Perhaps the greatest service that religion once rendered to Western civilization was providing the individual with a real or imagined hotline to God. Whether this was simply a conceit or not let us set aside for the moment. For as long as man imagined himself to be sacred and accountable to the Creator he stood at the center of polity. The state was there to serve him and not the reverse. Today he has lost that central place and is no more or less than a collection of curiously animated chemical substances with a market value of less then fifty dollars which the state has deigned to keep alive until some bureaucratic panel decides it is too expensive to do so. Just as Global Warming can be understood at one level as an attempt to bring nature into the purview of politics, it is impossible to understand the Left’s fixation with abortion except as a sacramental affirmation of the state’s power over man. The strident insistence on abortion on demand goes way beyond any conceivable need to prevent backroom abortions, or even an affirmation of a woman’s right to choose. It is really an absolute display of the power of politics over life. Abortion’s principal utility is as a stake driven through the heart of the notion of human sacredness, which once performed, ought to prevent its revival entirely.
Perhaps. But I think that abortion is the sacrament of the left l not because its a religious assertion of the primacy of the state, like Wretchard argues, but because its a source of communion. Widespread on-demand abortion is such an obvious evil that those on the Left once having been complicit in it, they are psychologically and socially bound to defend it at all cost.
I think that partly explains the reluctance of the public to think about abortion. Its not something we can blame on a few bad apples, Its a national sin.
Its also, I think, why the recent Democratic strategy of arguing that abortion is bad but that it still should be legal is actually leading to an increase in the public opposition to legal abortion on demand.
I wonder if this dynamic may partly explain one of the Civil War puzzles. The Civil War was fundamentally about slavery, yet most Southerners weren’t slaveowners. What gives? Part of the explanation is that Southern elites successfully persuaded southerners that black slaves, if given a hint of freedom, would touch off a bloody race war. But I bet part of it was simply that most Southern whites felt themselves complicit in slavery whether they owned slaves or not so they had to combat at all costs the notion that slavery was wrong.