The President and “Science”

From Robert George and Eric Cohen in the Wall Street Journal:

First, the Obama policy is itself blatantly political. It is red meat to his Bush-hating base, yet pays no more than lip service to recent scientific breakthroughs that make possible the production of cells that are biologically equivalent to embryonic stem cells without the need to create or kill human embryos. Inexplicably — apart from political motivations — Mr. Obama revoked not only the Bush restrictions on embryo destructive research funding, but also the 2007 executive order that encourages the National Institutes of Health to explore non-embryo-destructive sources of stem cells.

Second and more fundamentally, the claim about taking politics out of science is in the deepest sense antidemocratic. The question of whether to destroy human embryos for research purposes is not fundamentally a scientific question; it is a moral and civic question about the proper uses, ambitions and limits of science. It is a question about how we will treat members of the human family at the very dawn of life; about our willingness to seek alternative paths to medical progress that respect human dignity.

What is “anti-science” is pushing a political agenda on the back of measures intended to pacify the rabid, anti-life Left–when science is moving in the opposite direction.  As everyone should know by now, embryonic stem cells (apart from their very nature as human-life-destroying) have made possible no new cures at all, while adult stem cells, and the advances in producing pluripotent stem cells from other sources (e.g., the umbilical cord), have produced multiple treatments.  This executive order is anti-science by definition.


Abortion Versus Other Issues

First, the title assumes that abortion is just one among “other issues” (sort of like the Lord’s Supper is just one among “other parts of doctrine”).

But how is it that Christians, who admittedly “care” about having fewer abortions, can privilege health care, the ending of war or torture, or being nice to illegal immigrants over the fact that 50,000,000 and counting have died from the legalized murder we call abortion (in itself a euphemism)?  Perhaps it really is the case that one is a tragedy but one (or fifty) million is a statistic (Stalin, anyone?).

The argument goes like this: if we in the United States can guarantee health care and other essentials to women who are “struggling” with whether to have an abortion or not, then they will be less likely to choose to have the abortion because the future will appear so much brighter–like that silly, multi-colored sun on the horizon of possibility.  Hence, better and more affordable health care = fewer abortions.  Hence, also, “vote for Barack Obama.”

Hey, I’d be as glad as the next guy (or girl) to have cheaper insurance and more choices (I currently have to drive an hour to see a dentist who is “in network;” of course, I live in the relative middle of nowhere).  I’d also be happy to see Pres. Obama help struggling people and reduce the number of abortions.  The latter is made far less likely by his promise to sign the FOCA and by giving back money to international organizations that support or do abortions.  (Sorry, what does abortion have to do with helping people?  Of course, the link is clear to Nancy Pelosi and her ContraceptAid bailout.)

Nevertheless, the argument has a certain superficial plausibility to it: if you’re not worried how you’re going to support a child, then maybe you have one.  The problem is, children require more than money.  Not even the best daycare, the best nanny, the best health care, the best insurance is going to reduce the “burden” that children impose.  All that the purveyors of progress have is “hope.”  Now I know that hope is big right now, but hope can only get you so far when it comes to the (sinful) human instinct of self-preservation.  Because if I’ve got no bigger motivation than affordable insurance to make me keep and support a child I didn’t want in the first place, then I’m more than likely not doing it (at least, knowing what I know about three of them).

Even if my child takes less of my money, if I didn’t want her in the first place, that means she’s still taking my money, which I could use to buy a Wii or a nicer house, or a nicer car.  And that’s still unacceptable.  So I’m going to Planned unParenthood, so they can remove the burden.

Can Barack Obama’s policies reduce abortions?  I sincerely hope so.  But I’m not staking anything on it.  If someone can be so sure that the unlimited abortion license and the support of my tax dollars for said license are right, and yet the question about when life begins is above his pay grade, then there is little to no chance he’ll be right about how to help those mothers struggling with the choice.  My guess is that his idea about how to “help” them lines up with NARAL’s, not mine.  And that’s morally, ethically, and democratically unacceptable.  If he does not know basic biology, then he’s either betting (shall we say, hoping?) that it’s not yet a child, or he’s betting that it doesn’t matter.  Either way, he’s not The One I want setting or signing policy that determines what is good for either unborn children or their mothers.

Christians who support policies that they hope will reduce abortions are either naive, or they have bound themselves so tightly to the (il)liberal, Democratic line that they find it impossible to extricate themselves.  They have put the proverbial cart before the horse and are in favor of health care (who isn’t?) that will take care of health that will be non-existent (because the babies are in the dumpster out back).  But hey, their mothers still have opportunity to make a good life for themselves and their (future) children!  Because abortion is still legal in all nine months of pregnancy, and if Pres. Obama makes good on his promises to the radical blood-lust lobby, there will be no restrictions whatsoever.  So go ahead, let the 12-year old abort her baby without her parents’ knowledge.  After all, her crazy, fundamentalist parents will probably kill her if they knew.

Whatever you do, don’t worry your pretty little heads over all the burning babies: health care will be cheap and those crazy Muslims will only blow up themselves!


History-Making Elections

I know I said I was done, but there’s something that’s been bothering me.  And that is all the triumphalist rhetoric issuing from every corner of our society over the fact that “we” have elected the first African-American president in our history.  I agree, that’s history-making.  And I can imagine how that might feel to African-Americans who have felt some sense of injustice in this country, especially if their (great-great-)grandparents were slaves.  I can imagine how it might feel if all the presidents up to this year were black, and we finally elected a white president.  But that makes me feel sort of slimy.  I mean, is that it?  Is that the final barrier to true equality?  Is that the marker of the fact that our country is now finally done with bigotry and intolerance?  That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

And I keep hearing people say that the best thing about Pres. Obama is that he’s a uniter and a healer, that he’s going to bring this country together.  Besides the fact that it’s the same Lefty therapeutic blather we’ve heard for the last forty or fifty years (or longer), what evidence do we have of this supposed coming unity?  All we have is the fact that a majority of both black and white people elected him president.  Which is all sort of curious, because it’s so circular.  See, a majority of black and white people elected him because he promised to bring unity and change; he’s brought unity and change because a majority of black and white people elected him.  There is no substance there whatsoever.  His vague platitudes and smooth talk convinced a majority of people to vote him into the highest office in the country.  For what?  We shall see.  But since Barack Obama has voted nearly always with the Democrats (more times, let’s remember, than John McCain voted wtih Pres. Bush), and since he wants all the same things Democrats want–no restrictions on abortion, more and bigger government running more and bigger programs, higher taxes on those who actually create jobs, etc.–where is this unity and change going to come from?  So far, it’s come from the fact that his presidency would make history (read: the color of his skin).  If that’s not about the farthest thing from a good reason to elect a person to the presidency, I don’t know what is.

You know what would prove that Pres. Obama is a uniter and not a divider?  Appoint Sarah Palin to a cabinet position that has some actual authority, say, something having to do with energy policy.  Then I might be able to finally believe the hype.

UPDATE: I also wonder what the pundits would be saying if someone like Alan Keyes were elected.  And: what will the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton do now?

And: here’s Touchstone‘s Mere Comments (you should all read James Kushiner’s editorial in the most recent Touchstone) on the same topic.


Mark Steyn on Barack Obama’s Voters

I commend to you the “Happy Warrior” on the last page of the current National Review (which I just got today).  In it, Mark Steyn (he of America Alone/I’m being blacklisted by the Canadian Human Rights Court fame) talks about what voters are looking for in a president, and that it’s far too much compared to what presidents can deliver.  A sample, and then you’ll have to go find a copy of NR for yourself:

It’s a bit late in the day to say what I’m looking for in a candidate. So let me say what I’m looking for in a voter. It was nicely summed up by Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic, contrasting McCain and Obama back at the end of primary season as they clinched their respective nominations: “The enormous crowd in the Xcel center seems ready to lift Obama on its shoulders; the much smaller audience for McCain’s speech interrupted his remarks with stilted cheers.”…

The speech that so moved Marc Ambinder was one Senator Obama largely devoted to the significance of himself: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

“Heal” is the operative word here. Barack is not one of those warrior kings who cure sick children on weekend breaks from slaughtering foreigners, but rather the apotheosis of a therapeutic culture: He will “heal” the planet and thereby bring “closure” to the Bush era. The other day I found myself stuck in traffic behind one of his Hopemobiles — that’s to say, a van whose rear bore a giant poster in vaguely Soviet-realist style of the Great Healer captioned not by his name but only by his message: “HOPE.” Smaller placards dotted around it fleshed out his policy platform: “KIDS’ FUTURE? VOTE DEMOCRATIC.” “HOPE NOT FEAR? VOTE DEMOCRATIC.” I felt a sudden desire to order up a gross of bumper stickers bearing the slogan “FEAR HOPE.”

Excellent.  This would be enough to make me subscribe, if I didn’t already.


Read This

If you are pro-life and you’ve ever considered voting for Barack Obama, read this.  And Prof. George doesn’t even include the fact that Obama, as he admitted last night, will only nominate SCOTUS justices who will promise to uphold Roe v. Wade.

The same cannot be said for Barack Obama. For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, ”forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.” In other words, a whole lot of people who are alive today would have been exterminated in utero were it not for the Hyde Amendment. Obama has promised to reverse the situation so that abortions that the industry complains are not happening (because the federal government is not subsidizing them) would happen. That is why people who profit from abortion love Obama even more than they do his running mate.

But this barely scratches the surface of Obama’s extremism.


When One Issue Isn’t One Issue

Publicity has been given recently to prominent Evangelicals who reject the perceived partisan politics of abortion and homosexuality for the broader, nonpartisan politics of global warming and the environment, poverty, homelessness, and governmental intervention in more problems.  Evangelicals have been criticized in the past for “one-issue” voting, usually abortion.  They have now, according to many commentators, taken the criticism to heart and have focused their attention on social issues more broadly defined.

The problem is, the criticism fails when it comes to most thinking voters.  The fact that I will not vote for a given politician because he or she is in favor of continuing the unlimited abortion license does not mean that my vote fails to take into account the many other good things such a politician might do.  So, for instance, a self-identified religious conservative might vote for Barack Obama because he has all sorts of things going for him (I say that simply for the sake of argument), regardless of where he stands on the abortion issue.  I suppose I could theoretically conceive of a politician who was wrong about abortion, but right about all sorts of other social issues, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in actual practice.

Abortion is not an isolated issue, unrelated to everything else.  In fact, I am 95 percent convinced that if someone is wrong about abortion, that person is likely to be wrong about much else as well.  If the question of when humans come to possess human rights is above a politician’s pay grade, it seems to me that the presidency is above his pay grade as well.  If you don’t know when humans have human rights, how can you work to protect those rights?  Further, if you don’t know when humans have human rights, why would it be okay to allow the killing of those humans, whom, admittedly, may or may not have human rights?  Which puts a lot more than the abortion license in question.

Being wrong about abortion also likely means that one is wrong about the family.  The premise of the “right” to murder one’s own child is that a woman has a “right” to do whatever she wants with “her” “own” “body.”  But this affects also the rights and responsibilities of fathers, which means it affects the marriage relationship itself.  If Paul is correct that the wife’s body is the husband’s and the husband’s body is the wife’s, then it makes no moral sense to say that the husband has nothing to say about what happens to the wife’s body, let alone the body of their unborn child.  I’d also be willing to bet that such a politician, instead of helping single mothers stay home and take care of their children (far better than daycare), would pay for daycare so the mother can work.  I’d also be willing to bet that that politician would be in favor of giving your money and mine to Planned Parenthood, which carries out the most abortions each year, supported by our tax dollars.

As a side note, it’s interesting that politicians who want as much government influence (or interference) as possible think that the government should stay out of abortion “politics.”

Those who vote or don’t vote for a politician based on his/her views on abortion should not be cowed into silence or working to end global warming as a response to the criticism that they are one-issue voters.  It’s not that simple.


Two re: Palin

The first is from the First Things blog, written by Suann Therese Maier (my grandfather is a Maier).  Here is a salient quote:

I will vote for Sarah Palin because Roe v. Wade is bad law, and it needs to fall. I don’t doubt the intelligence and character of men like Doug Kmiec, the younger Bob Casey, and others who sympathize with the Obama campaign. But I do doubt their judgment. At the end of the day, the Democratic party in 2008 has conceded nothing to pro-life Democrats. The fact that Sen. Obama listens respectfully to pro-lifers without calling them reactionary dunces does not constitute progress. Results and behavior are what matter. On both those counts, the party has again failed to show any real sensitivity to pro-life concerns. In that light, high profile Catholics who support Obama are simply rationalizing their surrender on Roe.

Finally, I will vote for Sarah Palin, not because I’ve left the Democratic party of my youth and young adulthood, but because that party has left me. In fact, it no longer exists. And no amount of elegant speaking, exciting choreography, and moral alibis will bring it back.

The second comes from the idiocracy in Hollywood, some of whom clearly still think that being famous must give them superhuman rhetorical skillz (no, that would be good scripts).  Here’s one silly woman:

We also caught up with “Celebrity Apprentice” bad girl Omarosa, who was proudly wearing an Obama face across her chest, and as always, she didn’t hold back in voicing her condemnation.

“A conservative who is pro-life with a 17-year-old daughter having a baby — gosh, that won’t affect their ticket at all,” Omarosa said sarcastically at the EA Sports Facebreaker Launch party on Wednesday.

That sentence doesn’t even make sense.  As if it was hypocritical for a pro-life conservative to have a pregnant daughter.  Sorry, but I’m not quite catching the point.  See, it would be hypocrisy if Sarah Palin demanded that her daughter have an abortion, as the idiot Left would prefer.  Actually, she did what any pro-life parent would do: help her daughter make the right decision after a wrong one.  As someone pointed out, Barack Obama’s mother had him when she was eighteen.  I guess a year makes a big difference as far as hypocrisy goes.

No big deal, though, Obama’s a Muslim.