Vice President Kamala Harris, in her speech delivered on the 50th anniversary of Roe v.Wade, didn’t babble incoherently as usual. She just invoked one logical fallacy, rationalization and intellectually dishonest statement after another. The highlight, however, was her claim to the abortion fans in her audience that “we are on the right side of history.”
That’s signature significance. Nobody makes that argument unless they are a con-artist, a demagogue, or an idiot. In Kamala’s case, all three are likely true. Saying one is on the right side of history is just an extraordinarily obnoxious way of saying, “We’re right and everyone else is wrong” without actually making a substantive argument. To quote myself in the description of the phrase (it’s Rationalization #1B. The Psychic Historian on the list):
Every movement, every dictator, Nazis, Communists, ISIS, the Klan, activists for every conceivable policy across the ideological spectrum, think their position will be vindicated eventually. In truth, they have no idea whether it will or not, or if it is, for how long. If history teaches anything, it is that we have no idea what will happen and what ideas and movements will prevail. “I’m on the right side of history is nothing but the secular version of “God is on our side,” and exactly as unprovable.
Abortion supporters have been working hard lately to argue that the Bible supports abortion because it doesn’t expressly condemn it. A text thousands of years old that predates all scientific knowledge about the unborn and the predates modern medicine is irrelevant to the abortion debate. More…
It is a device to sanctify one’s own beliefs while mocking opposing views, evoking an imaginary future that can neither be proven or relied upon. Nor is there any support for the assertion that where history goes is intrinsically and unequivocally good or desirable… Those who resort to “I’m on the right side of history” (or “You’re on the wrong side”) are telling us that they have run out of honest arguments.
Which nicely describes Kamala, if not all abortion advocates. Here is dishonesty exemplified: Harris, in her speech, said, “We are here together because we collectively believe and know America is a promise. America is a promise. It is a promise of freedom and liberty — not for some, but for all. A promise we made in the Declaration of Independence that we are each endowed with the right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Wait…something else is missing there. What is it? Oh, right: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” How clever for Harris to leave out “life,” since the Dobbs decision properly held that there is no Constitutional right (or inalienable right) to take one just because an adult is more powerful or finds a nascent human life inconvenient. Did she think no one would notice? The omission is especially damning, because it suggests that Harris and her audience know that the problem with their position is that it is advocacy for legalized killing. They can’t defend that, except through denial and obfuscation. “Life? I don’t see any life!” If the abortion lobby had integrity and courage, they would,’t try to duck the life issue by such weaselly tactics as misquoting Jefferson.
Back to “the right side of history”: history so far has shown a persistent tendency to cheapen human life. The claim that there is a demonstrable right to abortion was meticulously examined and debunked in Justice Alito’s majority opinion in “Dobbs.” But killing children has been practiced with abandon throughout history. Clarence Darrow, in his epic argument against the execution of two teenage murderers who showed no remorse, came perilously close to telling that judge that his position was on “the right side of history,” but that argument was coupled with a detailed exposition of Darrow’s belief that civilization becomes—must become–more enlightened and civilized—ethical, I would say—over time and with experience. Darrow told the judge in the Leopold and Loeb trial that he was certain that the future would look back on the days when the young were executed as barbaric:
…I know Your Honor stands between the future and the past. I know the future is with me, and what I stand for here; not merely for the lives of these two unfortunate lads, but for all boys and all girls; for all of the young, and as far as possible, for all of the old.
“I am pleading for life, understanding, charity, kindness, and the infinite mercy that considers all. I am pleading that we overcome cruelty with kindness and hatred with love.
“I know the future is on my side. Your Honor stands between the past and the future. You may hang these boys; you may hang them, by the neck until they are dead. But in doing it you will turn your face toward the past. In doing it you are making it harder for every other boy who in ignorance and darkness must grope his way through the mazes which only childhood knows. In doing it you will make it harder for unborn children. You may save them and make it easier for every child that some time may stand where these boys stand. You will make it easier for every human being with an aspiration and a vision and a hope and a fate. I am pleading for the future; I am pleading for a time when hatred and cruelty will not control the hearts of men. When we can learn by, reason and judgment and understanding and faith that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man.
Now that’s how to argue that your position will be vindicated by history.
And you will note that Darrow was advocating sparing the lives of even murderous children, while Harris was endorsing the killing of innocent children in the womb.
I like Darrow’s future better.