CURRENT MOON

Friday, February 04, 2011

My New Name for a Blog


What Gus Said.

Gus' post on abortion is short and incredibly well-reasoned. Please check it out. Here's a taste:
Spiritual literalism degenerates into irrationality.
. . .

By reading sacred texts in a purely logocentric way [fundamentalists] ultimately trap themselves and cut themselves off from all spiritual insight because as Sallustius and Augustine and Ambrose all recognized, they cannot be read that way wisely. When the 'literalists' interpretations are contradicted by historical evidence or scientific discoveries, because they have rejected myth they have no way to incorporate new knowledge into their spiritual understanding, and so new knowledge must be rejected.

I have a pretty much standard reply to people who tell me that we must outlaw abortion because it "kills babies." It goes like this:

First, please get back to me when we feed, house, clothe, give medical care to, and educate the actual babies who are actually born. Until then, abortion is better than exposure or sale into slavery, which is how humanity dealt with unwanted pregnancies for centuries and centuries.

Second, this society "kills babies" every damn day. We kill them with our bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. We kill them because we've made the decision that it's more important for CEOs to get obscene bonuses than it is to make all kinds of companies stop polluting and poisoning the commons. We kill them because we've made the decision that it's too politically costly to stand up to the NRA and impose the regulations that the Second Amendment calls for when it talks about "well-regulated" militias. We kill them because we've made the decision that it's more important for America's wealthiest 2% (and corporations) to bear almost no tax burden than it is to provide the visiting nurse services and mental health care that it would take to stop some poor woman's boyfriend from shaking a six-month-old to death because it was crying. And the people who wail the loudest about how abortion "kills babies" are generally in favor of those other "baby-killing" decisions. So forgive me if I can't believe that they really give a flying frap about "killing babies" and that they actually have other motives deeply related to preserving patriarchy.

Third, anyone who truly wanted to cut down on the number of abortions (which would seem to include anyone who actually thought that abortion "kills babies") wouldn't be in favor of criminalizing abortion. Because criminalizing abortion no more prevents abortions than criminalizing pot possession prevents people from possessing pot. Criminalizing abortion simply pushes it into back alleys, where it not only "kills babies," but also kills women. Anyone who actually wanted to cut down on the number of "babies killed" by abortion would, instead, be doing the things that decades of research show actually do minimize unwanted pregnancies and, therefore, abortions. You know, things like regular and well-funded actual sex education (which would teach that abstinence is a rather-prone-to-failure method of birth control), free, easily-available, safe, and effective birth control. Education for girls. A social safety net, including pre- and post-natal medical care for mothers and children, free and fantastic day care, preschool, and early education, financial support for mothers and kids who need it, parenting education available throughout a child's life, etc. Yet, the people who wail the loudest about "killing babies" generally are actively opposed to each of these things.

So, you know, don't hand me shit and tell me that it's Shinola. I'm not stupid and I can see through that "oh, abortion kills babies" bullshit. Sell crazy someplace else; we're all stocked up here. And the planet's way past its carrying capacity, which kills and is going to continue killing people of all ages.

Picture found here. (And yes, sometimes, a picture DOES speak a thousand words.)

7 comments:

Makarios said...

A few observations:

First, this post, with its included links, should be mandatory reading for every legislator in the land.

Second, the whole "pro-life" piece is not really about "saving babies" and never has been. For most of that group, the sacred right to life begins at conception and ends at birth. As you've intimated, once the child is born, that child and its parents are on their own with regard to health care and every other damn thing, thank you very much.

Third (again, as you have intimated), if certain churches were truly interested in reducing the incidence of abortion, they would be passing out condoms after Sunday service and teaching people how to use them, and they'd be demanding real sex education programs in the schools instead of attempting to eliminate them.

So what's it about, really? It's about a woman's right to control her own body--to behave as if her uterus were, you know, her own property or something. The "pro-life" people are against it.

I apologize if this comment has been excessively vitriolic, but I'm old enough to remember the bad old days, with their bad old laws and the consequences thereof, and to have supported the struggle against them; and I am appalled that there are people who want to bring the country back to that position at this point in history.

ZenMouser said...

Sweet! And, might I add, a nice bit of synergy/ synchronicity happening across the blogosphere re: the difference between logos and mythos. (blessed be blessed be).

I just read JMG's article earlier this week. In it, he explores global events (uprisings, weather) in a systems context, via threads of of ancient Eastern thought.
http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2011/02/overcoming-systems-stupidity.html

In relevant part:
Replace the early Chinese philosophical terminology with equivalent terms from systems theory and the point of the text becomes equally clear. Here’s chapter I:
-A process as described is not the process as it exists;
-The terms used to describe it are not the things they describe.
-That which evades description is the wholeness of the system;
-The act of description is merely a listing of its parts.
-Without intentionality, you can experience the whole system;
-With intentionality, you can comprehend its effects.
-These two approach the same reality in different ways,
-And the result appears confusing; But accepting the apparent confusion Gives access to the whole system.


I might add that on the civil/human rights front, the logos v. mythos (apparent) disconnect is exactly why the risk profiling we're doing as a country, is, in practice, actually making things worse.

Yet still, it's fanf-tastic that we're talking in these terms Now. Yes, more please. Agreed with Markarios:

This should be mandatory reading for every legislator in the land.

ZenMouser said...

I might add that on the civil/human rights front, the logos v. mythos (apparent) disconnect is exactly why the risk profiling we're doing as a country, is, in practice, actually making things worse.

And by that I mean, there are those who believe that if you draw different conclusions about world events, they conclude that you must be in cahoots with the enemy. (i.e., As seen on TV: Democratic uprising or Islamic Power Grab?)

Appreciating Eastern thought and Systems thinking has absolutely zilch to do with treason, it has to do with reason, as in, knowing the limitations of a priori (Western) science & logic. Mainly: a) a priori, suffused with nothing but itself, devolves into a hermetically sealed closed feedback loop (leading no where related to "reality") and b) the approach has fits and kiniptions when trying to describe the unseen or dynamic intangibles. (See also: Lama speaks with Western Doctors about experiential approaches to medicine v. a priori).

Like pro-choice (i.e., don't have one), Systems thinking subsumes a priori as an option, it's just not the ONLY option.

Singing Sparrow said...

i don't have anything witty to add here but I do so love my daughters and granddaughters and son and grandsons that I am naturally on the side of having a choice. That the conservatives of the world allow zero choice for many after their birth is an insight that has become cliche but it is nevertheless so.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hecate said...

Makarios,

I, too, am old enough to remember what the bad, old days were like. Abortion still happened, it just happened in back alleys and dirty motel rooms, performed by hacks who used hangers and dirty knives.

Zen Mouser,

It often blows my mind -- the synchronicity that connects blog posts all over the internet. de Chardin, was, IMHO, onto something.

Singing Sparrow,

Agree 100%; we need to leave a better world for our children and grandchildren; one that allows choice.

Makarios said...

"Abortion still happened, it just happened in back alleys and dirty motel rooms, performed by hacks who used hangers and dirty knives."

Or not. If the daughter, wife, or mistress of a person of wealth or influence became unwillingly or unwittingly pregnant, she had the option of availing herself of a nice, clean, legal abortion clinic overseas. The back-alley hacks were for the little people.