Jan. 22, 2011
The New York Times, America's self-vaunted "paper of record," shivers with indignation over many things, important and trivial. It's columnists rail with rage against all manner of real or perceived evil, most particularly - in most cases - conservatism, Republicans, fiscal restraint, and moral virtue (a phrase which the Times would mock, if it were used seriously).
Earlier this week, the Times even attacked the GOP for using the term "job-killing" as uncivil. Yet the Times has not carried a single editorial on the brutal violence of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in Pennsylvania, a man who slaughtered myriad newly-born infants and ran a filthy "women's health" center in the City of Brotherly Love.
Where's the outrage from the voice of politically-correct liberalism? Frank Rich, Charles Blow, Paul Krugman, Timothy Egan, et al., attack with more predictability than creativity all facets of conservatism. They, and their peers, have been silent about Dr. Gosnell.
Last year, the Times' editorial writer Dorothy Samuels wrote a strident "Editorial Observer" piece on abortion, in which she described "assaults on women's reproductive rights" (i.e., efforts to protect unborn children) and belittled the interventions of Congress and state legislatures. To read this article is to realize that the determined supporters of abortion live in an alternative moral universe in which the unborn are mere "fetuses," and "choice" is the ultimate moral good. This is the dehumanizing language of the stifled conscience.
Yet even the Times cannot escape, even if unintentionally, the brutality of what Dr. Gosnell did to tiny children. In its eight-paragraph report of his evil-doing on January 19, the Gray Lady quotes from the Grand Jury report accusing him of murder:
When labor was induced and a baby was born, Dr. Gosnell would kill it by cutting into its neck and severing its spinal cord in a process he referred to as snipping. In one case involving a 17-year-old who was 30 weeks pregnant, prosecutors said that Dr. Gosnell induced labor, severed the babys spine and put the body in a shoe box. The doctor joked that the baby was so big, he could walk me to the bus stop."
Note the words: Baby ... body ... neck ... spinal column. These are not descriptions of some anatomical excrescence. They refer to what they actually compose: A small human person. Even the Times cannot avoid their moral power.
We can only hope that the undeniable, wrenching force of the report will have some affect on the hardened editorialists of the New York Times, even as they already have had on millions of other Americans. In the words of the moral philosopher J. Budziszewski, writing in First Things:
Nothing new can be written on the heart, but nothing needs to be; all we need is the grace of God to see what is already there. We don't want to read the letters, because they burn; but they do burn, so at last we must read them. This is why the nation can repent. This is why the plague can be arrested. This is why the culture of death can be redeemed. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before thee . . . a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.