Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 21, No. 4, 2022
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Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Jason McDonald
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Charles Lewis
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Rochelle Gurstein
Alex Waterhouse-Hayward





And end this night,
if it be your will.
Leonard Cohen.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God
who has endowed us with sense, reason,
and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

Making the option of abortion available under the law is what makes us human. Refusing the option, criminalizing it is animal.

The principle that validates the above proposition is derived from a precedent this small essay dedicates itself to unfolding.

The argument we most often hear from anti-abortion advocates is the procedure is tantamount to “the killing of innocents.” Well of course they are innocent; they’re not born yet. In fact the fetus doesn’t even breathe until it is born. What the fetus and dead people have in common is they don’t breathe.

Both pro-lifers and pro-choicers formulate their positions by arguing from a moral perspective. The former cites abortion as a trespassing of God’s will or violating the sanctity of life. The latter cites the sanctity of individual rights, and the right of the individual to determine what happens to or inside one’s body.

However, we note that both pro-lifers and pro-choicers are on the same page as it concerns my unalienable right to subject my body to pain (participating in the Iron Man triathalon or an S & M session), or to sacrifice a kidney for a loved one, just as they would not deny me the right to prohibit someone from harming my body in any way. The consensus derives from the understanding that, as an inviolable principle, the individual is sovereign over his/her body.

What distinguishes Homo sapiens from all other forms of life is sentience, the ability to think and reason. When our understanding concludes that allowing nature to take its course is antithetical to a desired outcome, we are uniquely able to refuse what instinct bids. I want to bludgeon my neighbour who opens up his drum kit at 3 am in the morning every mourning, but reason tells me that this justifiable homicide will result in a lengthy incarceration, so I refuse what my nature begs and return the automatic hand gun purchased without a background check to an unlocked bottom drawer.

With very few exceptions in the world, it is the state that decides on the age when a youth is deemed mature enough to be recognized as an adult. At that decisive turning, the new adult acquires both the privileges and responsibilities attendant to adulthood; he/she can now make final decisions on matters that range from choosing a marriage partner, place of residence and career. That age is typically between 16 and 18, and in certain jurisdictions, in respect to the purchase of alcohol and/or cannabis, 21. I know of no authority, elected or otherwise, that grants adulthood to 14-year-olds. The legislators of the world have unanimously concluded that under-aged persons are best served leaving the significant decisions in their life to a mature adult/parent. A 10-year-old hates going to the dentist for an annual checkup; the parent overrules the child’s clamouring in consideration of optimal dental health.

At some critical point in his evolution, man grasped that if society is to properly function, there has to be in place enforceable laws that place restrictions on human behaviour. This critical insight would not have been possible if man didn’t possess (and employ) his faculties of judgment. It is this same faculty (intelligence) that is responsible for all the civilizational advancements we enjoy: the miracles of modern medicine, the marvels of aviation, state-of-the-art communication technology etc. Theist and atheist, pro-lifer and pro-choicer, would agree that intelligence, the ability to think and reason, is sacrosanct, is man’s single greatest attribute. There is no human population that does not exploit this remarkable faculty, because we are human -- and not animal. When we formulate a Commandment or law, we are granting human intelligence the right to intervene, to interrupt to overcall the primordial promptings of human nature. My untamed nature bids me to covet this man’s wife and/or pecuniary advantage; the law, underwritten by human intelligence, proscribes it.

All cultures grant supremacy to intelligence, the exercising of which has resulted in the consensus that parents (adults) are best positioned to make the best decisions as it concerns the well-being of their children -- except in the US and 25 other countries when their 14-year-old becomes pregnant; even though the pro-lifer, at the bidding of his intelligence, has already acknowledged that adult parents are best qualified to make all the major decisions on behalf of their children. And this also holds true for the God-fearing, for whom trespassing God’s will -- that man shall employ his intelligence -- subtends theological consequences.

In refusing the 14-year-old the right to abort, the believer has somehow persuaded himself that with impunity he can overrule the will of God who has not only instilled in him intelligence but willed him to use it. Even if this same 14-year-old has been raped or sexually abused by a friendly relative, pro-lifers believe nature should be allowed to take its course, which is what happens in every animal population. Notwithstanding that children who have children do not make good parents, that the off-spring of child mothers will be beset with personal problems for their entire lives, the burden of which society must carry, pro-lifers vehemently argue that as it concerns abortion rights, animal intelligence (code for dumb nature) should take precedent over human intelligence.

This position, this inconsistency, results in the following antinomy. On the one hand, pro-lifers grant supremacy to human intelligence, a supremacy that is expressed through the exercising of it, meaning not to use it is to either contravene God’s will, and/or render nul and void man’s most valuable resource, while on the other hand they argue that as it concerns child and teen pregnancy, human intelligence should not be allowed to intervene, that nature is supreme.

Since we can’t have it both ways, we look to a higher authority for guidance. In the United States, that would be the wisest nine that sit on the Supreme Court. In its manifest wisdom, unabashedly flouting the principle of consistency of application of human intelligence, the Supreme Court ruled that nature should be the final arbiter as it pertains to parents’ right to decide on whether or not their 14-year-old should terminate pregnancy.

The discomfiting message embedded in the court's decision to criminalize abortion is that man is still very much a prisoner of his animal heritage, and as such, remains his own greatest enigma.

We know that human intelligence can be twisted, cajoled into accepting outrageous ideas that have no purchase in the real world. It wasn’t so long ago that the medicine man or shaman proposed that thunder and lightening were messages from the angry gods, that human sacrifice would appease them. If meteorology, that is human intelligence, put an end to that bloody hocus pocus, we ask, we beg what will finally put an end to the abortion debacle?

The status of inviolability subsumed in a principle is founded on the rationale that you can’t have it both ways. We cannot say that being virtuous is its own reward and is not. We cannot grant supremacy to Homo sapiens because of his intelligence and then tell either the parent of a 14-year-old or the child herself, who might have been brutally raped by an enemy soldier, that they cannot recourse that same intelligence in deciding on whether or not to terminate pregnancy. We either allow the faculty of intelligence to intervene in human affairs or we don’t. We are either human or animal but not both.

What is at stake in the abortion debate is the role, as first principle, of intelligence in the affairs of man. Even though man's superior brain has made it possible to create civilizations that would have been unimaginable a mere 500 years ago, mankind is still not mindful enough to grant this unique intelligence its supremacy in ‘all’ matters related to serving the best interests of the race. “Man is a zoological group of sentient rather than sapient beings, characterized by a brain so large that he uses rather little of it . . . and we cannot expect too much of a learned power placed in opposition to instinct,” observes Robert Ardrey.

Man’s glory, his magnificence, his very special place among all the living creatures in the world is owed to his intelligence, his ability to think and reason. His stoops to mediocrity when he forfeits it to his baser animal instincts.

I propose that the only war man should be waging is the one against his nature, against the inner animal that is more than holding its own in the blood strewn fields of human endeavour.




also by Robert J. Lewis:


Why Do We Daydream
Argument & Disagreement

Smashing the God Particle

The Decline of Reading

In Praise of Useless Activities

When Sex Became Dirty
Blood Meridian: (McCarthy): An Appreciation

Trump & Authencity

Language, Aim & Fire

One Hand Clapping: The Zen Koan Hoax

Human Nature: King of the Hill

The Trouble with Darwin
The Life & Death of Anthony Bourdain
Denying Identity and Natural Law
The Cares versus the Care-nots
Elon Musk: Brilliant but Wrong
As the Corporation Feasts, the Earth Festers
Flirting & Consequences
Breaking Bonds
Oscar Wilde and the Birth of Cool
The Big
Deconstructing Skin Colour
To Party - Parting Ways with Consciousness
Comedy - Constant Craving
Choosing Gender
Becoming Our Opposites
Broken Feather's Last Stand

Abstract Art or Artifice II
Old People
Beware the Cherry-Picker
Once Were Animal
Islam is Smarter Than the West
Islam Divided by Two
Pedophiling Innocence
Grappling with Revenge
Hit Me With That Music
The Sinking of the Friendship
Om: The Great Escape
Actor on a Hot Tin Roof
Being & Self-Consciousness
Giacometti: A Line in the Wilderness
The Jazz Solo
Chat Rooms & Infidels
Music Fatigue
Understanding Rape
Have Idea Will Travel
Bikini Jihad
The Reader Feedback Manifesto
Caste the First Stone
Let's Get Cultured
Being & Baggage
Robert Mapplethorpe
The Eclectic Switch

Philosophical Time
What is Beauty?
In Defense of Heidegger

Hijackers, Hookers and Paradise Now
Death Wish 7 Billion
My Gypsy Wife Tonight
On the Origins of Love & Hate
Divine Right and the Unrevolted Masses
Cycle Hype or Genotype
The Genocide Gene










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