Commentary Magazine


Our Morally Disoriented Times

I’m not a big game hunter. I like animals, we have a dog that is beloved by my family, and I don’t know why anyone would take particular delight in shooting a lion. But the world-wide reaction to the killing of Cecil (which is briefly touched on by John Hinderaker here) is both amazing and illuminating on the times in which we live.

Walter James Palmer, the dentist who illegally but apparently mistakenly killed the famed lion, is now a notorious and hated figure. There are reports that he’s had to go into hiding. He’s been the subject of death threats. Celebrities and supermodels are excoriating him. The comedian Jimmy Kimmel was so overwhelmed by emotions that he teared up and almost broke down during his monologue.

I understand why Cecil’s death touched people’s human sympathies. But here’s my question: Why doesn’t the dismemberment of unborn children do at least the same thing? Indeed, why are so many people who were so profoundly moved by the killing of a lion so indifferent to the butchery that is routinely performed by Planned Parenthood and that’s been documented in several videos by the Center for Medical Progress? Will Jimmy Kimmel draw attention to, and weep over, the wholesale destruction of unborn children and the sale of their body parts — by an organization that receives taxpayer support, no less?

I rather doubt it. It’s fair to ask, I think, what is it about progressives in particular that causes them to be so deeply disturbed by the killing of an animal and so deeply committed to allowing unborn children to be aborted that they would even invent a constitutional right to allow it?

It would certainly be worthwhile to have this question posed to people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and the leadership of the Democratic Party. But it never will be, in part because so many journalists share their attitudes, worldview and moral intuitions.

The killing of a single beautiful lion triggers a massive outpouring of emotion and grief and rage; the massive slaughter of unborn children is ignored when it’s not viewed as a sign of liberation and enlightenment. Such is the morally disoriented state in which we find ourselves.

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6 Responses to “Our Morally Disoriented Times”

  1. MARC EPSTEIN says:

    Take note of the news coverage and the public’s response whenever the carcass of a whale is discovered on a beach or if a dolphin mistakenly swims into the Hudson River.

    It’s almost always Chicken Little-like, as if these animals never die unless they come into contact with mankind and its ghastly civilization.

    If you don’t see what goes on in the ocean, and you don’t see what goes on in the womb of a mother, you can just pretend.


    I witnessed a debate on TV last knight between a liberal pundit, priest and a conservative political pundit.

    The conversation between the priest and the liberal was unbelievable.

    The priest discussed the depraved morality in the abortion industry and the people who support the selling of “body parts”.

    All the liberal could do was reject the priests premise of depraved indifference, to the destruction of a human life for any reason.

    Her biggest concern was the group illegally recorded the videos and the possible demise of Planned Parenthood.

    So much for compassion for the unborn. These people will fight even to the point of stupidity to defend these broken beliefs and institutions.

    By the way there are enough Stem Cell line’s available for research and there is significant evidence the adult Tissue and Stems Cells work better than Fetal and are more easily controlled in the process.

  3. DAVID PATTEN says:

    Cecil had a name. That helps. Also, no major political party is associated with protecting animals. If protecting lions from poachers was a right wing issue for some reason, then this story never would have seen the light of day.


    The answer is that abortion has been framed as a “women’s issue” (despite the ambivalence that many women have about it). It’s therefore politicized in the way that the killing of an animal is not.

  5. K T NOELL says:

    Let someone with more energy than I unearth the birth of the “Cecil” story. I smell more than one Leftist rat. How did the word get out of Zimbabwe? Who named it Cecil? If it was a “beloved” lion, it was the only one held dear on the entire planet. And beloved by whom? Not Zimbabweans.

    We are in depths of immorality (moral relativity, I mean) coupled with pacifism not seen since the late 1920s….and we do know what happened in the 1930s, don’t we?

    Side deals between Iran and IAEA are classified, yes, held secret from the American people by their public servants. It is all beyond bizarre.


    No Peter, what has gone on at Planned PARENTHOOD is not ignored.

    Cecil strikes a collective nerve over the issue of endangered wild animals including big cats– with some already extinct–an issue known the world over since the 70’s. Ditto if Cecil had been an elephant or rhino or any other creature the Chinese slaughter for their tiny body parts that serve up supposed aphrodisiac properties.

    Cecil and PP are two different outrages with no moral equivalence. Period. I am tired of reading the conservatives –who I follow because I AM one– respond to the Cecil outrage with “where is the PP outrage”. Followed then by comments which corral unborn babies and body parts to the RIGHT and animals to the LEFT. Sorry but I refuse to subscribe to this facile stratification of issues and am probably not the only conservative who resents being corralled this way when another wild & protected animal is slaughtered and I join the public outcry.

    But if you insist on shoving animal welfare to the left and body parts of unborn babies to the right, then don’t be surprised to see a non-Republican win in 2016 because the Republican party jumped down the abortion topic rabbit hole– and all other social stratifications that go with it.

    The conservative party needs it’s base broadened quickly and should not allow the lefties SOLELY to own very meaningful issues such as concern over dwindling magnificent species–or their slaughter.

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