Sunday, December 9, 2018

Not Their First Rodeo

Abstract:  It is natural to make generalizations about what we see and hear, even if it is merely a snapshot.  Without any historical context, the news we see today can be very plausible.  For example, this week special prosecutor Mueller made heavily redacted court filings and the national press inferred, despite not knowing what was redacted, criminal behavior on the part of President Trump.  Unless there is some doubt, the Mueller affair is purely political in its exploitation of prosecutorial tools.  Whether there is any evidence of criminal activity is yet to be determined.  However, in the light of historical context, there seems to be a pattern of tactics that are useful and effective in convicting political opponents in the court of public opinion.  More disturbing is that the organizing principle for such a concerted effort seems to have remained constant over the past several decades.

            IM:  Gentlemen, this was not a good week for President Trump.

            Old Gadfly:  Why do you say that?

            IM:  The press is saying special prosecutor Mueller’s court filings indicate criminal behavior by the President.

            Old Gadfly:  How do they know?  They are inferring criminal behavior from redacted material.

            AM:  Amazingly, what we see playing out in the court of public opinion is not the left’s first rodeo.

            Old Gadfly:  You are suggesting a pattern in terms of convicting a political opponent.  What was the first rodeo?

            AM:  The Watergate scandal.  Just today,  Chuck Todd of Meet the Press used the expression “unindicted coconspirator” in association with President Trump, first familiarized with President Richard Nixon in 1974.  Geoff Shepard, who was a member of Nixon’s inner circle, recently published a book that more accurately portrays what happened during this “scandal.”  In his book, The Real Watergate Scandal:  Collusion, Conspiracy, and the Plot that Brought Nixon Down, Shepard pieces together previously unavailable documents (memoranda, affidavits, etc.) previously unavailable through the Freedom of Information Act and other avenues.  What he proves is that prosecutors conspired with judges, as documented via ex parte meetings (which are illegal), coordinated leaks to the press to prep the public narrative, and illegally collaborated with a Democrat-controlled Congress.  Shepard provides a synopsis of his book in this C-Span video.

IM:  Prior to Watergate, the left was victorious in mischaracterizing an effort to mitigate Soviet communist infiltration of America’s institutions.  Investigative journalist M. Stanton Evans authoritatively explains how the left thwarted Joseph McCarthy’s efforts in his book, Blacklisted by History:  The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies.  Curious about what else might be available to shed light on Soviet communist infiltration of our institutions, I discovered and read potent first-person testimonials by former communists:

·         Whittaker Chambers in his book, Witness;
·         Bella Dodd in her book, School of Darkness;
·         Manning Johnson in his book, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (a copy of the book, along with his “farewell speech about the NAACP,” is available here);
·         Englishman Douglas Hyde in his book, I Believed (available through third-party sources outside of the United States);
·         William Z. Foster in his book, Toward Soviet America;

Bella Dodd, who rose to membership of the National Committee of America’s Communist Party (which is alive and well--see here--in close alliance with one of America's major political parties), reflects that she was seduced by Communism’s appeal to the love of humanity, a better society, and social justice.  Early in her indoctrination, she explained her role of intellectually seducing others as a teacher at Hunter College, in this excerpt:

There were other refreshingly new courses that year and new professors, among them Raymond Moley, not yet a Roosevelt brain truster.  There were courses on the press and on public opinion. We young people were intrigued by the possibilities of participation in government control and the various means of achieving this.

In our enthusiasm we passed on to our students at Hunter what we had learned.  We challenged the traditional thinking they had brought to college with them.  We sent out girls to political clubs, too.  Soon political leaders began to find out what the idea was of sending the "kids" to their clubs.

... Before long we were saying -- and not yet realizing it was merely a rather meaningless cliche -- that the radicals of today are the conservatives of tomorrow, that there could be no progress if there were no radicals.

... By using this schematic device [categorizing people as left or right] one puts the communists on the left and then regards them as advanced liberals -- after which it is easy to regard them as the enzyme necessary for progress.

Communists usurp the position of the left, but when one examines them in light of what they really stand for, one sees them as the rankest kind of reactionaries and communism as the most reactionary backward leap in the long history of social movements.  It is one which seeks to obliterate in one revolutionary wave two thousand years of man's progress.

During my thirteen years of teaching at Hunter I was to repeat this semantic falsehood many times.  I did not see the truth that people are not born "right" or "left" nor can they become "right" or "left" unless educated on the basis of a philosophy which is as carefully organized and as all-inclusive as communism.
I was among the first of a new kind of teacher who was to come in great numbers to the city colleges. . . . (pp. 39-40)

Dodd unsuccessfully tried to leave the Communist Party until she was expelled in this manner:

On June 17, 1949, my telephone rang.  "This is the Associated Press," said a voice.  "We have received a statement from the Communist Party announcing your expulsion from membership.  It says here that you are anti-Negro, anti-Puerto Rican, anti-Semitic, anti-labor, and defender of a landlord.  Have you any statement to make?"

The New York papers carried the story the following day. . . .  (p. 220).

Sound familiar?  The educational techniques and public court of opinion smear tactics Dodd describes are as present today as they were in her day.  Consider for example, books in publication today:

·         Bini Adamczak’s book, Communism for Kids, published by MIT Press;

·         Rob Sander’s book, Peaceful Fights for Equal Rights; and

·         Martha Freeman’s book, If You’re Going to March

The last two books listed target children aged 4 to 8 and are just a sampling of “social awareness” books being published on behalf of progressive (socialist) thinking.  See for example the following photograph taken at a local bookstore.



AM:  The cultural Marxism (this expression has been adeptly diminished through demagoguery by members of the left as in this presentation) that has infected the left is succeeding because our younger generations have been deprived of a proper “liberal education” that includes an accurate portrayal of history and the real meaning of the “liberal democracy” that defeated 20th Century totalitarianism in the form of its socialist siblings:  communism and fascism.

Old Gadfly:  Let’s unpack what you just said.

AM:  Marxism is essentially about liberating the oppressed.  Thus, there must be evidence of oppression, even if it is imagined or manufactured, to justify liberating, via social justice, those classified as oppressed.  Perhaps the most blatant examples of the oppressed are women afflicted with unwanted pregnancies (and who want the freedom to kill the life in their womb) and nontraditional sexual orientations.  Both are contrary to Judeo-Christian traditions.  To take on the mantle of a liberating force, members of the left must consider those who subscribe to the Judeo-Christian tradition as the oppressors in order to take on the moral superiority of atheistic secular humanism, where man, represented by political elite, is supreme.  Hayek saw this development in the 1940s in his book, The Road to Serfdom.  He astutely observed:

The most effective way of making everybody serve the single system of ends toward which the social plan is directed is to make everybody believe in those ends.  To make a totalitarian system function efficiently, it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the same ends.  It is essential that the people should come to regard them as their own ends.  Although the beliefs must be chosen for the people and imposed upon them, they must become their beliefs, a generally accepted creed which makes the individuals as far as possible act spontaneously in the way the planner wants” (Chapter on “The End of Truth,” p. 171).

It was just this week that Kevin Hart experienced what Hayek wrote about when he was forced to step down as the Oscar’s host.  We have an entire community of sexual orientations, contrary to the Judeo-Christian tradition, that have been elevated to sacred status.  Voices to the contrary are being censored and even punished (like Hart), such as the explosive investigative treatise by Enrique Rueda published in 1986 as The Homosexual Network:  Private Lives and Public Policy.  His conclusion was that homosexuality was a concerted political movement (to include pedophilia advocates such as the Howard Nichols Society in Austin, Tex., the North American Man Boy Love Association in New York and Boston, and the Rene Guyon Society in Los Angeles [see also this article published during the same period]), and even documented to what extent homosexuality had infiltrated the Catholic Church.  Father Robert Altier, of the Church of St. Raphael in Minnesota, attended seminary studies during this time and has a personal accounting (presented in a homily on August 19, 2018) of what Rueda documented.  Try finding a copy of Rueda’s book.  Amazon indicates used copies can be purchased through third-party sellers starting at $700 per copy.  Rueda assures the reader that the intent of his research was not to denigrate individuals (entitled to privacy), but to understand the nature of what he considered to be a "political movement" to impose through public policy certain beliefs (and behaviors) on others.

            Old Gadfly:  How about “liberal education” and “liberal democracy”?

            AM:  The word “liberal” is key to properly understanding these concepts.  The original meaning relates to classical liberalism, stemming from the Enlightenment era, which emphasized individual liberty, property rights, limited government, and a free market, yet still being grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition as the basis for moral reasoning.  Correspondingly, a liberal education included an appreciation for truth and justice within this framework.  Modern liberalism coopted the term liberalism and emphasized the social dimension, which is totally congruent with cultural Marxism and its social justice tactics.  Correspondingly, a modern liberal education is oriented toward a Utopian future that can only be manufactured and achieved by political elite (social planners).  Therefore, the Judeo-Christian tradition must be diminished for atheistic secular humanism to become the basis for moral reasoning.

This distinction between classical and modern liberalism is critical to understanding liberal democracy and the left’s passion and commitment to destroying President Trump.  The liberal democracy that was instrumental in destroying (at least temporarily as America’s left is actively pursuing the ideology that we fought against) socialist totalitarianism.  Our Founders/Framers knew the dangers of democracy and even wrote about it in The Federalist Papers (see numbers 10, 14, and 26).  Based on the principles of classical liberalism, our Framers, established a Constitutional Republic (the only one among the hundreds of nations), where the Constitution balanced classical liberal principles with the natural tendency toward democracy.  This balance becomes tenuous without a disciplined adherence to the Constitution, where updates in its meaning are through Article V amendments.  The left wants a living Constitution, where it is far more expedient for men and women in black robes to update the meaning of the Constitution through court rulings.  This approach is consistent with political elite behavior as described by Hayek in The Road to Serfdom.

            Old Gadfly:    Political scientist George Friedman argues that nationalism is an essential condition for liberal democracy.  It reflects a common culture, language, and set of values that unite society.  Contrary to this, the left pushes multiculturalism that destroys nationalism and tragically divides society.  Even The New York TimesThomas Edsall has realized to what extent America’s left has further shifted to the left.  Ironically, they tend to be “better educated” (which means they have graduated from universities that are predominately leftist among faculty and administrations) and far less religious.

            IM:  I found it quite ironic that on the same day President Trump gave a speech at an American World War I military cemetery on the outskirts of Paris, France’s President Macron publicly chastised and lectured President Trump on his notion that patriotism is the opposite of nationalism.

            AM:  This folly by Macron patently demonstrates the dangers of progressivism, because its patriotism is to an imagined Utopian future and thus would be opposite to the inherent patriotism of nationalism, which is focused on the inherited wisdom of tradition.  Therefore, progressives cannot teach younger generations the truth about socialism and the millions of casualties in its wake.  Yet, America’s nationalism is what inspired thousands of Americans to liberate others oppressed by the tyranny of totalitarianism.

            Old Gadfly:  Obscured by the left’s concerted effort to destroy President Trump is the contest between socialism (mollified by using the term progressivism, unless you are Bernie Sanders or newly elected “socialists”) and liberal democracy.  Trump represents the original meaning of liberal democracy.  Unfortunately, many Americans (too many) cannot penetrate the political noise to recognize that the fundamental essence of what made America the beacon of liberty, peace, and prosperity throughout the world is vulnerable to the power-seekers of the left.  You, are correct AM.  The Mueller affair is not the left’s first rodeo.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Syllogism of a Political Coup


            IM:  Gentlemen, as I watch the Mueller investigation play out, I just can’t help but to think how sinister it seems.  Lavrentiy Beria comes to mind.

AM:  I hear you, IM.  I am trying to understand what is going on with the so-called deep state conspiracy theory.  There is a constant 24/7 push to delegitimize President Trump.  We have the Mueller investigation, a new Woodward book, and now an anonymous op-ed article by an alleged highly placed senior administration official working for President Trump.  Is there a logical thread that connects all this activity?

            Old Gadfly:  If one takes the time to clearly examine facts within a well-defined context, then, yes there is a thread that actually violates logic.

            IM:  What the heck does that mean?

            Old Gadfly:  First, we need to refresh our minds as to what a syllogism is when understanding argumentation.  Here is a definition of syllogism from philosophyterms.com:

A syllogism is a systematic representation of a single logical inference.  It has three parts:  a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion.
 
·         The major premise contains a term from the predicate of the conclusion.
·         The minor premise contains a term from the subject of the conclusion.
·         The conclusion combines the major and minor premise with a ‘therefore’ symbol ().
 
When all the premises are true and the syllogism is correctly constructed, a syllogism is an ironclad logical argument.

Let’s now apply this system to the Mueller investigation.  Keep in mind that an investigation such as this is based on a predicate, that is, a law was broken.  The predicate in this case is that President Trump colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.  So, lets map this out as a syllogism.

Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian collusion by President Trump and other members of the Trump presidential campaign.  So, what is the predicate for the major premise?  Based on DNC hacking evidence, there was collusion with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.  The subject of the conclusion is the minor premise:  Trump or members of the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia.  This is the way to map it:

Major premise:  Based on DNC hacking evidence, there was collusion with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

Minor premise:  Trump or members of the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

Conclusion:  Trump or members of the Trump presidential campaign, based on DNC hacking evidence, colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

But what is wrong about this syllogism?

AM:  At least two facts make the syllogism suspect.  First, collusion is not a crime.  Second, the DNC hacking evidence is far from certain.

IM:  The intelligence community, led by James Clapper and John Brennan, have publicly claimed the intelligence community has evidence.

Old Gadfly:  Of all the friends I have quizzed when asking them what exactly the evidence was, they did not know.  They simply took the word of Clapper and Brennan. So, exactly what was the evidence?
 
IM:  That Russia hacked into the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and shared this information with Wikileaks to influence the election in Trump’s favor.

Old Gadfly:  Yes, that is what they have claimed in the public narrative.  This so-called evidence conditions the major premise in the syllogism:  Russia influenced the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.  However, how does the intelligence community know Russia hacked into the servers?  Didn’t the FBI offer to examine the servers for forensic evidence?

AM:  Yes, they did, and the DNC refused any access to the servers by the FBI.  Instead, the DNC hired a private firm called CrowdStrike to do the investigation.  This action then further protected the DNC in its claims Wikileaks received DNC material from Russian hackers.  Wikileaks’ Julian Assange denies Russia was involved, that he received the material from another source.  Some (called conspiracy theorists by the left) believe Seth Rich, a young DNC staff member, may have been involved in assisting Wikileaks.  But now he is dead, in an apparent assassination, and his laptop has disappeared.  This incident made a minor entry into the public narrative and has completely disappeared.

Old Gadfly:  Obviously, the so-called evidence is dubious and makes this version of the Trump collusion syllogism weak.  We cannot say the major premise in the syllogism is true.  Therefore, we cannot say the conclusion is true.  Could the syllogism be reconstructed to build a stronger argument to weaken Trump’s legitimacy as president?

IM:  How about the dossier that led to four FISA court warrants for surveillance?

Old Gadfly:   The syllogism would then be reconstructed with the same conclusion slightly modified, such as Trump or other members of the presidential campaign colluded with Russia, based on dossier evidence, to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

AM:  Again, let’s examine the doubtful nature of the dossier.  The dossier was developed under contract for millions of dollars with GPS Fusion by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.  The effort involved collaboration with a British spy and Russian contacts.  Nothing in the dossier has been validated, but it was the basis for justifying four FISA surveillance warrants of members of the Trump presidential campaign.  This was a fraudulent attempt to find incriminating information.  Fraud, on the other hand, is a crime.  Given these circumstances a far different syllogism can be constructed:

Major premise:  There was manufactured evidence involving foreign collusion to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

Minor premise:  The DNC and the Clinton campaign were involved in manufacturing evidence.

Conclusion:  The DNC and Clinton campaign manufactured evidence involving foreign collusion to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

Old Gadfly:    This syllogism seems far more plausible.  Unfortunately, the earlier syllogism still drives the Mueller investigation, chalking upon worthless victories by destroying numerous lives in the process.  The Mueller effort, combined with other efforts such as the Woodward book (Note:  Woodward works for The Washington Post, which is now owned by progressive billionaire Jeff Bezos) and the recent anonymous op-ed letter actually represent an Orwellian dynamic predicted by Walter Cronkite in 1983.  Perhaps somewhat chastened by his mischaracterization of the Tet Offensive in 1968 while working for CBS, Cronkite provided the following Preface to a 1983 edition of Orwell’s 1984 (the following are excerpts from the Preface):

Seldom has a book provided a greater wealth of symbols for its age and for the generations to follow, and seldom have literary symbols been invested with such power.  How is that?  Because they were so useful, and because the features of the world he drew, outlandish as they were, also were familiar.

They are familiar today, they were familiar when the book was first published in 1949.  We’ve met Big Brother in Stalin and Hitler and Khomeini.  We hear Newspeak in every use of language to manipulate, deceive, to cover harsh realities with the soft snow of euphemism.  And every time a political leader expects or demands that we believe the absurd, we experience that mental process Orwell called doublethink.  From the show trials of the pre-war Soviet Union to the dungeon courts of post-revolutionary Iran, 1984’s vision of justice as foregone conclusion is familiar to us all.  As soon as we were introduced to such things, we realized we had always known them.

. . . If not prophecy, what was 1984?  It was, as many have noticed, a warning:  a warning about the future of human freedom in a world where political organization and technology can manufacture power in dimensions that would have stunned the imagination of earlier ages.

. . . 1984 is an anguished lament and a warning that we may not be strong enough nor wise enough nor moral enough to cope with the kind of power we have learned to amass.  That warning vibrates powerfully when we allow ourselves to sit still and think carefully about orbiting satellites that can read the license plates in a parking lot and computers that can tap into thousands of telephone calls and telex transmissions at once and computers that can do our banking and purchasing, can watch the house and tell a monitoring station what television program we are watching and how many people there are in the room.  We think of Orwell when we read of scientists who believe they have located in the human brain the seats of behavioral emotions like aggression, or learn more about the vast potential of genetic engineering.

And we hear echoes of that warning chord in the constant demand for greater security and comfort, for less risk in our societies.  We recognize, however dimly, that greater efficiency, ease, and security may come at a substantial price in freedom, that law and order can be a doublethink version of oppression, that individual liberties surrendered for whatever good reason are freedom lost.[1]

This preface was written 35 years ago.  Its prescience should frighten us.  Think about what he is saying:
 
·        “use of language to manipulate, deceive, to cover harsh realities with the soft snow of euphemism.”   When Comey laid out the case for all the laws broken by candidate Clinton, he euphemized the harsh reality with the claim there was no intent to break the law, as if the actions do not imply intent.
 
·         “And every time a political leader expects or demands that we believe the absurd, we experience that mental process Orwell called doublethink.”  The notion that Trump demands the absurd has been manufactured by a leftist cabal in the public narrative, to which Trump is compelled to counter in his tweets.  The outrage about separating children at the border is based on law established prior to Trump’s administration.  Trump is accused of operating above the law, but what laws has he broken?  Mueller is still investigating whomever he wants based on fraudulent grounds.  When single Federal judges stopped Trump’s travel ban, he honored the injunctions until overruled by a superior court.  Instead of unconstitutionally legislating on immigration as his predecessor did, Trump wants Congress to solve this issue.  Many on the left want us to think Trump is the fascist president Sinclair Lewis painted in his novel, It Can’t Happen Here.  Fascism is a socialistic manifestation.  Trump is promoting the importance of our Constitutional Republic based on classical liberalism and Judeo-Christian values.  His opponents are pushing for secular humanistic socialism.
  
·     “From the show trials of the pre-war Soviet Union to the dungeon courts of post-revolutionary Iran, 1984’s vision of justice as foregone conclusion is familiar to us all.”  Raiding the President’s personal attorney’s offices and then prosecuting him for charges unrelated to the scope of the investigation makes for great press.  Even those who have not faced indictment suffer greatly from legal expenses when faced by Mueller and his politically-motivated henchmen.  Of course, these tactics are not new.  Joseph Stalin’s chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus, Lavrentiy Beria, claimed: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”  Ironically, the so-called Trump Tower meeting focused on the Magnitsky Act.  The press had no interest in the subject—only the alleged Russia collusion to get dirt on candidate Clinton.  Read Red Notice by Bill Bowden about how his attorney Sergei Magnitsky had his law offices raided, with all documents and computers confiscated, then jailed on fabricated tax evasion charges, tortured, then murdered by Russian authorities.  We know more about these circumstances than those surrounding Seth Rich’s assassination.

·        “a warning about the future of human freedom in a world where political organization and technology can manufacture power in dimensions that would have stunned the imagination of earlier ages.”  Friends, this speaks to the deep state.  Unelected elites who pen anonymous op-eds published by news sources that openly defy a duly elected President.  The evidence hides behind veils of euphemisms.  Who would believe investigative material from such individuals as U.S. Representative Louis Gohmert, who can only publish his work through another digital source?

AM:  I served my country for several decades.  I stood for something.  I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  There is no doubt that in 2018, the greatest threat to America is domestic.  It is a deep state of political elite that want to fundamentally transform America.  This faction is anti-America.  Its patriotism is to a future utopia that is the basis of progressivism.  Nikita Khrushchev predicted this political manifestation in 1957 at the National Press Club:

. . . I can prophesy that your grandchildren in America will live under socialism.  And please do not be afraid of that.  Your grandchildren will not understand how their grandparents did not understand the progressive nature of a socialist society.[2] 
    
Old Gadfly:    Americans better wake up regarding the syllogism of a political coup underway and its fraudulent deception of the American people, and have the courage to preserve our Constitutional Republic.  We can do this peacefully in the midterm elections.  As citizens of a just society, we should also demand accountability for those conspiring to destroy a duly elected President.       



[1] George Orwell, 1984, with a special preface by Walter Cronkite, (New York, NY:  Signet Classics, 1983 [originally published in 1949]), p. 2.
[2] Cited in J. Edgar Hoover, Masters of Deceit:  What the Communist Bosses Are Doing Now to Bring America to Its Knees, (New York, NY:  Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1958), p. 3.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Logic of Abortion


          Old Gadfly:  Gentlemen, this week the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee performed its “advise and consent” duties during lengthy hearings of President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) vacancy created by the retirement of Associate Justice Kennedy.  What would you say is the left’s central political issue with President Trump’s pending nomination?



AM:  Democrats are concerned that his choice (no pun intended) would overturn SCOTUS’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
 
IM:  Republicans, on the other hand, are focused more on a candidate they regard as an originalist or textualist, one who will strictly interpret the original meaning of the Constitution’s text, as opposed to elite who trust five black robes to legislate from the bench, essentially softly amending the Constitution through judicial rulings.  The left strongly supports SCOTUS judicial activism, and its creation of Constitutional rights.
 
AM:  Kavanaugh argued that everything in the Constitution points to liberty.  Thus, one can reasonably infer that the freedom to choose to terminate a pregnancy is a liberty to be protected in the Roe v. Wade ruling.  Since subsequent abortion-related cases have not overturned Roe v. Wade, the “law” seems to be protected by legal precedent.  Precedent is one of the principles that Kavanaugh cites in his legal analyses.
 
IM:  Other constitutional scholars understood Roe v. Wade to be a blatant example of judicial activism.  For example, here is a commentary from Justia:

The Court was praised in many circles for its progressive attitude toward evolving social trends, even though the decision was framed in paternalistic language and seemed more focused on protecting physicians than women. However, many commentators have viewed its decision as a prime example of judicial "activism," a term that refers to when the Court is seen to infringe on the authority of other branches of government. A magnet for controversy to the current day, Roe has been challenged consistently and lacks support from many current members of the Court. The trimester framework proved less workable than the majority had hoped, and decisions such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey have eroded what initially seemed like a sweeping statement in favor of women's rights. Many states that oppose Roe have enacted laws that will go into effect in the event that it is overturned.

Old Gadfly:  Liberty is one of the three inalienable rights our government was ordained and established to protect.  Life and the pursuit of happiness are the other rights.  But, we’ll get to these later.  For now, let’s summarize the basic facts about Roe v. Wade.  Who were the plaintiff and the defendant in this case?

AM:  Jane Roe was the alias 21-year old Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff, and her attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington used when they initially filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, the Dallas County District Attorney who represented Texas law that allowed legal abortions only in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.  McCorvey initially tried to get an abortion (this was her third pregnancy) claiming rape, but there were no police reports of a rape.  She ended up giving birth and then giving the child up for adoption.  Incidentally, McCorvey today is a pro-life activist.

Old Gadfly:  What was the basis for the case before SCOTUS?

IM:  In 1970, “Roe” claimed Texas law was unconstitutional.  Judges from the Northern District of Texas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Roe, based on the “implied right to privacy” of the Ninth Amendment, but declined to issue an injunction against enforcement of the law.  This led to an appeal to SCOTUS.  SCOTUS deferred hearing the case till related cases had been adjudicated.  They eventually heard the case and announced their 7-2 ruling in favor of Roe on January 22, 1973.    SCOTUS rejected the District Court’s Ninth Amendment rationale in favor of a right to privacy under the Fourteenth Amendment.  Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority, acknowledged that the majority of States had statutes similar to the Texas statute, yet for reasons explained in his opinion declared abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution and rejected the argument of a fetus’ “right to life.”

Old Gadfly:  Wasn’t the Fourteenth Amendment one of the three Reconstruction Amendments following the Civil War?

AM:  Yes.  SCOTUS invoked Section 1 of the amendment, which was ratified on July 9, 1868 with the explicit intent to enfranchise former slaves as citizens with the same rights as other American citizens.  The language in Section 1 is straight-forward:

Section 1.  All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States wherein they reside.  No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
     
Old Gadfly:  How does abortion fit into any of this language?
 
IM:  Great question.  Abortion is an action that involves the deliberate termination of a pregnancy.  No one is depriving a pregnant woman of her right to life, liberty, or property.  In the vast majority of abortion cases, a woman becomes pregnant after voluntarily engaging in sexual intercourse.  No one deprives a woman from this liberty and as such enjoys equal protection of the laws.
 
Old Gadfly:  The Fourteenth Amendment clearly states: “nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  Is not the emerging life in a mother’s womb a person entitled to the same rights to life, liberty, and happiness?

AM:  Terms and definitions seem terribly vague.  Some believe life begins at conception.  Others subscribe to a more complicated understanding of when a human life begins.  For an example of the latter group, a close reading of Justice Blackmun’s opinion reveals an attempt to derive answers to this question.  His opinion summarized eight major themes:  ancient attitudes, the Hippocratic Oath, the common law, the English statutory law, the American law, the position of the American Medical Association, the position of the American Public Health Association, and the position of the American Bar Association.  While these themes provide a variety of perspectives throughout history, none really support the logic used in the final ruling, which speaks to a woman’s fundamental right to privacy as justification for allowing abortion.  In his opinion, Blackmun even admitted:  “The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right to privacy.”  Yet, he follows this fact with a series of Court rulings that support an “implied” right to privacy.  In the process, Justice Blackmun articulated what is called the trimester framework to offer a “strict scrutiny” guideline that does not question the right to an abortion in the first trimester, allows State intervention if the mother’s health is at risk, and if the “fetus is viable,” allows the State to restrict the right to an abortion but must include an exception to any regulation that protects the health of the mother.

Old Gadfly:   This sounds like a tortured rationalization for justifying an act that many would regard as murder or an assault on the sanctity of life, which is a God-given unalienable right.  The Amendment refers to a person.  When does a fertilized egg become a person?  At conception?  Upon birth?  Upon the capacity to procreate? Upon voting age?
   
IM:  A one-cell amoeba is an example of life, and it even demonstrates primitive awareness when it adapts to its changing environment to survive.  A dandelion physically demonstrates primitive awareness when it leans toward the sun.  A fertilized human egg demonstrates even more sophisticated primitive awareness when its DNA signals the production of different cells that become part of a system of systems in the most sophisticated and complex forms of life.
 
Old Gadfly:  So, it seems as though the ruling in Roe v. Wade was an unwitting attempt to tamper with the laws of nature.
 
AM:  What I find ironic is that our Founders/Framers understood life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as unalienable rights granted by a Creator, not a Constitution.  The American Constitution is a system of governance to protect these God-given rights.  In conflict with these rights, SCOTUS ruled in Roe v. Wade that the Constitution grants a fundamental right to an abortion as an extension to the implied man-made right to privacy.  Aside from all the quibbling, abortion is the termination of a life, which is a God-given natural right.

Old Gadfly:  Gentlemen, since we are men, we can only attempt to understand the issue of abortion through logic.  Perhaps there are other valid reasons for SCOTUS to validate a Constitutional right to an abortion.  What might they be?

IM:  One reason might be similar to catching a cold.  No one would reasonably and deliberately seek to catch a cold.  Some people will go to great lengths to protect themselves from a cold—avoiding contagious people, frequently washing hands.  Some who are less vigilant become more vulnerable.  Yet, we see good reasons for developing remedies to overcome the effects of catching a cold.  So, perhaps women who become pregnant with an unwanted child are either ignorant of the pregnancy risks of sexual intercourse or already know she has access to a government-funded abortion. Unlike catching a cold, getting pregnant is an outcome of deliberate intercourse with the exception, in a very small percentage of pregnancies, of incest or rape.

AM:  Rape, by definition, involves coercion.  While this may sound harsh, not all cases of incest involve coercion.  Even in cases defined as statutory rape, it does not matter if the sexual activity was consensual.  In any case, the child in the mother’s womb has no choice, of being there, being violently vacuumed out of the womb, or carefully dissected to preserve lucrative body parts for research.

IM:  I can imagine a young, confused and frightened rape victim seeking liberation from this crime be getting an abortion only years later to regret the decision, wondering what would have become of her child as a grown man or woman, knowing there is no way to correct the action.  Would the remorse be less intense in giving up a child for adoption as opposed to aborting it?  The remorse would reflect empathy for the child who had no role in the crime.

AM:  Your imagination reflects actual empirical evidence.  Dr. David Reardon of the Elliott Institute has revealed that not only does an abortion damage a woman physically and psychologically, in cases of rape or incest, over 80% who aborted did regret the decision.  Over 80% who did not abort are glad they made the right decision.
 
Old Gadfly:  I often hear people preferring to use the terms pro-choice and reproductive rights instead of the Constitutional right to an abortion.  Do these terms more accurately describe the logic of abortion?

IM:  No.  The term “pro-choice” applies only to the decision to let the child in a woman’s womb live or not.  It completely ignores the choice that led to the pregnancy.  Well-over 95% of pregnancies result from consensual sexual activity.[1]
 
AM:  Then there is the claim of a woman’s “reproductive rights.”  If this concept is intended to suggest anything other than a decision to reproduce, then it is dishonest and disingenuous.  What it really means is the right to engage in sexual activity without consequence.
 
Old Gadfly:  There are other concepts that should be considered in this discussion.  I would argue that most Americans believe in free will as an important element of the concept of liberty.  Liberty is not a license to engage in behaviors that violate laws or harm others—actions that are contrary to the notions of “establish Justice” and “insure domestic Tranquility” in the Preamble to the Constitution.  We respect, and our Constitution is designed to protect, the individual right to exercise free will within a just society.  Exercising liberty includes respecting the rights of others.  But, when an action violates the law or harms others, then the individual making the choice violates the rights of others.
 
IM:  Good point.  Where does the choice to have sexual activity fit into one or more of the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance?  Is it prudent for a single woman to engage in sexual behavior?  What are the potential consequences if one is to become pregnant?  How would such an act promote the common good of society?  How is an aborted pregnancy just?  Does sexual activity represent an intemperate action reflecting vices of lust, sloth, or pride?

Old Gadfly:  Closely related to these arguments is the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.  Engaging in sexual activity without consequence is completely irrelevant to the pursuit of happiness, because it reflects mere primitive desire and behavior.  Enduring happiness, according to Immanuel Kant, is the reward of performing one’s moral duty—foregoing personal self-interest in favor of a greater good, such as being a good husband, father, wife, mother, neighbor, teacher, doctor, soldier, citizen, and so forth.  A decision to abort one’s child is not a moral duty.  It is contrary to summum bonum, Kant’s categorical imperative known as the greatest good.[2]  In the grand scheme of things and in relation to the American idea of the “general Welfare,” a deliberate abortion is completely immoral.

AM:  I think we can agree that abortion as a so-called Constitutional right defies logic and appears to have been an invented right by seven members of SCOTUS.  The decision remains controversial among constitutional scholars, not to mention ordinary citizens who are loyal to their Judeo-Christian tradition.
 
Old Gadfly:    Why do you believe Roe v. Wade is such a litmus test for those on the political left?

IM:  Power. Women vote; unborn children don’t.  They fear that a new Court might “tamper” with the rationale used in the Roe v. Wade ruling, and in the process diminish the presumed power of groups like Planned Parenthood and the politicians with whom they collaborate.  Those who believe in the importance of a Constitutional Republic would be wise to consider scholar Robert Dahl’s caution:

To govern a state well takes more than knowledge.  It also requires incorruptibility, a firm resistance to all the enormous temptations of power, a continuing and inflexible dedication to the public good rather than benefits for oneself or one’s group. . . . The likely effects of power on those who wield it were succinctly summed up in 1887 by an English baron, Lord Acton, in a famous statement:  ‘Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ . . . However wise and worthy the members of a ruling elite entrusted with the power to govern a state may be when they first take power, in a few years or a few generations they are likely to abuse it.  If human history provides any lessons, one surely is that through corruption, nepotism, the advancement of individual and group interests, and abuse of their monopoly over the state’s coercive power to suppress criticism, extract wealth from their subjects, and insure their obedience by coercion, the Guardians of a state are likely to turn into despots.[3]

AM:  I might add that life is filled with adversity--some due to choices, some due to circumstances beyond one’s control.  Elitist arrogance of thinking that society has a moral obligation to remedy the full range of adversity is what C.S. Lewis cautioned against in The Abolition of Man—where elite are the conditioners and those they rule are the conditioned.  In their attempt to conquer nature, nature will conquer man.  The broader implication of this truth is that the same advocates for abortion are the same who wish to punish skeptics of the man-made cause of global warming or climate change. Contrary to this intellectual trend is recognizing the founding idea of America as was one of a self-governing people based on wise and virtuous behavior.  A liberal education (far from a progressive education designed to create instruments for social and political change) is needed to build capacity for virtuous decisions/actions.  Accumulated wisdom would then arm us with the capacity to (a) adapt to, overcome, or mitigate adversity; and (b) extend our wisdom-based traditions into the future, which is one of the expectations of our Constitution’s Preamble to “secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”  The life in a mother’s womb is the “Posterity” our Constitution was designed to protect.  SCOTUS rulings and precedents seem to have ignored this part of the Constitution.
 
Old Gadfly:  Well argued, AM.  We began this conversation with the observation that the left is concerned about President Trump’s nomination for the Supreme Court.  Members of the Supreme Court are certainly important in carrying out their enumerated powers under Article III.  These powers, as well as those delegated to the Legislative and Executive branches, derive their authority from “We the people.” Do we want to be a wise and virtuous people, or not?  President Trump understands this.  He has nominated an associate justice who reflects a wise and virtuous sentiment.  Armed with the inalienable rights of life and liberty, we too must reinforce President Trump’s nomination with our own consistent and habitual wise and virtuous behaviors in every capacity as we pursue happiness—it’s a moral duty and the only way

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The moral dilemma and logic of abortion may not be the proper jurisdiction of SCOTUS.  The debate about abortion reflects the crisis of virtue that permeates our modern society, reflected in the great political divide that dampens the American spirit.  Many of those who have hate and contempt for Donald Trump are projecting the hubris of progressivism.  It is not really Trump they hate.  They hate that for which he stands.  He stands for American greatness—a greatness inspired by our Declaration of Independence and codified in our system of governance.  The sacredness of abortion reflects the left’s emptiness and its lust for political power—conditioners dictating to the conditioned.     



[1] For compelling data on reasons for abortion see http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html
[2] For an excellent treatment of the construct of happiness and its moral attributes, see the essay on “Happiness” in The Great Ideas:  A Syntopicon:  Volume I (Chicago IL:  Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1952).
[3] Dahl, R. A.  (1998).  On democracy.  New Haven, CT:  Yale University Press, pp. 73-74.