After Williamson's firing, a gander at the real abortion extremists

After days of screeching from the left, newly hired conservative columnist Kevin Williamson was fired from The Atlantic after editors came up with the excuse that Williamson had "extremist" views on abortion, because he suggested in one Twitter post that anyone who has had an abortion "should be hanged."

Was his view really so extreme it was beyond the pale? Like, Nazi stuff? Well, Mother Teresa also favored punishing those who had abortions, and maybe it's significant that the two of them lived and worked in India at the same time, Williamson early in his career and Mother Teresa nearly all her life, so it's possible that Williamson, a Catholic convert, picked it up from her. The bottom line though, is that most pro-lifers aren't into that and Williamson doesn't make laws, so the controversy is rather phony. We know they wanted him out of there for having conservative views and their editor was a wimp, so out he went under the pretext of being an abortion extremist.

Ross Douthat of the New York Times points out that there really are abortion extremists out there though, and they aren't black swans like Williamson.

They are actually ordinary people, nice people, neighbor people with nice yards, and their stance on abortion under any circumstances is brimming with contradictions, showing just how crazed and extreme it is, he argued.

He writes:

By this I mean that my pro-choice friends endorsing Williamson’s sacking can’t see that his extremism is mirrored in their own, in a system of supposedly “moderate” thought that is often blind to the public’s actual opinions on these issues, that lionizes advocates for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, that hands philosophers who favor forms of euthanasia and infanticide prestigious chairs at major universities, that is at best mildly troubled by the quietus of the depressed and disabled in Belgium or the near-eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland or the gendercide that abortion brought to Asia, that increasingly accepts unblinking a world where human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form.

All this extremism has its reasons, as those tenured philosophers will be happy to explain. But everyday liberalism is sufficiently muddled between semi-Christian ideas and a utilitarian materialism that mostly the system is defended by euphemism and evasion, and by a failure to imagine oneself as all of us once were: tiny and dependent and hidden, and yet still essentially ourselves.

It's a welcome shot of reasonableness into a debate that normally is just screeches to rival what's heard in the San Diego or Singapore zoos. Read the whole thing here.

After days of screeching from the left, newly hired conservative columnist Kevin Williamson was fired from The Atlantic after editors came up with the excuse that Williamson had "extremist" views on abortion, because he suggested in one Twitter post that anyone who has had an abortion "should be hanged."

Was his view really so extreme it was beyond the pale? Like, Nazi stuff? Well, Mother Teresa also favored punishing those who had abortions, and maybe it's significant that the two of them lived and worked in India at the same time, Williamson early in his career and Mother Teresa nearly all her life, so it's possible that Williamson, a Catholic convert, picked it up from her. The bottom line though, is that most pro-lifers aren't into that and Williamson doesn't make laws, so the controversy is rather phony. We know they wanted him out of there for having conservative views and their editor was a wimp, so out he went under the pretext of being an abortion extremist.

Ross Douthat of the New York Times points out that there really are abortion extremists out there though, and they aren't black swans like Williamson.

They are actually ordinary people, nice people, neighbor people with nice yards, and their stance on abortion under any circumstances is brimming with contradictions, showing just how crazed and extreme it is, he argued.

He writes:

By this I mean that my pro-choice friends endorsing Williamson’s sacking can’t see that his extremism is mirrored in their own, in a system of supposedly “moderate” thought that is often blind to the public’s actual opinions on these issues, that lionizes advocates for abortion at any stage of pregnancy, that hands philosophers who favor forms of euthanasia and infanticide prestigious chairs at major universities, that is at best mildly troubled by the quietus of the depressed and disabled in Belgium or the near-eradication of Down syndrome in Iceland or the gendercide that abortion brought to Asia, that increasingly accepts unblinking a world where human beings can be commodified and vivisected so long as they’re in embryonic form.

All this extremism has its reasons, as those tenured philosophers will be happy to explain. But everyday liberalism is sufficiently muddled between semi-Christian ideas and a utilitarian materialism that mostly the system is defended by euphemism and evasion, and by a failure to imagine oneself as all of us once were: tiny and dependent and hidden, and yet still essentially ourselves.

It's a welcome shot of reasonableness into a debate that normally is just screeches to rival what's heard in the San Diego or Singapore zoos. Read the whole thing here.