Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Once More into the Breach

Anne Barbeau Gardiner, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is Professor Emerita of English at John Jay College of the City University of New York. She reviews Cultures of Abortion in Weimar Germany. By Cornelie Usborne. Berghahn Books. 284 pages. might conclude that the road to Hitler was paved with abortions. The Weimar Republic was a society committing suicide in slow motion. It could neither stop the killing of its unborn children nor control the degrading hedonism that accompanied this practice. In retrospect, one might call Weimar a very weak form of the culture of death, a preview of what now prevails in much of the Western world. It was so weak it easily caved in when confronted with a fiercer form of that same culture. For even under the Nazis the slaughter of the unborn continued. Hitler was gung-ho for eugenic abortion, and while he made abortion virtually inaccessible for German women of supposedly superior "stock," he legalized it and sometimes made it (along with sterilization) compulsory for women of what he called "inferior races." Thus did an enervated society cave in to a mad tyrant. Thus did Weimar's "cultures of abortion" usher in the Holocaust. Perhaps we should take warning..More>>
In The Killing Fields, there is a moment when Dith Pran, the trusty wingman of Sydney Schanberg, having escaped his captors stands dumbfounded, up to his ankles in decaying human flesh and bones: the mad, murderous violence of the Khmer Rouge.

In the same way, in the sane lucidity proffered by faith and reason of Mother Church, one comes to a moment of standing dumbfounded by the sheer magnitude of the abortuarial madness of today's global "civilization". It makes one want to throw in the towel, almost. And it certainly makes sense of stories like this.

But having faced my mortality (and yours), as well as the hope for the future of many young parents, one needs to sally forth - once more into the breach, as young King Hal admonished.

After all Domine, ad quen ibimus?

1 comment:

David Nybakke said...

You are on a roll dear Ath.

Right from the beginning of this particular article by Gardiner she smacks us between the eyes with the tremenduous power of mimesis:

"But even before abortion was an issue, contraception was "big business" in Germany prior to World War I, due to "Neomalthusian propaganda." In 1913 Max Marcuse interviewed 100 women in Berlin and found that all but three used contraceptives — forty of them also admitted to having had "one or several abortions." In 1914 Oskar Polano interviewed 500 women in Würzburg and found that 81 percent of the wives of civil servants and 72 percent of the wives of workers used contraceptives. No surprise then that in 1927 the law was changed to allow contraceptives to be advertised, though some of these, like the uterine coil, were also abortifacient."

With this high level of mimesis working in a culture it is surely swirling into the abyss - into the thrones of death. I really believe that calling out the power of mimetic contagion and naming it openly is important so we can grasp just how important it is to get a grip on Life. Breaking free of the business of death is no easy task - and attempting to rip off the swaddling clothes that most of us are born into is not easy. The only way out of the swaddling clothes of our culture of death is through Christ - through Imitatio Christi.