Roe v. Wade as Bookends
The era of liberal conceit
On the day that Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s venture into discovering a constitutional right to abortion because penumbras and emanations, was reversed, let me begin by stating my postion on abortion.
I think that abortion sould be safe, legal, and shameful.
I think that, in general, if you got a baby started, father-to-be, then you got yourself a job for the next twenty years. Men should not be in the position of telling a woman to “get rid of it.”
I think that, in general, the criminal law is needed to keep rowdy men under control. Men sometimes need a punch in the solar-plexus to get straightened out. Or imprisoned for ten years or so until they get cured of their violent ways by anno domini.
But I think that, in general, the criminal law should not be ordering women around. If the word got around in female circles that abortion was shameful, if women were in the habit of agreeing with their friends: “I can’t believe she got an abortion,” then there would be a lot less abortions in this world.
It’s in the genes. Women believe what they have been carefully taught, what the other women believe, and that is just they way they are. Men, not so much.
So my objection to Roe v. Wade issues from my belief that very few things of a religious, moral, or cultural nature should be issuing from on high from an all-wise Supreme Court. And I believe that the law should not be an educated-class diktat. I believe that lawmaking should be a process very like what Jürgen Habarmas proposes. It should not be promulgated from on high, but worked out in the Lebenswelt, the “lifeworld” of people in a community working out agreement of community standards in the to-and-fro of conversation and communication.
And I believe in the notion of the states as “laboratories of democracy.” Guess what, it was a liberal justice of the Supreme Court that coined the phrase.
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Louis Brandeis was the first to popularize the phrase that states “are the laboratories of democracy.” Justice Brandeis in his dissent in the 1932 case of New State Ice Co v. Liebmann stated that: “a state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”
Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned by the US Supreme Court, individual states can set their own laws with respect to abortion. Some liberal states will maintain the current effective law of abortion until live birth. Most, I expect, will develop laws that severely limit abortion after 12 or 15 weeks — just like they do in Europe. Some states may ban elective abortion completely. Maybe that is not such a good idea, because “back-alley abortions.” Still, I am sure that rich abortion enthusiasts are even now planning how to get the word out to any pregnant women on how to get an abortion.
But, I still think that abortion sould be safe, legal and shameful. I leave the Karens of the world to deal with the women without shame.
But now, let us deal with the Larger Question, the culture among our educated classes that they are called upon to decide all moral and cultural questions, and to enforce their decisions with politics and government. And you shut up, peasant.
The extreme case of this is, of course, Communism and its half-sister Socialism, and its bastard brother, the administrative state, in which the educated ruling class decides everything from on high, and there is no recourse, no appeal, no evaluation of the benefit of any diktat from on high. Not until the society collapses in ruin, as China at the end of Mao’s Great Leap Forward. And notice that China did not abandon economic communism until after the death of Mao ZeDong.
Thomas Sowell roundly demolishes top-down culture and politics in The Vision of the Anointed.
But the Science!
Did you know that the Science these days is coming to the idea that there is a mysterious “something” — well, let’s call it a Dark Force, to go with the mysteries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy — that scientists think may be driving the universe to create new things, whether new species, adaptations, cultural changes, whatever. In other words, when Charles Darwin talked about “evolution” he didn’t know the half of it. I am reading a book right now, The Self-creating Universe: the making of a World View by J.J. Clarke that calls this mysterious Dark Force “emergence.” And then honestly says that this “emergentism” describes the way the universe works, but does not explain it.
Let’s rehearse how this should work with abortion.
Up until, say 1900, aborting a fetus was extremely dangerous, because infection, and not surprisingly, human society took a very dim view of abortion. But, in the United States “medicinal abortion” did not become illegal until 1821 in Connecticut. (Which means what? That the women in the village decided?) So first, the rulers decided that abortion should be illegal. And then in 1973 they decided it should be legal. I wonder why.
I think that with the development of safe “medicinal abortion” we all need to sit down together and come to agreement on what we think is right and proper. And I thijnk that, in general, it should be women running the show.
And then the larger question of the educated rulers deciding everything “from on high” needs to be addressed, on everything from climate change to systemic racism.
Because if you believe that “equality never hurt anyone” dear rulers, it means that everyone should have a voice when moral, cultural, or economic decisions are made — even racist-sexist homophobe armed insurrectionist deplorables.