Kamala Harris, Signature Significance, And “The Right Side Of History”

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.”

All?

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.

16 thoughts on “Kamala Harris, Signature Significance, And “The Right Side Of History”

    • Yes, a point I should have made. The Founding documents are just not support for abortion, and abortion advocates who try to twist them into being so cannot do it without signaling their lack of integrity…or, perhaps, comprehension.

  1. Excellent essay Jack.

    Well done.

    As for Vice President Kamala Harris’ bastardization of our founding documents and intentionally, yes intentionally, misquoting Jefferson, this is standard fare for most of the 21st century political left. The dominant part of the modern political left has been actively chipping away at the edges of core ideals and bastardizing every founding document and everything the founding fathers of the United States of America said and demonizing the founding fathers in their continuing effort to turn all those core foundational ideals into unenforceable quaint anecdotes of an archaic history that needs to be scrubbed from existence. The political left has been, and still are, intentionally undermining the core foundations of the United States of America in their efforts to shift our country into their delusional version of a totalitarian utopia. What’s happening is a cultish kind of brainwashing on a massive scale and they have infiltrated and corrupted the media to do their bidding like a western version of Pravda because, as Malcolm X stated, “the media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

    • You have my full agreement. When the Left quotes the founding documents, you can be sure there’s a reason that involves deceitful appeals to authority that they don’t respect or revere.

      Their practice is now to pretend that they are the only ones who value democracy while constantly working behind the scenes to undermine it and playing on the civic illiteracy of the population to make them think the founding documents do not mean what they say or are no longer practical, especially since they were written by rich white slaveholding men.

  2. Jack wrote, “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.”

    When was the last time that Kamala Harris has offered a substantive argument? Almost every word that comes out of our Vice President’s mouth, babbling or not, is pure propaganda. Vice President Harris is full of shit, she is a willful Democratic Party propagandist, she’s a tool.

  3. I, too, despise the “right side of history” argument.
    A couple of points:
    1. As a person of faith, I am still fully aware that while God may indeed “be on my side,” that is no guarantee of a smooth path from the temporal plane to the eternal realms. Indeed, it is almost guaranteed to be a rough and rocky road from here to there. However earthly history may unfold (and none of us knows that) I have read the last chapter and I know how the eternal story ends.
    2. The Judeo-Christian tradition has long recognized the sanctity of the unborn. I’m sure there are a number of “modern” crimes that aren’t specifically prohibited by the Bible -I doubt that computer hacking or insider trading were big issues in Biblical times. But “Thou shalt not murder” is pretty broad coverage. False teachers and false teaching are found everywhere these days.

    • Reading a book on Jay Gould right now. Insider trading wasn’t illegal in the 19th century either but ethics fails caused the Law to step in and now it is. Besides, the spirit of the biblical admonitions to Love Thy Neighbor are broad enough to encompass not cheating or tricking someone out of their money just as instructions not to murder could include an unborn child. In fact, the penalty in the Old Testament for negligently causing an accident that killed an unborn child was pretty severe.

    • I would venture the opinion that “Thou shalt not steal” covers a wide range of what now appears in criminal statutes. One can easily consider the taking of something through trick, device, false representation, or unfair advantage as a theft.

  4. Realize that I’m a little late to this party. I don’t disagree with you, but there is one matter that deserves note. Darrow’s summation was the argument he made to the world, but it appears it wasn’t actually the argument he made to the court. Simon Baatz, in his Book For The Thrill Of It, on the Leopold-Loeb case, notes that Darrow borrowed the section of the court transcript that gave his summation so that he could publish it as a pamphlet, and never returned it. Most commentary takes the summation he wrote in the pamphlet, but at the time, his actual summation was published in the Chicago newspapers. In his commentary on sources, Baatz notes that, for the pamphlet, Darrow “rewrote his speech, cutting out long passages, correcting his syntax, and streamlining his argument…Darrow’s speech in the courtroom was ponderous, disorganized, prolix, and often tedious”. Some of what Baatz says seems dubious, but this looks solid. Well, it probably presents ethics issues of its own.

    • Great point.

      Darrow frequently recycled his words, using sections from his pamphlets in courtroom oratory (as in the Scopes case) and vice-versa. Darrow was a natural actor, and he understood that what works live and in oratory or theater may not work as well on the page. In my book with Ed Larson, The Essential Words and Writing of Clarence Darrow, we used the actual trial transcripts where possible, but also shortened and edited all of the speeches for their strongest form. “Darrow’s speech in the courtroom was ponderous, disorganized, prolix, and often tedious” is what I would call a fake fact: nobody who wasn’t there can know that; the people who were there who claimed that are not necessarily objective parties, and the fact is that the jury and the spectators were very moved. By today’s shortened attention spans, Darrow’s closings were all “tedious,” but by the standards of the day—Darrow knew his audience— they were entertainment and enlightenment, and he was a master of both. Since he was delivering 3-8 hour closings without notes, it would have been a miracle if he didn’t wander or repeat himself here and there, but the versions published (the version I has was edited some…by me) are all true to the original. I think we can assume that the impact of the written versions closely matches the oral version.

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