Friday, June 18, 2004

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban and Thoughtstoppers

A judge has recently ruled the President’s ban on partial birth abortions “unconstitutional.” Outside of the clear lack of actual Constitutional grounds for the ruling and the evident moral depravity of such a ruling, I am struck by the power of “thought-stoppers” in our culture. There are a few phrases which when thrown into a conversation, have the power to crush your opponents into silence and win the day for your side. But they don’t prevail because of the weight of their argument or the power of their clear and incisive reasoning; they win because the masses have been trained to stop thinking when they hear those phrases.

The first that comes to mind is “unconstitutional.” If something is labeled with that devastating moniker, it has immediately become evil, a threat to some important issue in our society, and must be stopped at any cost. Never mind, in the case of partial birth abortion, that there is no good theoretical argument for it and that it has been shown that it is never necessary to save the live or health of a mother. No. It is summarily pronounced as being unconstitutional and therefore evil.

Another one that makes my hair stand up on end is, “I have a right to…” fill in the blank with absolutely anything. It seems that there are plenty of people inventing rights left and right in order to be allowed (by force of Federal Government if necessary) to do anything they darn well please. And, of course, the notion of “rights” is all the argument they apparently need. This one really bugs me because human rights can actually be a robust and rewarding study in human nature, theology, philosophy and political science. But in the public eye today, it is being prostituted at the idol of self-whimsy.

Beware of phrases that stop your thought process!

1 comment:

Joey said...

Your statement about "rights" reminds me of something I heard by Paul Shanklin (the one who does the parodies for Limbaugh). Here's a rough transcription:

Two people are having a conversation:
P1: Can you believe it? Those clowns in Congress are infringing on our rights again.
P2: (In a real hippie voice) Yeah.
P1: That's why our constitution has a bill of rights. To protect our freedoms.
P2: Fight the power!...And if I want to smear my naked body with mayonaise and sell pictured door-to-door, that's my right...to express myself.
P1: What are you talking about?
P2: Free speech, man. The first amendment. What are you talking about?
P1: The right to keep and bear arms!
P2: Are you some kind of nut?