Monday, December 4, 2017

The Moral Rot of "Fetuses Uber Alles"

It looks as if the election in Alabama is shifting back to Roy Moore. The Republicans who had condemned him have now embraced him, with Donald Trump giving him an endorsement today. They have made their usual Leninist calculation, as with Trump's nefarious tape, that they can win the election and face zero consequences for supporting sex abusers.

In Alabama this has to do with the fact that the state is a very conservative place where a Democrat winning is seen as an impossibility. An article in the Times today discusses this, as one Democratic operative even admits "I don't think the Lord Jesus could win as a Democrat in Alabama."One of the reasons cited in this article, and one I have seen in many articles about Moore, is abortion. Many Republican voters claim they will never support a pro-choice candidate.

I have always wondered about the limits of this, since I know a lot of people who hold similar views. For them abortion is the ultimate issue, and even when they do not like the Republicans on offer (like Donald Trump), they tell themselves "at least they don't support abortion." This is the absolution that forgives all sins. A vain, bigoted, misogynist, greedy, mean-spirited, thrice divorced man like Trump, who would seem to be the opposite of Christ's example, suddenly becomes God's anointed once he appoints an anti-abortion justice to the Supreme Court.

I have long disagreed with the Fetuses Uber Alles position, but I once did give it some respect as an expression of moral righteousness. I do not accept the premise that a zygote is the equivalent to a human being, but those I know who subscribe to this position take it very seriously, contrary to the stereotypes that many pro-choice people have. (The argument that pro-lifers are merely about controlling women's bodies is a self-serving interpretation that does not tell the whole story, and part of the reason that advocates for abortion rights keep losing, since they so fundamentally misunderstand their opponents.)

Well, those days are over. Fetuses Uber Alles is nothing but a dirty cop-out. It is an easy way for religious conservatives to deny their complicity in the horrible immorality of the policies pushed by the people they vote for. After Trump and Moore I am convinced that this crowd simply likes voting for conservatives and approves of their policies, and saying they are doing it for the fetuses gives them moral cover to be immoral. "Fetuses Uber Alles" does a lot of work in our current political discourse in this regard, which is why I am skeptical the anti-abortion Democrats can somehow get votes that would normally go Republican.

Those folks will still vote Republican, and will maybe feel a little bad when their neighbors are deported, but will always be able to console themselves by saying that they are still saving the fetuses. I honestly don't know what is to be done about Fetuses Uber Alles, because no one I know who subscribes to that outlook seems capable of being shaken from their position. As Alabama shows, it is an extremely powerful wall to break down. The only real solution is to make sure that we are more organized than they are, and I fear the necessary work in that regard isn't getting done.

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