Staying Vigilant in a Time of Crisis
It is disconcerting to read Henry Kissinger in the Wall Street Journal arguing that a failure to “transition to the post-coronavirus order” could “set the world on fire.” Kissinger is rather vague on precisely what this post-coronavirus “order” would look like, but as one writer notes, Kissinger’s long history of friendliness toward China and the lack of any mention in his article of China’s role in unleashing this pandemic is hardly comforting.
But for pro-life and pro-family advocates there are many more reasons to be worried about a “post-coronavirus order” in any way initiated or guided by Kissinger or his worldview. Kissinger, after all, is the architect of NSSM-200, also known as The Kissinger Report. As I wrote recently, this infamous document quite explicitly made it official US policy to export population control to developing nations in the name of protecting the United States’ national security and financial interests. This Machiavellian document discusses ways the US government could blanket developing nations with contraceptives (with nudges and winks about the need to push abortion as well) while making it look like they are primarily concerned about the welfare of these nations.
Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste
There’s an old saying, sometimes erroneously attributed to Churchill: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Those with an agenda and a thirst for power have long recognized that there is opportunity in turmoil. In times of chaos, old and established structures are often destabilized or even abolished while people are often much more open to radical changes offered in the name of a solution or are simply too distracted to notice or resist when such changes are steamrolled through.
This global pandemic is no different. For this reason, pro-life and pro-family individuals—and lovers of faith and freedom—have every reason to be suspicious when longtime anti-national globalists, sympathizers with China’s communist and authoritarian government, and enthusiastic supporters of population control and legal and government-funded abortion and contraception step forward to suggest that they have the solution to our current problem.
Indeed, much of the evidence supporting our concerns is so public and so explicit that there is no need to concoct complex conspiracy theories. Neither is there even any need to call into question motives. Men like Bill Gates may well be perfectly sincere when they say they want to use their money, power, and expertise to find a solution to this pandemic that will save lives. Sincere they may well be, but we also know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that their ethical and political principles are dangerously wrong. For example, Bill and Melinda Gates have made it quite clear that population control is at the very tip-top of their priority list. (“Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that [the population] by perhaps 10 or 15 percent,” Bill Gates said in a 2010 TED conference.) And they’ve put their wallets where their mouths are, spending billions of dollars on blanketing developing nations with contraceptives. We would be right to be suspicious, for it would be the height of naivety not to think that any solutions Gates proposes to the current crisis just might be tainted by his anti-life, secularist, and elitist worldview.
Of course, people might object that the coronavirus pandemic has nothing to do with life issues, and hence there is little opportunity here for anti-life global leaders to use it for their anti-life agenda. To this I respond: They already are. Consider Canada, where the Trudeau government has used a $150 million coronavirus aid bill as an excuse to pledge even more money to promoting so-called “sexual and reproductive . . . rights,” which naturally includes support for abortion and contraception. This is in addition to the billions that Canada has already pledged to the international anti-life agenda. Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is fretting about the impact of coronavirus on “sexual and reproductive health services,” which in UN-language includes contraception and abortion. This is the same organization that thinks we need to spend $68.5 billion on contraception and abortion and that notoriously cooperated with China’s brutal enforcement of the one-child policy.
Meanwhile, all around the world, pro-abortion activists are using the pandemic as an excuse to loosen restrictions on chemical abortions. Olivier Véran, France’s minister for Solidarities and Health, recently lamented the “alarming” drop in abortions during the coronavirus pandemic and said that medical abortions “must be encouraged and made easier.” “Encouraged”! Regrettably, even formerly Catholic Ireland, which so recently turned its back on the innocent preborn and legalized abortion, has loosened regulations, allowing women to chemically abort their babies at home, without ever even having seen a doctor. One wonders: When the pandemic is past, will restrictions on medical abortions be put back in place? I doubt it.
Be Wary of Attacks on Our Freedoms
Finally, although not directly related to life and family issues, mention should be made about the possible abuse of the current crisis to undermine individual rights and freedoms by the excessive expansion of government power and surveillance.
In recent weeks and months, various states, above all China, have rolled out extraordinarily intrusive surveillance measures ostensibly designed to track and control the spread of the virus. Additionally, all across the globe we are seeing the imposition and enforcement of extreme lockdowns. Some of these measures are undoubtedly temporarily justifiable in order to prevent a worse catastrophe. On the other hand, history has shown that governments will often impose extraordinary measures in a time of crisis and then conveniently fail to roll those measures back once the crisis has passed.
One needn’t look far to find concrete—and sometimes absurd—instances over the past few weeks in which legal authorities in the US have far overstepped what is reasonable or constitutional, imposing regulations and fines for behaviors that pose not the slightest risk to anyone. Consider, for instance, the fines and arrests leveled at pro-life activists praying or counseling women outside abortion clinics, sometimes for “violating” stay-at-home orders that weren’t even in effect yet! And what are we to make of these chilling remarks by a World Health Organization bureaucrat calmly suggesting that authorities may have to “go and look in families to find those people who may be sick and remove them and isolate them”?
In recent years, pro-life and pro-family advocates have experienced firsthand what happens when anti-life and anti-family technologists develop and control the technologies that govern their lives. Social media giants have imposed speech codes that users must adhere to at the risk of being banned. Infractions deserving the axe can be as basic as publicly stating that gender is biologically determined. We have good reason to be worried about technocrats and government authorities using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to seize greater power.
We ought to be concerned that men like Bill Gates often seem strangely sanguine about the ethical issues posed by the use of new technologies to track citizens’ behaviors and movements, ostensibly for the greater good. And one needn’t look far to find globalist politicians expressing an admiration for what China is able to “accomplish” thanks to its top-down, authoritarian power structure. Being wary of the implications of how coronavirus might be used to erode privacy rights—to the long-term detriment of religious freedom and the pro-life and pro-family cause—isn’t conspiracy-mongering; it’s just common sense.
Again, some extraordinary measures may be temporarily justified to save lives. Civic virtue demands responsible acquiescence to reasonable measures that contribute to the common good. But we need to have hard conversations now about exactly what the constitutional and moral limits are and how to monitor that these measures are rolled back the moment the crisis is behind us.
We Are an Easter People
Of course, as I pointed out a few weeks ago, there is also much good news emerging in the midst of the crisis. Recently, for instance, Texas effectively temporarily banned all abortions during the coronavirus crisis, quite rightly excluding abortion from the list of “essential” services. Naturally, Planned Parenthood immediately launched an emergency legal appeal against this decision. But so far, the courts have sided with Texas. We have reason to hope that the Supreme Court will also reaffirm the lower court decisions and the state’s policy. In the meantime, it is highly likely that innumerable babies’ lives will be saved, as their mothers are given the opportunity to rethink a decision often hastily made out of fear or under pressure from unsupportive partners.
This pandemic is tragic, leading to loss of life. But God is a great God who can bring good out of such moments. Indeed, let me be quite clear that nothing I have written in this article should be taken as advocating a position of fear or hopelessness or even excessive suspicion. It is common sense that various powers—some of them misguided or malicious—will use this crisis to their advantage, promoting agendas that threaten our families, the inherent dignity of the human person, and religious freedom. However, as a recent campaign by Catholic laymen puts it, “We are an Easter people.” And as an Easter people, our default position is one of hope, for we know that whatever trials and tribulations we must endure, Christ has already won the victory.
As the traditional Easter greeting puts it: “Khristós Anésti! Alithós Anésti!” (Christ has Risen! Indeed, He has Risen!)