To many of the defenders of slavery, the practice was an appropriate, paternal response to a race incapable of governing itself, a race that needed instruction and guidance to take its place among the peoples of the world. Robert E. Lee’s view that slaves were “immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially” was common. In fact, Lee held that slavery was a transitional phase. “The painful discipline [slaves] are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race, and will prepare them, I hope, for better things,” he wrote in 1856. In other words, even the most “benign” of slave owners (Lee also called slavery a “moral and political evil” and thought it would die a natural, God-ordained death) believed in fundamental differences between black and white.

Abortion-rights advocates believe something even more radical and profound — something worse than racist — that unborn children aren’t really people at all. They’re merely “potential” people or “clumps of cells” not much more distinct than a tumor or an ingrown toenail. In other words, while the Constitution declared slaves to be only three-fifths of a person, the sexual revolutionaries have persuaded the Supreme Court that an unborn child is no person at all. This view is held despite undeniable scientific evidence — from a knowledge base of the human person far superior to the knowledge base available in the 19th century — that an unborn child is distinctly human from the moment of conception, possessing his or her own unique DNA, and that while the baby is dependent on the mother, he or she is not part of the mother.

The Left responded to Carson with predictable outrage, with Slate proclaiming that Carson “likens women seeking abortion to slave owners,” and outlets from Think Progress to Gawker to the Huffington Post reporting the statement as if its mere utterance were beyond the pale – as if there were no actual thought, no actual argument supporting his reasoning. (Gawker, for example, just called Carson’s statement “word garbage.”)