• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Debate Not Needed

The News: Amid much controversy, President Obama gave a commencement address at Notre Dame University where he called for a vigorous national debate on abortion.

The Note: Good God no!! The last thing this country needs is another consuming debate on abortion. The issue is intractable. It cannot be solved reasonably because there is, as yet, insufficient data as to when the foetus becomes a sentient human being with all essential faculties -- although science is close to answering that question. Alas, even given a rational basis for making decisions as to when and under what circumstances there exists a human life warranting legal protections, the consensus will be torn asunder from all corners by religious and philosophical irredentism.

No. What the country needs is a debate about our concept of society and the mode of production we need to adopt in order to provide social justice and an ecologically sustainable economy. We need to debate issues such as whether education should be the pathway to debt and whether illness the occasion for reaping profits. We need to debate whether we want to live in a militarized police state or whether, as a nation, we have something more to offer the rest of the world than being tuff and kicking ass. We need to debate the difference between living with one another as opposed to living next to one another.

There are many things we need to debate and abortion is not one of them. A person interested in producing fundamental social change would not call for a distracting debate over an emotionally charged issue beyond resolution or consensus. In fact, one might very well think that such a call was little more than an intended distraction aimed at preserving the statu quo.