Reformed Articles

Pacifism and abolitionism

This post was originally published on this site
It’s been a while since I’ve commented on AHA, but as I noted in a recent Facebook discussion,  AHA has conflicting principles. The ultimate priority for abolitionists isn’t to save babies but to preserve their imagined sense of moral purity. They regard incrementalism as ethically compromised. 

This means that when push come to shove, if the abolitionist strategy resulted in a thousandfold increase in abortions (or infanticides), abolitionists would continue to support it because their imagined sense of moral purity trumps saving babies. It’s not about saving babies at all, but keeping their hands clean (as they define it). If incrementalism saved more babies than abolitionism, they’d opt for saving fewer babies or none at all, rather than saving more babies but getting dirt under their fingernails in the process. They will only save babies if they can keep their white gloves pristine. They sacrifice the lives of babies to preserve their puritanical scruples rather than sacrificing their puritanical scruples to save the lives of babies.

There’s a direct parallel between pacifism and abolitionism. A pacifist deems it intrinsically wrong to take life to save life. He makes no distinction between the life of a murderer and the life of the murder victim. If he had a chance to shoot the sniper in the clock tower who’s gunning down little kids in the park, he will let all the kids be shot to death because his priority isn’t saving innocent lives but keeping his hands clean (as he defines it). He will dismiss arguments for the right of self-defense as “pragmatism,” “consequentialism,” “situation ethics,” “moral relativism”. He will categorically dismiss the lesser-evil principle or the end-justifies-the-means.

That’s directly parallel to abolitionists, only their target isn’t the right of self-defense, but incrementalism. Like the pacifist, they’d rather keep their hands clean (as they define it) than save innocent lives.