The Tyranny of the Pro Life Progressives

October 31, 2013

It is time that Americans took a deep breath and stepped back from the barrage of disinformation and appeals to emotion – as opposed to reason – coming from the fog and spin machines operating at three shifts per day by the two, major political parties.

As I have pointed out regularly in the past to pro-abortionists (let us dispense with the unhelpful euphemisms; the sole issue is whether you favor making abortions legal or not) the “pro-choicers” are not “anti-life” and the “pro-lifers” are not “anti choice.”  Pro-choice advocates have made the determination that the life and well-being of the woman should take paramount importance to that of a product of conception, whereas pro-life advocates have made the opposite choice that the continued existence of a product of conception should be paramount.

To my mind, however, the essence of the differences between the two positions is what is to be the determinant of a crucial decision in a woman’s life.  Thus, the pro-life faction asserts that the determination should be in accordance with their ideology; an ideology that defines when life is created and whose totem is that because all life is sacred, we may not destroy it.  The pro-choice faction, on the other hand, maintains that there are no absolutes, and that the decision is a “facts and circumstances” issue that needs to be made by a sentient being after evaluating the dilemma being addressed in light of the hierarchy of values that is a part of that being’s nature and which she will have to live with.  Clearly, a product of conception is not a “sentient” being.

Putting this distinction of decision-making another way, the anti-abortionists follow a top down approach that mandates what the individual must in all circumstances do, whereas the pro-abortionists hold that the decision is a bottom up one as determined by the affected individual.

I submit that the anti-abortionists’ approach is fundamentally at odds with American legal tradition.  At its core, US law follows an “enabling approach”; that is, everything is permitted unless it is specifically prohibited.  The focus of our culture is on the individual and individual choice.  Moreover, principles of federalism and interstate commerce require and encourage jurisdictions to compete for business and workers by offering broad discretion and protections to the individual states that wish to be more enabling.  This American approach is in clear contradistinction to the traditions of continental Europe which, because of their monarchical roots, follow a restrictive approach premised on the notion everything is prohibited unless it is expressly permitted.  There, the sovereign determines and plans what is best for society as a whole.

Liberals, as last exemplified by Bill Clinton, are willing to coexist with conservatives, markets, private property, private enterprise and our cult of the individual.  Progressives are not.  Progressives have an ideology that defines what is good in life, and they hold that all must follow their ideology as to how the lives of all those within the society must be conducted.  Thus, the hallmark of progressive legislation is the word “mandates.”  You will do what we tell you is good for you and you will comply or you will be punished.

Most recently, we see this in the [Un]Affordable Care Act.  This law mandates what kind of de minimus health care you must carry.  If you liked your plan but it did not comply with what Big Brother thought best, you are wrong and cannot have that anymore.  If you do not feel you need healthcare because you are young and healthy, you do not have that choice anymore as you must pay into the system so that old and sickly people will pay less.

This is not atypical of central planners.  They have determined that you cannot have incandescent light bulbs anymore as Big Brother has determined that it is bad for the collective whole.  You cannot install toilets that use more than a gallon of water, even though they may be incapable of disposing of larger masses – as Dave Barry called them, an “Act of Congress” – without repeated flushings, because the “gubment” knows better.  And it gets “curiouser and curiouser.”  Children’s home lunches are being searched and cleansed of “inappropriate” parental choices; large sized full-calorie drinks are banned from New York City.  And the petty bureaucrats making such rules act as though all this will make momentous differences because their pseudo-scientific and unverified theories (such as the basis for the FAA’s now-revoked ban on use of all electronic devices during takeoff and landings) tell them so.

As a culture, American bristle at being told what they can and cannot do, what they can and cannot buy.  We exalt the right of each individual to make his or her own choices. We reject others, and especially government bureaucrats, making our life choices for us.

As C S Lewis so eloquently stated it in his 1948 essay anthology God in the Dock:

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

Would that the progressives who currently control the Democratic Party understood this.

© Richard L Wise and 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Richard L Wise and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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