Political Station Identification

Not something I do often. Other people spend way too much time on it.

Still: I keep encountering people who can’t be bothered to vote, or who claim a sort of political nihilism about the major parties, because “they’re all the same.”

Trust me, I am not starry-eyed about anyone running for office. Still, we have one party in the United States which — irrespective of economic and foreign policy positions — endorses the use of cutting edge science to give women control over their own bodies. We have another party that essentially advocates leaving women at the mercy of biology.

My life would not have been possible if I had not had access to birth control, and, eventually, surgical sterilization. I could not have been the person I am, been freed to use my body and mind as I chose, been able to marry someone I loved without the fear of our lives being ruined by unwanted reproduction. (If I had ever been told that I had no choice but to give birth, I would have blown my brains out, or failing the means to do that, bled out from a wound inflicted by a blunt knife if that was my only recourse. Trust me.)

One of our major parties believes that women are entitled to all the advances of science. The other seems to think that it is A-OK, in an era of advanced technology, to limit women to the choice between being, in effect, nuns or incubators.

This amounts to saying that the whole human race is human, or that half the human race is human and the other half livestock.

I vote for the side that thinks I am human. Everything else is negotiable.


8 thoughts on “Political Station Identification

  1. The U.S. would seem about to have a large Tea Party that has nothing to do with High Tea but rather with high jinx.
    40% of us Canadians have given a conservative majority in government, the other 60% loath it but we are stuck with it till 2015.
    In Québec we are in the midst of a campaign and we will vote on September 4th. We will have to choose between so many jockers and however we vote, we will be caught between a rock and a hard place.
    Let’s have fun.

  2. Since the central issue is a woman’s freedom, let us shift the debate a little.

    There are women, who, rightly or wrongly, perceive their whole purpose in life is to reproduce. Every action, their loves, their physical desires are all directed towards that end. If they are thwarted they are unfulfilled and suicidal, for nothing else matters. They will lie or steal, even murder to achieve that object.

    Suppose a woman, who would never harm another, but whose feelings are just as intense, conceives and comes almost to term. She is told that, owing to some bodily malformation, it is not possible for her to have the child and any attempt to do so will result in her certain death, although the child might be saved. In fact, she will never conceive again. She falls into a coma and is unable to sign any form of consent, although the importance to her of reproducing is well known.

    What course should the obstetrician take? What stance would the political parties take? If one party favoured proceeding to the birth, would you vote for that party?

    • If the birth were going to kill her, then I would regard the pregnancy as a cancer (which is more or less the way I see it anyway) and treat it accordingly.

      Because in my view of the world, No always trumps Yes. Refusing to give birth leaves you, and the world, as it was before, no problem to solve, no mess to clean up. A new human being, requiring care and financial support, when the parent who “wanted” it isn’t around to provide those, is a giant problem inflicted on everyone else. A rough analogy is that I am one hundred per cent free not to invite you into my home, but I am not equally free to come and camp on YOUR lawn or create a public disturbance that YOU have to endure. Beyond that, any woman who wants to give birth at the cost of her own life is arguably insane.

      Comparing the desire to give birth under any and all circumstances to the desire NOT to be used for the purposes of incubation is to me a false analogy, one that feminists feel compelled to sponsor in order to maintain credibility with a society that is suicidally pro-natalist. Your “woman who wants to give birth even if she dies” is an apt metaphor for an entire human race that is reproducing itself out of air, water and a food supply, and in fact it seems to me that forced sterilization is not only completely acceptable but probably the only solution. Unfortunately, there are so many people who want to deny women the right to say No, it becomes politically necessary to pretend that cluttering up the world with too many people is somehow the same kind of “freedom” as insisting that your body will not be used for food and lodging.

        • Well, if you frame the issue as one of a woman’s freedom, then that’s almost necessary. All societies balance freedom with the welfare and rights of others (unless there is a colony of Libertarians somewhere, but I suspect they’d wipe each other out exercising their right to bear arms after they all pissed each other off doing things on their own “private property” that caused problems on each other’s private property.

          Which is how I see this issue. Reproduction prevented, if so desired, directly matters almost entirely to the person who would otherwise be obliged to reproduce; the question is asked and answered within the boundaries of her body. Reproduction performed against any sensible person’s better judgment, in the conditions of the modern world, places a burden on us all. A motherless child requires care that the greater society will be obliged to provide. Any child will eventually require education, most likely at public expense (even so, it’s cheaper than ignorance, as the saying goes, but it is an expense). All children are a trial and a burden except to those whose googly minds are cooing “Oh my VERY OWN sweetsie darling.” And we haven’t even addressed the question of how these shoals of new people are to be fed, housed, kept in clean water and energy, when arable land is shrinking, the world is entering a water crisis, energy production is fouling our air and oceans, and each new birth adds to the load. It’s all very well to say people will “pay” for what their children require; some things can’t be bought with money, the technology to correct the problems doesn’t exist. People have to JUST STOP, and if they won’t stop they have to be made to stop.

          • Yes. The matter you draw attention to cannot be viewed in isolation since you rely upon others to facilitate your lifestyle, as does the woman in a coma rely on her obstetrician.

            There are a number ways in which issue may be placed in context: comparing contraception and abortion, duty to existing children, belief in a destiny for humanity or its descendants and inevitable ultimate economic reliance by one generation on succeeding generations, for example.

            Since you spoke favourably about a party who endorsed women’s right to have control over their own bodies, eloquently about conducting your sexual life as you wish and confining your stance almost exclusively to questions of choice, the nature of freedom seemed to be the most relevant approach.

            I admit I chose my example carefully, knowing you would not be able to reconcile the freedom you claim with the freedom of a woman to have a baby, even at the cost of her own life, save by exploring some or more of the problematic areas enumerated above.

            My aim was to remove freedom from you armoury. I am not sure if I succeeded.

          • I’m not sure I can see at all where belief in a destiny comes in, since it’s an unprovable hypothesis; the law’s balance of one person’s freedom with another person’s right not to suffer from that freedom’s exercise can’t take destiny, etc. into account. Birth vs. no birth is not as either-or a proposition as red vs. blue or rye vs. white, skirts vs. slacks.

            Aging generations may well depend on rising generations, but like Amway, the multiplication can’t proceed indefinitely. At some point, in order for human beings and the planet alike to survive at all, someone’s going to have to take the hit of having fewer young brisk folk to do the heavy lifting for their elders. It is certainly incentive for elders to practice heavy lifting.

            I am, as you said,. consistent.

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