By David Gunn
Recent events have thrust the issue of abortion back into the public spotlight. Now the culture war’s battle lines are being redrawn in familiar places as pundits, partisans, and politicians line up to yell at and talk past one another. That’s unfortunate, because this issue deserves to be treated much more seriously than the political football it has become. We’re not talking about the stuff of mundane political discourse. This isn’t about marginal tax rates, trade policy, or property rights. This is about the taking of innocent human life. Even from an irreligious perspective, what more fundamental human concern could there be than that?
Conservatives are often accused of being on the “wrong side of history.” The argument goes like this: conservative values and ideals are quickly becoming outmoded, and eventually society will look back on conservative social norms with the same derision we now reserve for such historical misdeeds as slavery and institutionalized misogyny. Occasionally, there might even be a grain of truth in this line of thinking—after all, William F. Buckley once defined a conservative as someone “who stands athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’” That’s because conservatives believe that in many cases what society calls progress is in all actuality a foolhardy march toward self-destruction. “There is a way that seems right to a man,” King Solomon wrote, “but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).