Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman took a few minutes off from his slavish boosterism of totalitarianism and Communist China to tell us all what it means to be pro-life in a column modestly titled Why I Am Pro-Life. What we learn is that he really hasn’t a clue on the subject.
This cri de coeur from Friedman comes from the success that social conservatives are experiencing in Republican primary elections. He takes aim at Richard Mourdock (who knocked of RINO Richard Lugar), Todd Aiken (who defeated two other pro-life candidates but has achieved notoriety with his unfortunate exegesis on human biology), and Joe Walsh (whose apparent sin is running against the rent-seeking Tammy Duckworth) and uses them as a point of departure to describe what being “pro-life” really means.
Not unsurprisingly from someone who is a big fan of a country that has a policy of forced abortions, pro-life doesn’t actually include being pro-life, rather pro-life in Friedman’s dystopic vision is lots of government regulation. Again unsurprisingly.
In his own inept way, Friedman tries to adopt George Lakoff’s “frames,” the concept that was so popular with liberals back in 2004, to co-opt the meaning of the term.
If you can name an issue, you can own the issue. And we must stop letting Republicans name themselves “pro-life” and Democrats as “pro-choice.” It is a huge distortion.
With that he is off to the races.
In my world, you don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare, that was used recently in a Colorado theater.
Never mind that no one has ever been able to define what constitutes an “assault rifle” that doesn’t make an ass of the law. Never mind that the reason that mass murderers are able to achieve their goal because they are in the midst of unarmed citizens.
You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet.
Set aside for a moment that no one knows what causes childhood asthma, much less being able to prevent it, the EPA is more focused on reducing the United States to an economic basket case via regulations that courts have increasingly found to be illegal.
You don’t get to call yourself “pro-life” and oppose programs like Head Start that provide basic education, health and nutrition for the most disadvantaged children.
Again, symbolism outstrips data. Head Start is a program that has been shown to be without long term effect but has survived solely because of the leftwing propaganda.
The term “pro-life” should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth. That radical narrowing of our concern for the sanctity of life is leading to terrible distortions in our society.
Respect for life has to include respect for how that life is lived, enhanced and protected — not only at the moment of conception but afterward, in the course of that life.
In the words of William F. Buckley, Friedman here is acting like a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen. Government does not serve in loco parentis for the citizens. Rather government exists to provide a stable an secure environment where each citizen can engage, as someone famous once said, in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” While Friedman is not willing to grant to an infant the right to birth… and you probably wouldn’t want him in a position to decide when to remove you from medical care and cart you off to a dark corner to die… he believes the only life worth living is one in which the government make all of your decisions for you.