Magazine | January 26, 2015, Issue


Against a LARC

I am writing in regard to Robert VerBruggen’s article, “On a LARC,” in the December 31, 2014, issue of National Review.

I would like to thank Mr. VerBruggen for being honest about his present state of mind. However, I think it is incorrect to raise questions about the “value” or the “worth” of protecting an unimplanted human embryo.

An unimplanted human embryo is still a human being. To claim the right to decide to cause its death amounts to a claim of ownership of another human being. Ownership of human beings is forbidden by the 13th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Barbara Hoffman

Fond du Lac, Wis.

Robert VerBruggen responds: Ms. Hoffman does not address my primary argument on the question of how we should treat unimplanted embryos: If we are to treat them with the same respect we give to any other human life, we can’t just make it illegal to harm them; we also need to save them from natural death when possible. Thousands upon thousands of embryos fail to implant naturally in the United States every year. If she is willing to advocate taking steps to address this, she has my respect for her intellectual consistency.

Regarding the Constitution, the 13th Amendment makes no mention of “human beings” (it bans “slavery” and “involuntary servitude”). As for what the document says about abortion elsewhere, I’m with Antonin Scalia: “When the Constitution says that persons are entitled to equal protection of the laws, I think it clearly means walking-around persons.” States should be free to restrict abortions, including the very earliest abortions, but nothing in the Constitution requires them to.

A Post-Apocalyptic Union

I admit that I am a sucker for end-of-the-world books. I got started with an obscure one called “Swan Song” by Robert R. McCammon many years ago. So it was with rapt attention that I read Ian Tuttle’s article “To Carry the Fire” (December 31, 2014). His writing is pure poetry, probably better than the books he mentioned. I particularly like the twist that apocalyptic events might bring about the best rather than the worst in people. I have often wondered about this. Could people band together (as they do not in the apocalyptic stories I have read)? I assume it would make for boring reading. After all, what fun is it if everyone gets together and tries to make the best of things, i.e., to carry the fire? I would love to see this tried. I admit that Stephen King did this in The Stand, but, still, half the survivors were evil. Perhaps, because of his wonderful writing ability, Mr. Tuttle might want to try his hand at this.

Deborah Oliver

Oklahoma City, Okla.

NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue


Politics & Policy

What Would Reagan Say?

After narrowly losing the Republican presidential nomination in 1976, Ronald Reagan immediately resumed his newspaper column and radio commentaries. He continued them well into 1979. He used those venues to ...


Politics & Policy

On the Right Track

Miami, like many cities in America, was created by a railroad. Standard Oil founder Henry Flagler cobbled together several existing railroads to make the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway in ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

No ‘Mao Moment’

There’s a longstanding myth among leftist Cold War revisionists that America missed a big chance in July 1944, when eight American diplomats, soldiers, and OSS agents — the “Dixie Mission” ...
Country Life

Closing Time

Farmers and their farm stands are the most obvious candidates for closing. Months ago the first frosts ended most growing, but there was still produce to be sold. Apples and ...



The Floppy-Disk Technocracy

Last August the White House announced a new initiative to improve the federal government’s technological infrastructure. You might think this means upgrading all the high-tech computer rooms with 4K monitors ...
Politics & Policy


TO MY HIKING PARTNER Your pack looks like the one John Denver wore when he was getting Rocky Mountain high. The frame is bent, the straps can’t take much more. Your jeans and flannel ...
Happy Warrior

The Grievance Game

Before Christmas break, law-school students at Harvard, Columbia, and other prestigious institutions insisted that they should be allowed to postpone their exams. Outrage over the Eric Garner and Michael Brown ...
Politics & Policy


Against a LARC I am writing in regard to Robert VerBruggen’s article, “On a LARC,” in the December 31, 2014, issue of National Review. I would like to thank Mr. VerBruggen for ...

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