Populist movements—including ones that become fascistic—have a tendency to lean in the direction of sentimentality. This sentimentality doesn’t only arise from the governing forces but finds its complement in the governed, even when the sentiment is about something that is based in imagination or is incorrect or is actually against the better interests of the governed constituency itself.
This sentimentality, which brings with it a warm sense of belonging, in addition to promoting the idea of a “golden time,” leans toward the abstract and promotes ideas or beliefs that ignore or even deny what is happening on the ground in real life. This has a dehumanizing effect on those ignored and allows these movements to write-off whole populations by relegating them within the concept of a “group” or “the other” instead of individuals—without having to pay the cost involved in this dehumanization. The abstract becomes a shedding of real compassion in favor of one more remote, based on an idea rather than a feeling.
Although there are people on the anti-abortion side of things who have genuinely struggle with the contradictory needs of their own positions, for many, saving the unborn, imbuing these small cells with personalities and future histories while ignoring the truly living person has become de rigeuer.
This abstraction also has the tendency to ignore the body in favor of the mind or, to put it differently, to raise the potency of an idea far above the mammalian, fleshy reality of people in bodies. The decision to revoke Roe finds its home in this sort of sentimentality and denial. A quick look at some of the laws being studied—or passed—by various states bears this out. For example, Arkansas and Oklahoma allow no recourse to abortion for rape or incest, elevating the idea of a group of less than one-hundred cells above the trauma of a child abused by a parent, teacher or guardian. Mississippi’s law does not allow abortion for genetic abnormalities and does not take into account the quality of life the so-injured child might have. From this perspective, the irrational takes precedence over contact with the actual human state of affairs.
This type of sentimentality promotes the idea of the heroic, whether it is in the perfect Aryan or the buildings built by architectural movements that promote archetypical realms above the needs of real people. The snide and nasty majority opinion written by Justice Alito, devoid of compassion and feeling, should give us a roadmap of where we are potentially going, down a road where some people’s idea of heaven's descent to earth requires a bulldozer to clear away the people first.