32 Seconds and the Banality of Evil

By Russ Rooney, Life Legal MN

32 seconds isn’t a lot of time.  A life insurance commercial.  Holding a plank during your workout.  The time it takes to sing the lullaby “baa baa black sheep” to your newborn.

And it’s the amount of time it took the St. Paul, Minnesota City Council to “debate” and approve Resolution 20-416, which declared March 10, 2020 as “Abortion Providers Appreciation Day.”  Res. 20-46 follows the familiar pro-abortion focus on choice and access to “care.”  It makes no mention of the reality that abortions end a human life, nor does it acknowledge the emotional and physical harm that abortions often cause to doctor and patient alike.  Instead, it is a one-sided commercial for those who work for and profit from the abortion industry.   Honestly, none of that is new. 

What is striking is how the Council acted as they passed the Res. 20-416.  They passed it with ease, bored expressions, and no apparent concern or care.   The Council wasn’t running short of time – soon after, the Council debated a $478 fee charged to the owner of an empty lot for almost 25 minutes, and the meeting ran for two hours and forty-seven minutes.  No one showed up to speak for or against the Resolution (I don’t know if there was prior public notice), so it passed without any discussion.

It’s chilling.  The City Council clearly believe that a Resolution praising the murder of innocents was nothing more than the next agenda item, which was a Resolution in support of the Lego league champions. 

The City Council’s clinical, casual and unthinking actions reminds one of Hannah Arendt’s description of Alfred Eichman, the man responsible for organizing the transportation of millions of Jews and others to concentration camps in support of Nazi Germany’s evil genocide during World War II:

I was struck by the manifest shallowness in the doer [i.e. Eichmann] which made it impossible to trace the uncontestable evil of his deeds to any deeper level of roots or motives. The deeds were monstrous, but the doer – at least the very effective one now on trial – was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither demonic nor monstrous.

Arendt called this condition “the banality of evil.”   She saw that for many, monstrous acts became a  sanitized and routinized part of daily life.  For many Nazis, the murder of Jews and others was just an unremarkable, everyday occurrence.

Sadly, abortion is becoming just like this.  It has become such an ideology and article of faith for so many in modern America that they appear to have lost all moral sense of the horror that they are supporting.  They have forgotten that a real, vital human is destroyed by abortion.  Their hearts have become calloused to the wrenching pain that abortion brings to so many mothers and fathers.

To be clear, such a moral failing is no excuse or justification.  Allowing oneself to be so blinded by ideology, comfort, position or power that you fail to even recognize the moral consequences of your actions is no defense.  Those who participate and support the abortion industry are committing an immoral act regardless of how seriously they take their position.  Future generations will hold them (and all of us) to account for the evil of abortion.

In response, we must continue to raise the reality of abortion in the most creative, impactful ways that we can.  We must fund the TV commercials, the billboards, the movies and the books to get the real message out.  We must make sure that vulnerable women have access to accurate medical information and advanced sonograms so that they know the truth of the life that is growing inside them.  We must pursue court battles to end the tyranny of Roe vs. Wade and its progeny.  We need to show up at City Council meetings and speak out against Resolutions like the one St. Paul passed.

More than anything, we can’t let abortion become the soundtrack of our era, the wallpaper that we don’t see.  We have to remind ourselves, our friends, politicians, judges and everyone else that abortion is evil, an outrage and a scandal that should not be tolerated even one more day.

 Those innocent children waiting and wanting to be born deserve nothing less.