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Square Zero

Fascism Is Wrong

Posted by Eric (November 2, 2006 at 9:25 pm)

Truth Tour at Art Institute Nov 1, 2006You wouldn’t think it was a point that needed to be made, but apparently it does: fascism is wrong. I make the point because yesterday I was called a fascist by a young arty-looking fellow in downtown Chicago. We were outside the Art Institute of Chicago holding one of our Face the Truth Tours.

The young fellow called out from across the street, “Fascist!” I held my hand up to my ear, as to say, “Explain.” “You fascist!” he cried, “You can’t decide for us what’s right and wrong!”

“Okay!” I answered. He walked on and I had time for no more response than that. But I meant that: He’s right that I can’t decide what’s right and wrong for him, or for anyone—including myself. All any of us can do is to discern what is right and what is wrong.

Such as fascism. Had the young fellow taken the trouble to walk across the street, I would have pointed out to him that behind his calling me a fascist is the conviction that fascism is wrong.

His problem, of course, wasn’t with my “deciding for him” what’s right and wrong—as if my moral opinions, simply by virtue of my holding them, constitute a bar on his behavior. No, his problem is with my naming right and wrong. And yet, he was doing just that by calling me a fascist.

If there is no objective right and wrong, no moral truth that can be discovered, known and acted upon, then there’s no basis for denouncing fascists. To call a man a fascist, then, is as much as to call him a federalist, a republican, a democrat, a monarchist, an anarchist. He holds one set of political views among many, none of which can be called better or worse, more or less right or wrong, than any other, for there is no basis for comparison; there is nothing right or wrong which his preferred system would advance or curtail.

Nor is there any point, in such a world, in complaining about a group of people standing outside a public building holding graphic abortion signs. To complain about it is as much as to say it’s wrong and we oughtn’t to do it. Which is a moral judgment of that activity. But if moral judgments are out, you can’t complain about anybody else’s actions. At least, you can’t call them wrong.

On the other hand, if there is such a thing as right and wrong, doesn’t a particular responsibility fall upon those who have discovered these things to share them with their fellow men? That’s why we were there yesterday outside the Art Institute with our signs depicting the truth about abortion.

Interestingly, our signs did not make a moral judgment about abortion—not explicitly, anyway. We were not “deciding” the moral character of abortion, but, contrary to that young man’s claim, quite deliberately leaving it up to passers by to see what abortion is and recognize that it is wrong.

We are so convinced that there is moral truth and that men are capable of discerning and acting upon it, that if we but expose the plain, graphic truth of abortion, people will recognize that it is evil.

It is unfortunate that this young man—who, as we have seen, actually does hold views about right and wrong—does not feel the same obligation that we do to share the truth. He wouldn’t call me a fascist, I’m sure (I should love to know, by the way, what definition of “fascism” can include a little handful of mild-mannered citizens shivering on the sidewalk with their protest signs). Rather believing, as we do, that other men are capable of knowing the truth, he would offer to share with me his insights on it.

But rather than discuss the matter civilly, rather then treat me as a fellow human being deserving respect howsoever much he may disagree with me and my way of life, he flung out a slur. And in that he was behaving rather like—a fascist.

Cross-posted at Generations for Life.

This entry is filed under Culture & Society, Pro-Life. You can follow responses through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Fascism Is Wrong”

  1. Karen says:

    I doubt that this guy has any clue what Fascism really is, Eric. I guess in his lexicon “fascist” means “anything that interferes with my right to have irresponsible sex and destroy any life that results.”

    Bless you, by the way, for what you did! Consider yourself blessed for having borne this insult for defending God’s children.

    Comment posted November 4th, 2006 at 6:53 am
  2. James Macchione says:

    Abortion is a terrible thing, as is war, and the 600,000 fully developed fetuses (men, women, and children) that we have killed in Iraq is also a morrally contemptuous thing.

    Hello longtime friend, I have followed you blog for a while, and posted a response long ago, but I wanted to comment on this particular issue. I am all in favor of your right to put up as many graphic abortion signs as you desire (for lack of a beter word), but let it be known, that any vote for a republican in any way shape or form this election is a stab in the back to all that is good and right and virtuous.

    I know you have always sort of hung your hat on the abortion issue (as well as birth control); I have always looked at things through a different lens. My fear is not fascism, but rather corporatism…what this current administration has done to the middle class, their hypocrisy of shouting morals from the highest mountain only to secretly be involved in all sorts of hideous scandals from corruption, to sexual misconduct with minors, to buying drugs from male prostitutes.

    I realize that this is sort of off topic and I’m not trying to hijack your original post, BUT I’m so fed up with people who speak the moral high ground and tell me of objective right and wrong (which I do believe in, by the way), and then secretly give us the finger and support and participate in all of the things they claim to detest.

    Abortion, while evil, is no more or less evil than the war in Iraq, than the current administrations inability to take care of the living with a decent wage or a decent healthcare program. While I am concerned with abortion, it is down on my list, and it is past so many things that the right wing and the republican party scoff at and sneer at, that I can’t conceive of how any Catholic…how any Christian anywhere can support a government, prop up a government that has garnered its power by lying to its people, betraying their trust, and killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people for absolutely no reason….

    So fasicism does exist, and chances are most of the people who read your blog regularly will be supporting it come election time tomorrow by voting for Republicans and the lies that they represent.

    Comment posted November 6th, 2006 at 12:09 pm
  3. Eric says:

    Jim—Thanks for dropping by the blog. I’m glad to know you’re reading it from time to time. But it you read it a little more closely I think you’ll find little reason to mount your anti-Republican soap box here.

    I’ve had very little to say about politics here. I think politics is important, even vitally so, but I take a rather hard-nosed realist view—one which ironically would be as objectionable to many of those I work closely with on the abortion issue as it would be to you. But I am far more interested in other things, as I think this blog demonstrates.

    So I would beg you not to conflate my views with those of what you imagine to be the typical pro-life voter. We can argue about whether it’s worse to vote for a candidate who condones the killing of 1,000,000 unborn babies per year or a candidate who condones the killing of 125,000 Iraqis per year (to take your number, though Iraqi Body Count gives a max of 50,446 as of today). It would seem by your logic that one cannot vote for anybody on election day, and perhaps that is what you think (and it might even be a position that can be defended), but I will only be willing to discuss these questions if I can do so on my own behalf, and some kind of grotesque caricature of a conservative Christian.

    As for abortion versus war, I’m not sure in what scales one would weigh two different evils. You might want to take a look at an article on the Pro-Life Action League website that I wrote on the question “Where do you stand on war?” But I will say this: I do not draw the distinction you apparently do between a “fully developed fetus” and a fetus in utero.

    In fact, an adult is not a “fully developed fetus” and more than he is a “fully developed child” or an “underdeveloped senior.” A healthy human being at the fetal stage is precisely as developed as he is meant to be as a fetus, just as a child is as a child, an adolescent as an adolescent, etc.

    If there were something more inherently wrong about killing an adult than killing a fetus, it would follow that there is something worse about killing an adult than killing a child, and yet our moral sense is precisely the oppositise—which is precisely why much more is made of the killing of Iraqi children than of their grandparents.

    What makes feticide less objectionable to many is that the fetus is so “other” to us; the life of the fetus is hidden, and even to behold it is somehow to destroy what that life is, the qualities of mystery, intimacy, extreme delicacy proper to it. At the same time it is the “otherness” of Iraqis that makes their deaths more palatable to the American people. So I would suggest that it may be unwise to unlink the two.

    Comment posted November 6th, 2006 at 6:15 pm
  4. Karen says:

    James,

    Yes, abortion actually IS more evil than the war in Iraq (which isn’t really “evil”, meeting the qualifications for just war in the Catholic Church). It’s no more “evil” than World War II.

    Abortion is not only murder, but murder of the most innocent and most utterly defensely human beings– those not yet born. They have no defense, they can’t even CRY. And not only that, but they’re being killed by the very person who is charged to love and protect them: their mothers. So there is an element of betrayal as well that is not there when a stranger murders another stranger.

    Comment posted November 9th, 2006 at 8:10 am
  5. Very Rev. Fr. Gregori says:

    In Response to the Posting by James Macchione:

    Sir, I would like to ask you a question, in regard to your statement: “that any vote for a republican in any way shape or form this election is a stab in the back to all that is good and right and virtuous.” My question is, What in heavens Holy name makes you think that the Democrats are any different? As a matter of fact, like it or not, they are even worse then the Rebublicans…
    Please go to my website at: http://www.freewebs.com/archimandrite_gregori and click on “My Blog” in the navbar , then scroll down to the article titled “THINGS TO MAKE AN ANGEL WEEP” read the whole article then click on the link to Ted Gunderson’s site and read what is there it will shock you and open your eyes. Ted Gunderson is a retired former FBI district head.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating Republicans over Democrats because I think both parties leave a lot to be desired, but all this garbage about the Dems restoring morals and decency and honesty is getting a little stale and people better open their eyes. Go to my site and check it out for yourself and you will see what I mean.

    Fr. “Abouna” Gregori

    Comment posted November 18th, 2006 at 7:42 pm
  6. Vladimir says:

    Eric,

    I’d recommend you at least check out Hadley Arkes’ fantastic work, “First Things”. He tackles much of what you do in this thread.

    Comment posted February 8th, 2007 at 3:27 pm
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