Yesterday I posted on a recent essay by Obamacare architect, Ezekiel Emanuel, who claimed that he only intended to live until he was 75. He made a point of saying that he didn’t wish to inflict his vision on anyone else, but the metrics he laid out for continuing life are sadly widespread in a medical profession that has ceased to see its role as one of healing the sick and injured and rather one of deciding what is best for people and society. The old joke that says the difference between God and a doctor is that God doesn’t think He’s a doctor has truly come to represent the state of affairs.
Unfortunately, that mentality also permeates the legal profession.
Under our system of government Congress makes law and the courts see to the application of those laws. The judiciary is not only not a policy making body but is wildly unsuited by training and temperament to act as one. Take for instance the interview given by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Elle magazine:
Fifty years from now, which decisions in your tenure do you think will be the most significant?
Well, I think 50 years from now, people will not be able to understand Hobby Lobby. Oh, and I think on the issue of choice, one of the reasons, to be frank, that there’s not so much pro-choice activity is that young women, including my daughter and my granddaughter, have grown up in a world where they know if they need an abortion, they can get it. Not that either one of them has had one, but it’s comforting to know if they need it, they can get it.
The impact of all these restrictions is on poor women, because women who have means, if their state doesn’t provide access, another state does. I think that the country will wake up and see that it can never go back to [abortions just] for women who can afford to travel to a neighboring state…
When people realize that poor women are being disproportionately affected, that’s when everyone will wake up? That seems very optimistic to me.
Yes, I think so…. It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.
Eliminating abortion is hardly a policy that “promote[s] birth only among poor people.” Even if that were the policy, Ginsburg’s views on its wisdom might be of interest to her but they aren’t germane to the issue. Online some have argued that this quote doesn’t advocate eugenics, but when taken in context with a previous New York Times Magazine interview (hat tip to the indefatigable Mollie Hemmingway at The Federalist) that is exactly what she is advocating.
Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.
As, according to the some studies the highest rate of abortion is found among women with incomes below 100% of the federal poverty line and the highest rate of abortion is among black women (414 abortions for every 1,000 live births) the implications of what Ginsburg is advocating are rather obvious. More likely that not she doesn’t consider Jewish babies in NYC as “populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” Jonah Goldberg observes that this view places Ginsburg firmly in the mainstream of Progressive tradition:
First, Ginsburg’s view that we don’t want more poor babies is perfectly consistent with a century-old progressive tradition as I explain at some length here. It is simply a restatement of Margaret Sanger’s “religion of birth control” which would “ease the financial load of caring for with public funds . . . children destined to become a burden to themselves, to their family, and ultimately to the nation.”
This is obviously news to Ginsburg, but being poor really isn’t a disability. People are poor for all kinds of reasons and, if provided the opportunity and encouragement, have the ability to rise above their financial circumstances at the time of their birth. That we should have a national policy to eliminate the poor and members of minority groups should strike most people as an area where we have been and to which we shouldn’t return. Kevin Williamson elaborates:
There are two ways to account for humans beings: as assets, or as liabilities. For those who see the world the way Justice Ginsburg does — which is also the way Barack Obama does, along with most of his party — human beings are a liability. That is why they fundamentally misunderstand challenges such as employment; if you see people as a liability, then you see labor in terms of “creating jobs,” i.e. neutralizing that liability with a check every two weeks. It does not matter whether that labor produces anything valuable; if the liability is being met with a sufficient paycheck, problem solved. It should go without saying that Barack Obama et al. do not see themselves as liabilities. They see themselves as assets, which is how left-wing activists and Democratic functionaries justify their own enormous paychecks.
And they don’t see their own children as liabilities, either — just your kids, loser.
The alternative is to view human beings as having inherent value. In economics, that means thinking of every worker as having something potentially valuable to contribute. In broader terms, that means thinking of every person as a full member of the human family, no matter if they are healthy or sick, running marathons or profoundly disabled, Bill Gates rich or Bangladesh poor.
This lays out the stark contrast between conservatism and liberalism/progressivism. It shows why we support Right-To-Life and free enterprise and individual autonomy and the left is the home of corporatism and the nanny state. This is why Ezekiel Emanuel feels comfortable telling you that after 75 you have no reason to live and why Ginsburg can tell a poor woman that the nation is better off if she allows her child to be medically dismembered.