Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I guess I'll have to weigh in on Tiller

Edward Feser has posted his thoughts on the recent murder of abortion doctor George Tiller. I'm too jaded to come up with much of a response to these things, but my reply follows, for what it's worth:

I think it's curious to see so many members of the pro-life movement going to such great lengths to condemn Tiller's murder. I am not speaking of Dr. Feser's post, but of Fr. Frank Pavone, for instance. They doth protest too much, methinks. It's almost as if they expect the political ramifications to backfire on them.

The fact of the matter is that Tiller's murder will have almost zero political consequences, one way or the other. It will not change anybody's opinion about abortion, or the pro-life movement, or the laws of the land. It will not be brought up in political ads or debates. It will be completely forgotten within a week.

This suggests to me that there is a meta-narrative going on above and beyond the talking points on both sides of the abortion debate. Most people do not seem particularly eager to see the issue resolved, nor have they given serious strategic consideration to the measures necessary to resolve it. Both camps focus on converting individual hearts and minds within the context of the current legislative regime. But this is no real answer; it is only a prolongation of the debate, and this dilatory tactic is deliberate.

I think there are great uncertainties at work deep in the bosom of our collective psyche. The pro-lifers aren't quite sure they want to live with the strictures of their own moral code, and the pro-choicers aren't quite sure that abortion isn't a grave evil. This uncertainty will ensure that the Tiller matter gets promptly buried. It's too real, too plain, and too sober a fact to confront, just like the facts of abortion itself.

When being confronted with these facts, the great majority of people have no idea what to do. They will simply turn away and distract themselves with something else, like a child who hears that his father just lost his job. He knows there is something dreadfully wrong, but there is nothing he can do but "act childish," revert to helplessness, sink into the dark currents of unconscious being. Abortion itself is a symptom of this sinking, but most of the debate surrounding it is not much of an improvement. The catchwords are verbal palliatives designed to obscure and soften reality. Roeder lept up like a flame in this darkness, expended himself in one devastating burst, and flickered out again, of no more consequence than a firefly in the woods; and the earth turns still, untroubled.

This is the wretchedness of mankind, the slow and pointless burn, the bitter necessities that cause him to forget and accept all manner of heinous abuses. The only cure is the breaking in of the transcendent God which elevates man to the heights of creation. This alone makes him capable of self-sacrifice and noble purpose. Blessed are those who have ears to hear Him. Pray, O pray ye all, that it may be you.

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