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The theme of The Great Divide is that the populations of the democratic world, from Boston to Berlin, Vancouver to Venice, are becoming increasingly divided from within, due to a growing ideological incompatibility between modern liberalism and conservatism. This is partly due to a complex mutation in the concept of liberal democracy itself, and the resulting divide is now so wide that those holding to either philosophy on a whole range of topics: on democracy, on reason, on abortion, on human nature, on homosexuality and gay marriage, on freedom, on the role of courts … and much more, can barely speak with each other without outrage (the favorite emotional response from all sides). Clearly, civil conversation at the surface has been failing -- and that could mean democracy is failing.

This book is an effort to deepen the conversation. It is written for the non-specialist, and aims to reveal the less obvious underlying ideological forces and misconceptions that cause the conflict and outrage at the surface -- not with any expectation the clash of values will evaporate, but rather that a deeper understanding will generate a more intelligent and civil conversation.

As an aid to understanding, the book contains a handful of Tables directly comparing modern liberal and conservative views across a range of fundamental moral and political “issues” so that curious readers can answer the book’s main question: “Where Do You Stand?” An interesting result in testing this exercise has been the number of people who find they “think” one way, but “live” another.    

 

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Essays (37)
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Tuesday
Sep052017

Feminism, Abortion, and Egalitarian Democracy

"All Who Support Slavery Are Free, and All Who Support Abortion Are Alive"

          Abortion has for so long now been considered a right in the Western world that even millions of ordinary, non-radical women defend it passionately. But that is not my topic here. I am going to discuss abortion as the third fundamental plank of the radical feminist platform; which is to say, the so-called “right” to abortion as a tax-funded service of the State claimed as a means to equality with men.

         All women understand that the work of birthing, suckling, and the early care of children fall disproportionately to them, and so no society can be “equal” in the gender sense, unless this natural consequence of human biology is somehow transformed into a chosen consequence of a woman’s Will, rather than of her sexual behavior. Laws permitting abortion-on-demand achieve this result by enabling women to eliminate their unwanted children, leaving them only with wanted children, thus removing any grounds for complaint about an unchosen inequality.

         What this distinction tells us is that all modern major democracies (with the exceptions only of Poland, where it is outlawed) locate their moral justification for abortion in the Will of the woman, and not in her biology. In this sense, all modern abortion regimes are an expression of the modern Triumph of the Will over Nature. In the past, this triumph of Will over nature was expressed by careful women prior to the sex act, rather than after the sex act. A woman refused sex entirely if she didn't want the risk of pregnancy, or she indulged, but with the help of contraceptives. What has changed is that the control of the Will over nature to sustain one's freedom exerted before pregnancy, now includes control over the life or death of the unborn child in order to sustain one's freedom after pregnancy. Presto! You can be free at all times.

           Radical feminists have been extraordinarily successful in procuring this objective. Canada, for example - perhaps the most radical abortion regime in the world - currently has no law whatsoever against abortion. An unborn eight-pound child, say, may be aborted in Canada even m

oments before natural birth without breaking any law (though this is unlikely to happen, but as I say, there is no law against it). In short, in most Western nations the survival of an unborn child is now completely dependent on its Mother’s Will. In most of those same nations citizens are warned sternly on wine bottles and cigarette packets not to drink or smoke, for fear of “harming the fetus,” but they may kill their own unborn child with impunity at any time prior to the moment of natural birth and send it to the garbage.  Get it? You shouldn't harm your own unborn child; but you can legally kill it.

          I include the “Three Questions on Abortion” below because, although I was once in favour of abortion for hard cases (though never as a general or contraceptive right), both the facts of this grisly reality and what I believe is the inescapable logic of the arguments against it presented below, have convinced me that abortion as practiced in all modern democracies must be judged a distinct moral evil no different in character from the early programs of death-by-infanticide practiced by the Nazi regime in Germany, and the genocidal programs engaged in by many other totalitarian regimes.

          Now it grieves me to characterize my own country in this way. However, all who doubt this statement but want to see how we got here, are encouraged to read The Nazi Doctors by Robert Jay Lifton, which details very precisely the amoral gradualism by which very highly-educated German scientists, intellectuals, and lawyers developed arguments for the tax-funded liquidation of those having what they called “lives not worth living.” The fundamental legal trick that enabled this for the Nazi regime is the same as that used by the Canadian Supreme Court: they simply invented a kind of “category law” to redefine disabled children as non-persons or not “human beings.”  Canada has declared that an unborn child in Canada is not a human being until "it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother." (Section 223 of Canada's Criminal Code). This is often called the "born alive" rule. Point is, the unborn child is considered non-human prior to birth.

            Now it so happens that this was the same legal trick used by all former slave-owning regimes in history (Canada was also a slave-owning society). They legally-defined blacks and other slaves, as property, or chattels, or non-persons, rather than as full human beings. I am arguing that we are doing the same thing with unborn children.

             Looking more deeply into the history of democracy in particular, we find plenty of ancient thinkers in places like Greece and Rome who argued that democracy as a political system is impossible without slavery. They realized that in order for democracy to function properly, citizens had to be freed from the drudgery of labour. In short, slavery was considered essential so that free citizens could think, read, debate and engage fully in democratic life. Rousseau argued the same thing in the 18th. century: a functioning democracy is impossible without slavery. So ... guess where this train of thought is leading?

             Right to our front door. I argue that with the exception of Poland, all the major modern democracies have mutated into slave-regimes of a new kind. Here's why. When they were rooted in liberty, the Western democracies expected the full and free expression of human differences. Free societies would inevitably and naturally become unequal. Some would be smart, some stupid; some hard-working, some lazy; some rich, some poor, etc. etc. But once what looked like a permanent underclass became a reality in democratic systems, thinking switched from our original, non-coercive start-line equality (come to our shores and begin life with equal opportunities!), to our present coercive, state-guranteed finish-line equality (gosh, we can't stand all this inequality, so it is not sufficient to make opportunities equal; we have to make outcomes equal for as amny as possible).

             Enter womb-slavery. There is no way that women could have lives equal to those of men, with the same freedom from biology as men have always had naturally, unless they had a right to kill their own children in the womb. But ... there was a hitch. Women are sweet and compassionate, right? So, the only way to provide them with such a killing right was to redefine human life in the womb as non-human. Unborn children would henceforth be defined as non-human, or as property. Presto! You are not killing a baby; you are getting rid of an annoying bunch of meaningless cells that are interfering with your life and will condemn you to a life of inequality

           Well ... as I say, that is exactly what all slave regimes in history have done. They just legally transormed living human beings into morally meaningless material things that could be bought, sold, or killed at will. And now, all democracies that permit abortion are doing the same. That's why I say all modern democracies have become slave regimes of a new kind in which in order to make women equal to and as free from biology as men, they have enslaved all unborn children.

           The proof of this argument is the following syllogism. A syllogism is a logical structure with a major and minor premise, and a conclusion. If the premises are true, the conclusion has to be true. The ancient example was:

Major premise: All men are mortal

Minor Premise: Socrates is a man

Conclusion: Therefore Socrates is mortal

That is undeniably true. Now, here is the same argument concerning abortion and slavery:

Major Premise: All slaves are defined as non-human

Minor Premise: Unborn children are defined as non-human

Conclusion:  Therefore unborn children are slaves

         This is an undeniable conclusion. And what it is telling us is that in order to purify the current underlying ideology of radical egalitarianism by way of resolving its internal contradictions (the fact that there is no way men and women can ever be equal in natural biological terms), modern democracy in the West, like many other political systems of the past, has had to sacrifice a whole class of human beings to make its ideological purity possible.

         In ancient times, in places like Greece and Rome, human beings outside the womb were made chattel slaves to sustain a political ideology resting on victory in war, disdain for labour, democratic rights, and so on. Human slavery was a systemic necessity. In Hitler's regime, and Stalin's, the sacrifices to the system, so to speak, were Jews, ordinary liberal and conservative protesters, artists, and so on. In our time, the only thing that makes our radical egalitarianism possible, is the killing of humans in the womb, which removes the impediment of natural biology and frees (equalizes) the half of the population chained to their babies.

***********

          Many libertarians and conservatives part company with me on all this, because they are staunch supporters of individual freedom. But I suggest they have not followed their own logic far enough to see that their liberty-license - the code for which is the word "choice" - has produced a plain and obvious evil: the deaths to date of several million perfectly healthy unborn children in Canada from 1968 (the year Pierre Trudeau relaxed the law against abortion and opened the floodgates for abortion (averaging now around 100,000 per year, down from a peak of 120,000), and over 40 million in America (now at 1,000,000 per year, down from a peak of 1.5 million). However, these numbers must be inflated by all the unregistered abortions.

          I challenge all doubters, here and now, to read what follows sincerely and honestly, and to face their own honest answers to these questions.

                                        Three Questions on Abortion

            Some time has passed since Canada disgraced itself by conferring its highest citizen honour, The Order of Canada, upon the late Henry Morgentaler, a doctor who devoted his entire adult life to legalizing abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy, as a political right. It was pretty strange to see a Jewish man doing this all his life, when the same technique for making an enmey of the unborn child, was used with chilling effectiveness against Jews in Germany (and elsewhere). Ironically, at the press conference for this nefarious presentation he offered the opinion that abortion has helped to reduce violent crime because “there are people out there who would otherwise have been murdered.” In the days that followed there were a few cries of moral outrage concerning who, exactly, was doing the murdering, and a number of distinguished citizens returned their Order of Canada pins to the government.

            But we need to ask: What happened? How did we in the West change from a people that once so valued human life that we universally criminalized abortion (with only a few exceptions having to do with rape, or a real medical threat to the life of the mother), to a people that now permits and publicly subsidizes the right to terminate human life in the womb - in Canada, at any stage of pregnancy up to the moment of birth?  Some will immediately object to my use of the phrase “human life” on the ground that many courts in many nations, as I say, have declared that a “fetus” is not a “person” or a “human being” until it is born alive. That is true, but I think the facts will expose the bogus use of these terms for the following reasons.

         Even if we all were to agree that what a pregnant woman is carrying is not a fully-developed person, or “human being” we nevertheless cannot deny that in every case what she is carrying is alive, for if this were not so there would be no need for anyone to claim a right to “terminate” a pregnancy. In other words, we are talking about actual life, and not in any degree a “potential life,” as some Judges have archly argued. Once we have secured what must be unavoidable agreement on this point, we are then forced to agree that in every case, absolutely, the life a pregnant woman is carrying is a human life. No one believes she is carrying a developing puppy, or a swan.

          So having come this far, and only once we decide to face this singular truth as honestly as possible, any reasonably informed person will be led to the ultimate question of whether or not it is morally acceptable for one person in full possession of his or her own human life, to terminate another human life at any stage of development.

          Reasonably informed? By any measure, most people who adamantly support abortion are grievously uninformed. They simply don’t know how we arrived at the new moral ground we seem to be standing upon; what changes in the law have enabled such a strange about-face; or what the current practices of abortion are that this very recent thinking has permitted.

     The answers, explored below, are each followed by a plain question that readers are challenged to think deeply about and to answer as honestly as possible.

How we got this way – the change in our moral thinking

        Until about the middle of the nineteenth century, all philosophers, and all religious and political leaders in the Western world accepted as obvious the idea that we live – and ought to live – under a common moral bubble, so to speak. Which is to say that moral standards were considered public by their very nature, rather than private. The mere idea that morality should be something sourced in a personal point of view aimed at serving the purposes of solitary individuals or, even more fickle, something constructed to suit the occasion, had always been considered absurd, if not a sign of moral sickness.

       But with the advance of egalitarian democracy came an increasingly shrill demand for individual rights divorced from duties, and with this a weakening of shared moral consensus and an entirely new idea: that each human being lives under his or her own private moral bubble. The most famous articulation of this historically bizarre alteration in the public conception of morality was by J.S. Mill in his little booklet On Liberty in 1859. Within certain confusing limits he basically argued that morality is a private matter and the only case for concern is when we directly harm someone else by our conduct. This is today called Mill’s “harm principle” and it has rapidly become the most common Western ideal of what it means to live a free and moral life. Indeed, Canada’s own Supreme Court, in R. vs. Labaye (2005), in which a citizen complained that it was indecent and against community standards to allow a swingers’ sex club in a residential neighbourhood, ruled in favour of the club, and in doing so wrote that “The philosophical underpinnings of the … harm-based approach are found in the liberal theories of J. S. Mill. This philosopher argued that the only purpose for which State power can be rightfully exercised over a member the community is to prevent harm to others.”

          And so it has come to pass by edict of our highest court that there is no longer a common moral bubble; that we have no duty to be concerned for others, nor for the greater good, nor for society as a whole understood as a social entity comprised of real relationships, that is more than the sum of its   individual parts.

First Question: How is it possible for a civilization to thrive and for a people to arrive at any consensus of the common good when the most fundamental questions of human life are to be decided solely by will of self-interested individuals without regard to the common good of all?

 

The flimsy legal right

       Unfettered abortion in Canada has been possible since 1988 when the existing law placing minimal conditions on abortion was struck down as “unconstitutional.” Several efforts were subsequently made to replace it with a compromise law that failed due to a tie vote in the Senate (where 23 Senators did not bother to vote at all). The result is that Canadian law, as mentioned, does not presently say that abortion is right or wrong. It says nothing at all – even though no poll has ever shown that a majority of Canadians accept unlimited abortion on demand. Quite the reverse. In fact, when you tell a Canadian there is no law whatsoever against abortion in his country, and that you can abort a six-pound baby in the womb without legal impediment, they are appalled.

       The conjuring began the moment judges decided, mostly for radical feminist reasons having to do with the growing demand for individual freedom and moral autonomy (as explained above), that a woman ought to have a “right” to abort. This meant that all unborn human life had to be redefined as a valueless non-human so as to remove it as a matter of concern from the legal arena. As it happened, the legal category of non-human was well-known. It is a very old device introduced throughout history whenever States, tribes, or courts, want to justify the elimination of an enemy. As such it was easy to adapt for the purpose of facilitating abortion. 

           For example, slave-holding regimes (Canada and the United States were no exception) have always defined their slaves as less than fully human to make enslavement morally acceptable. They even developed a separate category of laws to define and defend the master-slave relationship and to justify the unequal rights and obligations of each party. Jews, and many other groups in the horrific Nazi and Soviet regimes were defined as non-persons, or more aggressively, as sub-human (if not as vermin, or some other such despised creature).

          Such linguistic and moral contortionism and the official justifications for it have been almost exactly duplicated by the abortion regimes in all Western nations, and this parallel is far more than an analogy. For with the sole distinction of the existence of the victim either outside, or inside, the womb, there is no difference between a declaration of non-personhood that creates a class of born-alive victims that enables, sustains, and makes invisible to its perpetrators a regime of chattel slavery, and a declaration of non-personhood that creates a class of alive but not-yet-born imminent victims, that enables, sustains, and makes invisible to its perpetrators the abortion regimes currently defended in the name of egalitarian democracy.                

        The reasoning produced in Canada for granting a pregnant woman a “right” to decide the life or death fate of her unborn child, a right that has priority even over the will of society at large (and, not incidentally, even over the will of the child’s father), is that if the mother does not want her child, then the “security” of the mother’s person (which now means her psychological “health” as a self-flourishing and freely-choosing individual) has been put at risk (ironically, also by her own will). She is therefore said to be justified in protecting herself from such a threat by demanding the tax-funded professional removal of the offending object, or enemy, from her womb.

       The same sort of legal and verbal legerdemain was used in the United States where the justifying ground for this practice was not security of the mother’s person, but her right to “privacy.” There, if the life within is unwanted by its mother it is considered a kind of enemy “occupying” the mother’s womb without her consent - an illegal trespasser invading her privacy.

       This is a very brief overview of the constitutional artifices required in both countries to justify ending human life in the womb. Note that in both cases, whether with respect to the artificial grounds of security, or privacy, what I have called a developing human life, once considered sacred and of the highest value in itself, and without regard to the opinion of the moment of any other human being, may now by the sole and god-like edict of its own mother be declared of no value whatsoever – or, of a supreme value, as she may decide, even calling upon the unlimited and heroic resources of the medical profession and the State (and the taxpayer) to save its life, if necessary.

Question Two: Can it be right and good for any civilization that the most fundamental question - whether or not another human life has value, and so whether it is to be protected or killed - should be decided by the private and changeable will of a single individual?

 

The practice of abortion                                

        Now let us ask what is actually being done to unwanted human life. How many unborn lives are ended? How large are they? What are the methods? Once abortion enthusiasts learn a little of the bald truth, many are horrified, backpedal a lot, and start to suggest ways to severely restrict abortion, if not to end it entirely. This grisly aspect will only be touched upon here.

      Suffice it to say that of the average of approximately 106,000 abortions performed annually in Canada over the past decade (that’s about 290 per day, or 1,060,000 per decade, the vast majority of whom would have been perfectly healthy citizens), most are in the first trimester of pregnancy. The routine methods of abortion at this stage involve injecting saline solutions that burn and kill babies, to scraping the womb, and so on. Many people who don’t know much about this subject say abortion is acceptable because they falsely believe all abortions take place during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and that this involves getting rid of what they consider to be a microscopic cluster of valueless human cells. 

           But many are changing their minds because the debate surrounding abortion has been altering rapidly not, as we often think, due to religious or moral claims, but because of neo-natal science, neurology, DNA studies, cell biology, CAT scanning, surgery on infants in the womb, and so on. We now know that a human heart starts beating around 21 days, because we can see it and hear it; that a human life in the womb has a distinct and unique personal genetic endowment (and thus is in every strictly biological sense, a genetically complete and unique, if undeveloped human life); and studies with tiny digital cameras show clearly terrified second and third-trimester babies trying desperately to escape the vacuum tube (or other devices) inserted into their mother’s wombs to suck away their lives or tear off their limbs. And who has not seen the incredible photo of Baby Samuel’s tiny hand reaching out of a small incision in his mother’s belly to grasp the surgeon’s finger during an operation to save his life?  

            This latter situation is bizarre, because once taken outside the womb for surgery such a child is considered a full person with all normal human and civil rights (because “born alive”). But when put back in the womb to finish gestation, it again disappears as a human being, or person, and is without value, or any such defence or rights until eventually born alive once again (if Mommy so wills).

          These are simply facts. And so is the distressing reality that about 10 per cent of all abortions in Canada and the United States (perhaps 100,000 annually there) take place in the second trimester. At this point, many unborn babies are about 12 inches long, and weigh up to a couple of pounds. At this 5-6 month stage of development (when the human life to be terminated looks in every way like a small human being) there are often “evacuation” problems, and so the most efficient and “safe” way to get a sizeable baby out of an unripe womb is in pieces, by first ripping off its arms and legs and crushing its head with forceps for easy extraction, after which all the pieces are counted and thrown into a garbage pail. Those who want to read a viscerally upsetting description by an American physician of his real-life accidental encounter with recently-aborted babies that fell out of a hospital garbage bag from a truck onto the street in front of him, should read the essay “The Street of the Dead Fetuses” on my website. Be prepared. And those who want to see shocking photos of babies acid-burned to death or torn apart in this way, can simply Google “abortion photos” and a lot of upsetting websites will pop up.

        There is more. About 40 U.S. States have restricted or banned third trimester abortions because unborn children at this stage are very large – about 20 inches and between 6 and 8 pounds. Canada has no law whatsoever against late abortions , as mentioned, and it is true that even where they are allowed (or, not prohibited) many abortionists will refuse to perform them. But when it comes to women who want to get rid of their large second or third-trimester babies, there is an especially gruesome practice called “partial-birth abortion” (formally called “intact dilation and extraction”) that I am obliged to describe briefly here, because although it was successfully banned by President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton before him refused outright to ban it, and President Obama, when a Senator, refused to vote against it on several occasions, and one of his first acts as President was to reverse Bush’s ban on American funding of abortion in other countries. It is impossible to verify if, where, or when this method may have been used or is now used. But there is nothing to stop it in Canada, and no one is telling. In the last year for which I have seen numbers for America, the National Coalition of Abortion Providers estimated that there were 4,000-5,000 partial-birth procedures in the U.S. (New York Times, Feb. 26, 1997).

        For this method, the unborn child’s position in the womb is manipulated until it can be pulled out of the birth canal feet first. When the abortionist sees the back of the baby’s head, he stops pulling, takes a pair of scissors and jabs them into the back of the baby’s skull. Observers have said that at that moment the child startles, as if falling. The abortionist then inserts a vacuum hose and sucks out the brains. He must do this before the child leaves the birth canal alive and is transformed by law into a person, possibly exposing the medical staff to charges of murder. An alternative method is by “disarticulating at the neck,” which means the abortionist manually breaks the baby’s neck prior to extraction. Then home for supper goes the doctor.

Question Three: Once a people is aware of such practices, which necessarily implicate all citizens morally because they are not forbidden by the laws of the people and (in Canada) are paid for through the tax system, is it possible for any reasonable person to say that these practices are right, and good, or that a country that sanctions them is right and good? And if they are evil, as they clearly seem to be, is not a country that refuses to forbid them, indeed, that promotes them, also evil?

        All "civilizations" must ask such questions, and by their answers they shall be known.

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