There is a piece that is making the rounds on the liberal side of the Internet today that concerns the Planned Parenthood videos. I am not going to link the piece here because I view it as either a transparent attempt to curry head pats from liberals and/or the media, or a dangerously naive missive that is tremendously damaging to the pro-life cause. Either way, I will not give it more traffic than it has already gotten in spite of the fact that I respect the website where it currently sits and its proprietors tremendously, and count them among my personal friends. Suffice to say that if you don’t know the piece I’m referring to, then please go on about your day without reading the rest of what I am about to say, and thank me later for not raising your blood pressure unnecessarily.
The central thesis of the piece is that, as conservatives, we should basically follow the Golden Rule and extend to the various executives – of Planned Parenthood – the same charitable reading of their comments that we would hope would be afforded to us.
Let me just say this – there’s a place for the attitude that you should always be unrelentingly gracious towards our opponents and always assume they are acting with the best motives, even when they do not extend the same courtesy to you, and even when decades of unbroken experience would suggest that your opponents operate exclusively with both intellectual and moral bad faith. That place is in the seminary and in the pulpit.
In politics, that attitude will get you nothing but run over by secularists, who will then use the levers of power they have just seized to extract your tax dollars to pay for abortions, and to force your church to participate in acts that are anathema to their doctrine, or face prison time for failure to comply.
I don’t mind a reminder from my pastor to live by the golden rule. But when a conservative website actually chides other conservatives for not extending Planned Parenthood directors the benefit of the doubt in the middle of a live political firefight, that really constitutes nothing less than aiding and abetting the enemies of, in this case, not just conservatism, but truth, justice, and innocent human life.
Let me say right off the bat that I disagree strongly with the way the author of this piece characterizes the content of the Planned Parenthood videos, not least because I understand the sorts of people they actually are (which precludes me from assuming that they are nice people acting in good faith. But even beyond that, the level of wrongheaded thinking contained in this article is exactly what has had us on the losing end of the war over Roe v. Wade for over 40 years now. Here is one example:
I have (somewhat ironically) a very Christian attitude about this: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. God forbid anyone should pore through any of my own conversations and read them the way people are reading the Planned Parenthood transcripts. So if someone were to ask me what I’m writing today, and I were to respond, “I don’t know, the Koch Brothers haven’t told me yet” (and I’m not saying this exchange has never occurred), I would hope people would understand it as a joke. But someone who wishes me ill would inevitably come along and seize on this as final proof that I’m in the pocket of Big Oil.
If we want to keep the moral high ground when the left pulls this sort of trick on us—and they will—then we need to make sure we’re being scrupulously fair, even to people we hate.
At the risk of putting too fine a point on the matter, I don’t really give a damn about maintaining the moral high ground, rhetorically, with Planned Parenthood. I keep the moral high ground with them simply by virtue of not killing several hundred thousand unborn kids a year.
This kind of simpleheaded insistence on trying to be the better and fairer person than people who are involved in mass infanticide impresses exactly no one and has ultimately contributed to our failure to halt the 50+ million abortions that have happened in this country since Roe v. Wade. For the love of God, Hillary F’ing Clinton was forced to concede that the videos were harrowing and disturbing, and that they indicated that an investigation of the whole abortion industry was necessary. That’s how devastatingly effective these videos have been in moving the public needle on abortion.
The sole problem we face in this fight to finally remove taxpayer funding from this demonic organization is not liberals, who are reeling and stammering from what these videos have shown, but rather marginal conservatives who lack the backbone to finally provoke an actual political fight over the issue. And this kind of “Oh, let’s be super fair to the baby killing goons” commentary is the worst sort of damaging, hopelessly naive thing that’s absolutely possible for this moment. Or, possibly, just a desperate cry for clicks and/or media attention.
Frankly, I can’t tell which is worse.