Mudsock Heights

Mudsock Heights

Wilde in the Streets

By Dennis E. Powell | Posted at 9:58 PM
Circumstances again lead me to a tragically useful quotation from Oscar Wilde: “In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.”

There’s seldom a time when it’s not appropriate, but it has become especially useful amid the screeching among the young (and the old but infantile of wit) following the correctly reasoned decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case. Angry children who apparently have no idea how babies are made took to the streets, shouting obscenities and burning things because they didn’t get their way. (They were joined by their chronological elders, whom appearance suggests would have to buy semen in a bottle in order to arrive at a pregnancy they could then terminate.)

I’m reminded of the 1968 movie, “Wild in the Streets,” in which the teenies and their abettors took over. Looking at the mindless me-ism of much of the body politic, I can find no good argument against raising the voting age to, say, 50. I’ve mentioned before that yesterday’s absurd joke is tomorrow’s law; others have pointed out that, under “progressive” rule, what is permissible becomes either banned or mandatory.

Once, and it’s well within living memory, schools were expected to teach a subject called “civics,” which had to do with the mechanisms of government, the federalism that separates the powers of the national government from those of the individual states, and the branches of the federal government and the responsibilities and limitations of each. The subject was taken so seriously that the state where I was born and spent my childhood, Missouri, had tests covering the U.S. Constitution and the state constitution, with much of the year devoted to their study, and if you did not pass the tests you’d be kept back until you did.

As a result, every member of my class at age 14 knew more about those subjects than the entire staffs of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post (and, apparently, about half of Congress) do now. It would be instructive to all involved if copies of the U.S. Constitution test could be found and administered to those groups, with the results made public.

Much of what follows is stuff you should already know.

The job of the United States Supreme Court is to determine if a law or its manner of enforcement is allowed under the U.S. Constitution. It is not to issue decrees based on what it likes, or even what it thinks is right. Its judgments are not to be based on what is popular or what is the will of the people or what is convenient. Its job is to decide whether a particular act or action is permitted by the Constitution. Justices are appointed for life precisely in the hope that this will reduce external pressure on them. They are to make their decisions in a vacuum. That’s deliberate. The Supreme Court is and must be the ultimate “let the chips fall where they may” institution.

That’s because we have other mechanisms for making and changing laws, even changing the Constitution itself, and for enforcing laws. Shamefully overlooked in recent decades is the final amendment in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It’s the 10^th^ Amendment. Read it carefully: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

This matters now because in 1973 the Supreme Court (made up at the time of nine men, eight of whom were white, which I mention in case that matters to you) scribbled outside the lines as it seldom had before. It utterly invented a right to kill unborn children. This “right” is not mentioned or even alluded to in the Constitution. It was a terrible decision, and I’m not talking just outcome here but the reasoning that led to it. (The two — outcome and reasoning — can be separated and must be if it’s to be discussed intelligently, not that intelligent discussion of anything is high on anyone’s list nowadays). No one — no one, not even those who are happy with the result — has with any authority argued that Roe v. Wade, or Planned Parenthood v. Casey (an attempt to paper over Roe’s flaws 20 years later) was correctly reasoned. Even abortion supporter Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticized Roe for dictating by fiat that which was the purview of state legislatures, thereby worsening the controversy. Whether abortion is allowed is a matter for the states, as witness the 10^th^ Amendment. Dobbs corrected the error and returned the matter to the states, where it belongs.

No matter your view on the killing of unborn human beings, if you have the slightest knowledge of how our government is structured you have to agree that the Roe justices were not doing their job and the Dobbs justices were performing their job perfectly. But the likes of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D — Instagram) are either lying or have no knowledge of government (which doesn’t surprise me; she got her education in New York, a state that considers ignorance a civic obligation). She and those like her claim it is “health care” when two people enter a doctor’s office and one pays the doctor to kill the other.

It’s my belief that in a century Roe v. Wade will be viewed in much the way that we today look upon our country’s sorry experience with slavery. Nor is it a stretch to look at it that way: in New York for a number of years pregnancies of black women have ended in abortion nearly two-thirds of the time. You read that correctly: two out of three black pregnancies in the Empire State are terminated through abortion. It might be unfair to say that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is angry at something that discourages the killing of as many little black babies as possible, but it’s true.


The media like to say “pro-choice,” but that’s a lie. The correct term is “pro-abortion.” Here’s a group at a building of a midwestern state university in 2016. (Credit: Dennis E. Powell)

The ethnic-identity-deprived Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D - Massachusetts) is among those who are similarly outraged over the perceived interruption of the genocide of black people. Oh, they’ll keep killing little black babies in New York and Massachusetts, don’t worry about that, but it’s not enough. Cortez, Warren, and their ilk want to make sure that you kill ‘em in your state, too. Which is all the more reason the framers of the Constitution were right in leaving such things to the individual states. (I do wonder if, a century hence, maybe sooner, mention of these advocates of racial cleansing will be wiped from the public square and discourse, in a spectacularly ironic twist.)

We may well come to hear the phrase “abortion tourism,” taking a vacation to a permissive state so you can get your offspring put to death. Another irony is that two states likely to promote this, New York and California (California is already promoting it), are states where it’s a toss-up whether the baby alone will get killed or it will be joined in death by the unwilling mother, in the subway or on the street en route to or from the abortionist.

I must make a confession: like many of my generation I once thought abortion on demand was a good thing. It was of a piece with the general relaxation of rules that previously had made us responsible for the consequences of our actions. I was principal in more than one abortion. Then at some point (I think I can specify the moment, in 1989 or 90, while I was in a discussion with friends on a computer bulletin board system called “T I N Y”) the idea of right and wrong came visiting. I realized that I had cost some people their very lives, and ruined the lives, to a large or small degree, of the women who would have been their mothers. It was and is forgivable only by God, and it is to Him I do penance and pray for pardon each and every day, for it is undeniably my fault. I hope that others experience that kind of epiphany before it’s too late (because I’m told that Hell is crowded, mostly with lawyers, and who wants to spend eternity in that kind of company).

The ramifications of all this extend far beyond the elimination of babies. There is a growing movement to exterminate the old and sick, too. “Euthanasia” isn’t a summer exchange-student program. It has become popular in some “progressive” states. Canada killed nearly 8000 people in 2020, almost a fifth of whom were executed because they were lonely. I’m not making this up. One in 25 deaths in British Columbia that year — a year of raging COVID-19, remember — was “assisted suicide.”

Wesley J. Smith has written about and campaigned against the practice for a long time now. It was more than 15 years ago that he warned against the “duty to die” notion that is fast being thrust upon us. Hospitals have become more interested in making money than in helping people. The federal government, under Barack Obama, placed most health insurance under federal control. It will not be long before we’ll see rules stating that certain people are too expensive or inconvenient to live, whether they want to stay alive or not. (It’s already happening in other countries.)

The Supreme Court will ultimately rule on those government murder-for-hire schemes, which will no doubt be popular among the mental and chronological deficients who apparently don’t know how they got the baby they’re carrying and who believe it is their right to kill it as if it were a cockroach. They figure that if the old and sick are killed, there will be more money available to finance their dubious desires.

Does the Constitution entitle the government to put you to death as a money-saving measure?

At that point, we might be especially grateful for a Court unswayed by the screeching entreaties of the unthinking mob and devoted instead to whether the U.S. Constitution allows the government, for its own convenience, to kill us.

Dennis E. Powell is crackpot-at-large at Open for Business. Powell was a reporter in New York and elsewhere before moving to Ohio, where he has (mostly) recovered. You can reach him at

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