Clark Carlton is a politically disaffected Orthodox paleoconservative philosophy prof. He’s slipped onto my “back burner” for a while, but he lately has been making enough sense on public affairs that I was looking forward to his long-promised controversial thoughts on the pro-life political movement.
Perhaps feeling that Summer’s over, and itching for a dust-up, his thoughts now have arrived in the form of a podcast:
On a new Faith and Philosophy, Clark Carlton argues that the contemporary pro-life movement misses the boat entirely as to the real nature of our culture’s moral and social decay.
Being provocative is kind of fun, but I should parpahrase Carlton (from memory) lest anyone think I’ve gone over to the dark pro-choice side. Phrases in square brackets are, so far as I can recall, my glosses on Carlton:
- People have abortions because [sex is fun but] babies are very expensive and time-consuming.
- Some woman in California having an abortion is not a moral issue for Carlton in East Tennessee. He’s not her judge and he’s not culpable in her sin.
- Abortion on demand as a political policy is the consequence of the move to make all persons equal — i.e., women can’t be equal, in the modern conception of equality, as long as they make babies. So feminists will, for instance, put up even with a [sexual sociopath victimizer of low status women; Carlton merely alluded to “sexual harassment”] in the White House so long as he supports abortion.
- Modern “conservatives” are just the right wing of liberalism. [Amen!]
- Republicans are insincerely prolife. [Amen!]
- [Insofar as they are fans of modern capitalism and subjectively are prolife, politicians are fools, because] capitalism is a great destroyer of traditional families and family life. It spawned movement feminism [in its desire to drive down wages by getting more people into the workforce].
- The [capitalist destruction of traditional families and the] deep roots equality feminism has sunk into culture and politics make abortion on demand as political policy well-nigh an irresistible force.
- The way to undermine abortion on demand as political policy is to not have abortions and to rebuild traditional families and real, local communities. [If nothing else, we’ll outbreed them.]
Paraphrasing his key points makes me friendlier to his position (as does Psalm 146:3), but maybe that’s just the advocate in me coming out. Further, his praise of Pregnancy Resource Centers as meaningful, local community-building is vindication, for whatever that’s worth, of where I’ve put 90%+ of my pro-life time for 20+ years.
Meanwhile, heavy-hitter Catholic pro-lifers Robert P. George and Hadley Arkes at Mirror of Justice are calling for Federal action (not local community-building) on abortion and faulting Rick Perry for vacillating on that. Their legal credentials are impeccable, and I have long admired both of them — Arkes even before George — but I think they’re missing something.
My thoughts are not yet settled on this, but I increasingly think that “unsettled” is a reasonable place to be in tumultuous times. There are “problems” in the world that have “solutions.” But there also are many intractable and hydra-headed evils in the world that have only ad hoc responses to ameliorate them.
Local community-building is a foundation for undoing a great many evils, and once we’re done with that, we’ll decide what best to build on the foundation.