Life and death in America

The battle lines are being drawn ever more starkly in this country, between those who believe in the sanctity of life, and those who believe it to be just another disposable commodity.

Pro-abortion activists believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg is their last hope of protecting the travesty known as Roe v. Wade.  And perhaps they’re right.  Interestingly, the “Notorious RBG” hasn’t been seen in public in over a month, having missed several oral arguments at the Supreme Court due to health issues (out of character for her).  Has anyone done a wellness check on her lately?  Some thought Tuesday’s State of the Union address might confirm whether she’s still an active Supreme Court Justice or we’re seeing a Democrat reenactment of the movie “Weekend at Bernie’s.”  But now we’re told she’ll be skipping it due to a schedule conflict.  How… convenient.

Sensing their time is short, abortionists are moving quickly to emplace laws at the State level that would allow the slaughter of the unborn to continue regardless the fate of the Roe precedent.  In their haste, they are dropping any pretense this is somehow about making abortion “safe, legal and rare,” as the tagline used to go.  No, this flurry of activity is about making abortion available on demand at any time, for any reason…

…including just after birth:

Virginia’s governor has drawn backlash after suggesting that a pregnancy could be terminated after the baby’s birth, as the state debates a bill relaxing restrictions on third trimester abortions.  Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, made the shocking remarks in an interview with WTOP-FM on Wednesday, as he attempted to explain a Democrat delegate’s earlier remarks.

Northam, a pediatric neurologist(!), described a hypothetical situation where a severely deformed newborn infant could be left to die.  He said that if a woman were to desire an abortion as she’s going into labor, the baby would be delivered and then ‘resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue’ between doctors and the mother.

So does this mean that for a period of time after a clump of cells fetus baby leaves the womb and draws breath it is still fair game for abandonment and death?  How long is that period?  Hours?  Days?  Weeks?  What if an impaired child affects a mother’s “mental health” when it reaches two years old?  The current crush of new laws go to great lengths to remove criminal penalties for killing an unborn child while assaulting the mother.  Activists correctly realized the contradiction in charging “fetal homicide” while still permitting abortion.  Their solution is to completely dehumanize the unborn in the eyes of the law, so they only become a “person” when born to a woman who wants them.  “Women’s rights” do not include being allowed to play God.

We’re constantly berated that nobody has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. But an unborn child is not the woman’s body. It is a distinct individual, with its own DNA, fingerprints, and futureAny person’s choices are limited by society to the extent they impact others, and this, above all, should be no exception.  Aside from rape, every woman exercises her ‘choice’ in this matter by choosing to abstain from, or engage in, sexual activity.  Abortionists like to “what if” all manner of horrific but statistically insignificant scenarios, but the conclusion is inescapable the overwhelming majority of abortions are simply birth control after the fact, at the cost of a human life.

It’s only a small step, not a slope, from this point to arguing that any inconvenient life can be terminated.  The concept of “assisted suicide” already allows people to end their own life if they find it “too painful.”  But last year the Netherlands began an investigation into a doctor who allegedly had family hold a patient down while he inserted a fatal IV drip against her will.

I commented recently on the willingness of political opponents now to say things that would have been considered beyond the pale just a generation ago: “Put the MAGA hat kids in the woodchipper,” “Burn their school down,” and of course an alleged comedian holding a simulated severed head of the president.  Add this to the general devaluation of life that abortion and euthanasia represent, and we have an explosive cocktail indeed.  Earlier generations of Marxists had no qualms about “breaking a few eggs” in the quest for their socialist paradise.  Given the opportunity, I suspect their ideological descendants today would feel the same way.

Still wonder why many of us are determined to protect the right to bear arms?  In a culture of death, the means of self-defense are essential.

Do you know what direction your State is headed on this issue?  Will it protect the first heartbeat, or enable the murder of a person on the verge of birth?  How will you help ensure your State chooses life?

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Constructing controversy

Pardon the long post as I parse the issue du jour.  Given the wide reach of Outrage, Inc., you may have heard how a group of MAGA-hat-wearing Catholic high school boys surrounded and intimidated a Native American elder in Washington D.C. Saturday, treating him with utter disrespect.

What you probably didn’t hear was:

  1. The young men were waiting for their charter bus as instructed by their teachers, and passing the time laughing and socializing as high-spirited young men do.
  2. They were harassed and insulted for about half an hour by a small group of radical “Black Hebrews,” who accused whites (and Donald Trump) of being pro-homosexual, and who called a black teen in the group “nigger” and urged him to abandon his white friends.
  3. The Native American elder, Nathan Phillips, who appears to be a professional grievancemonger, walked into the group of kids and began beating his drum inches from the face of one of them.

How do I know these things?  Because I sought out and viewed longer film clips than the carefully selected 90-second vignettes and still photos curated by the liberal legacy press, including a nearly 2-hour one filmed by the “Black Hebrews” themselves:

 

Timestamps (please note: the “Hebrew” cameraman is very liberal with his profanity):

Beginning: notice the “Hebrews” are first yelling at the Native Americans, telling them they “lost their land” because they “worshipped creation rather than the Creator.”  One can only imagine the coverage had this been a group of white Christians saying that to the Native protestors.  They go on to claim that “native Americans, Hispanics and blacks” are the “real” children of Israel, and the Jews of today are “imposters.” (44:00)  This is the thrust of the first 45 minutes of the video.

At 44:30, the cameraman notices a few students standing by with “MAGA” sweaters and hats.  “These are the people who are going to f*** your country up, Mr. White Man” the cameraman says.

At 46:18 the speaker refers to a nearby priest (who was probably part of the March for Life) as a “faggot” and “Father Hands.”  By this point more students are showing up (remember: they’d been told to gather at the Jefferson Memorial to be picked up by their bus).  The speaker refers to all of them (Catholics) as “child-molesting faggots” like “your president, Donald Trump.”

At 49:00, while arguing with a black man who’s calling them out for their hateful speech, the cameraman asks why he wants to fight with his “brothers” with “all these dirty-a** crackers behind you, with their red Make America Great Again hats on… racist b*stards…”

This is what these kids unknowingly went into, following their instructions on where to assemble at the end of the March for Life and visiting D.C.  I’m reasonably sure they had never encountered anything quite like it back in Kentucky.

The speaker begins to address the kids directly (50:00), saying it’s only whites “who shoot up schools.”  When the kids turn away from him, he begins to ridicule them.  At 53:00 he notes some of the kids had come back, after taking their hats off.  (Remember – they were where they’d been told to go… could it be they were trying to diffuse the situation?)  At 59:00, seeing more and more kids show up, “look at all these demons… vicious crowd.”

By 1:07:00, the speaker is focused solely on the kids, calling them “incest babies” and such.  The kids (all but one on a skateboard — not clear if he’s part of the school group) keep their distance.  They begin chanting school spirit cheers, to drown out and mock the abuse being hurled their way.

Only at the one hour, 12-minute mark do we finally first see Nathan Phillips, the “Native Elder.”  He and a group with cameras behind him, walks up to the group of kids.  He moves to them… not the other way around.  Note: the kids were already chanting school spirit chants in response to the insults of the Black Hebrews.  They did NOT start in response to Phillips and his drum. As one kid later wrote to a local TV station, from their perspective, it was like Phillips wanted to join in with them or something.

Over the next couple minutes, Phillips continues to work his way into the group of teens.  This is how he became “surrounded.”  He is the instigator of confrontation, not the teens.  He stops in front of one bewildered young man and continues to beat on his drum.  Frankly the kid shows admirable restraint at this invasion of his personal space.  He also seems to be quite aware of the number of cameras being shoved in his face.  What would most adults do in such a situation?

At 1:17:00, as the groups have converged, an adult’s voice can be heard telling the kids “back it up.”  The kids move back from the “Hebrews.”  Just before 1:19:00, the Hebrews start insulting a black student for associating with the rest of the group.

Sadly, the school has already issued a condemnation of the kids based on initial reporting.  (Feel free to let them know they made a mistake.)  Meanwhile various reporters are looking to identify the teens, with one even asking on Twitter that people with copies of the school’s yearbook contact her!  This is completely unacceptable.

The school’s objective was to have their kids participate in the March for Life protest against the continuing scourge of abortion.  But it’s safe to say these kids learned some unintentional, yet valuable lessons about the condition of their country and the mendacity of the press.  It remains to be seen, however, how much they’ll pay for those lessons at the hands of people who hate them simply because of who they are.  And yet the kids are supposed to be the racists?

When the State plays god

When a government tries to control every aspect of life, the Law of Unintended Consequences isn’t far behind. Exhibit A: China, which from 1980 to 2015 ruthlessly enforced a “one-child policy:”

China’s population shrank last year for the first time in 70 years, experts said, warning of a “demographic crisis” that puts pressure on the country’s slowing economy…

China’s median age was 22 in 1980. By 2018, it was 40. That will rise to 46 in 2030 and 56 in 2050. In the US, the median age was 30 in 1980 and 38 in 2018. In 2030, it will be 40, and 44 in 2050. India, by comparison, had a median age of 20 in 1980 and 28 in 2018.

Get that? By mid-century, half of China’s population will be 56 or older. There will be many more years of population decline ahead. Why? Because after two generations of using everything from fines to abortion and forced sterilization to enforce one child per family, single-child or childless families are now the Chinese social norm:

Northeast China – Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin provinces – has a population of about 109 million, and its socio-educational level is several years ahead of the country average. The fertility rate in northeast China was only 0.9 in 2000 and 0.56 in 2015. This means that the next-generation population in this region is only a quarter the size of the last generation.

Demographers consider a fertility rate of 2.1 (children per woman) to be the “replacement” rate, neither increasing or decreasing a country’s population.  A fertility rate of 0.56 roughly means only 1 in 4 women of childbearing age have a child!  Absent an extraordinary event, China is well established on the road to demographic and economic decline previously pioneered by Japan.

Japan’s economic crisis was essentially a demographic crisis. The decline in young people in the labour force has led to a shortage in manufacturing: the workforce employed in industry decreased from 22.9 million in 1992 to 17 million in 2017, and the workforce is ageing, leading to a decline in production and innovation. As a result, Japan’s manufacturing exports as a share of the global total declined from 12.5 per cent in 1993 to 5.2 per cent in 2017, and the number of Japanese firms ranked in the Fortune Global 500 fell from 149 in 1994 to 52 in 2018.

In any society, an increase in the number of elderly leads to a drop in savings, and a decrease in the labour force leads to a decline in return on investment, which reduces the investment rate…

Since 2000, China’s total fertility rate has been lower than that of Japan. The average in 2010-2016 was 1.18 in China and 1.42 in Japan. This means China’s ageing crisis will be more severe than Japan’s, and its economic outlook bleaker.

In Japan’s case, the demographic crisis was precipitated by cultural changes. Women found new opportunities outside the home and began marrying later… if at all.  Unwed parenting still carries social stigma in Japan, so this had a dramatic effect. Add to that the notorious Japanese work ethic of self-destructive loyalty to a corporation, and it’s easy to understand why professional couples have been also reluctant to have children for more than a generation.

China, however, will have to face the fact its government prevented or aborted the next generation. But before we look down on our noses at them, it’s important to recognize the impact of our own government’s actions. Since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, millions of babies have been voluntarily aborted in the United States. In this era of heated debate over immigration, legal or otherwise, it’s significant to realize that without such immigration, the population of the United States and of most Western European nations would be in decline as well.  That doesn’t mean I support the ongoing invasion of the U.S., however.

The future belongs first to those who show up.  It looks very likely the world powers of today have sown the seeds of their own overthrow, and are destined to be replaced.  Groups have been dispossessed of their patrimony and replaced before.  Perhaps reservations await the descendants of those who developed the concept for the original Native Americans.  History has a knack for that kind of irony.

Confronting real horror

As we close in on Halloween this year, the usual crop of horror movies are being advertised.  Yet the most horrific storytelling of all — a true story — is being ignored by the mainstream media:

Dr. Kermit Gosnell ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia that was shut down after he was arrested for a myriad of crimes. And that’s where Gosnell begins, with the lead-up to and raid on Dr. Gosnell’s clinic. Ending with the trial completed, Gosnell is a stirring call to value and protect life…

Gosnell resists the temptation to devolve into a melodramatic serial killer movie. In large part because of the tone set by the tightly constructed screenplay that never once waivers off point, Searcy and his cast are able to deliver an entertaining movie that also calls the viewer to think and feel deeply about the presence of the evil of abortion in our society, but without using cheap dramatic tactics to manipulate the audience’s emotions.

We live in a society that revels in movies about chainsaw massacres, and which willingly subjects itself annually to increasingly sadistic rituals in the name of “fun.”  Yet it seems not to have the stomach to confront the face of real evil.  Here’s hoping Gosnell forces us to take a long, close, uncomfortable look at the worldviews we’ve allowed to take root in our culture.  It would also be great if viewers walked out of the movie wondering “why is this the first time I’ve heard about this?”

Spare me the contrived outrage

“How dare we separate families when they cross the border!  Taking children from their families is reprehensible!”

But we separate criminal parents from their children every day — and always have.  That’s the problem: the Left simply refuses to see breaking our nation’s immigration laws as a crime.  But it is, by definition.

And let’s not forget the same Democratic party that wants our country to take in anyone looking for a “better life” had no qualms about taking Elian Gonzalez away from his relatives at gunpoint in order to send him back to Fidel Castro’s Cuba!  Why was he not worthy of being an American “dreamer?”

In short, Democrats, shut the hell up.

Elian Gonzalez

Failing to protect the future

As I’ve pointed out before, Leftists — who more often rely on emotional appeals than logical analysis — frequently promote their cause du jour by proclaiming “it’s for the children!” Supposedly if a policy saves “just one life” it’s worth whatever tradeoffs (including essential liberties) are required for it.

Very well, then. Let’s look at how our immigration policies are failing our children, on both sides of the Atlantic:

From New York to Virginia to Texas, schools in areas racked by MS-13 violence are now struggling with a sobering question. What to do when the gang isn’t just in your community, but in your classrooms?

For the past year, the Trump administration has waged a nationwide crackdown on MS-13. Nowhere has this effort been more intense than in Suffolk County, where police say the gang has committed 27 murders since a surge of unaccompanied minors began arriving in 2013…

Starting in 2013, thousands of unaccompanied minors — most from Central America — began entering the United States illegally from Mexico each month, many turning themselves in to authorities. More than 200,000 have been detained, screened and then placed with relatives by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nearly 5,000 have been sent to Suffolk County…

“The last couple of years, when we had the unaccompanied children coming, that’s when we saw the change,” he said. By providing vulnerable newcomers with a sense of belonging, MS-13 “became a powerhouse.” A deadly one.

The Obama administration tacitly encouraged the “children’s crusade” flood of ‘unaccompanied minors’ (who aren’t always telling the truth about their age). In doing so, they provided a large cohort of disconnected young people who were prime recruits for an organization like MS-13, which provides structure and an alternative form of ‘family.’ If just one in 20 of the new arrivals fell prey to the gang, that’s 10,000 new members — the equivalent of more than two Army Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. I make this comparison because MS-13 is more than a gang — it is an insurgent-type organization that provides an alternative to government for security, services and support… and violently competes with others for allegiance.

In the United Kingdom children are also being “recruited” into a different, but equally devastating subculture:

As many as 1,000 children are feared to have been drugged and abused by perverts in Telford, Shrops, since the 1980s — but their hell went on for decades as authorities repeatedly failed to stamp out a network of paedophiles in the town…

It is also claimed that social workers knew of the abuse in the 1990s but the police took a decade to launch an investigation, council staff viewed victims as “prostitutes”, and authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”.

Here it’s necessary to pause and explain that in the British press, “Asian” usually refers to Pakistanis. Tens of thousands of Pakistani Muslims have migrated to Britain, and as has been the case with minorities elsewhere in the West, have imposed their cultural norms on their surroundings rather than be assimilated to their new country. Just as American troops have been shocked to find pederasty rampant among our nominal Afghan ‘allies,’ so too are the cultural practices in Pakistan frequently incompatible with established Western standards.

Lucy Lowe, 16, was killed in 2000 along with her mother and sister after her 26-year-old abuser Azhar Ali Mehmood set fire to their house. Cabbie Mehmood targeted Lucy in 1997 and she was just 14 when she gave birth to his daughter…

Lucy’s death was used as a warning to other girls, according to victims. One, drugged and gang raped by nine men two years later, said the threats drove her to attempt suicide. She said: “I was scared my family would die like Lucy’s. I thought they’d only be safe if I killed myself.”

The latest revelations in Britain continue a trend that indicates this is a serious and widespread problem. Worse, the government seems more concerned about keeping the public pacified than it does about solving the issue. More than one report has indicated a concern among law enforcement that openly addressing the issue could make them appear “racist.” Voices that point out the clash of cultural values are punished and silenced.

And thus, under the flag of multiculturalism, does barbarism take strong root. The open- borders-moral-equivalency crowd refuses to acknowledge that importing large numbers of people from other parts of the world means importing practices antithetical to Western Civilization. This doesn’t mean they all fail to recognize it — in fact, some of their leaders consider this dilution a feature rather than a flaw.

For that crowd, it’s not really “about the children.” It’s about their power. If concern for the children convinces you to gut the 2nd Amendment, then they’re all about the kids. But if it causes you to question the unchecked influx of brigades of foreigners and their attendant abuses of children, well, that’s a different matter.

May there be a special place in Hell for those bureaucrats who, through their inaction, are allowing these crimes against the youngest and most vulnerable in our society. And may Justice return to our countries so that we may speed their way to that special place.

 

Whither adulthood?

One of the more ridiculous calls since the school shooting in Florida is to lower the voting age to 16.  As CNN and others continue to exploit grieving classmates and parents on air to make their emotional appeals for more gun control, some are saying the kids are showing enough ‘wisdom’ that it’s a shame they can’t vote.

Give me a break.  Even setting aside for the moment that some of these kids are being coached and controlled on talking points, let’s not forget that others their age were recently consuming laundry detergent as part of an online “challenge.”  And that challenge is only one of several idiotic trends in recent years.  In short, those who are calling for 16-year olds to vote are doing so in the expectation they’d be an easily manipulated voting bloc.  That’s to be expected since statists have always counted on youth to be their vanguard.

It’s easy to forget that as recently as the 1960s, the Federal voting age was 21.  The national agony of the Vietnam War raised the profile of a longstanding question about  young men being old enough (18) to be drafted and possibly die for their country, but not old enough to have a say in its decisions.  This juxtaposition led to the passage of the 26th Amendment in 1971.

Many people may not realize it, but a similar dilemma is presenting itself.  During last night’s CNN “Town Hall” on gun laws, Marco Rubio professed support for “taking away” the right of an 18-year old to buy a rifle.  The alleged gunman in last week’s shooting was 19 and had purchased his weapon legally (in no small part because of failure to act on his past behavior), so this would at first seem a targeted response.

The problem is this: though he has flip-flopped on the issue, Rubio has in the past also expressed support for expanding Selective Service registration to include women as well as men, while never mentioning any change to the draft age.  Taking these positions together, Rubio is saying an 18-year old man or woman is old enough to be handed a rifle in the service of their country, but not old enough to be entrusted with the Constitutional right to own one!

At what age do we become “responsible adults?”  Clearly the mileage varies from person to person.  It’s safe to say, however, that our society increasingly postpones leaving youthfulness behind.  As it says in the linked article, “We expect less maturity from young adults and deny them the responsibility that helps them grow. They live down to our expectations.”  All the better to develop an electorate that desires a Nanny State to facilitate their extended childhood.  In other words, current trends are not conducive to maintaining our individual liberties.

This is the broader discussion we need to have: at what point should people be entrusted with the rights and responsibilities of adulthood — including full accountability for their actions?   In more than half of the States, the age of sexual consent is 16, but in all States one must be at least 18 to get married without parental or court approval.  As a 19-year old, last week’s gunman will stand trial as an adult and is eligible for the death penalty.  But under Rubio’s proposal, others who are legal adults would not have the full privileges of owning a firearm.  As it now stands, 18-year olds are able to serve in the military, but not purchase cigarettes (until 19) or alcohol (until 21).  I can attest first-hand to the discipline issues that creates in the armed forces.

I can also attest to the difference those three years make in developing adults.  Not long ago, I went directly from teaching college freshmen to teaching high school seniors.  It was amazing to me the difference in overall maturity and engagement just that one year made.  (As already stated, the mileage varied.)  With both my older Musketeers, I waited until 16 to let them get a driver’s permit, and 17 for their license — a year behind what the State would have allowed.  There’s a reason, after all, why young men under 25 have the highest car insurance premiums.  When the time came to teach them, both showed a seriousness about the responsibility they were taking on, and neither gave their mother or me reason to worry they’d be reckless with a car.  (Six years on, both are still “wreck-less.”)

Which brings me to a final point: the role of fathers in developing adulthood.

Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled. The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness, and often withdraws into video games and video porn. At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well-channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces. When boys’ testosterone is well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most constructive forces.

I believe the erosion of the nuclear family has contributed greatly to the rise of extended adolescence and immaturity.  When I think of the number of times over the years I’ve had to correct my young men when their interactions with their mother or others were less than respectful, it gives me great pause to wonder what would have been were I not in the picture.  I’m by no means a perfect man or father, but I’m engaged in bringing out the man in my Musketeers.

Given the state of today’s culture, we have some decisions to make.  Do we expect more of our young people and hold them to those standards, or do we move the goalposts of adulthood expectations to a higher age?  Should we standardize expectations so that all the rights and privileges apply at the same age, or do we have justification for doling them out a few at a time over several years?  And if a 19-year old can’t be entrusted to have a firearm without adequate consideration of others, do they really need to be in a voting booth helping decide national policies?

I don’t profess to have the definitive answer, though I believe a strong case could be made for making 21 the standard legal age for all purposes — and that includes eligibility for Selective Service.  As I said, though, this needs to be a conversation.  What are your thoughts?