March 26, 2020


The 'Let the Elderly Die' ChorusSome conservatives--including supposed 'pro-lifers'--say we should quit social distancing. Is it the economy they want to help? Or the president? (JIM SWIFT,  MARCH 26, 2020, The Bulwark)

Especially troubling is that some of the people who are making the case that we should intentionally concede lives to the coronavirus--especially the lives of the elderly, the disabled, the vulnerable, the infirm--are prominent figures in the pro-life movement. Even floating as a trial balloon the idea of giving up on the elderly will do damage to the credibility of the pro-life cause. Is that what pro-life leaders and pundits want?

To put it another way, COVID-19 has served as a helpful barometer of who is capable of logical thought and who has allowed their brains to be broken by President Trump. Because a number of people who have built their careers on being pro-life have abandoned that, converting to prosperity gospel by way of Bishop Trump.

Consider the argument posed by Rusty Reno in the pages of the magazine he edits, the largely conservative Catholic First Things. Reno criticizes New York governor Andrew Cuomo for saying "I did everything we could do. And if everything we do saves just one life, I'll be happy." To Reno, Cuomo's statement represents a "disastrous sentimentalism" because "there are many things more precious than life."

Yes, there are causes worth laying down one's life for. But to think of today's social-isolation practices in those terms is a bizarre and extreme misjudgment. In his topsy-turvy interpretation, Reno believes the temporary stay-at-home measures that New York has put in place to protect lives are actually allowing a fear of death to displace other things we should care about. Claiming that the news media and public-health officials are "conspir[ing] to heighten the atmosphere of crisis," Reno says that Satan would approve and that "the mass shutdown of society to fight the spread of COVID-19 creates a perverse, even demonic atmosphere."

Asking people to stay at home during a time of crisis is demonic?

This is the same First Things that was once one of the leading magazines for pro-life intellectual writing?

The same First Things whose writers railed against the "death panels" in Obamacare?

The same First Things that not long ago pushed a manifesto whose signatories said, "We stand with the American citizen. We reject attempts to compromise on human dignity."

What happened?

Responding to Reno's article, Erick Erickson writes:

It is sad to see a religious publication try to cast the extraordinary effort of stopping a global pandemic [as] "demonic." But that is what it does. It cheapens the effort to save lives as sentimental and essentially advances a materialistic approach of wanting to make money and let people die because people are always going to die. Now, of course, the writer knows he is doing this so he chooses to denounce materialism while essentially advocating for it.

And in the liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal, Jared Lucky powerfully rebuts Reno's argument, pointing out that "today's quarantine restrictions complement centuries of Christian response to epidemics." His whole article--especially his devastating rejection of Reno's invocation of Solzhenitsyn--is worth reading, but here's just a taste from the conclusion:

Few Christians would ask for this cup, but we must drink it--to serve God by serving our neighbors, and to grow closer to God through the contemplation of death. . . . Quarantine is . . . a costly act of service that meets the urgent human needs of our neighbors. That service may involve going to work--at a hospital or a testing center--or staying home. But make no mistake: these sacrifices are not a surrender to death. They are a sacrifice to the God who gives life.

While some of the criticism of social distancing from Republicans and conservative commentators surely is motivated by real fears about the economy, you need not be a cynic to wonder whether it is mostly driven by a desire to protect the president.

Donald is anti-Life so they are too.

Posted by at March 26, 2020 12:00 AM