I am not quite sure why Tomi Lahren’s Blaze program was suspended for a week—I suspect her incoherent and indefensible flip-flop on abortion politics embarrassed a number of people over there and they were scrambling to save as much face as possible—but in the end I do not particularly care. Conservatism has little use for “Barbie-style talking heads with little specific expertise or experience.” I hope Lahren finds something gratifying and worthwhile to do, and I hope that the people who originally boosted her rather superfluous media career have learned something valuable about the vetting process, namely that there should be one in the first place, and that you should use your brain in the course of doing it.
Anyway, there’s been some strong pushback against the conservative criticism directed at Lahren, with a number of people complaining that “censorship” is the province of the Left, not the Right, and that it should stay that way. That’s entirely true—regardless of what Sara Haines believes, when it comes to the “social issues” like gay marriage and abortion and men using womens’ bathrooms, the modern Left is increasingly as viciously uniform and uncompromising as the WPK—but in this one instance it also seems to be beside the point: Tomi Lahren believes it should be legal to kill innocent human beings in cold blood. Is it not unreasonable to maybe kinda sorta believe that this opinion—I don’t know—doesn’t really belong in polite society?
To be clear, I’m not advocating that we mount a public campaign to root out, expose and expunge all pro-choicers from the conservative movement at large. But there is nonetheless a baffling cognitive dissonance at work here. Concerned over Lahren’s potential ousting at the Blaze, Noah Rothman said:
Maybe I’m over thinking it, but if conservatism is unavailable to those who aren’t pro-life absolutists, many will be jettisoned.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman)
Well, maybe he’s right and maybe conservatism should’t be “unavailable to those who aren’t pro-life absolutists.” But what does “absolutist” in this case really mean? Simply that you believe innocent human beings—all of them, every single one, from the tiniest and most helpless of them on up—should not be murdered. That’s it. “Absolutism” in this instance is actually a wholly unremarkable position in which to find yourself: who among us wishes to defend the cold-blooded murder of innocents?
Consider an alternative scenario: a law is proposed in Congress that would make it legal for parents to kill their two-year-old toddlers if they felt like it. Some people (Peter Singer, maybe, and his more devoted students) support this law; others (everyone with a conscience, and even a few Democrats) oppose it. Would it be appropriate to call the latter group “absolutists” on the subject of toddler-murder? Or would you just call them…I don’t know…normal, healthy people? And moreover, would you want to associate all that much with the former group?
The political and cultural language of abortion is fraught with this weird, indefensible duality: one the one hand, “absolutists” who are uncompromising and inflexible on the subject of murdering human beings, and on the other hand, “moderates” who are more thoughtful, who understand the complexity of this issue, who may or may not have “personal beliefs” about murder but who nevertheless don’t want to impose such beliefs upon the rest of the country. None of this really makes any sense. Let us not forget that we are discussing homicide: the intentional killing of real, live human beings. The people who cup their chins, thoughtfully nod their heads, and come to a complex and introspective conclusion on the subject of baby-killing are not “moderates,” properly understood; there is nothing centrist about legalized abortion, especially for those who are on the receiving end of it.
Everyone, in any case, is an “absolutist” when it comes to his own life. No man has ever held a moderate position on a gun barrel pressed into his temple: “Well, gee, I guess I have to weigh my own personal beliefs about the inviolable sanctity of my own life versus your desire to blow my brains out.” No, the thought is always the same: “Please don’t kill me.”
Nobody is ever criticized for holding an absolute position in this regard. It is a wonder, then, that we so often criticize people who hold the same beliefs on behalf of the unborn.