In the few days since the fall of Roe, we have been inundated with cries of the loss of (perceived) rights and shouts of frustration from those who believe their rights have been violated by sending the issue of abortion back to the states in which they live. It’s an interesting argument, that women have lost the right to abort because the court held that the law should be written in the halls of state legislatures rather than in the chamber of the US Supreme Court, but the law is clear if you have actually read and respect the Constitution. Strict constructionists have ruled the day and those who have become accustomed to liberal judicial activism ruling in their favor are having a hard time handling the paradigm shift.
Despite politically charged calls for packing the court, I don’t believe we’re witnessing a Constitutional crisis at all; recent SCOTUS rulings actually assert that our system works when judicial activism is left idling in the minority. That will work for people on both sides of the aisle if we have the patience to let it. However, I do believe that what we’re witnessing is a crisis of a love of self and a love of statism. Both of those are false idols; I imagine the love of self is mostly self-explanatory. The love of self is driving the calls for violence; the love of self is driving the demands for disquieted non-compliance; the love of self is driving the inordinate amount of attention to demanding sexual behavior without consequence no matter how many millions of people must die to achieve that status. Mother Teresa famously asserted, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.” I won’t dare question her wisdom.
The love of statism and even the term statism might be something more unfamiliar than seeing people wrongly demand their ability to do whatever they want whenever they want without any negative repercussions. If you’ve had toddlers, you have probably witnessed that behavior before. Adult tantrums are no more appealing or effective.
One of the lines of argument that has been weaponized in the fight to curtail at-will abortion is that of being “whole life” or “pro-life rather than pro-birth.” Progressive politicians, ministers, and activists have embraced this argument as an attempt to weaken and attack the pro-life movement. The argument is basically that if you aren’t demanding that the government increase itself in response to life, the lives aren’t worth saving. The roots of these demands are based on the false idol of statism.
Statism is defined as the concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a centralized government. It’s what Reagan was referring to when he said, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Unfortunately, not many people (or at least not nearly enough) hold that statement to be true today.
Those blindly or willingly adhering to the false God of State are those demanding more power be yielded to the government in order to resolve every possible social repercussion from the mere possibility that overturning Roe will save lives. These are the voices demanding things like Medicaid expansion, universal healthcare, increased welfare programs, expanded public education programs, and “cradle to grave” policies funded by taxpayers for governments to manage in return for the lives of babies. Their demands ignore the millions of private individuals and organizations who have been working for years doing exactly the same things they’re demanding the government now do or else. Their collectivist thinking usurps the individual on all levels for the betterment of society. Make no mistake: this is a socialist concept.
“This is the fulfillment of statism. It is a state of mind that does not recognize any ego but that of the collective. For analogy, one must go to the pagan practice of human sacrifice: when the gods called for it, when the medicine man so insisted, as a condition for prospering the clan, it was incumbent on the individual to throw himself into the sacrificial fire. In point of fact, statism is a form of paganism, for it is worship of an idol, something made by man. Its base is pure dogma. Like all dogmas this one is subject to interpretations and rationales, each with its coterie of devotees. But, whether one calls oneself a Communist, socialist, New Dealer, or just plain "democrat," one begins with the premise that the individual is of consequence only as a servant of the mass idol. Its will be done” (The Rise and Fall of Society, Frank Chodorov)
Pro-abortion activists and others shifting their demands from abortion at will to increased bureaucracy are actually calling for an intensification of statism. This deification of the State by non-believers and third-way believers as a response to the righting of Roe is the wrong answer to the wrong question. However, there are nonconformists who firmly maintain that man is made in the image of God, and that our rights are derived from the creator rather than the created; that both love of self and love for the State are false idols. We are now in the minority, to be sure, but we have been throughout history. May we be fruitful and multiply.
Stephanie Holden Smith is an experienced policy analyst, political commentator, and public speaker. Smith has worked and volunteered in Governmental Affairs in Alabama since 1997, including lobbying for a Fortune 500 company and serving as Deputy Director of Finance for the State of Alabama. She is currently the principal of Thatcher Coalition LLC. To contact Stephanie, please go to http://thatchercoalition.com. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information Commentary@1819News.com.