Abortion and the Good Society

Last night, I was reading Aristotle. Now normally, Aristotle is really boring for me. I’m not going to dispute that he said a lot of stuff that’s really good, but he just doesn’t present it in an exciting way. Aristotle is the kind of guy that says in six paragraphs what most of us would say in one sentence. However, I was reading the Nicomachean Ethics and started thinking about society and morality and abortion.

A good society is one that enables you to be good. The role of government is to bring about that freedom for society. If all men were angels, as the founding fathers said, there would be no need for government. Government is there not because people are good but because they are evil. Government is meant to contain the forces of evil.

What about abortion? If abortion is for the good of society, then it would seem that abortion would enable us to become good. Yeah. I know. Goodness is an unknown concept really today. The ancients spent so much time talking about virtue and today, you would be hard-pressed to find people who could tell you the four cardinal virtues.

Of course, if someone is a moral relativist, this won’t really work on them, but then one can just ask where they get this idea of “a right to choose.” Where does a right come from exactly? If moral relativism holds the day, one cannot say abortion choice is good or evil even. One can merely say that it is. To say it is good or evil is nonsense. 

For now though, I’m simply going to assume moral absolutism for the sake of the blog. If you disagree with that stance, please understand then that that is another argument for another blog and it could be one that I take up soon. However, for those who do believe in moral absolutes of some sort, I would really like you to see if you can find abortion being good for society in that it helps people to BE good.

Please notice the emphasis on being. There is no doubt that one could say abortion brings about some goods for some. Some might say “Well, it allows me to have financial stability.” Generally, I could agree that financial stability is a good. Another could say “It allows a couple to have sex without having to have a baby.” This is the one of pleasure and I think we would say that pleasure can be a good also.

However, is being good about financial stability or is it about pleasure? One can be good and have those things, but would we not think that one can be good without those things? Could one be good in the Russian Gulag? Could one be good in a nazi prison camp? Could a Christian ascetic living on a hilltop alone be good?

Goodness is not about obtaining certain ends, but about the kind of person that you are. Do you value what is good more? This will also depend on how things rank on your scale. Do you put pleasure above life? Then why not be a rapist? Do you put financial stability above life? Then why not mug someone, kill them, and take all their money?

Instead, it seems the opposite has happened. A just man is one who values what is just. Do we value what is good any more? Has our society shown an increase in the value of life since abortion or have we instead kept pushing the envelope further? Now we have euthanasia being discussed and partial-birth abortions going on and even ethicists who say that the living baby in the delivery room can be killed.

Today, we have school shootings going on and suicide being rampant. Do we really value life more or do we value it less? If we value it less, could it be because of the laws? Laws cannot make someone be good or evil, but they can change the public viewpoint over time so that one comes to see something as good or evil when they shouldn’t. It’s also because we don’t have moral training in our education any more. People are not taught about the good and what it is or what it means for something to be evil. Ethics is not a topic you will hear discussed in the classroom normally in the school system.

Thus, if abortion is not being good for society, the simple question is, why have it? Sure. It might bring about some goods supposedly, but let us not dare sacrifice the good for some goods.

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