You may have seen this video of my daughter being roundhouse kicked during a pro-life demonstration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7SqtIe5rZQ. The man in the video, Jordan Hunt, is the perfectly cast villain. He has stylized himself as punk-chic gender-bender, wearing spandex tights, a lip ring, and a flower in his ear. In words and action, he compresses within 47 seconds the vicious irony of the pro-choice position. He sets himself up as a champion of women’s rights, justifying abortion with the 16-year-old-rape-victim argument. His words are fluid and dismissive, his theatrics smug and condescending—and then shockingly violent. His language purports to be pro-woman, but he actually despises womanhood (and manhood), as he suddenly assaults my daughter when she dares to point out that abortion kills the baby.
Marie-Claire is fine, thanks be to God, but this wasn’t the only incident that day. During the one- hour witness against abortion on Life Chain Sunday, a Catholic priest was punched in the face in our town, and many people were pushed and verbally assaulted.
Antifa types show no respect for free speech or the basic rights of the person. They intimidate, shout down, bully, and assault anyone who dares speak against abortion and a growing list of related “crimes” they identify with the great oppressor—Christian Western civilization. They often style themselves as transgressive gender-benders, because they despise the natural strength and dignity of manhood and they have contempt for the natural gentleness and grace of womanhood. Their gender-fluid personas are no accident; they are a philosophical statement.
Male and female are essential categories of Being. They are ever-present witnesses to universal, objective truth. They have their respective natures, rights, and duties. Therefore, according to the dictates of imposed relativism, maleness and femaleness have to be denied, snuffed out. Second only to extinguishing one’s life through suicide, the dissolution of natural sex distinctions is the ultimate triumph of nihilistic existentialism.
This past week, antifa types mobbed the D.C. home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, shouting threatening chants through a bullhorn, spray-painting an anarchy symbol on his driveway, and damaging the front door of his house. They timed the attack, knowing that Carlson was on air, at work. His wife was home alone. Their four children were not at home. A couple of weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz and his wife were run out of a restaurant in D.C. by antifa thugs screaming at them about the Kavanaugh hearings and physically intimidating them.
But of course, none of this has occurred within a vacuum. The whirlwind of anarchy is in large part the legacy of abortion culture.
When brothers and sisters have been killed by abortion, when each of us could have been killed by abortion, there exists a deep psychological estrangement from our mothers, a brokenness in all of us. We are motherless and homeless and we project our brokenness out into the world.
Every American born since 1973 could have been killed legally before birth, had his or her mother so chosen. This is worth dwelling upon. That you could have been legally killed by your mother reduces you to property over which she has dominion. This has caused a crisis of maternal estrangement far greater than we might imagine. It has radically destabilized the child-mother bond; the first and most foundational human relationship. It has made every child a contingent good. It has made our mothers both gods and devils, with the capricious power of dealing out both life and death.
For close to fifty years, American children have grown up knowing that brothers, sisters, and other children who might have been cousins, friends, or spouses are among the dead. Ghosts walk among us. We are haunted. Mostly, our awareness of this is subterranean, but occasionally it manifests in our ongoing fascination with zombies and the undead, or our own thoughts of suicide. This can’t help but cause variations of survivor guilt, which variously manifests as a lack of confidence and wholeness, or sometimes as contempt for the vulnerable.
This wounded condition of our birth has been worsened by the cold indifference of our upbringing. For close to 40 years, a majority of infants in America has been surrendered by their mothers to be raised by minimum-wage caregivers. The intimacy and love so important to infant, toddler, and child development has been long replaced by pre-packaged snacks, saccharine children’s videos, and the happy-clappy faux enthusiasm of Daycare. Childhood has become a nihilistic clown-house caricature. School provides more of the same. Suburbanized, mesmerized by TV and now smartphones, pornified and pacified, natural horizons of wonder have been reduced to just so much Disneyesque simulacra.
Now we stare into the abyss.
Jordan Hunt and the antifa thugs are statistical outliers in their extremism, but their numbers are growing. They are a real danger, capable of real violence. But in accordance with a great universal motif, their misdeeds contain within them the seeds of their redemption. There is a great self-defeating irony in anarchic activism. In the doing, one can’t long maintain a commitment to non-being and nihilism. Even among nihilists, people get together, fall in love, and take responsibility. In short, we are hardwired for natural virtue, which creates new access points for redemption.
As we enter a period of more intense political tension and maybe even violence, there are two very important things we must constantly remember. First of all, we must remember that our enemies on the Left are not other. They manifest in extreme form a wound we all bear. They are like us, we are like them. We are all wounded children in a culture abandoned by its mothers. Better still, we are all fallen. Secondly, we must remain quietly hopeful about the checks and measures hardwired within us, the natural correctives, the counter-balances that restore equilibrium, the natural virtue that bubbles forth unbidden and the openings for God’s grace, which will occur even in the hearts of our enemies.