Hungry, Hungry Hipppos

David Roth, Making sense of Donald Trump’s petulant reign:

The spectacle of expert analysts and thought leaders parsing the actions of a man with no expertise or capacity for analysis is the purest acid satire—but less because of how badly that expert analysis has failed than because of how sincerely misplaced it is. Trump represents an extraordinary challenge to political media precisely because there is nothing here to parse, no hidden meanings or tactical elisions or slow-rolled strategic campaign. Mainstream political media and Trump’s opponents in the Democratic Party conceive of politics as chess, a matter of feints and sacrifices and moves made so as to open the way for other moves. There’s an element of romance to this vision, which is a crucial tenet in a certain type of big-D Democratic thought and also something like the reason why anyone would need to employ a political analyst. But Trump is not playing chess. The man is playing Hungry Hungry Hippos.

No Fair

no fair

Prof. Alan Jacobs (Baylor U.), What a Clash Between Conservatives Reveals: Even if the secular left has no intention of playing fair in the culture wars, that doesn’t erase the Christian imperatives of civility and decency

Sohrab Ahmari, Against David French-ism

David French, What Sohrab Ahmari Gets Wrong

Professor Jacobs is Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Baylor University, the largest of the country’s Southern Baptist institutions of higher learning. As I read his post, I searched for enlightenment as to how I, an exemplar of the secular left, have been “playing unfairly in the culture wars.” Although I learned much from the post, I regret to report that I gained no insight whatsoever about my own unfairness.

What I did learn—from Sohrab Ahmari—is that

Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values. They regulate compliance with an established order and orthodoxy. We should seek to use these values to enforce our order and our orthodoxy, not pretend that they could ever be neutral. To recognize that enmity is real is its own kind of moral duty.

Folks, it’s us versus them.

At least, thank the Lord Buddha, we outnumber them.

Oh, That Explains It!

fuzzy headed

Kathleen Parker has helpfully explained that Alabama and Georgia enacted their new abortion laws because of pro-abortion extremism in New York and Virginia. 

Georgia legislators apparently cannot think for themselves, while Alabama senators are devoid of any moral agency. This is helpful information.

Moreover, I am pleased to report, the above insight comes nowhere near exhausting Ms. Parker’s fountain of wisdom. She goes on to explain,

Where insight fails, facts are often helpful: Biologically, life begins at conception. Full stop. A fetus is not part of a woman’s body except as is umbilically necessary to sustain its life. Otherwise, it is a free-floating human being with its own unique DNA. If left to develop according to nature’s course, the little tadpole would become a fully formed human baby and, barring unforeseen circumstances, grow up to become a regular reader of this column.

I will pass over the fact that a sperm also has its own unique DNA, as does an unfertilized egg.

And the fact that, if it were literally true that “life begins at conception,” then conception would involve the union of two non-living substances, as if you were mixing salt and talcum powder, and voilà, a fertilized egg!

But I will pause to observe that, despite her certainty about when “life begins,” Ms. Parker nevertheless is comfortable calling the Alabama and Georgia position “extremist.” Should we therefore infer that Ms. Parker would be fine and dandy with infanticide, provided the infants in question were born of rape or incest? I think not. She just appears to be confused.

Seven Takeaways

1) The issue of how to regulate abortion will never be solved by competitive hurling of adjectives at 50 paces.

2) The issue will never be solved by scientific fact.

3) The issue will never be solved by showing pictures of a fetus in at some given stage of development and saying, “Looky! Looky! Looky! And, while you’re looking at the pictures, please emote at the maximum possible level.”

4) As a practical matter, the issue will never be solved except by recognition that regulating abortion is not a matter of moral absolutes but instead a matter of finding ways to reconcile competing valid considerations. That, together with an understanding that people who would draw the line differently than you are not necessarily a moral leper.

5) Even if everyone gets off their high horse—and that’s not likely to happen soon, but please indulge the hypothetical assumption—the various states, left to their own vices, would draw the line in very different places.

6) Congress could try to draw the line, but there would be many constitutional and other obstacles in the way.

7) As a practical matter, the only entity capable of drawing the line for the country as a whole is the Supreme Court. That’s exactly what they did in Roe. If they don’t like where Roe drew the line, then they can draw it someplace else, for example, at the “fetal heartbeat” stage.

I hope they don’t, but they certainly could.