An American poet once defined a “liberal” as a man too “altruistically moral” to “take (his) own side in a quarrel.” Justin Trudeau recently decided that Canadian Liberals, in contrast, are not free to do the same. Trudeau decreed that all future candidates in his party must be unambiguously, categorically, and unapologetically pro-abortion: they may not take the unborn’s side in our country’s current quarrel.
Trudeau’s shocking declaration, made in a now-media scrum on the eve of the National March for Life, has provoked justifiable outrage: because of their current leader’s passing whim, a generation of life-long Liberals – who have struggled tirelessly and courageously within their party for the defense of the unborn – were, in a moment, suddenly cast off and disenfranchised. Such a move is especially surprising since it comes from that side of the debate which cloaks itself so conspicuously with the rhetoric of freedom. But the Liberal leader’s very bluntness shows precisely what this rhetoric is worth: nothing. “Pro-choice” always means no choice, and Liberals will now be free to choose, not what morality requires, but only what their leader demands.
In the aftermath of his remarks, Trudeau has had occasion to furrow his brow, to intone solemnly (and erroneously) about “charter rights,” and to invoke his “very, very” Catholic upbringing – even as he makes it impossible for all Christians to participate in his party without violating their consciences. But, sadly, despite all the uproar, Trudeau has never wavered in his commitment to abortion, never vacillated for a moment in his preposterous affirmation of prenatal infanticide as a “human right” and a “Canadian value.” Neither the trenchant, reasoned, and firm rebukes of Christians and right-thinking Canadians across the country, nor the clear, pastoral responses of his own Catholic bishops have given Trudeau even a moment’s pause.
Because Trudeau is so eager to force all future Liberal candidates to wear his own intellectual blinders, he is unable to see the irony of his outrageous stance. Evidently, Trudeau never wonders why this particular right (that euphemistic “right to choose”) is unlike any other; why, since it was introduced in Canada by his father (in the 1969 Omnibus Bill, not his 1983 Charter of Rights), it has elicited a sustained campaign of categorical opposition; nor why the defense of this so-called right requires him to betray the ideals – and even the very name – of his own political party.
If Trudeau would only put aside his perverse quest of enforcing ideological purity within his party and ask himself these questions, he might see that the “right” which he defends is no human right at all. And he might also see why his tragic commitment to it only produces irreconcilable contradictions within the body politic, and why those churches tasked by Our Lord with the defense of the most vulnerable can never accommodate nor reconcile themselves to this horrid abomination. He might see, in other words, that his current conundrum proceeds from what logicians call the “principle of explosion:” the principle which hold that from falsehood anything follows. If there really were a right to child-murder in our country, our country would come apart at the seams.
Indeed, the longer abortion is tolerated in Canada, the more its very fabric moral weakens. For to defend the indefensible (and unrecognized) “right to choose,” all other human rights must be sacrificed. First and foremost, the unborn child’s right to life; next, the freedom of conscience of those who oppose this evil, unspeakable practice; and, finally, what we are seeing now: even politicians’ right to free speech and free expression, the right to think for themselves about the decisive moral issue of our times.
Canada must, therefore, choose: it must choose between all other human rights and this “right,” between liberal democracy and its illiberal imitation, between life and death. As the defense of child-murder creates such evident contradictions, we hope to make common cause with Canadians who are genuinely committed to the very human rights and principles of good government that Trudeau is so willing to forsake.
Thus, even the Liberal Party faithful who endorse Trudeau’s extreme position on abortion should join us in opposing his extreme position on ideological purity, because they have a leader, not a king. Yet, if they let their party’s positions be determined by the fiats of their young new master, Liberals will have effectively chosen to be ruled, not by a politician, but by a petulant monarch, and they will need to watch press conferences to discover their own policies – along with whatever other dictates that their dauphin has in store. Indeed, if Liberals do not rise up in opposition to Trudeau’s undemocratic pronouncement, they must be willing to suffer the constant reminder of having their very party’s name echo with a certain emptiness: for they themselves will have let their party become “liberal” in name only.