“Murder and graffiti are two vastly different crimes,” Rudy Giuliani once said. “But they are part of the same continuum, and a climate that tolerates one is more likely to tolerate the other.”
Good point, Rudy.
Now, what about a climate — not to mention a Republican presidential candidate — that not only tolerates, but allows unelected judges to legalize the practice of delivering a child until only its head remains within its mothers womb so the child can be killed by sucking out its brains?
What about a climate where same-sex couples are given the same legal status as married couples, whether the resulting arrangements are candidly called “same-sex marriages,” or are semantically papered-over with terms such as “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships”?
Apply the Giuliani Continuum to fundamental issues such as marriage and the right to life, and where does it lead?
Not where conservatives want America to be.
Rudy Giuliani’s observation about the “continuum” running from graffiti to murder was quoted in a piece in the winter edition of City Journal by Steven Malanga. The title of Malanga’s piece neatly encapsulates his argument: “Yes, Rudy is a Conservative — and an electable one at that.”
I believe Malanga is wrong on both counts. Rudy is neither conservative, nor electable — at least, not as a Republican presidential candidate.
As Malanga seems to define it, a politician dedicated to good police work and free-market economics qualifies as a conservative. “Far from being a liberal,” Malanga writes of Giuliani, “he ran New York with a conservative’s priorities: government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, he said, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering. The private economy, not government, creates opportunity, he argued; government should just deliver basic services well and then get out of the private sector’s way.”
But that’s not enough. While advocating law and order, self-reliance, and capitalism is laudable, it does not entitle a politician to a free pass for advocating other causes that are deeply destructive of American society.
While it is always wrong to take an innocent human life — whether on a New York sidewalk or in a mother’s womb — Giuliani is highly selective in applying this principle. In 1999, when he was pondering a run for the U.S. Senate, he was asked whether he supported banning partial-birth abortion. “No, I have not supported that,” he said, “and I don’t see my position on that changing.”
“I’m pro-gay rights,” he also said. Indeed, his position is so radical in this area that as New York City mayor he promoted a city ordinance that removed the distinctions in municipal law between married and unmarried couples, regardless of their gender.
“What it really is doing is preventing discrimination against people who have different sexual orientations, or make different preferences in which they want to lead their lives,” Giuliani said, explaining the ordinance to the New York Times. “Domestic partnerships not only affect gays and lesbians, but they also affect heterosexuals who choose to lead their lives in different ways.”
In other words, preserving a legal order that prefers traditional marriage and traditional families is “discrimination.”
Giuliani’s positions on abortion and marriage disqualify him as a conservative because they annihilate the link between the natural law and man-made laws. Indeed, they use man-made law to promote and protect acts that violate the natural law.
Given his argument that there is a “continuum” between graffiti and murder, you would think that Giuliani would understand the importance of the link between the natural law and the laws of New York City, let alone the laws of the United States. At the heart of Rudy’s “continuum” argument, is the realization that when society refuses to enforce a just law it teaches people to disrespect the moral principles underlying just laws.
The late Russell Kirk argued in The Conservative Mind that the first canon of conservatism is “[b]elief in a transcendent order, or body of natural law, which rules society as well as conscience. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral problems. … True politics is the art of apprehending and applying the Justice which ought to prevail in a community of souls.”
It is simply not justice to take the life of an unborn child. Nor is it justice to codify same-sex relationships so that, by design of the state itself, a child can be denied a mother or a father from birth, which is one thing legalized same-sex unions would do.
By advocating abortion on demand and same-sex unions, Rudy is doing something far more egregious than, say, defacing a New York subway train. He is defacing the institution that forms the foundation of human civilization.
That is not conservative.
Rudy will not win the Republican nomination because enough of the people who vote in Republican caucuses and primaries still respect life and marriage, and are not ready to give up on them — or on the Republican party as an agent for protecting them.
– Terry Jeffrey is editor-at-large of Human Events.