Beelzebub’s Earl Grey

July 15, 2010 § 23 Comments

A nice herbal infusion of “only three terrorists waterboarded”, redux.

Or, in this case, just a few trivial “non-elective” abortions funded.

This is all a “major storm in a tiny teacup”, of course, part of a Calvinist-Republican conspiracy on the part of people (like the USCCB) who hate health care reform for other reasons. It isn’t consequentialism when leftist Catholics support state-funded murder as a regrettable “necessary evil” in the pursuit of their good ends. Really. And anyway, leftist Catholics aren’t “supporting” state-funded “non-elective” abortions. They are just refraining from criticizing it, and launching attacks on anyone who does criticize it. Not the same thing at all.

What it is, though, is participation in a propaganda campaign in favor of not just legal abortion but funding of abortion. Which, as we know, is – participation in such a propaganda campaign is – never licit.

Leftist Catholics have it all wrong in my view (not that any seem interested in my opinion). I think there is a lot of truth to the notion that right-wing criticism of abortion funding and other wickedness tends to be partisan: that funding of abortions through private insurance plans is a vile wickedness which has been largely ignored, for example. That makes this a “teaching moment”: a good leftist Catholic could in theory be first in line to vocally oppose the wickedness perpetrated by the Obama administration, and could tie in criticism of private funding.

But that is just a theory. The “good leftist Catholic” seems to be a mythological creature.

A cup of sewage plus one drop of tea: sewage. A cup of tea plus one drop of sewage: sewage.

I’ve said this before in so many words, and I’ll say it again. It seems to me that when you elect a guy and engage in years-long public advocacy of his policies, you bring upon yourself certain very grave obligations. One of those grave obligations is to be first in line to criticize the wicked and despicable elements of his policies. Spending every public word attacking criticisms of those wicked elements is just knock-knock-knocking on Hell’s door.

I hear the tea there is pretty tempting.


§ 23 Responses to Beelzebub’s Earl Grey

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Hey, the HHS secretary has issued a press release. _That'll_ settle those darned whining pro-lifers.

    What's it going to take, a documented case of an abortion for non-Hyde reasons covered under this plan? And then they'll say it's a fluke, I guess.

  • JohnMcG says:

    I wish we could all wake up in the morning and forget we ever supported a political party.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Heh. MZ says at W4 that I “may be the most dishonest person [he's] encountered on-line,” apparently because I didn't fall down and grovel in response to the HHS secretary's press release (aka smoke screen issued for damage control purposes after the pro-lifers caught them).

    That must be a pretty fierce competition, so I think I should be complimented.

  • zippy says:

    may be the most dishonest person [he's] encountered on-line

    Good grief.

    One of those classic self-revealing lines. There should be a philosopher's term for a kind of statement which appears to be about something else but which is more revealing about the speaker than anything else: intensional displacement or something.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    About the only thing I'll acknowledge is that it would have been better if I had said something about the HHS press release earlier in that thread so as to prevent MZ from feeling ignored.

  • JohnMcG says:

    This is playing out, almost exactly as I predicted, sadly.

    HCR won't end up paying for abortions, not because it can't or those behind it wishes it wouldn't, but because groups like the NRLC will be watching like hawks to ensure it doesn't do so, all the while enduring brickbats from those who inisted it would never pay abortions.

    Later, they will claim vindication that HCR does not fund abortions, forgetting that this is only because NRLC and other groups wouldn't let it happen.

  • JohnMcG says:

    C'mon Lydia — it's been up for a whole 12 hours!!! Don't you think your failure to note and remark on it is a much bigger deal that the possible government funding of killing?

  • M.Z. says:

    Since I linked to the press release on Lydia's post within minutes of her putting up the post, I don't think she is in a reasonable position to complain of not being aware of it JohnMcG.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    MZ, I put up the post last night and then went off to, you know, put the kids to bed, live, sleep, all that stuff people do when they aren't on the Internet. I got up this morning, found out various parts of what the latest pro-Obama spin is, and responded to one part before responding to the other part, all within minutes of getting on the computer. I got around to your HHS press release eventually; be happy. Now you can make fun of everything I have now said on that topic–over the course of a whole series of comments.

  • JohnMcG says:

    Yes, that's the real story. And Mark Shea is really mean to torture advocates.

  • m.z. says:

    I have no intention of doing that. I didn't even link your post in my commentary complaining about coverage. I thought I had made a reasonable assumption that when you called me by name that your statement had reflected my comment in the post. You've claimed that isn't the case and claimed embarrassment, and I'm willing to leave things at that. I don't really see any profit in us discussing this further, so I'll drop out at this point.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    John, in terms of outcomes, I actually hope that you are _right_ that the hawk-like watching will be effective and that this will be headed off at the pass, as it were.

    In a sense, I'd be glad to be proved wrong by that in terms of the actual effect of the fallout from the NRLC statement followed by the HHS press release. The way that the Vox Novans are writing, of course, this is all a matter of objective “controlling law.” Well, that really appears to be baloney. When it comes to bureaucracies, “guidance,” and all the rest, things are far more fluid than that. The plan prima facie covered all “non-elective” abortions defined in an extremely broad way, and this was not somehow contrary to some iron-clad “controlling law.” The HHS has chosen to make a statement which _may_ in the end have the effect of preventing that abortion coverage that was otherwise reasonably inferred in the plan. I am dubious about this but, again, would be But if so, it will be about a prediction of the effect of the HHS's actions now, in light of the publicity. It won't be a matter of being “wrong about controlling law” or anything of that sort, as the Vox Novans wish to imply concerning pro-lifers.

    That's where what you are saying, John, is spot-on.

  • JohnMcG says:

    I'm not sure my result is all that happy since it means that pro-life groups are expending their efforts playing defense rather than offense.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    No, not a happy result, but if it happened, better than being ineffective. Even at the price of being called “liars.”

  • JohnMcG says:

    What I keep trying to tell them is that if they are really concerned about private insurance covering abortion, and they also want government-run health care, then health care reform with groups like NRLC serving as a watchdog for funding of abortion represents the best of all worlds. Abortion funding is driven out of the shadows into the light where it can be rooted out.

    In other words, they should welcome the scrutiny of NRLC and other groups, because it strengthens their case for government-run healthcare.

    Unfortunately, their interest in this issue seems confined to using it to call pro-life groups like the NRLC hypocrites.

  • JohnMcG says:

    The other part that absolutely drives me more bonkers than it should is people who have been arguing for years that health care reform is a moral imperative to get it out of the hands of those evil insurance companies, and then say that it is unfair to criticize health care funding of abortion because that is a feature of the status quo.

    If we can't expect government-run health care to be *better* than the status quo run by those evil insurance companies, what exeactly is the point?

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Nonono, you don't understand, John McG. The respect in which it was supposed to be better is purely economic and related to their views of “economic justice”–not making a profit, allegedly making it easier for the poor to receive health care, making things free (like today, when I hear that Obama is _ordering_ that certain forms of routine care be provided for free), and the like. Being morally better in the area of abortion provision (i.e., not providing it) was never one of the things they were seeking as an improvement in the first place.

  • Andy says:

    If we can't expect government-run health care to be *better* than the status quo run by those evil insurance companies, what exeactly is the point?

    Obviously, the point is that more people will have paid access to abortion, err, healthcare.

    I wonder what the folks at VN think of Planned Parenthood's award to Pelosi for passing the health care reform bill, more specifically, for blocking the anti-abortion Stupak language. If the Stupak language didn't do anything to stop abortion funding in the bill, why was/is Planned Parenthood so against it?

  • c matt says:

    There should be a philosopher's term for a kind of statement which appears to be about something else but which is more revealing about the speaker than anything else

    Is the psychological term for that projection? Seems it could work as well as a philosophical term unless it's already taken.

  • victor says:

    Even “better” is when MZ says of the NRTLC: “It has been apparent for awhile now that in their ideal world abortion would be funded just to keep the issue as a cudgel.”

    Nothing like attributing unsubstantiated and darkly sinful motives to your idealogical opponent (i.e. that the NRTLC secretly endorses government-funded abortions and is lying to world about their true motives).

    This level of intellectual dishonesty (I can't be wrong, so my opponent must be lying and murderous to boot) is seriously borderline demonic.

  • Anonymous says:

    “A cup of sewage plus one drop of tea: sewage. A cup of tea plus one drop of sewage: sewage.”

    Great analagy for the “lesser of two evils” argument. If you have cup of pure sewage vs 25% sewage – both are evil. Even a drop of sewage in you tea renders it evil. But if you are in a desert and the choice is a cup of sewage or a cup of tea with one drop of sewage, you may have to settle….


  • JohnMcG says:

    The problem is that these partisans are forever trying to convince us we're in the desert and must “ACT NOW!” and that this is THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVER!!!

    And they succeed.

    Then in four years, we're somehow back in the desert again.

  • Willy the Goat says:


    That's a valid point: even the cleanest water in the world has impurities in it. If you waited until you had it absolutely pure, you would die of dehydration.

    I am not sure how to apply it here. Maybe a situation where the law and the culture filters out all but a couple hundred abortions per year, and don't attempt to be even more thorough than that in law enforcement or it may be counterproductive? I dunno.

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