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LIFE, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

*An excerpt from Josh’s upcoming Book Unnecessary and Improper, copyright 2012 Josh Kimbrell and Palmetto Conservative Alliance. May not be reprinted / published without written approval.

The entire purpose of this book has been to emphasize that the only legitimate purpose of the law is the preservation of the God given rights of every single citizen in society. As we’ve discussed throughout this text, the most fundamental, or basic, of our God-given natural rights are life, liberty and pursuit of happiness (which includes property). As such, any thorough discussion of the legitimacy of law in the American Republic would be inadequate if it did not address the issue of infanticide in our land, which is cordially called abortion.
Don’t tell Dave Ramsey, but America’s biggest problem isn’t debt; it’s death. Now, I’m not making light of our national and household debt crisis; I just believe the reasons are deeper than those that meet the eye. We know that our Country has been swimming in a sea of red ink for decades, which has been the result of ever-increasing government entitlements; however, few folks have made the connection between our way of life and our value of lives. Since 1973’s fateful Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court, we have lost over fifty-four million young Americans. This has manifest itself in a multitude of ways, ranging from an inadequate workforce, which has contributed to our country’s illegal immigration crisis, to lost gross domestic product (GDP) potential reaching into the $ trillions.
It has been said that “without children, there is no future.” This is increasingly true for America. The once-optimistic American Spirit has been replaced be a spirit of fear about the future. Our once-indomitable economic engine has been reduced to a sputter under the weight of skyrocketing obligations and reduced productivity. These are not isolated issues. Instead, they are inexorably linked to our national death crisis. As we discussed in the previous chapter, the collapse of the traditional family unit, in my opinion, was the greatest contributing factor to the expansion of abortion in America. As we argued, the family is the “well-ordered society in seed form,” wherein individuals are cared for and taken care of. As the concept of the American family shifted, so did American culture. Classical republicanism, which stressed individual rights in the context of responsible citizenship, has given way to the self-centered democratic notion of the self-indulgent majority.
This over-emphasis on individualism, which rose out of the ashes of the former republic, has led not to liberty, but to a creeping tyranny. Individualism without respect for others leads to despotism and totalitarianism. That’s why the straight democratic rule of the ancient Greek city-states invariably led to the rise of a dictator; too many individuals looking out for their own individual interests, leads to absolute anarchy. Out of the vacuum of values comes a strong personality who exercises his or her individualism to the extreme and, ultimately, erases the individualism of the other members of society. Straight democracies cannot stand. Such is the case with the holocaust of abortion in our Country: individualism is the rallying cry of the pro-abortionist, but what about the individualism of the child in the womb? His or her individualism is sacrificed on the altar of someone else’s autonomy. How is that just? How is that not a threat to all life, everywhere? I’m reminded again of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assertion in Found in a Birmingham Jail that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
If we do not protect the individualism of America’s most vulnerable citizens, how can we expect that our individual rights will, ultimately, prevail? The answer is that they cannot. Attempting to protect our own rights, at the expense of the rights of others, undermines their inalienability. At that point, rights become privileges, for they are granted by the state, or the majority, or both the state and the majority in the case of a straight democratic system. Privileges must be granted; rights are inherently conveyed by virtue of humanity. Rights are not requested of another; they are granted by the God Who created mankind. If we replace the God-given natural rights conferred upon us by virtue of our humanity, with artificial rights derived from social contract, then they are not inalienable.
This leads to a culture of death, which makes even economic prosperity precarious at best. Think of the late Roman Empire. Their respect for life became so debased that thousands of Romans would gather in the coliseum on Saturday afternoons to watch their fellow citizens be ripped apart by lions in the arena. This was considered entertaining. Of course, those being entertained by the death of their fellow citizens would be quickly changed if the shoe were on the other foot. Imagine for a moment that you were a Roman relishing in the barbarism of the coliseum. Imagine that you were thrilled and excited to watch the death of innocent men and women, in many cases Christians in the late Empire, for the purpose of entertainment. Now, imagine that a Roman centurion walks-up to your seat in the crowd and tells you that you will be next in the arena, to battle the lions or the tigers. Think of the sinking feeling that rests in your stomach. You’ve seen the death and destruction, but it was distant to you…until now. Now, the death-knell rings for you.
That’s the way we ought to approach the issues of abortion and euthanasia in America. I’m reminded of an excellent button my first wife had in her car when we first started dating. Reading it above her visor made me love her all the more, for I believed at the time that she had a heart for the vulnerable as well. It simply read: “Everyone who supported slavery was free. Everyone who supports abortion was born. That’s how oppression works.” How sadly true is this statement? How many people have ever been enslaved who support slavery? How many people have been born who wished their mothers would have had an abortion? It is the case of the watching Roman. He thinks the death which he tolerates will never knock on his door. He was wrong. We are wrong.
The current healthcare debate in our country is of cost v. utility. Because our nation has grappled with rising healthcare costs, brought about largely due to an already expansive government presence in the private healthcare market, Washington has debated how to ration healthcare. It would have been unfathomable a few short decades ago that politically appointed medical panels would be granted the power to approve or decline procedures and care to private citizens. Now, due to the out of control size of government, coupled with a desensitized public sentiment toward life, we are actually faced with the possibility of panels that hold the power of life or death. We should never make the assumption that the destruction of a culture of life doesn’t have consequences for each individual. Disrespect for life anywhere is a threat to life everywhere.
In addition to the real physical threat posed by a degraded culture of life, there are the economic consequences that face the American people. One of the arguments made in favor of expanded abortion rights, made by a magazine article in the mid 1990’s, was that it freed up a generation of men and women to further develop their talents, which contributed to strong economic growth. How unutterably short sighted. To think that killing a child will somehow leave the mom or dad to their work and, as a result, increased economic output is both ignorant and evil. Not only does it not improve the quality of work the parent performs (for being a parent doesn’t detract from one’s abilities or change their work ethic), but snuffs out a life that would, itself, be productive. How many children have died by their parents’ hands that would have discovered the cure for cancer? The cure to the ravages of AIDS?
Economist and pro-life advocate Dennis Howard has calculated that the economic impact of abortion, as a measure of the gross domestic product (GDP), is absolutely astronomical. Howard’s conclusions are staggering and stark: if we consider only clinically performed abortions, which have claimed the lives of at least 54 million Americans as of December 31st, 2010, the lost GDP productivity approaches $35 trillion. If we consider RU-486, and other abortion inducing drugs, as well as non-clinically performed abortions, the lost revenue to GDP approaches a conservative $70 trillion. Obviously, population control through mass generational genocide is costing our country dearly.
To put these astounding figures into context, let’s look at the national debt as of January, 2011 and the long-term obligations connected to Social Security and other government entitlement programs. The explicit national debt, in other words money that’s already been spent that doesn’t exist, is currently approaching $14.3 trillion. This is the largest federal debt obligation since the founding of the Republic. The $35 trillion figure associated with clinical abortion more than doubly accounts for this deficit in terms of lost GDP productivity, assuming that the deficit would be paid-down with the extra revenue. If we add-in long term implicit federal obligations, associated with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the national debt is set to soar to roughly $60 trillion over the next twenty years. In this case, the larger figure of $70 trillion in lost GDP revenue, resulting from clinical and non-clinical abortions, more than accounts for the deficit.
The reality is that America is now faced with having to bridge this budget shortfall without the possibility of recovering this lost productivity potential. Our Country failed to realize something corporate executives learned long ago: the best asset is our people. Howard sums it up as such: “No matter how you slice it, aggressive ‘population control’ exacts a huge price in future economic growth that can never be recovered. Indeed, it is a loss that reverberates through all future generations. Without an enormous new Baby Boom lasting another 40 or 50 years, that growth is lost forever. We don’t have a debt crisis. We have a death crisis.” As I said earlier in this chapter, if we have no children, we have no future. Even if Roe v. Wade were overturned in the morning, the excruciating cost of a lost generation will be felt by America. There is no reversing the damage in the near term. We will have to grapple with the rising obligations our Country has incurred by significant spending cuts which will affect every single member of society.
The work before us now is to reverse the course before yet another generation of Americans is lost. We cannot sustain our current death crisis without destroying our Country. History is littered with the remains of nations that killed their own children. Most recently, there’s the Soviet Union. The Soviets made the same mistake we’re making, by expanding their government and military structures without increasing the population base necessary to generate economic output sufficient to support it. I agree with Ronald Reagan that communism was destined to failure by virtue of its moral debasement, which Howard believes was brought about more quickly due to their penchant for abortion: “The main reason for their collapse was internal – 300 abortions for every 100 live births for decades.”
If America is to avoid a similar fate of dying a socialist state with the blood of its children on its hands, we must change course. I’m encouraged at the rising culture of life in our Country. For all the talk about my generation being secular liberals, I believe there’s a trend that’s being willfully ignored by the mainstream media. Of all living generations in America, my wife’s and mine is the most pro-life. Perhaps that’s the result of graduating in class sizes that are half the size they should have been. Perhaps it comes from the realization that the family life so many in my generation longed for as children wasn’t realized due to collapsing families and failing marriages. Or, perhaps, it’s because some of us are aware that we should have had a brother or sister to share in this life, but their young lives were snuffed out before they even started. Whatever the reason, America has reason to hope. A generation of citizens is rising-up for those who cannot defend themselves. This gives our nation hope that the tragedy of a lost generation, which could lead to the travesty of a lost country, may not be repeated.
Many ask me if and when I believe God will bring America to account for this great evil. I would humbly suggest that He already is. We have sown the seeds of discord and economic destruction, as we have taken lives in the name of independent living. The economic and social costs are ever with us. We cannot turn on the television without hearing of some other social program becoming insolvent, or some state needing a bailout. Proverbs 11:29 tells us that “he who troubles his own house will inherit the wind.” We are quickly seeing how true this statement really is, as America’s promise is seemingly crumbling before us.
I do not, however, believe it is too late. God is the God of great mercy. America’s greatness may yet be preserved, if we stand together for the babies who cannot stand for themselves. If we turn from this tragedy and take-up the cause of the oppressed, I believe that God is able and willing to restore us. In fact, God promised the nation of Israel that He would bring them home when they returned to Him and “restore [their] fortunes before [their] very eyes” (Zephaniah 3:20).
Let us be the generation of Americans that stand-up for our children, and defend the defenseless. As I just one year ago became a father to my precious little son, Tristan Kimbrell, I write these words with more conviction than ever before. As my dear friend Lisa Van Riper, president of South Carolina Citizens for Life told me, soon after hearing that I was going to become a father, “it’s no longer academic now.” I totally agree. The only thing that I’d add to that sentiment is that, given America’s current economic and social challenges, it should no longer be academic to any of us.
If there are no children, there is no future. Republican government cannot long stand when millions of citizens cannot count on the protection of their rights.

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