Monday, May 10, 2010

A Wakeup Call for Poor, Deluded Douthat

The long-time followers of this blog know how much I enjoy ridiculing the New York Times resident conservative freak Ross Douthat. I wrote about his unintelligent, hateful, anti-women columns here, here, here, and here. Recently, however, it seems that Douthat has finally had to face the glaring contradictions that are plaguing his worldview. We all know that for all the Conservatives' talk of family values, they truly suck at creating stable families. Going to Church, abstinence until marriage, and voting Republican mostly guarantee breakups, divorces, and all kinds of misery in one's personal and sexual lives. The incredible frequency of sex-scandals on the Republican side has been notorious. The progressives, however, do a whole lot better at creating stable, life-long marriages and good, happy families.

Today, even somebody as deluded as Douthat had to recognize these obvious facts. In a rare moment of getting back in touch with reality, Douthat admits:
Socially conservative states have more family instability than, say, the culturally liberal Northeast. If you’re looking for solid marriages, head to Massachusetts, not Alabama.

Accepting that his favorite conservative values lead to family breakup and personal misery is, of course, extremely painful to Douthat. Having finally realized that through their silly insistence on abstinence until marriage 
conservatives guarantee that their children will get pregnant early and often (see Palin, Bristol), leading to teen childbirth, shotgun marriages and high divorce rates,
he immediately becomes terrified and starts looking for somebody or something to blame. The answer is found soon: it's abortion. Or, rather, the Liberals openness to consider abortion as a way out in case of an unwanted pregnancy. Any reasonable person with half an ounce of grey matter would conclude on the basis of this information that any opposition to abortion is stupid. That's not a possibility for Douthat, though. Broken marriages, miserable teenagers, sky-high divorce rates are an acceptable price to pay for not allowing women the right to control their own bodies.

Douthat is a perfect example of conservative hypocricy. "Family values" mean absolutely nothing to him. He - as well as all other followers of this ideology - would sacrifice family values in a blink for the possibility of keeping women subjected and under control. These people's hatred of abortion reveals their own extreme sexual insecurity. They don't have political convictions or social concerns. They simply hate female bodies because these bodies repesent the constant threat of revealing to themselves and to the world their sexual failings and incapacities. Douthat and Co have no ideology. They are simply terrified of women, and that's the only opinion, belief or conviction they can offer to the world.

P.S. Turns out that Hugo Schwyzer has also written a great post about this article by Douthat.


Izgad said...

You are not being fair to Ross here. You have put him in a damned if he does damned if he does not. He acknowledges a weakness in the conservative position and you criticize him. Note that he never says in this article that abortion should be made illegal. He says that it may help avoid certain complexities in people’s lives. Of course if you personally believe that abortion is immoral, as do many people who support its legality, then this only serves to invalidate the stable family lives liberals are living. The moment you admit that a fetus is something more than a collection of cells, abortion becomes a problem.

The parallel would be Southern plantation life glamorized in Gone With the Wind. I would not be able to value such a genteel culture despite its surface charm, recognizing that it all depended upon slavery. I would rather have no slavery and no beautiful Southern culture.

Clarissa said...

If "family values" mean nothing to conservatives compared to abortion, they should be honest and just state it. They should tell the public: "We don't care a bit how miserable you guys are, as long as female sexuality is somewhat under control."

Of course, the reason that progressive people enjoy better personal lives is not only due to abortion rights. People who are not repressed sexually and take sexual compatibility into account when looking for a life partner, will obviously be happier than people who disregard this central part of human existence. In short, they betray their sexuality, but eventually their sexuality takes a very well-deserved revenge on them.

Izgad said...

Keep in mind I am only talking about social values here, not about, whether, where and how the government should step in to enforce any of these values. Abortion is a family value as it pertains to how one goes about creating a family. Does a person decide to fit children into their lives only when they are most convenient or do we rework our lives around children? I fully grant that people who place their own personal happiness above all are likely to win out in the personal happiness game. The political question, though, is how does a society continue to function when all of its members seek their own personal good and ignore the good of society. Much of the history of modern political thought has been this attempt at finding a balance.
Can we acknowledge that abortion is a more morally complex issue than simply controlling female sexuality? I am not saying that abortion should be illegal or that I would never advise a woman to get an abortion. That being said, the moment we acknowledge that a fetus is something almost human, above a pile of cells even if it does not carry the full legal rights of a human being, then abortion becomes a problem, one that taints any good that might come out of it.
Should not the government and society have the same say in what you do with a fetus inside you as it does in what I do with my kidneys? Why do you even talk about a woman’s right to choose? It should be the right of human beings to do whatever they want to their own bodies.

Clarissa said...

People who feel that a foetus is a human being should not have abortions. I support their right not to. They, however, want to impose their values and beliefs on me, while I in no way try to impose my values and beliefs on them. I don't think that my body should be held hostage to anybody else's beliefs.

Of course, I support everybody's right to do what they want with their bodies. I strongly support euthanasia and the right to suicide. Sadly, Conservatives do not share this idea. Their attachment to authoritarianism is way too strong for that.

Gary said...

This is a bad Ross Douthat column, one of many I'm afraid. To concentrate on just one issue his statistics are twisted to prove his point - "Over all, the abortion rate is twice as high in New York as in Texas and three times as high in Massachusetts as in Utah."

He could have said the rate of abortion in Texas was much more than twice as high as Utah's but that doesn't fit his story.

The truth - In 2005, 85,760 women obtained abortions in Texas, producing a rate of 17.3 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age.

In 2005, 27,270 women obtained abortions in Massachusetts, producing a rate of 19.9 abortions per 1,000 women

In small Utah 3,630 women obtained abortions in 2005 for a rate of 6.4.

In New York 155,960 women and a rate of 38.2.

The national rate was 19.4 per 1,000 women age 15-44.

He also ignores the elephant in the room of declining worker wages as a cause in the decline in traditional single-earner households.

He tops it by blaming the all-powerful straw man "the left": Who, exactly, on "the left" has argued that it’s the lack of a full embrace of the "sexual revolution" that has kept the lower classes down?

Izgad said...

If I believe that a fetus is a human being then I am morally obligated to stop abortions in the same sense that humanity was obligated to stop Nazi Germany. Saving a human life is saving a human life. I do not believe that fetuses fully count as human, I just see them as something more than a collection of cells, which opens the door certainly to strong moral opposition and even the possibility of some sort of government interference.

NancyP said...

Men tend to romanticize "the fetus", whatever its state of development.

Reasonably knowledgeable women know that slightly late periods and identifiable early miscarriages are common events in presumably fertile heterosexually active women not on birth control. Scientists have estimated that approximately 1/3 of hormonally detectable conceptions don't survive to birth. The percentage of conceptions that don't make it to implantation and beta-HCG production is unknown, but probably fairly large.

A large percentage of early conceptus death is due to genetic abnormalities, either those incurred during chromosomal spindle attachment in meiosis II, resulting in altered chromosome number, or due to insertions, deletions, duplications occurring during chromosomal recombination. Then there are recessive lethal mutations (conceptus can't make the gene's protein) of critical genes.

Development is complicated. We humans have a fair amount of natural wastage in the reproductive process.

word verification: boarn

Anonymous said...

I agree with Izgard's earlier comment; it's reductive to state that opposition to abortion derives from a desire to control women's bodies. Believing in the life-value of a fetus is an equal, if not more crucial, factor in opposing abortion rights.

Clarissa said...

I know this must really be painful to you because of how true it is, so let me reiterate: "Believing in the life-value of a fetus" is a direct result of being a complete an utter sexual reject. I'm sorry that nobody wants you. But it's nobody's prolem other than your own. Stop being an ugly, stupid idiot, and maybe somebody will. Of course, it's a lot easier to police other people's sex lives with the hope of making them as pathetic as your own.