How Long?


We human beings, it's sad to say, learn to live with ourselves and to be comfortable in our own skin by denying parts of who we are.  Freud showed us how denial (along with other defense mechanisms) works.  An alcoholic, for example, may deny that he has a drinking problem, by emphasizing that he has never missed a day of work in twenty years. "An 'addiction,'” he insists, "is simply doing something I like to do over and over again." The term, he is convinced, carries a needlessly pejorative connotation.  Sure.  

Countries also live in denial.  Take the case of Germany.  In 1941, the majority of the people there followed Adolf Hitler unconditionally into World War II.  They told themselves repeatedly that the “der Fűhrer ist recht.”  Their blind allegiance led directly to Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, and to severely sociopathic personalities like Adolf Eichmann. Remember that Germany was the modern equivalent of Ancient Greece.  It had produced Kant and Hegel in philosophy; Schleiermacher and Ritschl in theology; Beethoven and Bach in music; and Ehrlich and Humboldt in science.  The country was the crown jewel of modern Western civilization.  Yet intellectual giants like Martin Heidegger snapped the Nazi salute and greeted fellow citizens with "Heil Hitler!" Germans are not generally fond of talking about that hapless period in their history.  Many of those who lived through it profess their ignorance of the atrocities committed by the Third Reich.  It was as if they were not at home when any of it happened.  Many were, and still are, in denial. 

Fast forward to the political and cultural situation in the United States today. In the name of such weasel words as “choice,” “toleration,” “autonomy,” “freedom,” and “enlightenment,” we make a bold, but fuzzy distinction between the atrocities of the Third Reich and the actions which we as a people condone.  Consider the conduct of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the infamous Philadelphia abortionist.  He is presently on trial for doping one patient to death and killing seven babies born alive.  It is undisputed that this man has performed thousands of late term abortions, inducing labor in women over six months pregnant and then snipping the spines of their babies. 

Make no mistake about it:  Dr. Kermit Gosnell is, from any reasonable moral perspective, a murderer.  He is out of the same book as Dr. Josef Mengele, only a different chapter. Just as Mengele was empowered by his fascist government to conduct horrendous human experiments and to kill innocent people, this butcher from Philadelphia has received his impetus from none other than the Supreme Court of the United States.  The Court has proclaimed a relatively newfound “right to privacy.” This broad, amorphous right apparently includes a woman’s right  to an abortion.  Even during the third trimester of pregnancy, she can abort an otherwise healthy baby if Dr. Gosnell, or some other monster like him, deems the procedure necessary to safeguard her life or health. An  individual state can, if it chooses, enact laws to regulate the procedure, but not to prohibit it.  

Whether an infant happened to survive the initial violence against it did not appear to matter to Dr. Gosnell, nor did Pennsylvania’s requirement binding him to seek a second professional opinion before performing a third trimester abortion.  All that was important to this fiend was that the patient desire an abortion, which implies a dead fetus, and that she have or be able to access the money to pay for it. So what would happen in the event of a botched procedure?  In that "unfortunate" event, Dr. Gosnell would simply sever the child's spinal cord in the bright light of the operating room, no questions asked. 

The ultimate goal of these horrors was not to create a "master race," but it was to further the ends of "justice," "humanity," and "freedom."  Not of course for the dead babies.  They never much counted.  The lesson to be drawn here is that evil has many faces and knows many ideologies, including that of liberalism.  America is not immune and is no stranger to moral atrocity regardless of all its glowing rhetoric about "women's rights" and "freedom of choice."

Think about it.  It was not as if the doctor were not clothed in liberal respectability, or as if he failed to inject levity and a sense of humor into his ghoulish routine.  One witness remembered him placing surgical scissors around a baby’s neck and then, when the newborn began agonizing in the clutches of the instrument, commenting, “That’s what you call a chicken with its head cut off.”  On another occasion, an aborted baby was so large that the doctor joked that “he could walk me to the bus stop.” I wonder if anyone other than the doctor laughed.

Pennsylvania law, which provides that a physician must seek a second medical opinion before performing a third trimester abortion, further protects an infant who is the product of an unsuccessful one.  Dr. Gosnell sought no second medical opinion, but that was arguably nothing more than an "administrative" lapse.  Does one commit a capital offense by ignoring an administrative requirement?  Also, is there a rock solid distinction between killing an infant in the birth canal and killing it on an operating room table? The question that the jury has to answer is whether to "throw the book" at the doctor for working in a legal gray area.  Had he performed these procedures in neighboring New Jersey under the same circumstances as he did in Pennsylvania, no questions would have been asked. 

The biased, left-wing media in this country are largely ignoring this horrific story.  The citizenry too seems less than engaged.  Why become excited when the President of the United States himself, while an Illinois legislator, voted four times to deny basic Constitutional protections to babies who survived abortions?  Why become incensed and outraged when the University of Notre Dame invited this President to its campus to give the graduation commencement address in 2009, at which time he was awarded an honorary doctorate and roundly applauded by numerous Roman Catholics?  “Leaders” like Barack Obama, and “legal minds” like Harry Blackmun (the author of Roe v. Wade) make life relatively easy for beasts like Dr. Kermit Gosnell and, likewise, make their prosecution extremely difficult. 

I believe that the United States of America has taken the moral low road.  What particularly interests me is the manner in which this decision has been justified.  We have heard it shouted from the rafters: “Women have an absolute right to privacy.” “What a woman does with her own body is her business.”  “A woman’s choice should be honored.”  “Autonomy is the American way of life – not coercion and enslavement.” “Anyone who does not accept the right of a woman to choose abortion is bigoted, narrow-minded, and intolerant.” Or in the words of a Planned Parenthood official, whether to kill a newborn who survives an abortion is a private matter and should be left to the "patient and the health care provider." How liberally enlightened!  But all these arguments are exposed as the shallow nonsense they are when a living, breathing baby, weighing over six pounds, is crying for help, and a doctor, sworn to do no harm, "slits its neck" and then jokes about it.  

My God, what have we become?  How long can we live in denial?

May 1, 2013