Friday, August 01, 2014

NOONAN: YOUR MISSING LIMB IS AN ABSTRACTION, SOLDIER

The subject of Peggy Noonan's hand-wringing today is the increase in America's political polarization. Why are we more divided now? Noonan has a theory -- and it's a crock:
My concern the past few decades has been that we've lost or are losing some of that give, that divisions are sharper and deeper now in part because many of the issues that separate us are so piercing and personal. Vietnam and Watergate were outer issues. Many questions now speak of our essence as human beings. For instance: In the area of what are called the social issues, there are those (I am one) who passionately believe there must be some limits on what is legal, that horrors such as those that occurred in the office of Kermit Gosnell remind us that at the very least babies viable or arguably viable outside the womb must be protected. They can't just be eliminated; if that is allowed we have entered a new stage of barbarism, and the special power of barbarism is that once unleashed it brings more barbarism. A worldview away—a universe away—are those who earnestly insist that any limit on a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy constitutes an illegitimate restriction on the essential rights of all women—that abortion is a personal concern, not a societal one.
So, to boil all this verbiage down: We're more divided now than we were forty years ago because the burning issues of the day are visceral -- abortion, for instance -- whereas, four decades ago, we were merely arguing over the likes of Vietnam and Watergate, which were "outer issues."

For the moment, let's ignore the fact that we were also arguing over abortion forty years ago. And let's ignore the usual Peggy Noonan solipsism (Everyone in America is obsessed with the same issue I am!)

Think about what Noonan is saying -- yes, she's right that Watergate didn't affect most Americans personally on a gut level. But Vietnam? Seriously? Abortion involves blood and guts -- but war doesn't?

We lost 50,000 troops in Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese died. Limbs were lost, faces were disfigured, emotional compasses were permanently shattered. War is hell, Peggy. It's an "outer issue"? Yes, it was to you and most of your Georgetown friends, because few of them had (literally) any skin in the game.

****

Then again, I don't believe abortion is anything more to Noonan than an abstraction. She wants us to believe that she weeps for the "babies," but what's important to her is the belief that God and the conservative movement will put a gold star on her forehead because of her piety about the "babies." Yes, I believe her feelings on this subject run deep -- but what they touch is a deep, profound wish to be regarded as morally superior. Her God and her movement hand out gold stars to people who despise abortion, but they don't hand out gold stars to people who despise war. So she doesn't care about war.

Here's a song for Noonan:




(Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.)

12 comments:

aimai said...

The Argument from Gosnell is particularly galling since the very reason Gosnell existed is that safe, legal, and feminist options had been eliminated for the desperate women who went to Gosnell and who were, in one case, killed by Gosnell.

Gosnell isn't an argument against abortion any more than John Wayne Gacy is an argument against surgery. Gosnell is an argument for a free, fair, open, clean, regulated, abortion clinic on every corner with safety ratings for the women published openly.

Nefer said...

"Vietnam and Watergate were outer issues. Many questions now speak of our essence as human beings."
---------------------
Sure, Pegs, you gin-sodden dolt.
Because waiting to hear that your lottery number came up and your possible death sentence could arrive at any moment was "outer."

Wondering who you were (am I a draft-dodging coward if I go to Canada or a patriot who won't support an unjust war? or am I a patriot if I go to war? but I could die for something that I don't even believe in!) doesn't speak to "your essence as a human being"? Wondering if your parents would disown you and regret your very existence if you made the wrong choice doesn't speak to "your essence as a human being"?

Why does anyone actually give this incoherent, wrong on just about anything, prattling ninny a platform to spout her drivel?

duffandnonsense said...

"She wants us to believe that she weeps for the "babies," but what's important to her is the belief that God and the conservative movement will put a gold star on her forehead because of her piety about the "babies." Yes, I believe her feelings on this subject run deep -- but what they touch is a deep, profound wish to be regarded as morally superior."

Of course, you are entitled to your *opinion* as to Ms. Noonan's motives but as you offer up not a shred of evidence in support you will understand my failure to give it much weight.

David Duff

Victor said...

derpandnonsense,
You must never have read any of Lady Peg's columns before.

She oozes out 'moral superiority' in every column, like a deer that's been hung-up to bleed out.

duffandnonsense said...

Possibly, Victor, but equally possibly, she is indeed 'morally superior' - dread thought!

Victor said...

derp,

Peg's a sociopath and a sycophantic gin-soaked twit with a thesaurus, and an abiding love of powerful conservative psychopathic men - especially her beloved Ronnie.

There are plenty of people morally superior to me.

Peg, ain't one of 'em!

Gerald Lillpop said...

I thought she drank Vodka. Huh, you learn something new every day.

Victor said...

She'd drink Sterno when she visits, if that's all you have around the house!

tgchicago said...

Duffandnonsense,

How can you have read this post yet still suggest that Noonan has true moral superiority?

I'm sure that for her and her cohort, Vietnam was indeed an "outer issue" which was not "piercing and personal". But for the thousands of young draftees who were personally pierced by Viet Cong bullets and shrapnel, it was no "outer issue". The issue dug inside of their flesh and bone and blood.

Her inability to think outside of herself and her personal circle shows a crippling solipsism and a gaping chasm of morality.

(Then again, that characteristic is typical of conservatives.)

Her answer to the Bush torture regime was that we should ignore their crimes and "just keep walking". She says this because she can only relate to the Republican officials who ordered the torture, not the poor brown foreign people who were their victims. Much like Vietnam draftees, she seems unable to even conceive their perspective; perhaps she even fails to register their humanity.

She has few moral inferiors.

James said...

It was a mere 44 years ago that Ohio national guardsmen murdered a group of college students.

Jesus Christ, Peggy is a fucking moron.

Aunt Snow said...

This is a first for me. I've never ever seen someone defend Peggy Noonan before.

Ken_L said...

People like Noonan still don't get the depth of the anger and disgust, not to mention the final disillusionment, that so many of us felt and feel about the Iraq invasion. One could at least argue about Vietnam that America was intervening in a civil war - unwisely, no doubt, and with awful consequences, but it was possible to believe that the errors were made out of admirable motives. No such argument was available with regard to Iraq: it was just a giant lashing out in immature and brutal fashion at a pygmy, and exactly on a par with other aggressive wars which have been rightly condemned on a bipartisan basis in the past. The invasion of Iraq marked the day the American Exceptionalism myth was finally laid to rest, and the USA was revealed as just another bully-boy willing to kill and immiserate foreigners to protect its empire.

Not outer reasons at all Peggy, and somewhat more significant in the grand scheme of things than your lot's endless obsession with abortion.