Sunday, August 24, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes.

Every so often, an issue that seems to be hopelessly bound up with partisan (and fruitless) reasoning has a laser-light shined on it; the bondage of biased premises is effortlessly cut through, and the matter is made undeniably plain.
Often it only takes a simple observation, "out of the mouth of a babe", as it were, to demolish a bad argument. Of course, that doesn't prevent those with an interest in denial from denying the ruins, but for the rest of us, it's like a breath of fresh air to the suffocating when it happens.
I think Peggy Noonan is too dignified to simply be called a "babe," at least in the popular sense. But in that other sense, her recent Op Ed seemed to effortlessly unravel all tangled and obfuscatory debate around the abortion "issue" -- debate that has worn on and on for decades. Debate that has drilled down into ever finer divisions of opinion, ever finer and more obscure definitions of "life" -- no, make that "denials of definitions of life." Debate that has droned on even while, in the US alone, roughly 3,000 babies per day are pureed and dumped into garbage bags (by the professionals; the amateurs are much more barbaric).
That's a pretty sickening word-picture, isn't it?
It's a sickening truth.
Yet with a simple observation, the crux of the matter is put before us. Writing in the Wall Street Journal of the bizarre offering on the macabre subject by Sen. Barack Obama at the "Rick Warren" debate, Noonan said:

We know when life begins. Everyone who ever bought a pack of condoms knows when life begins.

Yes, it really is that simple. It's as plain as the nose on your face. You may not like your nose, but it's there. You ought to get used to it.

If writing were pitching, Ms. Noonan delivered, in this piece, a 1-2-3 inning in the tiebreaker at the World Series. It was a crucial inning, and she showed us all the stuff that the Majors are made of, with which she decimated the opposition.

As I watched I thought: How about "Let the baby live"? Don't parse it. Just "Let the baby live."

Listen to that chin music! And to this:

As to the question when human life begins, the answer to which is above Mr. Obama's pay grade, oh, let's go on a little tear. You know why they call it birth control? Because it's meant to stop a birth from happening nine months later.

To put it another way, with conception something begins. What do you think it is? A car? A 1948 Buick?

How much simpler can it be than it really is? None. She goes on:

If you want to argue whether legal abortion is morally defensible, have at it and go to it, but Mr. Obama's answers here seemed to me strange and disturbing.

Strange and disturbing, indeed. Just like Obama's line about "being punished with a baby." It makes one wonder what sort of mental machinations produce propositions so hostile to the gentlest, most innocent, most tender and beautiful of all creations: a baby.

Thank you, Ms. Noonan, for a masterful effort. The opponents haven't yet figured out what hit them.

We all know when life begins.


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