyranny and rampant violence as in pre-Westphalian days – will most surely be sucked back into the life of humanity (not that far too many human beings still have suffer those monstrous evils even now).

Nor am I trying to slyly ‘stop progress’ by urging ‘all deliberate speed’ – it’s just that you can’t put a 747 into a power-dive like you can a torpedo-bomber or a Stuka (forgive the wisps attached to that reference), especially when the 747 is chock full of ‘souls’.

But that being said, I’m still not sure about all these ‘rights’ as in rights-revolution. The decision of the Identities’ ‘Advocates’ to cast their own agendas in the ‘civil rights’ mode and thus – they planned – to surf that original ‘civil rights’ wave to glorious beaches bode great ill for a democratic politics. The civil-rights essential trope is: this is a ‘right’, has always been a ‘right’ even if it’s just been ‘discovered’, and thus it should immediately be recognized as such and if folks don’t ‘get it’ then it must be – in ‘justice’ to the deprived – imposed by those who do ‘get it’. Again, this is a lethally imprudent way to conduct a democratic politics and a democratic governance.

‘Leadership’ by imposition is a fateful path for a government to take, and not to be taken lightly nor relied upon – as in the decades since the late Sixties – as a matter of course and of first resort.

Especially since it’s not at all so easy to see how such-and-such is a ‘right’; it was ‘easy’ to see that in the first civil rights movement, as I’ve said before, but not at all so ‘clear’ are the ‘rights’ one might list that have subsequently ‘discovered’ by the post-’65 black civil-rights movement or the later Identities. I’m not denying that some of them may indeed be shown to be construable as ‘rights’, but even where that is or may be so, no government can prudently start imposing ‘reforms’ on that basis upon its society and populace.

The ‘Advocacy’ strategy has been to widely ‘report’ that such-and-such a ‘right’ has been discovered ‘to have existed all along’, thus creating instantly a body of supporters (an Identity) among the citizenry who take the Advocacies’ at their word and now feel – perhaps strongly – that they have been ‘done wrong’.

Government may try to immediately address that ‘feeling’, a political consideration of no small import, but this is precisely the problem created by Identity Politics and Advocacy. And not in a single instance, but in a continuing torrent, by the “movement of movements” that Sugrue refers to approvingly and almost proudly.

Nor can ‘Law’ support the government without risking its own legitimacy, as the government is risking its own. Many of the court decisions are of dubious logical integrity, in such a way as to be obvious even to the novice or legal-non-professional reader, which is most of the citizenry.

Nor does the standard Advocacy assertion that ‘logic’ and ‘reason’ and ‘reasonableness’ are ‘oppressive’ and – indeed – ungrounded and groundless lead into anything but fundamentally darkling paths and true swamps for the polity and even – as We have seen – for the ultimate Grounding of the entire democratic and Founding propositions.

The rights of convicted felons are certainly matters carefully considered by the Founders and I think violations of those rights, whether in individual cases or – as often seen nowadays – systematically and as a matter of ‘positive law’ cannot stand under honest constitutional scrutiny (yet to actually be done, sadly).

But ‘rights’ discovered in ‘the penumbras’ of the Constitution are something far less clear and cannot be imagined or asserted to deserve ‘immediate’ acceptance and enshrinement (let alone ‘imposition and enforcement’ per FDR’s approach in his activist-government Second Bill of Rights).

And rights that actually require not redistribution – a thorny enough matter – but the actual destruction of human or humanoid or human-capable life can surely not be expected to enjoy instant acceptance.

Yes, folks – perhaps the bulk of those who ‘accept’ abortion – actually accept only that ‘first trimester’ or ‘when actual dire danger to the health of the mother’; abortion Advocacy’s shrewd lumping of all ‘support’ into Yes or No is a Derangement of Names also seen in such large public matters as ‘sex offenders’, a lump-term that grossly distorts more than it clarifies. This too is a recipe for the derangement of the government and of ‘law’ as well as of the citizenry’s own moral maturity and Our civilization’s moral integrity (which is sorely weakened through failure to actualize its ideals to begin with, as any decent human being knows).

The ‘Roe’ decision went way beyond what it was originally asked to deal with (the Justices perhaps having spent too much time with their newspapers and not enough with deliberation as to larger and deeper aspects of the thing). Legal scholarship almost immediately demonstrated a substantial body of opinion that the Decision was flawed in many ways. Thus the Court’s attempt to get around that problem (clear to the Court and legal professional thought, if not to the citizenry at large) in subsequent cases about the matter.

And I certainly urge the Court’s vigorous vigilance as a vital Branch. But it too has become debauched by too much reading of ‘the news’ and a desire to be a ‘player’: ‘Bush v Gore’ was unnecessary but established the Justices as Beltway ‘Macher’ in a way never intended for them (and what on earth does one do with Sandra Day O’Connor’s subsequent statement that she just couldn’t retire from the Court leaving a Democrat in the White House … ?). The road to ‘Bush v. Gore’ led through ‘Roe’.(And maybe Rawls.)

The Court’s choice in ‘Roe’ – to accept as the gravamen of the case the plight of those who could not get access to legal abortions, rather than the plight of the pre-birth humanoids who were being aborted legally or otherwise – was not a call that bid fair to enjoy clear and quick and wide acceptance.

Certainly, anyone who could accept the governmental prudence in allowing abortions as a safety valve for human beings who had ‘found themselves’ pregnant by some working of fate (not to include their own actions) could not with any sense of human decency be expected to glory in the abortion process. But that is what was initially proposed by the ‘radical’ abortion-proponents, was then somewhat muted for decades, but now has returned: abortion at any time ‘pre-birth’ is a good thing and a ‘right’ and if you don’t ‘get it’ then you are oppressing the rights of the victimized.

The Constitution was meant to keep government from victimizing the citizens; not to prevent Nature-Evolution-God from constraining them or imposing certain shaping limits. You could make a case that the government should keep folks from ‘victimizing themselves’ – the smoking matter and certainly the motorcycle-helmet and auto seat-belt laws are examples; but in the matter of abortion, it is seen as politically expedient to yield to a demographic rather than tell them that ‘if you break it, you own it’ – which is apparently true only for Iraqis and other such. Or ‘don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time’ – which is apparently true only for ‘criminals’.

I am not proposing the preceding paragraph as the final-word on the subject, but I don’t see how anyone can go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that ‘rights’ resolves any and all doubts or darknesses in the matter.

And by this point in American history – and the past 35 years has been a decent-sized chunk of it – folks are getting wary of it and all its insistent and urgent importunings. To put little tire-kicking back into the mix may not be such a bad thing.

And let it be stipulated here that I am not slyly trying to ‘indulge’ or justify any ‘male’ ‘liberty’ to impregnate and walk-away, to ‘fire and forget’ as the military admires in its rocketry. A male organ is very much similar to a weapon, the thing is loaded more often than not, and should never be discharged without careful consideration, because once fired its projectile cannot be recalled. Maybe the police should be running more classes for males, explaining that aspect of ‘the man’s burden’ to them (not, I think, the modern military – unless it’s commanding officer level training in firing nuclear missiles).

Instead, it seems that the feminist advocacy would like – not more male responsibility – but an ‘equal liberty and right’ to ‘walk away’. Is that really the best thing for a female sensibility (to the extent that such exists as distinguishable from a ‘male’ sensibility)? And does this concern outweigh the ‘rights’ take on the matter?

3:30 AM  

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