There are no easy answers but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.
Today is my 57th birthday. I am pleased that I share my natal day with the man I consider the greatest president of my lifetime: Ronald Wilson Reagan, who was born one hundred and three years ago today in Tampico, Illinois. I greatly admire Reagan for many reasons: his wit, eloquence and good humor; his prime role in bringing about the destruction of Communism as a ruling ideology in the former, how good it is to write that adjective!, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; his restoration of American prosperity by wringing inflation from the American economy; his rebuilding of the nation’s defenses; his restoration of American pride and optimism. However, there is one stand of his that, above all others, ensures that he will always have a special place in my heart, his defense of the weakest and the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.
In 1983 Reagan submitted an essay on abortion to the Human Life Review, then and now, the scholarly heart of the pro-life movement. He entitled it, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. Go here to the Human Life Review’s website to read it.
Reagan in the article attacked Roe on its tenth anniversary and stated that Roe had not settled the abortion fight:
Make no mistake, abortion-on-demand is not a right granted by the Constitution. No serious scholar, including one disposed to agree with the Court’s result, has argued that the framers of the Constitution intended to create such a right. Shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision, Professor John Hart Ely, now Dean of Stanford Law School, wrote that the opinion “is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” Nowhere do the plain words of the Constitution even hint at a “right” so sweeping as to permit abortion up to the time the child is ready to be born. Yet that is what the Court ruled.
As an act of “raw judicial power” (to use Justice White’s biting phrase), the decision by the seven-man majority in Roe v. Wade has so far been made to stick. But the Court’s decision has by no means settled the debate. Instead, Roe v. Wade has become a continuing prod to the conscience of the nation.
Reagan saw that abortion diminished respect for all human life and quoted Mother Teresa as to the simple truth that abortion is the “greatest misery of our time”:
We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life. We saw tragic proof of this truism last year when the Indiana courts allowed the starvation death of “Baby Doe” in Bloomington because the child had Down’s Syndrome.
Many of our fellow citizens grieve over the loss of life that has followed Roe v. Wade. Margaret Heckler, soon after being nominated to head the largest department of our government, Health and Human Services, told an audience that she believed abortion to be the greatest moral crisis facing our country today. And the revered Mother Teresa, who works in the streets of Calcutta ministering to dying people in her world-famous mission of mercy, has said that “the greatest misery of our time is the generalized abortion of children.”
Reagan, ever a student of American history, tied the fight against Roe with the fight against the Dred Scott decision:
Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart. This is not the first time our country has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of certain human lives. The Dred Scottdecision of 1857 was not overturned in a day, or a year, or even a decade. At first, only a minority of Americans recognized and deplored the moral crisis brought about by denying the full humanity of our black brothers and sisters; but that minority persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. They did it by appealing to the hearts and minds of their countrymen, to the truth of human dignity under God. From their example, we know that respect for the sacred value of human life is too deeply engrained in the hearts of our people to remain forever suppressed. But the great majority of the American people have not yet made their voices heard, and we cannot expect them to—any more than the public voice arose against slavery—until the issue is clearly framed and presented. Continue reading
PopeWatch looks forward to the meeting between Pope Francis and President Obama in March. If PopeWatch may be so bold, PopeWatch suggests abortion as a topic of conversation. Yesterday the Pope tweeted:
President Obama observed the forty-first anniversary of Roe somewhat differently:
Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams. Continue reading
Brit Hume has long had my respect as one of the best journalists who has ever covered Washington. With this unsparing commentary on abortion, one of the best I have ever heard from anyone, he stands in the ranks of men and women throughout the ages who have gallantly attacked the entrenched evils of their time and ushered in better days. Bravo, Mr. Hume!
This is the 41st anniversary of the day the Supreme Court found that a generalized right to privacy it had basically invented, meant that a woman has a constitutional right to snuff out an unborn life, a human being with a beating heart. That’s what a fetus as young as six weeks is.
Small wonder these protesters still come every year to register their continuing objections. Some estimates are that as many as 55 million abortions — 55 million — have occurred since the Court acted. In that time, science has given us an ever clearer picture of just how much of a baby a fetus is. At 20 weeks, we now know, these tiny creatures can hear, even recognize a mother’s voice. Their toenails are growing and their hearts beat loud enough to be heard by a stethoscope.
The moral case for allowing such beings to be killed grows ever weaker and its advocates resort to ever more absurd euphemisms to describe what they support. They’re not really pro-abortion, they’ve long said, they’re pro-choice. This isn’t about killing unborn babies. it’s about reproductive health. And the biggest chain of abortion clinics in the country refers to itself as Planned Parenthood.
In 2012, this organization says it carried out — quote — “abortion procedures” 329,445 times. Whatever that number represents, it’s not parenthood. These protesters here today understand that there is something deeply false and wrong about all this. They come each year to remind the rest of us.
For the Lord is sweet, his mercy endureth for ever, and his truth to generation and generation.
Psalm 99: 5
At the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose no danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother but are, nevertheless, unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons — convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc. The common claim before us is that, for any one of such reasons, or for no reason at all, and without asserting or claiming any threat to life or health, any woman is entitled to an abortion at her request if she is able to find a medical advisor willing to undertake the procedure.
The Court, for the most part, sustains this position: during the period prior to the time the fetus becomes viable, the Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim, or caprice of the putative mother more than the life or potential life of the fetus; the Constitution, therefore, guarantees the right to an abortion as against any state law or policy seeking to protect the fetus from an abortion not prompted by more compelling reasons of the mother.
With all due respect, I dissent. I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally dissentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.
The Court apparently values the convenience of the pregnant mother more than the continued existence and development of the life or potential life that she carries. Whether or not I might agree with that marshaling of values, I can in no event join the Court’s judgment because I find no constitutional warrant for imposing such an order of priorities on the people and legislatures of the States. In a sensitive area such as this, involving as it does issues over which reasonable men may easily and heatedly differ, I cannot accept the Court’s exercise of its clear power of choice by interposing a constitutional barrier to state efforts to protect human life and by investing mothers and doctors with the constitutionally protected right to exterminate it. This issue, for the most part, should be left with the people and to the political processes the people have devised to govern their affairs.
Justice Byron White, from his dissent in Roe v. Wade
Andrew Cuomo, the “Catholic” shacked up, pro-abort Governor of New York, doesn’t believe that pro-lifers have any place in the state of New York. Mary Katharine Ham at Hot Air gives us the details:
Forty-eight percent of Americans and all priests and nuns are no longer welcome in the Empire State, according to its governor. Delivering a monologue on Republicans with all the hyperbole of an MSNBC anchor and none of the charm, Cuomo offered this:
You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.
… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
If they’re moderate Republicans like in the Senate right now, who control the Senate — moderate Republicans have a place in their state. George Pataki was governor of this state as a moderate Republican; but not what you’re hearing from them on the far right.”
He at least uses the liberal pejoratives for those who are pro-2nd Amendment and oppose gay marriage. “Right to life” he uses as if it’s offensive on its face. As Life News notes, he leans heavily on the President Barack tactic to simply declare everyone who disagrees with your positions in the slightest “extreme,” even if many of those people are your constituents. But how extreme is the pro-life position, even in a blue state like New York? Unlike, say, gay marriage, the polling on abortion restrictions, particularly second and third trimesters, regularly and overwhelmingly favors the more conservative position. Continue reading
Father Z has this quote from Father George Rutler:
Blessed John Paul II once submitted to an interview with the respected journalist Vittorio Messori, who asked him if he was perhaps “obsessive” in his preaching against abortion. The Holy Father replied:
“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.” Continue reading
There are times when I am very proud indeed to be a Catholic and this is one of them:
The call was the latest in a string of ‘one to ones’ Pope Francis has had with general members of the public and once again underlined his attempts at being a more human and in-touch pontiff after the ‘stuffy’ years of his predecessor Benedict XVI.
Anna, from Arezzo near Florence, central Italy, had written to Pope Francis earlier this summer to describe her turmoil at having discovered she was pregnant by a man, who unknown to her, was already married with a child and who demanded she terminate the pregnancy.
In her letter she described to the Pope her dilemma and said to him: ‘I have never been lucky with men, I married when I was young and then things didn’t work out and I got divorced. I then had a few brief relationships until I met a man who I thought was the man of my dreams.
First MOLOCH, horrid King besmear’d with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents tears,
Though, for the noyse of Drums and Timbrels loud,
Their children’s cries unheard that passed through fire
To his grim Idol. Him the AMMONITE
Worshipt in RABBA and her watry Plain,
In ARGOB and in BASAN, to the stream
Of utmost ARNON. Nor content with such
Audacious neighbourhood, the wisest heart
Of SOLOMON he led by fraud to build
His Temple right against the Temple of God
On that opprobrious Hill, and made his Grove
The pleasant Vally of HINNOM, TOPHET thence
And black GEHENNA call’d, the Type of Hell.”
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. As I have frequently said, the one non-negotiable right for most modern day Democrats is the right to kill their kids:
Iowa Democrat gubernatorial candidates Jack Hatch and Tyler Olson joined 50 pro-abortion activists in an extended prayer for abortion rights during a rally at the State Capitol on Wednesday. The noon event was meant to fire-up liberals prior to an afternoon hearing across the street conducted by the Iowa Board of Medicine regarding tele-med abortions.
Des Moines activist Midge Slater took the podium and spent five and a half minutes thanking God for abortion rights, abortion doctors and taxpayer funding for abortions. She also referred to the decision to have an abortion as “a blessing”.
While most other states are tightening their abortion laws, California is in the process of allowing non-physicians to perform abortions:
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air gives us the details:
Remember, of course, that this is all about women’s health. California already allows non-physicians to administer drug-induced abortions, but the state legislature has now passed a new law that clears nurses, physician assistants, and midwives to perform suction abortions in the first trimester:
Nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants could perform a type of early abortion under a bill approved Monday by the state Senate, leaving the measure one step from the governor.
The measure by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, would let those medical professionals perform what are known as aspiration abortions during the first trimester. The method involves inserting a tube and using suction to terminate a pregnancy.
Opponents in the legislature wondered how lowering the standards of providers could be squared with the oft-invoked concern for womens’ health from pro-abortion activists and the backers of this bill:
“Abortion is a serious medical procedure with vast complications, and I would argue that only the best-trained should conduct such an operation,” said Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber. “It has direct and profound impact on lives: the mother and the baby — and there is a baby.”
Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, said legalized abortion was supposed to end the days when women’s lives were put at risk. Yet he said Atkins’ bill would allow the procedures by providers who have less training and in clinics without sufficient backup if there are complications.
The entire effort seems very odd, especially in California. In some states, notably conservative Mississippi, so few abortion providers exist that abortion-rights activists might well demand some kind of similar relief, and probably already have been demanding it. That hardly seems relevant in liberal California, however. Planned Parenthood alone has 20 locations in the Golden State, from Alhambra to Yuba City. Access is hardly an issue in one of the most liberal states in the nation. Continue reading
You can never underestimate low, low information voters. It is a funny bit, but I wonder on campuses how many students would be willing to sign a petition allowing a mother to commit infanticide up to the age of one for the victim? I guess infanticide would first have to be defined for many of the individuals approached. If infanticide is too “harsh” a term I bet “retroactive abortion” would do the trick! Continue reading
Well, after all the sturm und drang of the Wendy Davis filibuster, Davis of course being the pro-abort Democrat Texas State Senator elected into office with the help of Ralph McCloud, director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, pro-aborts saluting their dishonorary leader, Satan, and pro-abort thugs having confiscated from them bricks, feces and urine that they intended to throw at Texas state legislators, the bill banning almost all abortions after 20 weeks has passed:
After a day filled with pro-abortion threats, pro-life people hiding in secure areas of the capitol fearing for their safety, jars of feces and urine and protestors disrupting the Senate proceedings, democracy finally prevailed.
The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks and hold abortion clinics accountable by making them meet basic health and safety standards that have closed facilities in other states that are unable to comply. The bill also requires all abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety regulations as an ambulatory surgical center, requires a doctor providing abortions to secure admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and lastly, requires a doctor to personally administer the abortion-inducing drugs to the patient.
Allah Pundit at Hot Air hits the nail on the head when it comes to the Democrat Party and abortion:
It takes integrity to conduct and then feature a poll that confirms your own readership is wildly out of the American mainstream. It takes less integrity to try to discredit your own results, as HuffPo kinda sorta does, by citing a Democratic pollster who suggests that abortion polling is always unreliable because people’s feelings change when you start talking about exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother, and so on.
This result is right in line with a recent poll of Texans, which found 62 percent support for banning abortions after 20 weeks. Turns out, when it comes to late-term abortion, America is a red state. (So is Europe, for that matter. Really red.) It’s certainly true that Americans are conflicted on abortion regs more broadly — 63 percent in HuffPo’s poll, for instance, say that abortion decisions generally should be left to a woman and her doctor, and lots of national polls show support for abortion rights during the first trimester — but no one outside of the most hardcore abortion warriors supports the practice at every stage of pregnancy. In fact, 49 percent in HuffPo’s poll said they personally consider abortion morally wrong versus 12 percent who said it’s morally acceptable and 24 percent who said it’s, er, not a moral issue.
Anyway, note the number of strong opponents in the table above relative to the other categories, just for easy reference the next time a liberal claims that it’s the GOP that’s been captured by the fanatics in its base. And speaking of fanatics, here’s the latest example of a prominent pro-choice advocate, crowned by the Democratic mainstream with official truth-to-power hero status, pointedly refusing to oppose abortion at any point during gestation:
THE WEEKLY STANDARD: [Supporters of late-term abortion bans] say there’s not much of a difference between what Kermit Gosnell did outside the womb to a baby at 23 weeks and a legal late-term abortion [performed] at 23 weeks on that same baby. What is the difference between those two?
CECILE RICHARDS [President of Planned Parenthood]: I mean he was a criminal. And he’s now going to jail. As I think you heard Senator Franken say and many women who have written about their own personal stories, it is very rare for a woman to need to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks. And quite often it’s stories like one we heard today where there is the decision of the doctor that this is the best way, the best for a woman. And the problem is when you have politicians begin to play doctor and make decisions about women’s medical care. They aren’t in that woman’s situation.
TWS: But there has been research out of, I think, University of California-San Francisco about non-medical late-term abortions. These things do happen, even if they’re a small number. I’m talking about that specific area. I mean if there were broader exceptions, would you–
She wouldn’t answer. That’s from John McCormack of the Standard, by the way, who’s well-practiced in asking national Democrats questions simple yes-or-no questions on whether there should be any limits whatsoever on killing babies in the womb and getting either semi-coherent evasions or stony silence in response. It’s the surest thing in journalism. The party’s run by abortion fanatics, so much so that they’d rather cop to their fanaticism through tacit acknowledgment than lie about it to look “mainstream.” He’ll be asking this question of other Dems for years to come. I’d bet cash money that he’ll never get a straight answer. Continue reading
On July 7 the New York Times had what is doubtless their 666th pro-abort piece this year, an op ed by a woman celebrating her mother’s abortion. (So long as it wasn’t you being tossed out like so much garbage, right honey?) If you enjoy irony, go here to read it.
Katy French, an epidimeologist has written a grand response:
Merfish writes that her mom was 20, engaged to her dad, 21, both co-eds at Texas’ “public Ivy,” the University of Texas at Austin. My mother, Terry Cavnar French, was 18. She couldn’t afford to go to an elite college, and instead, lived at home and worked her way through the local commuter college, the University of Houston. She didn’t have a fiancé to lean on (the father was not in the picture), and was barely acknowledged by her dysfunctional parents. Her ninth month was spent at a home run by Catholic Charities.
Merfish writes that her parents, though about to graduate from college and marry, were simply not ready to be parents. They drove across states lines for an abortion. My mother wasn’t ready to be a parent either. She could have driven to another state, too. Instead, she drove to college, sitting in traffic every morning with the windows rolled down to try to beat the Houston heat in those pre-air conditioning days. Merfish writes that her parents were made to “feel like criminals” by the abortionist they visited. My mom was made to feel morning sickness-induced nausea from traffic fumes during her commute, often pulling to the side of the road to throw up and then back on the road to class.
Merfish writes with pride about her mom’s choice to kill her brother or sister because he or she was a few years early for her parents’ taste. Today, I’m writing with pride about my mom’s choice to save my brother’s life and give him a loving, intact family that could provide him the life he deserved. Merfish’s mom had to endure the judgmental attitudes of the abortionist. My mom had to endure months of morning sickness and ten hours of labor and delivery. Then she endured the pain of letting another woman, a woman who was ready to be a mom, take her baby boy home.
Merfish writes of the solidarity she felt with her mom while the two of them shouted down a Texas bill that would protect unborn babies who are old enough to recognize their mother’s voice, and would require unregulated Gosnell factories to meet the same hygiene standards as medical facilities in the state. Today, I’m writing of the solidarity I felt when my mom and I recently prayed at the hospital bedside of my sister’s baby. He had just been diagnosed with a genetic disease that would cripple and kill him in a few years. If the diagnosis had come a few months earlier, when he was still in the womb, many physicians would have handed my sister an abortion referral along with the test result. We later found out that the diagnosis was wrong. Luckily for him, he has a family that celebrates his life instead of a family that celebrates the killing of children on the altar of Almighty Convenience.
Merfish’s mom married her dad shortly after her abortion. They finished college and went on to have better-timed children and, presumably, successful lives. My mom later met a dashing grad student at that commuter college. They married, graduated, had two daughters, successful careers, and are now approaching a secure retirement. Choosing life, no matter how inconvenient, doesn’t have to end anyone’s chance at the American Dream. Continue reading
Hattip to Guy Benson at Hot Air. An argument that has been part of the pro-abort playbook since Roe is that abortion reduces welfare costs:
The CBO has also concluded that aborting babies at 20 weeks or later in pregnancy saves money for the government-run federal-state Medicaid system. The CBO made these determinations when doing its official “Cost Estimate” of a federal bill that would prohibit abortions at 20 weeks or later into pregnancy (except in cases of reported rape, incest against a minor or to save the life of the mother). “Because the costs of about 40 percent of all births are paid for by the Medicaid program, CBO estimates that federal spending for Medicaid will rise to the extent that enacting H.R. 1797 results in additional births and deliveries relative to current law,” says CBO. “H.R. 1790 would result in increased spending for Medicaid,” says CBO. “Since a portion of Medicaid is paid for by state governments, CBO estimates that state spending on the program would increase by about $170 million over the 2014-2023 period. Continue reading
With the special session of the Texas legislature set to soon vote on legislation to ban abortions past 20 weeks, the Death Eaters who seek to beat back this legislation have come upon a can’t miss strategy to garner support: chant “Hail Satan.”
The same orange-clad abortion rights supporters who sent children to #StandWithWendy in Texas today holding signs like “Stay out of my mommy’s vagina” didn’t limit themselves to strictly scientific arguments for unrestricted access to abortion. Groups of protesters also countered pro-life groups’ prayers with chants of “Hail Satan.”
There’s a full rundown at Twitchy.
As one bard tweeted, at least they get points for accuracy.
At some point I’m sure I’ve read a better post than Kevin Williamson’s today on National Review about abortion. But, for the life of me, not a single one comes to mind.
I guess I’m somewhat obligated to highlight some passage or another, so here it goes:
There are many religious people in the pro-life camp, but it is not a religious question. It is a question about the legal status of an entity that is under any biological interpretation a 1) distinct, 2) living, 3) human 4) organism at the early stages of development. Consider those four characteristics in order: There is no scientific dispute about whether an embryo is genetically distinct from the body in which it resides, about whether the tissue in question is living or not living, about whether the tissue in question is human or non-human, or whether it is an organism as opposed to a part of another organism, like an appendix or a fingernail.
The pro-abortion response to this reality is to retreat into mysticism, in this case the mysterious condition of “personhood.” The irony of this is that the self-professedly secularist pro-abortion movement places itself in roughly the same position as that of the medieval Christians who argued about such metaphysical questions as “ensoulment.” If we use the biological standard, the embryo is exactly what pro-lifers say it is: a distinct human organism at the early stages of development. If we instead decide to pursue the mystical standard of “personhood,” we may as well be debating about angels dancing on the head of a pin.
The main biological question at issue is the question of “viability.” But viability is a standard in motion, thanks in no small part to the fact that in every aspect of medical practice save abortion we prefer scientific standards to mystical ones. And the viability standard is in the end an intellectual dodge as well: You will never discover if an organism is viable by setting out intentionally to kill it.
There is a great deal of vacuity in the debate. The usual pro-abortion platitudes are so far from being intellectually respectable that they are answered only out of a sense of duty, not because they deserve to be answered. “I’m personally against abortion, but . . . ” would rightly be laughed out of existence if it were “I’m personally against murder/slavery/robbery, but . . . ” Which is to say, it is a statement that is defensible only if one assumes beforehand that abortion is not a species of homicide. Similar examples of begging the question include “It’s the woman’s body,” etc. We simply must answer the question — which is a biological question, not a mystical one — of how many bodies there are in question. I count at least two in the case of abortion. “People will still have abortions, only they’ll be dangerous.” People will still commit homicides, and crime would be less dangerous if we disarmed the police and forbade victims to defend themselves. The statement, like the others, makes sense only if we ignore the salient facts of the case.
Now go read the rest. Like right now. Go.
All right. A little more.
Encountering the architectural monuments and administrative sophistication of the Incans and Aztecs, the Europeans were confounded that such marvels could be done by cultures practicing human sacrifice. Huitzilopochtli may have faded away, but career, vanity, and sexual convenience are very much with us, and they, too, are jealous gods, who apparently insist on being served in the same way. The metaphysical explanations may be radically different, but the physical facts of the cases are not entirely dissimilar. If our descendents one day wonder that savages such as ourselves flew to the moon, it will speak well of them, even as they wonder that such brilliant engineers had so impoverished a conception of what it means to be human.