Saturday, June 21, 2008

“right to life”: a political tool

A highbrow article today about absurdity of the “right-to-life” movement reminded me that there is often a surrealist disposition in the high journalist voice—call it a philosophical import of the highly raised eyebrow (so entertaining in Gail Collins' columns, so overtly surreal in Mareen Dowd's columns). Factuality about uncanniness can’t easily hide (to this reader) a sense of drollness, if not cynicism about the ordinary theater of there being no theater.

It's something, I think, that must become the fate of the seasoned journalist who doesn't quit the world to do gardening in some backcountry. Though journalism is always in a mode of raised eyebrow, the reality cramps the eyes, as the hand must still write objectively.

After witnessing so much "suffering caused by war, hunger," etc.—and so much duplicity—the journalist goes on writing anyway (thank goodness), about The Way It Looks, objectively speaking, in the economy of what can be witnessed. All the world's a theater where Derridean quote marks are annuled, as all words are already always traces protected by the fair game that we must nevertheless hold sacred.

I often think that success in educational reform undermines Republicanism, so "No Child Left Behind" is really about keeping "the assault on reason" properly governed. No wonder China is such a great investment opportunity. "But I digress" (Gail Collins might say).

Indeed, "creating a 'culture of life' is a multidimensional task" Task? (I’m quoting from the writer’s fine article, but it’s dated by its orientation by the 2008 election season; I’m not recommending it—but a link is at the end here.) If you take all of the standardly-hot-button issues as somehow belonging together (Choice, same-sex rights, evolution, etc.), the Somehow (the "etc"-ness of it all) is an epochal challenge to self understanding.

Religion arose amid the insatiable need for population growth, a matter of public health at heart vested in a moral compass that illiterate society could understand. The legacy of population maximization is deeply enmeshed with the conception of morality as such. The Pope must say what the Church is all about. The Bible is what it is. And that's the way it goes.