February 22, 2016

What any five-year-old would know was murder

[I wrote this in September of 2015, but didn't find a publisher.  - emc]
The recent videos of Planned Parenthood officials behaving abominably has drawn out an abominably bad argument in Planned Parenthood’s defense.  The argument is that the sale of fetal organs is justified because the organs would only go to waste if Planned Parenthood didn’t sell them, and that the money raised by selling them is used for good purposes.  Now, if one were to take any of the bodies that are big enough to harvest useful organs from and lay it on a table it would be a recognizable human being – not a mere clump of cells, but a baby – with human arms and legs and a human face.  Seeing it would make most other human beings, even most liberals, uncomfortable and sad in the way that seeing any dead child makes any decent person feel uncomfortable and sad.  A five-year-old would recognize it as a person.
Generally, we do not think of dead human beings as scrap material, or as slabs of meat.  We grant them a kind of instinctive reverence – an acknowledgment of the fact that what we see in front of us was once the dwelling place of feelings and a mind like our own, however inexperienced or unknowable.  In other words, we see in a dead human body a reflection of ourselves.  We would not think of our own bodies as something to be chopped up so they could be put to some better purpose than we could achieve by our own lives.  We might be willing to donate our organs for others to use after our deaths – but that is a moral choice we are allowed to make as grown-up human beings.  That is a choice.  We would not want someone else to decide our organs mattered – but that we did not.  We have a certain inner sense that our own lives are sacred, and, if we open our hearts, we know that other peoples lives, no matter how humble or how small, are sacred too.  Our society has a new phrase to express this inner understanding.  In the language of the left, the supreme court, and many well-educated people, this form of compassion is simply known as religious bigotry.  It is our fate to live in such a modern and enlightened age.
The argument Planned Parenthood’s advocates make is much the same as Josef Mengele might have made for performing unspeakable experiments on child prisoners in Auschwitz.  The children were going to die anyway, so why let their little bodies go to waste?  The answer, in both cases, is that the crime began not with an act, but with an idea.  The idea is that a few helpless lives, more-or-less, are unimportant.  That certain people can be arbitrarily declared not persons.  Normal, reasonable practices don’t get built on a foundation of the execution of the innocent.  When a society pretends that a certain kind of murder ought to be engaged in for the greater good, when it de-values the lives of the innocent and helpless, its moral pretensions become an empty joke.  It sticks a knife into the very concept of morality.
At the mere mention of the Holocaust, I imagine the proponents of Planned Parenthood will roll their eyes and accuse me of inflammatory name calling.  I stand by the comparison.  Find another instance of the taking of human life in such a cold, systematic, institutional way.  Legalized abortion is not the unfortunate random bloodletting of war, but a cool, planned, careful implementation of someone’s idea of what is best for society.  It is not merely killing, but premeditated, intellectualized murder.
Nor is the similarity between the Holocaust and Planned Parenthood’s actions a mere coincidence.  Both the Holocaust and Planned Parenthood have their origins in the same eugenics movement of the early twentieth century.  Eugenics, simply put, was the idea that, by the selective breeding of good human specimens on the one hand, and the prevention of breeding by inferior human specimens on the other, the human race might be perfected.  We all know that Adolf Hitler carried this idea to its gruesome conclusion.  Fewer know that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, followed the same idea to a similar conclusion.  Both believed that, to make a better society, some blameless lives would have to be thrown out like so much garbage.  While legal abortion is no longer usually practiced for the misguided purpose of building a better race at any cost, it is still in every way the bloody legacy of that idea.  An idea which, in the case of the Holocaust, cost 13 million people their lives.  Abortions – in the United States alone – exceeded that death toll decades ago.
What the film makers from the Center for Medical Progress has done in its Planned Parenthood videos is little different from what US Army photographers did at Buchenwald and Dachau.  They have simply exposed reality to the light of day.  In neither case was any embellishment necessary.  The only thing surprising is our own surprise.  Did we expect that people who earn their wages by dismembering living human beings would somehow do that ghoulish work with loving compassion and respect?  Were the people who ran Dachau a kind and gentle species of men?  When a person deals, year in and year out, in human butchery and the callous sale of body parts – can he or she retain some moral compass worth the term?  We have only seen what has really always been there, hidden discreetly behind dignified walls.  We have only seen what we should have expected.  What any normal five-year-old would know was murder.

If we can tolerate such things and do nothing we are as guilty as the Germans were.  Or rather we are worse, because at least the Germans could claim they didn’t know, or didn’t know the details, of what was happening around them.  You and I have known all along.  I myself have driven past Right-to-Life demonstrations with their terrible grizzly signs and did nothing but shake my head and wish that they would take their awful images away.  I have quietly accepted this ongoing atrocity as the perverse expression of a civil right, and left it go unnoticed and unconsidered – out of sight and out of mind.  Who am I to condemn the girl or young woman who, desperate and confused, accepts the lies and evil advice of calm, credentialed people in white coats?  We have all been lied to, and most of us have lied to ourselves.  What appears obscene and wrong at first – almost always truly is.  The price of that kind of error, sadly, is often paid in innocent blood.

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