A friend of mine on Facebook recently linked an article about abortion. The article followed the grand tradition of non-debate on the subject in which one simply redefines all terms until one's own position becomes tautological. I might deal with its particular assertions and insinuations (and the question of abortion in general) at some later date, but I was inspired to write this particular entry by the way that my friend had introduced the link:
"Hmmm....I believe we destroyed Hitler for this kind of blatant disregard for human life. Did we not?"
The statement made by my friend implies three things:
1) that our fight against Hitler was motivated solely by his evil;
2) that whenever someone acts as Hitler did, then it is both our right and obligation to destroy them as we destroyed Hitler; and
3) that abortion is analogous to the Holocaust
To begin, then, with 1. The truth of the US entry into WWII is rather less simplistic. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the US declared war specifically against Japan. Germany and Italy then declared war on the US in support of their ally. Yes, odd as that may seem, Hitler declared war on us and not the other way around. The war began, for the United States especially, as a war of self-defense against the invasion of its territories and a deliberate sneak attack against its military forces. It was later justified as a crusade against evil, as it may well have been, but the destruction of Hitler, Mussolini, et al was a geopolitical necessity. They had started a fight to the death, and it had to be finished. That was the cause; that they were monsters was true, but it was a casus belli rather than a true reason.
That brings us to point number two, which sounds very fine, of course, until one pauses to consider the implications of such a stance. Modern history is replete with evil on the grand scale--Mao and Stalin both killed more of their own people than did Hitler, Pol Pot killed a higher percentage if a lower number, Idi Amin was a despicable butcher, the crisis in Rwanda left millions dead, and Sudan suffers even as I write this--and in all those cases the United States sat idly by. In many more cases, our tax dollars went to provide material aid and succor for villains such as Saddam Hussein and terrorists such as the Contras. If it is truly our obligation to destroy all those who act in such a manner, then we have failed, utterly and completely, and stand condemned by our proud rhetoric. If indeed Hitler's evil was the sole sufficient cause for his destruction at our hands, then why have we stayed our hand when so many more follow in his footsteps, and why have we haphazardly settled on abortion as the one area out of so many to begin to rectify our failings? It seems as if the invocation of Hitler was nothing more than a casus belli itself, to disguise the true motivation. What that may be is a broader topic than can be dealt with here.
Now this brings us to our final point. Here we have abortion directly compared to the Holocaust. Yet even those who make the analogy know that it is not so. Why do I say this? Because every time that someone acts out the logical consequence of that belief, they stumble over each other in their headlong rush to be the first to condemn him.
Imagine, if you will, an underground newspaper in occupied France. With each new issue, it chronicles the horrors of Nazi occupation and the Holocaust, and calls loudly for the destruction of all those responsible. Now imagine that a Resistance fighter, emboldened by these proud words and enraged at the crimes he sees reported, assassinates Dr. Mengele. What might we expect our paper to say on the subject? Would we expect him to be hailed as a hero? Commended for his courage? Held up as an example to others to fight the good fight?
All that and more. What we would not expect, however, is the wild clamor of disavowal that followed an event such as the murder of Dr. Tiller. If you truly believe that abortion can be compared to the Holocaust, then Scott Roeder is as much a hero as our hypothetical Resistance fighter. If you consider him such, then find the courage of your convictions and say so. But if you do not, then you're no different than a Resistance newspaper running "Oh, No! We Didn't Mean for you to Kill Him!" on the front page the day after its number one reader assassinates Mengele.