In Praise of Things Breaking Down
My father was a master grade electrician and for a while he worked at the Ballantine brewing facility in Newark, N.J. Once, during a family car trip, he pointed it out as we passed by. I remember a huge expanse of buildings and cylindrical structures. He said an important machine used in their operation was malfunctioning. They had been nursing it along by fixing it piecemeal, and, my father explained, although they could continue to do so, eventually that approach would present other problems to the overall health of the device. The correct thing to do was to rectify the situation once and for all. However, the only way to do that was to let the thing break down entirely! My father proposed they allow him to sit in front of this massive machine and observe as its functions faltered one by one. In this way he could pinpoint the circuitry problem. This would require “going off-line,” which is anathema in business—as they say, time is money. But after weighing the cost/benefit concerns, the company decided to take the plunge. So my father sat in front of the behemoth and watched until it failed completely. Then he identified the origin of the malfunction, and repaired it.
When it comes to complicated machinery, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and let the thing break down altogether in order to figure out what’s wrong. Perhaps the complicated machinery of government and social systems have something to learn from this. For instance, consider the widely accepted “moral justification” for abortion: It’s built on manipulated vocabulary (healthcare!) and the idea that terminating a pregnancy may be the only path to women’s equality. But mostly it’s justified by the insistence that they’re not killing anything because there’s nothing to kill, and science supports this. Of course, this is not true. Science recognizes that life begins when sperm and egg combine, initiating cellular division and the development of a unique human being—the highest form of life. The abortion rights “moral” position is not based on science but on an artful definition of viability, and on women’s liberty to choose when to abort and if to care or not. Just because some doctors approve of elective abortion doesn’t make it science-based—or blessed. Some doctors don’t approve , and there are others who once performed abortions but stopped because of empirical observations they made during the process. But what has really closed minds and hearts is simply that for a long time abortion was legal in every state, which afforded it a type of national imprimatur that encouraged the suspension of personal conscience. With the overturning of Roe, the morality freebie proponents had gotten used to was taken away from them. The result is raging, incoherent anger, not encountered when their abortion “machinery” was humming along.
For me the dumbest thing about the breathless press coverage of the Democrats’ “Big Win” in the 2022 midterms was the praise heaped on Biden—that the victory was a testament to his strength as a leader and a favorable report card on his administration and its policies. Horse feathers! What happened was women—and men—threw a temper tantrum in the voting booth because the Supreme Court overruled the abortion-on-demand regime of Roe. v. Wade. Now Republican politicians are getting jittery. And no matter how much they “moderate” their message they’ll still be punished for daring to defy “sacred” abortion (as former New York mayor Bill DeBlasio described it). The handwriting on the wall says they’re going to get steamrolled by the Democrats. Which is likely to happen. And although it will be rough going at first, there may be an upside in the long run: Sweeping the elections because of abortion rage means other unchecked woke policies will be ushered in too.
For example, policies such as a “wealth” tax, which is a levy on the total value of the assets a person owns—real estate, bank accounts, financial securities, etc.. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders hope to lull people into believing such a tax would be only for the wealthy, which can have a hate-the-rich popular appeal, but would that small targeted group hold over time? Experts aren’t so sure. Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, has warned: “Once enacted . . . the liberal politicians would push to lower the wealth tax into the middle class.” Indeed, how often does it happen that when big government identifies a way to take more money from people they opt to forego it?
Some states already mandate woke pronoun usage, with non-compliance punishable by fines or loss of employment, or both. What if it becomes the law of the land? And what about the dangerous proliferation of gender ideology? The Biden Administration’s Department of Justice recently filed a lawsuit against Tennessee over that state’s new laws banning the insane “transgender” practice of genital mutilation surgery for minors, made all the more insane by the spectacle of parents indignantly demanding “treatment” for their “trans kids” in the name of civil rights. We’re just being good parents! As Aldous Huxley wrote: “To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’—this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.” That’s a good fit for “moral” abortion and woke cancel culture as well.
This kind of overreach is what happens in a one-party environment. I live in a one-party state, New York, and in a one-party town, New York City. Believe me, you do not want to live in a one-party country. But that is where we’re headed, and it’s because the “righteous indignation” of abortion-rights devotees kicks into high gear whenever anyone challenges their contention that “It’s not a baby.” And it doesn’t really matter to them if it’s at conception, six weeks, twelve weeks, fifteen weeks, twenty-three weeks and six days, or even if the child makes it out alive but isn’t in their game plan. No apologies! They are very powerful, in lockstep, and well-funded. They’re going to get everything they want by winning elections for a while. And then . . . the overall health of the country will suffer. Thanks to the holy sacrament of abortion the woke crazies will cause our republic to stumble and fall one system at a time. Again, when it comes to complicated machinery, or complicated systems, maybe you just have to bite the bullet and let the thing break down altogether. Then people will see clearly what abortionism has wrought.