American Nationalism, Continued

A  bit over a week ago I excerpted and commented on an article from Steven Hayward in Law and Liberty (it’s called The Minefield called Nationalism). I liked it then and I like it now. But it felt rather incomplete, not answering enough questions to properly answer the questions. Now yesterday comes Ted McAlister also writing in Law and Liberty, and I think he answers some of them.

Steve Hayward has usefully introduced two key problems with the word “nationalism,” one historical and the other conceptual. He is right, furthermore, to note in his Liberty Forum essay that without understanding these problems, we cannot properly assess any claims made about an “American nationalism.” Hayward is wrong, however, about the nature of American nationalism.

First, he notes that the experiences with nationalism in the first half of the 20th century has given a bad odor to the word and any idea that attaches to it. He calls it “the German question,” and rightfully so. […]

See both my article and Steve’s for more on this, it’s important and a major part of why nationalism has a rather bad odor these days.

A Protean Term

Second, Hayward explores the protean quality of “nationalism,” observing that even leftist opponents of the idea are capable of discovering examples of a healthy or favorable sort. But the point is that the word does not have a clear meaning outside of context, such that nationalism for China is radically different from Canadian nationalism, even if the two share enough to bear the same label. We cannot ask whether nationalism is healthy or destructive without understanding the nation (its character, as it were), its context, and the forms or manifestations it takes. […]

We are left wondering about American nationalism—the nationalism of a self-governing people. Hayward does not go here—his essay is about what constitutes the American character, with the implication that this character determines what shape nationalism takes in America. His argument is not focused on our tradition of self-rule. For me, this is its primary flaw. Instead of rooting American nationalism clearly in its tradition of self-rule, Hayward claims that it flows out of American exceptionalism. Hayward connects this exceptionalism with the Declaration of Independence generally and with natural rights particularly.

This is one place where Steve left me unsatisfied, he’s not exactly wrong but it’s incomplete, there a lot more than the Declaration of Independence to making American nationalism. Ted covers at least some of them.

But that is a far cry from saying that our nation was founded on the idea of equality. Some attachment to equality, defined variously, has been and will continue to be a deep part of our story and therefore a part of us. Abraham Lincoln’s brilliant use of the Declaration’s emphasis on equality served the nation well because it was part of our heritage that, highlighted and even abstracted from its original context, served to address a political and moral pathology in ways that no other part could.

Do Not Forget Experiences, Attachments, Affections

The problem with defining American character this way—as grounded on a set of universal ideas—is that it conflates the fact that these ideas are part of our history (and most Americans tend to believe them in some form or another) with much deeper sources of our national character. When talking about something as elusive as a national character we are prone to abstract claims that help us escape the messy, often ironic, but always complex, empirical and historical evidence. If we can call upon sacred texts and well-stated expressions of principles, we effortlessly gain the conceptual clarity that often hovers above the tangled webs of beliefs, hopes, dreams, actions, of a living people who operate in a living tradition and also in changing circumstances that require them to adapt, change, and redefine.

And here we rejoin Edmund Burke because that is about as close as one can come to what he defined conservatism as, as one can without quoting him, for instance:

But a good patriot, and a true politician, always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition, to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution.

See what I mean?

First, the Founding should be understood not as a moment in 1776 but as a settlement of peoples, primarily from England, who established a hybrid cultural and political form (actually several hybrids) that stressed, among other things: inherited liberties, common law, and the fact that community is prior to government (that communities create government to serve the prior reality of the community). This beginning place stresses our most important characteristic, that we are a people who want to rule ourselves and that we do so typically through communities and associations.

Second, Americans were from the start more in love with opportunities, with chance-taking, with new starts (and start-ups), with the lure of making their fortune or finding a new opportunity out West, than they were with equality. In this context, Americans were less interested in equal opportunity (which is philosophically nonsense) than with an abundance of opportunities, and, as Wilfred McClay traces so well in his Land of Hope, the ever-fresh spring for new hope that opportunities supply.

Third, that the attraction among immigrants was not primarily our “idea” as expressed by Thomas Jefferson or anyone else, but the same sense that opportunities abounded and that America offered everything from a new profession to a new identity. The confining status and roles of traditional societies dissolved and each person (even if he or she faced all manner of other persecutions upon arrival) could chart his or her own course, craft his or her own identity, and live free from the cultural, social, economic, and political restrictions of Italy or Poland, or whatever the country of origin.

And that is a pretty good summing up: Americans are a people who want to rule themselves, are chance-taking opportunists, who formed a society where you became what you wanted to be if you could sustain it.

He illustrates this with the story from The Man  Who Shot Liberty Valance, and the points he makes are very valid. But I would think so, its a very valid reference around the parts, Pilgrim. To the point that Jessica wrote about it here, and I wrote about it here, as well.

Some more questions about the subject answered I think. Read the linked articles for a fuller picture.

 

 

Boiler Up

Well, that was fun, woke up this morning and could only go to Google, amazing what a broken firewall can do for you. Seems to be working now, though. Yay! So an easy one for today, since I’m already a few hours late with my schedule. 😦

From DC Whispers.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has had one of the longest and most productive NFL careers ever. He’s a devoted family man who donates both considerable time and his own money to a multitude of community causes that benefit people of all races and socio-economic backgrounds.

He’s also a Christian and for that, he’s now being targeted by the radical fringe left who want him run out of the NFL for advocating that kids take their Bibles to school with them.

Yes, you read that right. This is the thinking of some in America who are totally devoted to a totalitarian, far-left group-think mentality that wants to destroy anything different than themselves.

Isn’t that special? Increasingly that is the world today, it will change but when is hard to tell, and it may get worse before it gets better. But it’s not everyone. Brees is one of my fellow Boilers, and even before we became the Cradle of Astronauts we were the Cradle of Quarterbacks if you’re my age you might remember Len Dawson or Bob Griese.

But Purdue has always been about more than football (or basketball) and while Drew Brees may be one of the immortal quarterbacks (he is), three Purdue QBs are playing in the NFL. This is from Purdue.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Every Boilermaker is aware of the prowess Drew Brees possesses on the football field. Now, the Purdue graduate is being honored for his activities away from football.

Brees is one of 33 business school graduates honored by AACSB International – the world’s largest business education alliance — as the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders. The annual challenge recognizes notable alumni from AACSB-accredited schools whose inspiring work serves as a model for the next generation of business leaders.

Brees is a 2001 graduate of Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. In addition to setting NFL records with the New Orleans Saints, he founded the Brees Dream Foundation, which has contributed almost $25 million to improve the quality of life for people around the world since its inception in 2003.

One example of Brees’ efforts to help his community is his support of the Team Gleason House in New Orleans, named for Steve Gleason, a former Saints teammate who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The house is equipped with the latest computer-operated technologies to allow individuals with ALS the highest independence possible. Brees’ foundation also helped fund improvements to Joe Brown Park, transforming it into a world-class regional park to enable children and families to be healthy and active.

Brees’ reach extends beyond New Orleans. In 2011, he was appointed an ambassador for the World Food Programme, a United Nations branch and the world’s largest humanitarian organization to fight against hunger. He supports high schools around the nation through the Drew Brees Passing Academy and 7-on-7 Tournament, and his work with Convoy of Hope has helped support families that were adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Brees was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2010 and was described as “an athlete as adored and appreciate as any in an American city today.” He also has become a successful entrepreneur; in 2018, he came in at No. 17 in the Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

“AACSB is honored to recognize Drew Brees and congratulates Purdue University for its role in preparing alumni who are leading examples of business education as a force for good in the world,” said Thomas R. Robinson, president and CEO of AACSB. “The diversity of backgrounds, industries and career paths of the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders demonstrates that AACSB-accredited schools are preparing graduates to succeed wherever their passions may take them.”

Now in its fourth year, the Influential Leaders challenge has recognized almost 200 business school graduates for creating lasting impact in business and society. All honorees have earned an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree from one of the more than 800 AACSB-accredited business schools worldwide. Brees is the fourth Krannert graduate to be recognized, joining Beth Brooke-Marciniak (2015), Carolyn Woo (2015) and Shawn Taylor (2016).

Can’t speak for you, but I’m quite happy to be associated even in this distant way to Drew Brees, and Grubb and his ilk, need a football where the sun don’t shine – sideways.

And about the Purdue Vanderbilt game today, I have a prediction – The Gold and Black will win. I just don’t know which shade. 🙂

Somebody Said Something

Fifty-six years ago yesterday somebody said something. This is what he said:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. **We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: “For Whites Only.”** We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”1

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest — quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that:

Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.

From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

It was an amazing speech that day, at the foot of The Great Emancipator, and it still is today. Every activist for every identity group ought to sit done, shut up, and study Dr. King’s words here. For he does not seek to overpower, he does not seek to shut people down, but to lift them all, he does not seek special privilege, merely common rights denied.

The Rev Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great leader for his people, and now he is a great leader for all people who wish for people to be treated fairly and with justice.

It is a shame that that did not include the Democrat Party, then or now, which has always survived by making sure its supporters never got ahead enough to see the truth about the Plantation. And most of the rest are little better. Ever notice how little recognition this get on TV, in the papers? There’s a reason for that, it undermines the whole industry of race hustling, reminding us that we are all equal and that some are not more equal because they are black or yellow of female. Equal is equal, as A=A. That should be our goal.

And mind that what Dr. King was fighting for was equality under the law, he may well have thought that blacks deserved more economic opportunity, who being of goodwill wouldn’t have. But his concern was that the law treats all the same. Well folks, hate to tell you this but when I look at the circus in Washington, we’re rapidly going the wrong way, and the slope is steep and very slippery. I have serious doubt that the Republic will survive this onslaught.

And so now, fifty-six years later, Dr. King’s words still apply to American blacks, who are still oppressed, but they are now joined by the majority of white Americans in their oppression.

God help us all, whatever the color.

Godless Commies

Open  Blogger over at Ace’s wrote the other day that:

Mark Levin recently focused on the American Left’s love of communism, and how the media props it up. He began with an article from City Journal by Harry Stein, The Red Decade, Redux: 

It may be that the best book that will ever be written about today’s progressive mind-set was published in 1941. That in The Red Decade author Eugene Lyons was, in fact, describing the Communist-dominated American Left of the Depression-wracked 1930s and 1940s makes his observations even more meaningful, for it is sobering to be confronted with how little has been gained by hard experience. . .

Do read that link, yes, it is long, but I learned much from it, I suspect you will as well.

R.S. McCain picks up the story yesterday, as well.

Ed Driscoll last week called attention to an essay by Harry Stein about the continuing relevance of Eugene Lyons’s 1941 book The Red Decadebecause of its eerie parallels to the Stalinist tendencies of the 21st-century Left. A complete and cynical dishonesty was one of the hallmarks of Stalin-era Communism, as the Soviet regime engaged in grossly false propaganda to defend its power and conceal its bloody crimes.

One of the reasons younger people — and by “younger,” I mean, under 40— are so vulnerable to leftist “progressive” propaganda is because they aren’t old enough to remember the Cold War. Today’s 35-year-old was in kindergarten when the Berlin Wall fell, and thus has no personal memory of what it was like to live during the decades when we were faced with the possibility of annihilation by Soviet aggression. The permanent sense of terror inspired by the menace of Communism, a godless creed of murderous hatred, was so deeply embedded into American culture during my youth that my children (the oldest of which was born some six months before the fall of the Berlin Wall) can scarcely understand what it was like. When my oldest was a teenager, I was driving her and her friend to a Christian music festival and, to pass the time, began talking about politics and history. I tried to explain to them how, growing up in a Baptist church in Georgia, I was horrified by stories of how Christians were persecuted in the Soviet Union, in Red China and wherever else Communist regimes came to power. The worldview of Communism — “historical materialism,” or “dialectical materialism” — was based explicitly in atheism, and Communists everywhere were determined to destroy Christianity. Imagine what it would be like to live in a dictatorship where you could go to prison for possessing a Bible!

He goes on from there. and it, like Open Blogger’s, and Ed Driscoll’s, is very good and adds something to the story, to the point that there is little for me to say.

But there is this, McCain makes the point that for those of us who grew up during the cold war, the fear of annihilation was never far away. When from the time you’re six years old and practicing ‘Duck and Cover’ more often than fire drills and tornado warnings, it goes very deep in you. You don’t forget, ever.

Sure you laugh and you smile, and you live a pretty normal life, but always in the back of your mind is the fact that you and your country itself are 30 minutes from destruction. You think of it as you go into the city and see the anti-aircraft missiles around Chicago, you think of it sometimes when you see contrails overhead. You really think of it when you happen to see a wing of B-52s taking off at 15-second intervals. “Probably only a drill,” you think and carry on. Same thing as when you watch another B-52 come over your worksite at about 500 ft at full speed. You think about it as your friends join the navy and a few end up on boomers, or when you drive through Great Falls and see the security police in their armored cars patrolling the Minutemen sites.

It’s a way of life, and once learned never forgotten. We too are veterans of the home front, in a sense. Some of us remember when most of the Air Force and a few Army divisions were prepared to take out Cuba.

But, hey, all that ended in 1990, even history did or so said Fukuyama. Yeah, well, play stupid games and win stupid prizes. History goes on, until either we or God, end it. And bad ideas do too, and so, much ink has been spilled over the weekend on a book written in the 1930s that is the best description going of America in 2019. Funny how that works!

How bad is it? Well, I read last week that the CPUSA is proposing a merger with the Democrat Party since they have the same goals.

If you’re interested, here is another link for the book, a different edition and somewhat cheaper.

Juneteenth

Click to enlarge

Robert Maranto, writing in Frontpage magazine reminds us of one of the holidays that we don’t celebrate much (but maybe should). It’s called Juneteenth, as fits neatly between Memorial Day and Independence Day, both of which it is related to. It’s the day the last slave in America was freed, in Texas, on 16 June 1865. It only cost more than 300,000 American casualties (Union only) and 4 years of total war on ourselves.

A nation with substantial economic ties with the U.S., Saudi Arabia, only got around to ending slavery in 1962. Yet I would never define Saudi Arabia by its history of slavery, and I bristle when people define America that way. Virtually all peoples have histories of enslaving and brutalizing others, so obsessing over America’s sins while ignoring everyone else’s is anti-American in the purest sense. Alas, such views proliferate in the media, academia, and politics.

Remember that, the next time some fool starts denigrating America.

For that reason, I commemorate Juneteenth by re-reading Thomas Sowell’s classic essay, “The Real History of Slavery,” written in part to debunk popular misconceptions spread by the likes of Alex Haley’s Roots. A part of his collection of mainly original essays in Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Sowell’s essay teaches politically incorrect lessons no longer taught in higher education or pop culture.

First, slavery impoverished rather than built societies, by stigmatizing work and thrift while exalting as role models a slave-owning leisure class. In some respects, slave owners were like Hollywood stars, widely envied, and notorious for their conspicuous consumption and reckless disregard of others. Within places as distinct as China, Brazil, the Middle East, and America, locales with high concentrations of slaves were the poorest and most backward.

More important was the evolution and spread of Western ideas about individual worth and self-determination. As Sowell writes, slavery pitted “Western civilization against the world” at a time when the West had the power to prevail. Non-Western people generally did not end slavery on their own; indeed, most fiercely resisted abolition. Great Britain played the indispensable role in ending slavery, choosing ideals over interests in the process.

18th century Britain was the world’s largest slave trader, with powerful interests profiting from human trafficking. Yet under religious pressure, 19th Century British parliaments abolished slavery and increasingly employed the Royal Navy and colonial governance to erode the global slave trade, at enormous cost in blood and treasure.

In Sudan, for example, British General G.C. Gordon fought slavery, imposing the death penalty on those convicted of castrating enslaved men to market them as eunuchs. After Mohammad Mahad defeated Gordon at Khartoum, human trafficking again went untroubled until British soldiers returned, among them a young Winston Churchill. Under British pressure, Sudan eventually formally abolished slavery, though informally it exists there to this day.

Sowell attacks the hypocrisy of criticizing the 19th century West for falling short of modern standards, while far more culpable non-Western societies get a free pass. Today, universities rebrand buildings named after long dead slave owners, while courting wealthy sheiks who may have owned people in their youths. President Obama, who removed a bust (in fairness, one of two) of Winston Churchill from the White House, probably never learned at Harvard that Churchill fought slavery in traditional Sudan, Nazi Germany, and Communist Russia.

Always remember that there are two countries in the world that paid most of the price for ending slavery in the west, they are Great Britain and the United States. Britain mostly but not completely in Gold, and the US mostly but not completely in (its own) blood. Does that carry a lesson about why the US and UK are still hated all over the world?

Yes, yes it does.

Simple really, Evil always has and always will hate good.

The Gloves Come Off

David Marcus wrote in The Federalist that the battle over abortion in the United States is becoming total war. He’s correct. from his article.

Since the day that Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, abortion has been a hot button political topic in the United States. But while it is an emotional issue that has always had inflamed rhetoric surrounding it, over the past 46 years, the abortion question has existed in a kind of stalemate or détente. Very little, including the polling numbers on how many people are pro-choice or pro-life, has changed.

On the right, given the composition of the Supreme Court during that time, and the unlikelihood of Roe being overturned, it has been mostly a fight around the edges of the issue. Pro-lifers have sought to cap abortions at early periods in pregnancy, or advocated for parental notification, but there was no clear path to actually making all abortions illegal.

On the left, secure as they also once were in Roe, the attitude for most of that time had been that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. Abortion was not something to be celebrated, but rather a sad and dire thing only to be used in extreme and necessary circumstances.

Today, none of this is true anymore. Pro-lifers for the first time feel that it is possible that the Supreme Court could overturn Roeand allow states to ban abortion, and for abortion advocates, it has been become something to celebrate, to shout, and to be considered an unfettered good.

As a result of these changes, we have seen bills from both sides in state legislatures that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. In New York and Virginia, state lawmakers passed bills that would allow for abortion up to birth, and arguably, make allowances for finishing the job if a botched abortion produces a live baby.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, a new law would effectively ban abortion after as little as six weeks and, in Alabama, legislation was passed this week that would basically ban abortion entirely. The détente which has held for 50 years is gone and the fight over abortion has become a total war. What has always been a testy battle in American politics is poised to become very ugly, very fast.

Indeed, the gloves are off. It is now a bare-knuckle brawl. And that is as it should be, the gentlemanly sparring we have been doing for nigh unto 50 years was never going to solve anything. In the meantime, we have murdered some 60 million babies in the United States. An order of magnitude more than Hitler killed. Why? For our convenience.

By the way, I notice too, that the debate is getting harsher in Britain as well, for all the same reasons. It is ironic, that they kill a goodly part of the next generation pretty much indiscriminately, while at the same time importing a new working (or not working) class from abroad.

The Alabama bill is designed to challenge Roe v Wade in the courts. As such, I suspect it will be overturned at the district level and that confirmed at the circuit court and the SCOTUS will decline to get involved, and so will lose. But I’ve been wrong before, and Roe is universally considered bad law so we will see.

But it is also a sign that the Federal government needs to abdicate the field, the states are moving both ways at once, so what the court fight will really be about is some imagined right of privacy against the 10th Amendment.

Nor will the current bills be the last, there are more pending in the states. For much of the US, the time when infanticide for the mother’s convenience is legal is coming to an end. Very late, but very late is better than never.

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