It is extraordinary that a man like Morgentaler, the abortionist, flouts the law under police protection, while those who are trying to uphold the law are jailed. How could our laws have come to this? The answer is that our society has gone from Realism to Relativism.
A common-sense realism maintains that there is a reality outside the mind that is a reality independent of mere thought. Answers to questions like: “Do human beings have an eternal destiny?” “Is the ‘fetus’ a human being?” or “Is the earth flat?” are not a matter of opinion, but of fact. A human being has an existence beyond temporal death, the “fetus” is a human being and the earth is not an infinitely flat plane. One possesses the truth if one’s thinking corresponds to these realities. Clearly, one can possess absolute truth about judgments such as “a human being possesses a spiritual dimension” or “rape and abortion are always injustices” only if the objective foundation of these truths is absolute or changeless. Realism demands that. To discover the truth, one must employ various forms of evidence obtained by experience, by exploration and by (credible) authority.
Relativism is the contradiction of Realism. A relativist would answer the above-mentioned questions by saying that it is a “matter of personal opinion” as to whether a human being has a destiny beyond this life, or whether a “fetus” is a human being, or the earth is flat. To the relativist, truth is relative, that is, one constructs one’s own truth. This philosophy rules out error entirely, as well as the need to seek evidence in order to discover the truth. However, error enters the very fabric of Relativism because the statement “Truth is relative to the individual” contradicts itself. If truth were relative, this statement could not be made as being true for all. What Relativism leads to is that “yes” for one can mean “no” for another. Thereby, Relativism destroys the ability to reason and to communicate as well as the ability to find the truth.
The two diametrically opposed positions outlined above parallel positions taken regarding (human) law, that is, Legal Realism versus Relativism.
Legal Realism, which follows from a common-sense Realism, is founded on Natural Law. Human laws must mirror the law of God because every individual is endowed by God with inalienable rights based on the spiritual (eternal) dimension of human nature. Therefore, the purpose of human laws is to ensure that these inalienable rights are respected so that all might grow in love of God and neighbour. Legal Realism demands that special protection be afforded to the weaker members of society to ensure that their inalienable rights are not violated.
Legal Relativism arises from an atheistic philosophy, that is, the Relativism outlined above. According to Legal Relativism, human laws are not based on the “rule of God” but upon society’s current constructs which are reflected in relativistic and ever-shifting “community standards.” Consequently, human rights are selectively bestowed upon (or taken away from) individuals by the governing executive. This is considered justified because human beings are viewed as mere animals by the atheist and, therefore, have no spiritual (eternal) dimension to form a basis for inalienable rights. Legal Relativism tends to pay no attention to the weaker members of society except to exclude them from the law’s protection. Easily identifiable groups are denied even the most basic right, the right to life, by being classed (by the more powerful) as subhuman according to the atheistic “community standards” of Legal Relativism.
For Legal Relativism to triumph in society, three conditions must exist: 1. An easily identifiable (weak) group must be present; 2. The rule of God must go unrecognized; 3. The governing power must accept legislation which “reflects community standards.
Legal relativism in ancient history
Legal Relativism appeared three thousand years ago in India where darker-skinned peoples were classed as subhuman “untouchables” who could be killed at will. In the ancient Greek and roman worlds, conquered peoples were chattels to be enslaved, and, in the Roman Empire, only those who were not Roman citizens were subject to crucifixion. As well, Legal Relativism took the form of human sacrifice in many pagan cultures.
Legal relativism in recent history
In the Dred-Scott case of 1857 the United States Supreme Court ruled that so-called “niggers” (Blacks) were chattels. This decided (if temporary) triumph for Legal Relativism helped to bring on the American Civil War. This was a typical Legal Relativism which reduced an easily identifiable group to subhuman status (pieces of property) according to “community standards.” After the war, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reversed the Dred-Scott decision and human law was again base on Natural Law.
Another triumph for Legal Relativism resulted from the bloody 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Although the Russian Constitution spells out rights in great detail, Lenin and Stalin denied millions their most basic right, the right to life, simply by declaring that the victims of the slaughter (Mensheviks and others) were, in Lenin’s words, “insects, parasites and vermin.” Russia’s return to a system of positive (human) laws that are based on Natural Law will have to await her rejection of atheism and materialism which denies the spiritual dimension of human beings.
Legal Relativism was the driving force behind Hitler and the Nazi holocaust from its beginning in the thirties to its grizzly, fatal conclusion. The mentally retarded, and then Jews (and others) were declared untermenschen (subhumans) according to Nazi “community standards.”
The operation of the Morgentaler abortuary in Toronto is Legal Relativism in action. In June, 1983, Morgentaler and associates were charged with violating Section 251 of the Canadian Criminal Code, the section regarding abortion. In July, 1983, the case came before Ontario Provincial Court Judge David Scott, who refused to set bail conditions to prevent future violations of Section 251.
The accused told Judge Scott that they would not accept bail conditions. So, rather than issuing bail conditions, which upon refusal of the accused to accept them, would have sent the abortionist to jail, Judge Scott capitulated. The judge then claimed he did not want to err by “…pouring gasoline on these fires [of community controversy over abortion] by way of setting up a situation which may well be perceived by a large segment of the community as a martyrdom of these three accused.”
The Crown appealed. Judge J.B. Trotter, who ruled on the appeal, went well beyond Judge Scott in sacrificing inalienable human rights to the idol of “community standards.” Referring to “changing community standards,” Judge Trotter claimed that “there is no final resting place for the law.” Judge Trotter’s remark expresses the very essence (and, coming from a judge, the power) of all Legal Relativism throughout history.
Morgentaler is not the only one who is taking advantage of Legal Relativism as it entered our system via “community standards.” Many hospitals show open contempt for Section 251. “Therapeutic” (read: “community standards”) abortion committees in hospitals take advantage of Legal Relativism to interpret the word “health” so broadly that such committees merely rubber stamp applications for abortion. On the other hand, Morgentaler is his own “abortion committee.” Following the path of Legal Relativism, our police, media, politicians and courts look the other way and even protect illegal abortion activities of Canadian hospitals and Morgentaler-style “doctors.”
One reason for the widespread flouting of the abortion law is that Section 251 of the Criminal Code tries to reconcile the irreconcilable. A Natural-Law basis for human laws demands that inalienable rights be protected as such, that is, as absolutes. Making exceptions for abortion, (killing the baby) as a means to safeguard the mother’s life or health, is Legal Relativism. These exceptions reduce the preborn child to subhuman status insofar as the child’s life can be sacrificed for the mother’s welfare but not vice versa.
Community standards are killing us
In Toronto, the police defend avowed lawbreakers slaughtering unborn children while citizens trying to uphold the law are jailed.