Smart people saying smart things (7.9)

Lord Harries of Pentregarth, Speech before the House of Lords, June 2013

For most of history, among the upper classes, marriage was primarily a way of controlling titles and wealth. Among all classes, it involved the radical subservience of women. Often it went along with a very lax attitude—by males, not females—to relationships outside marriage. Contraception was forbidden and this resulted in many children, and as often as not the wife dying young. Only in the 18th century did we get a growth in emphasis on the quality of the relationship of the couple. Now, this mutual society, help and comfort that the one ought to have with the other, in prosperity and adversity, is rightly stressed. This is equally valued by all people, whatever their sexuality.

Brittney Cooper: “The N-word on the Fourth of July”

I pressed forward, in a low voice: “I just want to let you know that your words were hurtful. And I hope you don’t pass that kind of ignorance down to your beautiful boys.” She replied curtly, “I don’t.”

And then we rode the rest of the way south together, her being a mother hen to her boys, me praying that the seeds of hate she’s planting would not fall on fertile soil.

Bryan Curtis: “He Is Not a Prospect”

Cervenak’s condition is more interesting. Like a lot of us in our mid-30s, he has found his career has landed somewhere between optimal happiness and utter futility. These days, Cervenak is more valuable for his reliability than his potential. He would be a tough guy to lose but not a particularly hard guy to replace. He is organizational depth. He is not a prospect.

Ida B. Wells, from Crusade for Justice

Again the question was asked where were all the legal and civil authorities of the country, to say nothing of the Christian churches, that they permitted such things to be? I could only say that despite the axiom that there is a remedy for every wrong, everybody in authority from the President of the United States down, had declared their inability to do anything; and that the Christian bodies and moral associations do not touch the question. It is the easiest way to get along in the South (and those portions in the North where lynchings take place) to ignore the question altogether; our American Christians are too busy saving the souls of white Christians from burning in hell-fire to save the lives of black ones from present burning in fires kindled by white Christians. The feelings of the people who commit these acts must not be hurt by protesting against this sort of thing, and so the bodies of the victims of mob hate must be sacrificed, and the country disgraced because of that fear to speak out.

Rep. Doug Cox: “The GOP and abortion legislation”

I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception. A recent attempt by my fellow lawmakers to prevent Medicaid dollars from covering the “morning after” pill is a case in point. Denying access to this important contraceptive is a sure way to increase legal and back-alley abortions. Moreover, such a law would discriminate against low-income women who depend on Medicaid for their health care.

But wait, some lawmakers want to go even further and limit everyone’s access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception.

What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay? What happened to the Republican Party that felt government should not overregulate people until (as we say in Oklahoma) “you have walked a mile in their moccasins”?

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Smart people saying smart things (4.26)
Smart people saying smart things (1.10)
Smart people saying smart things (1.21)
Smart people saying smart things (2.12)
  • http://jesustheram.blogspot.com/ Mr. Heartland

    “What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where
    conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should
    have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President
    Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room
    deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay?”

    Reactionism against the erosion of traditional social hierarchies, hierarchies which like it or not the GOP of Reagan and Goldwater was conceived for the very purpose of enforcing. Now that their long Thermidor against the civil rights era is falling apart and the psychic-social effects of that era are more clearly starting to “Win” we are seeing a more panicked absolutism in response. Dogma-for-dogmas sake as a means of asserting paternal authority over society and a spiteful lust to make ‘deviants’ suffer. I can only guess that particular attempts to control women and sexuality are the most intense moves in that direction because relative sexual liberation is the most primal example of their loss of power.

  • Carstonio

    Exactly. The GOP of Goldwater’s day was dedicated to preserving economic privilege, and it was no stretch to pander to voters who sought to preserve social privilege.

  • themunck

    Rock on, Lord Harris. That speech resonated with me.

    Cooper: This marks the first time I’ve ever seen someone actually being referred to as a nigger, outside of fiction. And here I thought we’d at least managed to move beyond -that- part of racism. I mean, I’ve seen racism, but it’s usually hidden behind dog whistles, or “well, I have nothing against asians themselves, I just think their culture is fucked up”. This? This is just blatant, old school racism. And I really thought we’d stopped that in the western world when we all agreed that MLK had the right of it :/.
    I also feel Cooper had a point regarding holidays.

  • AnonaMiss

    Where are you from, Munck?

  • themunck

    Denmark, as you can see if you click my name :P I’ve made a point of posting my demographic details there, so people who read my comments can see the (lack of) context there and dismiss them accordingly.

  • Lori

    I don’t think your comment should be dismissed, but this is definitely a case where location matters. If you lived in the US and had never heard someone called the N-word IRL I’d be really surprised.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    In most of the times I heard the “N word” in my life, it was spoken by black people.

  • Lori

    That might be true of me as well. I’ve worked with AAs who say it and most of the racists I’ve known conform to social norms well enough not to say it straight out in mixed company. Still, I’ve definitely heard white people say it. Some of the incidents were fairly recent, so it’s not as if it’s a thing of the past either.

  • Alix

    FWIW, I’ve only ever heard people (black, white, a few Korean kids and one Latino) use the word when trying to make “edgy” jokes. Usually quickly followed with “but my black best friend’s fine with it!” and usually coming from … really, really clueless middle- or high-schoolers, who are positive things are post-racial now.

    Aside from TV/radio and the internet, I’ve never heard any adults actually use that word – the people ’round these parts prefer to be genteel in their racism and use coy dogwhistles. “Those people, you know” being the most popular, followed by “the folks who use public transportation”. The most direct I ever hear – and that only if you push people – is “the blacks.”

  • Lori

    The vast majority of racists I know do the same thing. They blow the dog whistle, but they know better than to say the N-word, at least outside groups where they know everyone is like them.

    I’ve known a few people who will throw it out there though. For some of them saying it is an act of asshat defiance against the horrors of political correctness. Others would, just a few decades ago, have been wearing sheets, burning crosses on lawns and committing murder. They can’t keep that hidden and they have no interest in trying.

  • caryjamesbond

    One of the weirdest and most uncomfortable moments of my life was on a flight. I’d sat down and was having the usual airplane chitchat with the guy next to me: you know “where you from, what do you do, we’re total strangers sitting six inches from each other for four hours so what’s your deal” sort of thing.”

    The guy asks me where I’m from I say “oh, right outside Asheville, North Carolina.”

    He goes “Oh, great place, but the only problem is, there’s too many goddamned N*****s there.”

    I’m sorry to say if it was one of those “what would you do” tv shows I’d failed because…well, sitting next to this guy for four hours. I’d like to think in other circumstances I would’ve been as brave as Dr. Cooper, and I’ve always been ashamed that I wasn’t.

  • themunck

    Auch. *Hugs*

    I remember a similar experience earlier this year, where I was sitting opposite a guy who asked me where I was from. I said I was from the city of Aarhus, and he said “Nice place, that. Best thing about it? White Pride”*

    * White Pride, as the name implies, are a group of white supremacists who pose as a football fanclub. They’re responsible for a lot of hatecrimes.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    When I visited my family for a couple of weeks, the following words were uttered on the very first night:

    “One of these days you’re going to be so grateful that you can live in a neighborhood with only white people.”

    It went downhill from there.

    Personally, I’m quite happy in my neighborhood and its extremely diverse ethnicity groups. I’ve seen Russian, Spanish, Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian, Scottish, German, Danish, Indian, Lakota… probably more that I can’t recall off-hand or simply can’t recognize without being told.

    I like my neighborhood being a melting pot. I have grave doubts that I’m ever going to prefer a neighborhood where everyone has the same culture, especially if it’s a culture as steeped in hatred and resentful privilege as the one my parents enjoy.

  • themunck

    You have my deepest and most sincere sympathies. :/ I hope you don’t mind when I say that I sincerely hope I never meet your family.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    There’s a reason I live thousands of miles from them.

  • Lori

    I lived in a minority white neighborhood for years in LA*. I liked it much better than the white bread neighborhood I live in now. For one thing, the food was much better.

    *Whites were the largest single group, but the other groups put together made up way more than 50% of the population. IOW, I was living in the future—that’s what America as a whole is going to be like at some point.

  • SisterCoyote

    I still miss the town I went to high school in, which was minority white. It was also a factory-town, which meant that it was basically a working poor town, the very mention of which would make people start edging away from you in that affluent and white state.

    But the mostly-white, suburban, elderly town where my relatives are from, some hour or so south, just woke up to a bunch of leaflets from the KKK being distributed across their driveways, advertising themselves as a sort of neighborhood watch. Yeah, I know where I’d rather be living, thanks all the same.

  • The_L1985

    My parents have urged me never to buy property in a black neighborhood because “you’ll never be able to sell it.” I know that’s not the reason, because I’m not stupid. My father actually slipped while we were looking at a rather nice townhouse. Everything looked and felt like a typical upper-middle-class suburban neighborhood, except that everyone was black instead of white. Dad made some kind of remark about how “those people are different” and therefore I didn’t want to live there.

    Um, Dad? I can see “those people.” They’re literally standing right in front of us, acting perfectly NORMAL. Fuck off.

  • Lori

    If it makes you feel any better I suspect I would just have boggled at the guy, too shocked to come up with a coherent response. Obviously that conversation would have been over, but I doubt that I would have been able to come up with anything to say, let alone anything as brave and simple and direct as what Dr. Cooper said.

    Adds “figure out a good come back for shameless racists” to my To Do list.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    The first thing I thought of when I read this was “Blah people.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah. I kind of assume African Americans reserve N-word privileges for themselves and that anyone else of another color using it is either very brave, very stupid, or possibly has been accorded the privilege.

    I refuse to use it myself, for any reason, except when recounting historical phraseology or what someone else has said.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’ve never heard an african american use that word in real life. In the media, sure, and I don’t doubt some use it socially, but I’ve never happened to be around someone using it that way.

    I’ve heard the word a fair amount from rednecks, and slightly more often by hipsters who think it’s clever to use it “ironically”

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    In which part of the country do you live? I live in the Midwest in an area in which the minority residents are chiefly Blacks and Indian-Americans (with some, but not many, Hispanics).

  • themunck

    And yet, people still insist on calling America the “greatest country in the world” -.-.
    It boggles the mind, it really does.*
    —-
    * I want to use a period here, instead of a comma, but when I then read it, I add too long a pause between the two sentences. Which would be more correct? :/

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I think that a comma is okay, since “it really does” would be odd as a full sentence, despite having a subject (“it”) and a predicate (“does”). This is largely because it leaves you asking “does what”?

    Maybe a semicolon is what you are looking for:

    It boggles the mind; it really does.

  • themunck

    Uh, a semicolon :o. I do not think I’ve ever actually used those before, at least in normal sentences. Thank you.

  • Alix

    I love semicolons. If I could marry a punctuation mark, I’d marry a semicolon.

  • themunck

    I dunno, I do have an appreciation for question marks.

  • dpolicar

    Personally, I am polyamorous with respect to punctuation.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Cats and dogs! Our moral foundation crumbles!

  • dpolicar

    Mixing of Greek and Latin roots!

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’d do a question mark, but I’d be thinking about an interrobang.

  • Mark Z.

    I dated this Spanish girl once. Her question marks go both ways.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    What an odd punctuation mark. I can barely even tell what it’s supposed to be, rather than simply being a question mark that went wrong.

  • Alix

    There’s something just so shocking about interrobangs.

  • AnonaMiss

    I too have a passionate love for semicolons.

    I used to have a ring made out of an old typewriter key. It was overpriced for the quality and soon broke, but I needed it because it was the : ; key. I wore it on my right pinky.

    And that was before I became a programmer.

    I would share a picture of pony me with a semicolon cutie mark, but the place it’s already uploaded has my real name, and I’m too lazy to search for another image hosting site that isn’t blocked by workternets. Maybe after work.

  • The_L1985

    They’re not very common in any language. I like them, myself; I just forget to use them in favor of the long dash–which is mainly because my sentences are as ADHD as I am.

  • dpolicar

    It really is.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Wyoming has voted against marriage equality on no less than five separate occasions and have no LGBT protection laws. They are a right to work state, meaning an employer can fire an employee for little or no reason, including for being gay. If you’re gay, you are not protected by housing discrimination laws.

    Wyoming’s state motto is “Equal Rights.”

  • themunck

    *blinks twice* I can’t decide whether to scream with anger or cry at that.
    I think I might need a hug. Or a revolution.*

    * Preferably a non-violent one.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Conservative legislation nowadays appears to be based on a hybridization of the Old Testament, Atlas Shrugged and 1984.

  • themunck

    That would be the Scofield-Bible Old Testament, right?

  • Lori

    Wyoming is still coasting on being the first state (territory at the time) to give women the vote. I appreciate that. Really I do. That was almost hundred 150 years ago though and they’ve fallen behind since then. Time to step up or come up with another motto.

  • Lori

    Eh, AFAICT the US is far from unique in its racism. The difference is the way it’s expressed, not in the underlying problem. I’ve certainly heard people from other countries express racism as breath-taking as I’ve ever heard here. They say it differently and it’s often directed at different groups, but it’s virulent racism all the same.

  • themunck

    True, but I’m rarely hearing, say, Equador being described as the leaders of the free world, or the pinnacle of democracy.

  • Lori

    US over-sell is a real problem, to be sure, but we’re not alone in that either. I have been lectured quite a few times, but a number of different people about the superiority of the EU on this and other related issues. Yeah, not so much. There are things where the EU is absolutely out ahead of the US, in some cases by a painfully large margin, but I see no evidence that racism is one of them. People don’t like to own their racism.

  • The_L1985

    A semicolon or period would be technically correct, but most people use a comma for that particular combination. :)

  • christopher_y

    Interesting to note that Lord Harries is a retired Bishop in the Church of England and a Professor of Divinity.

  • aunursa

    What happened to the Republican Party that I joined?

    I suspect the same thing that happened to the Democratic Party that once welcomed members who supported legislation that prohibited or severely limited abortion.

  • Lori

    No, not the same thing.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Why do you think so?

  • Lori

    Why do I think it’s not the same thing? Mainly because the Democratic Party aunursa is describing is, per usual for him, an illusion.

    There are still plenty of people in the Democratic Party who support restrictions on abortion. I don’t think there are many left who favor an out-right ban, but the party is hardly a shining beacon of unequivocal support for treating women as full human beings.

    The fact that being pro-choice is a plank in the Dem platform is certainly not a direct result of the forces that have driven the GOP march to the extreme Right. I think it could be argued that it’s a reaction to the GOP move, but that’s not the same thing.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    See http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/07/09/smart-people-saying-smart-things-7-9/#comment-956680422

    I do think that the

    The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and
    a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a
    safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and
    all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

    plank is a result of polarization among the two major political parties, with anti-abortion Democrats being driven toward the Republican party and visa versa.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    For one thing, Cox is suggesting that these anti-choice/anti-contraception Republicans have come to these positions by abandoning the core conservative principles that attracted him to the party. Do you think the Democratic Party has similarly abandoned (perceived) core principles in continuing to support reproductive rights?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    To your question-I don’t think so- I’m guessing liberals see coercion as a means, not as an end.
    I see your point.

  • Carstonio

    Who’s doing the coercing? Are you suggesting that Democratic lawmakers who favor restrictions on abortion are getting nighttime visits by thugs? I would think that forcing women to carry pregnancies to term counts as coercion.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I would think that forcing women to carry pregnancies to term counts as coercion.

    Me, too.

    Are you suggesting that Democratic lawmakers who favor restrictions on abortion are getting nighttime visits by thugs?

    -WTF? Of course not.

    My thought process was that as liberals support coercion in so many cases (mainly in the cases of taxes, price controls, regulation, and inflation by means of government spending), it might be a violation of their principles to support “reproductive rights”, as Kubricks_Rube calls them. However, as I thought further, I found that coercion was not a principle of the Democratic party, but part of the means it supports to advance certain ends.

  • Carstonio

    While I can’t speak for Democrats, since I don’t belong to any party, I say you’re gravely mistaken in equating taxes and regulations with invasion of privacy and interference in bodily autonomy. One reason government exists is to counteract the injustices that occur with inequalities of social and economic power. Taxes exist so that societies can obtain things that individuals cannot obtain on their own. I see business regulations and reproductive rights as fulfilling the same principle – protecting the rights of individuals who are vulnerable in inequalities of power.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    One reason government exists is to counteract the injustices that occur with inequalities of social and economic power.

    -These are the “certain ends” I referred to above. I don’t consider inequality unjust at all.

  • Carstonio

    I wouldn’t broadly label all inequality as unjust, and I acknowledge that some inequalities are unavoidable. My point is about inequalities of power specifically, and about preventing abuses of power as much as possible. As an example, one reason I favor public financing of campaigns is because influence with officeholders shouldn’t depend on one’s level of wealth.

  • Alix

    I do think there comes a point, though, when any given inequality is extreme enough that it needs to be addressed.

    Take income inequality. Some inequality I don’t consider a bad thing – do more/better, earn a bit more. That’s fair enough; people ought to be rewarded for the quality and quantity of their work.

    But when income inequality becomes too extreme – especially when people end up unable to actually live off of what they make – something’s borked and needs addressing. And it almost always takes government – that is, the society as a whole, of which government is nothing more and nothing less than the operating arm – to address those kinds of issues.

  • themunck

    One of the main reasons (or at least, one of the reasons) such inequality occurs, is when people start earning more than they’ve worked for, as well*
    —-
    * Just to be clear, here I do not mean wages rising with inflation or anything like that. I’m instead referring to CEOs earning 100+ times as much as floor workers, despite working fewer hours, in a less demanding and essential job.

  • dpolicar

    To say that injustices occur with inequality is not to say that inequality is unjust, in the same sense that while there are demonstrably diseases that occur with malnutrition, malnutrition is not a disease.

  • AnonaMiss

    Inequality is not itself unjust, but inequality is a common symptom of injustice. It is the proverbial smoke to injustice’s fire. There are plenty of things that make smoke, or what looks like smoke, that aren’t fire; but when you’re a fire lookout, if you see smoke, you can’t think “Oh, well smoke isn’t inherently a problem.”

  • Alix

    Yes. That smoke might be a well-contained, properly monitored campfire. Or it might be a forest fire. You don’t know until you check – and if it’s the latter, shrugging and going “but campfires are good!” isn’t really the appropriate response.

  • themunck

    Random nitpick: The smoke from fires kill a lot more people than the fire itself :/

  • AnonaMiss

    And the inequality hurts people a lot more than the injustice itself! If you can’t get medical treatment, it hurts you just the same whether it’s because you couldn’t get a job because transphobia, or because you donated your life savings to Exodus International.

  • Jurgan

    http://www.democratsforlife.org/

    Five seconds on google.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    There are four anti-abortion Democrat House members and three anti-abortion Democrat Senators. I wouldn’t say the Democratic Party welcomes anti-abortionists.

  • Lori

    The number of people elected at the national level isn’t the whole story. There are plenty of Dem voters who support abortion restrictions who nevertheless vote Dem because other issues weigh more heavily in their choice. The same way there are some Republicans who aren’t actually part of the forced-birth coalition who still vote GOP because they care more about other things.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Agreed. I still consider aunursa’s point to be correct.

  • Lori

    This is only true if you define the cause of the GOP’s rightward shift in terms so vague as to be essentially meaningless. “To get votes and the money to run campaigns” is not a particularly meaningful statement to make about the behavior of a political party.

  • Charby

    Ha ha, did you know that the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, is pro-life? Did you know that he advocates for the overturning of Roe v. Wade and has voted for legislation restricting abortion on many separate occasions? This isn’t a secret, yet he somehow hasn’t been chased out of the Democratic Party and — as I mentioned earlier — remains the Majority Leader and has been regularly a part of the Democratic Party leadership for over a decade?

    If that’s the equivalent of Democrats chasing away and being intolerant of pro-lifers, I can’t imagine what they would do to someone whose beliefs that they actually like.

  • Baby_Raptor

    What happened was that the Republicans realized that the Evangelicals were a nice voting block.

    And then the Evangelicals took over the party.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Exactly. Conservative Catholics of the Santorum variety should also be included among “Evangelicals” as a voting block.

  • FearlessSon

    They all fall under the umbrella term “religious right”.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Goddam it, Lori passed 8000 comments here.

  • Lori

    You really need to step away from the comment counts. Obsessing about it is just weird and unhealthy.

  • Baby_Raptor

    That’s actually kind of impressive, Lori. How many of them are arguments with Aunursa? lol

  • Lori

    Not as many as you might suppose.

    And it’s not so much impressive as it is a reflexion of my ongoing employment issues. I’m glad that I won’t actually be winning a Prius and a trip to Rome because I’d just have to sell the car to pay the taxes.

  • themunck

    I would like to use this opportunity to rail over the threaded comments. Because at the moment, your post mentioning not actually winning the car is seen before Carstonio’s joke about winning a car -.-

  • Lori

    I join you in your hatred of the threaded comments. They are of the devil.

  • Carstonio

    Didn’t you know that once you reach 10,000 comments, you get a free Prius and a trip to Rome?

  • JustoneK

    holy shit I’m gonna start commenting inane things EVERYWHERE. and reddit photos! because bunnies.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Which is why I don’t obsess about it.

  • Lori

    Oh for Pete’s sake, are you really going to quibble about the definition of “obsess”? You’ve mentioned it here in various forms on multiple occasions when there’s no need to mention at all. Stop that.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Why? I don’t consider noticing numbers of comments and pointing them out weird or unhealthy.

  • Lori

    It is weird. It comes off like number of comments is a competition. It’s not. We’re not 12. At least most of us aren’t. If you want to look at it obviously that’s fine, but there’s no need to share.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    We. Don’t. CARE.

    If it matters to you, whatever, but keep it to yourself.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So? I probably have like 5000.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Over 6000, actually.

  • Mouse

    Uh, aunursa, how do you explain the Democratic party having a pro-life Mormon (Harry Reid) as leader?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You’re not understanding aunursa’s point.

  • Charby

    Could you explain it? If Democrats are intolerant of pro-lifers, why would they let someone like that in such a high position of authority and prestige for so long? When was the last time the Republicans had a pro-choice Majority Leader, Speaker, or party whip?

    Heck, we’re at the point where “abortion is OK in cases of rape, incest, or endangering the life of the mother” compromise which most people were OK with back in the day is being eroded by conservative pols who argue that rape cannot lead to pregnancy and that pregnancy does not endanger the life of mothers except in odd fringe cases.

  • Carstonio

    Cox makes the mistake of assuming that his colleagues are even interested in reducing abortions.

  • Ben English

    That’s one thing I can’t wrap my brain around. What the fuck are these so-called pro-lifers actually going for? Do they want to increase the number of births? The people who their antiabortion and anti-contraception measures affect the most are poor and minorities, demographics that strongly favor Democrats.That can’t be it.

  • dpolicar

    I suspect that the majority of individuals who identify as pro-life primarily want to signal their moral superiority and tribal affiliation, either to others or to themselves.

    That’s a pretty common motivation for a lot of people with respect to a lot of culture-clashes; it’s hardly limited to pro-lifers, nor to conservatives, nor really to any one group.

    More’s the pity.

  • Mark Z.

    I know all the progressives here will have trouble understanding this concept, so I’ll explain very carefully:

    People who oppose abortion oppose abortion. They don’t want to increase or decrease the number of births, they don’t care about the demographic consequences of women having children they don’t want, they don’t care about providing alternatives. They are not progressives; there is not a certain change in society that they want to see. They are not “actually going for” anything. They actually think abortion is wrong, in itself. It is a position about means, not ends; it cannot be reduced to a position about ends, so stop trying.

  • Ben English

    I know. I oppose abortion myself, on a very visceral level. I hope to God that I’m never in a situation where my partner must make such a choice. I’m also opposed to being a stingy asshole who cares only for himself. But I can have these positions without expecting that the weight of law should be behind them.

    If the goal is preventing abortion, then promoting sex education and the proper use of contraceptives is one way to do so. The fact that many of the same politicians who claim to oppose abortion also oppose things that would prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place is nonsense to me. A pregnancy prevented means that there’s no chance of a fetus being aborted,When the supposedly anti-abortion groups also try and undermine contraception availability, they are actually increasing the likelihood that abortions will be performed.

    And if legal abortion services are note available then you put both mother AND child at risk.

  • themunck

    tl;dr: I believe you may be wrong on that.

    That does still fail to address the issue that all evidence and experience so far points in one direction. Namely, that making abortion illegal, or legal but so hard to get it might as well be illegal, does not lower abortion rates. What it does do, is make people start getting illegal abortions, with far more risks to the woman involved.

    Also doesn’t address the fact that most pro-life legislators tend to vote against the things that has been shown to lower abortion rates, namely comprehensive sex-ed, access to contraception and an environment you can actually have and raise a child in.
    EDIT: Ninja’d by about 10 seconds.

  • Mark Z.

    That’s because they don’t care about abortion rates. They care about the act of opposing abortion by any possible means. That is, if you are ever given the choice (in any form) between abortion and not-abortion, you must choose not-abortion, or else you are contributing to the decline of our society and incurring God’s wrath. This applies whether you’re an individual pregnant woman, a doctor, a legislator, a judge, a voter, etc.

    In their view, contraception is irrelevant and kind of cowardly, a way of dodging the question. Here’s the defining moral issue of our time, and instead of “yes” or “no” you’re saying “let’s try to keep the situation from coming up”. It’s like Abe Lincoln deciding that he was just going to buy slaves out of the South one at a time.* Even if it would work, it fails to express the conviction that you’re opposing evil.

    * which was pretty close to Lincoln’s position; he was a moderate and tried very hard not to start any shit with the South, until they forced the issue. Historical literacy is not one of the Christian Right’s strong suits.

  • themunck

    And yet, when asked “do you want to stop abortions, by making women able to keep their jobs despite being pregnant?”, the response is a resounding “no”. You cannot claim to oppose abortion, then vote for measures that causes abortions.
    I understand the no-tolerance argument, but their actions have proven that they do not actually care about stopping abortions. They only care about seeming to.

  • P J Evans

    Actually, it’s been pretty well demonstrated that what they’re trying to do is punish women for having sex, especially if they’re not rich, white, or married.

    When they’re putting forward legislation that would ban all abortions, for any reason, including rape, incest, and maternal health, and restrict all use of contraceptives and Plan B (because setting ‘personhood’ as starting at fertilization would do that, too), they’re not doing it just because they’re against abortion. They hate women.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I consider Mark Z.’s explanation above and Ross’s explanation below more plausible than yours.

  • dpolicar

    I oppose people beating each other over the head with heavy sticks.

    I actually do; that’s not some kind of proxy metric for something else.

    To my mind, it follows naturally that I want there to be fewer head-beatings. That’s what I’m “actually going for.” And I want this precisely because I actually think people beating each other over the head is wrong, in itself.

    The idea that somehow “I think head-beating is wrong” and “I’m going for fewer head-beatings” are conflicting positions… yeah, I have trouble understanding that idea. To put it mildly.

    Would you disagree with any of that, when it comes to head-beatings?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    It works only so long as head-beatings are the only thing you think are wrong.

    Suppose you think that head-beating is wrong, but you also think that eating pickles is an abomination and the leading cause of head-beating is a local custom where you beat someone over the head whenever they eat a pickle.

    In that case, you would support an anti-head-beating law, but you would not support a “Pickle Eating: It’s okay and does not merit beatings” initiative. Indeed, you’d probably support projects which demonize pickle-eating, up to and including funding a PSA on the subject of “Pickle Eaters: They deserve to be beaten,” even though such a PSA would likely increase head-beating.

    Because your ideal scenario is “No one eats pickles and no one gets their head beat”, but “People eat pickles but no one gets their heads beat” is unacceptable: for you, the “compromise” position is “Pickle-eaters get their filthy abominating heads beaten in. And then the head-beater goes to jail.”

  • dpolicar

    Well, it seems implausible that I could care enough more about eliminating pickle-eating than head-beating that I could prefer eliminating pickle-eating while increasing head-beating to the reverse, but if we assume hypothetically that I do in fact prefer that, then sure, I guess I would prefer that.

    And, sure, if we further postulate some contrived situation such that reducing pickle-eating necessarily increases head-beating and for some reason or other I don’t seek to change the situation, then in that contrived situation the hypothetical me considers “Head-beating is wrong” and “I’m going for fewer head-beatings” conflicting positions.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Ah, but if you contribute to the destigmatizing of pickle-eating, then all that hateful pickle-eating is your fault, whereas if you rail against pickle eating AND against head-beating, then the head-beating is 100% the fault of those pickle-eating perverts, and your hands are clean

  • dpolicar

    Yup.

    And to the extent that we’re positing that any of this actually describes me, which is one of the odder uses of the second person I’ve run into today, it follows that my primary goal is to signal moral purity… which, as I said a few hours back, I suspect the majority of individuals who identify as pro-life are primarily doing.

  • Mark Z.

    Let’s back away from the pickles for a moment.

    In your analogy, the distinction is:
    – “I think beating people over the head is wrong”
    vs.
    – “I think inflicting head injuries on people is wrong”

    If you think the problem is head injuries, then there’s a whole mess of policies you could support to reduce the incidence or severity of head injuries. Motorcycle helmet laws, changes to high school football rules, more drunk-driving checkpoints, more funding for research on head trauma.

    But if you narrowly define the problem as the act of one person clubbing another person in the head with a stick, then all of that is a distraction. The only policy that you care about is zero tolerance for head-beating. You’ll vote for county judges based on how willing they are to punish head-beaters. You’ll support stick control legislation. You’ll oppose the availability of helmets, as they might be used for “safe head-beating”, as if there could be such a thing. And, of course, if there’s an organized political movement to defend the right to beat people over the head, you’ll vilify them.

  • dpolicar

    Ah, I see what you’re saying.

    (shrug) I suppose.

    That said, if I object to beating people over the head but have no problem with head injuries, ISTM the proper thing to do in that scenario is find me something harmless to play with in the corner while the grownups talk about reducing head injuries. I’m pretty much irrelevant to that discussion.

    I feel similarly about someone who opposes abortions but doesn’t actually care about whether pregnancies result in births or not.

    If their answer to “Hypothetically, if legalizing abortion in a community reliably caused the number of abortions performed in that community to drop to zero (all else being equal and never mind why, perhaps it’s due to divine intervention), while passing laws against it caused the number of abortions to double, would passing laws against abortion be the right thing to do?” is “Of course! Abortion is bad and should be illegal!”, they aren’t old enough to play with legal systems without hurting themselves, and I endorse finding them something harmless to play with in the corner while the grownups talk.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Actually, it sounds like the opposite — an end irrespective of means. The end is to make it illegal, not to eliminate the need for it, and if it gets driven underground and women start dying in back-alley abortions, oh well.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    There’s an element of magical thinking in there too. As far as they believe, women have the choice not to get the back-alley abortion, so if they die from it that’s their own look out. But if they have the choice to get a safe-and-legal abortion, That’s society’s fault.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    We do seem to have a lot of comprehension gaps here that boil down to the fact that most of us are consequentialists, while a lot of people on the right just aren’t.

    I know i saw one interview with pro-lifers where their position boiled down to “No, women who get abortions and I know ths won’t reduce abortions, but it’s important that we ban abortions because abortions are wrong and we need the force of law to agree to that. More-abortions-but-society-officially-disapproves is worse than fewer-abortions-but-society-is-officially-okay-with-them”.

    See also Orson Scott Card on gay rights: It’s not that we mean any harm to them but it’s essential that society have the force of law saying “But we disapprove.”

    See also drug laws, many of which are not so much about “It will stop (whatever)” but about “But drugs are just BAD and we need the law to SAY SO”

    They just don’t have an instrumental view of what laws are for: they’re not to change anyone’s behavior, thye’re to assert our Firm Stance As A Society about What We Do Or Do Not Approve Of.

  • Lori

    See also Orson Scott Card on gay rights: It’s not that we mean any harm
    to them but it’s essential that society have the force of law saying
    “But we disapprove.”

    Oh yeah, it’s important that his (almost certainly self-loathing) disapproval have the force of law behind it, but it’s wrong for people who disagree with him to refuse to see his movie because he’s an ass and they don’t want to give him money. Skipping a film and asking other people to skip it too is intolerant you see and history is going to judge GLBTQ activists and their allies by how well we treated bigots when their power started to fade. [eyeroll]

    That man is such an asshole.

  • FearlessSon

    My girlfriend pointed out that Card recently wrote something to the point of “I guess the gay marriage matter is settled then, I only hope that its supporters are gracious enough not to punish people on its opposition,” or to similar effect.

    We both immediately thought that this kind of tepid “change of heart” probably had more to do with a movie he stood to make a lot of money from being potentially boycotted and his brand being damaged (even moreso than it already was.)

  • Fanraeth

    He did just get forced off that Superman comic. Maybe he finally realized how much his positions are alienating his target audience and could end up hurting his wallet.

  • dpolicar

    (nods) Agreed.

    I was mildly tempted to send him a reply to the effect that I would forego ensuring that my moral censure of his prejudice had the force of law behind it, if he would agree in public that it isn’t actually necessary that we enforce our moral beliefs by law.

    But playing with my dog took priority. There are only so many hours in a day.

  • Lori

    David Gerrold apparently doesn’t have a dog :)

    https://www.facebook.com/david.gerrold/posts/10200886752543440

  • dpolicar

    He does, actually… a terrier, IIRC.

    (He made a passing reference in an earlier post about preferring playing “show me the belly” with his terrier than arguing with people, which is why I happen to know this. I may be an Internet stalker, but I’m not a creepy Internet stalker.)

    I heart Gerrold. He has been one of my favorite authors ever since The Man Who Folded Himself, which is not only my favorite time-travel story by such a comfortable margin that nothing is actually in second place, but which completely redefined my understanding of what time-travel stories are supposed to be about in the first place.

  • Lori

    There was no “change of heart”. He tacitly admitted defeat, but that was it and his comments are 100% about heading off a boycott of the Ender’s Game movie.

    http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/07/08/enders-game-orson-scott-card-statement/

    He’s exactly the same person he’s been for the last 2 decades. He’s still on the board of NOM, at least until they kick him off for publicly admitting that the fight against marriage equality is lost. He just doesn’t want to face any negative consequences for his years of incredibly hateful homophobia. Because he’s an asshole.

  • Wednesday

    Also, he claims his hateful actions aren’t relevant because “Ender’s Game….has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.”

    (a) This is technically false, same-sex couples were trying to legally marry in even just the US before 1984, and the gay rights movement in general also long predates Ender’s game.

    (b) Maybe Ender’s Game isn’t about themes relevant to QUILTBAG rights, but its sequel Speaker for the Dead certainly is. It broke my heart when I realized Card had more empathy for fictional aliens than for real QUILTBAG folks.

  • MarkTemporis

    I do somewhat question the wisdom of boycotting the movie, because as the writer, OSC is probably getting a vanishingly small portion of the movie take compared to the cast, most of whom are not particularly noted homophobes.

    I don’t plan on seeing the film myself because the series seemed a bit juvenile when it came out and young adult me was obsessed with reading ‘grown-up’ SF. Young adult me was a bit of a pretentious idiot.

    (I can’t imagine Ben Kingsley or Harrison Ford being on the wrong side of any issue, even though that totally sets me up to be disappointed in the future.)

  • EllieMurasaki

    Who cares what percentage of the take Card’s getting? Read this: http://annathepiper.dreamwidth.org/461026.html

  • MarkTemporis

    Fair enough. I was curious as to whether the animus would be mitigated by the participation of one or more GLBT-friendly cast members, all of whom are bound to earn more than OSC. But then, it’s not like Harrison Ford is hurting for the cash.

  • Wednesday

    I see your point, but for me, the purpose of boycotting the movie is to draw attention to the fact that Card is a bigoted asshole who has taken actions which have harmed people and their families.

    Yes, a lot of people know already, but others do not, or don’t care, to the point that he received an award in 2008 for his contributions to YA literature. He has *mocked* his queer/ally fans who discover his views and feel betrayed that the writer of Speaker for the Dead could view them/their friends and family members as sub-human.

    I’m also inclined to think that if Card were saying the same sorts of things about Black people or Jewish people as he is about QUILTBAG people, if he were a pro-racism activist, then he would be seeing greater professional repercussions for his words and actions. So IMO, people need to keep drawing attention to what he has said and _done_.

    Not to mention, news articles and J. Random. Internet Poster keep saying the boycott is about his “stance” on gay marriage, as if he wasn’t on the board of NOM and therefore taking *actions* against QUILTBAG people and their families.

    As for thinking of others in the movie industry… well, first of all, the industry doesn’t automatically _deserve_ my patronage. And frankly the trailer looks rather “White Males Trying To Look Determined and Serious But Just Looking Bland”, which does not entice me. (I know that Battle School is supposed to be fairly racially diverse, but the trailer I saw didn’t show that.)

    My local theatre is a cooperative and non-profit, and also raising funds for a much-needed renovation. If they screen Ender’s Game, I’ll be donating the cost of the ticket directly to them and skipping out on the movie.

  • Mark Z.

    Exactly that.

  • mattepntr

    A lot like what Fred has written here before about conservative christians “faith” as nothing but a series of “stances” on issues.

  • Carstonio

    For these folks, abortion and same-sex marriage seem to be proxies for their views of gender roles and for Christianity’s place in society. Many imply that women who don’t want to be mothers are mired in selfishness or denial, feelings they’ll apparently get over once they’re forced to give birth.

  • P J Evans

    when I got that line about ‘All women must want to be mothers’ I told the (female) co-worker who used it that if God had wanted me to be a mother, I should have been made so I wanted to be one.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    But then you wouldn’t be able to learn how wonderful it is!

    (Caution: Pregnancy may not actually be wonderful. Children may cannibalize you. Offer valid only in Eden. See increasingly finer print for details and restrictions.)

    (Huh. Disqus doesn’t do that tag.)

  • Baby_Raptor

    You want to hear one of these types REALLY head-asplode?

    The best conversation I ever had with one was when I made the mistake of mentioning that I have a very bad fear of breastfeeding. Just thinking about it or reading more than a passing mention causes the freak outs to begin,

    By the time I was done with my explanation to the other person in the conversation, they were swearing up and down that I’m not really biologically female, because “No woman could fear feeding her precious babies” and similar claims.

  • Ima Pseudonym

    Lawl.

  • AnonaMiss

    Did you offer to unzip your pants and prove it?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Probably wouldn’t have gotten me far. Anyone can find a picture of a woman on the internet.

  • banancat

    They want women to die or suffer in other ways for having sex.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Off topic, but I’m pretty sure that Frank in the Big (anti)Gay Al thread is the same one Fred banned in early 2012. I’ve seen his comments all over Patheos since shortly before he was banned by Fred straight through to the present, particularly on the Progressive Christian Channel, and the content and quantity of his posts is fairly consistent across that time.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I regret getting into that debate. It was a nice distraction at the time (boyfriend was in New Jersey interviewing for a job–potentially huge thing for him and us) but Frank isn’t being intellectually honest, and I’m afraid my rant on why I’m Atheist may have offended some people.

    So, ugh all around.

  • Abel Undercity

    Apropos of nothing but falling within Fred’s bailiwick, PZ Myers posted something LB-related today that I think folks here might be interested in: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/07/09/god-must-not-have-liked-his-game/

  • Baby_Raptor

    1/100th of a penny. I wasn’t even aware things could be valued for that little o.0

  • Charby

    That’s the stock market telling you personally that your business model is… outmoded. (Though most stock exchanges require a minimum stock price, usually $1-$5 each.)

    The fact that he has over a billion outstanding shares makes me think that he’s been conducting stock splits or stock dividends, which all things held constant tend to lower a stock’s price. I don’t know if he was intentionally trying to appeal to penny stock buyers (penny stocks are basically the Wild West of the stock market — dirt-cheap shares of publicly-held companies that are loosely regulated, highly volatile, and fairly easy to manipulate).

    I did go over to their purported website, which had some adorably defensive responses to criticism:

    A: Our records show that as of January 15, 2010, we have had a total of 7,092 investors buy shares in Left Behind Games. Of that total over the past four years, approximately 40% have remained as shareholders. Management believes this is indicative of significant shareholder support by those who believe that there is an untapped market for Christian video games and that our company is well positioned to maximize the expansion this new emerging market.

    To me, that just means that 40% of their investors haven’t been able to find someone to dump their shares on yet, or maybe they just forgot they had them. But I admire their optimistic phrasing! It’s kind of like the captain of the Titanic commending the people who were still stranded on the ship for their firm commitment to the voyage as it sinks beneath the waves.

    A: Investors generally do not invest based upon the price to earnings ratio that is common to companies in the NASDAQ or NYSE. They invest in what they believe is the company’s potential role in a growth market. Left Behind Games Inc. is pioneering a new market segment in the multi-billion dollar video game business. To date, no company has successfully generated significant profits by making Christian video games.

    That’s… not a good thing. They know that’s not a good thing, right? If no one has EVER succeeded in doing what you’re trying to do, you have to give pretty damn good evidence that there’s something about you that’s different. They then try to compare themselves to the rise of Christian pop music (actually not a bad comparison here) and then pivot to references to eBay and Amazon, which I have to respect for being so audacious.

    PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts that the video game software marketplace will grow to $21 billion a year in five years. If the Christian segment captures just 2% of the sales, that will equal $420 Million per year. With less than $3 million being generated by Christian video games today, and with Left Behind Games being the dominant presence in this market, management believes many investors have good reason to be excited about the prospects for future growth.

    It’s interesting to note how much of their, “why you should invest in us” section talks about other companies and even other industries.

    Pro investment tip — if a company rep says that they’ll be successful because an unrelated company run by someone else in another industry is successful, just smile, nod, and back away slowly.

    PriceWaterhouseCoopers predicts that the video game software marketplace will grow to $21 billion a year in five years. If the Christian segment captures just 2% of the sales, that will equal $420 Million per year. With less than $3 million being generated by Christian video games today, and with Left Behind Games being the dominant presence in this market, management believes many investors have good reason to be excited about the prospects for future growth.

    Notice how none of those numbers have anything to do with their company. $21m is a prediction for the entire industry. 2% is just something that they made up — there’s no reason to think that Christian segment will get 2% of sales; no one is entitled to market share.

    That’s like me saying, “Microsoft makes $75 billion a year. If I can get 2% of that, that’s… that’s a lot of money! Trust me!”

    And this next bit I just love:

    Q: Can you comment on today’s current market stock price?
    A: The company cannot provide investors any comments specifically regarding price.

    I guess there really is no way to spin a stock price trading at less than penny a share that doesn’t sound tragic.

    Q: When will the company see profitability in the retail marketplace?
    A: Management honestly doesn’t know.

    At least there’s some honesty left! Hallelujah!

    I pray that Jerry Jenkins’s literary career enjoys the same level of success.


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