The Magic Mirror: Seeing the Virtues of Infanticide from a Progressive Viewpoint

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“My, but I DO look kind and charitable today!”

The progressive mentality needs to preserve abortion as a signal achievement–and even a basic sacrament–because it “reorients” the participant’s consciousness toward the Movement.

I had to turn off Rush Limbaugh a couple of weeks ago (the last day of July, I believe it was) when a caller from California began to explain to El Rushbo the difference between liberals and conservatives. The man’s voice was perhaps a bit whiney thanks to middle age (whose effects are not unknown to yours truly)… but there also seemed to be a touch of Thurston B. Howell the Third (“the Thuhhhd”) in his intonation. Conservatives, he homilied, proceed from the moral assumption that individualism is the ultimate objective of life; liberals assume that altruism is that objective. Conservatives are determined to be rugged do-it-yourselfers, come what may, whereas liberals want to help other people rather than advance their selfish interests.

I need to start paying more attention to my blood pressure. Maybe five minutes of shouting in an empty room (at a silenced radio) helped me blow off steam. When I’d cooled down, I realized that this politely arrogant philosophe who had awaited patiently on Rush’s line the chance to explain to the world—as if it were quantum chromodynamics—his insight about helping others… I realized that I knew this guy very well. I could have profiled him for the FBI: his education, his profession, his income, his place of birth, his family life—I could have put the dart near the bull’s eye on every one. This is the messiah-type. He needs the needy: he needs them to need him—to need the sweet balm of his salvation: his wisdom, his compassion, his generosity. The condescension that drove him to contact the world’s best-known talk-show host and uncork a lecture to the entire planet on the charismatic mystery of caring for others never appeared to him for an instant as… shall we say, a little presumptuous.   So seriously does this type take his own platitudinous piety that he considers its broad-mindedness a revelation to us ordinary, fallen mortals. The high imperative has been entrusted to him in a vision: “Thou faithful servant, do things for others.”

Yes, and do them with others’ money, collected under threat of imprisonment; do them with a bureaucratic inefficiency so egregious that dead men get monthly checks and debauches in Vegas pass for professional conferences; do them so indiscriminately that a new criminal class of cheats emerges and a new serfdom is created from abject dependency.

But none of that matters to our messiah. Merely to point out such sordid realities is to display the hard-hearted cynicism of the unregenerate sinner, the “me only” individualist. The messiah is above such things. When he looks into the mirror, he sees an enlightened mind and a purified soul. Such a good man—such a wonderful human being! The needy are so very fortunate to have him! Why, they might all wither and turn to dust if he did not stand up on their behalf for basic human rights which, in their own incurable ineptitude, those poor dumb throngs would never, never be able to defend!

Ego. As I settle into middle age, I am ever more convinced that the disastrous, sometimes murderous pseudo-intellectualism of the progressive is all about ego. Concern for immigrants? Nothing but the “messiah” pose: “All those helpless, pathetic people—give them something! Give them cake!” Universal health care? A transparently phony “concern” for others, in light of all the real misery (including loss of life) visited upon us by Obamacare. Disarming the citizenry so that none of us will ever be shot again? Overweening egotism of such proportions that it goes soaring over the barriers raised even by below-average intelligence. Would you want your toddler in a building whose marquee declares to the world the utter absence of firearms on the presmises, or in one where the custodian and the coach are packing?

Today’s progressive will behave like an idiot, a madman, and even a butcher in order to cultivate that “messiah” luster which he so admires every morning in his Magic Mirror. Everything goes to shoring up the pose. All specific positions are improvisational, trimmed to support the conclusion of the poseur’s moral transcendence the way Procrustes’ victims were trimmed to suit the grim bed where he laid them to rest.

Is this behavior something new under the sun? Not in kind… but in degree, yes, I think so. I believe it has much to do with the fragmentation of our families and communities. Of course, we no longer have the close connection to life’s basic facts that an agricultural existence forced upon our ancestors; yet neither do most of us now even live in the same town where we were born, and our “friends” are more familiar to us through electronic media than through personal encounter. Some of us, apparently, really have no idea who we are or how to get from wherever we are to Mother Teresa or Gandhi (or Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Solzhenitsyn)… and so our lives become one long, tedious morality play of paternalism, we always cast as gilded angels and the others gratefully soaking up our liberality. If we are true progressives, we insipidly buy our own cheap act. We even share it with the whole world, the way a spoiled brat might get up in a crowded room and make annoying faces because his doting parents have always clapped and laughed.

No instance of the downright phoniness and lunacy behind this histrionic messianism could be more graphic than the progressive’s “abortion posture”. Unwanted babies have to die. Why? Because… because the feminist variety of egomaniac, staring into her mirror like Narcissus into his pool, sees a dynamic, independent dynamo, complete with white-collar career crashing through the glass ceiling and sensual, exciting private adventures filling every little closet of her experience-rich life. A tiny infant can bring that whole marshmellow castle down. Such was the genesis of “chic abortion” in the Seventies. Progressive males would sing the, “You’ve come a long way, baby!” anthem (no pun intended) even louder than their female companions. They could thereby show themselves “down for the struggle” to liberate the oppressed gender while also not being hit with paternity suits and child support. That’s called having your cake and eating it, too.

A gullible public swallowed it in a flurry of Mod Squad programming and Virginia Slims commercials… for a while. As a young professional woman, you appeared to care about others rather than yourself even when you were disposing of a pregnancy; for your holy mission to climb the career ladder wasn’t about vainglorious self-promotion, and certainly not about making money and acquiring stuff and power. It was about helping The Sisterhood. For the same reason, you couldn’t keep your saber-sharp tongue from rattling when some Phyllis Schlafly acolyte chose to stay home and raise kids. She had to be known as a traitor. She was only thinking of herself—playing whore to some strutting male who brought home a big check. Her example was holding back other women who observed her happy bovine complacency.

Then the cavemen on the Right started to get loud and abusive. They posted photos of fetuses everywhere and tastelessly talked about murder. They didn’t really care about life, of course. Why, the same people were also for capital punishment and a large military; and if they were so concerned about the unborn, why didn’t they show the same concern for babies once born? Why did they oppose aid to unwed mothers and programs like Headstart that assisted the poor? No, all they really wanted was to keep women barefoot, pregnant, and unemployed. If they had truly cared about the fetus, they would have conceded that the miserable life it faced as an unwanted arrival was to be prevented at all costs.

(No long line of progressives, as I recall, formed to adopt these supposed children of doom. No generous donations flowed, either, from the raises that career women proudly, angrily extorted from the male establishment. No explanation was offered for why government programs were essential to poor children if a future so ineluctably dismal faced them that early death was a mercy.)

The years rolled on, and the “right to abortion” grew ever less negotiable as it came to occupy a keystone position in the progressive psyche. It was the first step to living the Life of Caring About Others. It was the gateway to liberating Third World women from cultural shackles—and to solving global poverty and hunger, and to relieving stress on the natural environment, and to opening up education to the underclasses. It was all about fulfilling human potential rather than endorsing domestic slavery (or being a vagina rather than a uterus, if you’re a literary scholar).

For the progressive male, the “pro-choice” tag remains the easiest and cheapest of bright identity badges to pin to the lapel before the Magic Mirror. For progressive females of today, especially in the academic world, it often doesn’t even represent a a practical get-out-of-jail card; for many of these no longer approach their erotic adventures heterosexually, so there isn’t much need of a Mulligan after their weekend frolics. The virulence of their pro-abortion commitment now has an almost entirely rhetorical basis. “Children” equal “ball and chain”. Infants symbolize captivity. Babies are an infection, a kind of venereal disease introduced into the female system by a male microbe called a sperm. All heterosexual sex is rape. The truly humane way to have a child for her who so chooses, in the dawning progressive day, will be to have an embryo engineered (from a menu of “super-baby” options) and implanted in a clinical setting, the sperm-donating stud completely anonymous and cheated of his “rape” as he grazes in some distant pasture for dumb animals. The second parent, if desired, should be another mother.

This is the sort of New Age “helpfulness” one hears humming up and down the corridors of flagship universities. Sounds alarmingly like individualism run amuck, doesn’t it?—in the way that all progressivism does in the real-life practices of the faithful. Let us call it by its name: dysfunctional individualism—solipsism, in a fancy epistemological term. That is, life for and about oneself within one’s treasured fantasies rather than life responsibly lived, with debts fully paid as well as rewards harvested. True individualism is the state of a free being’s adulthood; solipsism is the chronic state of the progressive’s spoiled-brat whimsy after having locked itself into the messianic fantasy. I think psychologists call that narcissism. It’s a species of incipient insanity.

And things get more insane. For the academic response, resonant with wild-eyed “rape obsession” in its sophistical rebuttals, doesn’t quite satisfy that hidden, primitive, squirming ego, which senses itself accused of (and guilty of, while sanity lingers) the most horrible crimes imaginable. Babies, babies, babies… always babies! Umbilical cords, baby fingers, baby screams… what a nightmare! How to silence those qualms, those screams? How to turn them off, as I turned off my radio to avert a progressive-mush headache?

In a gang, the novice is given a gun and required to execute some bound-and-kneeling innocent. The first-timer probably vomits his guts out afterward… but it gets easier the second time, and the third. By the sixth or the tenth, it’s like squishing a roach.

For progressives (and especially progressive women; their men don’t suffer from these nightmares—probably a subliminal reason why the male gender is so despised in academe), something more than rhetoric is required. A blood ritual is needed. The proof that abortion is NOT a crime is to steep your hands in its blood, if only from a distance; the proof that fetuses are NOT human beings is to mutilate them (if only from a distance) as you would never do to a person. Once your fingers are dripping and the tiny heart sits in your palm, you’ll never believe for the rest of your time on earth that a fetus is a person. It couldn’t be. The thought is unendurable. “Are you kidding? I’ve sat by and cheered as the thing was ripped to pieces! If it were human, would I have done that? Do I look like a monster to you—is that what you’re calling me? How dare you! You’re the monster! You want women to die! You want children to live horrible lives! You evil, evil person! I’m the liberator, the savior—don’t you know that, you hater! What are you trying to do to me?”

Rush is right: abortion is the supreme sacrament of the progressive movement. Those who consume this body and this blood, either by volunteering the host or simply watching from a distance, must conform their belief system to certain insanely fantastical premises… or else claw their own eyes out in the truth’s terrible brilliance.

What a price to pay for the “joy” of seeing a messiah in one’s mirror!

My wife referred the other night to events whose details I had almost forgotten. Not she: it’s still yesterday to her. With all the talk about auctioning off baby parts, she was moved to recall an ectopic pregnancy that threatened her life. The sole reason she consented to the removal of the tiny embryo, she said (it was only eight or ten weeks along), was because she knew that her death would necessarily have caused the baby’s. If she could have exchanged her life for the child’s, she would have done so without hesitation. She still grieves that there was no such option.

Tell me again about how caring progressives are, and about how the liberation of women from pregnancy has elevated our humanity.

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