On 21 June, 2019, a UK court ordered a woman to have an abortion against her will, which put an interesting grimace on my face. It was a mixture of revulsion and smugness.
The reasons for the revulsion will emerge within a few paragraphs, but the smugness was caused by shameful I-told-you-so hubris.
For in my book How the West Was Lost and elsewhere I’ve argued that all modern states, regardless of their self-description, are either totalitarian already or else inexorably moving in that direction.
Regardless of any specific differences in the numerators, they all share the same common denominator: a steady expansion of state power, affecting more and more areas of life that in the past were regarded as private.
So-called democratic countries aren’t exempt from this observation, even though they differ from the states widely known as totalitarian in that they tend to desist from expanding and enforcing their power by unrestricted brutality and inhuman cruelty.
However, this is a variance of methods, not principles – different roads leading to the same destination. The destination was signposted by that expert in the subject, Benito Mussolini: “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.”
The states that have already arrived at that destination, such as the USSR, fascist Italy, Nazi Germany or communist China, take this dictum to its logical end by reserving for themselves the prerogative of deciding who should live and who shouldn’t.
This decision tends to be blood-chillingly rational: raison d’état. Its declared reasons may vary from one totalitarian country to another, but they all spring from the same source.
They could be based on class, such as in Bolshevik Russia, where whole classes were exterminated because they were seen as hindrances on the road to the communist millennium. Or else the motivation could come from considerations of racial purity, as in Nazi Germany, where Jews and Gypsies had to be prevented from sullying the otherwise pristine Aryan blood.
But the Nazis were nothing if not thorough. They protected their genetic pool from not only those impure racially, but also those unsound mentally.
Thus retarded people were castrated if they were lucky, or killed if they were not. Those pregnant women who were either retarded themselves or had conceived by retarded men had their pregnancies forcibly aborted.
This last practice is also widespread in communist China, though there it’s motivated by demographic reasons, those of overpopulation. Having introduced a one-child policy, Chinese authorities enforce it with merciless consistency. For example, in 2012 a woman was forced to abort a 7-month-old foetus, but then numbers should never be allowed to interfere with the principle.
To its credit, the US Congress seems to be as revolted by such practices as I am. In 1997 it introduced a bill, tautologically condemning “those officials of the Chinese Communist Party, the government of the People’s Republic of China who are involved in the enforcement of forced abortions” and barring them from entry into the US.
It’s comforting to know that, given the choice of the two models, Chinese and American, a British court has chosen the latter by ordering that a woman with learning difficulties abort her 22-weeks-old foetus.
The doctors argued, and the judge concurred, that an abortion was in the woman’s “best interests”. I don’t know if they also argued it was in the unborn child’s best interests, but I wouldn’t put it past them.
The woman in question is a Catholic and, though her mental age is only about six, that’s old enough to know that her religion treats abortion as infanticide. But that’s a separate matter from the one that concerns me here.
That matter is the obvious and demonstrable convergence of liberalism, as the term is understood nowadays, and fascism – which is a useful shorthand for describing the mentality of countries like communist China.
All this talk about the woman’s best interests is codswallop: Justice Natalie Lieven made her ruling for the same reason a dog licks its private parts: because she could.
And she could do so because our liberal zeitgeist is thundering into her ear that the state’s interests take precedence over an individual’s interests and indeed life. It was a demonstration of naked, fascistic power – not even of any common sense.
I don’t know who is the father of the child to be aborted. Is he also mentally deficient? If he isn’t, the baby could still be normal. And even if he is, genetics works in convoluted ways.
Children don’t necessarily get their genes exclusively or even mainly from either parent. Some genes are recessive and only reveal themselves after a number of generations.
However, not being an expert in genetics, I shan’t argue the case on such considerations. Mercifully there’s no need: the woman’s mother has offered to look after her grandchild, mentally competent or not.
But Justice Lieven was on a roll. Caring for both her daughter and grandchild, she explained, would be too difficult for the grandmother. So it’s not only the mother’s best interests she protects, but also the grandmother’s.
And also, one suspects, the state’s – what if the grandmother can’t act on her promise or, God forbid, dies? The state would then be burdened with the care of another human being, and the state’s interests reign supreme.
I wonder if Justice Lieven is aware of the monstrosity of her ruling, which reduced a human life to merely its utilitarian value. Does she realise that she has shortened no end the distance separating Britain from such evil regimes as Nazi Germany and communist China?
She may or may not, but that’s not even the point. The point is the one I’ve made often: modern ‘liberalism’, with its ideological destruction of our civilisation’s spiritual and philosophical underpinnings, is innately totalitarian.
It differs from more accomplished totalitarianism only in its methods. And, by the looks of it, sometimes not even them.