Pro lifers and the far right

A question occurred to me today. Is it possible to be firmly pro life and not, according to the definitions of the day, belong to the far right?

I don’t ask in order to say that it’s bad to be pro life, nor to suggest that it might be okay to be far right. I don’t have that sort of a point in mind in asking this question. Rather, I’m just interested to explore definitions and boundaries.

A couple other things I’m not asking. I’m not asking whether it’s statistically true that pro lifers are more likely to agree with far right positions on a variety of questions. I’m not asking whether pro life beliefs or beliefs that cause pro life beliefs render a person somehow more susceptible to far right politics I’m not asking whether convictions characteristic of the far right lead people to be more open to pro life arguments.

Those are all fascinating questions, but I’m here simply asking whether it’s possible for a person, by definition, in our day and age, to be simultaneously pro life and not far right.

I think it’s not possible.

I feel the need to reiterate that this isn’t me condemning any group or belief or vindicating any group or belief. I think it’s just an honest fact, and we can think of it what we will.

If you’re centre right or moderately right wing, then you’re generally more interested in the relationship of politics to economics (and specifically some sort of more or less anti-socialistic economics) than in its relationship to ethics or culture. The far right, by contrast, subordinates economics to ethics or culture and so can end up with a view of economics that allows for or calls for much more government involvement than the centre right is going to be comfortable with. That’s how we define these things today.

If you’re sincerely pro life, then that’s an ethical issue that stands above economic questions. It is an ethical stance that is by definition, today, right wing. Thus, it doesn’t matter where you stand on other questions; you can be as progressive in other areas as you like, but by being pro life you are, today, by definition far right.

It is troubling to me that we have set up our definitions in such a way that we are taking a widespread view and shovelling its adherents into a category that is almost equivalent to reactionary radicalism or extremism. I think that’s dangerous. I think that ends badly. I think real people end up needlessly harmed in profound ways. A disturbing thought.

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