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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Democracy and the Covenant

Today's post of the day, by Michael Williams, is here. It links to a Loony Lefty's blog entry which equates Bush's policies with the Holocaust. Having equated the two, the LL continues:

I was reading the other day that one of the Nazi torture warehouses was right in the middle of a residential neighborhood - right next to a movie theater, in fact. People must have heard the screams.
On some level, weren't they complicit? Did pretending they didn't know repel the moral stain?

She goes on to accuse herself, basically, of complicity and, implicitly, of cowardice. After all, if she and her fellow LLs really believe Bush is part of a right wing coup, why aren’t they out killing and/or dying to set things right? Williams replies-

She's not much different from the pro-lifers (such as myself) who consider most abortions to be murder and yet sit by, mostly passive, while nearly a million babies are killed each year. So are we cowards? (Read Williams post if you’d like to hear his answer. I didn’t care for it, but maybe you will.)

I always think of John Brown when such questions arise, because I consider partial-birth abortion murder, and morally equivalent to slavery. The slavery/partial-birth abortion analogy works well, btw.

Slavery- Legal but not legitimate, as slaves weren’t allowed to vote on it.
Partial-Birth Abortion- Legal but not legitimate, as nobody is allowed to vote on it.

Slavery- Morally indefensible- but defended with pleas for State’s Rights and Property Rights
Partial-Birth Abortion- Morally indefensible- but defended with pleas for Privacy Rights and Women’s Rights

Slavery-An evil institution practiced by good people- Jefferson, Washington, etc.
Partial-Birth Abortion- An evil institution practiced by good people- (I guess…)

Therefore, if a man went on a killing spree limited only to doctors who regularly commit partial-birth abortions, I would consider that man John Brown’s moral equivalent. Does that mean I would think he was a good man, or even a decent man? No.

John Brown broke a (for lack of a better phrase) sacred covenant. In a democracy one cannot take the law into one’s own hands. Now, the question can get messy. You can argue about what constitutes a democracy. Is it a democracy if there are slaves (who obviously don’t get to vote)? Is it a democracy if the Supreme Court decided who was president, or made up a right to privacy to make abortion legal? Messy, right? But reasonable people must conclude that the U.S. was and is a functioning democracy, and the covenant is more important than the abolition of slavery, or the end of partial-birth abortion, or insert-whatever-gripe-you-like, because of the nature of democracy itself.

Democracy provides the best way to discover the right thing to do, through debate, and to do that right thing, through non-violent regime change. So no, I am not a coward, though I do not go around killing doctors who perform partial-birth abortions. Neither is Michael Williams. Neither is Susan at Suburban Guerilla, though she hasn’t taken to the streets with an AK to battle neo-cons. Rather, we are fulfilling our part of the deal. And we should.


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