Kathryn Jean Lopez, who writes for NRO, sums up the conumdrum facing the Republicans in their presidential contest. From a conservative who isn't that wild about Rudy, but could see voting for him nonetheless:
At a recent Beltway party, a friend who is a devoted social conservative explained, and I paraphrase, "Even if abortion is legal in this messed-up post-Roe country, I can choose to not have an abortion. I can counsel you not to have an abortion. I can even choose not to hook up with anyone in the first place. But I can't kill the jihadists. I need the government to do that."
And from K-Lo herself, which is more in line with my own thinking:
The guy who will clearly stare down the jihadists will ultimately earn conservative votes. That may be Giuliani. For now, however, I'm holding out for a leader who comes with even more than that — the one who knows not only that we have a civilization to fight for, but also understands that marriage and the preservation of human life are essential to keeping that civilization going.
What those who most fervently believe the Iraq War is "unjust" often fail to understand is the depth of feeling that so many Americans have, that, as K-Lo's correspondent said, "I can't kill the jihadists. I need the government to do that." I suppose some would say that feeling was unjust as well; they might even try to make an analogy equating the "it's the government's job to keep me safe, regardless of the costs" type of thinking with things like, let's say, embryonic stem-cell research. ("As long as it cures my disease, it's the government's job to do it, regardless of the costs.") I'm sorry, but I don't buy that line.
And yet I'm no supporter of Rudy myself. As Mitchell wrote a few months ago, too much of what he believes in runs contrary to what we believe in. For in fighting to preserve the West, we have to look at what makes up that civilization, what makes it worth saving in the first place. Without that basic belief in the worthiness of human life, the magic of creation, it becomes that much less worth saving.
The problem, as I see it, is this: even if West does become "that much less worth saving," a lot of the people in it still deserve to be protected from those who would destroy that civilization entirely. And that's a hard one to reconcile. I sure don't have the answers.
What I do know is this: too many people, on both sides of the argument, approach it from the standpoint of 1) naivety, and 2) incivility. If we can get past those two obstacles, we might come up with an answer yet.