It is not a frequent occurrence for me to find myself in agreement with David Frum. Nevertheless, when Frum writes of Doug Kmeic, a pro-life supporter of Obama, that he has descended into sheer foggy unintelligibility, I am compelled to agree. Consider this exercise in tumescent obfuscation:
Thus, as I see it, it is a choice between two less than sufficient courses:
(a) the continuation of an effort to appoint men and women to the Court who are thought willing to overturn Roe through divisive confirmation proceedings that undermine respect for law and understate the significance of non-abortion issues in a judicial candidate’s evaluation; or
(b) working with a new president who honestly concedes the abortion decision poses serious moral issues which he argues can only be fully and successfully resolved by the mother facing it with the primary obligation of the community seeing to it that she is as well informed as possible in the making of it.
It is a prudential judgment which course is more protective of life.
As I recall, Hegel, renowned and reviled for the turgidity of his prose, was more lucid than this.
Here's what's really going on: Doug Kmiec, a former dean at the Catholic University of America, has decided that quitting Iraq is more important to him than stopping abortion. Fine! His call! It's a free country!
And that is quite right. Kmiec is entitled to his conviction that the war in Iraq is an unjust boondoggle, and that the capture-the-courts strategy of the pro-life movement isn't all it's cracked up to be. I agree with the first conviction, and have some degree of sympathy for the second, as I indicated in a post expressing my irreconcilable opposition to John McCain's candidacy. But that great gust of verbal vapor is doing more than merely veiling the Iraq issue behind the abortion question; it's also fudging that question itself. Consider Kmiec's (b), which, being translated, means that abortion raises serious moral issues which can only be resolved by an informed choice, underwritten by the community. That could mean that abortion instantiates a conflict of value-judgments, which is only resolved by a choice, but that is to say no more than what orthodox cultural liberalism says in its more sober moods: yes, there's a conflict there, but it's her body, so she decides. It could also mean that a moral dilemma is resolved by a content-neutral choice, but that is to say that moral controversies are resolved non-morally, which is utterly unintelligible. Further, it could mean that abortion presents a moral dilemma, which can only be resolved by an informed choice, 'informed' implying all of the substantive facts about the
Just say it, man: you oppose the war, and Obama is more likely to end it than McCain (not much more, in my judgment, but there you are). Please, though, abstain from acts of self-deception where abortion is concerned; at least let us be clear about that.