18 November 2007

Mike Huckabee: The Beginning of the End

Some reports today are suggesting that Governor Huckabee of Arkansas has hit the big time among aspirants to the Republican nomination by appearing on one of the talking-head shows this weekend. These interpretations seem a bit behind the curve, since Huckabee has been getting a lot of attention, quite a bit favorable toward his personality at least, in recent weeks. If his performance today represents any kind of milestone, it probably signifies that it's all downhill from here for him. That's because he explicitly rejected the "let the states decide" position on abortion. Acting like he's Lincoln, he says a matter of moral right or wrong can't have 50 different answers. For him, then, it's Roe v. Wade or a "Human Life Amendment," i.e., a national ban on abortion.

Before today, I considered Huckabee the favorite for the second spot on the GOP ticket, especially if Giuliani were to get the presidential nomination. In such a case, Huckabee would have provided important sectional balance. He might have done similar work for Romney. Now, however, I think he can't be nominated. He has killed his chances with that one comment. If Republicans hope to take back any recently blue states, if they want to sway independents, they cannot pick anyone so clearly committed to an absolute ban on abortion. Huckabee would now be poison for any running mate. He would do not better as the presidential candidate, but that's the only road open to him now. He must seize the top spot or vanish from the scene.

I might as well make my own position clear for all my occasional anonymous visitors. Abortion is a matter of inalienable sovereignty on the part of each individual mother. The public or the nation has no vested interest in the fetus while it remains in the womb. The positions of the mother and the fetus are unanalogizable: they cannot be compared to any other ethical situation. With the minimal respect to Gov. Huckabee, abortion cannot be compared to slavery, since slaves lived in symbiosis with their plantations only in the more eccentric imaginations of slavedrivers. The only other person who ever has even a voice in the question of an abortion is the father of the fetus. He might have the moral right to prevent an abortion, but only if he accepted obligations of his own toward the child. In more cases than men care to admit, of course, fathers encourage abortions. In many more cases, they are indifferent, and in some, they are unaware of the pregnancy, much less the abortion. But even should a father sue for his right to have a son, society might want to ensure him a fair hearing, but it cannot presume its own stake in the birth. In no stretch of imagination should a fetus be considered a citizen of the United States, and only the distinctly supernatural imagination of the fetus's autonomous soul makes such contentions possible. Any law requiring a mother to carry her fetus to term is an imposition of servitude without due process, which is why a constitutional amendment would be necessary to make it happen. Such an amendment would be inconsistent with the rest of the Constitution, and while that fact alone can't prevent an amendment, it makes for a strong appeal to conscience when the time comes to vote, and a strong argument for keeping such a vote from ever taking place.


crhymethinc said...

I agree with what you say, but would like to add another argument:

On this planet right now are about 7 billion people, with the population growing at an exponential rate. A large majority of these people live in abject poverty, in conditions where it is difficult to feed themselves, let alone their children. Even in this country, there are many people who are in similar circumstances. Is it better to allow a child to live a life of hunger, need, poverty and disease than to not allow that child to be born?

The bottom line is that eventually, the human race will reach a point where the planet will not be able to sustain the population. Then what?

Samuel Wilson said...

I suspect you know that the opponents of abortion would answer your first question with a confident yes, and the second with faithful hope that God will provide, or else the selfish hope that the Rapture will spare them this tribulation also. I expect that they won't think differently until their own immediate circumstances make them doubt the worth of new life, by which point it might be too late for the rest of us.