(Thought provoking – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)
It seems like every single person’s announcement that he is running for office is accompanied by the corresponding “he’s not a REAL Republican” because of X, Y, or Z. Most of the arguments come down to the person’s stance on cultural issues, the social issues, if you will.
This is a big, fat waste of time. You can’t win the culture war with politics (read as: with the law). So electing representatives based primarily on their cultural beliefs is just dumb. Prohibition is a prime example. Culture trumps law. The culture war can only be won when it’s not politicized.
Ideally, law and culture coexist peacefully together. Most people don’t murder other people not because it’s illegal but because they share a fundamental belief that it’s wrong. So understood, law often exists primarily not to prevent people from doing what they wouldn’t do even in the absence of such laws but to enable society to punish lawbreakers. A legal regime relies considerably, if tacitly, on the healthy existence of a deeply shared set of cultural norms.
So imagine that one or two justices switched their votes and this term concluded not only that Roe v. Wade should be overturned but that the Constitution’s protection of due process extended to the unborn. Would we have a culture of life? Would it change the hearts and minds of our countrymen? I would indeed wish for that happy scenario, but I am skeptical. We live in a society which prizes autonomy and enshrines the idea of Lockean property, including Lockean self-ownership, understood as an inalienable right that gives us the right to dispose of “our persons and property as we list.” We embrace the liberty of persons to pursue individual self-realization, increasingly to the detriment of future generations, born and unborn. We live not in a culture of life, but what Pope Francis has accurately called “a throw-away culture.” We are all implicated in this culture-Left and Right alike. The Left, particularly when it comes to their Lockean behavior in the claim to non-negotiable ownership of their bodies; the Right, in their Lockean belief that anything in the world is theirs for use and disposal for the ends of immediate profit. Many of those marching also might have cheered when Sarah Palin chanted “Drill, baby, drill,” implicitly claiming that we, who happen to be alive now, own the finite resources of the earth-just because we were here first. I don’t mean to suggest that there is a moral equivalency to aborting children and drilling for oil; I merely seek to point out that Americans are generally Lockeans in some form or another, and that the accompanying pervasive individualism, avarice, hedonism and presentism makes the sustenance of a comprehensive culture of life difficult if not impossible.
In the absence of a change of culture, a change in the legal status of abortion will likely end up fostering a scenario abhorred by most conservatives-an increase in laws imposed on a restive population, requiring expansion of police and surveillance. Absent a change of law, but achieving a change in culture, it’s possible to imagine a world in which taking the life of an unborn child is something “you don’t really contemplate having.” At its best, the March for Life is the effort to change the culture, even if its self-presentation seems aimed at political and legal change. But those working for life should be clear, with themselves and their countrymen: Washington, D.C. is just a convenient place to gather, but not the origin from which a culture of life will arise. The real change to be effected is everywhere, and if successful, D.C. will be rightfully far less important than we make it out to be today.
(Bold added by me.)