“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” Harvey Dent says to Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight.
His words prove prophetic. By the end of the film, the heroic district attorney Dent has become the vengeful Two-Face. President Biden has had a similar arc, although he was never much of a hero and was always two-faced.
“[W]hen it comes to issues like abortion…I’m about as liberal as your grandmother,” Biden said in 1974. “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”
Unfortunately, this version of Biden wasn’t long for this world. In 2012, Biden said he accepts the Catholic Church’s teaching that life begins at conception but that he wouldn’t “impose that on others.”
This fence-sitting was always dishonest, but it served Biden well for decades. Now, though, it’s no longer enough to be passively pro-choice. The activist class that drives the Democratic agenda expects Biden to be actively pro-abortion.
On Tuesday, Politico reported that the Biden administration plans to revoke former President Donald Trump’s rule expanding conscience protections that allowed healthcare workers to refuse to provide services (or information about services) that violate their moral or religious beliefs.
Practically, scrapping the rule does nothing. A federal judge blocked it in 2019 before it could take effect. Even if the rule were being enforced, I fail to see how it would have hindered anyone. Just go to a different doctor. That doesn’t matter, though. If there’s one doctor in town who won’t give out birth control pills (just like if there’s one baker in town who won’t make gay wedding cakes), that doctor must be destroyed. And now this vindictive crusade has the full backing of our “devout Catholic” president.
Under the conscience protections currently in force, healthcare workers can’t be forced to perform abortions or sterilizations. They can, however, be compelled to provide referrals or information to women seeking to kill their babies in the womb or to families that want to chemically castrate their confused children. In many states, healthcare workers can also be punished for refusing to prescribe birth control. This includes Plan B One-Step, which the FDA considers an “emergency contraceptive” rather than an abortifacient and which is prescription-only for girls under 17. (The “morning-after pill” typically works by disrupting ovulation but can also prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.)
On the issue of the Hyde Amendment, which bans using federal funds to pay for most abortions, Biden has also fallen from grace. For decades, he had no problem with this policy, and as late as June 5, 2019, he said he still supported it. But the then-presidential candidate quickly came under fire. His primary opponents lambasted him. Activists began reciting their Great Intersectional Litany at him: “the Hyde Amendment affects poor women, women of color, black women, Hispanic women.” Biden caved the next day. Abortion is no longer between a woman and her doctor. It’s between a woman, her doctor, you (who will be forced to pay for her abortion), and the state (which will throw you in jail if you refuse).
Only a week out from Easter, it’s worth remembering that it took Pontius Pilate a few hours to go from “I find no crime in Him” to handing Him over for crucifixion. It took Biden almost 50 years to complete a similar trajectory — from abortion is not a right, to abortion is a necessary evil to abortion is a positive good — but he got there eventually. “What is truth?” indeed.
Biden’s opinions on gay marriage have also conveniently evolved in lockstep with public opinion.
“My dad dropped me off at the town square,” Biden said of his childhood in a 2018 interview. “And there were two men in suits standing on the corner and the light was red and they kissed as I was getting out of the car. I looked back at my dad because I hadn’t seen that before and he said, ‘It’s simple Joe. They love each other.’”
Yeah. Sure he did. I’ll take “Shit that never happened” for $600, Alex. If it was that simple in 1961, why spend the next four and a half decades opposing gay marriage?
Not only that, Biden has recently taken to enthusiastically championing every new addition to the sacred acronym. Last month, he told transgender Americans that the administration “sees you for who you are” and is committed to “advancing transgender equality” on “the playing field,” among other places.
Ask Joe Biden at any point in his life up until around five years ago whether he was in favor of men dominating women’s swim meets and then flaunting their schlongs in the women’s locker room. He’d probably laugh at you. Or maybe he wouldn’t. It’s an interesting question: has Biden always been aware that he’d embrace any fresh absurdity so long as it kept him in power? Or is he so skilled in self-deception that he actually thinks he believes this stuff?
It’s sad, in a way, to watch a man born during World War Two ramble on about trans kids. Marlowe and Goethe would be hard-pressed to come up with a more dramatic example of a Faustian bargain. Biden waited his whole life and offered his whole soul to become president. And for what? To be shoved around the Rose Garden by a staffer in an Easter Bunny suit who treats the leader of the free world with the same respect the orderlies show Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Maybe Biden’s fate awaits us all. Medieval artists painted Greek, Roman, and biblical characters in contemporary dress, not as an intentional anachronism to make the figures more relatable, but because it never occurred to the painters that people might have dressed differently in the past. Things hadn’t changed in their lifetimes, so why would they ever change? Progressives talk about going “back to the 1950s” as if the world of a mere 70 years ago was an unrecognizable hellscape populated by utterly alien beings. I somehow doubt English peasants of the 1380s spoke the same way about the 1310s. You couldn’t make a Pleasantville-style fish-out-of-water comedy about the contrasts between the two eras. A time-traveler thrown from one into the other would simply shrug his shoulders and go right back to tilling the soil.
Then, as Neil Postman put it, “change changed.” We now appear to be living at a rate of around 100 years per annum. This is no country for old men. If so-called “progress” maintains its current velocity (to say nothing of its current acceleration), we’ll all be faced with three choices: become Joe Biden (a limp sail capable of catching every wind), be a “principled conservative” fighting valiantly for whatever progressives believed 20 (or 10 or five or two) years earlier, or find something timeless and anchor yourself to it as best you can. I know which one I’m picking.
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