Predictably, the results of Tuesday's great political orgy have provoked numerous comments/opinions from all sorts of pundits, talking heads, bloggers and street corner orators (aka demonstrators). We have been told that the Republican brand is done, kaput. Or that in order to survive -- or at least remain credible -- the Republicans must give up their involvement with those silly social issues (e.g. abortion, same sex marriage [SSM], etc.).
And, of course, we hear the usual post-election appeals for "unity" (appeals which, when properly understood, usually mean "give up and do it my way"). All that having been said, I cannot pass up the temptation to add a few random words of my own to the pile of soon to be forgotten comments, especially those that have flowered on the Patch site during the past week.
I begin with one theme that stands out in the post-election exchange (a theme which, as we know, simply continued a lengthy, often acrimonious pre-election "debate"). And that theme is this: the notion that one cannot "impose" one's morality on anyone else: the"live and let live" cliche. I never cease to wonder how any really serious, thoughtful person can fail to see through such nonsense, to see the implications of what they are saying. That is to recognize the fact that we "impose" morality of some sort just about everytime we enact a law or when a court hands down a decision.
Of course, there are instances in which -- for PRUDENT reasons -- we should not/cannot proscribe immoral behavior. But there are many situations in which we should do the opposite, that is proscribe immoral acts. One difficulty it seems is that those who espouse a "live and let live" philosophy either fail to see or simply ignore the SOCIAL implications of their position. We can say that, for example, that allowing same sex couples to "marry" is no one's business but the couple's own. A view which, obviously, assumes a radically individualistic worldview: a view that, holds, in effect, that we are little automous moral atoms floating around in the universe. But that, quite clearly, is a very defective take on the matter. To allow certain practices such as SSM is impose a particular moral view -- a view of the nature of the human person, a view of the nature of marriage and family -- ON SOCIETY AS A WHOLE.
Regrettably, however, those who regale us with their radicalized laissez faire morality will not listen: they will simply repeat the same old cliches, thinking that mere repetition will make them true.
But to continue. I noticed that the subject of abortion was again broached by a number of the Patch "regulars". One of whom conceded that abortion entails the killing of a human being but not the killing of a "person" (hence abortion is morally OK). An interesting sophistry, a version of morality "imposed" on us some decades ago by a very problematic SCOTUS decision.
And people who now claim to have a high regard for human life. And who have apparently forgotten the human race's ingenuity in playing the "person" game in one form or other. I cannot help but wonder also how abortion became a human right just a few short years after being condemned by the World Medical Association as a "crime against humanity". Actually, however, I don't think that I really need to ask that question: I think that I already know the sophistries that would be spun out by folks who would try to rationize their way out of this little troubling matter.
And another curious theme running through the recent spate of comments: it seems that a lot of people have real difficulty figuring out when individual human life begins. They talk about "potential" life (w/o explaining the difference between a potential life and an actual life).
Or they just feign puzzlement: nobody really knows when a human life begins: or it's just a matter of one's religious views and, as such, is a question that has no standing in the public square. Interesting, especially in view of the fact that we have known since the 1850s that an individual's life begins at conception. And in view of the fact that until the abortion movement came along we had no trouble recognizing this fact. But now, oh dear, we just can't figure it out.
To add to all this nonsense, we have the tiring discussions about whether or not Scripture can be invoked in defense of traditional marriage. These discussions seem to suggest that Woodbury is a vertiable center of Higher Biblical Criticism, a den of Scripture scholars. People who tell us that Scripture doesn't mean what it says: that the people who wrote the Scriptures weren't modern or progressive enough to know that SSM and related practices are really OK.
That aside, however, there is one question that the "regulars" don't seem much inclined to address. And that question is this: many people do, in fact, enter into public discussions with their Bibles open, citing Biblical principes on behalf of whatever positions (whether rightist or leftist positions) they wish to "impose" on society. But then many of the "regulars" tell us that the Bible has no place in the public arena: that to cite Scripture in favor of one public policy or another is to "impose" a religious view. Which, by implication, is to say that the so-called "Bible bangers" stand in violation of the constitutional principle of the separation of church and state. Are the "Bible bashers" then telling us that their opposites are, in effect, violating the law and that we need a court decison or some such that would forbid them to drag their religion into the public square? Seems to be a pertinent question but one which, unfortunately, the "regulars" do not seem to want to face up to.
And as the old Disney line used to have it "that's all folks". At least for now. I am now leaving town to spend a few days with family, leaving all the post-election unpleasantness behind. And as usual this blog will be closed to comment, leaving the "regulars" to find another way of responding. that is, if they choose to do so.