So, a friend and I get talking yesterday. He's a lefty, kind of. Actually, he insists he's a middle, maybe even slightly right-shaded social democrat sort of person, and in any sensible country (like, say, Luxembourg or Denmark) he would be recognized as the moderate conservative centrist he is. Anyway, he writes like an angel and knows the political left in this country well, and he suggested we get together becausewell, because he and I are friends, and he wanted to give me a friendly warning while there was still maybe time.
The facts, he said, are these: President Bush has approval ratings so low he makes Harry Truman and Richard Nixon look like prom kings. The war in Iraq is lost, and the best scenario involves its becoming basically a client state of Iran, which hates the United States even more than Saddam Hussein did.
Meanwhile, the Democrats are circling for the kill, and they are entirely serious about impeachment if they gain the House and Senateand jail time for everybody in the Bush administration if they win the presidential election in 2008. The Patriot Act and other assertions of executive power have put power in the hands of the White House, and there will be no hesitation to use it against political enemies when the Democrats regain the presidency and a thug likeperhaps I shouldn't name him, but it doesn't matter: imagine any of a dozen well-known Democratic party operatives hereis made chief of staff to a Democratic president.
Add it all up, and the Republicans are going down. In fact, they're going down for a generation, and their opponents will be moving brutally against everybody who has had anything to do with them. So what is the pro-life movement doing associating with these guys?
Sure, surehe waved away my grimaceyou gotta dance with the one who brung you to the dance. But the dance has turned into a lynching party, and they've got the rope around the neck of your partner. Now, he said, would be a really good time for you to start looking for somebody else to take you home.
The warning came from a friend, and he was seriousnot just because he is a friend but also because, without being opposed to abortion himself, he respects the few pro-lifers he knows: their passion, their dedication, their insistence that politics be moved by moral affairs.
Start making Democratic friends as fast as you can, he advised. Give money, intellectual analysis, and political commitment to a couple that seem plausible, and boom them as hard as you canfor things could break so hard against you that your only chance to have influence for years, and maybe to stay out of jail, is to have some elected Democrats on your side.
Well, the political situation is wildly exaggerated, of course, but some of these facts are not exaggerated at all: The Left in this country is more furious than it's been since 1974, and they do believe there is blood in the water.
What's more, if they should gain massive political power, their anger would probably spill over into criminalization of as much of the pro-life movement as they could reach. At the very least, they would end any hope of overturning Roe v. Wade, and the more they can tar the pro-life movement with what they believe is a criminal Republican administration, the more abortion is guaranteed as a permanent part of the American landscape.
I still believe that the Iraq situation is winnable, and I still hold that what I called the new fusionism between neoconservatives and social conservatives has deep and perduring roots, and I still think the initial invasion of Iraq was a moral thing to do. But suppose that my friend is right about the political future of America. What ought the pro-life movement to donowabout it?
In addition to which:
Avery Cardinal Dulles says of Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, and the Splendor of Truth:
"It would be difficult to find a guide so knowledgeable, so theologically astute, and so engaging as a writer. Father Neuhaus presents the 'high adventure' of a Catholic orthodoxy that stands firmly against the winds of adversity and confusion."