The 60/30/10 Rule

By Dave Andrusko

If you read blogs–which almost everyone does nowadays–it’s not uncommon to run across back and forths on what we would call the “pro-life basics.” What’s fascinating is that while some of the lyrics change, the music rarely, if ever, changes. That most assuredly includes pro-abortionists.

When they get warmed up they love to argue the secular equivalent of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. They affect a position of scholarly inquiry, a kind of academic disinterestedness, to leave the impression they are merely in the pursuit of truth. That’s why they ask question after question, thinking that if you can’t answer every one to THEIR satisfaction, they have carried the field.    

But, of course, most of the inquiries reek of insincerity. And, more important, they often confuse questions of fact with questions of moral judgment.

To take only one example, when human egg and sperm unite we have a new member of the species Homo sapiens. That is simple biological fact. Whether you protect that new member–whether you decide to fence him or her inside or outside the community–is a matter of moral and ethical judgment. (PS When sperm and egg unite, you do NOT have a “fertilized egg.”)

I remember reading once an interesting exchange in which one pro-lifer patiently went through a series of inquiries and–to my mind–successfully answered all of them. But the most interesting thing he had to say came at the end:

“It’s worth noting that my viewpoints are mundane moral opinions derived from several millennia of Judeo-Christian morality and until a century and a half ago these moral principles were held by the vast majority of people in the West. That educated people like [the person he was responding to] are surprised and confused by mere affirmation of the moral framework of Western Civilization is a commentary on the times in which we live.”

In that vein, at each NRLC convention two long-time members of the staff conduct a workshop (always overflowing with attendees) titled, “When They Say…You Say.” One observer summarized the single most important point made this way:

“It was based on the principle that communication is 60 percent how you look – whether you’re smiling, your body language – 30 percent how you say something, and only 10 percent the actual words you use.”

How does that fit with what I wrote in the first ten paragraphs of this blog? Simple.

What I am saying is that you can have the best arguments in the world–and we do–and still fall short if your audience (be it a single person or thousands) finds you stiff, seemingly uncaring, and/or acting as if this life-and-death topic is a mere intellectual or academic exercise.

Fortunately, for us, this is never a problem. We care passionately–about both mother and child–which is the key reason people will listen to what we have to say even if they are initially not predisposed to listening to us.

By the way, don’t forget to register for National Right to Life 2011. You can find all the details at www.nationalrighttolifenews.org/Docs/ConvoAd.pdf.

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