Updated: Jan 21, 2021
I have a bust of Caesar Augustus in my office. It’s not because I want to emulate him. It’s because he is a reminder of the limitations of power even with all of the wealth and lethal command in the world. As the first Keynesian, he is a reminder of the tyranny and failure of economic central planning, which modern day dirigistes are too corrupt and/or unintelligent to acknowledge.
While the statement “you can’t legislate morality” is an oversimplified falsehood that fails to appreciate the intersection of laws and morals, the truth is that law cannot quickly overturn prevailing morals without great social upheaval. Caesar Augustus is a reminder of the futility of such aggressive moral imposition with state power.
In my personal life, he is an image of the futility of democrats who have dominated my life since childhood, preaching their values and visions of society in school, on television, on the news, and in the governance halls of the progressive metropolis. Our core belief systems and values are formed powerfully in childhood by our parents, teachers, entertainers, and churches. I enjoyed a scholarly and tradition-intact Catholic Church teaching experience in childhood. I owe nearly half of my moral foundation to that blessing.
But adult experience in the church is maintenance – not reformative or formative. Caesar Augustus' rejuvenation of the Roman State Church did not appreciate this anthropological fact. These concepts of moral formation apply to other religions, and irreligious substitutions (i.e. Secular Humanism), as much as Christianity.
And so Caesar Augustus sits in my office as a constant reminder of what not to do with power – intellectual, relational (reputation/fame), psychological, and martial.
Many-a-Roman was cursed with generations of failure at the end of the Roman Empire. I wonder sometimes if Caesar Augustus was prescient enough to understand his folly, or if he died in delusion like so many “positive,” neurotic, and manic “globally-minded” citizens in the modern day.
Ancient Rome has much to teach the Republicans in Alabama. Their recent Alabama abortion ban is a terrible thing for pro-life citizens, and a gift to pro-choice citizens. To understand this counterintuitive impact, we must appreciate the censorship employed by terrified elites in Hollywood, the judiciary, Silicon Valley, and academia. We must also consider public opinion on abortion, and the history of using centralized power for moral imposition.
Pro-Abortion Elites are Terrified and Dishonest
A person who is confident in their position fears no opposition. They state the facts, and they welcome honest criticism that is void of dysfunctional argumentation such as ad-hominem, name-calling, arguing “tone,” fallacies, and propaganda techniques:
A person who is terrified and dishonest uses dysfunctional arguments. They also use propaganda techniques, fallacies, and emotive language backed up by no hard evidence, nor logic. They silence, censor, disinvite, deplatform, intimidate, and ostracize those who contradict them. They care more about spreading their agenda than what is true.
The prevailing dysfunctional argumentation indicates that pro-choice, pro-abortion elites are terrified and dishonest.
Even the most liberal democrats in our universities do not honestly support unregulated abortion. I say “honestly” because if they were not lying to themselves, they would actually encourage the scientific and medical exposure of abortion, which they have suppressed like Goebbels whitewashed Nazi concentration camps. They silence speakers who share the medical science of abortion. They disinvite speakers from campus for sharing abortion science.
Which journalistic outfits show the reality of abortion from a medical and scientific perspective? Which documentarians do so on educational TV? The Washington Post considers whether it is rude to share such realities. Why do journalists operate nearly entirely on euphemisms with no medical or scientific images and descriptors?
Why did the Supreme Court justify censorship of science? Some people are baffled that the Supreme Court tacitly upheld laws banning scientific truth of abortion. I am not baffled. The lying elites of mob-rule ochlocracy do not want free speech and proliferation of hard evidence. They like people to remain ignorant and emotive, with no knowledge, and inaccurate understanding of the world in which they live. One look at a social media comment feed, twitter, and instagram, is all that is required to understand that we live in ochlocracy.
Universities, journalists, and the judiciary are not alone in their terrified dishonesty about abortion – entertainers lead the way. The most liberal democrats in Hollywood do not honestly support abortion. Their delusion is so powerful that they even tried to stomp out a movie exposing an abortion slaughterhouse:
And lastly, the most liberal democrats in the humanities-deprived Silicon Valley do not honestly support abortion. They are so terrified of reality that Twitter went full-totalitarian censorship on Unplanned – a movie about the hardships that abortion workers encounter. Google’s “machine learning” artificial intelligence must have been learning from pro-abortion activists, because it treated Unplanned like the Nazi flick Triumph of the Will – rote propaganda. I wonder why their artificial intelligence does not flag interpersonal stories of feminism and black civil rights history as “propaganda.”
Unfortunately for the Stalin-emulating technocrats, Unplanned succeeded despite their attempts to destroy it.
Meanwhile, people like Ben Shapiro are having none of the dishonesty:
Laws that are not reflected by the values of the populace do not stand
When the elites who promote abortion are so terrified and dishonest, why do Republicans pass laws that have no chance at succeeding? Conservative venue Breitbart indicates that the Republicans of Alabama realize that the law is not enforceable. They passed the bill in order to challenge Roe v. Wade.
But they have not learned from history.
Shortly after the golden age in Rome, social retrogression was acknowledged from patrician to plebe, from scholar to entertainer. One such entertainer was Petronius, a satirical “South Park” creator of his era. Victor Davis Hanson recently recalled modern American parallels:
“Petronius seems to mock the very world in which he indulged. His novel’s accepted norms [in Ancient Rome] are pornography, gratuitous violence, sexual promiscuity, transgenderism, delayed marriage, childlessness, fear of aging, homelessness, social climbing, ostentatious materialism, prolonged adolescence, and scamming and conning in lieu of working…Never in the history of civilization had a generation become so wealthy and leisured, so eager to gratify every conceivable appetite — and yet so bored and unhappy.”
One online encyclopedia accurately describes Caesar Augustus' moral reforms, but misleads the reader with its exclusions. In order for such sweeping moralizing laws to be inspired, Senātus Populusque Rōmānus must have already identified moral squalor that begs for correction. Based upon the social retrogression that Caesar Augustus left in his wake, chronicled by men like Petronius and hundreds more, his moralizing laws were abject failures.
Why are laws that tell people how to live so ineffective? In our day-to-day activities, criminal law is an afterthought. The specter of punishment is ultimately dismissed because rational people realize that government enforcers are not omnipresent. Soft Power is what influences morals and behavior. This is why China, Russia, the EU, the USA, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamic autocrats of the modern day employ intelligence agency influence operations to sway hearts and minds.
Will somebody please teach these truths to pro-life Republicans? For a political party that claims competence in tradition and history, such oversights are unforgivable. The application of soft power is not rocket science. It’s a basic skill set, which is one part cerebral, one part heart, and one part empathy.
Conservatives admit to their deficiencies in the culture war, but still evade it, or meekly attempt to fight it with white gloves, using foils against missiles.
The Abortion Ban Is a Gift to Pro-Choice, Pro-Abortion Advocates
This article does not intend on adjudicating abortion, and all perspectives on it. The fact is simple – American moral disposition towards abortion will not accept a total ban. They want abortion to be legal if:
The woman’s life is endangered (83%)
The woman was raped or abused by incest (77%)
The child would be deformed physically or mentally (49-67%)
Americans do not want abortion to be legal when the woman is inconvenienced and chose sexual activities she regrets (only 45% of voters support abortion for any reason).
The consequence of imposing moralizing laws on a populace whose values and visions do not align is that the laws will not succeed. Black markets will arise. Unqualified politicians will get elected simply by promising to overturn the law that most people do not want. The elected official who promises to overturn the abortion ban will enact many laws outside of the issue of abortion.
In that way, unintended harm in many areas besides abortion will emerge – national security, criminal justice, economics, taxation, research and development. Should I mention again that the abortion law itself will not prevail in the long term? I will be surprised if someone in the state judiciary doesn't stop this law with an injunction.
Republicans have a chance at passing a law that permits abortion when women’s lives are in jeopardy, when they are raped, or victims of incest, and when the child is deformed. If they understood soft power, they would use it to advance their moral causes, while aiming for laws that the voter will actually sustain.
Pregnancies from rape and incest are estimated at 1.5-3% of rapes, considering oral contraception ratios, along with the rape studies. That is around 800 – 1,600 pregnancies per year. If all of those pregnancies were aborted, then rape/incest abortions would constitute 8 in 10,000 of the nearly one-million abortions per year.
If Republicans are willing to fail completely in order to insist that 8 in 10,000 abortions must be forbidden, they are not just in need of history lessons, but also lessons in kindergarten arithmetic.
Not only are they throwing the aborted baby out with the bath water, but Republicans who are willing to cede power over national security, criminal justice, economics, tax, and research, while temporarily restricting abortion, have forgotten the first rule of democratic republic – they are representatives, not kings. As much as they do not like it, they must respond to the sentiments of the citizens.
Here they stand, on the precipice of restricting 500,000 to 850,000 abortions per year, and they are going to throw it all away for a lack of compromise and wisdom. The folly will also lose ground in the culture wars, if Republicans truly wish to move the hearts and minds of Americans towards broader laws.
And so the centrist voters will see Republicans as extremists, and refrain from electing them. Perhaps I should gift busts of Caesar Augustus to these Republicans, along with a copy of this article. When Dirty Harry said “a man’s gotta know his limitations,” it applied equally to his personhood and profession. Will politicians of both parties learn the inherent limitations of legislation? Those who do not learn, chose a profession in which they are ill-equipped.