Voting for the American Taliban
I recall, unfortunately not exactly, a quotation by one prominent writer on his objection to pornography. He said, roughly, that he didn't care what two consenting adults did, but when you added in the writer and the reader, it became an orgy.
That's part of my philosophical objection to laws regulating sex. When you have a law against "sodomy" as some jurisdictions still do--and which typically don't exclude married, heterosexual couples--then the state is saying that the sherriff has the right to monitor what you do in your own bedroom. Who actually thinks THAT'S a good idea?
The same principle applies to laws restricting access to contraception. Whether or not to have a child is one of the most important, most intimate decisions people can make. It one that people have been empowered to make in an effective fashion only for a few decades, but we have been past any interest the state had in that decision for longer than that. We don't really need to breed men for armies, or for grunt labor; we don't need to breed women just to bear the next generation of cannon fodder or grist for the industrial mills.
On the other hand, people want, desire, need sexual contact. For most of us, that need is right up there with food and shelter. For someone like Rick Santorum in this day and age to argue that the only good sex is "procreative" is stunning. It is adopting the values of a nigh-medieval time when people had only had two choices: either continue having children until the woman died in childbirth or otherwise wore out, or live a sexless monastic form of marriage.
I understand people's opposition to abortion; whether or not it amounts to "killing" is a matter of principle on which few minds are likely to be changed. What disturbs me is that, as we are seeing, abortion regulation is at the top of a slippery slope. There is a continuum from abortion opponents, through those who want to ban contraception, to those who want to do away with any sort of sexual education, to those who believe that a woman's place is in the home, barefoot, pregnant, and with total control of her body given over to her husband. (This despite the fact that jobs making a single individual capable of supporting a family are growing ever more scarce, and these same conservatives are doing nothing whatever to reverse that trend--.)
And now we have the King of the Conservative Crapmeisters, Rush Limbaugh, arguing that for insurance to cover contraception is tantamount to prositution since "we" (meaning those who pay the insurance premiums) are "paying for women to have sex," and therefore, pimping.
Well, I would like to ask Rush, what about all the men whose Viagra prescription is covered by insurance? Aren't "we" pimping for them, too?
What about your old dope habit, Rush? When your treatment for that was covered by your medical plan, weren't "we" your pushers, too?
This "do as I say, not as I do" attitude makes Limbaugh a definite member of the American Taliban: what men do is priveleged by God. What women do is at men's sufferance.
The question that bugs me is, where did all these backward attitudes come from? I remember the '60's and '70's and the feeling of social progress--that things were actually getting better, fairer, kinder, more compassionate. I would have bet anything that the grandchildren, if not the chldren, of my generation would grow up in a land where race didn't matter; where men and women were equal in all walks of life; where people's sex life was their own, and only their own, affair. I expected to grow old in a country that had labor justice; a rational policy on recreational drug use, instead of the failed and ruinous "war on drugs"; a single-payer health care system modeled on the best of the rest of the world; and a humane and constructive criminal justice system wherein the death penalty was only a memory. I felt sure that all these reforms would eventually come, probably as soon as the old farts in office went away and were replaced by younger, forward-thinking people.
And here it is 2012, and men and women much younger than I are fighting tooth and nail to drag us back to the Bad Old Days, and we maintain a desperate effort to hang on to treasured reforms that once seemed forgone conclusions. What happened? It's not as if these people grew up in the actual Sodom and Gommorah the American Taliban claim the last fifty years have been. Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, interracial homosexual sado-masochistic necrophila hasn't ACTUALLY been made mandatory, nor paid for by taxpayers, and the country hasn't actually fallen into ruin because of it. So why is there such a powerful movement to take us back to a time before Roosevelt's administration--THEODORE Roosevelt's administration--with all of its ignorance, injustice,and inequality? Why are people so anxious to do these things that would be clearly bad, not just for "us" but for "them" as well?
I just don't get it.This entry was originally posted at http://sinister-sigils.dreamwidth.org/202595.html. Please comment there using OpenID.