Tuesday, January 22, 2008

35 years

I sat down at my computer a few minutes ago to write a brilliant post on the 35th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. 35 is a round number, it seems like it demands something special.

But as I sit here wondering what to say, thinking about the great weight of those 35 years, I find myself just feeling tired. Maybe those nice round numbers are heavier than others.

But I will share this: I was reminded today of the beautiful job F. Scott Fitzgerald did when he wrote The Great Gatsby. He lived at a time when modern culture as we know it was just beginning to emerge, and carelessness, consumerism, and corruption were tarnishing the American Dream. Two of his characters are charming yet vapid, prejudiced, selfish people who wouldn't know the dignity of others if it walked up and slapped them in the face, or surprised them with a sincere gesture of affection. They break people the way spoiled children break toys, and after a brief moment of shock at the consequences, they move on to the next bigger, better human toy without so much as a backward glance, and it is the powerless who pay the greatest price.

Gatsby is a warning. Materialistic hedonism destroys, and in the Great Gatsby, it destroys human life.

G.K. Chesterton saw this coming too, before Fitzgerald even published Gatsby. Dale Ahlquist very eloquently explains:

Eugenics and abortion is about the tyranny of the elite deciding who shall live and who shall die. And if it's about the elite, it's about money. It was the Rockefellers and the Carnegies and other capitalist lords who funded eugenics research in the early 20th century. They went on to be major supporters of Planned Parenthood. Chesterton says that wealth, and the social science supported by wealth tries inhuman experiments, and when they fail, they try even more inhuman experiments. They are inhuman because they are godless. But they are godless because they don't want to face how inhuman they are. The wealthy industrialist became agnostic, says Chesterton, "not so much because he did not know where he was, as because he wanted to forget. Many of the rich took to scepticism exactly as the poor took to drink; because it was a way out."

Chesterton foresaw that society would begin to view human beings as commodities. That school children would eventually be seen as industrial tools to be churned out by public institutions, rather than thinking individuals; that the poor and the weak and the elderly would be seen as unsightly burdens, to be abandoned and left to the care of government bureaucracies; that women, facing untimely pregnancies would be bombarded with messages telling them that their usefulness to themselves and society (or their unborn child's usefulness) will be reduced to nothing if they embrace motherhood and give birth.

I am the child of a "crisis" pregnancy, born after the Roe decision, in a state where abortion was already legal before the infamous Supreme Court case made its mark on American history. In the time since Roe, over 48 million human beings, many of whom might have been my friends, have lost their lives. It is true that we in the post-Roe generation have not lived in a world without legalized abortion, and we do not remember what a world without it would be like. But we do know that in an age of legalized abortion, we are lucky to be alive at all.

I cannot embrace the hopeless and selfish utilitarian attitude of the age in which I live, and the society that tried to convince my mother it would have been okay to kill me in the womb. I and the many young people who have been and will be marching for life this week every year will not give in to "the tyranny of the elite deciding who shall live and who shall die". We want to say to our children, "See? We have given you a world that will protect your very life--your entire life, more than it protected ours."

Pro-life feminist Serrin Foster on the betrayal of women by the "pro-choice" cause.
Dale Ahlquist's lecture one Chesterton's "Eugenics and other Evils"

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