Friday, September 12, 2008

A pro-choice Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the best-known atheists of the 20th century. He was also one of the most rigorously, uncompromisingly consistent of the bunch--unflinchingly following his reasoning wherever it would go, no matter how uncomfortable the conclusions.

Something similar bubbles up in a recent Salon column by Camille Paglia. The column is largely about Paglia, an Obama supporter, coming to the defense of Sarah Palin against the excesses of the left (something remarkable in and of itself); however, near the end, Paglia pauses to delineate her position on abortion--a position striking not only for its stark honesty, but for its unflinching embrace of the inhumanity at the very core of the pro-choice viewpoint:

Let's take the issue of abortion rights, of which I am a firm supporter. As an atheist and libertarian, I believe that government must stay completely out of the sphere of personal choice. Every individual has an absolute right to control his or her body. (Hence I favor the legalization of drugs, though I do not take them.) Nevertheless, I have criticized the way that abortion became the obsessive idée fixe of the post-1960s women's movement -- leading to feminists' McCarthyite tactics in pitting Anita Hill with her flimsy charges against conservative Clarence Thomas (admittedly not the most qualified candidate possible) during his nomination hearings for the Supreme Court. Similarly, Bill Clinton's support for abortion rights gave him a free pass among leading feminists for his serial exploitation of women -- an abusive pattern that would scream misogyny to any neutral observer.

But the pro-life position, whether or not it is based on religious orthodoxy, is more ethically highly evolved than my own tenet of unconstrained access to abortion on demand. My argument (as in my first book, "Sexual Personae,") has always been that nature has a master plan pushing every species toward procreation and that it is our right and even obligation as rational human beings to defy nature's fascism. Nature herself is a mass murderer, making casual, cruel experiments and condemning 10,000 to die so that one more fit will live and thrive.

Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman's body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman's entrance into society and citizenship.

Would that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and their ilk were so honest.

If they were, the Human Life Amendment would be enshrined in the Constitution in a matter of months.


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