The recent Supreme Court decision upholding the federal ban of partial birth abortion should serve as a reminder of the stakes in the next election. Other than the obvious questions of war and peace that confront us, I can’t think of a more important consideration. This is particularly so if you take time to read some of the excerpts from the dissenting opinion in the 5-4 decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who would have us believe that the majority decision is an “alarming” reversal of long established precedent and “reflects ancient notions about women’s place in the family and under the Constitution—ideas that have long since been discredited”. And these are comments about a decision upholding the ban of a gruesome procedure which almost 70% of Americans agree should be banned and which the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan accurately called infanticide. It is indeed chilling to consider that, to the pro-abortion left in this country, there can be no retreat from the notion of anything goes, even if, as Paul Greenberg describes it, this decision moves us only to almost anything goes. To wit, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s response to the decision was as follows: “It is precisely this erosion of our constitutional rights that I warned against when I opposed the nominations of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito”. Need I say more about election stakes?
A Cultural Seminar
During a period of just over a week in the middle of April, we experienced a convergence of events that could have served as a seminar on the cultural condition of this country. In rapid succession, the firing of Don Imus, the Virginia Tech mass murders, and the dismissal of the Duke rape case, both in their actuality and the public responses elicited, were in many ways instructive on where we are and who we are in 21st century postmodern America. Let’s briefly summarize and then discuss how they all fit.
Imus, of course, was an accident waiting for a place to happen in PC land, and he finally picked the wrong target, an innocent group of high-achievement college kids. In the process, the real “ho’s” in his world—fawning politicos, media celebrities, elite pundits, and book pimps of every stripe—had for years lined up to appear on his show while his corporate sponsors looked away from the often rude baseness of the dialogue while the ratings held and the advertisers moved product. But anyone who believes this incident was even remotely about Don Imus isn’t paying attention. It’s more about a hypocritical elite which has worked itself into the double standard of denying the cultural rot that plagues our young black people, glorifying its artists and the “street code of ethics”, while enriching its purveyors and their corporate sponsors and heaping scorn on those whites who dare to cross the cultural line, thereby enabling extortion by race-baiting opportunists.
The Duke case should have ended months ago, but was kept alive because of our deference to political accountability as the ultimate legitimacy—the outlaw DA was elected, therefore “accountable” to his constituents. This is the mantra of the often oversold concept of “local control”, in this case exposed only by a competitor state law enforcement agency, the Fox News channel, and the dogged persistence of caring parents who could afford the price of justice. Again, this was not about a particular corrupted DA, but about institutional, group, and individual cowardice in the face of demagoguery and intimidation by a lynch mob complicit with the hustlers of race and class guilt.
On hindsight, it has become clear that the Virginia Tech massacre was avoidable at several levels, both systemic and individual. From a systemic standpoint, this perpetrator was obviously disturbed and, considerations of “privacy” notwithstanding, should have been disqualified, not only from owning a firearm, but from attending a large university where he was allowed to move about freely among social and emotional pressures with which he was unable to cope. On an individual basis, we were quick to note his evident madness, but not so quick to acknowledge the evil at work, and how such tendencies can be fed by higher education faculties and their curriculum, which in far too many cases have abdicated their traditional role of in loco parentis in favor of challenging the moral grounding of the students in their care.
Is there a common thread here? Possibly a bit tenuous, but I think so. In our rush over the past several decades to elevate the status of complete personal autonomy devoid of traditional encumbrances, we have adopted a “public vs. private” argument to justify our double standards of behavior and civic norms—the use of public airwaves vs. the private choice to attend a concert or movie, public vs. private religious expression, public vs. private behavioral standards, public vs. private moral truth, etc. In other words, we have abandoned civic virtue in favor of a privatized and relativized morality and judgments of fairness in terms of due process or “procedure”, wherein all considerations involving standards of public morality are off the table and all outcomes must conform to the Rawlsian concept of favoring those considered the most “disadvantaged”. This didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t be fixed anytime soon, but we need to get on with the repair work, and maybe one or more of these illustrative events will prompt a turnaround. However, the further we stray from the foundational public belief in an objective moral truth under a natural law applicable at all times in all places, the more difficult it will be to sustain the American idea of freedom and equality under the rule of law.