The culture wars seemingly ubiquitous in American life have flared up again. The inferno of anger and hatred burns all the hotter, the light of liberty sputters out; we are left diminished, no better than raging beasts.
Abortion is but a single brick in the wall of issues that divides our nation, but in recent days, it has overwhelmed our national discussion.
Anti-abortion advocates justify this by claiming that the state has a fundamental duty to force pregnant women to give birth, claiming that a fetus is a person with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Some may not agree with this argument, but it is most certainly an argument. If a person is a flower, is a fetus just a bud, or a flower of its own? That question is one that we must all answer ourselves.
For authority is not given to us to define morality and force it upon others. We are all idiots, dumb and incapable of truly understanding the order of things; why, then, should we pretend that we are geniuses with the right to tell each other what to do, how to live?
We can have a government with the ability to legislate morality, if that is what we desire. We can surrender our freedoms and hope for the best. But that would logically mean that the state would have total control — not just over morality, but over everything else we know and do.
Imagine a society where families are limited to two children on account of overpopulation concerns. Imagine a society where all wealth is seized by the state because the Christian Bible (apparently a better guide to the affairs of American government than the Constitution) tells us that it is harder for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Imagine a society where all motor vehicles are banned because they use up fuel better spent on waging war. Imagine a society where citizens are taken away and shot in the darkness of the night for criticizing political leaders. Imagine, in other words, living in a totalitarian state.
Abortion opponents swear that would never happen. But a threat to liberty anywhere is a threat to liberty everywhere, and it is a slippery slope to dictatorship, as so-called “conservatives” and “constitutionalists” keep reminding us.
I would also add that America remains the only advanced democracy that continues to conduct executions. One would expect the pro-life movement to be staunchly opposed to this industrial-scale murder of human beings, but no; all states that have moved in recent months to restrict abortions have death penalty statutes on the books. Pro-lifers’ hunger to force their beliefs upon the rest of us only extends to one of the most personal and painful decisions that a woman can make, not to the activities of the state. Their morals are inconsistent, their convictions hollow.
The state must never be wholly amoral, and I for one believe that some degree of authority must be delegated to the state. But teachers used to guide with the ruler; now they guide with inspiration, to the untold benefit of the educational system. Let us calm down, sip some tea, move beyond this most recent squabble, return to standing precedent, and restore the liberty of choice.
For when one liberty is protected, all others soar the higher and the grand symphony grows yet grander. Defend liberty. The government has no place in the human body.