Ours is a world of coincidences and providential happenings; it is not our lot to sort them out.
Yesterday morning, a few of the Assumption Advocates for Life drove down to Worcester's Planned Parenthood to say a quick Rosary inbetween classes. My first time praying in front of an abortion mill, a staple in Catholic activism, the occasion was intrinsically unhappy, but satisfying to the passion for justice. I had expected the place to be much larger, if not more ominous, but it was only the size of a post office. Nonetheless, the place had a fairly steady traffic as we prayed in a small parking lot overlooking the grim place.
Arriving back at Assumption in time for class, it was time to discuss Part IV of Gulliver's Travels [partial spoiler alert]. There could not have been better timing. As some readers will already know, Gulliver is famously gullible, and falls in love with the Country of the Houyhnhnms, a race of equestrians who value reason above all else [we pronounced it win-ems in class]. Their version of reason, effectually the overcoming of the passions, is the singular force in their lives. As Gulliver tells us,
"...a Decree of the general Assembly in this Country, is expressed by the Word Hnhloayn, which signifies an Exhortation; as near as I can render it: For they have no Conception of how a rational Creature can be compelled, but only advised, or exhorted; because no Person can disobey Reason, without giving up his Claim to be a rational Creature." (Chap. X)
The cardinal virtues of the houyhnhnms are friendship and benevolence; while their country has little technology and no literature (which is not necessary since there is little history to record), poetry praising the virtues is in great supply, and avarice is unheard of, except in the yahoos, a primitive and beastial race of man which was long ago introduced to the island the houyhnhnms inhabit.
Conspicuously, love and attachment are absent from the Country of the Houyhnhnms- so little do families care for their deceased that deaths are non-events; they are buried in a remote part of the island, and even on the day of their passing life continues as usual for everyone except the undertaker. As I pointed out in class, their poetry, if it can be so called, must be very bland without reference to romance, valor, and the other passions. Families are arranged and planned, and houyhnhnms may only mate until they have one offspring of each sex, unless they are servants. Still more worryingly, the only subject of genuine disagreement and debate at the general assemblies is whether or not the houyhnhnms should exterminate the yahoos once and for all. While their loathing and commercial use of the yahoos may be more equivalent to the shepherd's hatred of wolves, or our consumption of meat and use of leather, the houyhnhnm's dehumanizing of the yahoos is so pervasive that Gulliver is soon wearing yahoo skins without uneasiness! This dehumanization, reminiscent of Nazi Germany's treatment of the Jews and others (making Part IV of Gulliver's Travels, which I desire to read in full someday, a fitting followup to our previous read, Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning), can easily be likened to the modern West's disconcern for the life of the preborn.
From what has been said, the likenesses are undeniable. The great domestic genocide, which, along with contraception, is sealing the downfall of the West by lowering the fertility rate far below replacement, has become the subject of polite political discourse. This ought to be unthinkable (and in the strict sense it still is; the issue can hardly be introduced without framing the debate as between choice and life- couching both sides in comforting terms, as if each based its beliefs in equal but competing goods, skirting the murder at issue. This would perhaps be remedied if pro-lifers more often referred to abortion by its proper name, legal mass murder, as I have done above- after all, even the most virulent pro-choicers cannot think anything better to call us than "anti-choice" or perhaps "anti-woman", even though roughly half the victims of the policy they support are women). While it is unconceivable that anyone but a doctrinaire utilitarian continues to be convinced that babies in the womb are "blobs of tissue" given the advances in embryology, the term is still bandied about to lend, explicitly or not, an air of rationality to legalized abortion, so that its opponents can be written off as unscientific or superstitious. They continue this propaganda unabated to safeguard the sexual revolution and their right to meaningless relations with the opposite sex.
Northampton used to have horse races at the annual Three County Fair. While I have missed their absence over the last few years, if they were ever reopened I would never be able to look at horses in the same way again.