Actually arguing the point!

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(With thanks to MM) To my mind, the Atlantic Magazine's best-ever article in my years as a subscriber was a 1995 cover story by George McKenna entitled, On Abortion: A Lincolnian Position.

McKenna's argument was that the modern Republican approach to abortion is precisely opposite Abraham Lincoln's approach to slavery: in debate after debate and speech after speech Lincoln molded public sentiment against slavery. Today's Republicans make overreaching promises to legislate against abortion while steadfastly refusing to argue the moral case against it. In the end, McKenna wrote, effective political action in a democracy is possible only when the battle for public opinion has been thoroughly engaged. Lincoln was able to legislate against slavery precisely because he first argued brilliantly against it. 

This was also the pattern of Wilberforce's successful decades-long fight against slavery in England. But in America during my lifetime, not one pro-life presidential candidate has been willing to dirty his hands in actual rhetorical battle for the hearts of Americans over the issue of abortion. 

Thus, while I care little for his libertarianism in general, I welcome this ad by Ron Paul. It's a Lincolnesque piece and I respect him for doing it. (DB)