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The Thing We Don’t Talk About


In Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan poses the question: “Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature—that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance—and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?” And softly, his brother Alyosha answers: No. Today’s Democratic Party says: Yes.

My email and direct messages were filled yesterday with pro-life Americans – and even moderate pro-choice Americans – rightly distressed by the comments from Ralph Northam, the doctor and supposedly moderate Bill Kristol-backed Democrat who is the governor of Virginia, who yesterday made explicit his views concerning what is nothing less than the murder of born-alive infants.

Northam said: “When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of the mother, with the consent of physicians, more than one physician by the way, and it’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus which is non-viable. So in this particular example, if the mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen, the infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if this is what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physician and the mother.”

The full Northam interview is here, and fuller context do not make his comments any less disgusting – in fact, they make them even more eugenicist. This is not deceptive editing: it is literally a governor of a major state across the river from our capital endorsing infanticide. Northam has dismissed the situation as a frame job, but the video and text speaks for itself. His state isn’t so blue that he can do what Andrew Cuomo did, and brush off all criticism of his abortion regime as mere religious nagging.

Northam’s comments regarding the reason that most women seeking 3rd trimester abortions – which typically outrank gun homicides each year – are also totally incorrect. He claims they do so because of the non-viability of the fetus or fetal abnormalities. A 2013 Guttmacher study – no friend of anti-abortion activists – found this was not the case at all. Instead, it found: “Most women seeking later abortion fit at least one of five profiles: They were raising children alone, were depressed or using illicit substances, were in conflict with a male partner or experiencing domestic violence, had trouble deciding and then had access problems, or were young and nulliparous.” And: “data suggest that most women seeking later terminations are not doing so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment.”

The political press is letting this slide. The Washington Post published a “conservatives pounce” headline which made the storm about the bill Northam was referencing, as opposed to the words he said. Pro-life politicians would be justified in responding to this egregious and purposeful media whitewash by never answering another question again without bringing it up. “Your Medicare reform would throw people off the rolls….” “Infanticide was no big deal to your paper. Next question?” As a general rule, “we don’t do profiles with outlets that support infanticide” would prove stunningly eliminationist for our political media. Either these things matter deeply, they speak to the fundamental nature of who we are and our common humanity, or they don’t.

But should we be surprised? Are we so sure that the modern left is actually against infanticide? In looking back at the entirety of human history, the vast majority of it has been filled with blood, slavery, and child sacrifice, and the subjugation or disposal of the weaker members of the human race. It is only in the past few centuries, the blink of an eye historically, that we have become more civilized. The forces of eugenics have had to cloak their aims in a scientific-sounding melange, even as they seek what Margaret Sanger colorfully referred to in The New York Times as “the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks — those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”

The idea that for the sake of the fittest, the weakest among us must be destroyed is not a new idea. It is old as humanity, and it is the law of the jungle. The idea that Northam endorsed – a crying baby, “kept comfortable” as doctors consult with the mother about whether it ought to be revived, is as disgusting a concept as can be vocalized. But it is the reality of the regime we live under, and the regime the left wants us to live under. They will not limit their extremism to New York. They will deliberately spread it across the country, fueled by the elites who still hold Sanger’s views, the murderers who profit from it, and the media who cringes in disgust and turns away from local crime stories.

It was interesting to see that yesterday, one Virginia Democratic lawmaker said she wouldn’t have cosponsored the bill in question if she’d read it more closely, saying that “it sought to do much more” than what she wanted. But what does she want, I wonder? Does she want a country that brings itself in line with much of the rest of the world, breaking with China and North Korea to outlaw abortion after the first trimester? Does she want a country that recognizes the great stain this regime will be on our history? Or does she want a country where, thanks to our monolithic media, this deeply disturbing truth about that tiny baby desperately gasping for breath, crying for the warm touch of her mother, is just something that goes back to being The Thing We Don’t Talk About?

Because that’s what a lot of people seem to want – particularly Ralph Northam. But for this one moment, as Dr. Richard Selzer would say, we saw. And we know.