If you’re pro-abortion, odds are you’re anti-gun. If you’re pro-gun, odds are you’re anti-abortion.
This seems so normal a part of our cultural/political wars that it’s easy to miss an apparent anomaly: in their opposition to each other, both sides are taking essentially the same position, that the protection of human life is paramount.
This seeming convergence of views is easily lost in the noise of each camp’s main slogan — a woman’s right to rule her own body; a citizen’s right to possess a gun.
But, in any rational definition of rights, these must be secondary to the right to life.
In other words, each camp is either lying about what it really believes or blind to the contradiction between its own (presumed unimpeachable) moral foundation and the (presumed indefensible) moral foundation of its opponent.
The two sides may not think of themselves as hypocrites, but they are. No semantic evasion can avoid the fact that abortions take lives and guns take lives.
But logic is one thing and reality is another. These are essentially two tribes, with different beliefs and rituals, even different territories. Expecting them to recognize their moral blindness and abandon fundamental doctrines, which others may regard as mere second-order principles, in favor of some distant higher-order principle like the sanctity of life, is unrealistic.
A thought-experiment might be helpful here. If you are pro-abortion, would you accept an end to, or at least a curtailment of, the legal right to abortions if it meant a corresponding end to, or curtailment of, the legal right to own guns? If you are pro-gun, would you accept this quid-pro-quo?
The answer, right now, is pretty obvious: the NRA is strong and very unlikely to accept detente. Planned Parenthood, in its weakness, would have no incentive to capitulate.
The key is a reasonable balance-of-power.
If anti-gun sentiment should grow, as it has especially in the wake of the recent Florida school shooting, you don’t have to be an anti-gun activist to think that a few bullet-holes in the NRA’s balloon might be a good thing if it re-balanced the equation and improved the chances for a serious discussion of a shared — higher — value.
Call it cautious optimism, with very heavy emphasis on the cautious.