The Beautiful Lie
Here’s a new 11-minute video from the Planned Parenthood expose. If you can’t watch the whole thing, start at the eight-minute mark:
We were on the patio of a casual restaurant within sight of the gentle Beaver River. Between us and the riverbank was a pristine lawn, crisscrossed by walking trails. The weather was mild and clear. Around us, people conversed contentedly while dining wholesomely and affordably, in perfect security. To all appearances, here was the very image of the good society: pleasant, safe, and prosperous.
I mused aloud: Unless a person is steeped in a tradition of moral theology, the notion that our culture is in a state of decay will sound simply incredible. The secular citizen might acknowledge an injustice here, a minor outrage there—but the MacIntyrean concept of a new Dark Ages? Madness.
But as the ongoing Planned Parenthood revelations demonstrate, our Potemkin society conceals more than just notional corruptions.
Like Justice Kennedy, we use soft language to conceal hard truths. There are the guilty euphemisms of the abortionists: “products of conception,” “tissues,” “choice,” and so on. And there are the more popular evasions that, while less perverse, still serve to obscure uncomfortable realities. We call the workings-out of our particular rendition of international capitalism “natural”; we look at a permanent underclass and speak of “freedom”; we give nearly every innovation, regardless of its human cost, the name of “progress.”
Oh yes. Oh yes, indeed. When I go on about the Benedict Option, there are lots of people of good will who genuinely have no idea what I’m talking about — meaning, why I see a need for this. Planned Parenthood, and the popular culture’s reaction to it, is one big reason why. The moral insanity exemplified by the rapid deconstruction of the family, and even of gender identity, and the near-irresistible propaganda machine calling it progress, is another. These are by no means the only things, but they are indicative of America’s advanced state of decadence.
At this point, I don’t see much point in arguing with those whose ideological or moral commitments prevent them from seeing what is clear to us Christians (and Muslims and Jews) who are steeped in the tradition of Abrahamic moral theology. Yes, we have to keep fighting politically to protect ourselves and our communities, but the more important fight is to build up the institutions, communities, and ways of living that will endure what is, and is to come. We have to resist. You don’t do that by simply having the right attitudes and principles. You have to live them out, consistently, in community.
But action must first begin with contemplation. We have to contemplate, without sentimentality, the character of what we are facing. David Bentley Hart:
I wish, that is, to make a point not conspicuously different from Alasdair MacIntyre’s in the first chapter of his After Virtue: in the wake of a morality of the Good, ethics has become a kind of incoherent bricolage. As far as I can tell, homo nihilisticus may often be in several notable respects a far more amiable rogue than homo religiosus, exhibiting a far smaller propensity for breaking the crockery, destroying sacred statuary, or slaying the nearest available infidel. But, love, let us be true to one another: even when all of this is granted, it would be a willful and culpable blindness for us to refuse to recognize how aesthetically arid, culturally worthless, and spiritually depraved our society has become. That this is not hyperbole a dispassionate appraisal of the artifacts of popular culture—of the imaginative coarseness and cruelty informing them—will quickly confirm. For me, it is enough to consider that, in America alone, more than forty million babies have been aborted since the Supreme Court invented the “right” that allows for this, and that there are many for whom this is viewed not even as a tragic “necessity,” but as a triumph of moral truth. When the Carthaginians were prevailed upon to cease sacrificing their babies, at least the place vacated by Baal reminded them that they should seek the divine above themselves; we offer up our babies to “my” freedom of choice, to “me.” No society’s moral vision has ever, surely, been more degenerate than that.
Wesley J. Smith predicts that none of these exposés will matter. Our society wants what it wants, and will stop at nothing to get it. It’s hard to keep fighting when you don’t see much hope for victory. You do it because it’s the right thing to do, and even small victories deny something to the enemy of life.
UPDATE: In this latest video, a Planned Parenthood official discusses how they tell the public that they’re getting fetal body parts for “research,” but concedes that it’s also a business — something that they don’t want the public to know. She also says that PP’s lawyers have it all figured out to protect them from accusations of selling fetal parts across state lines (though she concedes that’s what they’re doing). At the 8:30 part, the doctor takes the undercover investigators into the lab, where they pick through the dismembered body of an aborted fetus. The doctor talks about maximizing the profit by selling the body in pieces, as opposed to whole. She talks about how they have to work to keep the body from looking “war-torn.” And the medical assistant at the end, picking through the body parts with tweezers, says excitedly, “And another boy!”
Not “a male fetus” — a “boy.” It was a boy, and now, because Planned Parenthood killed him, what was a boy became material for scientists to pick through looking for bits they can use.
This is what we do in our country.