After 49 years, the Supreme Court has overturned its decision in Roe vs Wade, returning the question of abortion restrictions to the individual states. This restores the issue to the position it occupied on January 21, 1973– a small change, to all appearances. But how momentous a change! Much of what has been long taken for granted about the state of American culture and politics needs to be reconsidered in its light.
I never imagined that the Roe decision would be overturned at all, let alone within my lifetime. For this, we unquestionably have the presidency of Donald Trump to thank. I said a lot of dumb things about Donald Trump while he was running for president, virtually all of which have been proven wrong. Consider first that the equilibrium in the Republican party for half a century was to maintain pro-life voters as a dependent bloc by stringing them along with empty promises. You will not have to cast about long to recall Republican politicians who ruefully proclaimed that though they were personally opposed to abortion, they did not feel justified imposing their private consciences on the country. Donald Trump took the precise opposite tack. Though it is clear that he is personally at best indifferent to the question, he alone among Republican presidential candidates explicitly stated his intention to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe. He became the first sitting president to appear at the annual March for Life– 47 years after the Roe decision! By taking action on behalf of his voters, although through transparently obvious political calculation, he secured their ferocious loyalty. And why not? Roe is gone! None of the imbecile Distributists for whom I ever threw away a petulant ballot could have achieved this.
I also owe an apology to the quietists who urged that if we all just kept our heads down and continued voting Republican things would eventually work themselves out. Never mind that the particular Republicans for whom they urged us to vote had nothing to do with the Dobbs decision– it is worth recognizing that in this instance the promised change was effected entirely through political processes. Furthermore, it was effected through an existing political party. This is a tremendously important fact. It has been taken more and more for granted that there is no political solution to the mounting troubles that plague us, but the overturning of Roe proves that this is not necessarily the case. Never before has the ratchet un-clicked in this way.
Some have theorized darkly that this verdict was itself a calculation, that it was the price the regime decided it was willing to pay to secure the support of the American populace in a coming war (presumably with Russia or China), but the punchbowl is too great to be fouled by so pitiful a turd. So what if it was? The federally guaranteed right to abortion was (how wondrous to use the past tense!) by far the most odious thing about the American regime. All its other crimes for half a century pale to insignificance buoyed atop this black tide of slaughter. In the event there were at least six righteous men in Sodom. By simply reverting to the state of affairs that prevailed on January 21 1973 the American government has made itself enormously more fitting as an object of love. Indeed, in a sense we have even gained ground, for on January 21 1973 there was no Hyde Amendment.
We remain a deeply diseased culture in many ways, but for the first time in my life there has been a concrete movement in the direction of hope. A desert father whose name escapes me is said to have been shown two monasteries by an angel. One was surrounded by a legion of caterwauling devils, while the other was silent. The angel warned him that the second monastery was only quiet because the devils were inside. Donald Trump, and the Dobbs verdict which owes its existence to him, forced the devils into the open. One cannot, it is true, serve God and Mammon, but to live in America it is at least no longer necessary to serve Moloch.