Don Pesci: The moral deracination of the West

Members of  Bound4LIFE  in  Washington, D.C. , symbolically cover their mouths with red tape in anti-abortion demonstration.

Members of Bound4LIFE in Washington, D.C., symbolically cover their mouths with red tape in anti-abortion demonstration.

Leftists are winning the culture war, the war on Western Civilization, because rootless politicians have shown themselves unwilling to enter the lists and do battle with the new morality.

For this reason, American culture is being redefined – reinvented, as the leftists would have it – by social anarchists with knives in their brains. It has become fashionable among New York leftist politicians to wink at, and even to publicly celebrate, infanticide. No assault on traditional sensibilities, it would seem, is beyond the pale.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s notion that third trimester abortion is too close to infanticide to be tolerated by men and women of conscience is now regarded as embarrassingly quaint by New York’s smart set, among whom are Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, not his birth name.

Moynihan was a sociologist, the author of “The Moynihan Report,” a professor at Harvard University, a top adviser to President Nixon, and a four-term U.S. senator representing New York. He was also a proud liberal. Today, it is very nearly a philological sin to call the new moralists “liberal” in the sense in which liberalism had been embraced by Moynihan or, here in Connecticut, by such prominent governors as Abraham Ribicoff and Ella Grasso.

In Europe, the moral deracination – which, of course, marches under the banner of moral rectitude – has proceeded at an alarming rate. The Netherlands in 2005 stole a march on other morally backward-looking states by becoming the first country to decriminalize euthanasia for infants with presumed “hopeless prognosis and intractable pain. “ Nine years later, Belgium amended its 2002 Euthanasia Act to extend the rights of euthanasia to minors.

People living in the United Sates have always fancied that, though conjoined historically to Europe by history and ties of affection, there was an ocean separating us. Modern communications have removed this cultural prophylactic. Historical differences also have served as a barrier to disruptive ideas that in Europe plunged France into a bloody revolution centered on fatal utopian ideas.

Under Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin – socialists all – fascism and the totalist state were necessary and indispensable political instruments in creating what all three thought of as “the new man,” a mechanist free at last of a Western culture that had imprisoned humankind in religious and cultural chains. In a future shaped by mechanistic ideology, politics and brute force, the very nature of man would be irreversibly altered. This is, as Roger Scruton points out in his brief and indispensable history of the conservative movement in the Western world, Conservativism: an Invitation to the Great Tradition, the original sin of socialism, the absurd notion that the world may be made over anew by a transcendent state. For Mussolini, the fascist administrative state was a secular god clothed in omnipotence and omnipresence. “Everything in the state; nothing outside the state; nothing above the state” – such was the fascist definition of social bliss.

History, tradition, subsidiary political organizations such as family and church, a constitutional state, a media determined to declare the truth at all costs, modesty in politics, the good manners of polite society, respect for women, personal honor, the protections a state holds out to “the least among us” -- the infirm, the aged, the poor, victims of unfettered abortion – all these blessings were, in effect, walls and barriers that prevented a false god, the omnipotent and omnipresent state, from clawing away from us our God-given rights and responsibilities with its mechanical, inhuman talons.

U.S. Sen. Dick Blumenthal, for two decades Connecticut’s attorney general/regulator-in-chief, regards any limitation of abortion, however practical or reasonable, as proceeding from immoral premises, and he continues to insist falsely that regulations concerning third trimester abortion deprive women of a right to unfettered abortion. Limiting abortion to the first two trimesters of a pregnancy does not remove a presumed right to abortion; it simply designates the time frame in which an abortion may be legally appropriate.

At the end of May, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz sent a missive to women who own businesses in Alabama, Georgia and Missouri pronouncing themselves “appalled at… actions that erode the ability of women to make informed decisions about their health and bodies” and inviting women who own businesses in such states “to relocate your operations to a state that supports the rights of women and whose actions and laws are unwavering in support of tolerance and inclusivity.” The carefully constructed sales pitch does not once mention the word “abortion.”

Indeed, any discussion of unregulated abortion on demand, at any time for any reason, is delicately dropped from the polite conversations of the political new moralists. But the euphemisms – “informed decisions” about “health and bodies” – serve to cinch the point without discomforting women, also concerned about their health and the bodies of their unborn children, whose birth decisions may have been informed by the prevalence of ultra-sound images that show late term fetuses bearing a striking resemblance to newly born children, Moynihan’s enduring point.

The new moralists have not yet raised abortion to the level of a new secular sacrament, but the Orwellian letter from Connecticut’s governor and lieutenant governor suggest that the state’s discarded motto “Still Revolutionary” may in the near future be replaced by a new sales pitch to states considering relocation – “Connecticut: The Abortion State.”

Don Pesci is a Vernon, Conn.-based columnist.