Roe v. Wade: The Banality of Evil in Mr. Justice Blackmun
is it "right" that women should become"emancipated" by murdering children is a question that apparently never traveled through the banal mind of Mr. Justice Blackmun.
It's hard to remember any of the hundreds of opinions authored by Justice Blackmun and upon which he devoted his life's labor. Certainly, the opinion that won him most acclaim and earned him most excoriation (and will surely play the most importance for him in the Final Judgment) was Roe v. Wade. One may perhaps say that Roe v. Wade is a lasting testament of Justice Blackmun, a summing up of who he was and what he stood for. The opinion has his last words to man and to the one true God because they are his loudest, his bloodiest, and his most banally evil.
Roe v. Wade is in fact a death sentence, though it doesn't sound like it. A man who was overtly evil would have written, "Kill the children, the 14th Amendment demands it." A good man who was guided by the natural moral law would have written something along the lines of "the fetus is a person under the 14th Amendment." A cowardly jurist or principled federalist would have avoided the question and said the Constitution does not address, and it is a matter reserved to the States. But not the banal little Mr. Justice Blackmun.
When one reads the "fearsome, word-and-thought" of Roe v. Wade forty years from the date it was written one learns nothing of Constitutional jurisprudence. Nothing. The opinion is a Constitutional farce.
One does, however, learn volumes about what Arendt called "the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil" when one looks at the opinion with the knowledge of the 50 million of Americans sentenced to death by Justice Blackmun's loose pen, banal mind, and febrile liberal lunacy that swore he saw shadows and eerie lights in the Constitution that no normal man could could see.
In moral terms, Justice Blackmun was close to lunacy. He was a moral schizophrenic. The man wholly insensitive to the death of millions of which he was a cause was unbelievably offended by the death of one or the death of hundreds caused by others for the very simple reason (since the offense was based not on reason but on feeling) that he felt offended.
For example, towards the end of his tenure, Justice Blackmun grew intransigent, self-righteous in his opposition to the death penalty. "From this day forward," he wrote in his dissent in Callins v. Collins, "I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death." The moral dyslexia in the man is apparent.
How can the man who not only tinkered, but invented the "machinery of death" we call the abortion industry, that juggernaut of death that has killed fifty of millions of Americans, have felt moral offense at capital punishment which, in the same period, has resulted in the death of a few thousands? There is not even any moral equivalency in the matter. Did you ever consider that you were choking on the gnat while swallowing the camel, Mr. Justice Blackmun? (Cf. Matt. 23:24)
Oh, like Eichmann, Blackmun could feel emotion, even tenderness, but even his emotion was banal because it was so arbitrary. "Poor Joshua," Blackmun famously wrote in his dissent in the 1989 case of DeShaney v. Winnebago County, the tragic case involving the four-year old Joshua DeShaney beaten by his father into a coma and not saved by the State. "It's a sad commentary upon American life."
"In the absence of faith," and Mr. Justice Blackmun really had nothing other than conventional faith which is no faith at all, "we govern by tenderness" wrote Flannery O'Connor. "And tenderness," she continued, "leads to the gas chamber," and if not to the gas chamber, its moral equivalent : the abortion clinic.
Why should Justice Blackmun believe it right to say, "Poor Joshua," in DeShaney v. Winnebago County, but forget about the 50 million Joshuas, Jacobs, Josephs, Janets, Julies, and Jennifers whom his pen in Roe v. Wade nonchalantly allowed to die and be put in trashbins or incinerators or used by science or in cosmetics?
Oh tenderhearted Mr. Justice Blackmun, is not your Roe v. Wade a "sad commentary upon American life," indeed upon your own moral banality?
Unlike Eichmann, who was hung to death and whose body was cremated so as not to detract devotees, Justice Blackmun was called "your Honor" all his life, was called "honorable" beyond his death, was laid in state in the Great Hall of the United States Supreme Court, and was buried with honors at Arlington Cemetery. Be not fooled: from a moral standpoint, they are the same.
But these honors mean nothing before terrible Judgment Seat of God. That is the real terrible and awful "end of the line" in the "case" of one's life. Then there is really no further place to go. Then the decisions we made in life had better have been "right," and not in any banal sense, but in God's sense.
At the Last Judgment, the 50 million murdered with Justice Blackmun's complicity since Roe v. Wade will receive justice, and, we must believe in some manner that Mr. Justice Blackmun will be on the opposite side of that terrible and awful sentence of the Lord. God's doom will be his doom. Blackmun's plea of innocence will be drowned out by the cries of 50 million witnesses against him, just like the voices of the millions upon millions of Jews will cry out against the pleas of Eichmann.
But Blackmun has already suffered his particular judgment, and wherever God's judgment has sent him, an answer I do not claim to know, I feel certain that Blackmun has a companion, even a friend if banal humans can have friends. His companion's name is Eichmann. They will be in the banal man's heaven, full of banal souls, which to me sounds a lot like one of the circles of Hell. There, they will eternally wonder, for banality is not lost unless lost on earth through repentance and penance, what wrong they have done to have deserved so dismal a fate.
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at email@example.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Harry Blackmun, Roe v Wade, Doe v Bolton, particular judgement, Pro-Life, Abortion, Right to Life, March for Life, US Supreme Court, Andrew M. Blackwell
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