Blowing Out the Moral Lights Around Us
Something for the weekend. A tribute to our 16th President to the tune of Ashokan Farewell. Today is the 202nd birthday of Abraham Lincoln. As faithful readers of this blog know, I write quite a bit about him. I do not do so only out of historical interest, but because I also believe that Lincoln, and his fight against the great moral evil of his day, slavery, is highly relevant to our own time. Lincoln noted time and again that the pro-slavery forces, by their defense of slavery, were attacking the foundation of American liberty, the Declaration of Independence, and “blowing out the moral lights around us”.
Now, if you are opposed to slavery honestly, as much as anybody I ask you to note that fact, and the like of which is to follow, to be plastered on, layer after layer, until very soon you are prepared to deal with the negro everywhere as with the brute. If public sentiment has not been debauched already to this point, a new turn of the screw in that direction in all that is wanting; and this is constantly being done by the teachers of this insidious popular sovereignty. You need but one or two turns further until your minds, now ripening under these teachings will be ready for all these things, and you will receive and support, or submit to, the slave trade; revived with all its horrors; a slave code enforced in our territories; and a new Dred Scott decision to bring slavery upon into the very heart of the free North. This, I must say, is by carrying out those words prophetically spoken by Mr. Clay, many, many years ago. I believe more than thirty years when he told an audience that if they would repress all tendencies to liberty and ultimate emancipation, they must go back to the era of our independence and muzzle the cannon which thundered its annual joyous return on the Fourth of July; they must blow out the moral lights around us; they must penetrate the human soul and eradicate the love of liberty; but until they did these things, and others eloquently enumerated by him, they could not repress all tendencies to ultimate emancipation.
I ask attention to the fact that in a pre-eminent degree these popular sovereigns are at this work; blowing out the moral lights around us; teaching that the negro is no longer a man but a brute; that the Declaration has nothing to do with him; that he ranks with the crocodile and the reptile; that man, with body and soul, is a matter of dollars and cents.
In our time the advocates of legal abortion are doing precisely the same insidious work. The Declaration enumerates certain inalienable rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Abortion takes away the First Right, the right to life. It cheapens the value of life for all of us, by holding that the right to slay the weakest and most vulnerable among us is a constitutional right. It gives aid and comfort to those among us like the sinister Peter Singer of Princeton who hold that human life has no intrinsic value, and that parents should be allowed to kill their newborn offspring if they wish, and that some “defective” infants should be killed on the spot by the attending physician. Close to a million unborn children are put to death in this country each year legally by abortion and such a mass annual slaughter teaches us that the worth of a human life is really no greater than what it costs to snuff it out.
Lincoln is an inspiration to all of us who fight this great fight to end the evil of legal abortion. In ensuring the right to life for the unborn we protect the right to life to all. If we fail to win this fight, sooner rather than later none of us will have a right to life, and society will ever be extending the bounds of those who have “inconvenient” lives: the mentally handicapped, the aged, the infirm, the weak. Lincoln foresaw such a spreading danger if the fight against slavery were lost.
And when, by all these means, you have succeeded in dehumanizing the negro; when you have put him down and made it impossible for him to be but as the beasts of the field; when you have extinguished his soul in this world and placed him where the ray of hope is blown out as in the darkness of the damned, are you quite sure that the demon you have roused will not turn and rend you? What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. These are not our reliance against tyranny All of those may be turned against us without making us weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us. Our defense is in the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism at your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.