Monday Miscellany, 9/18/23

Monday Miscellany, 9/18/23 September 18, 2023

“The Stupid Party” vs. “the Evil Party,” playing fast and loose with abortion statistics, and how archaeologists recognize a brothel.

“The Stupid Party” vs. “the Evil Party”

Former Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wy) once said that his fellow Republicans belonged to the “stupid party.”  But Democrats belonged to the “evil party.”  The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger (behind a paywall) brings back that distinction and makes a prediction that we’ll be able to easily check.

I don’t think Simpson was saying that Republicans have lower  I.Q. scores or that Democrats are unusually prone to acts of depravity.  (Though the party’s uncritical embrace of abortion and transgender surgeries for children could argue a broader interpretation.)  At least as Henninger takes the quotation, it means that Republicans can be politically naive, whereas Democrats are ruthlessly Machiavellian when it comes to politics.

To take an example that Henninger doesn’t bring up, Republicans righteously abstained from taking advantage of early voting, vote-by-mail, ballot harvesting, and other loosenings of election practices enacted in the name of COVID.  Democrats, though, exploited those to the hilt, to the great effect of electing President Biden.  (That doesn’t mean that the election was stolen, just that the Democrats took advantage of an opportunity to get out their voters that the Republicans did not.)

Henninger says that a big majority of the public, over 60%, doesn’t want either Joe Biden or Donald Trump to be president.  Therefore, he concludes, which ever party can manage to run someone else will win.

He thinks Republicans (the “stupid party”) will let the process work itself out, and if Trump wins a sufficient number of primaries, which looks inevitable, he will be the nominee, fair and square.

The Democrats (the “evil party”) will take a different approach.  “The support for Mr. Trump is overwhelmingly an emotional rush and blood feud,” says Henninger. “But come election time, Democrats won’t do emotion. They’re bloodless, with eyes only on the prize.”

Henninger predicts that once Trump’s victory is certain, the Democrats will stage an intervention.

I don’t know which village elders would go in to tell Mr. Biden he has to withdraw. But the message to Mr. Biden would be that he has a choice: Be remembered by his party as the most progressive president since FDR, or as an unpopular incumbent who lost to Donald Trump or was forced to resign for reasons of incapacity.

They won’t throw over Vice President Harris, but they will let her run in the remaining primaries against a group of Democratic governors, who are insulated from being blamed for the Biden administration’s economic policies.  One of them would win the nomination, defeat Trump by winning the Independent vote, and become president.

This is a testable prediction, so let’s see what happens.

Abortions Since Dobbs

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute is saying that the number of abortions since Roe v. Wade was overturned has increased.  Comparing the first six months of 2023 to the first six months of 2020, the Institute estimates that there have been 46,000 more abortions, an increase of 9.9%.

But as Michael J. New shows in his National Review article Mainstream Media Mislead on New Guttmacher Abortion Estimates, those numbers are not to be trusted.  Among other reasons, this is an estimate, based on a sampling of abortion providers that is then extrapolated for each state.  And even these estimates show a wide variance between the upper and the lower range.

I would add that choosing to base the “before” statistics on 2020 numbers is disingenuous, since the abortion rate was markedly down that year.  That was two years before the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

In contrast, New cites studies that actually count individual abortions, which show that there have been tens of thousands fewer abortions since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

New points out that the Guttmacher numbers are being used in the media to support the narrative that the abortion restrictions many states have implemented are not effective, that women just go to other states to get their abortions.  But he says that his own research and a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association both show that in Texas, for example, ever since the state outlawed abortions after six weeks, over 1,000 more babies are being born every month.

How Archaeologists Recognize a Brothel

Louise Perry is the author of The Case Against the Sexual Revolution.  Though by her own admission she is not a Christian, she has published a powerful article in First Things entitled  We Are Repaganizing.  Here is how it begins:

There’s a very short and very brutal poem by the Scottish poet Hollie McNish, written in 2019 and titled “Conversation with an archaeologist”:

he said they’d found a brothel
on the dig he did last night
I asked him how they know
he sighed:
a pit of babies’ bones
a pit of newborn babies’ bones was how to spot a brothel

“It’s true, you know,” said the writer and lawyer Helen Dale when we had lunch in London last year and I mentioned this poem, which I chose as one of the epigraphs to my book The Case Against the Sexual Revolution. Helen was a classicist before she was a lawyer, and as a younger woman she had taken part in archaeological excavations of ancient Roman sites. “First you find the erotic statuary,” she went on, “and then you dig a bit more and you find the male infant skeletons.” Male, of course, because the males were of no use to the keepers of Roman brothels, whereas the female infants born to prostituted women were raised into prostitution themselves.

[Keep reading. . .]


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