Discover more from Postliberal Order
What I Said at the Lincoln Memorial
Professor Pecknold’s speech was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for National Celebrate Life Day on the one year anniversary of Dobbs.
One year ago today, a grievously unjust law was overturned.
The story of how America came to kill, on an industrial scale, human beings in their mothers’ wombs is a terrifying one. Tens of millions of human lives destroyed. The scale of destruction is so great that, after searching for it’s closest analogy in the evil of slavery, we often look to the infanticide practiced by ancient Carthage.
Carthage was an empire of extraordinary material success not unlike our own — they valued “productivity,” they were proud of their “practicality.” They loved luxury. At their wealthiest and most decadent, they sacrificed their newborn babies on the foulest altars of false gods.
Since 1973, so have we.
For a half century, our country has “offered up” tens of millions of vulnerable human lives on a false altar of liberty. We have claimed for ourselves a license to kill the smallest people in our midst.
Yet for millennia, Christian civilization has promoted a better view of freedom — freedom is not to be found in the power to choose life or death, good or evil, but only in the power to attain some excellence, some virtue, some higher good which accords with our nature.
The false view of freedom which has come to dominate the West is essentially a repudiation of Christian civilization. It should not be surprising, then, that this false view of freedom goes hand in glove with a bad faith, manifest in those flags of the new civic religion which now fly everywhere. This bad faith is also manifest in the altar of choice, upon which we practice human sacrifice.
Jesus says we know a tree from its fruits. A false view of freedom doesn’t free anyone — the cult of choice destroys with Carthaginian abandon.
So to avoid the fate of Carthage, we must topple this false god, we must crush the altar upon which we practice human sacrifice. We must end abortion. We must end abortion with the same moral courage that we used to end slavery. We must end abortion, not through the false freedom of democratic choice, but through the true liberty of living in accord with what is right and just.
We must end abortion through the Executive power to interpret the equal protection clause of 14th amendment as including human persons in the womb.
We must end abortion through Congress, through innovative legislation that makes abortion unthinkable — ideas such as Senator J.D. Vance’s proposed “Make Birth Free” legislation, which would make it cheaper to have a baby than to kill one in this country.
But we cannot end abortion by “returning it to the states,” by relying on the democratic choosing power. We must end abortion through the High Court not only making consistent arguments about positive law, but making sure that our positive law arrives at moral judgments which are right and just.
Dobbs ended an unjust law, but it did not, and cannot end abortion.
While we have entered a much more vigorous fight for life at the state level, we must keep our eye on the prize: the fight for the recognition of pre-born persons as fully human, and so deserving of equal protection under the Constitution is our new North Star.
Carthago delenda est.