The Public Square
(April 1998)

Richard John Neuhaus

Copyright (c) 1998 First Things 82 (April 1998): 60-75.

A Tacit Admission of Defeat

As a celebrity is someone who is famous for being famous, so the news is what is declared to be news. And nobody declares with such influence as our local paper, the Times. People who have tracked the issue over the years will find little that is new in the Times’ report, but it is nonetheless significant that this is the lead story one week before the twenty-fifth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The two-column headline is, "Public Still Backs Abortion, But Wants Limits, Poll Says. A Notable Shift From General Acceptance." It may be only a one-time shift for the Times, but it is a notable shift in that paper’s reporting of the abortion story.

The Times/CBS poll shows that only 15 percent of Americans say abortion should be permitted in the second trimester, and that falls to 7 percent support for abortion in the last three months of pregnancy. The unlimited abortion license established by Roe is thus supported by only 7 percent of respondents. Moreover, 50 percent say that "abortion is the same thing as murdering a child," while 38 percent do not say it is the same thing as murder. One-third of the 50 percent, however, say that "abortion is sometimes the best course in a bad situation," while many of the 38 percent who are not prepared to say it is murder do think abortion is a bad thing that should be permitted only in bad situations.

Although not particularly new, such findings have to be very painful to the Times, which for more than thirty years (going back to the 1960s’ agitation for "liberalized" abortion law) has been a relentless advocate of abortion on demand. The spin that the Times puts on the story is fascinating. The story reports that 80 percent of respondents support measures such as parental consent and a waiting period for abortions, but then notes that 60 percent say that "the Government should stay out of decisions on whether abortion should be legal." So who is going to determine what is legal if not the government? Making the best of unwelcome news, the gist of the Times’ report is another variation on the "personally opposed but" theme. The point is that while people are personally turning against abortion they don’t want it to be a political issue; ergo, don’t change the abortion regime of Roe v. Wade.

Toward the end of the long account we read, "If advocates on both sides have made little progress, it could be partly because of their image." This is followed by the observation that anti-abortionists are widely viewed as extremists while abortion-rights advocates are thought to be reasonable. The Times story is as incoherent as some of the opinions it reports—such as murder being the best course in bad situations. Given the position of the Times and other extremist proponents of abortion rights over the last three decades, it is patently false to suggest that "both sides have made little progress." The position of the reproductive rights advocates has been thoroughly routed in the arena of public opinion.

Remember that that position aimed at an absolute exclusion of the question of the unborn child and an acceptance of abortion not just as a regrettable necessity but as a liberty to be morally affirmed. The new poll asks, "Is abortion more of an issue involving a woman’s ability to control her body or an issue involving the life of a fetus?" Forty-five percent say "life of the fetus" and 44 percent say "control of her body." Change the question to refer not to "the fetus" but to "the unborn child" and we know from other polls that the 45 percent would likely jump to near 70 percent. Substitute "whether the woman wants the baby" for "a woman’s ability to control her body" and the disparity is even greater.

For the pro-abortion lobby, the January 16 headline story is a tacit admission of crushing defeat. Not that the Times editorial board or the other advocates of the unlimited abortion right are about to give up. As is evident in their don’t-give-an-inch defense of partial-birth abortion, they will fight every step of the way. The heartening fact is that they are now forced to admit that, despite a quarter century of all-out effort by almost every opinion-making establishment in the country, the American people overwhelmingly reject the idea that abortion should be permitted for any reason (or no reason) throughout the entire course of pregnancy—and, in the case of partial-birth abortion, beyond. Support for the regime established by Roe is so low as to approach a poll’s margin of error. Twenty-five years after Roe, the moral, cultural, and political dynamic is moving, step by difficult step, toward the goal of "every unborn child protected in law and welcomed in life." The prospect of reversing the monstrous rule of Roe is at long last within sight.

Needed: Another Black Book

Veteran ecumenist Paul Oestreicher of Coventry Cathedral in England recently suggested that the World Council of Churches (WCC) has an obligation to examine its record during the Cold War years. This prompted a defensive response from Konrad Raiser, General Secretary of the WCC: "In retrospect we might have done more publicly. But we would continue to defend without apology what we did to draw the churches of Eastern Europe into the ecumenical movement, in full recognition of the limitations of their position, to draw them out of isolation . . . accepting that this could only be done within certain narrowly defined limits, but within these limits to do as much as possible." As has been amply documented over the years, working within those "narrowly defined limits" meant that for decades the WCC cooperated with the Communist-controlled churches of the Soviet empire in not protesting, and frequently advancing, the political and ideological purposes of their masters.

More specifically, the WCC routinely denied or belittled religious persecution in Eastern Europe. When forced to acknowledge specific instances of persecution, the WCC claimed it was working on the problem through "quiet diplomacy," and loudly condemned public protest as anti-Communist hysteria. In almost every crucial conflict of political or military policy between the Soviets and the Western democracies, the WCC took the side of the Soviets. In the absence of heroism, the Eastern churches had no choice but to serve as mouthpieces for Soviet "peace and disarmament" propaganda. The WCC’s collusion was freely chosen—in some cases out of a sincere desire to keep the Eastern churches "engaged in the ecumenical movement." In other cases, one can only assume that the main players in the WCC agreed with the Soviet position or for some other reason were willing to play the part of what Lenin called communism’s "useful idiots."

Among the chief experts on what happened during the Cold War are the dissidents who have been so thoroughly vindicated. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn made no secret of his contempt for the WCC, but there is hardly a dissident alive who did not at the time view the WCC as guilty of complicity in the oppression of his people. The WCC never wearied of its agitation for "coexistence" with the Soviet empire, on the assumption that communism was a permanent feature of world history. In its public statements and literature, the WCC repeatedly put the burden of blame for the Cold War on the West, called for "understanding" of Soviet reactions to alleged Western aggressions, mocked the idea of "the free world," and frequently championed the moral superiority of the measure of justice achieved by regimes such as the Soviet Union and Maoist China. Such is the unhappy record that makes urgent Paul Oestreicher’s call for a thorough accounting.

Such an accounting must be undertaken with care. The purpose must not be vindictive or to score points against a now beleaguered institution. The goal is to learn what happened and why, to repent of wrongs done in the sure knowledge of forgiveness, and to attain a measure of wisdom in trying to prevent such evils in the future. The modern ecumenical movement that began in 1910 and gave birth to the WCC, along with the WCC’s notable achievements in Faith and Order, should, as much as possible, be kept distinct from its political and ideological role during the Cold War. In the past year, the publication of The Black Book of Communism has caused an enormous stir in France. Many have been compelled to reexamine their history as active supporters or apologists for an evil that took no less than 100 million human lives. Christians should not be the last to engage in self-examination leading to repentance and newness of life.

To be sure, evangelical Protestants and others who opposed the ecumenical movement will be tempted to gloat over the sins of the WCC, and some will certainly not resist the temptation, but that is an embarrassment to be borne. Dr. Raiser says he would welcome an honest accounting and gives assurances that the archives of the WCC are open to independent researchers. One hopes that there are responsible scholars who will take him up on that offer. They will not have to begin from scratch. Over the last half century a substantial literature has grown up around the WCC and its part in the Cold War. The WCC and its defenders dismiss much of that literature as polemical, and much of it indeed is. To be fair, there was a great deal to be polemical about. But honest criticism, although sometimes hard to take, should not be confused with polemics.

Admittedly, some might think the needed research is a waste of time. Let the dead bury their dead, it is said, assuming the WCC is either dead or moribund. For all its institutional difficulties and diminished influence, I believe that assumption is wrong. The WCC remains the principal organization linking the oldline Protestant churches of the West with Eastern Orthodoxy. In addition, the WCC is of great importance to Protestant communions in the poor world, especially in Africa and Asia, where the mainline denominations are typically more vibrant and orthodox than in Europe or the U.S. We Americans must resist the inclination to think that the free-fall of the mainline/oldline bodies in this country is representative of the state of, for instance, Methodism, Anglicanism, or Presbyterianism around the world.

Whatever its reduced circumstances and influence, the WCC will likely be around for a long time and it deserves to be taken seriously. Even were it to go out of business tomorrow, which it won’t, a new generation of Christians deserves a thorough, fair, and scrupulously honest account of an institution and a movement that represented, apart from the Catholic Church, the most public face of world Christianity during the long twilight years of one of the most momentous contests in human history.

Unassuming, and All Above Average

Students of American religion have been saying for a hundred years that Lutheranism is "the sleeping giant" of American Protestantism. It has become something of a cliché, but that does not deter Robert Benne, no stranger to these pages, from taking up again the question of why Lutherans, of whom there are more than ten million in this country, seem to be so underrepresented among our cultural, intellectual, and political elites. This Benne calls "the Lake Woebegone syndrome" made famous by Garrison Keillor, who is now himself a Lutheran.

There are exceptions to Lutheran anonymity, to be sure, such as Martin E. Marty of the University of Chicago and Jaroslav Pelikan of Yale, as well as, according to Benne, this scribe "in his earlier Lutheran incarnation." Of Neuhaus he writes, "Indeed, in the field of religion and public life it is difficult to name a more influential figure in American life." That’s going much too far, but it’s nice to know one has not been disowned by his Lutheran friends (not that I ever had occasion to worry about that). Then too, Benne notes that there is Chief Justice William Rehnquist and national political figures such as Ernest Hollings, Paul Simon, and Edwin Meese, but after that one really starts to reach.

Benne thinks Lutheran reticence has to do with justification by grace, from which follows an aversion to anything flashy in the good works department. And there are other factors: "Thus, Lutherans are not only receptive in terms of grace; they show a similar posture in the categories of time and space. They receive with gratitude the ‘places’ they have been given. In them they express a marked ‘dailiness’ that is often unrecognized by a world that celebrates the unusual and dramatic. It is in the ordinary times of work, play, love, and worship that the Christian life is lived. Add together these three elements—justification by grace, locatedness, and dailiness—and you do not have the formula for world-beaters in the public sphere. Glory and power are not Lutheran concepts; bearing the cross is a more likely one. Further, they do not worry overmuch about their election and signs of the same. They are less likely to think they are glorifying God in their callings than humbly helping their neighbor. They shun the schemes of works righteousness so heavy in some forms of Protestantism. They don’t even make the ‘decisions for Christ’ that some of our more Pelagian brothers and sisters are wont to make. Indeed, the Lutheran tradition may tend to make them footsoldiers of the Lord rather than his generals or colonels. Certainly, they may have a few of those elite and perhaps a few more sergeants and lieutenants. But their piety is more fit for humbler things. They take seriously the paradoxical nature of life on earth." In any event, Benne is not going to let the low visibility of Lutherans keep him awake at night. "The most helpful engagement with the public world might be through faithful husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, workers and teachers, doctors and lawyers, volunteers, pastors, and laity. Without the healthy ‘small platoons’ that these Christians sustain, there won’t be any public life worthy of the name anyway."

A Position Not, or Not Yet, Mandated

Because of the Oklahoma City bombing and other events, there is a new debate (or a renewed old debate) about the wisdom and morality of capital punishment. Of particular interest are exchanges between such as John DiIulio (against) and Walter Berns (for) in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. One of the major protagonists in the debate writes to ask, "What is the official position of the Catholic Church on capital punishment?" This is what I wrote him in response, and perhaps it will be of wider interest:

"Ah yes, the ‘official’ position on the death penalty. The position of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops is resolutely opposed to its use, full stop. But theirs is not the official position in the sense of binding doctrine. The present state of doctrine is suggested in Evangelium Vitae, the teaching of which has been incorporated also into the Latin text of the Catechism.

"The right of the state in justice to execute criminals is not denied. EV suggests that the only legitimate reason to do that is if there is no other way to protect society. In this connection, the encyclical makes no reference to retributive justice, which has been an important part of the Catholic tradition’s teaching on the death penalty and on punishment more generally. EV does not explicitly deny the claims of retributive justice, but their absence from the argument is undoubtedly significant.

"In addition, the Holy Father is unmistakably clear in stating his judgment that, at least in advanced societies, circumstances very seldom, if ever, justify the use of capital punishment. The proponents of capital punishment can and do make the argument that this is merely the Pope’s prudential judgment regarding contingent circumstances, and therefore not normative teaching. They can and do contend that the death penalty is necessary to protect society. Before EV their position was in the mainstream of magisterial Catholic doctrine, and it is certainly a position that is still permissible and within the bounds of the Church’s teaching.

"What we may be witnessing here is what Cardinal Newman called the development of doctrine. The critical question, I believe, is retributive justice, and the policies that that entails. I do not expect that question to be definitively addressed during this pontificate, but I may be wrong about that.

"So where does all this leave us? A conscientious Catholic who supports the use of the death penalty in anything but the most extraordinary circumstances must give due consideration to the fact that the bishops conference, and most likely his own bishop, strongly disagree. He must give most particular consideration to the fact that the Pope disagrees, and may be declaring as doctrine that ‘extraordinary circumstances’ is defined as circumstances in which there is no other way to protect society. Moreover, such a Catholic must be prepared for the possibility that the Church is moving toward a definitive moral prohibition of capital punishment, in which case wholehearted assent to such teaching is required.

"Can a Catholic with rightly formed conscience support the use of the death penalty? Yes, but reluctantly and in narrowly limited cases. Can a Catholic with rightly formed conscience support the prohibition of the death penalty? Most certainly yes—as a matter of policy and prudential judgment informed by the Church’s teaching but not, or not yet, mandated by the Church’s teaching.

"That at least is my understanding of the state of the question. I hope this is helpful and am following with interest the renewed debate on these matters."

Apologies on the Cheap

Paul Johnson (whose big history of the American people, just published, will be receiving attention in these pages) has had enough. Paul Johnson specializes in having had enough of a lot of things. And most of the time he is right. He is right, for instance, about this growing fashion of apologizing for what people did in the past. I gather that President Clinton has dropped the idea of an official apology for American slavery, and a good thing, too. People who did bad things should apologize, and sometimes they do. "By contrast," writes Johnson, "the modern fashion has not one iota of genuine sincerity in it." "These are bogus apologies by people who had nothing to do with the events deplored and lose nothing by saying they were wrong. They are an attempt to gain moral kudos at the expense of the long dead."

Nor does Johnson approve of some of the moral judgments being made. "The Spanish Church is said to be pondering an apology for supporting Franco during the civil war. As Paul Claudel pointed out in a famous poem, the Spanish Reds, under Stalin’s orders, murdered and tortured to death twelve thousand priests, monks, and nuns, as well as burning down hundreds of churches, long before Franco came on the scene. It was his arrival which prevented the church’s total destruction. It was not only right, it was imperative that it support him, quite apart from the fact that he kept Spain out of the war, gave it forty years of peace and a middle class, and laid the foundations of its present prosperity."

If, on the other hand, judgments are to be made, Johnson has some nominations of his own. For instance, he fondly hopes the French will get around to apologizing for Napoleon, who was responsible for the deaths of two to four million people, "which, granted the smaller population of those days, puts him right in the Hitler-Stalin-Mao league as a mass killer." But, in general, Johnson is against the surrogate confession business altogether. "There is something repellent, as well as profoundly unhistorical, about judging the past by the standards or prejudices of another age. Let the dead bury the dead. Or at least let us not dig them up."

One hates to dash cold water on Mr. Johnson’s fine polemic, but he goes a blast too far when he says John Paul II is implicated in the trend he deplores. "It is a pity," he writes, "that the Pope, whom in most respects I revere, is taking part in this charade." He mentions the Pope’s apologies on anti-Semitism and the Galileo unpleasantness, and is worried about a rumor that an apology for the St. Bartholomew Day massacre is under consideration. "Why can’t he leave this to the Guises and the Valois, if their descendants are still around?" asks Johnson. "It is none of his business." Then, succeeding in his effort to be outrageous, he adds, "Anyway, there are some of us who believe that massacres of Protestants are not necessarily, or always, a Bad Thing."

But sins committed by Christians is very much the business of the Pope. It is the business of all Christians. As Mary Ann Glendon has pointed out in these pages (see "Contrition in the Age of Spin Control," FT, November 1997), there is a real danger that others will unfairly exploit the confession of Christian sins. And Jean Duchesne (see "Letter from Paris," FT, February 1998) has noted that Catholic bishops in France confess the sins of Catholics during the Vichy era to God, not to those who demand that the Church apologize, although the confession is made in their hearing. Johnson’s problem is in confusing the Church with secular institutions such as the nation-state. In Tertio Millennio Adveniente and elsewhere, John Paul II is saying that the Church must cross the threshold of the millennium on her knees if she is to walk upright in the next century. Christianity is a corporate thing. In the Church, the dead are not dead; in Christ we live in communion with all who are in Christ—past, present, and future. We are implicated in the weakness of the sinners as, happily, we are implicated in the holiness of the saints.

St. Paul writes, "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it" (1 Corinthians 12:26-27). The Christian cannot say "I" without saying "we." One of the most compelling prayers of the Mass is spoken by the priest immediately before the Sign of Peace: "Look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church." While the Church eschatologically understood as the Bride of Christ is sinless, it is composed of sinners. We confess the sins of the sinners, beginning with our own, as we invoke the virtues of the saints, knowing that we are all, by God’s grace, sinners forgiven. The grace of forgiveness is the nub of the difference between what the Pope is saying and what is being said by those who "attempt to gain moral kudos at the expense of the long dead."

In both instances there is an assumption that we today view some things as wrong that were not viewed in the same way by those who went before us. Any temptation to think that this makes us morally superior people should be checked by the awareness that they clearly understood to be wrong much that is today approved or viewed with indifference. On one side of the ledger are items such as racial segregation and anti-Semitism; on the other are items such as abortion, divorce, homosexuality, and irreligion. But the fact that there are both advances and regressions in moral understanding is not the main problem with Paul Johnson’s essay.

What Mr. Johnson is rightly protesting is the sacralization of politics, a subject on which he has written intelligently in the past. The state or nation commits the fallacy of misplaced ecclesiology, pretending to be a corporate person comparable to the Church. Unlike the Church, presidents and other public figures have neither the competence to judge nor to absolve. Unlike the statements of the Pope, their confession of the sins of others is a "charade" thinly disguising an assertion of moral superiority. A nation and state can deal with crime and clemency. Sin and forgiveness are the business of the Church. It is a distinction that ought not to be lost on someone ordinarily as astute as Paul Johnson.

I don’t think I’ve ever run an entire piece from another publication, but this is no ordinary piece. The following editorial in the January 26 issue of National Review, reprinted with permission, bids fair to become a classic in the literature of a dispute that, more than any other, will determine the fortunes of the American experiment. See if you don’t agree.

Dead Reckoning

A quarter century has passed since the Supreme Court struck down the laws of every state in the nation, in the name of a constitutional right to abortion it had just discovered. In Roe v. Wade, the Court prohibited any regulation of abortion in the first trimester, allowed only regulations pertaining to the health of the mother in the second, and mandated that any regulation in the third make an exception for maternal health. In the companion case of Doe v. Bolton, the Court insisted on the broadest definition of health—economic, familial, emotional. Legal scholar Mary Ann Glendon describes the result as the most radical pro-abortion policy in the democratic world. It permits abortion at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason or for no reason. It has licensed the killing of some thirty-five million members of the human family so far.

The abortion regime was born in lies. In Britain (and in California, pre-Roe), the abortion lobby deceptively promoted legal revisions to allow "therapeutic" abortions and then defined every abortion as "therapeutic." The abortion lobby lied about Jane Roe, claiming her pregnancy resulted from a gang rape. It lied about the number of back-alley abortions. Justice Blackmun relied on fictitious history to argue, in Roe, that abortion had never been a common law crime.

The abortion regime is also sustained by lies. Its supporters constantly lie about the radicalism of Roe: even now, most Americans who "agree with Roe v. Wade" in polls think that it left third-term abortions illegal and restricted second-term abortions. They have lied about the frequency and "medical necessity" of partial-birth abortion. Then there are the euphemisms: "terminating a pregnancy," abortion "providers," "products of conception." "The fetus is only a potential human being"—as if it might as easily become an elk. "It should be between a woman and her doctor"—the latter an abortionist who has never met the woman before and who has a financial interest in her decision. This movement cannot speak the truth.

Roe’s supporters said at the time that the widespread availability of abortion would lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies, hence less child abuse; it has not. They said that fewer women would die from back-alley abortions; the post-1940s decline in the number of women who died from abortions, the result of antibiotics, actually slowed after Roe—probably because the total number of abortions rose. They said it would reduce illegitimacy and child poverty, predictions that now seem like grim jokes.

Pro-lifers were, alas, more prescient. They claimed the West had started down the slippery slope of a progressive devaluation of human life. After the unborn would come the elderly and the infirm—more burdens to others; more obstacles to others’ goals; probably better off dead, like "unwanted children." And so now we are debating whether to allow euthanasia, whether to create embryos for experimental purposes, whether to permit the killing of infants about to leave the womb.

And what greater claim on our protection, after all, does that infant have a moment after birth? He still lacks the attributes of "personhood"—rationality, autonomy, rich interactions—that pro-abortion philosophers consider the preconditions of a right to life. The argument boils down to this assertion: If we want to eliminate you and you cannot stop us, we are justified in doing it. Might makes right. Among intellectuals, infanticide is in the first phase of a movement from the unthinkable to the arguable to the debatable to the acceptable.

Everything abortion touches, it corrupts. It has corrupted family life. In the war between the sexes, abortion tilts the playing field toward predatory males, giving them another excuse for abandoning their offspring: She chose to carry the child; let her pay for her choice. Our law now says, in effect, that fatherhood has no meaning, and we are shocked that some men have learned that lesson too well. It has corrupted the Supreme Court, which has protected the abortion license even while tacitly admitting its lack of constitutional grounding. If the courts can invent such a right, unmoored in the text, tradition, or logic of the Constitution, then they can do almost anything; and so they have done. The law on everything from free speech to biotechnology has been distorted to accommodate abortionism. And abortion has deeply corrupted the practice of medicine, transforming healers into killers.

Most of all, perhaps, it has corrupted liberalism. For all its flaws, liberalism could until the early seventies claim a proud history of standing up for the powerless and downtrodden, of expanding the definition of the community for whom we pledge protection, of resisting the idea that might makes right. The Democratic Party has casually abandoned that legacy. Liberals’ commitment to civil rights, it turns out, ends when the constituency in question can offer neither votes nor revenues.

Abortion-on-demand has, however, also called into being in America a pro-life movement comprising millions of ordinary citizens. Their largely unsung efforts to help pregnant women in distress have prevented countless abortions. And their political witness has helped maintain a pro-life ethic that has stopped millions more. The conversions of conscience have almost all been to the pro-life side—Bernard Nathanson, Nat Hentoff, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese. The conversions of convenience have mostly gone the other way, mainly, politicians who wanted to get ahead in the Democratic Party—Jesse Jackson, Dick Gephardt. The fight against abortion has resulted in unprecedented dialogue and cooperation between Catholics and Protestants, first on moral values and now on theological ones. It has helped transform the Republican Party from a preserve of elite WASPs into a populist and conservative party.

True, few politicians of either party—with honorable exceptions like Henry Hyde, Chris Smith, Jesse Helms, Bob Casey, Charles Canady, and Rick Santorum—have provided leadership in the struggle. Not because opposition to abortion is unpopular—throughout the Roe era, 70 percent of the public has supported laws that would prohibit 90 percent of abortions—but because politicians, and even more the consultants and journalists and big-money donors to whom they listen, tend to move in elite circles where accepting abortion is de rigueur and pro-life advocacy at best an offense against good taste. Since everyone they know favors legal abortion, they understandably conclude that everyone does. But there is progress even here. The pro-abortion intellectual front is crumbling. Supporters of the license increasingly concede that what they support is, indeed, the taking of human life. Pro-lifers, their convictions rooted in firmer soil, have not had to make reciprocal concessions.

There can be little doubt that, left to the normal workings of democracy, abortion laws would generally be protective of infants in the womb. The main obstacle on our path to a society where every child is welcomed in life and protected in law, then, remains what it has always been: the Supreme Court. There abortionism is well entrenched; and last year the Court appeared to slam the door on the legal possibility of a congressional override of its decisions on abortion or anything else. By defining a practice at odds with our deep and settled moral convictions as part of the fundamental law of the land, the Supreme Court has created a slow-motion constitutional crisis. This is what comes of courting death.

While We’re At It

"Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Generic: To get to the other side.

Plato: For the greater good.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Tomás de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.

Timothy Leary: Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Oliver North: National Security was at stake.

Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Ludwig Wittgenstein: The possibility of "crossing" was encoded into the objects "chicken" and "road," and circumstances came into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle: To actualize its potential.

Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Salvador Dali: The Fish.

Darwin: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Emily Dickinson: Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus: For fun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.

Johann Friedrich von Goethe: The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

Werner Heisenberg: We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

David Hume: Out of custom and habit.

Saddam Hussein: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping fifty tons of nerve gas on it.

Jack Nicholson: ’Cause it @#%&* wanted to. That’s the @#%&* reason.

Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?

The Sphinx: You tell me.

Sappho: Due to the loveliness of the hen on the other side, more fair than all of Hellas’ fine armies.

Henry David Thoreau: To live deliberately . . . and suck all the marrow out of life.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of phlegm in its pancreas.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to cross the road boldly, but also with fear, for who among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

McKinsey Consultant: Deregulation of the chicken’s side of the road was threatening its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant challenges to create and develop the competencies required for the newly competitive market. McKinsey, in a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM), McKinsey helped the chicken use its skills, methodologies, knowledge, capital, and experiences to align the chicken’s people, processes, and technology in support of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework. McKinsey convened a diverse cross-spectrum of road analysts and best chickens along with McKinsey consultants with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a two-day itinerary of meetings in order to leverage their personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable them to synergize with each other in order to achieve the implicit goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry cross-median processes. The meeting was held in a park-like setting, enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear, and unified market message and aligned with the chicken’s mission, vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation of a total business integration solution. McKinsey helped the chicken change to become more successful.