8/19 Flashback: Moralism or morality, pick one.

8/19 Flashback: Moralism or morality, pick one. August 19, 2022

From August 19, 2012, “Rep. Todd Akin and the horrific immorality of moralism

… This is simply what happens when moralism replaces morality.

The two things are incompatible. In order to choose moralism — which is what allegiance to the anti-abortion movement requires Akin to choose — he had to abandon morality.

And, as his comments about “legitimate rape” demonstrate, Todd Akin has abandoned morality.

Here’s how this works: Moralism seeks to blame all suffering on moral failure. If you are suffering, then you must have done something to deserve such suffering.

Victims, therefore, always must share in the blame. And since their suffering is deserved, nothing can or should be done to address it.

This is not a new idea. “Think now,” said Eliphaz the fool, “who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same.” And just as foolishly, the disciples asked, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

That’s how moralism works. It’s simple, tidy and, ultimately, monstrous.

And it requires ignorance. It creates, fosters and compels ignorance.

Akin’s moralism demands that he remain as ignorant as he can about how sex works and about what rape means. Akin cannot allow himself to learn anything about such things.

As Raw Story’s Jonathan Terbush notes [dead link], Akin’s moralistic crusade against abortion includes his support for a complete ban on emergency contraception.

Why? Because Akin doesn’t understand how sex works. And if you don’t understand how sex works, you’re liable to believe the lie that emergency contraception is an “abortifacient.”

You’re not just more likely to believe this lie, but you’re likely to want to believe it. And that means you’re less likely to bother checking to see if it’s actually true or to listen when scientists, doctors, or people who passed their middle-school health class explain that it’s not.

Examining such a lie threatens Akin’s pose of moralism, so he cannot afford to examine it. He thus remains ignorant — so mind-bogglingly, ridiculously ignorant that he apparently believes in some ludicrous notion of magical anti-rape powers that keep virtuous women’s reproductive systems virtuous.

Rep. Todd Akin is a moralist. He preaches, and practices, moralism.

That is not the same thing as morality. That is not compatible with morality.

And it is not compatible with doing, or being, good.

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