NRL News
202.626.8824
dadandrusk@aol.com

Morally bankrupt, ethically spineless, and spiritually deadening

by | Jul 23, 2020

By Dave Andrusko

C.S. Lewis

Like many people I suspect, I often turn to trusted sources for a kind of “inspirational insight of the day.” One of several authors I turn to for perspective and motivation is the great C.S. Lewis.

As it happens the following two quotes appear back-to-back at Craig Townens’ “A dozen quotes from C.S. Lewis.”

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”

and

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”

Ironically, the first quote (as Lewis makes clear in his famous book “Mere Christianity”) comes from Samuel Johnson, the 18th century “poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer” (to borrow from Wikipedia’s excellent summary).

Lewis’s very next sentence is an epitome of eloquence: “The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see.”

Pro-lifers are not strictly speaking “moral teachers” (obviously) but we are motivated by and illustrate in our concern for both unborn child and mother timeless truths. To name just the most obvious we do not take the lives of our children, born or unborn. That ruptures the moral membrane of any society and severs the most fundamental bond in all of human culture: between mother and her dependent child.

The second Lewis quote is also from “Mere Christianity.” Let me extend the quote out just a bit:

We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be and if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. We have all seen this when we do arithmetic. When I have started a sum the wrong way, the sooner I admit this and go back and start over again, the faster I shall get on. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world, it is pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistakes. We are on the wrong road. And if that is so, we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.

So (1)”If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man”; and (2) When we are on the wrong road, “we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”

This quote comes to mind when we are bombarded with the nonsensical statement that we “can’t go back” (or we “can’t go backwards”). We have habituated ourselves to disposal unborn children. When they are inconvenient, we dispose of them. We can’t go back, or so goes the mantra.

But if we were headed right off a cliff, we would darn well better stop and “go back.” To return legal protection—and respect—to the Littlest Americans is the most “progressive” action we can take. And it represents the fastest way to begin to repair this grievous abridgement of fundamental human rights.

It is only when we blind ourselves to what we are doing—to reassure ourselves that what we are doing must be right because, well, we are doing it—that we miss that our actions have an ethical calculus.

Wiping out those who cannot defend themselves—most especially those little ones who exist because of our actions, not theirs—is morally bankrupt, ethically spineless, and spiritually deadening.

Categories: Life
Tags: