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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The defense of any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhileration of a vice

Whoa boy, ain't that the truth, Mr. Chesterton. Transport oneself to a college campus and the rush from robbing a bank might be less than that from actually doing something in public against the culture of death. I present here a situation, not for the sake of bragging, but rather for consideration -- what do we regard as appropriate responses to situations of moral distress? The student minions of Planned Parenthood were set up at a table at lunch today, inviting people to sign form letters to their Senators promoting Roe and the continued enshrinement of infanticide as the lynch pin of our legal and political discourse. I (after gathering the gumption necessary for an act for which I am assured both no aid and antipathy) walked over to the table, picked up the stack of letters, flipped through them, said "I have some friends who would be interested in these [a true statement -- I have some misguided friends] -- this ought to be enough [I didn't say for what, mind you], thanks [common courtesy]." I then walked off with the papers and ran all of them through a shredder. I was later tracked down by one of the girls who had been working the table, and who I sort of vaguely know. She insisted that my actions were "childish," amounted to a vulgar term for bovine manuer, and were something for which she did not "have time."

Now, before you go a) agreeing with her, or b) directing the same sorts of comments towards me with which Mr. McMorrin was bombarded when he engaged in a minor act of arson, allow me to say a word or two. First off, you have a situation in which someone is both engaging in an immoral activity and encouraging others to do so as well -- roughly speaking, aiding and abetting the culture of death. Individuals have a responsibility to prevent or stop morally reprehensible activities if they are able to do so through appropriate means. That is, it would not have been acceptable to burn the building down or kill the people working the table in order to stop them. I maintain that absconding with and destroying a pile of paper is the most efficacious way to stymie such activity. The paper is of no moral worth in and of itself, nor could it properly be defined as the property of the students at the table, since a) the letters had likely come from PP and b) they were in their possession temporarily for the purpose of being sent elsewhere -- like a couch on someone's curb.

I find the charge of acting "childish" the most interesting. And here I am going to say something unusual: I think it is both accurate and praiseworthy, when properly considered. We use the term as a criticism, but when it comes to moral matters, who should we seek to imitate, the child, who has a fundamental and straight-forward view of right and wrong, or the sophisticated and "nuanced" adult, who is personally opposed to abortion but thinks it should still be legal? Children do not always grasp the repurcussions and intricacies of some moral problems, but most issues are not that complex -- ordinarily a child can offer a very straightforward solution to a question that befuddles older thinkers more concerned with extraneous matters. Children follow through a blind and loving faith. Adults create intricate systems for killing children, destroying societies, and convincing themselves that nothing they do is ever wrong.

Perhaps it is a mistake to post this. Perhaps it was a mistake to shred half a ream of Planned Parenthood form letters. But honestly, I am tired of being walked on by people like this, tired of the garbage that goes on around me and the double standards of academic righteousness. I can steal an American flag, desecrate, and burn it, and be hailed as an innovative thinker and a defender of everything Good and True. But all I have to do is think that people ought not to do things that will result in the damnation of them and their associates, and suddenly I'm a theocrat. Whatever-it-is-these-people-believe-in forbid that I actually do something that actively interferes with them doing it. That's for the birds.

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Blogger Layla said...

And here, folks, you see why I love this man.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Jason said...


Bravo. Good for you.

I completely agree with your reasoning. Since the papers in and of themselves are valueless, you are free from any sort of moral obligation not to destroy them. That is to say, in such a situation wherein you are faced with the promulgation of evil, holding back such evil is not only a good but indeed a necessary action- without, of course, resorting to evil actions yourself (although, of course, one wonders if it would be evil to perform retroactive abortions on abortion advocates?).

Additionally, very interesting point about the childish nature of your actions and I'm very glad you made it. It is indeed true, for it has been said that out of the mouths of babes shall come the Truth, no?

Cheers and good job.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

There was an interesting discussion at Southern Appeal a while back on the retroactive abortion question. The general consensus was that, in a social vacuum, it was moral to kill an abortionist (but not simply an advocate) in order to stop an abortion underway or immediately impending, just like you could kill a person who was committing a murder on the street. However, most people seemed to think that the negative social impact such an act would have on the pro-life movement would actually result in more children being aborted. Thus, since you'd be causing a greater evil than you would be stopping, the action is no longer justifiable. Unless, I suppose, you were able to kill all the abortionists in the country within a short period, but that's another can of worms

7:49 PM  

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