In the months before and after the 2020 presidential election, I was ready to take the blackpill.

I had become convinced that our culture was on an irreversible decline into ever greater depths of progressive depravity and that reactionary politics would only make things worse. Trump had poured fuel on the fires he was supposed to be extinguishing. Every institution that had been neutral in 2016 was overtly woke by 2020.

Even as he was emboldening the left, Trump was also corrupting the right. People I love were becoming crude, cruel, and cultish. The Christian right had...

In the months before and after the 2020 presidential election, I was ready to take the blackpill.

I had become convinced that our culture was on an irreversible decline into ever greater depths of progressive depravity and that reactionary politics would only make things worse. Trump had poured fuel on the fires he was supposed to be extinguishing. Every institution that had been neutral in 2016 was overtly woke by 2020.

Even as he was emboldening the left, Trump was also corrupting the right. People I love were becoming crude, cruel, and cultish. The Christian right had utterly beclowned itself at the Jericho March. Star-spangled morons like Marjorie Taylor-Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Tommy Tuberville were rising stars in the Republican Party.

Sure, we’d gotten control of the Supreme Court for a generation (and, of course, the Court would flake like it always did), but we’d done so at the cost of every other sphere of society and of our own souls. What would it take to truly win the fight, and what would we become in the process?

I shuddered at the grim answers to those questions. Instead I embraced the popular caricature of Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option, under which Christians would totally withdraw from the public square in order to preserve their culture. I thought I saw the future clearly: America would deconstruct itself to death, China would assume hegemony, and maybe in a few hundred years we’d get a Chinese Constantine.

But I was wrong. I was wrong because I didn’t fully understand the real-world harm such disengagement would call down upon the heads of children, whether slaughtered in the womb or pumped full of hormones before they finished elementary school. And I was wrong because we can still win.

After the oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health earlier this month, liberals and conservatives alike appear confident that SCOTUS is preparing to overturn Roe and Casey. You can tell by the increasingly frantic tenor of the pro-choice op-eds being published in our country’s major newspapers. The arguments of those pieces, so much spaghetti hurled at the wall, range from the morally repugnant (unwanted minority children should be aborted because they suffer trauma when adopted by loving white families) to the logically bungled (I wouldn’t mind having been aborted because then I wouldn’t be around to care).

I used to see America’s abortion debate as a mark of shame. I thought we should abandon the legal side of the pro-life movement, which was poisoning our politics. Instead, I reasoned, we should focus on changing minds and supporting women. We had one party that thirsted for the blood of the unborn and another that lied about protecting them because it was an easy way to pick up votes. I was tired of being unable to vote for the former and being taken for granted by the latter.

I wasn’t alone. Matt Lewis, writing at The Daily Beast, argued that both Roe and Casey are based on shoddy legal reasoning and went on to imagine an alternate universe in which neither precedent existed:

Had the legislative process not been prematurely aborted by the Supreme Court in 1973, it’s possible that we might have arrived at some sort of consensus regarding abortion rights by now. But Roe short-circuited that process. It also nationalized and heightened the stakes of presidential elections (not to mention Supreme Court hearings). As a result, American politics has become more nasty and apocalyptic. Every election is the most important in history.

Now, though, I see that toxicity as a badge of honor.

“I find the abortion issue is very moving to me. I’m very moved by the fact that Americans consider this to be a deep social and moral issue, because it is. And in other Western societies, it’s talked of too frivolously. I admire Americans for taking it seriously,” British author Douglas Murray said at the National Conservatism conference in November.

He’s right. America is one of the few highly developed countries in which abortion remains a live political issue. We ought to be proud of that.

Am I still concerned about the forces Trump unleashed in America? Of course I am. But if his justices strike down Roe and Casey, dealing a death blow to one of the sacraments of woke progressivism, it will all have been worth it. In large swaths of what is still the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth, the unborn will enjoy legal protections and those who harm them will be punished.

Let the libs and the nations rage. Let the culture war burn ever hotter as blue states set up an underground railroad to kill the unborn and red states push for a pro-life version of the Fugitive Slave Act to protect them. It may be that, to paraphrase William Lloyd Garrison, while an abortion clinic remains open “the land must have no rest.” So be it.

State and federal legislative battles, a discourse more vitriolic than ever before, and the necessity of direct action all loom in the future. As we fight monsters, we must take care that we do not become monsters. But if we stay the course, if we maintain our purity of purpose and of heart, then in a few decades we might yet reach the gleaming prize, that world-historical reversal that could usher in the beginning of a new era: a pro-life constitutional amendment and a pro-life culture to match it.