26 May 2009

The Deception of "Working Together"

By now Pres. Obama's speech at Notre Dame has been thoroughly analyzed with many Catholics being duped by his rhetoric that we should find ways to work together. Now there is nothing wrong in principle in this idea so long as you agree on the major premises of your efforts. In his recent article for The Catholic Thing, Hadley Arkes demonstrates the fundamental incapatability between the two positions such that they are like oil and water. No matter how you try they cannot be mixed.

"In the case of Obama, as with Clinton and Gore before him, the unspoken premises are again the most astounding – and even more astounding yet in being unnoticed. The techniques of contraception may work well or badly, as people seek, artfully or clumsily, to avoid “unintended pregnancies.” But it is simply taken for granted, as a point well beyond questioning now, that there is a “right,” even a “constitutional right” to destroy an innocent human life for reasons wholly of self-interest, indeed for reasons that need not rise above convenience.

The remedy for an “unintended pregnancy” used to be regarded as an adoption, not a lethal surgery. Adoption is offered by Obama, as though offered in generosity, for those people who do not care to invoke their constitutional right to destroy an innocent life in the womb. It is a gesture that leaves that essential “right” quite intact, without the slightest concession to the notion that the nascent life has even a shadow of a claim to our concern or respect. This is what Obama and the “Obama Catholics” apparently regard as an earnest mode of “work[ing] together”: concede their major premises, unqualified, unmodified, and give them credit for a largeness of spirit.

Of course, it is worth noting also that an “unintended pregnancy” becomes far more portentous when young people are unmarried, with no serious intention of committing themselves to a life together. Obama’s premises conveniently leave in place the assumption that there are no moral inhibitions worth taking seriously any longer on that notion of sex as virtually free, detached from commitments or requirements, taken even as a freewheeling pastime for young people in college, learning a little about everything.

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