LOPEZ: Should Lincoln have given peace a chance after the battle of Bull Run? Why would you ask such a thing?
GOLDBLATT: Because “Give Peace a Chance” might be the most popular liberal bumper sticker of all time. The irony, of course, is that the same people who ridiculed Reagan’s “Just Say No!” ad campaign as a hopelessly naïve response to drug abuse embrace “Give Peace a Chance” as the height of geopolitical sophistication. Granted, it’s hard to argue with a dead Beatle. But is there a more craven way to oppose a particular war than to announce that, in general, you favor peace? Way to go out on the limb, U Thant. That’s mighty big of you. Furthermore, is peace always preferable to war? Which returns us to the Lincoln question. Should he have given peace a chance after the First Battle of Bull Run? Should he have summoned Jefferson Davis to the White House and said, “All right, you guys keep your slaves. Come back into the Union, and from now on we’ll mind our own business. Live and let live. No hard feelings, eh?”LOPEZ
: Explain your tautology: “A woman should have the right to an abortion because a woman has the right to an abortion.”
GOLDBLATT: That’s what the bodily-sovereignty argument in the abortion debate reduces to. Let’s acknowledge that there are serious philosophical and legal arguments on both sides of the debate. “Keep Your Laws Off My Body,” as the bumper sticker goes, isn’t one of them. Insisting that a woman has the right to end a pregnancy because she controls her own body is either provably false or logically meaningless. Even if we grant the highly contentious point that the fetus is part of a woman’s body, it’s just not true that Americans exercise absolute sovereignty over their own bodies. There are many laws that regulate the uses of our bodies. You can’t sell your internal organs. Nor is prostitution legal in most places. For good reason, there’s no right to absolute bodily sovereignty. However, if we take the bodily-sovereignty argument in a weaker sense — specifically, that a woman’s right to control her body includes the right to end a pregnancy — we’re left with this: A woman should have the right to an abortion because a woman has the right to an abortion.
LOPEZ: What do you have against “coexist” bumper stickers? It’s not a terrible idea, is it?
GOLDBLATT: Another popular bumper sticker consists of the word “Coexist” formed out of traditional iconic symbols: a crescent, a cross, a tao, a star of David, etc. It’s a pleasant enough sentiment, and it allows liberals to think they’re somehow above the fray when it comes to the ongoing struggle between the post-Enlightenment West and totalitarian Islam. Except if you’re imagining a world of peaceful coexistence, you’re not taking a neutral position. You’re coming down on the side of the West. Liberals are in the thick of the war; they just don’t have the stomach to accept it. Their aspirations for peace — a peace in which individuals are free to act according to the dictates of their own consciences — place them squarely on the side of heterogeneity over unity of belief, of personal autonomy over selfless obedience, of reason over faith. Radical Islam is at war with everything liberals hold dear. Liberals just don’t want to get their fingernails dirty.