Mark Sullivan has found a new version on the old fortune cookie game where you add the words “in bed” to your Chinese fortune cookie fortune. (Oh, the type of salacious humor you can share with your grandma…) In the new version, devised by self-described paleocons and libertarians, you add the words “by killing people” to any proclamation of the neoconservative vision. Mark, meanwhile, finds it works quite well with many different statements from US history since, as he says, “so many aspects of the American story – the great westward expansion; the Civil War; the struggles against Nazism and Communism – involved killing people.” For example:
I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons by killing people. Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation
The world must be made safe for democracy by killing people. Woodrow Wilson
But I submit it works very well for many liberal statements as well. Consider the US Supreme Court’s affirmation of Roe v. Wade in 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, what Justice Antonin Scalia called the “sweet mystery of life” passage:
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life … by killing people.
The truth bared for all to see.