Sandra Fluke, Obama Voters, and the Pink Police State

Someday we’re going to look back and realize that Sandra Fluke being praised for arguing that her right to free contraceptives trumped religious freedom was a defining moment in our history. When that day come my friend James Poulos will be hailed as a prophet of the pre-Flukian era. His vision of the emerging Pink Police State not only predicted the rise of the Flukes but helps explain some of the voting patterns we saw in last night’s election. Here is how James explains the concept:

The Pink Police State is a more extreme version of a regime I use to taunt my libertarian friends in my essay on ‘The Sex Vote‘ that’s just been published in Doublethink. I worry, and I think we should all worry, about the way cultural libertarianism is snowballing while the snowball of political libertarianism rolls deeper into hell. I’m aghast at the shrug with which many self-styled libertarians greet massive government, so long as it’s run by people with ‘enlightened’ attitudes about pleasure-seeking. It’s not death to the state these libertarians want, it’s the state as cool parent, with a stripper pole in every pot. I’ve actually had one good libertarian friend argue straight-faced that the solution to the drug problem is a monopoly partnership between Washington and Walmart. Well, with solutions like that, who needs problems? And of course you get that kind of institutionalized approach from fans of legal prostitution. It’s almost as if libertarians are willing to let the state regulate everything so long as everything’s decriminalized.

On top of this, we all know how intimately sex — or at least images of sex and talk about sex, alas — has become a part of everyday life. What gives me fear is the idea, which large numbers of people seem to be buying into, that a growing sphere of libertinistic freedoms compensates (or more than compensates!) for our shrinking spheres of political liberty and the practice of citizenship. You can guess what I think about ‘liberaltarianism’.

That’s the background brief on the Pink Police State, a vision which came to me courtesy of one of the most visionary videos of the 1990s. I’m talking about Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show,” off 1998′s Mechanical Animals. I know it’s a bit odd for a conservative cultural critic to praise Manson as a brilliant genius, but before the Columbine aftermath unfairly derailed his career and life Manson was firing on all cylinders, and Dope Shows‘ incredible ‘live performance’ sequence [2:15-3:00], in which an all-male body of riot police wearing head-to-toe pink uniforms are inspired to make out, was deeply prophetic, in an as-yet symbolic way, about the manner in which our manufactured contradictions and desires are apt to show forth in contemporary life.

  • Douglas Johnson

    Fantastic post (really fantastic).

    It reminds me of a date I had some years ago with a beautiful Romanian woman. It became clear by our second and last date that this woman wanted sex and lots of it with no expectations of commitment on my part. Before I figured this out, I was fascinated to talk with a person who actually grew up under Ceausescu. I was riddling her with questions to what it was like and eventually the conversation went this way:

    HER: You know, it really wasn’t that bad. Americans think we had no freedom but we actually had a lot more freedoms than you have here.

    ME: What are you talking about?!

    HER: There are many things you could do in Romania that you could never do here.

    ME: Like what?

    HER: We could do anything we want. I could go to a public lake and take all my clothes off and lie out in the sun. If I did that here I’d be arrested.

    ME: But you couldn’t protest the government or write something critical of it.

    HER: No, but I never wanted to do that. I’d rather have the freedom to take my clothes off at the beach.

    ME: That’s not freedom. It’s permission.

    HER: So you have permission to protest and I have the permission to take my clothes off at the beach. It’s not that different and I’d rather take my clothes off than protest so my life was happier.

    ME: At the core of our freedom is the understanding where our freedoms come from. I’m not free because the government gave me permission to do something. I’m free because God gave me my freedoms, and the government can’t take away what God gave me.

    HER: No one in Romania believes in God, so we aren’t going to care about that.

    ME: A priest in my church spent three years in a prison cell because he believed in God.

    HER: Well if he did not believe in God he would have been free. The freedom you talk about is useless to me if I don’t believe in God, but at least my freedom makes me happy.

    That’s pretty close to word-for-word.

  • Russ Rogers

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable for a woman to expect that the medicines she is prescribed by her doctor will be covered by the health insurance that SHE PAYS FOR! That’s not asking for a freebie. That’s an expectation of fairness. That’s just common sense. A woman’s school or job has no business interfering with a woman’s most personal and private healthcare choices. If Georgetown doesn’t insist that their students BE Catholic (if students are not required to attend mass, confessions or even study the Bible), then they can’t claim they are a “Religious Institution.” And then they can’t interfere with the STANDARD BASICS of health insurance and claim that it’s for “Religious Reasons.” We would not allow a school or job that ONLY believed in FAITH HEALING to not cover any health costs except FAITH HEALERS. If a school or employer wants the Benefits of offering Health Insurance, then that Insurance MUST meet minimum standards! Nobody should not have those MINIMUM standards limited on the whims of their school or boss. My vaccinations are FULLY COVERED by health insurance. I would not want that coverage reduced, even if my boss had a religious conviction that vaccination is against “God’s Will.”

    Please look for political insight in places deeper than Marilyn Manson videos. Try Scooby Doo! “Mitt Romney’s plans would have worked too, if it weren’t for those meddling progressive women!”

    • Frank

      Birth control is not medicine. It does not treat any disease or ailment. It simple allows people to have sex with any of those burdensome consequences.

      • Russ Rogers

        Frank, you are wrong. There are many medical conditions that are maintained with hormonal contraception, including endometriosis, ovarian cysts and crippling menstrual cramps. Those are AILMENTS that hormonal contraception is frequently prescribed to moderate.

        Beyond that, contraception is a PREVENTIVE medicine. Because those “burdensome consequences” are UNPLANNED PREGNANCIES! And unplanned pregnancies ARE a medical condition. Insurance companies will pay LESS to cover contraception than they expenses of the unplanned pregnancies and births that they will avoid.

        Look, it’s CHEAPER for health insurance to FUND polio vaccinations than to PAY for the results of NOT vaccinating a large percentage of the population. Vaccine is a PREVENTIVE medical strategy.

        It’s CHEAPER for health insurance to FULLY FUND annual check-ups and catch disease and conditions early, than to charge a copay and give their clients a financial incentive to avoid those check-ups. It’s a PREVENTIVE medical strategy.

        The REASON contraception is FULLY COVERED, is because that is a medical strategy that is designed to SAVE HEALTHCARE DOLLARS. It’s fiscally conservative. And that is designed to SLOW the growth or healthcare costs and prices! Yeah Obamacare! Yeah for FISCAL CONSERVATION!

        It’s a sideline benefit that this policy should also DRAMATICALLY lower the tragedy of women feeling that they need to seek abortion services! It will do MORE to reduce the number of abortions in the USA than any PRO-LIFE initiative we have ever seen! And it will do that WITHOUT limit women’s freedoms, autonomy or their RIGHT to CHOICE! Yeah, Obamacare!

        • Frank

          Not wrong! there is a very, very small percentage of cases where birth control is prescribed to treat a condition. The supermajority of birth control is not used as medicine.

          • John Evans

            Frank, it is dishonest to make a universal statement – “Birth control does not treat any disease or ailment.” and then shift the goalposts when someone points out counter-evidence.

            Own what you say.

            • Kamilla

              It doesn’t treat, in the sense of cure, it only masks symptoms. In the meantime, the underlying disease continues

  • Christine

    Enough, already, with the bellyaching about the threat to “religious freedom”.
    Religious conservatives have tried relentlessly to twist the true meaning of religious freedom, and for those of us who know better, it’s just never gonna fly.
    Simply put, religious freedom gives every American the right to worship the deity of his or her choice – - be it God, Allah, Wicca or Justin Bieber — without fear of persecution. Religious freedom does not, repeat, NOT, give any religious institution the power to shove their imterpretations of biblical scripture down the throats of others.
    As long as religious extremists insist on not only attempting to restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion, but also denying women access to affordable contraception, there will continue to be a whole lot of angry white men inhabiting this orb.

    • Kamilla

      Uhm, Christine, try reading the US Constitution. It guarantees the free exercise of religion, not merely the truncated “freedom of worship” which the current regime has tried to peddle. Take, for instance, the decision in Hosanna Tabor. The administration’s definition, found in an amicus brief, received a 9-0 slap down.

      In other words, not even the two women Obama has appointed to the Supreme Court agree with him. Or you.

  • Marty1234

    Not only am I behind Sandra I’m mailing her a box of tampons…..

  • mari

    Why, you demand people of good conscience pay for abortificants? These are not life saving medications, they are life killing medications. Women have unfettered acsesss to.birth control, and there are two million abortions in this country. But hey, forcing Catholic preists to give Sandra birth control pills will change all that. And your narrow definition of religous liberty will mean the closing/government take over of all Catholic Services. But you guys are winning this war, so you will get what want. And everyone will suffer for it. Including my wonderful pro-life ob-gyn, who will now be forced out of business because she wants to practice medicine according to her faith.

  • mari

    @Christine I am not an angry white male. But you Sound like an angry woman. I do not want my Church to pay for your abortificants! Period. But you guys are winning this war. I am sure you will be happy to see the complete absence of Catholicd from public life. No Catholic schools,.no catholic charities, no catholic relief Services, no catholic universities. I am sure the government will be happy to take ovet this part of public life too. And hey, if they can’t so what. Your right to have Catholic priests pay for your abortificants must be unfettered! That is more important than all of these piddling things the church does.

  • Christine

    Actually, Mari, I am quite pleased. Especially now that common sense has prevailed over fearmongering and misinformation.
    There’s no reasoning with individuals, such as yourself, so not even gonna try.

  • Christine

    Oh, and…I might be the only one of this opinion, but the Catholic Church has FAR more pressing concerns to focus on than its women having access to contraception.
    Know what I mean…?

  • Truth

    Why are fundamentalists so obsessed with Sandra Fluke? Why do they insist on… not telling the truth about what she told Congress? I’m very glad that this backfired monumentally, but you still haven’t learned your lesson.

    Perhaps several more election defeats will teach you that vilifying young college students is not a political winner.

  • Christine

    Kamilla, You’re more than welcome to abstain from using contraception. Just stop trying to force your way of thinking on others. I’m sure that tens of thousands of Catholic women, nationwide, are secretly applauding Obama’s mandate.

    • Kamilla


      So, it’s not OK for me to “force” my way of thinking on others but it’s OK for you and the pink police state to force me to subsidize your way of thinking and lifestyle choices?

      I see.

  • Christine

    Hmmm…I’m perplexed at why you would think that the ‘religious freedom’ ruling, concerning HT has any connection whatsoever to a woman’s freedom to control her reproductive destiny.
    I also think that it’s high time religious institutions, including the Catholic Church, start forking over a few taxes.

  • Christine

    Should anyone here require further clarification, here’s an excellent link:

  • Christine

    Kamilla, apparently you and your ilk are hell-bent on forcing your way of thinking on the rest of us as well.
    The reality is that only one school of thought will prevail.
    Perhaps if you were to focus on the needs of actual children, and get over your obsession with fertilized eggs and embryos, you just might acquire a little perspective.

    • Kamilla

      Not at all, Christine. Let me give it one last shot.

      First, the Hosanna Tabor ruling is relevant because SCOTUS in a UNANIMOUS decision told the administration that their construction of the free exercise clause was too narrow.

      Second, no one of my “ilk” is trying to force our way of thinking on anyone. Least of all someone so brilliant that they speak in terms of “reproductive destiny”. We simply ask that the crowd who wants us to keep our rosaries off their ovaries return the favour and keep your ovaries out of our wallets.

      Last, the only difference between fertilised eggs, embryos, “actual children” and YOU is age.

  • Christine

    “Keep our ovaries out of your wallets”, eh…?
    (Shaking my head)
    Clearly the Catholic Church is going to have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, or else will continue to become irrelevant.
    I’m outta here.