In a period when we face a fiscal emergency and the threat of Islamist death worshipers, social issues have taken a sideline in our political discourse. To an extent, that makes sense. Our ability to deal with social issues depends first and foremost on our continued existence. Whether homosexuals can obtain a marriage license is a lesser concern than whether we can feed ourselves or keep our throats from being slit.
Even so, social issues remain a prism through which we can discern the priorities of those who would lead us. On Friday, Bill Maher offered a troubling glimpse through that prism on HBO’s Real Time.
New Rule: If you can force a woman to look at a sonogram to see what will happen if she has an abortion, you also have to let her see a crying baby, a bratty five-year-old, and a surly teenager to see what will happen if she doesn’t. And you have to tell her it costs $204,000 to raise it until it turns 18 in 2028, where it will be a slave to the Chinese in a radioactive world with no animals, fish, or plants.
At face value, this is a tasteless joke. However, its underlying sentiment is relevant beyond the issue of abortion.
Consider the principle Maher is expressing. Life is not valuable unto itself, but endowed with value by others. A mother who does not want to bear the burden of raising a child may therefore dispose of it.
This is indicative of the collectivism which defines the Left, and cause for concern about life and death decisions placed in their hands. It is not a huge leap from thinking a child’s worth is defined by their parents to thinking an adult’s worth is defined by the state. Particularly when the state acts as the single-payer for its citizens’ provision, as the Left would have it, each person becomes an expense subject to a cost-benefit analysis.
If it cost $204,000 to raise a child from birth to adulthood, how much more does it cost to sustain them until natural death? If a mother can rightly decide to terminate her child’s life because if its cost, why can’t the state terminate any life for the same reason?
Setting aside the morality of terminating a life on account of its cost, note that the life of another cannot impose cost when it sustains itself. This is why the collectivism of the Left is an ideology of death, and the individualism of classical liberalism is an ideology of life. When each person is responsible for sustaining themselves, they require nothing of others and are free to thrive. When each person is responsible for his neighbor, life becomes a burden for which death is a solution. That solution has been embraced not only at abortion clinics, but by leftist regimes throughout the past century.
It is ironic that producing for yourself and keeping what you earn is considered selfish, while demanding that others provide for you is not. Yet it is the latter which assigns a price to life and advocates for death.