The problems are fundamental but, precisely for this reason, largely unsolvable. Alongside the eternal question of whether there is life after death, there has always been the matter of when life itself begins.
Is it at conception? At birth? Is it when the child starts to have reason, or when it can tell the difference between good and evil? Is it at three months after conception or three months after birth?
The question of sex is even more knotty and fluid. For most of human history, men and women made love as they saw fit, subject to religious or cultural restrictions that varied according to time and place.
No one has ever found a precise definition, and the constant shifting of taboos and lines of demarcation only proves how difficult it is to regiment the body and its feelings.
Then, it is hard to imagine that a clear-cut clarification would arrive today through a balanced court ruling and or a jittery editorial. Yes, just because they are eternal, they eternally are essential political divides and have massive fall-outs in domestic politics.
Still, if questions are eternal, at times one should just let time judge them. The past millennia prove that there is time to change one’s mind. The US can discuss it with verbal fury, but put it on the political backburner.
This is because what doesn’t wait for time now is international politics, which is moving at incredible speed.
The global foundations of the last eighty years are collapsing, and a new world order has not even begun to appear.
Moscow is flopping politically and militarily in its invasion of Ukraine, the future of Russia itself could be called into question, and a geopolitical vacuum unprecedented since the end of World War II could open up.
On the other hand, Ukraine is emerging as a great European nation, while the EU has failed and is failing to find its own political identity and has quickly fallen back on Washington.
China is putting up a new bamboo curtain because of the Covid fight and growing friction with its neighbors and the US – things it is so far unable to manage.
India is moving into a more American orbit for the first time in nearly a century, apparently orphaned of its old Russian brotherhood and emboldened by a rivalry with China.
Africa could reposition itself immediately due to Russia’s political exit and grain famines. The same upheavals are underway in Latin America.
The catalyst for these changes is the war in Ukraine.
In sum, the whole world is changing in a matter of days. Just three months ago, everything looked very different.
Today, everyone is looking to America, but America seems absorbed in domestic issues like gender or abortion that, while surely important, are perhaps not that urgent.
This mismatch of time and attention can be very dangerous for the world and America. The United States must organize its priorities in order of urgency; external issues have time limits, political issues of life and death do not. Ignoring objective time to impose subjective time has always been a disastrous recipe for those who propose it.
In this case, political distraction in America about what is happening in the world could change the political fortunes of the post-Ukraine war period and thus the long-term consequences for the world and America. By then, the United States could be downsized and have far more urgent priorities, while gender and abortion will always be there, as they have been for the ages.