Libertarian Elliot Fladen asked uncompromising anti-choicers yesterday, if you're using holocaust-like inflammatory rhetoric to talk about Planned Parenthood and abortion, and you really think abortion is mass murder, at what point do you have an obligation to break the law to stop it, using nonviolent or violent civil disobedience?
This turns out to be an unusual way of reinforcing the point progressives and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper have made to tone down the rhetoric on this issue.
The inflammatory anti-choice language, often inaccurate and undergirded by a life-and-death, holocaust-like moral imperative, can have an overwhelming power, Fladen argues, above pitched rhetoric on other topics, to push people, even reasonable ones, to violence.
Fladen's Facebook posts unleashed a long thread of responses, including a couple from Colorado state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who was one of the legislators named by progressives yesterday for his "extreme" language. They pointed to Dr. Chaps, saying, for example, that Planned Parenthood is "filled with the demonic spirit of murder." Rep. Mike Coffman's statement that Planned Parenthood's practices "fly in the face of human dignity" and Tim Neville's statement that Planned Parenthood is "cutting to pieces and selling unborn baby parts" were other examples.
Fladen: ...Given that this abortion=mass murder rhetoric is much more persuasive than the drivel coming out of NARAL, it is easily foreseeable that at least a few people will be persuaded by the rhetoric comparing abortionist to Nazis but unpersuaded by the proposed solution of non-violence as that may appear to be akin to a "Nuremberg Defense". As such, violence against abortion providers is so predictable that a federal law had to be passed protecting them some years ago.
In these circumstances I will agree that there is a selective argument that political rhetoric leads to violence. But I hope you will agree that it is entirely appropriate to selectively focus on the peculiar nature of abortion related rhetoric used by the extreme pro-life movement. NOTE: I am NOT suggesting that this rhetoric be banned. Just that the people engaged in it own up to what they are doing.
Here are a few of Klingenschmitt's thoughts on the topic, in response to Fladen's, but you should check out the whole thread on Fladen's Facebook page:
Klingenschmitt: The leftist rhetoric that blames pro-lifers (who pray for an end of the violence) for causing the violence is illogical. Here's my statement today.
Fladen: if you think abortion is not only wrong, not only mass murder, but also mass murder that is not going to be stopped legally for the foreseeable future, why wouldn't you have an ethical obligation to use extra-legal force to stop it?
Klingenschmitt: Elliot Fladen, the government has an obligation to stop violence, and has authority to use force in defense of life. As private citizens we do not have such authority. Vigilantes are not heroes, they are murderers, because they are not ordained by God through legitimate government. Soldiers and policemen are not murderers when they use force, because they are ordained by God through the government.
Fladen: that sounds an awful lot like a Nuremberg Defense. If abortionists are Nazis backed up by the government in their murdering, wouldn't your sitting on the sideline be just like those who sat on the sideline in Germany during the Holocaust and did nothing while Jews died?
Klingenschmitt: When the Nazis ceased to be a legitimate government, (right around 1938, I'm guessing), their soldiers no longer had authority to use force. So Christians like Dietrich Bonhoeffer (who tried to blow up Hitler in 1944) were not vigilantes, and neither were our founding fathers, rather they were agents of God trying to remove illegitimate tyrants.
Fladen: Is a country's willingness to engage in mass murder of millions of its defenseless children a factor for determining whether the government is legitimate in your mind? If so, how big of a factor? Is it a dispositive factor?
Klingenschmitt: Clearly not yet, in my mind, since I'm still running for office and working to change the system from the inside. But here is my training for political activists working from the outside, and notice "violence" is not listed as a solution:
Ironically, but not surprisingly, Klingenschmitt's statement on the Planned Parenthood shootings referred to abortion as "genocide."
Klingenschmitt: "Whatever his motives, Father, we ask that you would end the violence, end the pro-abortion Holocaust, end the genocide against innocent children. There were many more innocent children killed at that Planned Parenthood that are not even being acknowledged by the news. But Father, we pray that all the violence would cease."