Monday, September 01, 2008

A point of rhetoric

In the recent discussions of Sarah Palin's youngest child and now of the pregnancy of her teenage daughter there have been numerous iterations of the "courage" of Palin in "choosing to have her child though he has Downs Syndrome—we will leave aside the deep insult that this is to people with Downs, many of whom I have counted as friends—and know of the "pride" that her family has in their daughter for "deciding" to keep the child. While this rhetoric may serve Palin and McCain well, it is utterly confused. Palin believes—or claims to—that abortion is immoral, it is the taking of an innocent life. We call the taking of an innocent life murder
So, if Palin really believes what she claims to, her rhetoric and that of her supporters makes no sense. We don't speak of the courage of someone who doesn't commit murder when it might be more convenient so to do. We don't speak of pride in the non-murderer when they decide not to murder. It may be that she and her daughter are praiseworthy for doing what is morally required, some might say, in a society where many do not, but only exactly in the same way as one is when they refrain from any other immorality. It is not as if she has done the supererogatory.

3 comments:

KT said...

Isn't there something at least slightly admirable (slighty, mind you) about the following two properties being co-instantiated in the same person: being a US politician and speaking one's actual (not merely politicallyh expedient) convictions.

Wish that it weren't so...

But I agree that she hasn't done the supererogatory.

Tyler said...

I think you are right. And, I don't mean to sound like the liberal who secretly thinks either she or her daughter ought to have aborted. But it seems to me that she ought to say that aborting her own child was not an option and that they are proud of their daughter, not because she decided to keep the baby, but because she chose to do the right thing. It's a slight difference but a real one if one really thinks that abortion is seriously immoral.

kt said...

agreed