Chelsea Clinton’s recent remarks about the economic benefits flowing to society from abortion are pure, retrograde paganism. Is that really who we are?
The other day I did a post about the neo-paganism that seems to be sweeping the more savage parts of the world. I ended with a throwaway paragraph about Chelsea Clinton’s recent comments about abortion. Thinking about the matter, I believe what Chelsea said deserves more attention. Before I get to Chelsea, though, let me do a bit of background about past pro-abortion arguments.
For decades, since the lead-up to Roe v. Wade, the Left has always framed abortion as an intensely personal, necessary choice for women.Abortion, we are told, spares them from becoming the pariah status of unwed motherhood — although any negatives associated with unwed motherhood vanished decades ago. Then, still assuming the long-gone ignominy of unwed motherhood, abortion advocates assure us that, without abortion, all those soon-to-be-shunned unwed mothers would end up dead in back alleys with coat hangers protruding from their bodies.
We’re also told that abortion prevents women from becoming worn-out baby making machines. The image is of the faded 35-year-old with seven children clinging to her skirts as she stands barefoot, pregnant yet again and, of course, in the kitchen. This argument, which dates back to Margaret Sanger’s time, ignores birth control entirely. As it is, one can buy myriad over-the-counter forms of birth control (condoms, sponges, gels, and foams). There are also all sorts of prescription options, such as the Pill, IUDs, diaphragms, and hormone implants that last for years.
Barack Obama made the matter less pragmatic and more emotional when he explained that he didn’t want his young daughters “punished with a baby.” I know that he was focusing on teen pregnancy, but that’s an awfully broad statement to make. You certainly can view pregnancy and motherhood as punishment. Pregnancy is terribly hard on some bodies, labor hurts, and children mean that the mother’s needs (assuming she is not narcissistically focused on herself) always come second. Sleep? Forget about it. Peace and quiet? It is to laugh. Me time? In your dreams. Money? Well, maybe, but not for yourself. Career advancement? Infinitely more difficult.
To the extent Obama was talking specifically about teen pregnancy, he’s right that it creates a tough road to hoe should the young mom keep the baby. Many of these teens aren’t married, which means that poverty is a real threat. In addition, if they dreamed of a career and an education, without family help they’ll have to put those dreams on hold until the child is older. The solution, though, should be to change the culture by encouraging teens away from sex (and especially drunk sex), not by urging them to terminate their pregnancies.
So yes, one can argue that babies are a punishment. But what Obama, a father of two, ignored, is that there are also tremendous rewards. If you’re even a marginally decent mother, your children will love you. We throw the word “love” around with abandonment (“Ooh, I love your hair!” “I love Tom Selleck.” “I love ice cream”), but in truth it’s a rare and precious commodity. From children, it’s especially precious, because they love with their whole hearts. Even your teenager, sneering at and fighting with you, still loves you terribly and craves your respect and love right back.
The other thing about children is that they force us to grow into our best, most mature selves. I am not saying that people who are childless whether by choice or circumstance cannot be mature people who have developed into their best selves, but with childless people, that maturity is a laudable conscious choice. For the rest of us unthinking people, children force that development on us whether we want it or not. In the beginning, some mothers (I was one) may resent being relentlessly pushed away from self-centered perpetual adolescence, but I suspect most of us, looking back, would agree that we have benefited from the maturity that biological destiny has forced upon us.
So yes, you can view children as a punishment, because having them is an endless challenge, or you can view them as a blessing. I choose to do the latter.
Lastly, there’s the argument that abortion is necessary in cases of rape, incest, or imminent maternal mortality due to the pregnancy. The majority of Americans do not argue with abortion under these circumstances, especially the last named.
In any event, I hope that I’ve shown that the traditional pro-abortion arguments have always focused tightly on women and their real or alleged needs. the argument is always “Feminism demands abortion because women. . . .”
But Chelsea Clinton . . . well, Chelsea Clinton has raised things to an entirely new level:
“Whether you kind of fundamentally care about reproductive rights and access, right, because again these are not the same thing — if you care about social justice or economic justice, agency — you have to care about this,” she said, according to a clip published by the Media Research Center. “It is not a disconnected fact … that American women entering the labor force from 1970 to 2009 added three and a half trillion dollars to our economy, right?
“The net, new entrance of women — that is not disconnected from the fact that Roe became the law of the land in January of 1973,” she said. “So, I think, whatever it is that people say they care about, I think that you can connect to this issue. Of course, I would hope that they would care about our equal rights and dignity to make our own choices, but if that is not sufficiently persuasive, hopefully some of these other arguments that you’re hearing expressed so beautifully will be.”
To rephrase, child sacrifice improves the economy.
In older, pagan societies, this was phrased a little differently: child sacrifice promises a good harvest.
Take the Maya, for example:
To the Maya, death and sacrifice were spiritually linked to the concepts of creation and rebirth. In the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya, the hero twins Hunahpú and Xbalanque must journey to the underworld (i.e. die) before they can be reborn into the world above. In another section of the same book, the god Tohil asks for human sacrifice in exchange for fire. A series of glyphs deciphered at the Yaxchilán archaeological site links the concept of beheading to the notion of creation or “awakening.” Sacrifices often marked the beginning of a new era: this could be the ascension of a new king or the beginning of a new calendar cycle. These sacrifices, meant to aid in the rebirth and renewal of the harvest and life cycles, were often carried out by priests and/or nobles, especially the king. Children were sometimes used as sacrificial victims at such times. (Emphasis mine.)
As the following quotation states without digging too deeply into any one society, human sacrifice to ensure crops was a fixture in the pagan world:
For good harvests, early farmers were eager to please the gods by sending them what gifts they could. It was believed that killing someone or an animal sent that creature, in the form of spirit, to the invisible world of the gods. People saw the sending of one or a few members of their society to the gods as a good bargain insofar as it served the survival of the entire society. Or someone might be sacrificed who had been a stranger seized on some pathway or held captive from war, perhaps after a purification ceremony – solving the problem of what to do with war captives.
Animal and human sacrifices appear to have been less prevalent in societies of hunter-gatherers, such as those on the plains of North America and in Australia. Sacrificing people took place among agricultural people in the Americas, such as the Olmecs. It took place in India and among farmers of Europe and the Middle East. Ancient Chinese farmers sacrificed. So too did the Egyptians and others in agricultural Africa. And sacrifice appears to have been part of the culture of Hebrew herders: the Old Testament describes the god Yahweh testing Abraham by telling him to take his son Isaac to the land of Moriah to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains there.
That mention of the sacrifice of Isaac from the Bible is a reminder that the Jewish God was the first God in history to say that he did not require human sacrifice to appease him. The Jews therefore abandoned human sacrifice early in their history, even as it continued for thousands of years all over the globe. Indeed, in more primitive corners of the globe, human sacrifice to improve harvests still exists:
The Indian police are investigating the death of a 55-year-old man beheaded in what is thought to be a ritual sacrifice intended to conjure up a better harvest.
The headless corpse of Thepa Kharia was found in his house in a remote village in the state of Jharkhand, eastern India.
Kharia’s brother told police that a group of occultists, known as Orkas, decapitated the man after breaking in his house in order to carry out a sacrifice calling for more rain and better crop yields.
And here’s Chelsea, daughter of one president and another wannabe president, telling the world that we can get better economic yields, which is the modern equivalent of better crops, by killing babies.
Incidentally, Chelsea claims to have Left the Baptist faith over abortion — when she was a philosophically-deep six year old:
“I find it quite insulting sometimes when people say to my mom, my dad or me . . . that they question our faith,’ said Chelsea. “I was raised in a Methodist church and I left the Baptist church before my dad did, because I didn’t know why they were talking to me about abortion when I was 6 in Sunday school — that’s a true story.”
“My mother is very deeply a person of faith,” Chelsea said. “It is deeply authentic and real for my mother, and it guides so much of her moral compass, but also her life’s work.”
“I recognized that there were many expressions of faith that I don’t agree with and feel [are] quite antithetical to how I read the Bible,” Chelsea said. “But I find it really challenging when people who are self-professed liberals kind of look askance at my family’s history.”
Let me say again what I always say when I write these pro-religious posts. Humans are infinitely fallible. As the horrific pedophile scandal once again enveloping the Vatican and the Catholic hierarchy generally shows, evil people will abandon moral teaching and do vile things. But it doesn’t mean the teaching is wrong. It means the humans are wrong.
The problem with paganism is that the teaching is wrong. Unlike the Judeo-Christian tradition that values the individual and reviles human sacrifice as one of the world’s great evils, the pagan tradition places no value on the individual and elevates human sacrifice as a societal good for economic reasons. To the extent Chelsea, despite her claimed religiosity, is arguing for mass human sacrifice to help improve the American economy, that’s pure paganism.
What that means is that the Progressives, through the Democrat party, are pushing pagan rituals on a nation that once firmly categorized itself as Judeo-Christian, complete with the values flowing from that belief system. Once upon a time, Progressives pretended to operate without the parameters of these religious traditions (“it’s for the good of women”), but Chelsea stripped that mask off. Core Leftist believers still want to sacrifice infants to the Gods of Plenty.