It’s hard not to see narcissism from the Left. We all love praise and attention, but it’s more of a mental condition of liberals/progressives. We see it with the 300 awards shows we’re forced to watch. We see it with Al Gore and Laurie David and their global warming crusade (if it really wasn’t about them, they’d telecommute their lectures or hire local talent to present it rather than burning all that carbon flying everywhere to tell people to stop burning carbon). But the biggest illustration of the “Me” syndrome is in the abortion debate.
The classic example of this is the Amy Richards ‘big jar of mayonnaise‘ editorial. Here’s a reminder:
I looked at Peter and asked the doctor: ”Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?” The obstetrician wasn’t an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more.
Having felt physically fine up to this point, I got on the subway afterward, and all of a sudden, I felt ill. I didn’t want to eat anything. What I was going through seemed like a very unnatural experience. On the subway, Peter asked, ”Shouldn’t we consider having triplets?” And I had this adverse reaction: ”This is why they say it’s the woman’s choice, because you think I could just carry triplets. That’s easy for you to say, but I’d have to give up my life.” Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn’t be able to fly after 15. I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It’s not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I’m going to have to move to Staten Island. I’ll never leave my house because I’ll have to care for these children. I’ll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don’t think that deep down I was ever considering it.
The specialist called me back at 10 p.m. I had just finished watching a Boston Pops concert at Symphony Hall. As everybody burst into applause, I watched my cellphone vibrating, grabbed it and ran into the lobby. He told me that he does a detailed sonogram before doing a selective reduction to see if one fetus appears to be struggling. The procedure involves a shot of potassium chloride to the heart of the fetus. There are a lot more complications when a woman carries multiples. And so, from the doctor’s perspective, it’s a matter of trying to save the woman this trauma. After I talked to the specialist, I told Peter, ”That’s what I’m going to do.”
I added the link in Amy’s piece because I wanted to illustrate the absurdity that choosing a “selective reduction” with potassium chloride wasn’t killing someone.
Now she’s joined by Caitlin Moran in the Times from London, responding to a pro-life documentary:
I have problems with that assumption. For one thing, I believe something very elemental and, in the most academic sense, nonChristian. One of Sawyer’s biggest postmotherhood dilemmas over abortion was trying to work out where “life” begins with a foetus, and concluding that if abortion could occur before “life” begins, that would be a “right” kind of abortion. But given that both science and philosophy continue to struggle to define what the beginning of “life” is, wouldn’t it be better to come at the debate from a different angle entirely? For if a pregnant woman has dominion over life, why should she not also have dominion over not-life? This is a concept understood by many other cultures. The Hindu goddess Kali is both Mother of the Whole Universe, and Devourer of All Things. She is life and death. If women are, by biology, commanded to host, shelter, nurture and protect life, why should they not be empowered to end life, too? I’m not advocating stoving in the heads of children, or encouraging late abortions — but then, no one is. What I am vexed with is the idea that, by having an early abortion, a woman is somehow being unfemale and, indeed, unmotherly. That the absolute essence of womanhood and maternity is to sustain life, at all costs, whatever the situation.
My belief in the ultimate sociological, emotional and practical necessity for abortion did, as I have mentioned before, become even stronger after I had my two children. It is only after you have had a nine-month pregnancy, laboured to get the child out, fed it, cared for it, sat with it until 3am, risen with it at 6am, swooned with love for it and been reduced to furious tears by it that you really understand just how important it is for a child to be wanted. And, possibly even more importantly, to be wanted by a reasonably sane, stable mother. Last year I had an abortion, and I can honestly say it was one of the least difficult decisions of my life. I’m not being flippant when I say it took me longer to decide what work-tops to have in the kitchen than whether I was prepared to spend the rest of my life being responsible for a further human being. I knew I would see my existing two daughters less, my husband less, my career would be hamstrung and, most importantly of all, I was just too tired to do it all again. I didn’t want another child, in the same way that I don’t suddenly want to move to Canada or buy a horse. While there was, of course, every chance that I might eventually be thankful for the arrival of a third child, I am, personally, not a gambler. I won’t spend £1 on the lottery, let alone take a punt on a pregnancy. The stakes are far, far too high.
I’m too tired– you have to die. I’d love to see her to-do list. “Get new countertops, get manicure, go have a champagne brunch with friends, get abortion, meet hubby for a night at the opera.”
I am almost shocked into submission by the assertion that women should have power over death, especially the death of her own children. If she really believed it she wouldn’t have had to justify it by saying “I’m not advocating stoving in the heads of children, or encouraging late abortions — but then, no one is.”
The entire problem with Amy and Caitlin is their need to rationalize their irrational decision. For both of them their contentment with the current lifestyle is the deciding factor. Essentially, maintaining their high-profile liberal lifestyle is more important than human life.
In other words, it’s more important to be a progressive than it is to be a mother.
Child-raising is exhausting. I haven’t seen a movie in the theaters for ages, I don’t go out dancing. I haven’t touched my turntables in over 4 years. I don’t get to go to many cocktail parties.
But if I put that kind of lifestyle over the life of a child or even another human being, I would be a callous, cruel person. No amount of rationalization would change that.