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July 27, 2004

Liberal Solutions Extensions of Problems « Social Issues »

I understand where Jo is coming from, mostly, in this discussion. Maybe the best way to summarize it is that abortion is so necessary in some rare situations that it justifies all the ways it is misused. A good analogy is in our criminal system, in which it is so important that we do not convict innocent people that we willingly accept the guilty who misuse the system, who take advantage of the loopholes we establish to provide the innocent a way out. Thus, Jo (along with other pro-choice advocates) is not advocating the misuse, she is advocating the loophole as necessary and worth the cost.

Well and good.

I admit I like to think outside the box. I like to challenge conventional wisdom. I like to confront assumptions. I like to shake things up and see what falls out. I also have tested out both religion and atheism, and spend a great deal of time observing humans...especially noticing when people lie to themselves about who they are and what they think they want.

One thing that forms the basis of my opposition to Jo's view: I don't think there is anything wrong with pain, difficulty, and struggle.* I can understand the viewpoint that it is worth the misuse just to make sure that no girl is ever forced to raise a child in a situation that seems impossible...I just don't agree. One thing that I don't like about abortion is its permanence...if you stick it out, there will be tough times, yes, but there will also be joys. Having a child as a young, single mother does not mean you are destined to doom, failure, or poverty. But if you abort, that's it. The child is dead. There's no going back, no knowing what the child might have been, might have done, what joy or beauty they might have added to the world. If you end up childless, you can't change your mind and have the child you killed. But if you have the child and give it up for adoption, you can someday find the child again.

Part of the problem is that feminists, liberals, Planned Parenthood, and pro-choice advocates do not recognize the opportunities and potential inherent to having a child. They see only the burden and responsibility as closing doors.

And let's not sugarcoat it: having a child is a burden. It is hard. It changes you. If you keep the child, it is an unavoidable responsibility. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, to complete high school, college, or keep your job.

But let's not sugarcoat it the other way, either: two people did engage in a voluntary activity, and should accept the responsibilities. Having a child is not an insurmountable obstacle to a high school diploma, a college degree, or a successful career. Aborting the child does not mean the girl will automatically obtain all these things, and keeping the child only makes them more difficult, not impossible.

So. More difficult. Is that a bad thing? When you work out, you get tired. Your body hurts. Your muscles are sore for a few days. So what? It's good for you. Achieving good things requires struggle, and working hard only makes you stronger. It is the same way with people and the difficulties added by trying to succeed in life with a young child. At worst, having a baby should only mean a delay in reaching goals of no more than five years. Any longer than that, and it is still the individual who should be blamed for the failure, not the baby. Again, there is no justification in killing the child for the parents' mistake/irresponsibility.

And here's the reason for the title of this piece:
My argument might be disjointed, and objections to it will certainly be disjointed, precisely because liberal policy has made a complete mess of the situation. Liberal solutions to social problems seem to always make the issue more complex, rather than resolving the situation.

For instance, the overall problem was that women were considered by feminists to be second-class citizens; careers were for men, sexual enjoyment was for men, financial independence was for men, etc. The liberal solution was to make it easier for women to divorce, encourage women to enter the work force, shame/discourage women from staying at home (and don't try to tell me that didn't happen), encourage women to experiment with sex and seek out greater quantities of partners (and simultaneously, discourage women from trying to be sexually interesting schizophrenia, to be sure), and develop/promote the use of birth control to give women more control over reproduction so they wouldn't end up trapped in marriage through pregnancy.

So far so good. Except that the results were an increase in pregnancies, a rise in STDs, more single-motherhood and a resultant increase of poverty for such households. So could the solution be to discourage girls from having sex? Or to encourage them to persevere in obtaining education so they will always have more options? Nope. The solution was to greately expand welfare so that the young mothers don't suffer. But welfare didn't end poverty, it only encouraged it. So they encouraged abortion to take up the slack where birth control pills couldn't work. But some girls wouldn't get abortions, even tho liberals and feminists touted it as "the thing to do", and welfare wasn't really getting anywhere. So they cracked down on "deadbeat dads". Yes, the same men that aren't allowed to have a say in whether their child is actually born or murdered can be forced to give up substantial amounts of money for 18-20 years. The logic that insists women should have choice over the bodies is hypocritically thrown out the window when before it can be applied to men. Even worse, men are told "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime" and thus held to a far greater level of responsibility for fulfilling what conventional wisdom says is a far stronger natural urge. Try to tell a pro-choice advocate that the same standard should apply to a woman sometime and see what reaction you get...

So now we have men suffering involuntary wage-garnishing based on no evidence other than one woman's testimony (and in some cases, in opposition to scientific evidence) to pay for women who get pregnant because liberal society says it's okay to go ahead and have sex because everyone else is and you can always get an abortion anyway, and our tax dollars go to pay for these abortions, for the propaganda that encourages it, for the condoms that are supposed to protect from pregnancy and STDs, for the treatement of the STDs, for the welfare the women earn if they decide not to abort, for the legal battles fought to keep all this amoral activity legal...

...or, we could just say that abortion after week 4 is not allowable except to save the life of the mother, period.

But what about rape and incest?!??! comes the cry. What about it? Most people know they are raped and are in a position to make sure they don't get pregnant long before 4 weeks. Incest, as well, although it is more problematic. But I posit that if a girl is pregnant from incest, she has far more extensive and more pressing problems than what to do about a baby. If she can't stop the incest from occurring, it's unlikely she will have the freedom to seek out a taxpayer-funded abortion, either.

And out of the 40 milllion babies who have been killed in the name of the sexual revolution and "freedom" for women and so women can have control of their own bodies, exactly how many have been due to rape or incest?

So, yeah. Call me a bastard, or unfeeling, or a monster. I am saying that it's not worth it. I am saying that there are better ways to help someone who has been raped or the victim of incest than allowing 39 million plus other women avoid responsibility for their actions. I am saying that while it might not be a good idea to totally outlaw abortion again, it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the current situation causes far more misery. I am saying that if abortion were severely restricted, life would be better for everyone, including the people who would then be forced to have babies, because those babies would be the direct result of their own willing actions.

You want control of your body? Take control earlier.

With that restriction, everything else makes more sense. Planned Parenthood can no longer encourage people to have sex on the excuse that "everyone else is doing it", because the only honest thing to say is, "Don't have sex unless you are in the right situation to have a baby, because you never know..." The welfare rolls would shrink dramatically if 50s era morality were returned. Please note: I'm not talking religious morality, merely the morality of what works, and a society-wide acknowledgement that sex has inherent risks, along with a full expression/explanation of that risk would result in far fewer STDs, far fewer pregnancies, greatly reduced welfare rolls, a correspondingly substantial reduction of poverty, an eventual, corresondingly impressive reduction in criminal convictions and prison population, and all that would inevitably mean that more people would be happier and more fulfilled.

Yes, it would be worse for some people. The people hardest hit would be the people unable to change their attitudes to align with the new standards. Over time, the people hardest hit would be the people who refuse to act in accordance with the risks, the people who deliberately refuse to act with responsibility and maturity, the people who, consciously or unconsciously, ignore the risks to do what they want. But isn't that the way it should be...? Shouldn't people be rewarded for making the smart choice rather than the selfish choice?

And if you find yourself reacting to that negatively...ask yourself: to what extent am I influenced by modern attitudes? To what extent to I believe that extra-marital sex is a right? To what extent do I believe that the risks should not exist for me?

I don't expect my view will be popular. I oppose Jo's viewpoint, not because I think she is the aberration, but because I recognize that the world's way brings more of the pain and misery it purports to help you avoid. I admit my view is based on the teachings of Christianity...but they work well for achieving peace, happiness, and contentment nonetheless. Rejecting a method that works just because of the person who tells it to you is the height of foolishness, wouldn't you say?

*To be honest, I don't really even think it is unthinkably horrible to convict someone innocent. It would suck to be that guy, sure, but being in the military, I've already gotten used to the idea that you can be punished for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I've already gotten used to the idea of "taking one for the team". If my son were wrongly convicted, I'd tell him to act honorably and take his circumstances with the best possible attitude, and that I'd be working ceaselessly to get his innocence proven.

See, our legal system is predicated on the idea that it is better for 100 guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be convicted. Fair enough. But is it worth it if 1,000 guilty people go free on technicalities? What about 100,000? What if one of the 100 guilty people who got to go free goes out and murders that one innocent person. Wouldn't it have been better for that one innocent person to have spent a few years in jail and then dealt with the aftereffects of being unjustly imprisoned for the rest of their life than to be murdered and not have that life? Where do you draw the line?

And how exactly does that equation work? Because we still convict some innocent people. Don't tell me it doesn't happen. So do we have to let more guilty people go free to make up for it, or convict more guilty people to justify the innocent who are being convicted.

All this makes me question the initial assumption. Maybe it would be better to throw that out and start with something else. Maybe it would be better to create a legal system that attempts to be correct 99% of the time...and then review all cases in light of new evidence to make sure we are meeting that goal and to discover/fix the problems when we don't match it. And then establish a higher burden of proof for capital punishment because it is irreversible, but lower the burden of proof for crimes in which the sentence isn't that bad.

Something's gotta change, tho. Our legal system doesn't do anything to stop crime or rehabilitate the criminal anymore. The only person the criminal system really works on is someone who didn't really intend to commit a crime...

Posted by Nathan at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
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