What a smackdown!
One of the most fascinating — indeed, illuminating — exchanges to come out of the House Oversight Committee hearing Tuesday. Here is Chairman Darrell Issa grilling Jonathan Gruber:
ISSA: When you made these repeated comments [We wrote ObamaCare in such a way as to hide its costs; we counted on the American voter being stupid enough to believe us; lying is a huge political advantage, etc.] in an intellectual community with lots of other like-minded people, did anyone ever come up to you and tell you that what you were saying was inappropriate?
GRUBER: Not that I recall.
ISSA: I guess what you said was popular in that community.
What a smackdown! But so true. The “intellectual” class believes they do no wrong when they lie to you, because they are obviously so much smarter than you.
In the Los Angeles Times, Jonah Goldburg described the real genius of the smarter-than-you “intellectual” class:
[Gruber] represents the arrogance of the expert class writ large. They create systems, terms and rules that no normal person on the outside can possibly penetrate. They make life and living more complicated and then get rich and powerful off of their ability to navigate that complexity. Time and again they sell simplicity and security and deliver more complications and insecurity, which in turn creates demand for more experts promising simplicity and security the Gruberians never deliver.
It’s not that Americans are stupid, it’s that the experts have been geniuses at creating a system that makes normal people feel stupid.
Today is the anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The following day, President Roosevelt gave one of the great speeches of all time. Here is my list of the greatest speeches of World War II. (See videos below.)
- Day of Infamy — Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, December 8, 1941
- Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat — Sir Winston Churchill, May 13, 1940
- Finest Hour — Sir Winston Churchill, June 18, 1940
- Japanese Surrender Ceremony — Gen. Douglas MacArthur, September 2, 1945
- The Guns Are Silent — Gen. Douglass MacArthur, September 2, 1945
- The Boys of Pointe du Hoc — Pres. Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984
- Tear Down This Wall — Pres. Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987
What would you add to this list?
Day of Infamy — Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, December 8, 1941
With confidence in our armed forces — with the unbounding determination of our people — we will gain the inevitable triumph — so help us God.
Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat — Sir Winston Churchill, May 13, 1940
I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized …
Finest Hour — Sir Winston Churchill, June 8, 1940 (conclusion only)
Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
Japanese Surrender Ceremony — Gen. Douglas MacArthur, September 2, 1945
Note: Many of my generation owe our lives to Gen. MacArthur. He brought our fathers home alive. During the next 5 years, he would prove to be the greatest emperor Japan ever had.
It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past — a world founded upon faith and understanding — a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish — for freedom, tolerance and justice. … Let us pray that peace be now restored to the world and that God will preserve it always.
Link to full text of Gen. MacArthur’s remarks here.
The Guns Are Silent — Gen. Douglas MacArthur, September 2, 1945
Immediately after the surrender ceremony, Gen. MacArthur addressed the American public via radio. We could find no video link but you can link to audio of The Guns Are Silent here.
As I look back on the long, tortuous trail from those grim days of Bataan and Corregidor, when an entire world lived in fear, when democracy was on the defensive everywhere, when modern civilization trembled in the balance, I thank a merciful God that He has given us the faith, the courage and the power from which to mold victory.
The Boys of Pointe du Hoc — Pres. Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984
Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; …
Tear Down This Wall — Pres. Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!
by Ruby Nicdao
We overlook flippant comments, because it is critical to engage people with opposing or dismissive views and help them reason.
As one couple walked hand-in-hand past our display, I offered a brochure and asked what they thought. The guy answered, “I’m an art student, so I’m indifferent to this.” His girlfriend smiled at the retort.
Ignoring his dismissive attitude, I asked, “Okay, so what do you think of our artistic layout? Do you agree with our comparisons?”
He responded, “Yes, I would agree with the comparison.” He pointed to the dismembered baby’s hands and feet wrapped around the top of a quarter (an obvious national symbol) and remarked, “That looks like America stands behind abortion.” Even though he was saying it in jest, there was truth in what he was saying.
I pressed further, “Okay, I know you are being facetious, but do you think the the pre-born is a human life?” He said he did, but that he is not a female and this was not his choice to make.
I pushed further, “If this were a toddler and her mother tried to kill this toddler, would you stand up for this child?” He said he would. [This is a variant of the trot out the toddler argument.]
I continued, “Okay. So if your girlfriend became pregnant and she wanted an abortion—and you just admitted that the pre-born is a human life—would you stand up and speak up for your child?”
He then said, “Yes, yes. I guess I would.”
This one man’s shift of attitude won’t change the world tomorrow, but he did begin to think of abortion as a serious human injustice. He saw the need to stand up for one child about to be killed, especially if it were his own.
Ruby Nicdao is a CBR Project Director in Virginia and is a frequent FAB contributor.
by Maggie Egger
Abortion photos don’t just make converts; they educate and energize people who are already pro-life.
At Radford University, a young man approached me and asked, “Are you the people I’m supposed to interview?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “We’ve had a good number of people interview us for their classes.”
“OK, great! I must be in the right place!” As he pulled out a notepad, he said, “I’m Catholic. So I’m, ya know, pro-life.”
I told him I was excited to hear that, but from the way he said it, I could tell he was not strongly committed. It seemed like he was raised in a pro-life house, but he didn’t necessarily buy all of it.
“Jacob” began to ask questions about the display, e.g., what was our purpose in being there, what kind of reactions did we get, what did we think of the protesters, etc. He appeared to believe that the preborn are human beings, but he didn’t know much about abortion in general. He knew the answer to “What is the preborn?” but he didn’t yet fully understand the answer to “What is abortion and what does it do?”
Then he asked me why we compared abortion to genocide. Before talking about personhood, dehumanization, and all of that, I simply said,
“A lot of people say that our comparing abortion to genocide is ludicrous and offensive. And you know what? They’re absolutely right, if the preborn are not human beings, in the same way that you and I are human beings. If they are not human beings, then (a) abortion doesn’t kill them, (b) abortion is no different from getting a tooth pulled, and (c) any comparison with genocide is absolutely insane. But, as you and I both know (because science tells us), that every human life begins at fertilization. So, abortion kills 1.2 million human beings every year in the U.S. alone. I don’t know any word for that, other than genocide.”
“Wait, what? How many abortions a year?”
His eyes grew wide in disbelief. He shook his head. “Wow! Yeah, you’re right. That’s what it is … a genocide!”
We walked around the rest of the display so he could see all the different pictures, and he asked a few more questions. When we finished he said, “Thank you so much for taking the time to explain all this to me. I’ve learned a lot.”
Yes, he had learned a lot. And that knowledge left him more committed to the pro-life position. That’s why you send us. There are many more like Jacob, so please send us more places, more often. And ask your Christian friends to do the same.
Maggie Egger is a CBR Project Director in Virginia and was the Project Manager for CBR’s recent GAP visit to the Commonwealth.
When we expose abortion, two things happen. People who have aborted feel the pain of knowing, but babies are saved because of knowing.
“I might be pregnant now and I’ve been thinking about having an abortion.”
CBR was at Rio Hondo College in November when a 32-year-old student approached our Genocide Awareness Project (GAP). She had aborted her child some years ago and now lives with regret. She is married but unable to conceive. She told volunteer “Carol” that she thinks she is being punished by God for having aborted her only child. Carol sought to encourage her by telling her how God works in our lives and by bringing up the possibility of adoption.
“Rhonda,” the wife/girlfriend of a campus security guard, asked Carol about people’s response to GAP. As they talked, Carol shared her own testimony of having aborted, the deep regret, and how it has affected her life. Then Rhonda told her own situation to Carol, “I might be pregnant now and I’ve been thinking about having an abortion.”
Carol told her about the student who aborted and now cannot have children. Rhonda had never thought of that possible consequence. She was worried about the economics of raising a child, citing a $400,000 figure she had read. Carol helped her understand that those numbers do not reflect most people’s needs; Carol had been raised without her parents having much money, but there was always love in the home. At the end of the conversation Rhonda said, “I don’t think I’ll have that abortion now.”
Three women came up to CBR’s Lois Cunningham and one asked what Lois would tell a woman who was contemplating abortion. Lois told her we would (1) show the abortion pictures to educate her, (2) be sure the woman has adequate support in her life, including supportive family and friends, if at all possible, and (3) take her to a pregnancy help center/clinic for services. The lead woman than told Lois that she has a friend who is pregnant and planning to abort, but she was now going to show her friend our photo brochure and tell her about pregnancy help clinics.
These are only two of the babies who may have been saved as a result of CBR’s presence on campus. If you will help us, we are committed to showing students the truth about abortion so we can spare them and their children from the brutality of abortion.
With tears in her eyes, she said, “I interned all summer with the political arm of Planned Parenthood (PP). People called me a baby-killer all summer.”
She had been well-indoctrinated by PP—clean, safe, regulated, counseling, psychological help offered, ultrasounds given, etc.
“We save lives,” she claimed.
She was speaking with CBR’s Jane Bullington, standing in front of the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) at James Madison University (JMU).
Jane kept reminding her, “Abortion kills a human being.” She hated that.
“It is not a human. What if it is not wanted?” (As if being “wanted” makes one human.)
“You can’t ask the mom to work at McDonald’s so she can have a kid and go to college; that is too demeaning.” (As if hard work is “demeaning.”)
[This reminded us of the Middle Tennessee State University student who said his mother was unmarried and waiting tables when she got pregnant with him. But she got serious about her life and went back to school. Eventually, she would become head nurse at a hospital and make close to $100,000 a year. It was a strong counter-example to the poverty myth. He went on to say that if she had aborted him, she would still be waiting tables. Anyway, back to JMU.]
Her most astounding statement was this: “Women have evolved and our bodies are not designed to carry and deliver these babies anymore. They are too big for our small pelvic bones.”
Lemme get this straight. PP’s buddies on the Left say it took millions of years for the human body to “evolve.” Now, in only two generations, the female reproductive system has further “evolved” into something dysfunctional? Why? Because of evolutionary pressures? From what? Radical feminism? Has PP become that ridiculous?
Believing lies has consequences.
She began to cry uncontrollably and kept saying abortion does not kill babies. Jane now knew she was post-abortive. She was seeing, for the first time, the monstrous lies she had told herself and others. She was horrified.
It was horrifying to us, also. We were too late to save her oldest child(ren), but we pray the truth will save her younger ones.
We also pray she will repent of telling abortion industry lies and tell the truth from now on, to others as well as to herself. We pray God will use this painful experience to save many babies and moms.
An op-ed piece in the James Madison University (JMU) Breeze validated (again) the effectiveness of CBR’s Genocide Awareness Project (GAP):
“… our campus was so abruptly forced to face [abortion] this week.”
Sarah Freeze, the author of the piece, was confused about whether the humanity of the preborn child was of any consequence at all.
She wrote, “The question we should be asking is this: Are you pregnant?”
According to Ms. Freeze, it doesn’t matter at all whether the preborn child is human or not, nor if abortion unjustly kills a human being or not. The only question we must ask is, “Am I pregnant?” If the answer is “no,” then we must not have any opinion on the matter.
Let’s apply this logic in another context, 200 years ago. Applying Ms. Freeze’s logic, it wouldn’t matter if the black man is a human being or not, nor whether slavery unjustly steals the lives of black men and women. The only question we must ask is, “Do I have a cotton plantation?” If the answer is “no,” then we must not have any opinion on the matter.
While I appreciate your response, to my opinion, I do have to point out that your argument is wrongly applying my view on abortion to a view on slavery. Abortion affects no one outside of the woman’s body. Slavery obviously affected several people and generations and is definitely not the same thing.
You’d be right in your conclusion, if you had your facts straight. Of course if no person were killed by abortion, then the right to abort would be established. But you ignore the other human being, the one being decapitated and dismembered.
When you deny the humanity and personhood of the preborn child, you are making the same mistake that was made by slavery apologists who said that Black slaves were “subordinate and inferior.” They reasoned, as you do, that the victim class was not fully human, therefore the real people (the ones who counted) could do anything they wanted to those subhumans. You are making the exact same mistake … unless, of course, you can provide some compelling evidence that the preborn are, in fact, subhuman.
She will offer no such evidence, because there is none. If she bothers to formulate an argument, it will inevitably allow us to kill certain born people as well.
“Frederick,” a James Madison University (JMU) student from Germany, was ashamed of his peers. He said to CBR’s Jane Bullington,
“It is so closed-minded to decide you guys have nothing worth hearing and just sit on the sidelines protesting.
I am studying genocide and human atrocities. These photos are not disturbing; the actions are disturbing. Folks need to get out of their comfort zone and engage others so they can expand their world views. It is pitiful that my peers are so pansy and childish.
I don’t know how old you are, but I do know that you know more than I do and I need to listen and learn. And whether this is genocide or not, I see the reasons for the comparisons and it is an atrocity.
You have made my Tuesday. My comfort zone has been stretched once again. Thank you for coming, and thank you for taking with me.”
He’s right about one thing. Jane is pretty old.
by Lincoln Brandenburg
At James Madison U, I spoke with a young Jewish lady who had heard about GAP and came out to see it. She was Jewish and was offended by the comparisons of abortion with the Holocaust.
She opened by declaring that “Abortion is not genocide!” I responded, “You are absolutely right … if the preborn are not human. Were that true, the comparison would be inappropriate and the right to abort would be established.
“But if the preborn are human, as science tells us they are, then we kill over a million humans every year. Then there’s no better word to describe it.”
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you’re causing me to change how I think about this.” (protester at James Madison U)
She brought up many examples of when abortion might be “needed,” such as for a woman who is in college and cannot take care of a baby. Again, I agreed with her that abortion would be acceptable in those cases (and, indeed, in every case) … if the preborn were anything less than human.
She began to grasp the concept that the humanity of the preborn is the central question to the morality of abortion.
Some of her friends have had abortions and she didn’t want to believe they are guilty of murder. I assured her that we are not here to condemn or judge her friends; they may be good people who didn’t realize that abortion decapitates and dismembers a baby. I pointed out that, like many who have seen these images, they might not have aborted their children had they known how evil abortion really is.
As we spoke, her demeanor changed. She glanced at the pro-abortion protesters and said, “I don’t want to say this out loud, but you’re making good points. You’re really making me shift in my view.”
I told her how I personally became a pro-life activist after connecting abortion to the Holocaust. I knew that I couldn’t say I would have stood up for Jews (her ancestors) in Nazi Germany back then, if I didn’t stand up for preborn children right now.
As we continued to discuss the logic of standing up for all human beings, she hesitantly said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but you’re causing me to change how I think about this.”
Some respond to GAP with a closed mind, but others are willing to blindfold their own prejudices. At first, she opposed our use of abortion pictures, but she had to admit that our conversation (and many others) would not have happened without the tension created by the photos. Dr. King was right:
“I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’ I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Lincoln Brandenburg is a Project Director for CBR in Georgia. He iis with the GAP team in Virginia this week.
Now that the vote is in, there are important lessons to be learned, not just in Tennessee, but nationally as well.
1. Until we change public opinion, Amendment 1 (along with the anticipated ensuing regulations) are about as much as we can hope to accomplish with our current strategy. An outright ban would not have passed.
Voters believe that abortion is evil enough to be regulated, but not evil enough to be banned. Americans will not tolerate government intrusion into matters of personal morality, unless there is extreme justification for that intrusion … and they don’t understand how extremely evil abortion really is.
2. In order for the public to demand protection for every human person, we have to convince millions of American voters that abortion is not just evil, but so evil that it ought to be against the law.
The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), along with NRLC affiliates and others in the movement, are trying to end abortion by mobilizing public opinion as it currently exists. The results of Amendment 1 in Tennessee and initiatives in other states demonstrate that this will never work.
Unfortunately, they have nothing in place that even begins to reshape public opinion, not at the level necessary to challenge the status quo.
3. In order to reshape public opinion, we must force millions of ignorant and apathetic Americans to see the facts they are desperate to avoid.
They are apathetic because they are ignorant of the facts, and …
… they are ignorant because they are apathetic.
They don’t read our stuff. They don’t come to our talks and debates. They avoid new information.
We have to go to them, they will not come to us. Our methods must be non-consentual.
With the average American, we get maybe 3 seconds to prove that abortion is so evil that it ought to be against the law.
This is the same problem faced by Wilberforce, Clarkson, King, Hine, and other reformers who came before. They all solved the problem the same way … by using horrifying pictures to engage citizens who were desperate to avoid the truth … after years of trying what didn’t work.
4. We have a long way to go. Let’s get started.
Created Equal’s Jumbotron abortion display was recently featured on a TV station in New Jersey. In the video below, watch as people react to an abortion video on screen. Link to original report here. One woman said,
I have friends who’ve had abortions, and they wish they knew exactly what the abortion process was going to be before doing it.
One man said,
I’m never going to forget that for the rest of my life.
CBR staffers Bill, Jeanette, and Edie recently joined up with Aubry, Ruth, Catherine, and Stephen, all members of the Students for Life (SFL), for an afternoon of exposing abortion at North Carolina State University.
We displayed CBR “Choice” signs on the Brickyard, not far from where we had displayed GAP last Spring.
As students walk by, our standard ice-breaker is to ask a simple question, “What do you think?” This opened many opportunities for dialogue with respectful students on both sides of the issue. We got many positive affirmations from pro-life students, and at least 15 passersby signed up to be members of SFL.
“For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear let him hear.” (Mark 4:22-23)
Tired of feeling guilty and, no doubt, frightened that rate of abortion has declined in recent years, the pro-aborts are changing their message. Abortion can no longer be considered a morally problematic “choice” that women nevertheless have the right to make for themselves. No, abortion now must be considered a positive good that should be celebrated, not discouraged.
Katie Yoder at the Media Research Center has identified 10 ways that the media spin abortion as a moral social good. Link to article here.
This all reminds us of John C. Calhoun, the senator from South Carolina who proclaimed that slavery was not an evil, but “a good — a great good.”
Abortion victim photos (AVPs) don’t just convert people to pro-life. They affect everyone. They …
- neutralize the opposition, …
- convert the neutral, …
- activate the converted, and …
- energize the active.
Live Action News recently highlighted the pro-life activism of Katie Perrotta at Eastern Michigan University. She is just one more example of a student who became actively pro-life after seeing GAP.
From Live Action News:
Katie Perrotta is a 20-year-old student at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Having grown up “pro-life” she wasn’t active in defending life until she witnessed a campus display featuring images of abortion victims and the angry reaction of pro-choice students. It was then that she started reaching out to her campus and actively defending life.
Congratulations to Tennessee Right to Life (TRL) on a major pro-life victory in Tennessee. After 14 years of planning and laying the groundwork, Tennessee Amendment 1, which clears the way for the Tennessee Legislature to enact modest regulations on the abortion industry, passed with 52.6% of the vote.
Special kudos to TRL President Brian Harris and all of the TRL chapters who made this big win possible with an outstanding grassroots effort that reached into every county in the state.
The abortion industry spent more than $4,000,000 on clever and often deceptive advertising, even claiming that Amendment 1 would ban abortion in the state (which is ludicrous because Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton prevents a state from banning abortion).
In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court struck down abortion regulations that were passed with bipartisan support in a legislature still controlled by Democrats at that time. The Court invented a right to abortion that simply is not present in the Tennessee Constitution. As a result, the citizens of Tennessee were forced to pass this amendment, which only clarifies that the Tennessee Constitution contains no right to abortion.
The kind of regulations which might now be considered by the Legislature cannot effectively prohibit abortions, but they have been shown to save babies and moms in other states. Of course, any regulations passed by the Legislature will be subject to the limitations of Roe v Wade, Doe v Bolton, and any judgments of the Federal courts.
It is unclear at this time whether (1) the restrictions passed 15 years ago will go into effect immediately, now that the “Constitutional” prohibition has been eliminated, or (2) new regulations will have to be passed by the Legislature.