MARIO CUOMO – THE CINOP BRAIN - 2
In pursuit of the truth – cinops be gone - Thursday, Jan. 8th, 2009
Historian David Carlin continues in his book, “Can a Catholic Be a Democrat,” to Cuomo’s # 1. the pluralism defense. 202-4:
The fact is that public morality can’t possible be neutral on the matter of abortion: it will to some degree or other, be either pro-abortion or anti-abortion. Cuomo, no matter how sincerely anti-abortion he might be in his private religious convictions, favors a pro-abortion public morality.
Besides, Cuomo’s argument takes for granted that American pluralism is of what may be called the absolute kind, whereas in fact it’s only relative. Pro-pluralism Americans aren’t prepared to tolerate all forms of cultural diversity. Would our cultural pluralists be willing to tolerate, for instance, grisly practice of female genital mutilation, which in parts of Africa is culturally mandated?
After all, in recent decades, migration to the United States from Africa has notably increased, so it’s increasingly likely that there will be African immigrants living in America who approve of this practice. Or are American pluralists ready to tolerate another idea held by many recent immigrants – that men are entitled by nature to outrank women in society and the family and are entitled, if need be, to enforce that social superiority with force?
Of course not. Except for a small number of exceptions among the multiculturalists lunatic fringe, it’s clear that the champions of pluralism don’t favor absolute pluralism; they won’t, in the name of pluralism, allow those who favor genital mutilation or male supremacy to veto American cultural rules banning such things.
But if poor and relatively uneducated immigrant groups aren’t entitled to veto certain values that the majority of Americans prefer, why should a pro-choice minority have a greater entitlement? Why should they be entitled to veto the anti-abortion will of the majority in, say, South Dakota? If the people of South Dakota, acting through their elected officials, wished to ban abortion, why shouldn’t they be free to do so, just as they’re free to ban female genital mutilation and male supremacy.
Cuomo’s “pluralism” argument hinges on the principle of absolute pluralism – a pluralism that virtually nobody believes in, including Mario Cuomo.
2. The practicality-and-prudence defense. Cuomo has not doubt that abortion is contrary to moral law. Neither does he have any doubt that Catholics ought to try to reduce the number of abortions in the United States. But how best to do this – according to Cuomo, that’s the important question. When bishops teach Catholics that abortion is wrong, they speak with legitimate authority. However, he said, recommending political strategies based on that teaching is something else. When it came to battling moral evils, American bishops have traditionally been pragmatic and prudential. Cuomo notes how in the pre-Civil War period, for example, they didn’t denounce slavery…. To be continued
George H. Kubeck