By Selywn Duke
Is it a conservative position that only women are qualified to comment on abortion? A writer named Leann Horrocks certainly seems to think so.
In an American Thinker piece titled, “Contraception, the New Useful Passion,” Horrocks does make some good points about how the left could turn the birth-control issue to its advantage and expand contraception to include even abortion. Yet she also makes this claim:
“As a woman, I am qualified to state the following very clearly: there is no issue less suited to public discussion than abortion. Like it or not, it is a personal decision.”
Actually, the above proves that, her chromosome configuration notwithstanding, Horrocks is thoroughly unqualified to comment on abortion. And, as someone who has pondered the matter deeply and sought Truth, I am qualified to state the following very clearly: like it or not, abortion is a decision to murder another person. Like it or not, it is for this reason a grave evil, a serious moral issue. And, like it or not, since it is an action that directly harms another, no issue is more suited to public discussion than abortion.
Wherever one stands on the matter, however, there is more wrong with Horrocks’ statement than just the implicit misunderstanding about abortion’s nature, as bad as that is. First, the idea that only a certain group defined by race, sex or ethnicity is qualified to comment on a moral issue has never been a conservative argument.
Rather, it is right out of the left’s playbook.
And, when taking this position, we are in league with those who state that only blacks are qualified to comment on racial discrimination in the U.S. If we accept this position, we may as well accept that we Americans aren’t fit to comment on human-rights abuses in China because we’re not Chinese or on female genital mutilation in the Islamic world because we’re not Muslim. We don’t understand the cultures, you see, so we should reserve judgment. And sexual relativism is just as ridiculous as this cultural relativism, as both overlook a certain universal.
That is to say, just as there is no such thing as “personal” morality, neither is there such thing as the group variety. To say otherwise is to wax relativistic – as the left will – and implies that morality doesn’t really exist; only personal preference does. Morality, however, if it is anything but a confusing synonym for taste, refers to an absolute, universal and eternal standard for behavior that transcends not only individuals and groups, but man himself.
In point of fact, the only truly personal issues are those of taste. This is because while morality originates outside of me and thus cannot truly be mine, my tastes actually are my own. Thus, if Horrocks were to say that she loves vanilla but hates chocolate, it is a matter of preference, and it would be ridiculous for me to cast her palate as “wrong” and my love of chocolate as “right.” There is no eternal truth stating, “Thou shalt not abide vanilla in thy midst,” and I’d be completely out of line if I mobilized for the flavor’s prohibition.
Being a universal, however, morality is far different. To be good, to live a happy life and to derive meaning from it, morality is necessary – for everyone. Being objective, it can be grasped by everyone. And because man does not live on bread alone – and because the Truth does set him free – we all have a duty to search for, accept and profess morality. It is not a flavor of the man or moment.
This is why, mind you, it’s silly when leftists (and some conservatives, it appears) dismiss unwelcome truths with the dodge, “Those are your ‘values,'” as if we’re talking about choosing a topping for a sundae. If my “values” are correct, then they are not just values but virtues, and then, while I recognize their validity, they aren’t exclusively “mine” any more than the air God gave us to breathe.
Now, I’m not fond of throwing around the words “offensive” and “discriminatory” haphazardly as the left does. But given that morality is needed by and meant for all of us, if anything is offensive and invidiously discriminatory, it’s the notion that I have no right to passionately express the truth on a moral issue because I’m of a certain race, ethnicity or sex. I am a child of God, endowed by the Creator with an intellect designed to apprehend His law and with a divine mandate to do so. Morality is a gift to which we all have a duty. And to accept the proposition that racial, ethnic or sexual group identification disqualifies a person from professing it on a given issue is no different than claiming that this identification has a bearing on the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Of course, there can be a Machiavellian motivation for claiming that certain groups mustn’t say certain things: to grease the skids for an agenda by silencing opposition. And while I don’t accuse Horrocks of this, it is a ploy of the left. Note that liberals never claim that firearms owners, as the main group affected by gun-control law, are the only ones who should weigh in on it. The left might now say that I’m ignoring here the victims of gun crime, but it seems there are some victims of abortion who are being ignored as well. Anyway, the point is that just as many leftists seem to believe that life begins when a child can be taught liberalism, they also seem to believe that freedom of speech begins when you start peddling it.
Now I’ll for a moment discuss abortion, men and the micro. We should note that a man is involved in procreation, and half of an unborn baby’s genes come from his father. Moreover, many accept that the father has zero percent say on whether or not his child will be murdered; however, even more accept that, should the woman decide to have the baby, the man is 50 percent responsible for him. But this is unjust, as with authority comes responsibility; and with responsibility, authority.
As for the macro, implicit in Horrocks’ commentary is something common today: the idea that social issues must be put on the back burner in the name of political expediency. Now, I do accept that in the midst of a campaign and with politics being “the art of the possible,” it’s often wise to focus on what resonates with the people. I also understand that the best way to reorient public opinion toward morality is through culture-shaping institutions in the media, entertainment arena and academia (call it a reverse Gramsci). The problem, though, is twofold: traditionalists don’t have control over those institutions. Second, there are many today – and some are “conservatives” – who behave as if there is never a time to talk about social issues.
These people simply don’t see the obvious connection between the ills they complain about and society’s moral state. But there is a reason why Edmund Burke said, “It is written in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” There is a reason John Adams wrote, “Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private [virtue]…,” and Ben Franklin observed, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” And there is a reason why a multitude of other brilliant thinkers expressed the same sentiment throughout the ages. Do you really think these men among men just needed a bunch of moderns to come along, shower their sagacity with shades of gray and set them straight? Do you really suppose that the problems of crony “capitalism,” the most corrupt government in our history and the thoroughly immoral crypto-Marxist in the White House have nothing to do with the morality of the electorate? Can we be one kind of people but have another kind of government?
As that apocryphal observation goes, “America is great because America is good, and if she ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” No, it does not profit a nation to gain the world but to lose its soul. And it won’t happen, anyway. Because as our soul withers, along with it so does our world.
Like it or not.