As we explored your conflict over abortion, Paula Wong showed us this…
Notwithstanding its reputation for stability and continuity, the U.S. political system seems to resolve its deepest problems in relatively brief periods of intense and potentially destabilizing conflict.Future tense, X: The fourth revolution, by James Piereson, The New Criterion, June 2012
So, Paula asked a question which really caught our attention.
“What if,” said Paula, “the Americans may soon be facing their fourth foundational crisis moment in the story of the United States?”
I was confused. “Hold on, Paula. What was the first foundational crisis?”
“It appears their first crisis decision was choosing to declare independence. And Abraham Lincoln saw the second coming their way.”
If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858
There it is. A crisis. The house divided against itself.
And now your conflict over abortion is unfolding.
In October 2016, in the final presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace challenged Donald Trump: Did he want Roe to be overturned? Trump did not equivocate. “I am pro-life,” he said, “and I will be appointing pro-life judges.” Characteristically shunning the usual circumlocutions, Trump swatted away the legal complexities, saying that with one or two appointments of pro-life judges, overturning Roe “will happen automatically, in my opinion.”OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE, by R. R. Reno, First Things, June 28, 2018
And now that Donald Trump has appointed two pro-life judges to the United States Supreme Court, it is possible that your Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned.
And if your Supreme Court does bring Roe v. Wade to an end and returns the issue to the states, it looks like you can expect some major conflict to unfold…
Being forced to live in a country where abortion at any stage of pregnancy, for whatever reason, is equated with murder—a standard view on the Christian right—would almost surely arouse opposition, if not fury, among millennial women who have grown up in a pro-choice country and, like most Americans, show few signs of wanting to turn back the clock.A recent survey by the Pew Research Institute found that sixty-nine per cent of Americans oppose overturning Roe, the highest level since researchers began sampling opinion on the question.WHY REPUBLICANS COULD REGRET OVERTURNING ROE V. WADE, By Eyal Press, The New Yorker, January 19, 2017
Approximately one-third of young Americans today say their views on abortion have changed in recent years. Nearly three times as many young Americans say they have become more supportive of abortion rights rather than more opposed (25 percent vs. nine percent).
Conversely, seniors (age 65 and up) are twice as likely to say they have become more opposed (12 percent) than more supportive (six percent).
Even if Roe v. Wade and a federal constitutional right to an abortion are overturned, the generational trend PRRI identified could be important as abortion law is determined in the crucible of each state’s political process. It will still involve a culture clash beyond anything we’ve seen since the civil rights era, but with momentum on the side of progress, however briefly thwarted.America’s Views on Abortion Are Undergoing a Generational Shift, By Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine, April 17, 2018
But, there are those who believe Roe v. Wade won’t be overturned, but chipped away…
A Democratic senator said that with Brett Kavanaugh now on the Supreme Court she expects the court to chip away at the right to abortion rather than directly overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on “This Week” Sunday that she doubts the court will “actually overturn Roe v. Wade” but “even if they don’t, they will nullify it, pretty much.”Supreme Court ‘will nullify’ Roe v. Wade even if it doesn’t ‘overturn’ it: Senate Dem, By KRIS SCHNEIDER, ABC News, Oct 7, 2018
But polls consistently show that most Americans support abortion rights and oppose the repeal of Roe. On July 2, Quinnipiac released a new survey demonstrating that Americans back the Roe decision two to one: 63 percent approve of the ruling and only 31 percent disagree with it. If the Supreme Court explicitly overturned the decision, it might provide Democrats with a way to bring new voters to the polls—just as Roe did for the GOP.
Republican judges know that, too, which is why a flat-out repeal of Roe remains improbable. The more likely path is a continued restriction of abortion rights, of the type that we’ve already seen over the past few years: parental notification laws, stricter requirements for clinics, and so on.Overturning Roe v. Wade Could Remake American Politics, By JONATHAN ZIMMERMAN, The New Republic, July 5, 2018
And yet, it’s also possible there is another way of seeing why the Court may choose to put it back on the table…
A restoration of legislative rights to the people, might restore a measure of moderation to our politics. Only by having such discussions, often heated and even contentious, can we have the ability truly to get to know and understand our fellow citizens, and to recognize them as fellow citizens. Only then can we follow Lincoln’s advice that we act “With malice toward none” and “with charity for all.” By taking moral issues out of the political arena our Courts have allowed us no options other than shouting and community organizing. We don’t truly have to listen to the other side when the legislative power is null, for neither sides words have any practical impact. The result is growing ugly. It is making us a nation of tribes.
Allowing us, forcing us, to work to pass legislation can open things up. The laws that result, perhaps, at least at first, fifty different sets of compromises, will satisfy few entirely, but only by restoring our legislative rights can we hope to be forced truly to listen to each other’s arguments and forge the compromises that can steer us away from Civil War. Once we begin to resurrect our legislative rights, then we can begin to focus on what answers to the moral debates of our times are themselves most congruent with the proposition that all men are created equal.Don’t Settle for Roe, by RICHARD SAMUELSON, Law and Liberty, SEPTEMBER 14, 2018
And so we are very curious as to whether you Americans will consider what Andrew Sullivan is thinking about…
Congress can legislate on abortion; the matter can be settled through politics, rather than through a strained parsing of the Constitution by the courts. Political arguments can be made, and countered. Voters can go to the polls to support candidates who will vote for such a law, which will make any previous Supreme Court ruling irrelevant.
This is the process called politics. And America, for 46 years, has tried to keep abortion out of it. It’s encouraging to see Warren jump into the fray to bring legislative politics back to the subject — and to call the right’s bluff on taking that approach. It’s amazing it has taken this long.
Every other major democracy treats abortion this way: through the legislative branch hammering out a compromise.
If we take this issue away from a court whose decision still divides the country after 46 years, we can actually come to some compromise on it, like every other democracy. It would once again be possible to make your case, with full and immediate accountability — either for legal abortion or against it, or for a reasonable middle. Roe could be replaced by a federal law — perhaps like the one proposed today by Warren — or state laws of varying degrees of control. What we desperately need to do is take this issue out of the polarizing abstractions and into the nitty and the gritty of democratic give and take.Elizabeth Warren Just Transformed the Abortion Debate, By Andrew Sullivan, New York Intelligencer, May 18, 2019
Our team thinks he sees something. Because as the drama in America intensifies, so will the rage…
This week, the most aggressive abortion bans since Roe v. Wade swept through states, explicitly designed to challenge and ultimately reverse Roe at the Supreme Court level. With them has come the dawning of a broad realization — a clear, bright, detailed vision of what’s at stake, and what’s ahead.
And so here we are, the thing is happening and no one can pretend otherwise; it is not a game or a drill and those for whom the consequences — long real for millions whose warnings and peril have gone unheeded — are only now coming into focus want to know: what can be done?
First, never again let anyone tell you that the fury or determination to fight on this account is invalid, inappropriate, or inconvenient to a broader message.
Rage works. It takes time and numbers and a willingness to express it, but it is among the most reliable catalysts of social and political change.
Above all, do not let defeat or despair take you, and do not let anyone tell you that your anger is misplaced or silly or in vain, or that it is anything other than urgent and motivating. It may be terrifying — it is terrifying. But this — the fury and the fight it must fuel — is going to last the rest of our lives and we must get comfortable using our rage as central to the work ahead.Our Fury Over Abortion Was Dismissed for Decades As Hysterical, By Rebecca Traister, The Cut, May 18, 2019
And, remember what Trump said in an interview before his selection as the Republican candidate?…
BW: In the Republican Party, I mean . . . there is a lot of angst and rage and distress.
DT: A lot. Record-setting.
DT: I bring…
BW: And you have to tame that rage, don’t you?
DT: Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I’m not saying that’s an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out.
BW: You bring what out?
DT: I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have. I think it was . . . . I don’t know if that’s an asset or a liability, but whatever it is, I do. I also bring great unity out, ultimately.Transcript: Donald Trump interview with Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Washington Post, April 2, 2016
For years I’ve bounced between these two interpretations of the president — at times astonished by his incompetence; at other times amazed by his cunning. There’s much about the world that Trump will never understand. What he knows, however, is that success is above all a matter of being seen (regardless of results); that the more one lies, the less people notice; that winning is a matter of playing by one’s own rules (and changing them as needed); that, while hope may be inspiring, rage is intoxicating.
These ideas may be noxious, but they are also the fundamental political insights of our time.Is Trump Keyser Söze — Or Inspector Clouseau? By Bret Stephens, New York Times, March 28, 2019
So, what if your God has brought Donald Trump into the unfolding drama to help bring you to another crisis moment in the story of America?
The 2016 election presents the starkest choice since then, indeed, in living memory, but now with literally everything at stake. The country will, as Lincoln said, become either all one thing or all the other.Why the 2016 Election Will Be One of the Most Pivotal Moments of Our Time, By Sean Wilentz, Rolling Stone, December 3, 2015
And look at this…
What killed slavery in America was a “revolutionary crisis” in the form of the Civil War, which disrupted the ability of the plantation ruling class to dominate in the old way.The Logic of Liberty, Book Review by Allen C. Guelzo, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2014
So, our team is wondering — what if you are quickly moving towards a crisis which will place before you the same challenge which Lincoln put before America in the Gettysburg Address?
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure.
Abraham Lincoln, Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863
“Okay, then,” I asked Paula. “What may have been the third foundational crisis moment?”
“We have to look for something connected to the Declaration of Independence and the Quest of the American Founders,” she replied.
“And what might that have been?” I asked.
“It may have been their famous abortion case in 1973, Roe v. Wade,” said Paula. “That’s what we need to consider. Because, what if that case means they already faced a crisis moment decades ago, but made a choice not to try and rescue the unborn?”
And then she quoted to us again from your Declaration of Independence…
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.The Declaration of Independence
And she showed us this…
Throughout our Nation’s history, Americans have treasured these timeless words from our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These stirring words summarize the fundamental moral vision of the United States, a vision that affirms the inestimable dignity and worth of every human being, each of whom is made in the image of God. They were not words uttered lightly. Signers of the Declaration pledged to uphold them with their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. On this occasion, we reflect on the first and most fundamental right enumerated by our Nation’s founders: the right to life.George Bush: Proclamation 6397 – National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 1992
“So,” asked Paula, “since their Supreme Court ruled that Americans had a private license to kill their own children, what if how the Christians in America responded to Roe v. Wade revealed that they were more interested in the pursuit of happiness than protecting the lives of the unborn?”
And she showed us this…
Abortion was not always a major concern of evangelical denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention before the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade (1973), notes Lewis. In fact, at that time Roe was decided, the Southern Baptist Convention formally favored abortion rights.What the Abortion Debate Hath Wrought, by GEORGE HAWLEY, Law and Liberty, December 21, 2017
And the more we looked at the role which the Declaration of Independence may have played in America’s unfolding drama, the more we began to wonder if it is taking you to another major crisis moment in the story of America.
Our team began to see this possibility by watching a famous American film. In 1990 an American filmmaker by the name of Ken Burns produced a documentary on the American Civil War, which aired on public television and quickly became the most watched program ever on American public television.
We heard about this film because a couple of our intrepid team members began watching it, looking for clues which might help us understand America’s story.
Turns out they found them in the very first episode. The first clue comes from an American writer, Shelby Foote, as he explains the significance of the American Civil War…
Any understanding of this nation has to be based, and I mean really based, on an understanding of the Civil War. I believe that firmly. It defined us. The Revolution did what it did. Our involvement in European wars that began at the first World War did what it did. But the Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things. And it is very necessary if you are going to understand the American character in the 20th century to learn about this enormous catastrophe in the mid-19th century. It was the crossroads of our being and it was a hell of a crossroads.
The second clue in the first episode follows directly after Foote’s assessment and it comes from a historian named Barbara Fields…
For me, the picture of the Civil War as a historic phenomenon is not on the battlefield. It’s not about weapons. It’s not about soldiers, except to the extent that weapons and soldiers at that crucial moment joined a discussion about something higher; about humanity; about human dignity; about human freedom.
We’d never heard of such a view.
And for us it was a clue which pointed backward. It forced us to ask ourselves why the Civil War ultimately unfolded in your story.
And what role could the Declaration of Independence have played?
Because we are now wondering, when the Declaration stated…
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
… did they really mean for it to apply to “all men”?
And were they intentionally putting something in play in America’s story?
One of our team members found this possibility…
Begin with the fact that the Founders placed themselves in an interesting ad hominem position by writing the Declaration of Independence in the way that they did. They were acutely aware of the contradiction between the principles of the Declaration and the fact that they owned other people. They could expect criticism based on these principles, and sure enough that criticism was quick to come. It came from an official source—the British administration to which the Declaration was addressed.
The founders knew that the Declaration would build pressure to abolish the practice of slavery. They felt that pressure already, and they began to act on that pressure in ways that substantially reduced and restricted the practice of slavery in early America. One may blame them for the insufficiency of this. One may criticize them for removing from the Declaration the language against slavery that Jefferson proposed. One may say that they did not mean the principle of equality that they did place there. But why then should they place it there at all?Larry P. Arn, The Founders Key
The more we looked into it, the more our team began to consider the possibility they really may have meant it, and our opinion has been influenced by something Abraham Lincoln said in 1858…
Now, if slavery had been a good thing, would the Fathers of the Republic have taken a step calculated to diminish its beneficent influences among themselves, and snatch the boon wholly from their posterity? These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: ‘We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the Universe. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. [Applause.] Yes, gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and imbruted by its fellows.Abraham Lincoln, Lewiston, Illinois, 1858
Our team suspects it is possible Lincoln may have been right.
What if the American founders who were against slavery knew what they were doing?
What if people on such a quest thought strategically and played the long game, given the opposition forces they were up against?
And what if it played out in a massive Black Swan way?
Emancipation, not colonization, was the real goal to which the logic of the American Founding was driving the nation. As much as Davis regards “the extreme fortuity and contingency” of the Civil War’s results as a genuine threat to the triumph of equality, “the outlawing of New World slavery” was as “foreseeable” as it was “astonishing.” Foreseeable because, as Lincoln had declared, everything in the reasoning of the founders pointed inexorably toward the incompatibility of liberty and equality with slavery; astonishing because the collapse of slavery happened so quickly, so violently, and so totally. The Emancipation Proclamation and the Reconstruction amendments to the Constitution (13th through 15th) possessed a power which seems to Davis not only tectonic but intellectually irresistible on the premises of the Declaration of Independence. The “sudden liberation of some 4 million slaves—far more than had ever been amassed in one part of the New World”—was “the climax and turning point of the Age of Emancipation.”The Logic of Liberty, Book Review by Allen C. Guelzo, Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2014
So, what if your God put that Black Swan into play in America’s story?
Look what Abraham Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural Address …
The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
We know this is speculation, but that is just what our team has to do as we move forward with this crazy assignment.
But what if this guy is on to something…
To be clear, what we just witnessed, and what we have seen for two years, is not a case of mere political differences, which the Founders recognized as inevitable and even desirable.
Instead, we face something more akin to the combustible climate historian Christopher Clark described as the origins of World War I. In his book, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” Clark illustrates how none of the great powers wanted war, but all felt free to escalate the build-up in the certainty that the other side would back down.
Something similar is happening here, and our nation could be sleepwalking into a second civil war. Even though justice and fairness prevailed this time, the stained confirmation process must serve as a wake-up alarm.Hillary Clinton is still finding ways to denigrate democracy, By Michael Goodwin, New York Post, October 6, 2018
And look at this…
Suppose further that Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer have left the Supreme Court, and Trump fills both seats with conservatives. From prominent Democrats, there are daily calls for resistance in the streets, and our restaurants and theaters have turned into no-go zones for people of the wrong political party.
Were that to happen, Lincoln’s “house divided” would have new meaning, and we’d begin to wonder whether we all belong in the same country. “Some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America,” said Clinton, about the millions of “deplorables.” Yet if they’re not Americans, they might reasonably ask themselves to what country they belong or should belong.
Maybe we should stare the possibility of a breakup in its face, if we’re ever to regain our old civility and affection for fellow Americans. Before criminalizing honest policy differences, before the online shaming, the Twitter mobs and the no-platforming, before doxing ideological enemies, let’s recall that those enemies just might have exit options.
Can our modern ‘house divided’ remain one nation? By Frank Buckley, New York Post, October 12, 2018
Could the Fugitive Slave Law, Part Two, Rip America Apart?
If your Supreme Court puts the question of abortion put back on the political table, our team is now wondering if the issue of taxpayer funded abortion will end up playing a key role in taking your country apart.
You see, this is the direction the Democratic Party is heading…
The Democratic party has moved so far left on the issue of abortion that what was once considered a moderately pro-choice position is now embraced only by self-described pro-life Democrats in Congress. When the partial-birth abortion ban passed the Senate 64-34 in 2003, it did so with the support of 17 Democrats, including supporters of Roe v. Wade like Pat Leahy, Joe Biden, and Tom Daschle. It passed the House with 218 Republican and 63 Democratic votes. When the House voted in 2017 to ban most abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy—when infants can feel pain and survive if born prematurely—it had the support of only three Democrats. And the bill has the support of just three Democrats in the Senate: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
In 2016, the Democratic party platform explicitly called, for the first time, for the repeal of the Hyde amendment, which would open the door to unlimited taxpayer funding of abortion for Medicaid recipients. Groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood are laying the groundwork to repeal the Hyde amendment—which has been on the books since 1977 and has decreased the number of abortions by hundreds of thousands over the years—the next time Democrats control Congress and the White House.Endangered Species, By JOHN MCCORMACK, Weekly Standard, January 26, 2018
But, as you know, great dramas are full of turns and surprises.
And America’s unfolding drama is no exception.
So, for instance, back on June 26th, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court imposed same sex marriage on America, it looked as though those who have been steadily framing Christians as the bad guy bigots in America’s story, had achieved a great victory.
That narrative now had the seal of approval from the highest court in the land.
But then, on July 14, 2015, a pro-life group called the Center for Medical Progress released the first of the videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts.
And we understand the desire to sell body parts…
There are over 1,000 laogai camps spread across China, where slave labor is the rule and political prisoners are frequently murdered, so their transplantable organs can be harvested to benefit the more politically reliable members of the population.A Vatican-Based Bishop Extols China, By George Weigel, National Review, February 7, 2018
And, as our secular story allies in America rallied to support Planned Parenthood, they also handed Christians in America the opportunity to level the playing field by asking the question – “Wait a minute, you’re saying we’re the bad guys in America’s story?”
It was classic “turn” in the story.
On June 26th, no one expected that within three weeks the story war in America could suddenly shift in such a way. After all, look at how powerful Planned Parenthood is in America…
Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion chain in America, aborting about 320,000 unborn babies every year. Its most recent annual report showed a record income of $1.46 billion, with about half a billion dollars coming from taxpayers.Shocking Poll: 62% View Planned Parenthood Abortion Business Favorably, Including Christians and Pro-Lifers, By Micaiah Bilger, Life News, June 28, 2018
But did that turn happen? Apparently not…
LOPEZ: Are the ongoing Planned Parenthood scandals an opportunity for change?
WALSH: The fact that an enraged population hasn’t risen up and closed every one of these murder emporia is a sign of how much the dreaded sin of “judgmentalism” has corroded our souls.Subversion 101: Heroism after Critical Theory, Interview with Michael Walsh, National Review, September 9, 2015
A shocking new poll from Gallup indicates strong public support for the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
The poll found a full 62 percent of American view the billion-dollar abortion “non-profit” favorably, the strongest supporters being women and young adults.
But the poll also found that 52 percent of people who attend religious services at least once a month view the abortion chain favorably, while 43 percent do not. Even 36 percent of people who identify as pro-life said they have a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood, according to the poll.Shocking Poll: 62% View Planned Parenthood Abortion Business Favorably, Including Christians and Pro-Lifers, By Micaiah Bilger, Life News, June 28, 2018
And you continued to fund Planned Parenthood…
“These are the people who promised voters they would defund Planned Parenthood. They promised to pass pro-life legislation. They were elected on those very promises and, now, the Republicans have passed a budget, in a Congress where they have the majority, that gives Planned Parenthood everything they want. The Republicans keep insisting that they care deeply about the lives of preborn children. I say prove it, because this budget affirms just the opposite. It is a total betrayal of the American people,” added Father Terry Gensemer, International Director of CEC For Life.Congress Continues to Fund Planned Parenthood’s Criminal Enterprise, By Operation Rescue, February 9, 2018
“With the funding of Planned Parenthood in the new Senate budget, the Republican Party cannot publicly call themselves ‘Pro-life.’ I mean really, can ANYONE consider themselves pro-life if they vote to give $530,000,000 to the largest abortion provider in the world that does over 321,000 abortions in America alone. I think it’s incumbent upon pro-life leaders to hold Republicans accountable and not allow our message and branding to become diluted or manipulated by politicians. Let’s continue to work with republicans but not allow them to change who we are or define what it means to be pro-life. #DefundPlannedParenthood,” said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director, Christian Defense Coalition.Congress Continues to Fund Planned Parenthood’s Criminal Enterprise, By Operation Rescue, February 9, 2018
So, is anything going to change?
But then, Paula Wong raised a question I hadn’t considered.
“In that Putin Prize Essay related to taxpayer funded abortion, the Canadian Intelligence Officer pointed out that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 played a crucial role in driving America into its Civil War,” she said.
“So,” asked Paula, “what if these Planned Parenthood videos are the spark which eventually turns taxpayer funded abortion into the Fugitive Slave Law Part Two?”
And here is an excerpt from that essay…
As you already know, abortion is one of the most powerful centrifugal forces driving Americans apart. Well, for your information, it’s going to get a lot worse. The United States has entered into what I call the era of The Fugitive Slave Law II. And frankly, I’m looking forward to the fireworks.
As you know, America has been funding abortions for years by subsidizing the likes of Planned Parenthood. The ongoing controversy over this will eventually create the kind of crucible which will force people who are against abortion to face the issue squarely.
And as they face it, you’ll begin to see why I call this Fugitive Slave Law II. In 1850, the southerners pushed through Congress a law called the Fugitive Slave Act. In effect it deputized the northerners to help the slave masters corral their runaways and any other free blacks they could get their hands on.
Its effect was enormous, but not in the way the South had intended. It was one of the great political blunders of all time.
To see why, you have to understand the frustrations of the abolitionists up to that point in time. Many in the north were against slavery, but felt like it wasn’t something they could do anything about. They held the practice in contempt, but were willing to let it continue because as individuals, they just didn’t think there was much they could do. It was out of their hands.
And that’s the way it is with pro-lifers today. The US Supreme Court took it out of their hands in 1973 and aside from some fiddling around the edges, they’ve felt like there’s not much they can do. Over time, while America has become increasingly pro-life at the margins, a complacency has also set in about actually ever getting rid of abortion.
But this is where the story of the Fugitive Slave law becomes instructive. It woke up the North to the horrors of slavery because now they’d been roped in to the vile practice itself. Consider this, from the historian Lois Horton:
And notice the following description from Wikipedia:
In fact, the Fugitive Slave Law brought the issue home to anti-slavery citizens in the North, since it made them and their institutions responsible for enforcing slavery. Even moderate abolitionists were now faced with the immediate choice of defying what they believed an unjust law or breaking with their own consciences and beliefs.
The historical parallels with the impact of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 are too striking to ignore. Consider the following evidence from a PBS special on Africans in America:
Of all the bills that made up the Compromise of 1850, the
Fugitive Slave Act was the most controversial. It required citizens to assist
in the recovery of fugitive slaves.
Passage of the Fugitive Slave Act made abolitionists all the more resolved to put an end to slavery. The Underground Railroad became more active, reaching its peak between 1850 and 1860. The act also brought the subject of slavery before the nation. Many who had previously been ambivalent about slavery now took a definitive stance against the institution.
The Compromise of 1850 accomplished what it set out to do — it kept the nation united — but the solution was only temporary. Over the following decade the country’s citizens became further divided over the issue of slavery. The rift would continue to grow until the nation itself divided.
And one of those effects which led to the war was the stirring of Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her classic American novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Its impact was so great that when Lincoln finally met her after the bloodshed had commenced, he commented, “So this is the little lady who made this big war.”
Do you see what went on?
The slaveholders themselves forced the complacent northerners to face the horror of slavery. And when they finally faced it squarely, it led to war.
That Putin Prize Essay really caught our attention. What if history is rhyming?
While Douglas viewed popular sovereignty as a bedrock democratic value, Lincoln saw its application to slavery as a callous statement of moral indifference. And he equated revoking the Missouri Compromise with repudiating the Declaration of Independence itself. “Near eighty years ago,” he observed, “we began by declaring that all men are created equal; but now . . . we have run down to the other declaration, that for some men to enslave others is a ‘sacred right of self-government.’”
Though Lincoln’s feelings about what he called “the monstrous injustice of slavery” were sincere, he was no abolitionist, and he felt bound to accept slavery where it existed. He was, like Douglas, a practical man, with whom the Union always came first. He endorsed the spirit of compromise on which it depended, and which he believed Kansas-Nebraska subverted. “And what shall we have in lieu of [this spirit]?” he asked. “The South flushed with triumph and tempted to excesses; the North, betrayed, as they believe, brooding on wrong and burning for revenge. One side will provoke; the other resent. The one will taunt, the other defy; one aggresses, the other retaliates.”
That is precisely what happened.The Law that Ripped America in Two, By Ross Drake, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2004
And what if your love crisis is also rhyming?
For Thoreau, the most spiritually corrosive life is lived by relatively privileged members of democratic societies who know in their hearts that their elected government is doing great wrong in their names, who derive personal and national benefit from that wrong, and who – out of convenience, conformity, cynicism, or despair – do nothing to stop or correct it. As the United States was completing the imposition of its will on Mexico, Thoreau observed that most of his Concord neighbors heartily disapproved of the attack on a foreign nation for material gain under a flimsy pretense of self-defense, and the legal oppression and exploitation of blacks that the war promised to extend. Yet they remained obedient citizens, paid for the war with their tax dollars, and resignedly pocketed their share of the national wealth that imperialism and slavery produced. “Thus, under the name of order and civil government,” he concluded, “we are all made at last to pay homage to our meanness, After the first blush of sin, comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, immoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.”Evan Carton, Patriotic Treason
So, given intensifying conflict in your unfolding drama, our team is very interested in coming to see what you want as you will show in how you try to find forward. Because, well…
The limited state of the liberal regime is not wired to handle high-voltage questions of moral truth. In the last century, the question of slavery overloaded the system and the government was brought to ruin in civil warfare. The same may be happening today on the question of abortion.Why We Can Get Along, by Richard John Neuhaus, First Things, February 1996
And it’s possible your society is not going to change…
A culture that accepts such deep violence at the origins of life will have every incentive not to think about the profound questions of human existence that for so long animated Western culture—they cut too close to the heart—and so education, even now scarcely distinguishable from ignorance, will largely consist in learning not to ask them. And people who have come to understand themselves as artifacts will be unable to think deeply about them because there will be no depths to think about. For they will have already reduced reality to an assemblage of superficial ‘facts’ and truth to an arrangement (or re-arrangement) of the facts.The Brave New World of Same Sex Marriage, by Michael Hanby, The Federalist, February 19, 2014
So, if your conflict over abortion turns out to be your tipping point, then you may want to think more deeply about how your drama may unfold.
Because your opponents can be driven by some very deep things in this conflict…
The ultimate distracting buzz, however, is to pretend that we can take control of death itself. We kill children in the womb, we kill the old and the infirm, and if we cannot deny our own mortality by living forever, we can at least determine for ourselves the time and circumstances of our own deaths. Make no mistake: The giddy, grinning delight which the Gloria Steinems of this world display concerning abortion is driven by more than just the desire to stop rape victims having unwanted children. It is powered by the grotesque thrill which holding power over life and death brings with it.DELIGHTING IN DEATH? by Carl R. Trueman, First Things, April 15, 2015
That a lot of secular progressives are fierce supporters of the abortion license because they’re eugenicists at heart shouldn’t come as a surprise; one current member of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, had a Gruberian moment some years ago when she admitted in an interview that legal activists promoting the abortion license prior to 1973 did so in part because they thought it would cut down the “growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”TO DEFEND THE DISPOSABLE, by George Weigel, First Things, December 31, 2014
“Not the child I wanted.” There, in a single phrase, is the moral dereliction at the center of Roe v. Wade Derangement Syndrome: If a pregnancy is inconvenient for career purposes, or the child to be born seems unlikely to tick all the boxes of one’s expectations, one makes the choice—“tragic,” as Ms. Marcus admits, or No Big Deal, on the Ehrenreich scale of values—to destroy the indisputably human life one has procreated. Lebensunwertes leben, “life unworthy of life,” German eugenicists and legal scholars called it in the 1920s. And we all know, or should know, where that lethal logic led when the definition of the “unworthy” was extended beyond the mentally handicapped to include certain ethnic groups, thought not to be the kind of people other people wanted as neighbors and fellow-citizens.
The refusal to recognize that lethal logic is another facet of Roe v. Wade Derangement Syndrome. There can be no denial that the object of an abortion is a human being; elementary genetics teaches us that. What is at issue — what has always been at issue — is what is owed, morally and legally, to that human being. And if the lethal logic of Lebensunwertes leben prevails, where will the proponents of an unrestricted abortion license stop, when it comes to eliminating the inconvenient?
Roe v. Wade Derangement Syndrome, By George Weigel, Ethics and Public Policy Center, April 18, 2018