Hadley Arkes is the Ney Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus at Amherst College and the Founder/Director of the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights & the American Founding. His most recent book is Constitutional Illusions & Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law. Volume II of his audio lectures from The Modern Scholar, First Principles and Natural Law is now available for download.
The Ghost of New Years’ past brings back the scene, still vivid with the passing of the years: watching for the first time the welcoming of the new year on television, on a 10-inch screen, as Ed Sullivan marked the ball descending in Times Square. And so ended 1949.
The year being welcomed so joyously to mark a new decade would bring us a war in Korea. And now, at the beginning of another new decade, we know this will be a tumultuous year in our political life, and ever more portentous for the pro-life movement. For we’ve never seen a moment of this kind in our politics, in which one of our major parties has become cohesive in support of the pro-life cause while the other has become radically opposed to that cause in all of its dimensions.
These final days of the year have stopped me for a moment in my own course in moving along the paths I’ve marked off in my recent columns, for the notion of last days brings back with a jolt the precious friends torn away from us this year. ….