In a column today, Robert Tracinski faintly praises Governor Palin by informing his presumably liberal audience that she isn’t as bad as she seems. She is not a religious fanatic, he says, however:
The one clear indication we have as to the degree of her religious commitment is the fact that she is opposed to abortion in all cases, making an exception only to protect the life of the mother. And we know she means it because she chose to give birth to her youngest child even though she knew from genetic testing that it would have Down Syndrome, a severe form of mental retardation.
This fact does reveal a profoundly faith-driven outlook, because it illuminates Palin’s implicit attitude toward reason and the intellect. The joy of having a child is watching it grow and develop on its way to becoming an independent adult capable of enjoying a full human life. This is why parents rejoice in every new discovery the child makes along the way–his first steps, his first words, the first time he figures out how to open up and rifle through your filing cabinets while you’re trying to work (but I digress). The tragedy of giving birth to a mentally disabled child is that he will never complete this journey. He will never become an independent adult or develop a full use of the faculty that is man’s essential characteristic: his reasoning mind. To knowingly choose to bring such a child into the world is evidence that the precepts of her faith take precedence over the value of the mind in Palin’s view of the world.
In other words, Mr. Tracinski believes that anyone who values the human intellect will make sure that anyone who might not have the “full use” of that faculty is killed before birth. The value of a human being is in what he can do, not who he is–excuse me, who it is: doubtless the Palins knew from the same genetic tests that Trig would be a boy, but to Mr. Tracinski “such a child” is just a thing.
Mr. Tracinski’s assessment is wrong in so many ways, but it is enlightening to see for a moment this revelation of the underlying worldview of the secular elite. All their talk about compassion hides a brutal calculation of value: if you can’t make it intellectually, you ought not to live. Anyone who values human life for any other reason insults the intellect. If this is intelligence, give me stupidity any day.