. . . in which I look back on the changing winds of doctrine, and which way I blow. . . .

Thirty or forty years ago, while grappling with the theory of rights — building off from both from the Bentham side as well as the Grotius side — I found myself contrasting rights talk (and utility of same) between various rights adults disputed pertaining solely to themselves and the alleged rights of children, infants, fetuses and non-human animals. I developed a sort of Benthamic schema of rights that Bentham himself would have hated, since mine explained and did not dismiss natural rights.

I went into my inquiry as an advocate for abortion rights, since my basic social attitude was liberal. And was a young man with no intention of starting a family. But the immediate result of my inquiries surprised me a bit: I ended up with a rather complicated excuse for legal abortions. It was based, in part, on phenomenology, specifically the approach to the social world of Alfred Schütz.

But by the end, I realized that there was something creepy about my excuse for abortion, and I acknowledged that, on level of personal morals, I was against abortion — it was, I decided, a horrific practice that my contemporaries took too lightly, with all the self-deceptions that Sartre saw in the peculiar mental stratagems of anti-Semites. I knew that many past societies had engaged in infanticide and the abandonment of children, and my rights theory had come out squarely against those practices, as it did many other age-old institutions, like chattel slavery and imperialist warfare. But abortion: I had found an excuse for its legality — what of that?

Well, I pick at this constantly, because it is, I hazard, one of the things de-humanizing contemporary society and driving our civilization mad. We have several of these madness-inducing memes ongoing. One is deficit spending and debt accumulation by the federal government of these United States. This has uncorked a stopper on the culture, and is sending society reeling out of control. As evidence for this madness I give you ‘gender theory’ and the current trans-mania. What I see in society are people being driven by uncorked egregori of memes, with scant discipline to regulate them: tradition is broken; philosophy — which might do the job — remains remotely academic, a kind of cultural eunuch, and deeply unpopular.

I have never much liked the terms of the debate. I deem “pro-life” and “pro-choice” as witless terms to characterize the actual positions held. Reliance upon these terms tempts their users into irresponsible, thoughtless ideology and propagandizing. So I’ve been alienated, until fairly recently, from both sides. In more recent days, though, my alienation from the ”left” generally has led me, with gallows humor, to the “right-wing“ culture, somewhat, because I take no stand with any group that allies itself with socialism, biological fabulism, and the Deep State (which is not fictitious, but all-too-real).

Like most left-right divides, the abortion issue has many dimensions. It deserves to be looked at in more than one way. I have tried to do so. For in addition to the ways mentioned above, treating it as a social-world problem, from the perspective of rights theory, I also consider it as a matter of ceremony, of rite. This is where anthropology veers into the occult, for there is a reason that many opponents of abortion look at the legally sanctioned and culturally promoted practice of abortion as ritual mass slaughter — and that extreme interpretation is indeed “creepy.” But like I suggest above, killing little humans in the womb is indeed a creepy, de-humanizing practice. I am not shocked to discover multiple dimensions of the creepiness.