Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Putting the "you" in "Eugenics"

Okay, by now we all know that Bill Bennett is a douchebag. Everyone who is not a Republican or an idiot should also well aware of the racism inherent in his comments, I wanted to blather on a bit about what it says about abortion.

I have read a lot of really intelligent commentary concerning the problems with the anti-choice position; not trusting the moral agency of women, lack of consistency in the application of the “culture of life” position, that sort of thing. I think the problem is that those comments address the outward statement of purpose, trying to protect life, rather than the real purpose, which I personally think is social control.

Not necessarily control over women, I think that’s largely incidental, but control over society in general. It’s not that the anti-choicers don’t think women are capable of making appropriate personal moral choices, it’s that they don’t think women will make choices that will benefit them personally. And they’re not against terminating pregnancies in general, they’re against terminating certain pregnancies. Those just aren’t statements that are politically practical, so they have to be made into generalities that demonstrate a high degree of inconsistency as a side effect.

Let me back up a bit. A number of years ago when I was doing this show four nights a week on Usenet, we attracted a white supremacist shitbag named Kevin Strom (whom I will most definitely not link to, but you can Google him up; snarky comments relating to the irony of master racers looking like guys who are regularly beat up for their lunch money will be appreciated). Pursuing a know-thy-enemy strategy I looked over his website and found, much to my interest, that white supremacists are rabidly against abortion. The reason for this is that the group most likely to obtain an abortion is teenage white girls. Their position is that abortion disproportionately affects whites, and is therefore bad.

Now let’s look at the caller comment which sparked Bennett: “lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency.” The mistake which the two share is in presuming that abortion affects the overall population, which it does not, at least not to the extent they think it does. Generally speaking, abortion is not going to impact the total number of children a woman is going to choose to bear, it’s only going to postpone the births of those children until a later date. It’s not particularly reasonable to assume that a woman would have elected to have three children instead of two, if not for that pesky abortion.

When I look at conservative positions on most social issues, what I see is manifestation of this impulse to maintain the dominant position in society at all costs. Immigration – keep out brown people. Affirmative Action – maintain white privilege. Abortion – keep the white babies coming. Bennett’s sin, in the eyes of the White House, was in revealing the hidden underbelly of conservative social policy. Not anti-abortion per se, after all look at all the good things abortion could accomplish if used in the right way. Of course, that would be completely reprehensible (wink, wink).

The White House came out with its rather tepid announcement that Bennett’s remark was “inappropriate.” Not reprehensible, stupid, irresponsible, or any one of a number of harsher labels that apply, but inappropriate. Like telling an off-color joke at a swanky party, or farting in an elevator. I don’t think they’re at all put off by the comment itself, just by the venue; Bennett was stupid enough to say this on the radio rather than the privacy of a $1500 per plate fundraiser or a Klan rally.

Sometime soon we’ll get into the elemental fear of the conservative – if they become a minority, they’ll be treated in turn just as they treat minorities.