Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Incrementalism one more time [Jay]

This is my last comment on an exchange that correctly warns against the danger of pragmatism leading to compromise. I am posting this here to give both the concern and my response proper airing. I do think that we need to be very careful about compromising our principles for pragmatic reasons. I just do not think that this scenario qualifies as moral compromise and I defend my position below.

You and I agree on so much. I think our fundamental difference here is on how we view (1) my accepting their compromise and (2)my compromise of message by accepting their compromise.

If I say all elective abortion is morally wrong, and they say all elective abortion is morally acceptable we have two clear perspectives that are equally uncompromised. They then say to me that 95% or so of abortions are not morally acceptable and ask if I will support measures to make that statement a matter of public policy. I say all elective abortion is morally wrong, but I support your move toward my moral position.

Here we disagree. You assert that my moral position is compromised by a pragmatic decision to support the end of 95% of legalized abortions. That because I would not demand that they propose legislation that could not pass that fully agreed with my moral message I have failed to uphold the moral purity of our cause. That compromise will undermine our ability to fight the moral battle for the remaining 5% because I have confused the issue by "agreeing" that women have a right to kill babies that are a result of hard cases. If I have incorrectly stated your opinion please correct me.

What I am saying is that legally they now have the right to kill 100% of the unborn children that they wish to for whatever reason they wish to give. I am not asserting that they have a natural or moral right to do so, but I recognize that they have a legal right to do so. You and I know that this is unjust, but it is the law of the land none the less. When they say we will protect only the rights of women on the hard cases, they mean the legal right which is already in existence. I am not compromising our moral purity by ageeing to measures that will save lives. They, on the other hand, now have a morally compromised message that differentiates on semantics only. The pro-aborts know this full well which is why they are reduced to fighting all legislation tooth and nail to prevent someone, for example, being punished additionally for causing the death of an unborn child while assaulting a woman or to protect partial birth abortion. The legal message becomes fractured and inconsistent. My message and moral stance never changes and we have enacted legislation that saves lives.

In fact, this is what we do, and by we I mean all of us in the pro-life movement, every day. Sidewalk counselors, pregnancy centers, apologists, activists, and ministers. Every women that we are able to convince not to go through with it, every victory that we can get on a local level, every bill or law that we can propose to stop the abortion machine is based on one principle. We save as many as we can as often as we can. Not one of them is given their just protection under the law and so we use every means at our disposal to change that.

This incrementalism is only an extension of that principle. I can not see how it represents a moral failing on my part. I know that you want every child protected just as I do. The message is uncompromised. The tactic is every child we can save we will save until the killing stops.

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