Scott Brown: How the Pro-Life Movement has Fallen

At first, I was excited over Scott Brown. Then I found out his real positions on abortion. I have been genuinely torn about whether to be excited about this or not. It’s certainly a good thing in the short run, but not a good thing in the long run. Every time a pro-choice Republican wins is more reason for the Republicans to abandon the pro-life cause.

Anyway, Mark Shea has nicely delineated the slippery slope the Pro-Life Movement has made since selling its soul to Dubya ten years ago.

First, it was Bush over McCain because Bush was anti-embryonic stem cell research. Bush overturned 1 of Clinton’s *3* executive orders about abortion, permitting funding of abortions on military bases. Then Bush supported ESCR, and it was “I’m disappointed, but.” Bush tried to appoint pro-abortionists like Harriet Myers but got opposed and forced to appoint guys like Roberts and Alito who have yet to document any positions other than that they see _Roe v. Wade_ as settled law, and that abortions are OK so long as they’re not “gruesome”. Otherwise, in 8 years, he did zilch. When pro-lifers expressed outrage, Bush’s spokespeople said, “The president has always made clear that he supports _Roe v. Wade_.”

Which he did. Pro-lifers with Bush were like pacifists with Obama: they made him what they wanted him to be and ignored what he actually said. And they still do.

I posited at the time of Harriet Myers that maybe the pro-life movement was waking up to Bush like Sue Ellen finally dumping J.R., but that didn’t last long. Then people who used to speak of the dignity of the human person started agreeing with their President on human dignity not applying to “evil terrorists.”

Then, in 2008, McCain suddenly wasn’t that bad. Romney, who only became pro-life when he decided to run for president, was an avowed pro-lifer with a history of pro-life credentials.

We’re told that the end all and be all of pro-life activism is stopping partial birth abortion–one specific kind late term abortion that has been illegal for years now, even though the Supreme Court says it’s illegal because there are other ways to abort third trimester babies!!

Now, Scott Brown is the savior because he opposes federal funding of abortion and sort of supports conscientious objection.

Meanwhile, in early 2008, we had a candidate who
a. Said that presidents could be doing far more to fight abortion than they’d been doing
b. Supported measures to fight no-fault divorce
c. Supported homeschooling
d. Openly promoted Natural Law

and he didnt’ get support because
a) Catholics said they didn’t want to vote for a Baptist minister.
b) conservatives didn’t like the work he’d done for social justice as governor of Arkansas.

If Barack Obama had an “R” after his name instead of “D”, NRLC would find reason to declare him the greatest friend to the pro-life movement since Reagan. Oh, wait, Reagan appointed Kennedy and O’Connor.

26 responses to “Scott Brown: How the Pro-Life Movement has Fallen

  1. Scott Brown ran as a nothing. He’s a total wild card because he never said anything serious about what he wants or would do.

    He objected to the debt, and called for tax-cuts “across the board”, but did not name any spending cuts! That is, literally, a meaningless position. A nonsense-position. He might just as well have called for a policy consisting of “flippety-floppety with a goo-goo-goo and a gah-gah-gah”.

    He objected to “Obamacare” but gave no indication of knowing anything about what was in it.

    He accused Coakley of supporting “partial-birth abortion” (anyone remember that argument? Seems a long time ago) and did not say anything about his own earlier support for abortion and contraception.

    We know zero about him! He could turn out to be anything, or nothing.

    And now if health-care reform fails, Republicans will be responsible. They can’t say “look, the Dems have a filibuster-proof majority, it’s not our fault they can’t work together” any more.

    If the Republicans prevent health-care reform, every voter who loses his insurance or gets shafted by an insurer will blame the Republicans. Eventually voters will blame Republicans for ingrown toenails!

    • A friend of mine who’s a political scientist (former Communist turned Catholic) recently posited that the only real trend these days in voting is outrage at whoever is in office.

      One of the reasons I started this blog was to have documentation for saying “I told you so,” and I’ve been predicting since 2000 that we were going to see the implosion of both parties in the 2010s.

  2. I’m not so sure about both parties imploding. The Dems will experience a big generational shift but I would not be surprised if the Party holds together and keeps the name “Democratic”, simply because it’s the party people are drawn to who are serious about governing.

    The Dem party is also very good at embracing new organizing-modes. It’s switched from Southern-Agrarian to Organized-Labor to Religion-and-Helping-the-Underclass to Hippies to its current Tech-Savvy/Face-the-facts/Un-Bush incarnation, so I think it can adapt to whatever new thing comes along.

    You can already see a generational turnover beginning in the Dem Party, in the US Senate. Al Franken, Jim Webb, Jon Tester, these are all outstanding, accomplished, incredibly hard-working, smart people, likely to last. Franken especially seems to be building a leadership position.

    I expect Barbara Boxer will lose, but her Republican replacement will not last long in white-minority California. The race war will sink him, whoever he turns out to be. He will be a white man, of course, and his base will force him to be anti-immigrant and enrage the Mexican majority. The overall result will be Boxer will get replaced over the course of two elections, by another Dem, quite possibly a leader-to-be in the Senate (California sends high-powered types as a rule).

    Bob Casey is there to stay. I lived in Pittsburgh for eight years and I know. In Pennsylvania the name Casey is royalty. Massachusetts had the Kennedys and Pennsylvania has the Caseys. Plus, Pennsylvania has been seriously growing its university/science/industry complex and that always makes a state more Dem. Casey will go on pretending to be a right-to-lifer but voting with the Party on critical votes, and no one will ever seriously call him on it. I’m very happy about Bob Casey, Jr.

    Massachusetts will very likely replace Scott Brown after one term. Unless he turns out to be extraordinary. His successor will have an opportunity to lead.

    When Robert Byrd drops, I think that’s a state which will turn lastingly Republican.

    I’m not sure who’s gonna replace Joe Lieberman but I’d bet on a generic Dem over a generic Republican, in Connecticut.

    The Republicans may be replaced, but it’s not at all clear by whom or what. They also have become malleable and they have shown an astonishing ability to coopt any threat from the right. The way Pat Buchanan’s people took over Ross Perot’s Reform Party after he (Ross) left it is one example; another is the Libertarian Party. I was really into that party, not a member but a close friend and employee of some big-donating members in the 1980s and I do not understand how this right-to-lifist Christianization could have happened to the Party. They used to be intensely scornful of organized religion and hostile to any government interference in people’s sex lives. They had the same contempt for right-to-lifers that they had for the War on Drugs! And Ron Paul has coopted even them!

    By the way if you’re thinking Paul and the Libs will replace the Republicans, forget it. Ron Paul is not serious. Returning to the Gold Standard is a kooky idea. The value of gold changes too quickly for it to serve as a standard.

    One more thing: I would be careful about counting Obama out prematurely if I were you. This is just the post-honeymoon blues which all US Presidents, including Reagan and Clinton, experience.

    • In the 1840s and 1850s, the Democrats appealed to “young voters” with the claim that the Whigs were trying to establish a “theocracy” with all their campaignng over Christian values like no abortion and no slavery.
      The Whigs were an uncomfortable alliance of Northern Bankers and Christians.
      The Whigs had their moment in the sun in the early 1850 and didn’t do anything on abortion; indeed, White-appointed justices voted in favor of Dred Scott.
      The Christians finally realized the Industrialits and Bankers were just manipulating them for votes. The Whig Party fell apart in the late 1850s. The Democrats had the whole show for 8 years, and ultimatey incorporated the banking and industrial interests.
      The abolitionists formed their own party. The Democrats split down the middle in 1860 (as they came close to doing in 2008 over Obama and Hillary), and Lincoln won in a two-way split.

      • BTW, I know both sides of the abortion debate try to co-opt abolitionism, just as both sides try to draw comparisons to the Nazis, but
        1) all three involve a class of people whose personhood is either called into question or treated as second class
        2) in all three, Christians are the backbone of the opposition.

  3. Ummm, no, abortion rights do NOT require you to treat the unborn as non-persons nor as second-class citizens.

    My pro-choice position treats unborn persons and already-born persons exactly the same. NEITHER is entitled to occupy another person’s body except with the other person’s continuing permission. BOTH are subject to death for doing so.

    The fact that in the case of an already-born person, occupying another person’s body is purely hypothetical, does not change the fact that this pro-choice position (the “Body-Ownership/Justifiable-Homicide Position”) treats everyone equally. If an already-born person COULD occupy another person’s body, the already-born occupier would have exactly the same rights as the unborn occupier: none.

    • Your position only holds sound for the case of rape. Otherwise, the “unwanted occupier” was welcomed in at the time of voluntary sexual intercourse.

      The baby’s right to life is contingent upon the mother’s decision to care for the baby. Truly consistent pro-choice advocates take the view of Peter Singer, that any time one person’s survival is dependent upon another person, the caregiver has the right to “pull the plug.”

  4. Also, I would not call right-to-lifers “Christians”; rather, right-to-lifism is a DISTORTION of Christianity, like the Inquisition or like the Nazis themselves, who used the “Christ-killer” libel to arouse anger against Jews (as, in fact, Germans had been doing for centuries, just not as well-organizedly).

    • You and Barack Obama. Yet since the Catholic Church *is* Christianity, Catholics are the only ones entitled to decide what is or is not Christianity.

      Which leads me to: what’s wrong with the Inquisition? It still exists, you know. It’s called the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. And, speaking of Nazis, the Inquisition, then called the Holy Office, was responsible for saving thousands of Jews, as well as Allied POWs, during World War II, and also worked as an informal espionage organization for the Allies.
      What does not still exist is the obligation that, in countries where Catholicism is an official religion (i.e., Malta), that everyone is obligated by law to be Catholic.

      If you were interested in actual history, you’d know that most of the common myths about the Inquisition are just that: myths perpetuated by the enemies of the Church. The historical documents show the Inquisition to be one of the most advanced and just court systems of its time.

      The Nazis were officially atheists and occultists, though they tried to rouse sympathy of nominal Christians.

      You an

  5. RE: “Your position only holds sound for the case of rape. Otherwise, the “unwanted occupier” was welcomed in at the time of voluntary sexual intercourse. ”

    Yes, when a woman consents to sex, she is issuing an invitation to the not-yet-conceived unborn-baby-to-be, but her invitation is CONDITIONAL and LIMITED. It has the following clearly written on it in large letters: “Dear unborn-to-be, by having sex I am inviting you to form in my body and to live there, for just as much time as it takes me to learn I’m pregnant and get an abortion. Longer only if I so choose. You may not LIKE this limited invitation, but it’s all I’m offering, so take it or leave it. If you can’t deal with the fact that I may decide to abort you, then what you should do is go get yourself conceived elsewhere, where you will be welcome for a longer time. “

    • No, it is not conditional. The dual purposes of sexual intercourse are union and procreation between a man and woman who are married. Anything else is intrinsically evil.

      • As your reply was not constructive and contained thinly disguised profanity, I will not be allowing it. However, thank you again for proving that the refined and intellectual veneer of atheism/avowed agnosticism is just a facade for deep-seated contempt.

  6. Just the facts, GG.

    In FACT, the purpose of sex varies from person to person, from couple to couple, and from sex-act to sex-act.

    You have a fantasy that there’s some intrinsic purpose to sex which is deeper than what the people having the sex want from it. You are wrong. The meaning and purpose of each sex act are determined by the participants.

    Sorry but facts are facts, boss.

    • Those are not “facts.” Those are opinions. There is a difference. And, remind me exactly how you have a standard of morality with no God? Here you’re saying there is no standard of morality, and other places you affirm a moral standard. Which is it?

      You are the one who lives in a fantasy world. You live in a fantasy world where there’s no God, where you can pick and choose what you want to believe, and how you want to behave, and where you can kill whomever you like, whether it’s babies, or disabled people, or people who disagree with you.

  7. You ask how do I have a standard of morality without your imaginary friend whom you call “God”? Well, how do you have a standard of morality without believing in Wotan’s spear, on which the original Civilizing Contracts were written?

    No I don’t believe whatever I want to believe. I believe what EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE and OBSERVATION lead me to believe. And I believe everything conditionally. Anything could be wrong; I’m open to correction by new data. Maybe there is a God and maybe He’s exactly like you say. On the other hand, maybe God is One and Muhammed is His Messenger. Or maybe there’s none! Or maybe the Creator is a Flying Spaghetti Monster. No way to tell.

    They asked Bertrand Russell what he would say if, after his death, God asked him to account for his disbelief. He answered “Not enough EVIDENCE, Lord, not enough evidence.”

    There is only one true answer to any and all questions about anything supernatural: “I don’t know the answer, and if I did know, then my knowledge would mean that the question would no longer be about something supernatural!”

    • You didn’t answer the question. Actually, lack of evidence is God’s gift to us, so we have the excuse of ignorance which He did not give to the angels.

      You haven’t established a standard. Scientific method is a very limited method of epitemology. Yet again, if you’d like, you could actually experiment with prayer and see what happens (realizing that God is not a geni and doesn’t not give people exactly what they want).

      But of course you like hijacking threads, and you’ve hijacked this one to have the same old argument.

      I’d like you to establish one objective standard that your “imaginary friend” evolution obligates.

      I’ll tell you why Mohammed isn’t His prophet, because He isn’t. There is plenty of historical evidence to prove Mohammed was a fraud, and most importantly, what other founder of a major world religion also started a worldly empire?

      The evidence for Christianity is to be found in miracles: 1) the miracles that have been witnessed by thousands of people (such as the apparitions at Zeitun, Egypt in the 1960s, or the sun dancing at Fatima); 2) the miracles experienced every day by ordinary believers; 3) the miracles that have been carefully vetted by the Church and scientific experts; 4) the miracles recorded in history and in the Bible.

      I told you before, I’m not going to waste time on this when you’ve already admitted to reading books that solidly answer your questions (e.g., _Mere Christianity_) and merely dismissing them with ad hominems against the authors. Have you ever bothered to read Augustine or Aquinas or the Fathers?

      Of course not! You’re too bloodthirsty and angry for that. You’re too narrow-minded for that, too bound up in irrelevant lab science trivia.

      And you’re totally unable to construct a moral standard with agnosticism, though you refuse to admit it. There is no reason for you to condemn *anyone* under your “imaginary friend” of Evolution, since you never know which side “Evolution” is favoring. If anything, “Evolution” favors my side. We’re the ones reproducing. We’re the ones who are happier and healthier from a worldly perspective. And, as Pascal so aptly observed, we have nothing to lose if we’re wrong.

  8. Your use of the term “evolution” shows you mean something very different by it from what I mean by it. I mean the conjunction of random variation plus natural selection yielding the illusion of design in self-replicating systems. This is a natural phenomenon like corrosion of metal or formation of crystals or photosynthesis. You seem to think it has something to do with ethics or morality.

    Augustine, yes, I read the CONFESSIONS. Long ago but I did read them.

    Aquinas, no, never got around to him. My favorite philosophers were Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein; I also enjoyed Alisdair McIntyre although in the end I disagreed with him. He says our concept of “good” is broken, displaced from its “natural” or “original” meaning; I think it’s just changed.

    And who are “the Fathers”???

    • The only direct answer to my challenge you have provided, in a previous exchange, was that evolution itself dictates a moral code. *You* said that; not I. I’m just asking you to elaborate.
      Actually, “evolution” as I use it is just what you say, a natural process no different than corrosion: and it does not necessitate any metaphysical nor ethical conclusions for me. There is no contradiction between my Christian faith and the scientific theory of evolution, although I do think evolution is way overemphasized solely to make a point, that there are serious flaws in evolution theory that the average atheist and the average biology teacher will not admit to, and that ultimately it doesn’t matter a hill of beans to my life whether I know about it or not. For me, the only reason to know about evolution, or the moon, or physics, is that such knowledge teaches me about the God who created all those things.

      How about _City of God_ or _On Christian Doctrine_?
      If you don’t even know who the Fathers are, then your entire view of Catholicism is a straw man.

      The Fathers are, collectively, the major theologians (whether canonized or not) between the end of the New Testament and the “dark ages,” the people who shaped Christianity.
      They’re broken down into three groups:
      1. Apostolic Fathers: notably Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, and the Didache. These are the theologians or documents that are dated to the second half of the first century or first half of the second century. They are called Apostolic because they knew the Apostles. Indeed, when the Church was deciding what should be in the New Testament, there was a great deal of debate about whether Ignatius of Antioch, the Didache and particularly Clement of Rome should be in it–these writings were read interchangeably with the Epistles at Divine Liturgy for the first few centuries of the Church.

      2. AnteNicene Fathers: the theologians who came between the second century and the Council of Nicea.
      3. The PostNicene Fathers: the theologians who came after Nicea

      They are not to be confused with the Doctors, who were originally the preeminent scholars of the Nicene era (Jerome, Augustine, Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory Nanzianzen, and another whose name escapes me), though, 1000 years later, Aquinas and Bonaventure were added to the list, and the term grew in meaning to the current list of 33 (a Doctor of the Church is a teacher whose scholarship is so preeminent a defense of the Church as to equal martyrdom in its witness.

  9. Languages do change, you know. In spite of all efforts by loonies like Alexandr Solzhenitsyn to prevent it.

    • I don’t know what you’re talking about, but if you think Solzhenitsyn is a looney, you’re betraying your own true ideology.

      • Hah! I studied four years of Russian under some of Solzenitsyn’s followers and I can tell you he was a NUT CASE!

        He believed that the Tsarist monarchy should be restored in Russia after the fall of Communism, under the descendants of Tsar Nikolas II. And, he was leader of a cult of looney Russian immigrants who believed the same. One of them even asked new-President Clinton whether he would support restoration of the Monarchy. Clinton–Bill Clinton!–was dumbstruck. He hemmed and hawed and erred and ahhed for thirty seconds before he finally stammered: “I think that’s something the Russian people should decide for themselves!”

        Solzhenitzyn also believed that the disappearance of obsolete words from contemporary language was a terrible tragedy, and a danger to mankind, and he made his children spend time looking up ancient words for him to use in his writing in order to prevent the changes. (I never found out how he felt about introduction of NEW words, like “computer”, “uranium”, and “genetics”.)

        He was not a bad writer, and he did a good thing in describing the gulags, but he was a major looney, with serious delusions of grandeur.

      • And those things make him a nutcase how??
        Like I say, you’re exposing your support for the Bolsheviks. Why does monarchism make him a nutcase?
        Once again: you are presuming an objective code of beliefs that you want other people to ascribe to, yet you insist there is no objective standard. You just use “nutcase” for anyone who ascribes to a philosophical system different from your own.
        What a horrible person! He made his children study obsolete words! If not for “obsolete words”, how do we understand Shakespeare? Chaucer? Beowulf? Anyone who wrote prior to 1800?

      • Also, since you’re so big on academic credentials, how do you have credentials to diagnose him with delusions of grandeur? Couldn’t it be said that every writer has “delusions of grandeur”?
        I mean, you fancy yourself the Cobra Commander of the pro-abortion movement.

  10. Silly fellow! I didn’t say we shouldn’t STUDY obsolete words. I just said that there’s no harm in letting them drop out of ordinary language.

    Are you deliberately pretending to be dumber than you are? There’s no need for that…..

    And are you saying that wanting to restore the Tsarist Monarchy in Russia DOESN’T mean someone is a nut-case? What sort of thing WOULD qualify someone as a nut-case, in your view???

    And no, I don’t support the Bolsheviks. I support Constitutional Democracy. But, the Bolsheviks were way better than the Tsars who preceded them!

    • Why should a perfectly good word ever become obsolete. Words only become obsolete when people become less literate and stop using them.

      No, being a monarchist does not make one a nutcase. It makes one a monarchist.

      Whether monarchism is better than constitutional democracy is a matter that is well open to debate.

      Plenty of monarchs in Heaven, including Sts. Nicholas and Alexandra. Not sure about democratically elected politicians, other than Thomas More.

      Having a properly diagnosed mental illness makes one a nutcase.

      Again, what are your objective standards for defining constitutional democracy “better” than monarchy?
      Why do you think the communists were “better” than the Tsars?

      You’re making value judgements, and value judgements require a standard for valuation. Since you’re evaluating an entire culture, there must be a value system that transcends culture–a Natural Law.

      See? You can’t escape it. You cannot make value judgements without appealing to Natural Law, or else you’re just making it up as you go.

      • RE: “Words only become obsolete when people become less literate and stop using them.”

        WRONG! Words become obsolete if the things they refer to drop out of usage. For instance, we no longer use the word “cotton-gin”. This does NOT mean we are any “less literate” than the folks who did use that word.

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