Culture, Science & Faith

The Banality of Evil

Arnold Ahlert · Aug. 3, 2015
Adelaide, who died after birth at 24 weeks

The “banality of evil” became part of the cultural lexicon following the publication of German-born author Hannah Arendt’s 1963 book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.” The book recounted the trial of Nazi Adolph Eichmann, who was chief of operations for the Gestapo-run Department for Jewish Affairs, and responsible for the deportation of three million Jews to extermination camps. Arendt hypothesized that people who carry out such barbarous crimes may not be inherently evil, but instead fairly ordinary individuals who simply accept the premises under which they operate.

For the last two weeks, our nation has been rocked by a series of videos produced by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) revealing that Planned Parenthood (PP) has been involved in the harvesting and selling of fetal organs. CMP has released four of what they say is a series of 12 undercover videos, and each one has been more disturbing than its predecessor. In a bombshell claim, CMP founder David Daleiden revealed to CNN that one of those videos depicts a meeting with top leaders from organ recipient company StemExpress, admitting “they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from the abortion clinics they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born-alive infants. And so that’s why they’re trying to suppress that videotape and they’re very scared of it.”

Indeed, StemExpress sued to keep the video from going public, and they secured a temporary stay from Judge William Orrick, a California federal judge who raised $230,000 for Barack Obama. And, by the way, PP President Cecile Richards has visited the White House 39 times since 2009 — just to be clear how much Obama supports the abortion industry.

None of what the public has seen so far could be described as banal. Yet for the pro-abortionists and their supporters in government and the media, who ultimately convinced the Supreme Court to decide the entire nation must accept the premise of abortion on demand is an integral part of the auspices under which the nation must now operate, the act that has precipitated every bit of this descent into organ-harvesting darkness has become the essence of banality.

Yet as this author noted in a column on organ harvesting last week, banality is virtually impossible to maintain in the presence of photographs. That same reality also applies to abortion. First, here’s a list of all 50 states and their current abortion restrictions. The majority of them allow abortion as late as 25 weeks into a typical 39-week period of gestation, or until a baby is “viable,” which generally occurs between the 22nd and 24th week of gestation. Note that seven states and the District of Columbia have no restriction on the abortion timeline at all.

Below is a 3D ultrasound of a 25-week-old baby, and another photo (shown above) and story of a 24-week-old baby born prematurely. Please use the hyperlinks and look at these pictures as it is necessary to fully understand what this nation has abided as the “premise under which we operate” since Roe v. Wade required us to do so beginning in 1973. Remember these pictures, along with the legal restrictions cited above, when a pro-abortion supporter reduces abortion to the idea of eliminating a “clump of cells” or a “lump of tissue.”

What about the fact that most abortions are performed in the first trimester? Here’s what that “lump of tissue” looks like in week 6, week 7, week 8 and week 9. Note that even in week 6 lungs are forming and a heart is beating. In week 7, limbs and ear buds appear. Week 8 shows more defined limb development, a nose, an upper lip and a rapidly developing brain. In Week 9 there is continued development of lips, nose, eyes and eyelids, and substantial limb movement.

Moreover, until the Supreme Court finally banned the procedure in 2007, pro-abortionists were fully on board with everything about very late-term abortions, save the highly accurate term used to describe them — partial-birth abortions. Like pictures and video of abortion, that term infuriated the pro-abortionists who labeled it highly inaccurate. Yet what is inaccurate about a procedure that involves pulling a live baby feet-first out of the womb, except for the head, and then puncturing the skull and suctioning out the brain? Here is a video of that indescribably grotesque procedure. But fair WARNING: It is one of the most disturbing videos one might ever view, so be prepared or take a pass.

Either way, remember that Congress tried to pass national bans on the procedure in 1996 and 1997 only to see them vetoed by abortion-on-demand champion Bill Clinton. And the first time a case appeared before the Supreme Court in 2000 based on the state of Nebraska attempting to ban it, the Court ruled that ban unconstitutional because it didn’t include a health exception.

Unsurprisingly, the issue of late-term abortions has become part of the 2016 election debate. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz defined the pro-abortionist position in April when GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul asked reporters to inquire if she was OK with “killing a seven-pound baby that is just not yet born.” Wasserman Schultz’s response? “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story.”

In other words, yes.

It was Daniel Patrick Moynihan who coined the term “defining deviancy down.” There is no better way to describe the unbroken line that travels from abortion on demand to harvesting fetal organs, even as the latter procedure has also become so banal it can be casually discussed by its perpetrators over lunch.

Such is inevitable in a nation that has long catered to the lowest common denominator of human behavior. Thus with regard to abortion, we have allowed a procedure that at worst ought to be implemented only in the direst of emergencies to become convenient — and commonplace. So commonplace, the permutations engendered by this wholesale cheapening of life — from gang violence and mass murder, to the collapse of the nuclear family and anything resembling a national moral center — are impossible to ignore.

The world was disgusted by Eichmann’s extermination of three million Jews. Since 1973, roughly 19 times that number of potential human beings have been aborted, even as champions of the procedure continuously repeated their hypocritical mantra that abortions should be “safe, legal and rare.”

The CMP videos will continue to elicit outrage from millions of Americans. But in reality they are little more than reminders of what this nation has already countenanced. And regardless of what they further reveal, Planned Parenthood will never lose its army of defenders — as in fairly ordinary individuals who simply accept the premises under which they operate. In short, we are a nation that long ago accepted the incremental surrender to the banality of evil.

Until now. Here’s hoping the CMP videos initiate a paradigm shift in the nation’s thinking. We’ve got nothing to lose but our self-imposed cultural degradation.

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