what a week

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 09, 2007

From time-to-time, when I happen to come upon the fairly well-known photo of the Carpathian Jewish woman and her children walking toward the Auschwitz gas chambers in 1944, I've been moved to wonder how the persons who "selected" them for death (having determined they were unfit for labor), and how the persons who so carefully recorded the event on film, would have given voice to their feelings at the time. My hunch is that their dominant emotion -- at least the emotion that would find expression -- would be self-pity, perhaps tinged with self-congratulation.

Take a look at this recent posting on the Abortion Clinic Days blog -- a blog that fascinates me precisely because it lets us hear -- in real time, so to speak -- the resentments and satisfactions and defensiveness of persons engaged today, in our own community, in putting the innocent to death. "What a week it has been!" exclaims the blogger-in-chief, "a number of the counselors i work with and i, too, have had some really challenging cases to deal with." She gives us a long recitation of on-the-job hardships:

a third patient is fighting for custody of her three kids. she recently had a preliminary hearing in which she and her attorney assumed that the case would be dismissed since the ex-husband has a criminal record, an alcohol problem and had not been the best dad when they were married. but the judge is allowing the battle to continue. this woman, cindy, said that she is now so scared that her ex can outfight her because she does not have the money for an extended legal battle and so is tempted to continue this pregnancy (conceived through a birth control failure) so she'd at least have one child with her. but she fears the pregnancy could also cause the judge to rule against her. another tough choice.

the ability to work with women in crisis, to allow them to voice their fears, grief, and weaknesses is a true gift. not every one could do what we do. and i say that not to brag about what we do, but rather in humility that we were given this ability to "walk with women and men in their darkest hours". we do not judge, we do not run away, we do not fear to hear the unspeakable. this is the work we do. some divine power has allowed us to be present in others' lives and bear their burdens for a bit, yet still have our own lives, our own joys. it can not have been an accident that we were granted this ability.

See the twist? "We" -- the abortion providers -- "do not fear to hear the unspeakable." And note the implied conclusion: because we have the courage to hear the unspeakable, we are blameless (or even ennobled) when we make the unspeakable into the fait accompli, when we turn horror into a reality.

I've had occasion before to mention Hannah Arendt's book Eichmann in Jerusalem, and her penetrating insight into the mind of Reichsf├╝hrer Heinrich Himmler, especially regarding his success in getting ordinary men to do -- how can we put it? -- extraordinary things:

Hence the problem was to overcome not so much their conscience as the animal pity by which all normal men are affected in the presence of physical suffering. The trick used by Himmler -- who apparently was rather strongly afflicted with these instinctive reactions himself -- was very simple and probably very effective; it consisted in turning these instincts around, as it were, in directing them toward the self. So that instead of saying: What horrible things I did to people!, the murderers would be able to say: What horrible things I had to watch in the pursuance of my duties, how heavily the task weighed upon my shoulders!

All too effective. You watch Carpathian Jews heading off to be gassed, you help Cindy overcome the "temptation" to continue her pregnancy, and you write home to your loved ones: "what a week it has been!" Tough on you. Taxing for you. Your self-esteem not only stays intact, but buoys a little.

But it doesn't end there, does it? Take careful note of our abortionist's admission that "some divine power has allowed us to be present in others' lives and bear their burdens for a bit." That ought to make the hair on your neck prickle. The Bible too knows of a spiritual power that helps its host bear the burden of inflicting homicide. Its name is Legion. "It can not have been an accident," muses our diarist, "that we were granted this ability."

It almost certainly wasn't.

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  • Posted by: - May. 11, 2007 4:37 PM ET USA

    Bellarminite, How did people get this notion that a Mother can choose to kill her baby and that it is okay? Only Satan could perpetuate such a horror!.

  • Posted by: - May. 10, 2007 4:05 PM ET USA

    I have become more aware lately that abortion enablers seem to justify their support of it by saying it's a matter of conscience for each individual, thus freedom of choice. Of course, any murderer has a the free will to "choose" to kill or not but if they so choose, they are subject to the legal ramifications. So the question becomes, how can these people be so easily convinced that an unborn child is any less human than any other murder victim? How did this notion get so widely accepted?

  • Posted by: - May. 10, 2007 9:45 AM ET USA

    Ross, you're partially correct. Hitler was indeed elected to the Reichstag but pressured then-President von Hindenburg to appoint him as chancellor.

  • Posted by: - May. 10, 2007 12:01 AM ET USA

    This is one of the saddest pictures I have ever seen. Who had to witness and take this picture? To think that so many people were duped and deceived to follow such unspeakable and inconceivable heinous inhumanity perpetrated by Hitler. Just think he was "voted in", just like Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, BClinton, HClinton,Boxer, Fienstein, they all defend, and support abortions, partial-birth abortions, as if, their "lives" and "political lives" were at stake. Same "mindset" that "voted" for Hitler.

  • Posted by: - May. 09, 2007 10:40 PM ET USA

    Good pro-lifers occasionally hesitate to draw direct comparisons to the extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany. I don't know why. Abortionists carve up unborn babies and count the pieces after the "procedure" to make sure nothing was left behind. What kind of monster could do that? The Nazi comparison is right on target. Good job, Di.

  • Posted by: - May. 09, 2007 3:52 PM ET USA

    Another interesting sleight of mind on the blog was the phrase "conceived through a birth control failure". Who knew!

  • Posted by: - May. 09, 2007 10:31 AM ET USA

    It is always interesting to read people who pride themselves in the fact that they do not judge others. We all need to be dicerning of ourselves and of others. If those we come in contact with have chosen poorly, I think we need to let them know what we think. It lets them think about who they are, what they are doing and helps them to find their way. We allow God to act through us. Let God be the moral corrective. It is still up to others to listen and follow.

  • Posted by: - May. 09, 2007 10:18 AM ET USA

    Brilliant article! There is a third blight on human history which I connect to abortion and the Shoah: Slavery! Whether condemning Jews to death, babies to abortion, or Africans to forced servitude, the underlying theme is either non-personhood or less than a person-hood forced upon victims by those who consider themselves superior. God created only one race, the human race!

  • Posted by: - May. 09, 2007 9:48 AM ET USA

    It's been quite a week for Giuliani too, with the discovery of his contributions to planned parenthood. Poor guy!

  • Posted by: - May. 09, 2007 7:42 AM ET USA

    Reading the blog by the abortionist helped me understand the mindset of people in Germany in supporting Hitler. Another glimpse into the world during the time of the Anti-Christ. The best description I could give it is passion divorced from reason, accountability and Goodness Himself. May God grant us the grace to persevere in these times.