As anticipated, the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling that enabled the federal government to legalise abortion on demand throughout the country.
I’ve written on the moral and philosophical aspects of abortion quite a bit. If you are interested, tap ABORTION into the SEARCH rubric in this space and you’ll get the story chapter and verse, several times over. Today, I’ll comment strictly on the politics of the issue.
Roe vs Wade was another battle that centralism won in its war on localism, and this war defines modern politics more than any other. For, having first supposedly empowered the people, the modern state immediately began to shift power away from them and towards its own good offices.
While the traditional conservative state devolved power to the lowest sensible level, the modern state reverses this process. It divests individuals and local bodies from as much power as possible this side of concentration camps. A small group of people sitting in the capital assume the prerogative of micromanaging affairs in remote parts of the country, hundreds or, in the US, thousands of miles away.
Such is the essence of socialism, the dominant trend of modern politics. If we ignore its mendacious mock-Christian claims made for PR purposes, socialism is about transferring as much power as possible to the central state. The ideal is for the state to get its hands on every lever of control and, though no Western country has quite achieved that goal, they can all boast close – and increasingly closer – approximations.
The tangible effect of burgeoning centralisation is steady diminution of liberty. The greater the distance between the government and the governed, the less are the latter able to uphold their much-vaunted sovereignty – and the more latitude does the former acquire to put its foot down.
This tendency is observable throughout the West, but the exact mechanisms differ from country to country, depending on their own constitutional experience. In the US, the eternal conflict is between the federal government and state rights. This was the constitutional bugbear ever since the Constitution first saw the light of day.
That conflict led to the bloodiest war in American history, the Civil one, in which more Americans died than in all the other American wars combined. Centralism won the day over localism then, but the issue wasn’t settled once and for all. Nor will it ever be.
Today it provides the clearest line of political demarcation. Political (as distinct from social or cultural) conservatism is defined by a quest for individual liberty, with local institutions keeping centralising encroachments at bay. Conversely, socialists (incongruously called liberals in America) mask their indifference to individual liberties by pretending these would be best protected by an omnipotent central state.
‘Liberals’ are in effect statists. Their main concern is building up and padding up a single centre of power that would be easier for them to control. They don’t care at what cost to liberty such an arrangement could be reached.
Whenever the issue of state rights comes up, their knees jerk and they instantly join ranks against conservatives, for whom liberty is more than just an empty slogan.
It’s in this context that the Supreme Court’s ruling should be viewed. America’s highest judiciary body struck a blow for liberty by denying the federal government the power to browbeat individual states into issuing a blank licence to abortion on demand.
Individual states can now decide for themselves whether abortion should be totally banned, partly banned, offered on demand or offered with some limitations. Thus the principle of liberty inscribed on the banners of the American Revolution has for once been upheld, if only in this narrow area. One would think that most Americans would rejoice.
This, irrespective of their stand on abortion. Even those who love the idea of having fully formed foetuses scraped out of the womb bit by bit must have enough residual attachment to the founding principles of their republic. Must they, hell.
Instead, America is tearing her political fabric to tatters over this ruling. A widening hole appears, through which frenzied multitudes stick their heads out to scream their trademarked idiocies.
The chorus is led by that self-proclaimed pious Catholic, Joe Biden. Joe’s take on Catholic doctrine is uniquely his: he seems to think abortion is some sort of sacrament. That suggests he is unaware of the distinctly dated nature of human sacrifice.
Even more worrying for those who voted him into the White House is that Joe is equally ignorant of some basic political fundamentals. This he showed by promising to fight every future election on the promise of overturning the overturners. After all, as far as Joe is concerned, state rights spell less liberty, not more.
“Yesterday, I spoke about the Supreme Court’s shocking decision striking down Roe v Wade,” he said. “Jill and I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans.” Well, not on Joe’s watch. He’ll strain every sinew to “protect women’s health”.
This commitment to women’s health is laudable. However, one has to infer that having an abortion is akin to taking vitamin supplements, doing regular exercise and following the Mediterranean diet. This means Joe’s thinking on medicine is as idiosyncratic as his take on Catholic doctrine, but I’m the last man to rebuke independent thought.
In passing Joe created a whole new branch of medicine: “Millions of women in America will go to bed tonight without access to the healthcare and reproductive care they had this morning. Without access to the same reproductive healthcare that their mothers and grandmothers had for 50 years.”
What on God’s green earth is reproductive healthcare? To me the term sounds like minimising women’s health risks throughout pregnancy and birth. Surely Joe doesn’t think abortion is a factor of reproductive health? I’ve known at least a dozen women rendered barren by abortions. How many has he known?
But never mind medicine. Joe is a politician, and it’s politics we are talking about. Promising to make abortion on demand the central commitment of any future campaigning, Joe said: “This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot.”
This man, who has dedicated his whole life to politics in a residually free country, thinks that the likes of him riding roughshod over local communities is tantamount to pursuing “personal freedoms, the right to privacy, liberty, equality”.
He left out the magic D-word, democracy. You know, a political dispensation enabling Joe Biden to dictate to the people of, say, Alabama how they should conduct their family affairs.
Emboldened by their president, professional rabble rousers have called hysterical mobs to arms all over the country, so far only figuratively. Emboldened by their president, mobs are taking over the streets to make sure everyone knows they are even more feebleminded.
The battle cry was issued by the rapper Megan The Stallion: “My body, my motherfucking choice!”
I am shamefully unfamiliar with this young lady’s corpus of work, though I’m sure she is a most accomplished musician. But her grasp of zoology is infirm. A stallion, after all, is a male horse but, as the photo above shows, Megan seems to be female, although these days one can never be certain.
Nor does she (he? it? they? ze?) realise that a foetus isn’t a part of the woman’s body. The Stallion should look up some scans on the net, especially those taken a couple of months into pregnancy. She may stop neighing on this subject then.
But we aren’t going to argue against people whose IQ is dangerously close to a courgette’s, are we? Instead I wonder how well most Americans understand their constitution. Not very, if their president is any indication.
But the Supreme Court clearly does, and my hat’s off to it.