Yesterday we wrote about Michael Tomasky’s piece titled ““The Right Wants to Freedom Us to Death.” Today we have Michael Gerson’s Washington Post column, “How is the GOP’s coronavirus recklessness compatible with being pro-life?”
Here is a taste:
During last week’s budget negotiations, and as America prepared for the full-scale arrival of the omicron coronavirus variant, every present Senate Republican voted to “defund” the federal vaccine mandate on businesses, the military and the federal workforce. This indicated a political party now so intimidated by its liberty caucus that senators such as Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine felt compelled to bend the knee. It was a collective declaration of utter madness.
This is the strangest political cause of my lifetime. In the midst of a public health emergency that has taken more than 1 of every 500 American lives and which has reduced average life expectancy by 1.67 years (reversing about 14 years of life expectancy gains), Republican officials are actively discouraging citizens from taking routine medical precautions for their own welfare. This is not just a disagreement about policy. It is a political movement organized around increasing the risk of death to your neighbors, particularly your ill and elderly ones. And while it is certainly selfish, is not ultimately self-interested. Fatalities have increased especially in Republican-leaning portions of the country. A death cult has adopted a death wish.
For the “don’t tread on me” crowd, this is part of a consistent ethic of death. By some recent measures, almost a third of Republicans say political violence may be necessary to “save” the country. Most of these advocates have spent many years being desensitized to bloodshed; they have been told that a portion of their fellow citizens are the embodiment of evil and bent on their destruction. A philosophy of freedom has been transformed into a means of dehumanization.
This sets up a serious conflict at the heart of Republican ideology — at least for those who still put stock in political consistency. The other visible wing of Trumpism is made up of antiabortion evangelicals, whose support explains much of Donald Trump’s political rise and endurance. But whatever view you take of the antiabortion movement, it is essentially communitarian, not libertarian. There is no rational way to advocate this viewpoint that does not involve the community of the born defending the interests of a voiceless, helpless group of nascent humans.
In fact, this communitarian case is one of the main ways the antiabortion movement remained viable during the decades it was encouraging the selection of conservative judges who find Roe v. Wade an abomination of judicial overreach (which it is). Influenced by Catholic social teaching — and asserting historical continuity with the civil rights movement — many Republican leaders adopted a tone of inclusion in their discourse on abortion. They talked of a “culture of life” in which the unborn were protected by law and by love. They urged a more expansive definition of the human community.
Read the rest here.
Vaccines save lives, but many evangelicals oppose vaccine mandates because they say that such mandates violate their liberties. In other words, they are willing to privilege individual rights over human lives. But when it comes to abortion, many evangelicals are unwilling to give women the liberty to control their bodies because abortions take the life of the baby in the womb.
Let’s be consistently pro-life. People’s liberties do not extend to threatening the life of another human being.