By the Sword

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We’re a society that worships brute force. We distrust peaceful and reasonable persuasion. The Brett Kavanaugh mess really brings that home.

The judicial nominating process overemphasizes abortion. Concentrating on Roe v. Wade — whether for or against it — only guarantees that we’ll continue to be a force-based society. That we’ll go right on obsessing over what the government will permit us to do, or force us not to do.

As a Christian, I believe that abortion is wrong — except when, to save the life of the mother, it becomes a sad necessity. But were I to decide against having an abortion, it would make a tremendous difference to me whether I was free to make my decision on conviction or under compulsion. By making the repeal of Roe v. Wade the holy grail of the pro-life movement, we who do oppose abortion are behaving not like those who trust in Ultimate Truth, but like those who depend on brute force.

Concentrating on Roe v. Wade — whether for or against it — only guarantees that we’ll continue to be a force-based society.

The idea of being bullied into sex is so abhorrent to most women that we flinch at the testimony of Dr. Ford — regardless of whether we’re certain we believe her or not. But we’re being manipulated, and not very artfully. I’m used to this game — as a woman, and as a gay woman especially. I see through it, and I’m tired of it. Americans need to grow up and stop permitting themselves to be jerked around by raw emotional appeals.

The Kavanaugh proceedings degeneratedinto a circus. We were inundated with high school hijinks — real or imagined — from the early ’80s. The spectacle was degrading to everyone who got dragged into it. And we’ve all been in it up to our eyeballs.

For the record, I believe Brett Kavanaugh. I don’t find Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony the least bit credible. I can believe that she may have been assaulted, but she’s done nothing to prove that Kavanaugh was the culprit. Her motivation in fingering him seems, to me, blatantly political.

We’re being manipulated, and not very artfully.

The proceedings have been violent because the minds driving them are violent. They’re dominated by a toddlerish desire to dominate. The political competition has been tit for tat for so long that each side feels justified in being aggrieved by the aggression of the other. It no longer matters who started it, because no one wants to finish it.

Each side’s aggression is actually necessary, and even welcome, to its opponents. It provides the excuse for continuing to aggress. Where the abortion issue is concerned, the unborn are aggressed against — so others must aggress to defend them.

As far from them as I am on many issues, I can easily enter into progressive women’s minds. Under those funny pink hats, when it comes to the abortion wars they have a real concern. They think that with Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, they’ll be pushed around.

The proceedings have been violent because the minds driving them are violent. They’re dominated by a toddlerish desire to dominate.

The sexual assault he is alleged to have attempted is a metaphor for what they believe he wants to do to them. If government force is brought to bear — no matter how justifiable its advocates think it will be — those against whom it would be used are going to see it as violence. And violence is exactly what it is.

I believe the abortion debate is winnable by the pro-life side. But its affinity for government brawn gives the distinct impression that it doesn’t trust its own argument. Yet until that argument is won, its dependence on force will only continue to work against it. If all nine Supreme Court justices were pro-life, that would not change.

Many people are surprised at the vehemence with which Kavanaugh’s nomination was opposed. Frankly, I’m surprised that they’re surprised. “Live by the sword, die by the sword” is an adage that used to be clearly understood. The political powers-that-be are forgetting it at everyone’s peril.




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Comments

Michael Morrison

Lori Heine writes well, and she writes good: What she has to say is important.
Thank you, Lori, for your essay, and thank you, Liberty, for publishing it.

Scott Robinson

Dear Lori,

As a Catholic, I agree that abortion is wrong. Basically, it is allowable murder because the child is attached to the mother like a parasite, sucking her blood and other life nutrients so that the child can live. So why do I think that this is a justifiable homicide, just like killing a person who is threatening your life? Well, if mother and the abortionist are murderers, they should be convicted of first degree murder, and the women who have miscarriages should be convicted of manslaughter, and maybe the doctors of negligent manslaughter. It is only because of the fact that I don't think that a pregnant woman should be convicted of manslaughter if she has a miscarriage that I think that abortion should be considered a justifiable homicide by our legal system. Just like God Himself allowed Adam and Eve to freely choose to eat an apple from the forbidden tree and suffer the consequences, a pregnant woman is free to choose to kill her uterine parasite (to describe the child in a way fitting the women's health care argument) and suffer the consequences of that, like guilt and postpartum depression.

Good article about the only way to get what you want is either others want to give it to you or you use force to persuade them. Peace is acceptance of things as they are. People might argue that Dr. Martin Luther King used peace to get civil rights, but that is confusing non-violence with peace. I guess to some degree, it depends on how you define non-violence. Is boycott, refusal to do work, refusal to move, marching to your opponent's place of work or residence and decrying their wrongs non-violent?

Fight for What's Right,
Scott

Johnimo

Political life begins at birth. That's the way it's been throughout history and for good reason. At birth we name the child, we give it political "birth" with a social security number and a religious beginning with a baptism, for those so inclined. Before that time, the child belongs to the woman, and we should respect that and allow a woman to have a big period of time during which she can decide: "No, I don't want to do this."

Furthermore, rape and incest victims should not be forced, or expected, to carry a child at the direction of the rapist and the state. It's a woman's body and the baby belongs to her. The proper time to get all "holier than thou" about "a human life," is when that umbilical cord is cut. To do otherwise is an obscene imposition of another's values.

Dave

Well written article by Lori, as usual, but I think it contains a logical error. Suppose that instead of abortion we were discussing a different activity, one about which there is less doubt as to its criminality, such as "assault and battery". What does one do if some person or persons are going around the neighborhood mugging and beating up their fellow citizens? Do the inhabitants just put up with this while hoping that reason and peaceful persuasion will eventually convince the perpetrators to stop? Or do they investigate the crimes, identify and detain suspects, subject them to some kind of due process, and possibly fine or incarcerate those that are found guilty? If the latter, then you've got a government, formal or not, exercising force over its subjects.

When Lori speaks of "what the government will permit us to do, or force us not to do.", of course that is the function of government: to make and enforce rules. It's my contention that there will always be a government, and anarchy is not just a bad idea but an impossibility. In a complex and crowded world, people, even those with the most peaceful intentions, will get into difficult disputes about who is allowed to do what. Whatever mechanism resolves these disputes could be called "the government". Look at the world around us. In places where the formal government is weak or inept, its functions are quickly taken over by a variety of non-state actors: lone wolves, street gangs, organized crime groups, militias, paramilitaries, rebel groups, warlords, etc., all fighting with each other for power, with the peaceful citizens stuck in the middle. Those citizens will need to form their own strong government if they want to effectively (and fairly) subdue the other forces that seek to dominate them.

R R Schoettker

“It’s my contention that there will always be a government, and anarchy is not just a bad idea but an impossibility.”

“. . . all fighting with each other for power, with the peaceful citizens stuck in the middle. Those citizens will need to form their own strong government . . .”

How sad. This is the myopic view of one trapped inside the perceptual box of ‘social power’ who is unable to even see, much less to prefer a more just and decent alternative. It is not necessary after recognizing the presence of evil to then regard it as inevitable and to be required to practice it oneself. To defend against it does not necessitate submission to it or adoption of it. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Michael Morrison

Good for you, R.R.
You start with a rational principle and disclose the inconsistency of the opposing argument by using reason.
I remember hearing Roy Rogers (hmmmm, another "RR") saying just what you said: Two wrongs don't make a right.
It really ought to be obvious, it ought to be automatically accepted, but, alas, it isn't, and people like you will probably always need to re-state the basic premise.
Again, good for you.

Dave

Well, you claim that "To defend against it does not necessitate submission to it or adoption of it.". Can you give an example of a "just and decent alternative"?

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