Thomas Fleming’s theme in “Life and Death in a House Divided” (April 1989) appears to be support for federalism as a “due-process” means of effecting political change—federalism defined as “every institution that protects individuals from the brute power of the state.” The greatness of the United States of America has resided not in democracy, and particularly not in the pluralistic or participative democracy we have experienced during those last 30 to 50 years, but in federalism, which was the ultimate compromise at our founding, and which represents a diminution of central control.

What he is saying is that the goals of the pro-lifers are justifiable but that their methodology could not be more conducive to strengthening the very opposition they seem to be struggling against. And I agree, except I do not think it stops there.

I suggest that the only point he may have missed is that altruism is a weapon of corrupt leadership. Won’t we be surprised if we suddenly realize that these wonderful demonstrators are led by those who know what they are doing? Those who want the results Mr. Fleming prognosticates from their action! Ay, there’s the rub.

        —William H. Atchison
Gillett, PA

What a strange and arbitrary distinction Thomas Fleming makes between a state that commands abortion and one, like America, that “is simply looking the other way.” The former, he tells us, is to be met with “resistance and rebellion.” The latter is to be obeyed. As the unborn babies are being sucked away, I’m sure they’re comforted by the dichotomy.

The association between civil disobedience and anarchy is not one of necessity. The Greek word for anarchy means “without rule.” I submit that the majority of those in Operation Rescue do not want to be without rule but are merely responding to the most heinous of America’s sins. That they want to inflict chaos on the abortion industry is quite different from the true anarchist, who wants to create a chaos that pervades every institution of society.

We may indeed have no biblical basis for the other instances of civil disobedience that Fleming mentions. But we do have with regard to murder, of which abortion is one form. Proverbs 24: 11, 12 stand as chief examples. These verses are always ignored by the antirescuers when they attempt to make their case and cloak it in the generalities of Romans 13.

        —Jim McNeish
Iowa City, IA

Thomas Fleming’s superb piece on “rights” may get pragmatic results this year or next. The time may now be here when we can’t improve in any way until we learn that “rights” of any kind are never free, nor ever are beneficial unattached from duties, responsibilities, work, character, sacrifice . . .

I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces on abortion and “rights.” Mr. Fleming’s are the only truly conservative ones.

        —Stephen Miles
Falls City, NE