By now, we have all heard the phrase "the culture of death." It is the mindset that sees abortion and euthanasia as not only allowable but as activities manifesting "enlightenment" and "understanding." Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor at National Review, writes of how this culture and perspective have found a home in tangible entities: the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, and our courts.
In "The Party of Death" (Regnery Publishing — a HUMAN EVENTS sister company), Ponnuru spells out in lucid and precise language the absolutely erroneous legal reasoning used to create the Roe decision and how its flawed exegesis became a stepping stone for those wishing to expand its purview to include rights for every type of embryonic stem-cell research and even euthanasia itself. In other words, the tragedy of Roe did not stop at the abortion issue, rather it was a beginning for more iconoclastic rulings to come.
The purpose of this book, as I see it, is not to change liberal minds, given that, for most liberals, abortion-on-demand is something they subscribe to not because of its underlying legal reasoning but because, for them, it is what enlightened people believe. It is emotion-based. It also fits into their more hedonistic view that one’s growth should not be stymied by historic moral intuitions or by matters of inconvenience.
Nor is the book written to persuade us of the immorality of abortion-on-demand and Dr. Kevorkian-type assisted suicides. The author rightly assumes the undeniable morality of the pro-life position. The book’s purpose is to provide intellectual equanimity to those who are guided by historic and authentic religious morality yet believe in the efficacy of our Constitution and wish to square our moral beliefs within legitimate legal thinking. Herein lies Ponnuru’s tour de force.
After reading his masterful analysis of the arguments used to create a law out of legal sand, one comes away uplifted knowing that Roe fails not only morally but also scholastically. Roe is a piece of judicial reasoning emblematic of so many predisposed socially liberal decisions and conclusions in search of any supporting straw, no matter how feeble. Roe, Ponnuru proves, is junk scholarship. It is far from constitutional.
The book reveals how the American public has been beguiled into believing that Roe was a middle ground decision limiting abortion to specific trimesters and a few circumstances only. In fact, as the book beyond a doubt proves, Roe gave carte blanche to abortion, for its limitations are so opaque that any time a woman can persuade her doctor that she will suffer emotional pain, she is an honored candidate for abortion. Such persuasion is not hard given that abortionists are doctors of choice, who make their very living from the sale of abortions.
As we all know, emotional suffering is easy to prove. Just look how a terrorist involved in 9/11 was spared capital punishment by a jury due to its belief that Zacharias Moussawi carried within him emotional scars from his upbringing, mitigating, thereby, some of his guilt.
The book begins by showing how the Democratic Party is no longer the party of Hubert Humphrey and what was around when many of us grew up. The party has been taken over by hard core lefties, especially regarding the social issues, of which abortion is the flagship cause. This shift is coincidental with the leadership morphing from what was once middle class and blue collar to what are now wealthy — very wealthy — elitists from Hollywood and the East Coast.
Without proper abortion credentials, one cannot rise in the party or have a hearing. The bona fides are abortion anytime for any reason with nothing allowed to slow its pace, not parental consent or pre-abortion awareness sessions or minimal waiting periods. Ponnuru lists the many Democrat superstars who had to change their pro-life position to pro-abortion when deciding to run for President. This portion of the book is short, for the book is focused more on legal and historic rationales behind decisions than on sociology.
Role of the Media
Of course, "The Party of Death" highlights the liberal bias of the media. The media think liberalism is the natural and middle ground, since media people tend to share time exclusively with people who hold very liberal, almost radical positions.
Ramesh Ponnuru is a Princeton graduate, so I took particular delight in his challenges to Peter Singer, an "ethics" professor at Princeton and the high priest of a form of paganism that relishes the collapse of Christian doctrine and supports every form of abortion and euthanasia under the belief that to assign the human being a special status above any other life form is, you guessed it, "speciesism." Next thing, fathers who provide special love for their children above that which they show for strangers will be charged with "offspringism."
The writing is taut, the conclusions correct, the warnings deserving of heed.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter