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January 30, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-30

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OPINION

Friday, January 30, 1981

i

A liberal sides with the

The Michigan Daily
Right-to -Lifers

On a visit to downtown Detroit last summer, I
stopped to look at literature on display at a
sidewalk Right-to-Life booth. Its attendant,
sensing a potential convert, immediately
began buttonholing me about a plethora of evils
besieging America, of which abortion was
merely an overt symptom rather than a cause.
Didn't I realize, she confided con-
spiratorially, that the abortion plague was
generated by pornography and free-love per-
missiveness, that the Equal Rights Movement
oming
Apart
By Christopher Potterf
was breeding libertine women, that sex
education produced millions of unwanted
pregnancies, that liberal ideology in general
had triggered a licentious, anti-family gospel
which was eroding our nation's moral fiber? No
wonder the Russians were beating us, she ex-
claimed.
THE WOMEN'S IDEAS were symptomatic
of those of many Right-to-Lifers, who seem
chronically to work as their own worst
enemies. The abortion war allows themto give
persistent, cacophonous vent to their darkest
,terrors of progressivism in American life.

Emboldened by the Reaganite ascension,
they couple their one-issue crusade with grand
designs regarding sex, drugs, religion, and the
Decline of the West. Their philosophical over-
dose repels thousands of potential converts
who, like myself, find the Lifers' rant and prat-
tle foolishly conceals the simple, persuasive
truth of their premise: that human life is
sacred above all other considerations.
I AM A Right-to-Lifer. That is hardly a con-
vivial credo to practice or even to admit to; it
deposits me in the same camp with a multitude
of reactionaries, yahoos, and professional
haters I would not be caught dead with mar-
ching under any other banner. Conversely, my
belief drives a political and social wedge bet-
ween me and every personal friend I have; its
credo is so combustible and antithetical to my
Ann Arbor colleagues that I feel habitually
compelled to keep my conviction to myself
rather than confide it even (or perhaps
especially) to my most intimate acquaintan-
ces. It's like revealing a social disease, a heroin
habit, or a crazed twin brother locked in the at-
tic.
Yet I do believe it. As Martin Luther once
reluctantly proclaimed to a venomous religious
establishment: "Here I stand; I can do no
other. God help me. Amen." It would be so easy
to side with my peer group, to denounce in-
dignantly those who would deprive a woman of
her right to choose. Yet it's not that easy.
Nothing ever is.
ONCE ONE HAS stripped away the hyper-

bole obscuring both sides' arguments, one must
face the single, germinal question on which this
conflict turns: Is a fetus a living, sensing being
or is it a formless, brainless organism like an
abscess, or a tumor?
If you can say "yes" to the latter, then your
path is clear and guilt-free; I have never been
able to say it.
There is so much we don't know about the
process of life-about the universe not only
without but within ourselves. I look at pictures
of a months-old, aborted embryo-so im-
measurably far from the slug the pro-choicers
like to label it-and I wonder what was it
thinking, feeling. Could it feel? Could it sense
pain? did it scream over its forced extraction
from safety, wrenched out into a dark, dead
world it would never perceive?
CAN WE REALLY say we know what takes
place in such an upheaval? If we don't, do we
then have any right to act as though we did
know? Can life and death be regarded with
such cool, sanitized self-assurance?
Most pro-lifer rhetoric repells me; yet pro-
choice verbosity betrays a knee-jerk simplicity
inadequate to abortion's terrifying com-
plexities. If you're progressive, then you're
pro-abortion-it's that neat and simple. This
rationale unwittingly rejects the essence of the
liberal heritage-most notably the heritage of
sympathy and compassion for the oppressed
and the helpless. What could be more helpless
among earth's creatures than an embryonic in-
fant? Who will protect it?

Not today's liberal, who glibly approves the
Supreme Court's magic-wand fiat proclaiming
a 6-month old fetus a human being with full
constitutional rights, while a 53/4-month-old
fetus remains a lump with no rights at all. The
Court's ruling was and is medical
quackery-an imperious, fantasy-tinged
decision that sanctifies the domination of the
bully over the weak.
NO LESS ARBITRARY is the pro-choicers'
conscience-cleansing notion that if abortion is
outlawed thousands of children will be thrust
into an overcrowded, uncaring.world; there
they will be doomed to a life of desolation
because they weren't wanted in the first place.
Better to abort them now and spare them all
that agony, the typical liberal argues.
In the whole spectrum of human interaction,
I cannot perceive a more illiberal, tyrranical
creed. How can enlightened persons, most of
whom are among the first to decry torture or
genocide, presume to predict the life's course
of one who has not yet begun life? Such
soothsayers are playing God, capriciously and
brutally. In motive, if not character, they differ
little from the Nazi death squads they claim to
abhor-Himmler used to piously brag about the
humane execution methods he employed
against the unfortunate subhumans in his death
camps. It is nihilism cloaked in liberal
himanism; it says the world is lousy and you're
better off without it-we're doing you a favor.
It is chic barbarism.
I AM anything but impervious to reasoned

pro-choice arguments: 1 dread the spectre of
the back-alley abortionist, ache for the welfare
family burdened with one more mouth to feed.
Abortion was never the black-and-white, good-
vs.-evil question that both sides paint it; it is an
issue cloaked in horribly knotted shades of
gray, a lesser-of-evils tangle guaranteed to af-
flict one with spasms of guilt no matter what
one's belief. It's 'a no-win struggle, a com-
promise of principle at best.
If the choice were the woman's alone, it
might be relatively simple; yet abortion in-
volves more than one body, more than one
right. No one can convince me otherwise.
I can never believe that a miserable existen-
ce, even a maimed or retarded one, isn't
preferable to no existence at all. To know life
on any level is to touch God, however awkwar-
dly. To be able to see, to hear, to simply
breathe is an experience incomparable with
anything else in creation as we know it. Some
humans will find love and serenity, many
others won't-but at the very least we should
all be guaranteed the opportunity to fail on our
own.
Troubled as my own life has been, I wouldn't
have missed the trip for the world. I Oon't want
to tell anyone else he or she can't take the same
ride. Sling your stones and arrows if you must,
dear liberal readership. Here I stand; I can do
no other.
Christopher Potter is a Daily staff
writer. His column appears every Sunday.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Feiffer

Vol. XCI, No. 103

420 Moynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Oil deregulation will mean
conservation, exploration

A VA)C61O01Kish.
AN

SEP

APRIL.
MARCHA
oc

MAY aE
NOV DE

NE *'iLY
C 4ACI&'-
isprt Q~/

Y ABOLISHING the last federal
controls on oil prices, President
Reagan has taken a long-needed step
that will force consumers to conserve
more energy.
Rising oil prices in recent years have
caused many consumers to become
more energy-conscious. But still, some
individuals continue to fill up their gas
guzzlers and refuse to "dial down" in
their homes. Deregulated oil prices
should help deter these wastrels from
wantonly filling up their tanks and
making the windows steam in their
houses. More consumers will also be
tempted to trade in their "tanks" for
smaller, more fuel efficient cars.
As oil prices rise to their natural
market value, the need for mass tran-
sit will become increasingly evident. A
bus line begins to'look more appealing
when the alternative is a gallon of gas
at $1.50. Hopefully, government of-
ficials will recognize this need and
work even harder to develop fast, ef-
fioient mass transit systems for cities.

As gas prices rise, the oil companies
will have the incentive to explore and
develop more domestic energy resour-
ces, which will also help to limit our
dependence on foreign oil. The need for
and feasibility of alternate energy
sources, such as solar, geothermal,
wind, and water, may also be realized.
The main drawback of deregulation,
of course, is that it could add a further
financial worry to the already over-
burdened poor. Windfall profits taxes
should certainly be continued, with the
revenues going to those who need it
most.
Overall, though, the benefits of
deregulation far outweigh the costs.
The possibility of becoming energy
self-sufficient as a result of Reagan's
action affirms that.
Until the past decade, the United
States' voracious use of oil has gone
unabated. Higher oil prices can make
Americans aware of the need for con-
servation and development.

LETTERS TO THF. DAILY:
TVshow was sympathetic to Nazis

To the Daily:
My friends and I who viewed
the television docu-drama The
Bunker found the show to be an
outrage as it heroized Adolf
Hitler and idealized the
philosophy of Nazism.
I was repulsed by this attempt
to make the down fall of the Third
Reich seem glorious and
honorable. The TV audience was
led to sympathize with Hitler, who
was portrayed as a leader
tragically deceived. Those who
remained loyally at "their
Fuhrer's side" were given the
halos of angels under the

despicable cover of television en-
tertainment.
Many instances of the inferred
glamorizing could be cited, but
most horrifying were the last ten
minutes. Goebbels was shown
speaking of the brave attempt of
Nazi Germany in combatting the
evils of Russian communism and
Western capitalism led by "the
international Jewish con-
spiracy."
I interpret this as an attempt to
split the viewer's judgement by
derogating the Soviet forces that
helped crush the sick society of
the Third Reich and vilifying the

world-wide Hebrew community.
Basically, the viewer was told to
pick sides with the Nazi's brand
of goodness, or be cast to the sin-
ners.
Most threatening and offensive
was the very last scene. After we
were led to believe the show had
ended when the fates and
histories of the people who had
lived in the bunker were told, a
needless scene was tacked on
showing an Adolf Hitler in the
middle of one of his "awe-
inspiring" speeches. His
histrionics were robust and grand
as he espoused the Aryan-
German way of life as correct
and superior. He thundered out
bellicose statements of . how
Germany would rebuild itself and
be victorious in the end after all
of Germany's and fascism's
enemies were conquered.
The program worried and in-
furiated me enough to write this

letter. The menace of Nazism, or
fascism, or call it what you may,
seems to be growing again not
only in this country, but abroad
as well. The boldly expanded ac-
tivities of the Ku Klux Klan and
the American Nazi Party are
recent evidence of this.
Before this nasty creature may
be allowed to rear its head and
creep up on us again to con-
taminate elements of our
already-troubled society, its
roots should be terminated. Ws
may be prime game and most
susceptible to this disease now as
a lost and unprepared Ger-
many was some 45 years ago.
We must not let the fears of a
demented few wreak paranoia on
the majority. To remain in health
and in peace, we must discuss
preventions and cures in public.
and to this I strongly invite an9
welcome a response to this letter.
-William Turbow
January 28

The chimes must ring

To the Daily:
It seems to me silly-not to say
ludicrous-that the University
would let carilloneur Hudson
Ladd leave the faculty. It seems
to me outrageous that we could
let him leave for a mere $15,000.
There are a number of prin-
ciples we could invoke, as a
community, to reestablish his
position-and at a far more
decent salary than $15,000!
First, there's the principle that
we are all in this together: that's
part of why we're a University.
Therefore, some of the excess
money in the Athletic Depar-
tment can be diverted to pay
Professor Ladd's salary.
Second, there's the prin-
ciple-rarely mentioned in
public-that a real faculty mem-
ber (let alone a carillonneur) is
always more important than a

doing something so absurd as
taking down the signs and flyers
that unthinking hucksters have
plastered all over our walls, win-
dows, and doors. The money
saved would pay most of
Professor Ladd'ssalary-and
maybe the people who buy
all those extra signs and flyers to
paste up everywhere would con-,
tribute what they save on prin-
ting costs to make up the rest.
We rarely act on principle, of
course-though this is a Univer-
sity. Still, we can raise the money
simply and painlessly. If every
member of the University faculty
will agree to donate annually five
ten-thousandths-that's one
twentieth of one percent-of his
or her salary to the Music School,
we will have more than enough to
pay Professor Ladd. If each
ficltv member will 0ug iback

For peace, not weapons

To the Daily:
General Dynamics, Northrup,
Lockheed, and the Navy all
recently announced glamorous
job opportunities in adver-
tisements in the Daily. But none of
them mentioned the end product
of their efforts-the slaughter of
human beings.
Think twice before you send in
that coupon or go for a job inter-
view. Do you really believe that
more accurate and speedy
weapons will deter a nuclear
holocaust? Do they really con-
stituite "defense," or are they

computer error; a
miscalculation, an unstable of-
ficer, or an intentional first strike
by any of the nuclear powers
could trigger global destruction.
Can your conscience accept
being an accomplice to the
slaughter, which will include
your own loved ones? It is far bet-
ter to seek a job that is construc-
tive and to get involved in the
peace movement-to which the
American Friends Service COm-
mittee or practically any of the
main line student religious
groups, churches. ana

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