In “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, Victor Hugo tells the story of Esmeralda, a gypsy dancer falsely accused of attempted murder and sentenced to death unjustly. Quasimodo, the hunchback of the title, descends from the cathedral of Notre Dame and saves her, taking her with him and shouting “Sanctuary!”
Indeed, throughout European history, churches have served as sanctuaries for wrongfully accused criminals. The hunchback’s cry is now echoed by those who take refuge from the law.
The strange thing, however, is to see the idea of a sanctuary adopted to protect precisely something that every religious rejects: abortion.
The secular sacrament of abortion has become such a sacred ritual that California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced his intention to make the state the “sanctuary of abortion” in the United States.
“We will be a sanctuary,” announced Newsom. “We are looking for ways to support this initiative and increase our rights.”
California, according to Newsom’s progressive allies, could pay for travel expenses, including fuel, lodging, transportation and even child care for women who intend to kill their fetuses.
Today, about 15% of abortions in the United States are performed in California, according to the Guttmacher Institute. That number could increase exponentially if the state begins to subsidize abortions in its territory.
None of this is surprising. The incredible thing is that, while California is sinking, the state is seeking to promote even more radical social policies. California is home to, no pun intended, somewhere around 160,000 beggars, a figure that has increased by 24% from 2018 to 2020. Approximately a quarter of American beggars currently live in California.
Meanwhile, crime in the state has become endemic, with looting taking place in major cities as rich people are murdered in their homes.
Last week, Los Angeles Police Union President Jamie McBride warned people, telling them to stay out of town. “We cannot guarantee your safety,” he explained. “The city is really out of control.” Even the former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, laments the situation in the city: “Rome is on fire”.
California’s economy is slipping too. According to the Center for Labor Statistics, California has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country, with 7.3% of people unemployed. And while California currently recorded only 67 Covid-19 deaths that week (at the height of the pandemic, that number was 550), Newsom has recently returned to enforcing masks statewide.
But why does California continue to adopt ever more radical policies? Because radicalism itself is the moral justification for the failure of these measures. Democrats can argue that crime and misery are out of control, the economy is stagnant, and businesses are leaving the state.
All this, however, is morally justifiable because California has a higher goal: the search for a left-wing utopia. So Newsom doesn’t have much to say about the state’s stagnation, but much to say about how California will promote laws that tackle the issue of gun ownership.
For years, Democrats have said that California is ahead of the country. I just hope they’re wrong.
Ben Shapiro is the presenter of the “Ben Shapiro Show” and editor emeritus of The Daily Wire.
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