ONE More Time: it's not the human capacity for lying that surprises me. Nor even the borderline religious fervor with with it's carried out in the public press these days (like Oscar Levant, who knew Doris Day before she became a virgin, I'm old enough to remember the Press before it was liberal). Instead it's the sad, if not wholly unexpected, recognition that we've raised an entire generation of Americans who think "Lies" and "(Begrudged) Facts" are the two sides every argument is supposed to have, and are therefore entitled to equal amounts of our attention. Or else they're lying about it.
Take that title. Please. Within a few paragraphs we'll be allowing as how Kagan didn't "play doctor"--that is, she neither gave nor altered any medical advice--and by this time we'll have dispensed with the "scandal" bit, albeit inadvertently.
And by the half-way point Saletan will be lecturing the rest of us on what is and isn't science--but that partial-birth abortion routine will remain, cocked and loaded.
So let's start there, and let's begin by saying I Don't Fucking Care. The suggestion that an entire Collegeworth of physician specialists is in on a game to crush the Life out of viable fetuses twenty-four hours before delivery, on the grounds that doing so "before" "birth" obviates a moral dilemma over Killing a Child--and all in the name of earning a few bucks--is not merely beyond the pale; it's beyond fucking tin foil. If unchecked physicians regularly behave in a way we're more accustomed to seeing in tom cats, political operatives, and oil company executives then we're in much bigger trouble than this.
And, shit, we probably are, but that's in no small part because, somehow, believing that you can crunch the bones and quaff the bodily fluids of a 2000-year-old carpenter of whom there's not one jot of evidence apparently not only gives you some divine corner on the Cosmic Right and Wrong market, it gives you the right to tell everyone else to shut up.
I Don't Fucking Care. I don't know whether D&E was, or is, overtly or cryptically, considered no better or worse than alternative methods. God, you should pardon the expression, Knows I've heard the opposite often enough. Dunno if that was considered true in 1996 and not now, or if it still goes. I Don't Fucking Care. It's between a woman and her health-care provider. Not between a woman, her health-care provider, and some lyin'-ass columnist who styles himself the last word in Compromise on the subject (that last word--please remain seated!--being "Everyone should just agree with me"). I'm gonna just go out on a limb and say that if D&E is, I mean was a regularly-selected method for late-term abortions it's because that was considered medically indicated, and not because the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Satan & Partners, LLC.
Of course it's probably enough to note that Saletan's sources on the right are The National Review, CNSNews.com, the Media Research Center, and the "respected conservative blog" Power Line. (Is it not enough evidence of what we've become to note that calling something a "respected conservative blog" is enough reason to disrespect it?) But then let's have a look at how the faux balance thing plays out. Kagan, who, we remind you, at worst got the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to agree to political wording in a political document designed not to cause one single D&E to be performed, but merely to preserve the option of doing so in furtherance of a woman's Constitutional rights and a doctor's medical judgement, a political document necessitated by the wholly emotional, phony PR campaign rhetoric of the opponents of those rights, is, according to Saletan:
being cynical about it. "There was no way in which I would have or could have intervened with ACOG, which is a respected body of physicians, to get it to change its medical views," she told senators on Wednesday. With this clever phrasing, she obscured the truth: By reframing ACOG's judgments, she altered their political effect as surely as if she had changed them.
While the gang at the National Review, et. al.:
are being naive about the relationship between science and politics
Not, mind you, cynical; not judged in the light of the previous administration's gaming climate science at NASA, or urging we "teach the controversy" over settled 19th-century biology, or, well, its crocodilian concern over partial-birth abortion. Nope. Just poor shorn lambs huddled together in a cold wind and not quite understanding where it comes from.
And this despite the fact that one side is either telling the truth or fudging it, while the other is continuing a forty-year jamboree of lying its ass off in pursuit of enforcing its own version of morality over common sense. And some guy who can't tell the difference has appointed himself referee?