“Pro-life” Jeb Bush would kill Baby Hitler

It’s really a stupid question to ask, and the answer (one way or another) won’t have any real bearing on the outcome of the presidential election or on public policy.

But hearing Jeb Bush say that, if given the opportunity to do so, he’d go back in time to kill “baby Hitler” caught me completely off guard.

When asked whether he’d commit infanticide against the being that would eventually grow up to become one of the most deplorable leaders this world has ever seen, Jeb seized his opportunity: “Hell yeah I would!” he happily exclaimed.

The question didn’t come out of nowhere. The hypothetical broke the Internet a few weeks ago when The New York Times Magazine posed it to their readers, and to Twitter:

But while Jeb Bush’s enthusiastic “Hell yeah!” for killing Baby Hitler puts him in line with a solid plurality of Americans, the view feels quite a bit different coming from him. After all, Jeb Bush describes himself as pro-life — like, really pro-life. His willingness to go back in time and kill a baby lays bare just how empty and hypocritical his self-description is.

If that seems like a far-fetched idea, hear me out on this: Jeb is talking about killing a baby knowing full-well and with 20/20 hindsight what he’d grow up to become. But he didn’t talk about saving the baby from eventually living in poverty, nor from being around negative or anti-Semitic sentiments. He made it blatantly clear that Hitler was bad from the beginning – and that his death, even as a baby, would be justified.

Although I imagine we’d have gotten a slightly different answer had the question been whether Bush would have allowed for or even forced “Mother Hitler” to have an abortion. Considering his base’s feelings about that medical procedure (more than four in ten Republicans, for example, would rather defund Planned Parenthood, which doesn’t use federal funds for abortive procedures anyway, than avoid a government shutdown), I doubt Bush would even contemplate such a hypothetical, let alone endorse it.

But neither should Jeb’s base be so thrilled about the killing of an innocent child, if we’re going to abide by Christian teachings.

Far be it from me to defend the life of Adolph Hitler – his actions were indefensible, and his death during his adulthood (following his ascension to power and unbelievable acts of horror) surely would have been justified. As a child, however, Hitler hadn’t yet committed any of these heinous acts; and had he been born in a different household, raised in a different community or educated in a different manner, it’s likely that he wouldn’t have become the despot he grew up to be.

Jeb doesn’t take any of this into consideration. He just says he’d kill baby Hitler, plain and simple.

This is exactly the kind of mindset that some in the pro-life movement have: they will defend the “life” of the embryo and zygote, going so far as to commit acts of violence to achieve their ends; but when it comes to the life of the child after the pregnancy comes to term, they really could care less, and their actions highlight it. They actively work to defund programs aimed toward those in dire need to help raise their children through social programs like Medicaid, SCHIP, food stamps or even subsidized daycare.

Pro-lifers even defend the death penalty, the very definition of an anti-life law, even when evidence suggests they may be executing the wrong person.

Jeb’s answer on the “Baby Hitler” question appeals to his base because it makes him out to be a hero, as someone who would use whatever means necessary to produce a better end. But it also brings to light a conservative view of humanity: that nature, not nurture, produces bad results. It explains why the right errantly believes that the poor deserve their lot in life, and why they don’t deserve help from others (“they’re poor, which is bad, which makes them bad people”). And it puts into clear perspective what the pro-life movement’s views truly are – they don’t really value life at all.


Chris Walker has been a political writer for more than ten years, contributing freelance opinion pieces to several online publications as well as managing his own blog, Political Heat, for more than six years. With a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism, Chris tries to bring a unique angle to every article he produces, including Millennial perspectives on the issues he's covering. Chris resides in Madison, Wisconsin, and proudly owns both a cheesehead and stock in the Green Bay Packers.

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