violence vs. abortion

In yesterday’s post The Post-Abortion Era, I hoped that I had made clear my position regarding violent opposition to abortion. One of my readers has demurred, so perhaps I did not make my point clear enough. Let me state this clearly: I do not advocate the use of violence as a means to oppose abortion. I did bring up Hitler and the holocaust for apparent comparison. I believe the comparison is worth contemplating, for when is a murder not a murder? When is mass murder less monstrous?

But I also made a point of saying the American abortion issue is different. In yesterday’s post I didn’t go into those differences in detail, so here are some reasons not to use violence when opposing abortion:

1. We are not under the rule of a totalitarian government. As a people we are very conflicted on this matter. The left seems to support abortion with great solidarity, but the right has always been divided, with many uncertain what to think about it. This struggle is not a matter of resistance against an oligarchical minority. In fact, this struggle is more daunting than that. It is difficult to assume the moral high ground over the “ruling class” which enforces our abortion laws, because in our democracy, “them” is us!

2. Violence in service of the cause of pro-life would be counter productive. The people who resisted Nazism or the Vichy government of France did so in the knowledge that the allies were massing forces for an invasion of Europe. This provided a distinct endpoint (i.e. the defeat of Hitler) toward which the resistance movements in various Nazi-occupied countries could strive. With America’s abortion conflict there is no such allied army riding to the rescue. The distinct point in history toward which we must work is the point at which our people arrive at the concensus that abortion is wrong, and should be done away with. Violence confounds persuasion, creating a situation tailor made for the moral equivelance practiced on the left.

3. If we were to take up violence in support of the pro-life movement, we would have to consider how much violence would be required to finish the job with that method. One does not engage in lethal violence half-heartedly, or to attenuate or enhance one’s arguments, for that is terrorism. When the path of violence is taken, it must be followed to its completion. To bring violence into the abortion debate would ultimately entail civil war, or at least the wholesale slaughter of millions of poeple. It is horrific to contemplate following through with the methods of violence, and so, for any thinking person, it must also be horrific to contemplate dabbling in violence by fire bombing a few clinics or assassinating a few doctors.

None of this was the point of yesterday’s post. My point was that leftist causes frequently fall out of fashion. In a post-abortion America, I would imagine that the vast majority of us would look back on the abortion era with sad and quiet dignity, with the humility of a people chastened by history, much as we are by our history of slavery and eugenics. But I do believe the extreme left will not hesitate, in those days, to raise the issue from the campaign stump or the lecture hall as it suits their immediate purposes. They already do it with racism, they do it with eugenics, and they do it with the ugly aftermath of Europe’s experiments in socialism. They have no sense of history.

the post-abortion era

Dawn Eden has an interesting post about a pro-life woman who went to an abortion clinic to offer a general apology for Christians who had behaved badly in the name of the pro-life cause. Of course, the idea of reconciliation assumes the end of this ideological conflict. I believe the pro-life cause will prevail. But it’s intriguing to think about what that will mean for our culture.

The harsh judges of the abortion era of American history will quite likely be the liberal left. They have never shown a sense of history in the causes they embrace or reject. Regard how they championed slavery and later segregation; today they are styled the party of racial tolerance to the point of legislating quotas and affirmative action. Regard how they were the progressive proponents of eugenics; today they want nothing to do with that lingering stigma on our past. Today, despite the left’s legacy of appeasement toward Hitler, they now reject their socialist brother and his campaign of genocide. They incorrectly make him out as a rightist, and turn his stink upon the very people who now resist the culture of death in our society.

Hitler went down, and he went down hard. Consequently, the tide of history shifted quickly, and it’s instructive for us today to look at what that was like. Hitler is a pariah today as he well should be. I read the stories of the French citizens who resisted him, and I want to feel it was one of France’s finest hours. The Resistance was dedicated, efficient and ruthless. They often used gangland-style assassinations, perfecting the American rolling hit, spraying with machine gun fire the lunchtime cafeteria full of relaxing Nazis. After the war there was an old man who, with a twinkle in his eye, invited allied soldiers to his garden to show them the graves of sixteen Nazi officers whom he had quietly killed and secreted away. After the war was over, as a people, the French rose up against all things Vichy, executing public officials and shaving the heads of prostitutes who had consorted with their late oppressors.

Today, hatred of Nazism is nearly universal, both on the right and on the left. Do we not hold a special place in our hearts for those who used violence against the Nazi death machine? If we were to discover a story of a person who planted explosives in the administrative offices of Auschwitz and detonated them in the dead of night, would we say that he misrepresented the Allied forces and brought shame upon our just cause?

Please do not assume I endorse the use of violence against our fellow citizens who labor in the abortion industry, for I do not. Despite the millions who have been aborted, this is a different struggle. I agree with those who say we must win a war of ideas. But I also fully expect that one day we will win that war, prevailing ideology will shift, and fashion will follow. When that happens, be prepared for the liberal left, in pursuit of their latest cause celeb, to paint the party of Lincoln as life-haters, baby killers. Don’t be surprised when, without a trace of irony, they will smear us as recidivists who want to turn the clock back and restore the awful specter of abortion.

why can’t we all just get along?

A liberal is a person who believes that somewhere in the stack of cards which is this world’s ideologies, philosophies, governments and individuals there lies the formula for perfect government. A conservative is a person who believes the perfect formula just isn’t there.

The conservative may be a realist, with a pessimistic view of human nature. Or he may be Christian, and might believe that Christ will return to establish perfect government on the earth someday, but that’s not a solution that exists on the earth right now. In either case, perfect government is not currently in the cards.

This fundamental difference in premise is the cause of much of what those on the right would consider the “lunacy” of the left. It also explains why the left misunderstands and mistrusts the right with such vehemence. The left claims America’s government is a horrible government, rife with injustices. The right observes that there is not another system of government on the planet doing a better overall job of preserving the civil liberties of individuals. The leftist is comparing American government with something that doesn’t exist, and therefore America doesn’t pass the grade. The kicker is that the precise parameters of perfect government, against which our government is being judged, varies from group to group, even from individual to individual. They focus on details like Canada’s and Europe’s healthcare systems, believing that the perfect government will provide free healthcare. Therefore, those governments are exhibiting a trait of perfect government, and ought to be emulated.

The debate regarding taxation is driven by this same difference in premise. If perfect government is here somewhere in the mix, if it can be attained by tweaking or re-shuffling what we’ve already got, then why wouldn’t good citizens want to sacrifice in order to achieve such a goal? If the solution is somewhere right in front of us, we’d be crazy not to do whatever is necessary to find it.

Conservatives believe the solution the left seeks is simply not there. Hence, money spent in the pursuit of perfect government is wasted money. Furthermore, they believe that the extra funds given to existing (imperfect) governments only exacerbate the problems that already do exist, and even introduce more problems.

Imagine how we on the right must appear to those on the left. We seem to adhere to the status quo, tacking toward a vision of our government that was defined in the past, by male chauvinist slave owners! What possible motives could we have for fighting to preserve such an outdated, obviously imperfect system when utopia beckons ahead? This suggests to them an extreme cynicism on the right; a bunch of rich old white guys trying to consolidate and preserve their power over a dysfunctional system which should be relatively easy to fix. As they see it, the rich old white guys care about their power more than they care about old people, foreigners, the environment, gays or freedom of expression.

The right, while generally believing that improvement is always possible, doesn’t believe that utopia is possible. Conservatives are people who believe that liberty is the birthright of individuals, and that it is exceedingly fragile. They see that the social and sexual liberation trumpeted by the left is a pipe-dream which has drawn all the kooks, perverts and anarchists out to follow them. The pedophiles have been sucked into the left’s slipstream, but it would be a mistake to conclude that the left is nothing more than a bunch of post-hippie academic goombahs who just want to do drugs in peace (that would be a libertarian!). All the talk about civil liberties on the left come not from a belief in the rights of the individual, but in the steadfast faith that utopia, in the form of perfect government, is possible. That, my dear liberal and conservative friends, is why we can’t all just get along.

For a much more indepth (and in my opinion more insightful) look at liberal motivations, check out The Motivations of Political Leftists by John J. Ray of the University of New South Wales, Australia. In this monograph, Ray attempts “to analyse most aspects of Leftist political thinking and display the psychological and sociological roots of such thinking in an historical context.” Fascinating stuff.

she is cool

How cool would you say she is?

She is cooler than a low rider that scrapes the road all the time.
She is cooler than all the city’s lights going out at once.
She is cooler than the loud cracking noises your chiropractor can make with your neck.
She is cooler than chrome on a Harley.
She is cooler than satin on a rock star.
She is cooler than that moment after you pull your chute’s ripcord, but before it opens.
She is cooler than sand in Maui.
She is cooler than television.
She is cooler than the mournful sound of trains, when they call out in search of you on a summer night.
She is cooler than taking steps three at a time.
She is cooler than 40 wild horses running through shallow water in slow motion.
She is cooler than cigarettes in the face of peril.
She is cooler than rock videos look like fun to make.
She is cooler than having your teeth stuck together with jolly ranchers.
She is cooler than vampires.
She is cooler than teeth on a prehistoric bird.
She is cooler than the gleam of new hardware in a brand-new toolbox.
She is cooler than nuclear submarines.
She is cooler than vigilantes wearing mirrored sunglasses.

Yes, but how cool is she?

She is so cool, that someday other things’ coolness will be measured against hers. But they’ll only be almost as cool as her.

a short poem

are there enough songs in this life
to occupy my mind
to guide me through a tangle of resonant images
snapping back to childhood, and forward to the abyss

{color saturation frying my eyes
shading my shoulders with doubt
the spring in my step grinds like salt beneath my heel}

i need to forgive myself, but what if i do it too soon?

cancer

There were six of us sitting there with a shot glass in front of each of us. We had two bottles of whisky on hand, one of Crown Royal (to be consumed first) and one of Jim Beam (to be consumed after). We starting doing rounds, and we went fairly fast. I had six shots inside my stomach, and was just remarking how not very drunk I felt, when those six shots must’ve finished whatever pow-wow they were holding, and stuck their fists in the middle and yelled “break!” Before you know it, I knew it: this was the most drunk I’d ever been in twenty-seven years of life.

Next thing I knew, I’m sitting on the floor because it was handy, and that’s where my friends were. Things were hilariously funny. Things were incredibly sad. I felt disconnected, I felt I was part of a pack. People who never cried were crying, telling me to hang in there. I could beat this thing, I was told. I was the greatest guy, it just wasn’t fair. That’s life, I told them. I was reeling, swimming, drifting. I pulled myself up onto an ottoman and sat like an emperor, surveying my empire. Grimacing and groping on the floor, like children looking for contact lenses, my friends and my wife were hugging each other. Some of them smoked and didn’t act very drunk, but sat on the floor like amiable adults interacting with the kids.

Why had I never done this before? Why would I never do it again? I had to go home. I had to get up in the morning, make a presentation, shake hands, seal a deal. I made a show of standing up, and found that I could manage if I stood still. I took a step, and crumpled, catching my fall with my left hand. There was a vague pain in my wrist, nothing serious. But the serious little voice which was prepping me to get home to sleep, to get up for the presentation knew it was serious. I finally staggered out into the cool night air, across the overgrown grass of the backyard, into the alley. I stood swaying for a moment, like a man about to relieve himself, and stared up into the crystalline sky. The stars danced with me, streaking from right to left, moving as I moved, but opposite. My eyes began to fill, and I moved my mouth to speak some thanks to heaven. Then I stuck my finger into the back of my mouth, bent double, and wretched out my dinner.

The six shots (or what was left of them) came out the way they went in, but with no shot glass. I was on my knees I don’t know how long. My head began to clear, and I saw my left hand was now clutching a vomit covered tuft of grass. My mouth tasted like acid, but the stink was gradually yielding to the smell of cigarette smoke. I looked up at my friend who was standing quietly, looking up at the sky, his long-ashed cigarette dangling from his lips. I stuggled up, and he offered me his pack of cigarettes without looking at me. I hastily wiped my left hand on my jacket, took a cigarette with my right hand, spit a couple times into the grass, and lit up.

“You’re going to fight this thing, man.”

“Yeah.” I said. I inhaled shakily and stared back up at the sky. This time the stars were melting together. “I’m going to fight this thing.”

medical records dilemma – a modest proposal

Dawn Eden reports a bizarre story in which a Planned Parenthood lawyer claims the physical remains of an aborted fetus constitute a part of the mother’s medical records. Not just the fact of the abortion, or any specific information about the procedure, but the the actual “product of conception” him/herself.

This is incredible. Not content to kill the unborn, Planned Parenthood is waging war on the language as well. But if abortion victims’ remains are considered part of the mothers’ medical records, wouldn’t that mean that PP and other abortion clinics are engaged in systematic destruction and/or discarding of patients’ medical records? Is it legal, I wonder, to simply destroy or discard a portion of a patient’s medical records?

By the same token, isn’t there a good argument that the remains are also a part of the father’s medical records as well? After all, the fetus carries DNA which could prove his paternity (or should we say, “his complicity in generating products of conception?”). And then, when the mother and the father later see different doctors, and their respective doctors request all their medical records, is there a Solomonic division of the remains? Call your brokers, folks, and buy formaldehyde futures.

Suddenly a simple death certificate seems like a modest proposal.

the importance of being earnest

HOW TO TALK TERRORIST

Conservatives are often criticized for taking a “shoot first, talk later” attitude toward terrorism, and although I am a conservative, I must concede that the left is absolutely right (er, correct) on this point. For it is true that we need a better understanding of the people who are trying to kill us. If we can understand the underlying causes of their need to kill us, perhaps we’ll also be able to communicate to them the causes of our motivation to remain alive, safe and free.

Liberals advocate understanding; summits, dialog, and sympathy. I agree with all of that, but frankly I think even liberals do not take that line of thinking far enough. For it is not sufficient to show concern and sympathy to Islamist terrorists in our own western-centric idioms. This only demonstrates our insular cultural bigotism. We must be willing to shed our western modes of communication, and adopt their ways of speaking. Doing so ensures we will be understood, and it demonstrates respect for their values and code of ethics.

I will now lay out several basic methods for how to talk terrorist. These techniques may not come naturally to the western, democratic way of thinking at first, but with plenty of practice we’ll all get the hang of it. Opportunities to practice abound; it’s really not difficult to find a terrorist with whom you can practice cross cultural communication.

1. INITIAL GREETING

It is customary, in terrorist circles, to open a dialog with a massive explosion, preferably set off in a public place so that it will draw innocent civilians into the conversation. This may seem barbaric to us, but it actually demonstrates the terrorist’s populist sentiments; to a terrorist it is simply too elitist to speak directly to our armed forces. But once the dialog has been initiated, it is our notions of western-style compassion and understanding which cause us to offend. For the expected, nay required response is an answering explosion or series of explosions from the party who has been hailed.

Of course, we democratic westerners must find a happy medium between their values and our values, and I think most terrorists understand this. We are more particular about replies which affect innocent civilians. By directing our answering explosions to the terrorists themselves, instead of to their innocent civilian compatriots, we are not necessarily committing a faux pas. The terrorist realizes that while he has magnanimously included bystanders in the conversation, our style is often more direct, more personal.

The important thing is to answer the greeting. If we fail to acknowledge the terrorist’s initial salute, the terrorist is first baffled, and then perhaps concludes we did not hear or understand. Terrorists are generally patient and accommodating fellows, and will gently but insistently repeat the initial greeting several times until the other conversant is ready to join the conversation. If you have been addressed repeatedly, don’t be overly concerned, simply reply as quickly as possible, and then the conversation will take its proper course.

2. SMALL TALK

Do not underestimate the importance of small talk. The period of seemingly meaningless rhetoric which follows the terrorist’s greeting serves the important purpose of establishing how much credibility each party can expect of the other, and of solidifying the terrorist’s trust that we will be able to carry on the conversation until it is finished.

Small talk from the terrorist takes many forms, ranging from taking responsibility for the initial bombings, to outright gloating, to issuing fatwahs, to making ridiculous, impossible demands. Some of the things terrorists say in the course of small talk may seem offensive to us, but we shouldn’t take umbrage. Seemingly inflammatory phrases such as “infidel dogs,” “Great Satan” or “drive them into the sea” are, in fact, compliments. The more respect they have for you, the stronger will be their rhetoric. This is difficult for liberals to understand; generally liberals love peace, and don’t like to offend anybody but conservatives. It’s difficult for them to get used to a terrorist’s back-handed courtesy. Just bear in mind that the terrorist doesn’t really hate you, he just despises you and wants you and all your seed obliterated from the face of the earth. Taking the terrorist’s rhetoric in stride shows we’re mature enough to participate in the dialog, which is always an exciting thing for a terrorist who’s starved for conversation.

In contrast to the initial greeting, it is not important for us respond in kind to the terrorist’s small talk. Rather, our words should be directed toward the terrorist’s civilian compatriots. I know this seems counter intuitive, but you must try to get over your backward, western modes of conversation. When making small talk, you should keep your voice low, speaking softly. It is also useful to have a big stick on hand as a visual aid. Our verbal small talk takes the form of encouragement of democratic processes in their countries, or sometimes of solemn promises to topple their governments if they don’t take our side over the terrorists’. From this point in the conversation, our words should be directed at the societies who may be harboring terrorists, and never directed at the terrorists themselves. Above all, never break a promise. If, for example, you say you will depose a bloodthirsty, megalomaniac dictator, then depose him you must. This does not mean we don’t continue to speak to the terrorists –we must indeed continue to speak to them– but only in the terms they initially set, i.e. direct violence.

This kind of small talk dialog gradually (or sometimes immediately) increases to more substantive terms. The terrorist may attempt further violence, or he may attempt to vanish into the woodwork of his society. Do not mistake such evasions as a desire on the part of the terrorist to end the conversation. There are only two possible outcomes to this sort of conversation. Of those two possible outcomes, only one of them is acceptable to our western values. Again, in the spirit of compromise, a happy medium between our culture and terrorist culture must take the day. We accommodate the terrorist’s mode of conversation at the beginning, but in the end, the terrorist must compromise, and accommodate our mode of conversation. If the terrorist believes that the wrong outcome may actually prevail, we must gently but firmly disabuse him of that idea.

3. BENEDICTION

What is that only acceptable outcome? If we have conversed well up to this point, we will eventually arrive at the best possible conclusion to a dialog with a terrorist: complete silence on the part of the terrorist. Not just a lack of words or violence, but real silence, like the silence of the tomb. If we really impress the terrorist, he will be speechless, even breathless; unable to converse with either small talk or with bombs. No more nattering fatwahs, no more claiming of responsibility (without taking responsibility), no more ridiculous demands. Silence. Golden silence. If you reach this point in the conversation, you have truly received the only genuine compliment that a terrorist can give; acknowledgement that you have prevailed. Terrorists understand prevailing. They relate strongly to prevailing with violence. And if we conclude the conversation by prevailing, then we have responded to the terrorist’s culture of extortion, violence and death in a way that does not deny our own values.

We westerners tend to feel bad when we prevail in a conversation this way, but again, that is our own cultural bias. The terrorist loves, above life itself, to be a martyr. When we prevail, we’re helping him to his goal. We get to live in liberty, and the terrorist gets to kick back with 72 virgins. Conservative thinkers, listen up and take notes, for the liberals are right on this point: when true dialog occurs in an environment of mutual respect and understanding, everybody wins.

kerry is “open”

Kerry adviser Mike McCurry said it's important in the final days of the

Eye on the ball, John.
Kerry hopes the American people will pass him the ball on Nov. 2nd.

campaign that voters "get a better sense of John Kerry, the guy." That means the Democratic senator is spending some of the dwindling time before Election Day hunting, talking about his faith and watching his beloved Boston Red Sox. --AP

Apparently Kerry’s handlers have decided Kerry needs more “guy” time. Which is great for the Bush campaign, since “guy” time has worked so poorly for Kerry thus far. Kerry talked up Ohio State football while in Michigan. He referred to Green Bay Packer’s Lambeau Field as “the hallowed ground where the Packers play —Lambert Field.” He skipped the ball short of home plate when he threw out the first pitch at Fenway field (later claiming to reporters he didn’t want to hurt the catcher). He’s a big fan of a Red Sox player that doesn’t exist: Manny Ortez (what do you get when you cross Manny Ramirez with David Ortiz?). A few years before that he claimed his favorite Red Sox player of all time was Eddie Yost, who never played for the Red Sox. And there is plenty of documented evidence that he throws like a…well, not like a man.

Kerry, why this disguise? You speak french. You write sappy poetry about deer. You’re an avid windserfer, for cryin’ out loud. You’re a metrosexual. Why not just talk about things you know?

Source:
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