Have you always aspired to be a moralizing blowhard, but just can’t seem to get your message down pat? Are you unable to find that mix of condescension, ignorance, and absolute certainty that together make the perfect blend of sanctimonious grandstanding fit to publish on the editorial pages of newspapers across the country? Well, let me instruct you on how to make it work, using the Cal Thomas patented method:
1. Pick something either totally harmless or potentially harmful only to the individual practicing it, what is often called a “victimless crime”– that is, if people think of it as a crime at all– and condemn it vociferously.
2. Pick a few more.
3. Never shut up about them. Ever.
4. Seize upon every incidence of great catastrophe to blame it on the particular behavior(s) you have chosen, without demonstrating the slightest concern for establishing any kind of causal link between them. Exercise special diligence in doing this when behaviors that are far more closely connected to the catastrophe in question happen to be things you consider God-given rights.
5. Now, seize upon absolutely anything in order to blame the behaviors you’ve chosen, especially if you can manage to connect them causally with other behaviors you consider objectionable, again without troubling yourself at all to show that there is any actual link between them.
6. Excellent! You are now well on your way to becoming an established moralizing blowhard, in the longstanding and grand tradition of luminaries such as Robert Bork, Pat Robertson, and Tony Perkins. Hoorah! Result:
There are no new arguments about abortion, and most of us can probably recite the old ones by heart. It’s a woman’s right. It’s her body. No, it’s a separate life that is initially dependent on the woman for nourishment, but is independent of her in that it is a separate human being. Who will take care of the unwanted child if it is born? Meanwhile, adoptive parents wait desperately for a child to love. If one adopts the utilitarian view, the 55 million abortions in the U.S. robbed America of potential taxpayers. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote last week about the availability of guns in America. “When I travel abroad and talk to foreigners about the American passion for guns,” he wrote, “people sometimes express a conclusion that horrifies me: In America, life is cheap.” He doesn’t say why he thinks foreigners believe life here is cheap, but let me try to explain it. I believe it begins with the killing of unborn babies. Once the value of life is diminished in the womb, it seems to be a short step to devaluing life at other stages, such as killing people for their sneakers or gunning them down in the street for no reason. If one wishes to stretch the point even further, add easy divorce, neglected children, out-of-wedlock babies (which is better than aborting them), spousal abuse, sex trafficking and pornography. All of these – and more – contribute to a cheapening of life and of what it means to be human.
Never mind that it’s right there in the Kristoff quote why the foreigners he spoke with believe that Americans consider life cheap; Thomas is certain it’s abortion. And things like pornography, divorce, and single parenting, to which foreigners are also notoriously opposed. </sarc>
Never mind that there is no established causal link between the legality of abortion and high incidences of abuse, murder, suicide, or general violence– aka what normal, sane people would use as a means of measuring perception of the cheapness of life. Have America’s lately-rather-frequent serial killers been pro-choice as a pattern, let alone as any sort of rule? I haven’t checked, and I somehow doubt Cal has either. I do know that there is no shortage of people willing to commit violence, even murder, who are “pro-life”…
Never mind that, generally speaking and notwithstanding these serial murders, America has become less violent since the 1960’s; not more. So in addition to there appearing to be no individual correlation between acceptance of abortion and propensity toward violence, there is no societal one either.
An important point in blowhardsmanship you would do well to learn before this lesson is over: Whatever you do, in the process of tying the behaviors which you’ve chosen as the focus of your moral scolding to the downfall of society, be sure that you don’t make claims which are anything near concrete, anywhere near falsifiable, anything that could easily be disproven! Because it tends to take a bit of hot wind out of the sails.
But only a little bit. Because if you’re like Cal Thomas, there’s no shortage of people willing to donate a few puffs to the cause.