Friday, October 17, 2008

The Culture War Today: Civil War Next?

PJBuchanan immortalized the phrase back in '88--and it's only gotten more evident, as Fr. Neuhaus makes clear.

We are two nations: one concentrated on rights and laws, the other on rights and wrongs; one radically individualistic and dedicated to the actualized self, the other communal and invoking the common good; one viewing law as the instrument of the will to power and license, the other affirming an objective moral order reflected in a Constitution to which we are obliged; one given to private satisfaction, the other to familial responsibility; one typically secular, the other typically religious; one elitist, the other populist. These strokes are admittedly broad, but the reality is all too evident in the increasingly ugly rancor that dominates and debases our public life. And, of course, for many Americans the conflicts in the culture wars run through their own hearts.

No other question cuts so close to the heart of the culture wars as the question of abortion. The abortion debate is about more than abortion. It is about the nature of human life and community. It is about whether rights are the product of human assertion or the gift of “Nature and Nature’s God.” It is about euthanasia, eugenic engineering, and the protection of the radically handicapped. But the abortion debate is most inescapably about abortion. In that debate, the Supreme Court has again and again, beginning with the Roe and Doe decisions of 1973, gambled its authority, and with it our constitutional order, by coming down on one side.

Neuhaus' phrase "...gambled its authority,..." is a very strong statement, indeed.

But accurate, as Scalia pointed out by analogy to Dred Scott.

In that case, the nation did not roll over to the 'authority' of SCOTUS, for good reason. It may come to another showdown. God help us all.

HT: Cosmos

1 comment:

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I predicted 15 or so years ago that abortion would be the issue over which our next Civil War will be fought.

Frankly, I'm surprised it's taken this long, but I still think it's coming.