At the Finish Line

     Samuel Alito has been approved by the Senate 
Judiciary Committee, albeit on straight partisan lines. 
He won approval only because the Republicans now 
outnumber the Democrats, the Abortion Party.

     Even so, things are changing for the better. A 
little. The Democrats didn't sink to the level of sheer 
shameless scurrility we witnessed in the Bork and Thomas 
confirmation hearings. There were even moments of 
borderline civility. True, Vermont's Patrick Leahy said 
Alito's nomination "threatens the fundamental rights and 
liberties of all Americans," but we've come to expect 
this sort of ho-hum hysteria.

     And there was promise of better things to come. 
After the vote, South Carolina's affable Lindsay Graham 
pointedly reminded us that the Republicans had 
courteously voted to confirm the pro-abortion Ruth Bader 
Ginsburg to fill the vacant seat left by the retiring 
Byron White, one of the two dissenters in Roe.

     Translation: "We've learned not to make that mistake 
again. The next time a Democratic president names some 
liberal to the court, you guys are going to learn what a 
real confirmation battle is." Graham has the Southerner's 
gift for making a point without raising his voice. Ignore 
him at your own risk.

     So now, it appears, the U.S. Supreme Court will have 
four highly intelligent justices -- all Catholics, as it 
happens -- who are ready, willing, and able to handle the 
most dubious liberal precedents with respect but not awe. 
All four have stood up to hostile liberal grilling and 
acquitted themselves well. Both Roberts and Alito gently 
pulled the rug out from under their antagonists, allowing 
the showboating Democrats to feel they were winning when 
the reverse was true.

     This was the ancient Catholic strategy of jiu-jitsu. 
Use what the enemy thinks is his strength, patiently 
endure his blustering, and leave him lying on his back.

     It was beautiful.

That's My Boy?

     "Every child should be wanted," we're told. 
(Subtext: "Or if not, aborted.")

     Well, it now appears that Sen. Edward Kennedy might 
have a seriously unwanted child. THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER 
reports that he has a son, now in college, by a woman 
with whom he had a brief liaison in 1984. Upon learning 
she was pregnant, according to the story, Kennedy, acting 
on his deepest convictions, "begged" her to exercise her 
constitutional right to get an abortion. She, however, 
declined. She had the baby and, it seems, a nice payoff 
for keeping it secret. (Kennedy was still technically 
married at the time.)

     Soon the pregnant, attractive, unemployed young 
woman, in the words of a "close friend," bought "a new 
black Mustang convertible and an expensive purebred 
Shar-pei dog and moved out of her parents' modest home 
and into an apartment in a nearby city." After the boy 
was born in December 1984, a paternity test confirmed 
that Teddy was the father.

     Teddy, says the article, "did not respond to calls" 
from the tabloid, so he hasn't denied the explosive 
story, which comes on the heels of his moral indignation 
at Samuel Alito's ties to the "reprehensible" Concerned 
Alumni of Princeton and his own resignation from an 
all-male club at Harvard. On top of that, Teddy is up for 
re-election this year. The safest seat in the Senate is 
suddenly in peril!

     It's the ancient Curse of the Kennedys, so help us. 
To make matters even worse, if possible, it transpires 
that Teddy has a dog named Splash, prompting Jay Leno to 
pose the irresistible question, "Isn't that like O.J. 
Simpson having a dog named Slash?"

     Making Leno's job this easy is almost the very 
definition of political suicide. (Leno too, by the way, 
hails from Boston.)

     This just can't be happening. Prayers we've never 
even dared to pray are being answered. Maybe Teddy can 
survive this episode too, but there must be some limit to 
how many Chappaquiddicks even a Kennedy can get away 

Culture of Death

     When Pope John Paul II spoke of "the culture of 
death," I thought the phrase sounded a bit melodramatic. 
But the longer I think about it, the more apt it seems. 
The modern world has become appallingly efficient in the 
destruction and prevention of human life, from nuclear 
weapons to contraceptives. Abortion is only one of its 
manifestations. Our enormous military budgets -- almost a 
separate economic system -- are another.

     Today we are urged to fret about the possibility 
that Iraq or Iran will soon manage to produce a single 
nuclear weapon, while the U.S. government still has 
thousands of them. I agree that even one of these things 
should horrify us; one is enough for mass murder. But why 
do we take the possession of thousands of them for 

     We still glorify as our "great" presidents the men 
who waged the wars of the past, especially the Civil War, 
in which 600,000 young men died for the glorious cause of 
preventing peaceful secession. Even if secession had been 
illegal, the price of stopping it seems disproportionate. 
How many of those young men might have become our Edisons 
and Gershwins if they had been allowed to live out their 
lives? This is only one way of reckoning the permanent 
cost of war.

     Even without war, the birthrates of Europe and Japan 
have plunged. There the geniuses of the future aren't 
even being conceived. It has been said that Beethoven's 
mother would nowadays have been urged to get a 
"therapeutic" abortion; his deafness was probably due to 
his father's syphilis, which also caused other medical 
problems in the troubled family.

     Given our outlook, it seems only natural to offer to 
kill people for their own good. But eventually even this 
benign pretext will be dropped; in India it is already 
common to abort female babies. Every child should be 
wanted, as we know, and sometimes little girls aren't 
wanted. Material prosperity seems only to have multiplied 
our reasons for dying and killing.

     Through the ages, poor people -- the great majority 
-- have desperately wanted to live; today, when the world 
is richer than ever, people are so desperate that they 
want to die. Medicine has advanced to the point of 
offering "assisted suicide."

     Such is the brave new world of "progress."

                 +          +          +                  

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