Senator Biden, appearing Sunday on Meet the Press, stated his position on abortion. The New York Times reports that:
Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee for vice president, departed Sunday from party doctrine on abortion rights, declaring that as a Catholic, he believes life begins at conception. But the Delaware senator added that he would not impose his personal views on others, and had indeed voted against curtailing abortion rights and against criminalizing abortion.
So let's unpack this. He believes that "life begins at conception". This is a biologically awkward phrase since life is a continuum and does not "begin" in the sense that people mean it when they employ constructions like the one Biden used. I leave open the possibility that Senator Biden was uttering an inanity, but I assume he was not. I assume that what he meant was that an individual acquires the rights of a person at conception.
He then said that as a senator and potential vice-president he would not presume to impose that belief upon others. This assertion entails, one can only conclude, that if Americans thought that Jews or blacks were not full persons, the senator, entrusted with the power of legislating the laws of the land and confirming its judges, would not interfere with this opinion even were he convinced otherwise. Well, it wasn't too long ago that Jews and blacks were not considered full persons. Would Biden have refused to vote against legislation that would have criminalized the holocaust or curtailed slavery?
The child in the womb is a person, according to Joe Biden, but if the mother wants to kill it, for whatever reason, that should be her right. This is pretty stunning. It's either of a piece with the thinking of many Germans during the thirties and many Americans in the ante-bellum south or it's simply the muddled cogitation of a man who never really took his responsibilities as a senator seriously enough to think through the logic of his position.RLC