Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image


The Hand of God; A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind By Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D., Selected Quotes

September 24, 2010 | By | 3 Comments


Bernard Nathanson, M.D.

Silent Scream

The Hand of God is “semi-autobiographical…for the study of…the…demise of one system of morality…and the painful acquisition of another more coherent, more reliable [morality]…[with] the backdrop …of abortion. p. 3.

“We live in an age of fulsome nihilism; an age of death; an age in which, as author Walker Percy (a fellow physician, a pathologist who specializes in autopsying Western civilization) argued, “compassion leads to the gas chamber,” or the abortion clinic, or the euthanist’s office.” p. 4.

“I worked hard to make abortion legal, affordable, and available on demand. In 1968, I was one of the three founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League. I ran the largest abortion clinic …and oversaw tens of thousands of abortions. I have performed thousands myself.” p. 5.

“The Hippocratic Oath states the following,

I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner, I will not give to a woman a pessary [a device inserted in the vagina, thought erroneously to initiate an abortion] to produce an abortion.

The oath is unambiguous on these matters.” p. 48.

“The World Medical Association meeting at Geneva, in 1948, in the aftermath of the revelations of the Nazi medical experiments, revised the oath marginally to include the pledge, “I will retain the utmost respect for Human Life from conception.”…in 1964 restated the theme : “The health of my patient will be my first consideration.” p.50. The unborn baby in an abortion procedure is not considered a patient.

Nathanson quotes Dr. Louis Lasagna from Johns Hopkins,

Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life [italics added]: this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God. p. 50.

“There were perhaps three hundred or so deaths from criminal abortions annually in the United States in the sixties, but NARAL in its press releases claimed to have data that supported a figure of five thousand.” p. 90. The NARAL numbers were a lie.

Nathanson quotes Machiavellian strategy in advancing abortion, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” p. 90.

Nathanson quotes Napoleon, “L’audace, toujours l’audace” (“Boldness, always boldness”). p. 90.

Nathanson was counted himself at one time, “a Reform Jew or atheist.” p. 107.

“Robert Lifton, a psychiatrist, examined the behavior of Nazi doctors who presided over the mass slaughter in the camps and then returned to ordinary family life at the end of the working day. He termed this phenomenon “doubling,” the division of the self into two functioning wholes. The [abortion] physicians I [employed] were…mercifully unburdened with ethical or moral baggage.” p.107.

“I had come to the conclusion that there was no reason for an abortion at any time; this person in the womb is a living human being, and we could not continue to wage war against the most defenseless of human beings. Having looked at the ultrasound, I could no longer go on as before.” p.128.

“Embryos are Dependent Creatures. So are fetuses. So are we all dependent; on the kindness or tolerance of others, and on various biological and medical devices…Surely, dependency is not a measure of moral standing…” p. 128.

The Silent Scream.

By 1984, however, I had begun to ask myself more questions about abortion: What actually goes on in an abortion? I had done many, but abortion is a blind procedure. The doctor does not see what he is doing. He puts an instrument into a uterus and he turns on a motor, and a suction machines goes on and something is vacuumed out; it ends up as a little pile of meat in a gauze bag, I wanted to know what happened, so in 1984 I said to a friend of mine, who was doing fifteen or maybe twenty abortions a day, “Look, do me a favor, Jay. Next Saturday, when you are doing all these abortions, put an ultrasound device on the mother and tape it for me.”

He did, and when he looked at the tapes with me in an editing studio, he was so affected that he never did another abortion…The tapes were amazing…weren’t of very good quality… and began to show it pro-life gatherings… p. 141

Nathanson then recounts Silent Scream, the movie,

I was speaking at pro-life meetings around the country on weekends, and the response to the tape was so intense and dramatic that finally I was approached by a man named Don Smith, who wanted to make my tape into a film. I agreed that it would be a good idea. That is how The Silent Scream, which generated so much furor, came to be made. We showed it for the first time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on January 3, 1985. The reaction was instantaneous. Everybody was up in arms because The Silent Scream represented an enormous threat to the abortion forces and because it escalated the war (it’s not really a debate–we don’t debate each other; we scream at one another). For the first time, we had the technology and they had nothing. p.141 Emphasis mine.

Chapter 12 is titled To The Thanatoriums, an allusion the Walker Percy’s terrific book Thanatos.

Nathanson explains the reason for the acrimonious debate continuing still over abortion: It was decided by the courts and not through the public opinion in a public vote. Judges were legislating from the bench,

Like Dred Scott, Roe v. Wade…attempted to remove the abortion decision from politics and thus effectively radicalized the debate, discouraging compromise, political half-measures, or even edifying discussion. In particular it denied to pro-life forces the ordinary tools of politics…They were left with only two options, one largely illusory.

Politically, they could pursue a constitutional amendment banning abortion…But…in the absence of a national moral consensus on the issue, it is simply too large a step to be the first step. An America capable of passing a pro-life amendment would not need one; an America that needs one cannot possibly pass it. Emphasis mine. p. 178

Nathanson suggests another,

[A]lternative that seemed open to pro-lifers was to wage a war of conscience, to educate, advocate, and nonviolently protest the horror until the nation was moved to reconsider. Meanwhile, if the protesters, advocates, educators, and pamphleteers could not move the nation at least they might save individual mothers and children from the monster. p. 178

“Resistance to the injustice [of abortion] may take many forms. Henry David Thoreau wrote the following in his monumental treatise “Civil Disobedience”:

Unjust laws exist. Shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally under such a government as this think that they ought to wait until they think they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that if they should resist the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt?… Why does it always crucify Christ, and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels? p. 183

“Speaking on slavery and the unjust Fugitive Slave Law to a New England audience, Emerson on January 25, 1855, stated the following:

Now what is the effect of this evil government?

To Discredit government. When the public fails in its duty, private men take its place…When the American government and courts are false to their trust, men disobey the government, put it in the wrong; the government is forced into all manner of false and ridiculous attitudes. Men hear reason and truth from private men who have brave hearts and great minds. This is the compensation of bad government–the field it affords for illustrious men, and we have a great debt to the brave and faithful men who in the very hour and place of the evil act, made their protest for themselves and their countrymen, by word and by deed. They are justified and the law is condemned

Emerson was speaking specifically of the slavery controversy…but the majestic sweep of his rhetoric encompasses every phylum, every genus, every species of man’s inhumanity to man. It is strong rhetorical medicine; it applies in every sense to the principles at stake in the abortion conflict.” P. 184

“Nathanson cites Cardinal Newman: No one was ever converted by argument.” P. 195

“Father McCloskey supports me and encourages me by paraphrasing the words Pascal uttered four hundred years ago: “The cost of believing God is minimal; the consequences of doubt may be significant.” P 195.


The afterword was written by Rev. C. J. McCloskey III, Washington, D.C., December 12, 2000, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn,

You have just read one of the more important autobiographies of the twentieth century. The Hand of God has been made available to countless millions of readers…

During the late 1970′s Dr. Nathanson became a favorite target of the anti-life cultural forces in America, the subject of ridicule and satire in comic strips and news commentary, and the butt of jokes of television comedians for his change of heart and mind regarding the objective reality of abortion, which he came to regard as the taking of innocent human lives, comparable to the Dachau of Hitler, the Gulag of Stalin, or the Cambodia of Pol Pot. Since then, along with maintaining a distinguished obstetric medical practice and university teaching, he has given hundreds of lectures throughout the world in defense of the unborn. Now in his seventies, he recently received a degree in medical bio-ethics, continuing his professional preparation and better arming himself to defend the cause of human life.


Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

Thank you (foot)notes,

The Hand of God, by Bernard Nathanson was published by Regnery Publishing, Inc., in 1996.

Read More

Abortion & Life by Jennifer Baumgardner Selected Quotes Photographs by Tara Todras-Whitehill

September 6, 2010 | By | No Comments

I had an abortion.


Abortion & Life

Jennifer Baumgardner, pregnant on Left

Gillian Aldrich, producer/creator of I Had an Abortion

“By creating a T-shirt so many would see as offensive, the pro-choice movement has intentionally sought to outrage the Christian Right.” p. 174.*

Front: I had an abortion.

Abortion & Life by Jennifer Baumgardner, a pro-abortion feminist, was written in 2008 and published by Akashic Books.

The book begins with a pull quote from Loretta Ross,

The defensiveness that the pro-choice movement has is well-earned. We’ve been shot at, picketed, fought every step. But I’m very glad that the conversation is changing.

Image and imaging are important. The coat hanger “doesn’t evoke memories of barriers that women faced.” P. 10

The book is presented as an even handed “conversation” but devolved by page 10 to ad hominem argument, of, “The fleshy pink faces of Senator Jesse Helms and Representative Henry Hyde…”

The “current symbol of reproductive freedom…?” Could be, “Angels’ wings, to indicate the thousands of women who have abortions and yet believe that a fetus has a soul and is watching over them?” p. 10. Baumgardner is suggesting that the unborn baby might be an eternal being ushered from this world into the next by the “choice” of the mother. This fits with Candace C. Crandall‘s assertion that “The Fetus, Beat Us,”* where pro-aborts had to deal with the pain and loss of the “baby.” This is, of course, merely a tactic to remove or deflect the ‘harm to women’ argument advanced by the pro-lifers.

The author lists “after-abortion counseling groups like Backline and Exhale…the zine Our Truths/Nuestra Verdades to the films Silent Choices and The Abortion Diaries?” p. 11. Baumgardner could have added Racheal’s Vineyard and Silent No More to pro-life counseling services of women who suffer from the trauma of abortion.

“I’ve visited abortion clinics around the country and observed what happens to the remains of eight-week, twelve-week, and fourteen-week aborted fetuses.” P. 12 Baumgardner is silent as to what was seen. Were the remains stuffed down a garbage disposal? Treated as medical waste? Or given a decent burial?

Baumgardner asks herself, “How do women experience abortion?…Why aren’t there more after-abortion resources? And: If you admit you are sad about your abortion, does that mean abortion is wrong?” p. 13. The author asks but does not fully answer the question: If a women feels remorse after an abortion, is it possible the woman now understands that there was a living baby involved? And that the mother regrets her abortion? Polling suggests that women are concerned. Rasmussen reports that 58 per cent of women feel abortion is immoral.

“The number [of abortions] has gone down slightly in recent years…possibly linked to the virginity-abstinence movement…Lack of access and affordability have also been factors.” p. 19. This is confirmed by academic research. Abortion has an elastic demand, where the demand for a product or service is directly tied to a variable: price, 24-hour waiting periods, proximity, viewing a sonogram. (See Michael New, 2010.)

“Although it’s shortsighted, when faced with a slim deadline to raise money and make this decision, some women simply miss the window in which they can have an abortion. P. Baumgardner’s wording is misleading. A woman in the USA can have an abortion at any time even when she goes into labor. She can have an abortion with her child’s feet out of her body with only her child’s head not visible; the child can still be “terminated.” P. 19.

“Abortion is the U.S. is safe. The death rate at all stages is 0.6 per 100,000 abortions…and [is] nearly ten times as safe as carrying a pregnancy to full term.” p. 20.

“Sherri Finkbine, a young mother and television star…host of Romper Room…wanted to warn other women about the dangers of thalidomide to their pregnancies…Finkbine [traveled] to Sweden for her [abortion] procedure. P. 23 Baumgardner is silent on whether the drug thalidomide was a greater danger to pregnancy [re: baby] than abortion.

“My friend got the abortionist to agree to (re)do the procedure–this time for an additional price above his regular price, which was agreeing to his f$cking my friend right after the abortion was performed on her sister.” P. 24. Bumgardner seems to settle the debate that abortion harms women: The mother gets rid of her baby by pimping out her sister-prostitute to the abortionist. All three are without honor and, as a result, there is one less baby in the world. Ramesh Ponnura first wrote of the ‘character’ of the type of person that does the actual abortion baby-removal, “What mother rejoices in proclaiming to the world, loudly, proudly announcing, “Meet my son, The Abortionist!”…?

“The Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act…except to save the life of the mother. This marked the first time any medical procedure was banned, as well as the first time an exception for a woman’s health had been overruled.” P. 34. Baumgardner fails to note that there is no medical justification for a Partial-Birth Abortion, as C. Everett Koop, MD, has written.

“Restrictions [cause] women [to] rarely change their minds about having procedures just because they are forced to jump through hoops.” P. 34. This has been superseded by peer reviewed studies demonstrating that commonsense abortion regulation such as waiting periods reduces the numbers of abortions, suggesting that women, in fact do change their minds. (Michael New, 2010.)

“There is not a link [between having an abortion and breast cancer] at least not according to the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, or major research universities.” P. 37

“Nada L. Stotland, MD, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association [writes] that “meticulous research shows that there is no causal relationship between abortion and mental illnesses.” P. 37.

“I started allowing myself to understand what is true for me: that I think of pregnancy as “life” but this doesn’t have to mean abortion is murder.” P. 47. This is a non sequitur and reveals the twisted backwards logic pro-abortion-choice advocates must fabricate to justify the taking of innocent human life. Indeed, the killing of a baby by the mother. Note Bumgardner’s odd use of ‘truth.’ Truth to her is not transcendent but dependent on her personal interpretation or perhaps her feelings at the moment…

“[A woman who had an abortion] realized that she…actually needed some help with the aftermath of what had turned out to be a profound experience. She began looking for after-abortion resources…All she could find to offer support were thinly disguised antiabortion groups. As a feminist, she says, “I didn’t see anything that reflected my experience” of having and sad feelings around her abortion, but not wanting to make abortion illegal.” P. 50. It is not disclosed if this woman contacted Rachel’s Vineyard or not. This group does non-judgmental post-abortion counseling.

“[A woman who had an abortion] interned at NARAL Pro-Choice California…But when she raised the issue of the lack of emotional resources for women, she was confronted with blank faces. It was, she says, as if admitting that she was struggling with her feelings meant that she wasn’t really pro-choice.” P. 50.

“Aspen Baker…in 2000…created Exhale, a nonjudgmental post-abortion talkline. In 2007, Exhale created a series of Hallmark-like e-cards that people could send to loved ones who’d had abortions–not to celebrate the abortion, but to acknowledge it and offer comfort.” P. 51.

“This shift in focus in the national conversation from “Keep your laws off my body!” to “Let’s talk about feelings and whether fetal life has value” has bee tough for the pro-choice movement…” p. 51

“Peg Johnston…operating Southern Tier Women’s Services, an independent abortion clinic [would] sit in a counseling session with a woman who’d say, “I feel like I’m killing my baby.” Johnston believes that women were genuinely struggling with the value of life and how to do the right thing and be a good person…using words like “loss” and “baby” and “killing”…” p. 53.

Baumgardner asks but does not answer, “What do you do if a patient wants to baptize the remains?” p. 54, emphasis in original.

Women who had abortions would write, “Don’t think of it as losing a baby, but as gaining a guardian angel. These were women who clearly felt relationships to their pregnancies as children, not as masses of cells.” p. 55 Italics in original.

“Emily Barklow [a college student] “struggled with feelings of deviance, selfishness, and loss [after her abortion]…Four years, lots of counseling [led her to] preparing a presentation about her experience [at a NARAL event]…I was disappointed with the lack of depth in the other presentations–all recycled coat hangers and We’ll never go back signs. I would cite this experience as my first real disconnect from the mainstream abortion rights movement.” p. 59.

“Perhaps younger women, in their own entitlement, will begin to make blasphemous statements even more loudly. The most profane is this: Why are feminists so obsessed with abortion? Some of this lingering fascination is [that] we focus on this right because it is fundamental; having the right to control our bodies is directly associated with the right to control our lives.” p. 59.

The author Baumgardner was five months pregnancy and giving a speech at Barnard College’s Students for Choice when she referred to the contents of her uterus as a “baby” instead of “fetus.” “If I said “baby” [referring to her unborn baby] that meant i wasn’t pro-choice, or with the program, or knowledgeable.” p. 60.

“Hillary Clinton…asserted her belief in [Roe v Wade] but also admitted that abortion can be “tragic” for some women…NARAL President Nancy Keenan confessed that “our community tends to run away every time somebody talks about the many emotions that come with this choice” and “we have not done enough to make people who are ‘pro-choice but struggling’ feel like they are part of this community.” p. 60.

“In March of 2007 Aspen Baker…wanted to celebrate the fact that Exhale was sending out 2,500 e-cards every month.” p. 61. Charmaine and Baker debated on CNN; pull quotes here.

“[Democrats for Life] executive director Kristen Day cites a December 2003 Zogby poll finding that forty-three percent of Democrats oppose abortion except in the case of rape or incest or to save the live of the mother…” p. 64.

“The need for abortion will never be totally eradicated, according to health activist Barbara Seaman, unless society commits to giving vasectomies to all boys after freezing their sperm, and only allowing procreation through in vitro fertilization after demonstrating sufficient income and maturity to support a child for eighteen years.” p. 65. The Alert Student would be tempted to dismiss Baumgardner for including this passage. But Seaman’s concept was advanced by Margaret Sanger who suggested, without humor, that licenses to marry and procreate be awarded to only those deemed “fit” by your local Planned Parenthood affiliate. The late Barbara Seaman is little known outside academic women’s studies programs and should remain so.

“Norma McCorvey [Roe in Roe v Wade] never actually had an abortion…” p. 70.

Baumgardner is concerned about forced adoptions, “I cried for the many women who were conned into relinquishing their children…

I cried remembering how intense it was to be pregnant and to give birth–how hormones and pain and extreme physical duress combined into what felt like a near-death experience [for her as mother-no mention of an aborted baby]. I recalled how I really understood–in my loosened pelvis, my stretched-out ribs, and the kicks to my cervix from tiny limbs–the sensitive factory that is our bodies, arduously creating another human. p. 70.

Baumgardner is lamenting the “choice” women endure when giving up a child for adoption but come precariously close to advancing a pro-life argument. This defines the schizophrenia of the abortion movement: The baby is human, the baby is a person-and the mother can terminate on a whim.

“So, can you be a feminist and pro-life? The answer is a resounding “yes.”” p. 71.

“With many of the women…giving birth seemed to preclude an investment in their own lives; it meant saying goodbye to a fellowship, to a career of their choosing, or being forced to stay in a relationship they didn’t want with the baby’s father.” P. 74. One could wonder that terminating a baby could indeed terminate a relationship: between mother and child(ren) and father(s).

“Gloria Steinem, born March 25, 1934, [could] not see any way that I could possibly give birth to someone else and also give birth to myself.” P. 79. In Steinem’s search for self, “someone else” — her baby — was sacrificed. To advance women.

Baumgardner quotes Barbara Ehrenreich, “Women do use abortion as backup nowadays, but they often don’t acknowledge it. I’m referring to women who get pregnant purposefully, for instance, but assume that legal abortion will be available as a backup should the child they’re carrying have Down’s syndrome or another abnormality they decide they can’t handle.” p. 87

Baumgardner quotes a Marion Banzhaf, a lesbian (Why do I need to know this? Why does she need to tell me?), “[After the abortion] I was thrilled…I was so happy to see the blood. I felt like my life was beginning over again…I saw a little baby in a carriage and a mom and I thought, Oh, I’m so glad that’s not me…I felt like I had control over what I was going to do with the rest of my life.” P. 90. Italics in original, bold emphasis mine.

Baumgardner quotes Giliian Aldrich, “I called my mom and said, “How could you have done that? I could have had this older brother or sister and you killed them…” p. 98. She later decided she was pro-abortion-choice.

At age 30 Gillian Aldrich was pregnant, “I had zero sentimentality, and didn’t want to even open that door [of keeping the baby]. I thought: If there is a baby in here, It’s not staying. I knew it would destroy our relationship [even though boyfriend wanted the child]. p. 99. Italics in original.

“We went to this…[abortion] clinic…The place was kind of a factory. The counseling session was a joke. I thought that there would be more of an emotional support system in the clinic itself, but there wasn’t.” p. 99.

“That Sylvia Ann Hewlett book came out [Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children]…There was something retrograde about her attitude, but her facts [demonstrating fertility declines precipitously throughout your thirties] were correct…” p. 100.

Baumgardner quotes Amy Richards, “I was…pregnant with triplets…and made the decision to have a selective reduction…a stand-alone fetus…would continue to term…[the] identical twins were aborted…instant death. After I went through the procedure, my boyfriend Peter was much more traumatized than I was, even though hospital policy didn’t allow him to witness the procedure.” p. 104 The Alert Reader might wonder, What’s to be traumatized about? It’s not a baby. It’s not human. It’s not a person. Or is it?

Richards continues, “I…speak at colleges…I meet so many girls who are trying to make sense of abortion. They really want to support abortion rights…but at the end of the day [they] just can’t say, “I’m pro-choice,” or, “I support abortion,” p. 105.

Men quoted in this book are as ambivalent about abortion as the women. A George is quoted, “For me, I think the abortion [with my girlfriend] will stand as a symbol that I thought of myself as this open, loving guy, but I wasn’t.” p. 110. Emphasis mind.

Baumgardner quotes Ani Difranco, “I want to tell women and men, “You are an animal and it is a beautiful thing.” p. 113. The pro-abortion-choice argument is revealing: human personhood is not transcendent from lower animals. Most religions hold that only humans are eternal beings with a soul. It appears that the human with the religion of feminism (where abortion is a sacrament) would have no soul.

Where do pro-abortion-choice women find these men: “He was an activist and a poet…he was having sex with me, and sometimes choking me. It was horrible.” p. 117. I am sure that the choking was terrible, I guess. But begs the question: How many times did the pro-abortion-choice poet choke you? Sometimes? Just a few times?

Baumgardner quotes a Robin Ringleka, “The doctor was very rushed and didn’t have much of a bedside manner. I was pretty terrified and I began to cry when he entered the room. This seemed to piss him off and he demanded to know why I was crying…[later] The one-year anniversary of my abortion was approaching and I was having bad dreams.” p. 125. Why do these pro-abortion-choice women have bad dreams? Why do they remember the dates of the abortion and “birthday” of the baby terminated? Can a clump of cells, a mere fetus cause so much anguish? Or is the death of a baby painful even to a woman in denial?

Ringleka continues, “I have come to believe that having an abortion can be a very motherly decision.” p. 125. Except for, maybe, her baby.

Baumgardner quotes, Jenny Egan, “I went with my boyfriend…to Planned Parenthood…I had assumed that I …would finally be able to tell someone or talk to someone about how freaked out I was, but I didn’t get to…My boyfriend started the breaking-up process the day after the abortion. He said he wanted to date other people.” p. 127.

Baumgardner wonders, “I recognize that is serious [an unborn baby might be a person], but my own life is too important to sacrifice for an unplanned pregnancy.” p. 133. This is understood to not be an act of selfishness to the pro-abortion-choice supporters.

“[A father] describes, bluntly, how a recent abortion felt “more like murder”…” p. 113.

“Inga Muscio, the author of the contempory feminist classic C@unt: A Declaration of Independence (1998) [available at bookstores everywhere]…said the surgical solution…”sucked.” After Muscio discovered herself pregnant a third time, she vowed not to go back to the clinic and “waltz with the abhorrent machine.”” p. 142.

“Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas…says: “Abortion is not a cerebral or a reproductive issue. Abortion is a matter of the heart…[U]ntil one understands the heart of a woman, nothing else about abortion makes any sense at all.” p.143. Indeed, abortion follows the emotion of the woman’s heart. The logic of the brain, less so.

Baumgardner closes Abortion & Life with a profound and profane quote from,

popular musician and activist Ani DiFranco, who has a strong appreciation of the taboos surrounding abortion, wrote a song lyric that refers to the single cell that is an egg: “To split yourself in two is just the most radical thing you can do.” Life begins in that split–transformative energy is released into the aperture. The Ani adds: “So girl if that sh!t ain’t up to you, then you simply are not free. p. 144. So there.

“By creating a T-shirt so many would see as offensive, the pro-choice movement has intentionally sought to outrage the Christian Right.” p. 174.

One wag suggested a tag line on the reverse of the t-shirt to Baumgardner,

Front: I had an abortion.

Back: Roe v. Wade–Eliminating Future Democrats One Choice at a Time. p. 174.


Baumgardner is not happy about restrictions that help make abortion rare, “Planning a Pro-Choice Event…is…one way to fight the gloom…make the Roe anniversary powerful–a day of consciousness-raising and fundraising.” p. 148. She seems unaware that hundreds of thousands from the pro-life community march in Washington, DC on the Roe anniversary, January 22, each year.

Baumgardner wants the reader to celebrate and to mark your calendars that “the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers is March 10.” p. 149.

Baumgardner refers to the Reproductive Health Blog:


Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

Thank you (foot)notes,

*Baumgardner’s opening quote is from Rebecca Hyman’s essay Full Frontal Offense: Taking Abortion Rights To The Tees.

*”The fetus beat us” has been incorrectly attributed to Naomi Wolf. She writes us in an email, “I never said The fetus, beat us. I think it is an awful phrase, would never have said something so brutal and trivializing about this issue…Thank you! Take care, Naomi wolf.”

The book was funded by pro-abortion-choice individuals and groups, Amy Ray, Merle Hoffman and the Diana Foundation, Gloria Browning, Karen Burgum and the F-M Area Foundation Women’s Fund and Roberta Schneiderman…” preface page

Gillian Aldrich directed the documentary “I Had an Abortion”… preface page

Charmaine on CNN: Abortion Mourn or Celebrate?

See The Fetal Hand Grasp on Charmaine Debates Abortion on CNN.

Manliness, by Harvey C. Mansfield Selected Quotes

August 7, 2010 | By | No Comments

Mansfield- Harvey-harvard_aei.jpgManliness, by Harvey C. Mansfield, from Harvard was published by Yale University Press in 2006.

Harvey C. Mansfield, Ph.D.

Professor Mansfield is best known for awarding two grades at Harvard: The gentleman’s ‘A’ and the actual unrecorded grade earned by the student, which was sometimes, [gasp!] a ‘C.’ I didn’t know his middle initial was really ‘C.’ I thought students called him Harvey ‘C’ Mansfield as an digg on his giving out so many sub-A grades…

Mansfield begins, “Thumos is a quality of spiritness…than induces humans, and especially manly men, to risk their lives to save lives.” p. xi.

“I do not make it my business to lament the decline of the gentleman in our day…If you want to know what a gentleman is, look up Squire Allworthy in Fielding’s Tom Jones.” p. xii.

Mansfield reminds of real gender differences, “that spitting [is done] by male athletes on television (not done by female athletes)…” p. xii.

“The gentleman, as opposed to a cad or a lout, does not take advantage of those weaker than himself, especially women.” p. 5.

“Although he is expected to take the initiative–since in the relations of men and women someone at some point always has to make the risky first move–he allows time for choice or second thoughts by the woman and does not proceed if he is not wanted.” p. 5.

“We now believe it is safer to rely on the law rather than an ideal.” p. 5.

“Betty Friedan, the founder of American feminism, wrote of “the problem that has no name,” by which she meant the boredom of the suburban housewife…But…we have lost the name we used to have for what mainly resists gender neutrality, which is manliness.” p. 9.

“Jane Mansbridge’s classic study, Why We Lost the ERA (1986), concludes that a constitutional amendment was perhaps unnecessary, that its aims could be accomplished through legislative and judicial interpretation–and this seems to have been correct.” p. 10.

“Women on their own are not ruthless enough.” p. 12.

“As the Moor Boadbil was being expelled from Alhambra in Spain, he turned around to gaze at it and heaved one last sigh, whereupon his mother said, “You do well to weep as a woman over what you could not defend as a man.” p. 12.

“Manliness is…Two things,

The confidence of manly men and

Their ability to command.

The confidence of a manly man gives him independence of others. p. 16.

“John Wayne is still every American’s idea of manliness.” p. 17.

“We are attracted to the manly man because he imparts some of his confidence to everyone else.” p. 18.

“The Greek word for manliness, andreia, is also the word the Greeks used for courage, the virtue concerned with controlling fear.” p.18.

“Another view of manliness, more negative than it appears, can be found in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, at the end, in Mark Antony’s tribute to Brutus. The speech ends, “His life was gentle, and the elements so mix’d in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, ‘This was a man.’”” p. 19.

“A manliness, too, that seeks glory in risk and cannot abide the rational life of peace and security” p. 21.

Mansfield quotes a woman, “The problem is that men need to feel important.” “Exactly!” says Mansfield. p. 21.

“The definition of manliness–confidence in the face of risk…” p. 23

“Men seek risk, women security…” p. 23

“Men are still more promiscuous than women, despite what the gender-neutral society says. “I don’t pay them to come over…I pay them to leave,” said the actor regarding the prostitutes he patronizes. p. 28.

Can women ever really act like men? “I can see how a dominating person could make use of the ability to seem caring, but how could a caring person be dominating without ceasing to be caring?” p. 31.

“What does John Wayne or Theodore Roosevelt show us about manliness in its completeness? A manly man is nothing if not an individual, one who sets himself apart, who is concerned with the honor rather than survival of his individual being. Or, better to say, he finds his survival only in his honor.” p. 37.

Is testosterone chemical poisoning?

That male’s willful will, too, is not just a concept, an airy, bodiless wish with nothing behind it. It has been found to have a chemical basis in the hormonal differences between men and women: me have much more testosterone. The political scientist Andrew Sullivan, who suffers from a condition requiring him to inject himself with testosterone, has written a graphic account of the leap in vigorous spiritedness that results. While it lasts he becomes a living, strutting stereotype.

“Other animal species seek to survive; humans want to survive with honor.” p. 60.

Assertiveness training for women, “aims to teach them to make their own case, a habit one takes for granted in men,”

If that’s so, it’s no wonder that men have dominated business and politics. With or without training in moderation, men were just doing what comes naturally. But if women don’t take steps to reduce their assertiveness deficit, will they succeed as well as men in the formally manly occupations? Perhaps their true policy is to assert themselves as women and not try to become artificial men, but that policy requires a certain distance from manly assertiveness. p. 68.

“Dr. Samuel Johnson…thought it ridiculous for a woman to assert herself [from Boswell’s Life of Johnson] “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” p. 69.

“But “formidable women,” as we call them, do exist. Expelled members of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet might think they had met one of them.” p. 69.

“To get to that seat [of authority] you have to compete, and in a competition there are losers–usually more of them than winners. To assert yourself you must take the risk of losing.” p. 69.

“Today’s women want power, but they are not so eager to accept the risk that goes with seeking power. p. 69.

Today’s woman thinks she can have wisdom and power together: wisdom without modesty, power without risk.” p. 70.

“Facing risk is a feature of manliness that goes with holding power. More than most women, indeed, more than most men, the manly man accepts–nay, welcomes–a risky situation. He is not looking for the life of Riley.” p. 70.

“Each woman wants security, but one finds it in her husband, the other in the government. p. 78.

“The most dramatic statement of manliness would be the one where the man is the source of all meaning, where nothing else has meaning unless the man supplies it. That is the condition of nihilism–a state in which nothing in itself has meaning; meaning has to be furnished by a human being, the sole source of meaning.” p. 82. The Alert Reader is reminded that this is the center of the abortion debate: the unborn child has a ‘right to life’ — not protected in the Founding Documents — but granted at the discretion of the mother.

“Darwin was not a nihilist, but he prepared his generation and later generations for nihilism.”

His theory of evolution not only denied the eternity of the species but also undermined all eternities, all permanence of meaning. And looming behind Darwin was the greater figure of Nietzsche. Nietzsche declared, and spread the news like a counter apostle, “God is dead.” By this he meant all ideals, everything transcendent or spiritual, as well as God in any religion. p. 83.

“Poets do not believe in, or do not offer for belief, an order in the world, a cosmos.” p. 85.

“Since the gods are capricious and human excellence is not rewarded, each of us is thrown back on himself.” p. 85

“Teddy Roosevelt …was not a disciple of William James… [who might be the] “educated men of weak fibre” whom Roosevelt was pleased to excoriate.” p. 91.

“Girls do not need to make an effort to become women. Boys need to wrench themselves from their friends and their gangs, perhaps in a formal rite. The Jewish boy in his Bar Mitzvah says “now I am a man.” p. 92.

Teddy Roosevelt, “invented the phrase “lunatic fringe…”” p 94.

“Manliness wants risk, not comfort and convenience.” p. 94.

Teddy Roosevelt also coined “weasel words.” p. 95.

“The American founders made an executive power strong enough to stand up to popular opinion and to withstand the temptation to seek popularity, but progressives like Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson made the president into a “leader” — that is, on occasion a follower– of public opinion. p.97.

“In real life today manly knowledge enables a man, not to be Tarzan, but to act effectively in an emergency and to fix things and solve problems without professional help.” p. 102.

Mansfield quotes Nietzsche, “The true man wants two things, danger and play. For that reason he wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything.” p. 116.

“When you first hear of Darwin’s theory you might wonder about the moral consequences:

will this mean that human beings, since they are no better than brute, will be encouraged to forget morality and behave like brutes? The answer is worse than you suppose. It is that human beings may think it their moral duty to behave like brutes. Nietzsche foresaw this very when he said, “Man would rather will nothingness than not will.” That is, of course, a statement about human nature and its perverseness. It implies that the low and the high are permanent elements in man and that if the low does not serve the high, the high will serve the low. p. 121.

“In the 1970′s manly nihilism came to American women…Is had come indirectly through Simone de Beuvoir…What interested these women in Nietzsche was the nihilism he proclaimed as fact–God is dead–and the possibility of creating a new order in its place.” p. 122.

“Nihilism…the disappearance of nature…” p. 122.

“What was womanly in the woman’s movement? It was in the manner of this accomplishment…done by “raising consciousness,” a new method of political promotion borrowed from business psychology…Working through language, they just asked men and other women why it is natural to use “he” instead of “she” to refer, for example, to a doctor…This was enough; no heavy argumentation was required.” p. 123.

“In order to be free of men, these women wanted to change morality and deny nature. No longer were women destined through reproduction and child rearing to serve the common good and the future of the species. Women could be as irresponsible as men and leave those vital matters to someone else.” p. 123.

Mansfield quotes American Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “nature has made the mother the guardian of the child.” p. 125.

“Beauvoir is much more radical; she shares the desire but as far as possible rejects all compromise…Her book ends with a quotation from Karl Marx affirming the brotherhood of men and women in the new realm of liberty in the communist utopia.” p. 132.

“Beauvoir argues that women should not esteem motherhood as much as they have…greater sexual liberty…[is] a good thing, and that abortions should not be reluctantly or regretted.” p. 132.

Mansfield quotes Beauvoir, “One is not born, but becomes, a woman.” p. 133.

“The strangest feature of [Beauvoir's] The Second Sex is its almost complete failure to discuss women’s jobs and its almost total preoccupation with another way of escaping the family–sex.” p. 135.

“Marx admitted [sex roles] would have to go.” p. 137

“Neither Marx nor Nietzsche had any use for morality, especially sexual morality…” p. 138.

“However diverse, all feminism today is looking for ways to keep women independent of men.” p. 140.

“Germaine Greer [The Female Eunuch] sprinkles her text with highlighted quotations from Mary Wollstonecraft, whom she admires, but none of them have to do with the chastity Wollstonecraft so insisted on.” p. 141.

“[Shulamith] Firestone [The Dialectic of Sex], a deep thinker, quotes Beauvoir in order to argue that women’s reproductive biology, and not the social construction of patriarchy, is the cause of women’s oppression.” p. 142.

“Becoming manlike is a strange way of proving you are independent of men (ladylike would seem to be a better way). p. 145.

“This is why I have called feminism “nihilism.” It says that being a woman is nothing definite and that the duty of women is to advance that nothingness as a cause.” p. 147.

Consciousness is a word used by Marx.” p. 150.

“The mightiest woman of our time, Margaret Thatcher, is no model for feminists, partly because of her conservative opinions, of course, but also because her renowned insensitivity makes them uneasy. Feminists prefer to seek out and confer recognition on unnoticed women from the past; they favor obscure authors rather than great names like Jane Austen and Edith Wharton…” p. 152.

Friedan’s [The Feminine Mystique] starts with the “problem with no name.” But it turns out to have a name, boredom.” p. 152.

“Friedan does not dwell on sex. She wants to answer the voice within women that says, “I want something more than my husband and my children and my home.” This “something more” proves to be a job, or rather, “creative work of her own.” Creative work enables a woman to sense her freedom or her, says Friedan…” p. 153.

“Men who want to play with their lives as if they were supermen…have always had to face women as their critics. The trouble with feminist women is that they don’t have wives to teach them sense.” p. 154.

“Naomi Wolf…The Beauty Myth (1991)…developed Friedan’s notion of the feminine mystique. Beauty is a myth foisted on women by men.” p. 154.

“Is it nonsense to think that turmoil in one’s sex life is independence?” p. 156.

Mansfield indirectly references the “heart of stone” that abortion brings to women,

“Control over one’s body” is a phrase often used to claim the right of abortion, an act that frees a woman from the troubles of giving birth and child rearing but does not save her from regret or from the risk of becoming callous if she should get in the habit of preferring her convenience to other, more valuable things. Autonomy sounds good when it is claimed for the sake of nobility, much less so when it is for convenience. To insist on keeping the right of abortion absolutely intact, with no concessions to reasonable doubt, betrays the presence of moralism in those rail against that fault when they confront the other side of the debate. p. 156.

“[Feminism] wants transcendence for the sake of independence, and the trouble is that the two are inconsistent. Independence means that you are satisfied with yourself; transcendence means that you are not…And the gender-neutral society does not know whether to ignore the sexual difference (independence) or abolish it (transcendence). p . 161.

“Americans were ready to give justice for women–the liberal of equality–and did not much care that the advocates for women spoke more of power than justice, more of sex than career, more of autonomy than happiness.” p. 164.

“In liberalism there are love of liberty and desire for security. The two are linked because they are necessary for each other. Nobody wants liberty without security, which is chaos (“the war of all against all,” said Thomas Hobbes), and nobody wants security without liberty, which is slavery.” p. 165.

“Desire for security…might prompt you to settle for slavery as better than death; it is therefore always calculated in terms of self-interest, and it is risk-averse.” p. 166.

“The gender-neutral society is not friendly toward risky activity, even on behalf of liberty, that might give advantage to manly men as risk-takers and thus upset the balance of the sexes…” p. 166

“Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) was a kind of liberal, though we would not recognize him as such today because he was opposed to self-government and favored monarchy.” p. 166

“Hobbes has the mentality of a lawyer or an insurance agent, always focused on the unlikely and the unexpected.” p. 169.

“Hobbes deserves the mantle no one has yet awarded him of having created the sensitive male. For the sensitive male is one who follows Hobbes’s advice to lay down his right.p. 173.

Mansfield predates but explains the brilliance and success of the conservative TEA Party movement,

Machiavelli had said that men in society are divided into two “humors,” a princely one that craves domination and a popular one that does not wish to be commanded. [John] Locke selects the popular one that does not wish to be commanded. Locke selects the popular humor to characterize the behavior of a free people. He wants government to be sustained not by the virtues it promotes (as did Plato and Aristotle), nor by principles of subjection (as Hobbes), but by hostility to government. Government is to be obeyed in a spirit of unfriendly regard, the very spirit that makes government difficult to sustain…[W]hy not appeal to a healthy dislike of dominion in order to counter the desire on the part of “princes” to dominate? p.177.

“In the Two Treatises of Government (1690), still the greatest philosophical statement of the liberalism by which we live, Locke lays down constitutional forms…[where] “Slavery is so vile and miserable an Estate of Man, and so directly opposite to the generous Temper and Courage of our Nation; that ’tis hardly to be conceived, that an Englishman, much less a Gentleman, should plead for’t.” p. 178.

“Yet when morality comes to be realized, nature returns to accompany, and nag at, a priori rationality…Women, Kant says, are unfit for citizenship, having be implanted by nature with fearfulness designed to keep the womb safe, so that they need the protection of males. This does not mean women must be submissive, only that they must be modest. With their modesty women can manage the excessive, idealized desire of males in order to govern them.” p. 182.

“The only true humanity, according to Beauvoir, so far exclusively male, is to transcend the given or the natural or the “immanent” in a manner I have called nihilist because it accepts no guide but will to power. In the feminist society there are no social roles. Roles would be replaced by individual identities…that…would pass over to the…temporary desires…” p.192.

“A woman’s “docility” is not meekness but actually her means of conquest. It is actually women’s weakness that compels them to establish an indirect rule of manipulation over men. When women try to resemble men, they will be mastered by men.” p. 195.

Feminists who follow French revolutionary Rousseau, “are caught in suspense between their desire not be women, a sex they consider subordinate, and their desire to promote the advantage of women so as to stop being subordinate.” p. 198.

“A definition of manliness as confidence and competence in the face of risk.” p. 216.

“Machiavelli remarks that “very rarely do men know how to be altogether wicked or altogether good.”” p. 225.

“The manly or courageous person…takes responsibility in a risky situation.” p. 226.

“A word of warning, too, should be delivered to the feminists who are too busy with their own careers to have time to criticize manly men and want to give over that task to psychologists with their “anger management.” The many irresponsible thinkers of modern times are divided, roughly, into those who expect too much reform and those who have given up on reform.” p. 226.

“The…test of art [fo balancing conflicting expectations] is producing results.” p. 226.

Professor Mansfield describes, “three ways of transcending sex differences: repressing the difference between male and female…ignoring the difference…and respecting difference.” p. 228.

“Respecting [sex differences] is most in accord with our nature, but then we have seen that nature does not prescribe exactly how she is to be respected.” p. 228.

Mansfield doesn’t really want to give out “pointers on how to live,” but gives us hints anyway, fortunately, “I could tell young women not to disparage motherhood in the hearing of a man they want to attract. If you do, you will make a man think his mother is being disparaged and he will compare you to her–just what you want to avoid.” p. 229.

“I could tell young men that women want to be taken seriously almost as much as they want to be loved. To take women seriously you must first take yourself seriously and after that ask them what they think…” p. 229

Manliness is not a self-help book, Mansfield writes, “My book is for thinkers…to get us to address the problem of manliness.” p. 229

“The actions of the Islamic fascists are proof enough that despite our civilization there remain barbaric cutthroats waiting to assault us…we need not just to imagine the moral equivalent of war but to wage a real war. Here is a useful employment for manliness.” p 230.

“The first modern thinker, Machiavelli, began from the observation that the world in his time suffered from “ambitious idleness.” p. 230.

Mansfield defines the politically liberal mindset, “[Machiavelli] saw correctly that anyone who wants to do good will end up yearning for much more good than is possible in this world [as compared to the next world in eternity].” p. 230.

“Machiavelli tried to simplify manliness so as to make it more effective. Manliness henceforth would be occupied with making humans more powerful rather than making them better. Machiavelli called this “prudence,” but I have to say it was not wisdom. Wisdom lies in recognizing our need for perfection as much as for power.” p. 231.

“Thus we have replaced the manly man with the bourgeois, a character who has several faces, none of them manly. One…professional..[is] gender neutrality. A professional is formed by uniform education and judged by objective criteria, not tested by manly deeds.” p. 232.

“One professional can be substituted for another, and a woman can take the place of a man…Professionals treat each other with “professional courtesy” but never chivalry.” p. 232.

“Politicians who do what they think right are manly; those who do what you think right are unmanly.” P. 233.

“Edmund Burke laments over the imprisonment of Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution, that no one was man enough to avenge her: “But the age of chivalry is gone. That the age of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.”” p. 233.

“Manliness must prove itself and do so before an audience. It seeks to be theatrical, welcomes drama, and wants your attention. Rational control prefers routine and doesn’t like getting excited…Manliness favors war, likes risk, and admires heroes…(no one needs or responds to an incentive to be manly)…Manliness likes to show off and wants to be appreciated…It is generous but judgmental.” p. 234.

“Affirmative action is manly if you do it for yourself, otherwise not. Commerce is unmanly, yet there is manliness in the spirit of commercial enterprise, so that Tocqueville can say that “Americans put a sort of heroism into there manner of doing commerce.” The Yankee clipper ships he was speaking of in 1835 went to China and back in order to sell a pound of tea for one penny less than the competition–heroes and mercenaries at the same time.” p. 234.

“The popularity of sports testify to the inevitability of manliness…” p. 234.

Mansfield’s favor word is “assert.” p. 234.

“Manliness is never selfless…” p. 235.

“Tocqueville feared the gradual construction of a new democratic despotism, an “immense tutelary power” over people that “would take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living.”” p. 235.

“Can it be an accident that the first atheist regimes in human history were the first totalitarian regimes?” p. 237.

“So if you were to ask Tocqueville…to what he attributes the prosperity and force of the American people, he would answer that “it is the superiority of its women.” p. 237.

“The gender-neutral society… was accomplished by feminism…What should we think of feminism? Feminism is the culmination of rational control by abolishing the sex differences, facilitating the management of human beings by removing the grand source of irrational insistence, manliness. Women are of course liberated but so are men. Women lose their hindrances, men their inhibitions…” p. 238.

Mansfield quotes Plato’s Laws, “The Athenian Stranger makes a passing reference to “bitter, women’s raging” that differs from men’s anger in its implied recognition of vulnerability.” p. 240.

Professor Mansfield discusses feminism,

Women are misled by feminism into mistaking themselves. They are told they have no weaknesses because they have no essence, no definition; hence they have no limitations. Women can do anything, young women are foolishly assured. They are also told to see their strength as weakness. To be prudent, cautious, modest, persuasive, undemanding, unselfish is unworthy of…what? An assertive male? An autonomous entity? Feminism has no understanding of womanhood; it leaves women without a guide and even tries to convince them that they need no guide.” p. 240 emphasis added.

What womanhood should be in our society I leave to a new feminism less fascinated with manliness than the feminism we have had. The radical feminism I have discussed is not what most women believe or practice, but it is the only feminism there is. Another better feminism might begin from the idea that women, as many of them say, “want it all.” They want a career and they want to be women too. They don’t want to be defined, and they do. The challenge to a new feminism is to make sense of those two desires and unite them.” p. 241

Professor Mansfield closes, “To protect women’s careers we need a gender-neutral state…

but the gender-neutral society gives no respect to the liberal distinction between state and society or between public and private…It makes women think that they are unfaithful to the cause of women if they do not behave like men...Women should be free to enter on careers but no compelled–yet they should also be expected to be women. And men should be expected, not merely free, to be manly. A free society cannot survive if we are so free that nothing is expected of us. emphasis added p. 244



“For women holding office, the gender gap in political opinion in much wider than in the electorate. Successful ambition in women makes them more womanish in the sense of representing women’s views.” p. 254.

Mansfield cites Democracy in America, “Tocqueville’s American woman is both knowing and modest, however; “she has pure morals rather than a chaste mind.” p. 259.

“Charlotte Gilman’s Herland, which is a community held together by a religion of motherhood. To a male visitor, a woman of Herland asks with honor: “Destroy the unborn–!’ she said in a hard whisper. ‘Do men do that in your country?” Gilman, Herland, 66, 69-70.” p. 259.

“Beauvoir’s chapter “The Mother” begins with nine pages on abortion (Second Sex, 484-93); later she says provocatively, “When woman suffocates in a dull gynaeceum–brothel or middle-class home” (603); and the reader comes upon nothing about women’s responsibility for morality but rather finds remarks like this: “marriage is directly correlated with prostitution” (555).” p. 260.

“In Donald Symon’s words: “Among all peoples, copulation is considered to be essentially a service or favor that women render to men, and not vice versa.” This is the last of the seven sex differences that he finds in all societies. Evolution of Human Sexuality, 27-28.” p. 261.

“Greer, Female Eunuch, 156-57; Greer in her saucy way hopes that in the future “children might grow up without the burden of gratitude for the gift of life which they never asked for.” In her own case, she says that as children, “we could see that our mothers blackmailed us with self-sacrifice” (249, 157). But don’t we owe gratitude for gifts we don’t ask for? For the gift of life that makes it possible to ask for things?” p. 261.

“In cases of sexual encounter women are liable (1) to become pregnant, (2) to suffer more from sexually transmitted disease, and (3) to feel more emotional hurt afterwards.” p. 262.

“All men by nature desire to know” is the opening sentence of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.” p. 263.


Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

Thank you (foot)notes,

See Margaret Sanger

09 Dec


Margaret Sanger, Quotes from The Pivot of Civilization

December 9, 2009 | By |


Margaret Sanger has become a parody

of feminism and Planned Parenthood,

“I accepted an invitation to talk

to the women’s branch

of the Ku Klux Klan” from her Autobiography

Authenticity of photo not verified

We prefer the policy of immediate sterilization… p 35

“[O]rganized…charity…reveals…a defect. [Where] organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease.” p. 38.

The theme of The Pivot of Civilization is summed in Margaret Sanger’s fifth chapter, “The Cruelty of Charity.” p.37. A “debauch of sentimentalism…” p.38.

“[S]chools for the blind, deaf and mute…our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost …of this dead weight of human waste.” p. 39.


The Pivot of Civilization by Margaret Sanger was published by Brentano’s, New York, in 1922. The introduction was graciously provided by H. G. Wells, one of Sanger’s numerous sex partners.

The Dedication is written by another lover, Havelock Ellis.

“This book['s]…central challenge is that civilization is based upon the control…of Sex.” Sex is capitalized in the original. p. 1.

Later Sanger expands the challenge to “Hunger and Sex.” Capitalizations in original. p.1.

Sanger gushes of “…women fired with the glorious vision of a new world…emancipated…a Utopian world,– it glowed in romantic colors…” p. 2.

Margaret Sanger “was driven to ask whether this urging power of sex [not capitalized this time]…was not…responsible…for the widespread misery of our world.” p. 3.

“…Civilization could not solve the problem of Hunger until it recognized the titanic strength of the sexual instinct.” p. 3.

Sanger quotes Lecky, “The greatest of all evils in politics is power without control.” p. 5.

Sanger enjoyed the endorsement of “The neo-Malthusian movement in Great Britain [who] came to our support.” p. 5.

Sanger tells us that “Official moralists” are responsible for the presence of “the moron and the imbecile…” p. 6.

“The lack of balance between the birth-rate of the “unfit” and the “fit,”…the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. The… inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken, [present the need] to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective.” p. 9.

This menace demands action, “Possibly drastic and Spartan methods may be forced upon American society if it continues complacently to encourage the chance and chaotic breeding that has resulted from our stupid, cruel sentimentalism.” p. 9.

This is Sanger’s religion and gives us her book title-theme, “To effect the salvation of the generations of the future…[for] the formation of a code of sexual ethics…[where] we shall best be serving the pivotal interests of civilization.” p. 9.

“We must temper our emotion and enthusiasm with the impersonal determination of science.” p. 9. Except, perhaps, if science contradicts abortion as Cecile Richards, current president of Planned Parenthood, demands.

Margaret Sanger has an odd definition of Motherhood. It is not a calling. It is not fulfillment of womanhood. It is not joy. “Motherhood, which is not only the oldest but the most important profession…has received few of the benefits of civilization.” p. 10. Indeed Sanger believes that Motherhood is little different from the other “oldest profession” as commonly understood. (See “[P]rostitution legalized by the marriage ceremony.” Woman and the New Race p.112)

Sanger seemingly longs for an ancient, simpler age where, “[P]rimative tribes were rude enough and severe enough to prevent the unhealthy growth of sentimentality, and to discourage the irresponsible production of defective children…[the] results of uncontrolled breeding” p. 10-11.

Much like her modern liberal sisters, Margaret Sanger has a dark interpretation of woman and child. “One searches in vain for some picture of sacred motherhood…[where] chance parenthood [causes] the great social problems of feeble-mindedness, crime and syphilis…[birthed by] slaved-mothers ” p. 12-13.

Sanger was an active supporter of the junk-science of eugenics in the early 1900′s. “[T]he Galton Laboratory for Great Britain, show[ed that] an abnormally high rate of fertility is usually associated with poverty, filth, disease, feeblemindedness and a high infant mortality rate.” p. 16.

Margaret Sanger does not want the government nor philanthropies nor charities to “[A]ssume the responsibility of keeping your [unplanned] babies alive….They tacitly assume that all parenthood is desirable, that all children should be born, and that infant mortality can be controlled by external aid.” p.17.

Sanger sets the stage for the abortion and infanticide debate in our time, “In truth, unfortunate babies who depart [die] during their first twelve months are more fortunate in many respects than those who survive to undergo punishment for their parents’ cruel ignorance and complacent fecundity [the ability to reproduce].” p. 18.

Margaret Sanger, working with the unions, wanted fewer children to keep labor wages high and to keep children out of the labor market. “[C]heap childhood is the inevitable result of chance parenthood. Child labor is organically bound up with the problem of uncontrolled breeding and the large family.” p. 19.

Sanger writes of the “[P]ure American stock” uninfected by immigrant genes. p. 23.

Parents are the epitome of, “[S]inister selfishness…who bring babies into the world to become child-slaves.” p. 23.

The founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, quotes approvingly of the National Child Labor Committee, that writes, “It is not only through the lowered power, the stunting and the moral degeneration of its individual members, but in actual expense, through the necessary provision for the human junk, created by…charitable organizations.” p. 24 [Emphasis mine. Quote is attributed to the National Child Labor Committee by Sanger.]

Sanger knew that family size limitation needed the authority figures of physicians and African-American clergy to implement an incremental strategy to stop the “imbeciles” and “Negros” from having children. Here Sanger seems to advocate abortion, not merely contraception,

There is but one practical and feasible program in handling the great problem of the feeble-minded. That is, as the best authorities are agreed [medical doctors], to prevent the birth of those who would transmit imbecility to their descendants…Modern conditions of civilization…furnish the most favorable breeding-ground for the mental defective, the moron, the imbecile. p. 28

“[T]he progress of civilization and of human expression has been hindered and held back by this burden of the imbecile and the moron.” p. 32.

“[T]he menace of the moron…” is harmful also because, “[T]here is a point at which philanthropy may become positively dysgenic [or cacogenics -- the study of factors producing the...perpetuation of defective... genes and traits in offspring], when charity is converted into injustice to the self-supporting citizen, into positive injury to the future of the race.” p. 34

Here sums the Margaret Sanger world view and her course of action,

The emergency problem of segregation and sterilization must be face immediately. Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period. Otherwise, she is almost certain to bear imbecile children, who in turn are just as certain to breed other defectives…p. 35

The Sanger final solution,

[W]hen we realize that each feeble-minded person is a potential source of an endless progeny, we prefer the policy of immediate sterilization, of making sure that parenthood [planned or not] is absolutely prohibited to the feeble-minded. p. 35

“Eugenics seems to me to be valuable in its…diagnostic aspects…seeking to re-establish the dominance of the healthy strain over the unhealthy…over the unfit [retarded]” p. 36

Chapter V is entitled, “The Cruelty of Charity,” p.37. Margaret Sanger begins the chapter with an approving quote from Herbert Spencer,

Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good is extreme cruelty. It is a deliberate storing up of miseries for future generations. There is no greater curse to prosperity than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of imbeciles.

“[O]rganized…charity…reveals…a defect. [Where] organized charity itself is the symptom of a malignant social disease.” Margaret Sanger continues,

Those vast, complex, interrelated organizations aiming to control and to diminish the spread of misery and destitution and all the menacing evils that spring out of this sinisterly fertile soil, are the surest sign that our civilization has bred, is breeding and is perpetuating constantly increasing numbers of defectives, delinquents and dependents. My criticism, therefore, is not directed at the “failure” of philanthropy, but rather at its success. p. 38.

“These dangers…in…humanitarianism…produce their full harvest of human waste…[by] the Salvation Army [and its] debauch of sentimentalism…” p.38.

This debauchery includes, “[S]chools for the blind, deaf and mute…our eyes should be opened to the terrific cost …of this dead weight of human waste.” p. 39.

“Such “benevolence”… conceals a stupid cruelty…” p. 40.

And “The most serious charge that can be brought against modern “benevolence” is that it encourages the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents.” p. 43.

“[T]oday’s disorder and danger…is fundamentally a sexual problem.” p. 45.

“[S]entimental charities, which sprang up like mushrooms, only tended to increase the evils of discriminant breeding.” p. 46.

“Eugenic thus aims to seek out the root of our trouble…cleaning itself of inherent defects…hereditable taints…feeble-minded…breeding an ever-increasing army of under-sized, stuntedand dehumanized slaves…” p. 61.

Margaret Sanger believes that eugenics is necessary to stop, “Insanity, criminality and tuberculosis…” p. 63.

So how does Margaret Sanger want society stop this? “The…feeble-minded…should be…prevented from propagating their kind.” p. 63.

Sanger tells us, “We want, most of all, genius.” p. 64.

But, “Eugenics is chiefly valuable in its negative aspects.” p. 65.

“Eugenics…[with] clear thinking [will provide] the means to racial health.” p. 66.

“[R]ational selection must take the place of natural selection…” p. 71.

Margaret Sanger demands to stop “[T]he hypocrisy of the well-to-do, who are willing to contribute generously to charities and philosophies, who spend thousands annually in the upkeep and sustenance of the delinquent, the defective and the dependent…” p.73.

Margaret Sanger gives voice to the modern pro-abortion feminist, “Woman’s power can only be expressed …when she refuses the task of bringing unwanted children into the world…” p. 73.

Margaret Sanger provides marriage counseling, “More marriages fail from inadequate and clumsy sex love than from too much sex love.” p. 75.

New Age religion is not new. Margaret Sanger is a foremother to Shirley MacLaine. We need not look to “the illusion of some extra-terrestrial Heaven.” No, “The Kingdom of Heaven is in a very definite sense within us.”

Sanger opens Chapter X: Science the Ally begins by quoting Robert G. Ingersoll,

“Science must make woman the owner, the mistress of herself. Science [is] the only possible savior of mankind.” p. 78.

Margaret Sanger wants to, “Remove the moral taboos…[and] free the individual from the slavery of tradition.” p. 82.

“Our approach opens to us a fresh scale of values… [that] frees the mind of sexual prejudice and taboo.” p. 86.

Margaret Sanger says that people should all, “[A]wakened to the realization that the source of life, of happiness, is to be found not outside themselves, but within…” p. 94.

“Our great problem is… to remodel the race…” p. 95.

Margaret Sanger displays little empathy,

Every single case of inherited defect, every malformed child, every congenitally tainted human being brought into this world is of infinite importance to that poor individual; but it is of scarcely less importance to the rest of us and to all of our children who must pay in one way or another for these biological and racial mistakes. p.96.

Sanger has a spiritual mission and concludes in the same God-less, New Age religion reference as in her book Woman and the New Race, “[H]ere close at hand is our paradise…our Heavenly and our eternity…we must seek the secret of eternal life.” p. 97


Thank you (foot)notes:

[Update] The “progressive” philosophy of Margaret Sanger continues to this day. Alert (liberal) Reader milo9 writes, “I’m delightfully surprised that you’re wearing your greed on your sleeves [of requesting a donation to a non-profit]. Such honesty is rarely seen on the Right.” The Sanger premise that donations to charity are a misplaced greed is a tenet of the liberal mind-set.

Link photo credit to Jill Stanek and The Truth About Margaret Sanger.

Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

This work of Margaret Sanger does not have a copyright. The page numbering is from The Echo Library 2006 edition, Complete text at the jump.

Jack Cashill has an outstanding review of The Pivot of Civilization in World Net Daily.

Read More

The Thanatos Syndrome: A Book Prediction On Obama Denial of Care

August 21, 2009 | By | No Comments

A must-read book suggestion for our deadly times: The Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy. It has been a long-time favorite of ours.

It will soon be everyone’s favorite.

From a few years ago…

Winston Churchill said that if a book is not worth reading twice, it’s not worth reading once. Charmaine has a book suggestion that deserves double coverage.

Cross Posted at Reasoned Audacity by Charmaine:

I love nothing better as a Christmas present than a good book. (Unless, of course, the present sparkles.) After all the paper has been ripped apart, discarded, and finally cleaned up. . . to sit down with a cup of tea, ignore the kids (who are fighting, hopefully, playing happily with new toys) and lose yourself in another world. . .That’s Christmas cheer for me.

If that’s you, or someone you love, then National Review has the list for you! Kathryn put up today NRO’s annual Christmas book-buying guide.


There are some terrific suggestions from Ralph McInerny, Michael Novak, Victor Davis Hanson, Mary Ann Glendon, and, well, me.

My own suggestion is The Thanatos Syndrome, by Walker Percy. First, it’s just a great story. But with Percy, there’s always two more layers. He’s such an unusual craftsman with words, that it’s a joy to read him, technically — to sit back and just watch the words march across the page. It’s almost like watching Percy play.

More importantly, however, I called this novel “subversive” because it’s not until the end of the book that the full import of the story becomes clear. He subtly pulls the reader along for a ride, then weaves a pro-life message into the book’s wackiness.

I was bemused at the end — I remember turning to Jack and saying, “Wow, how did he do that?” The book won a National Book Award!

Did I mention the underlying pro-life message??

What a hoot.

I think this Christmas, I’ll reread it.

* * *

Now it’s your turn. What else should I be reading this Christmas??

Cross-posted at Zeitgeist.


From Ralph C. Wood,

…Percy likens late 20th-century American life to the Weimar Republic. He finds harrowing parallels between our own behaviorists and the German scientists who practiced eugenics while quoting Rilke and Goethe and Schiller.

Our culture shares with theirs, Percy suggests. a mere utilitarian regard for human life.

The logical conclusion of that view is that those who are “useless” to themselves or the world — unwanted infants, nursing home residents and victims of severe mongolism, epilepsy, encephalitis, arteriosclerosis, progressive neurological disease and hopeless schizophrenia — ought to be “compassionately” eliminated.

In the absence of a “life with dignity,” reasons one of Percy’s humanist technicians, those who make no ‘contribution” to society should all be accorded their right to a “death with dignity.”

The sickness-unto-death that first manifested itself at Verdun and the Somme did not end with Dachau and Hiroshima; it has penetrated to the very core of American culture.

Percy gives our spiritual disease terrifying expression by having a team of well-meaning humanists enact their own deceptively decent form of demonry.

Follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine Yoest on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

The Party of Death by Ramesh Ponnuru

September 30, 2008 | By | 5 Comments

One Democratic operative warned, “We can’t just be the party of death.”

The Party of Death does not care for The Party of Death.

The Party of DeathRamesh begins his book,

The party of death started with abortion, but its sickle has gone from threatening the unborn, to the elderly, to the disabled; it has swept from the maternity ward to the cloning laboratory to a generalized disregard for ‘inconvenient’ human life.

Matthew Eppinette at AUL reports,

A good indicator of how the pro-life position is winning is the extreme rhetoric people use in opposing it. The more ground the pro-life position gains, the more extreme the rhetoric we hear form those who oppose us. Hate mail is a good case in point.

Ponnuru writes,

Everything you think you know about Roe v. Wade is a lie…

Pull out quotes from The Party of Death at the jump.


Thank you (foot)notes,

Be sure to follow Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine on Twitter: @JackYoest and @CharmaineYoest

Jack and Charmaine also blog at Reasoned Audacity and at Management Training of DC, LLC.

H!tler, hate-mail, and hapless history.

AUL Naxi party.pngOctober 9th – 2008Americans United for Life is celebrating their annual gala in Chicago. Ramesh Ponnuru, the Senior Editor for National Review and author of The Party of Death is the keynoter.

Pictured is one of the less clever but presentable pieces of hate mail received by AUL.

Roll over for enlargement.

The Alert Reader will note a photo of Charmaine at UVA and Ramesh Ponnuru and various symbols of Germany’s National Socialism.

(There are two “N” words that are not used in polite company. One is a slander for African-Americans; the other is a four letter word for National Socialism.) (The Party of Death uses this four letter word repeatedly. The Party of Death is not polite company…)

If you are anywhere near Chicago-land on 9 October [2008] come hear Ramesh speak. Register here.

Read More

Stacy London and The Harbour League: You Are Invited

April 23, 2008 | By | No Comments


Stacy London This ad is not approved by The Harbour League.

Save the Date: May 13, 2008.

“Stacy London is co-host of The Learning Channel’s What Not to Wear and has been with the show since its first season. After growing up in Manhattan, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College with a double degree in 20th-century philosophy and German literature.”

Stacy London is a very bright young woman with a father almost as famous, Herb London.

[Stacy] began her career as a fashion assistant at Vogue magazine and later returned to Conde Nast as the senior fashion editor at Mademoiselle. She has styled fashion photos for other editorial publications, including Italian D, Nylon and Contents.

The Harbour League is hosting a star-studded event on May 13th in Baltimore, Maryland. Make plans to be there. Eli Gold runs the non-profit think tank and writes,

I want to make you aware of a very special evening that The Harbour League will be hosting. It is an evening that will give you a chance to meet and chat one-on-one with leaders of today’s conservative movement.

America’s Secular Challenge

Stacey Herb London

On May 13th, 2008 The Harbour League will host an evening with the board. This will be the first time that our entire board will be in one place at one time to answer your questions regarding today’s conservative movement, where we are and where we are headed.

The Harbour League’s Board of Trustees includes: Eli Gold, Chairman; Herb London, President of the Hudson Institute; Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform; David Keene, President of American Conservative Union, as well as various other leaders in the movement.

The evening will begin at 7 pm (doors open at 6:30pm) with a talk given by Dr. Herb London entitled, “America’s Secular Challenge: The Rise of a New National Religion”. Dr. London will suggest that the rise of secularism in the United States is a flaccid response to the challenge presented by the fanaticism of radical Islam.

In the so-called war of ideas we are handicapped in our ability to thwart the inroads of fanaticism by a reflexive belief in relativism, one dimension of secular humanism.

The rise of secular humanism not only challenges the traditional antecedent of the nation, it is an ineffective response to the challenge of Islam.

The result? If you don’t know what you believe in, you are unable to defend what is worthwhile. Something that if understood can change Maryland for the better.

Following the talk and question and answer session, there will be a dessert reception that will give you a chance to talk with any member of member of the board regarding the movement.

I also would like invite you to a private VIP dinner prior to the evening’s event. For the first time we will open the board’s pre-event reception and dinner to the first fourteen reservations.

The cost for dinner is $200 per plate (dinner is discounted for members). This is an opportunity to have an intimate dinner with these opinion leaders. So reserve your spot soon! Dinner reservations can be made by calling The Harbour League at 410-753-4560.

The presentation and dessert reception is free for Harbour League members, $5 for non-members. Please feel free to forward this invitation to your colleagues. A RSVP is highly recommended since seating is limited. Media covering this event should contact The Harbour League in advance.

I hope to see you at the event on May 13th.


Eli Gold


When you RSVP click “America’s Secular Challenge.”

Stacy London will not be there. Sorry for the bait and switch: Terrible marketing. My bad.

But her father, Dr. Herb London, will be there. Meet the proud papa and get a hint on why she is a success. And buy his book.


Stacy_London_yoest009.jpgThank you (foot)notes:

More on Stacy London at the jump

Your Business Blogger(R) and Charmaine and one of the Penta-Posse will attending — we hope to see you there!

UPDATE: Alert Readers noticed that Your Business Blogger(R) originally spelled Stacy as “Stacey.” Error corrected and she provided a nice pub shot — a class act.

Read More

Save the Date: May 13, 2007 for The Harbour League

April 11, 2008 | By | No Comments

The Harbour League


America’s Secular Challenge

Herbert London Addresses The Rise of Secularism In The United States

(BALTIMORE, MD) – Herbert London is the president of the Hudson Institute. London is a noted social critic, whose work has appeared in every major newspaper and journal, including The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, National Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Investors Business Daily, and Forbes.

London is editor of 21 books, including Myths that Rule America (with Al Weeks). London shows that while secular humanism has it’s saints, sinners, and even its quasi-religious rituals, it is too anemic and self-centered a philosophy of life to serve America and the West in its battle against the threat of radical Islam.

WHO: Herbert London

WHAT: America’s Secular Challenge

WHEN: Doors Open 6:30 PM, Tuesday, May 13, 2007

Presentation 7:00 followed by dessert reception

WHERE: Baltimore

Dr. London will suggest that the rise of secularism in the United States is a flaccid response to the challenge presented by the fanaticism of radical Islam. In the so-called war of ideas we are handicapped in our ability to thwart the inroads of fanaticism by a reflexive belief in relativism, one dimension of secular humanism.

The rise of secular humanism not only challenges the traditional antecedent of the nation, it is an ineffective response to the challenge of Islam. The result? If you don’t know what you believe in, you are unable to defend what is worthwhile.

The cost of the London presentation and Dessert is free for Harbour League members, $5 for non-members. An RSVP is a must since seating is limited. Media covering this event should contact The Harbour League in advance.


Cynthia Grenier: An American Beauty; An American Treasure

October 13, 2006 | By | No Comments


Gun Deck

USS Constitution Last night at the Center for Military Readiness Celebration, Charmaine and I had the honor of having dinner with our dear friend Cynthia Grenier. Alert Readers will know her as a frequent contributor to The Weekly Standard. Many will remember her interviews with Faulkner, Moshe Dyan, Ingmar Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney and Hugh Hefner. And many of our Alert Readers will have actually read her many articles in Playboy… where she made her reputation as a gifted writer. As an ink-stained wench. Not the normal career path for women in that organization.

Yes, she interviewed Faulkner.

We remember her husband Richard who passed on and is still deeply missed, but his many works live on. His eulogy was given by Senator D. Patrick Moynihan. Richard is proof that good did once come from Harvard. He buried in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from my dad. One of Richard’s books The Marrakesh One-Two is Cynthia’s all-time favorite.

Anyway, Your Business Blogger was still processing the rich background of Cynthia Grenier (pronounced “Gren-yeah”) when I found this email in my box this morning. It was about a recent ceremony to acknowledge Medal of Honor awardees; and Cynthia Grenier writes,

Am impressed and touched to read of the ceremony aboard the USS Constitution. The CONSTITUTION is the vessel my great-grand father Mad Jack Percival commanded on its first round-the-world voyage April 1845 to September 1846. He was quite a character, and one with whom I am deeply proud to share some DNA.

Cynthia Grenier is an American Beauty, an American Treasure.


Cynthia Grenier

WorldNetDaily.comHugh Hefner would agree.


Was this helpful? Do comment.

Consider a free eMail subscription or RSS for this site.

Thank you (foot)notes:

The Marrakesh One-Two is available from

From WND, Cynthia Grenier, an international film and theater critic, is the former Life editor of the Washington Times and acted as senior editor at The World & I, a national monthly magazine, for six years.

23 Nov



Christmas Book-Buying

November 23, 2005 | By | 3 Comments

Welcome National Review Online readers . . .

I love nothing better as a Christmas present than a good book. (Unless, of course, the present sparkles.) After all the paper has been ripped apart, discarded, and finally cleaned up. . . to sit down with a cup of tea, ignore the kids (who are fighting, hopefully, playing happily with new toys) and lose yourself in another world. . .That’s Christmas cheer for me.

If that’s you, or someone you love, then National Review has the list for you! Kathryn put up today NRO’s annual Christmas book-buying guide.


There are some terrific suggestions from Ralph McInerny, Michael Novak, Victor Davis Hanson, Mary Ann Glendon, and, well, me.

My own suggestion is The Thanatos Syndrome, by Walker Percy. First, it’s just a great story. But with Percy, there’s always two more layers. He’s such an unusual craftsman with words, that it’s a joy to read him, technically — to sit back and just watch the words march across the page. It’s almost like watching Percy play.

More importantly, however, I called this novel “subversive” because it’s not until the end of the book that the full import of the story becomes clear. He subtly pulls the reader along for a ride, then weaves a pro-life message into the book’s wackiness.

I was bemused at the end — I remember turning to Jack and saying, “Wow, how did he do that?” The book won a National Book Award!

Did I mention the underlying pro-life message??

What a hoot.

I think this Christmas, I’ll reread it.

* * *

Now it’s your turn. What else should I be reading this Christmas??

Cross-posted at Zeitgeist.