These are serious issues, Mr. Linkins

>> Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hello all,

Be warned that this post is a bit of a departure from normal fare on this blog and I’m not bothering with the disclaimers that I normally include. If you are normal reader of this blog, just imagine the balancing (hopefully) disclaimers I usually include.

I read the Huffington Post pretty much daily. I admit that it’s a fun and engaging site, even if I disagree with most of the views and opinions of their writers and bloggers, and I enjoy the intellectual stimulation and insight into opposing views available on Huffington Post. There is also a good deal of content on the site that I am careful to skirt due to appropriateness issues, which is a disclaimer I am throwing in.

Anyway, while reading yesterday, I ran across a story about controversial statements recently made by former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum. The story includes an imbedded video of the actual comments themselves as well as a brief debate between Santorum and Al Sharpton on the Sean Hannity show. The video is worth listening to if you have 6 minutes and 59 seconds of extra time. The subject of this post though is a different article, this one by Jason Linkins. I should preface this by saying that I have never enjoyed or really read Linkins’ articles as they have never struck me as worthwhile. But this one caught my eye because of its title.

“Santorum Abortion Remark Spurs Incomplete Discussion”

Hmmmm... That got my attention. What could he be referring to?

What I read made me mad. I don’t often get angry by what people write as I accept it as a fact of life that people don’t always agree with me (which is both good and bad) and are sometimes deeply misguided; but Linkins post conveys callousness towards life that is deeply appalling. If you will bear with me, I would like to break down the relevant portions of his article by sentences and paragraphs. The rest of the article, the parts I am not breaking down, is a largely useless and snarky summation of why Santorum would say what he said. You can read it here though if you would like to see the entire context.

“Got that? In case it didn't sink in, Klein summarizes it all thusly: "Now, once again, you may not believe that a fetus is a person--but if you do, as Santorum does, this is a perfectly reasonable argument, an argument against limiting the civil rights of anyone according to race or life status."

This portion is basically summing up Joel Klein’s summation of Santorum’s beliefs regarding life. It’s a reasonable and fair summation, for which both Klein and Linkins deserve credit, though I hate to give credit for things I would expect of any decent journalist and/or opinion writer.

“Yes, okay. But I'll tell you what it isn't. It isn't a "reasonable argument" against "limiting the civil rights of anyone according" to gender. To all the people falling all over themselves to assert the fact that Santorum really believes what he says and that there are others that agree with him -- two facts that no one has actually disputed -- I'll remind you that there actually exists a sizable portion of the population who have consistently made a "reasonable argument" that women are neither chattel nor brood-mares, and that Santorum's non-alignment with that argument is what makes him a radical.”

I know something else nobody has disputed – that women are not “broodmares”. What pro-life advocate has ever said anything remotely similar to that? The closest you can get to that is the very, very small portion of the population that believes large families (i.e. as large as possible) are essentially a biblically mandate and even that is more than a considerable stretch reality. But that portion of the population is so small that it barely registers on the radar. Pro-life advocates as a group believe life begins at conception. That’s it. Being pro-life has nothing to do with making women “broodmares” and there is nothing approaching any kind of consensus among pro-life advocates concerning family size. If Linkins does not know that he has no business writing on the subject. Additionally, Linkins’ assertion that Santorum believes women to be broodmares is absurd.

“Additionally, it shouldn't be overlooked that if we're comparing fetuses to slaves, we're equating women with amoral slaveowners, and elevating the rights of the fetus over those of the woman to choose whether to proceed with a pregnancy that has significant medical risks above and beyond the actual act of parenting.”

Actually, we’re comparing slaves’ God given human rights to unborn babies God given human rights and concluding they are the same. Linkins just summed up Klein’s summary of the pro-life belief that “fetuses” are fully human and thus deserving of basic human rights so you would expect him to grasp this nuance. I guess he just doesn’t understand that we are elevating the right of one human (the fetus) to the same level as the rights of another’s (the mother).

I know people like Linkins scoff and rage at this sort of statement, but women do have reproductive rights and freedom – the freedom to reproduce or not to reproduce. To confuse that right with the “right” to terminate the life of a human is the tragic confusion of abortion advocates.

In closing his article, Linkins makes this bold and unyieldingly principled statement.

“I just wanted there to be at least one blog post on the Internet that sort of considered those matters worthy of discussion, okay?”

Wow. What would we do without this courageous cultural crusader?

Look, people can and do (obviously) disagree on such matters as the beginning of life, women’s rights, and the role of government in protecting both. All of these are very serious issues that demand and deserve very serious treatment. Santorum at least treats these issues with the gravity they deserve, while Linkins does anything but, despite his apparent conviction to the contrary. I don’t expect there will ever be strong consensus on the aforementioned issues, but I am fully convinced that voices such as Linkins will only impede good and grave thinking on these crucial life and death issues.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!


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