• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Why Do Social Conservatives Hate Contraceptives So Much?

I must admit that I’ve never quite understood why social conservatives are so vehement in their opposition to contraceptive use, or even the very idea of sex education, while at the same time being stridently pro-life. After all, it seems quite logical that more widespread use of contraceptives would make abortion far less likely, which is something I think that both “pro-choice” and “pro-life” people would say is a good thing. Nonetheless, the opposition continues, as personified by Kathryn Jean Lopez’s column at Townhall today:

Why are Republicans waging war on contraception? It’s not the first time the question has been asked, and it won’t be the last. Truth be told, Republicans aren’t engaging in battle on that front — but the phrase gets close to a legitimate fight.

Congress, for its part, held an unprecedented vote in the House in February to end funding of Planned Parenthood. It’s not a permanent or final vote; it was attached to a short-term move to keep the government funded. The debate in Congress was given momentum by the Live Action investigatory videos, which raised significant questions about what exactly Planned Parenthood is doing; but the rest of us need to discuss why we’ve let Planned Parenthood step in as a mainstream Band-Aid, throwing contraception and even abortion at problems that have much more fundamental solutions.

While women may want love and marriage, they don’t expect it. Justice Sandra O’Connor wrote in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey opinion that women had “organized intimate relationships, and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” And why wouldn’t they? Who, nowadays, encourages them to want more?

We’ve come to expect less for and from ourselves, and for and from one another. In part, it’s the fruit of the contraceptive pill. New York magazine recently observed in a cover feature: “The pill is so ingrained in our culture today that girls go on it in college, even high school, and stay on it for five, 10, 15, even 20 years.” That, of course, has had all kinds of fallout: a false sense of freedom, security. And it has ravaged women’s fertility, as it seeks to mute exactly what women’s reproductive power is all about.

That’s why I want to turn back the clock — to a time when we valued love and marriage and didn’t expect, support and even encourage promiscuity. Life and history don’t work that way, obviously, there is no actual rewind. But we do have opportunities to learn from our mistakes.

The spending fight over Planned Parenthood in Congress is about a number of things. It’s primarily about good stewardship, as so much of the spending debate is. But beyond legislation, beyond anything Congress can or should do, it is a call to arms for a new sexual revolution. It’s about wanting more for ourselves and for those whom we love. It’s about ending the surrender to a contraceptive mentality that treats human sexuality as just another commercial transaction.

Now, frankly, I’m not entirely unsympathic to those who want to defund Planned Parenthood, not because I disagree with it’s mission but because I don’t believe that providing taxpayer dollars to such organizations is a proper function of government. Nonetheless, Lopez’s column makes clear that this battle isn’t really about Planned Parenthood at all but about the very idea that we live in a society where men and women have the option of using methods to prevent pregnancy and thus don’t have to live with the fear that every sexual encounter will lead to an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. The development of contraceptives was perhaps one of the most liberating advances to come out of medical science, not just for men, but for women as well because of that simple fact. And yet, it seems fairly obvious that there are some number of social conservatives who would prefer that they didn’t exist, or that the law made it illegal to obtain them.

That certainly seems to be the implication, for example, in the post that Robert Stacey McCain writes about Lopez’s column:

A “society excessively concerned with efficiency” obviously can’t tolerate the unpredictable realities of natural, fertile human sexuality. The very name Planned Parenthood expresses the idea that they are offering something somehow superior to unplanned parenthood, that there is something wrong and inferior about letting nature take its course in matters of reproduction or — as Christians would say — recognizing God’s sovereignty as the Author of Life.

If God’s will is involved from the beginning in our lives, if God has known us even in the womb, as the Psalmist says, then at some level we must acknowledge that contraception involves a rejection of God.

We can understand why Republican officials, who must base their public-policy arguments on broadly secular aims, seldom express strictly religious opposition to contraception. Why, however, do most conservative writers shy away from explicitly faith-based arguments on such issues? Pundits don’t have to seek re-election and therefore need not hide their light under a bushel, as it were.

What has happened, in the decades since Griswold vs. Connecticut, is that the regime of “sexual liberation” has so deeply penetrated American life — in law, in academia, in the attitudes fostered by news media and popular entertainment — that critics of the Culture of Death are nowadays regarded as outlaws. To call sin by its proper name is to impugn activity that people have been indoctrinated to believe is their “right.” Unwilling to risk the outlaw stigma, people who know the truth have lapsed into silence, so that liars seldom meet opposition in the public discourse. And thus falsehood triumphs.

While Mccain doesn’t really come out and say that contraception should be illegal — which is quite different from the question of whether or not an organization like Planned Parenthood should receive government subsidies — the mention of Griswold seems telling. That, after all, is the case where the Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law that made it a crime to sell contraceptives even to married couples, based primarily on a right to marital and sexual privacy emanating from the un-enumerated rights protected by the Ninth Amendment. Several years later, that holding was extended to strike down a statute that prohibited the sale of contraceptives to unmarried couples. In that case, Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Court said:

If the Massachusetts statute cannot be upheld as a deterrent to fornication or as a health measure, may it, nevertheless, be sustained simply as a prohibition on contraception? The Court of Appeals analysis “led inevitably to the conclusion that, so far as morals are concerned, it is contraceptives per se that are considered immoral – to the extent that Griswold will permit such a declaration.” 429 F.2d, at 1401-1402. The Court of Appeals went on to hold, id., at 1402:

    “To say that contraceptives are immoral as such, and are to be forbidden to unmarried persons who will nevertheless persist in having intercourse, means that such persons must risk for themselves an unwanted pregnancy, for the child, illegitimacy, and [405 U.S. 438, 453] for society, a possible obligation of support. Such a view of morality is not only the very mirror image of sensible legislation; we consider that it conflicts with fundamental human rights. In the absence of demonstrated harm, we hold it is beyond the competency of the state.”

We need not and do not, however, decide that important question in this case because, whatever the rights of the individual to access to contraceptives may be, the rights must be the same for the unmarried and the married alike.

If under Griswold the distribution of contraceptives to married persons cannot be prohibited, a ban on distribution to unmarried persons would be equally impermissible. It is true that in Griswold the right of privacy in question inhered in the marital relationship. Yet the marital couple is not an independent entity with a mind and heart of its own, but an association of two individuals each with a separate intellectual and emotional makeup. If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child. See Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U.S. 557 (1969). 10 See also Skinner v. Oklahoma, [405 U.S. 438, 454] 316 U.S. 535 (1942); Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 29 (1905).

Does the right really want to go back to a day when people weren’t allowed to purchase contraceptives? Based on the arguments from people like Lopez and McCain, it certainly seems like it.

Now there are some who will say that any use of artificial contraception is immoral, but that’s a religious value, not the basis for a general law.  And the idea that people should not be free to use contraceptives in the privacy of their own relationships strikes me as being fundamentally out of touch with American liberty itself. Ron Chusid puts it best:

Lopez wants “to turn back the clock — to a time when we valued love and marriage and didn’t expect, support and even encourage promiscuity.” Making contraception more difficult to obtain might discourage some acts of promiscuity, but the desire for sex is hardly a new development in human history. Besides, do we really want a government which decides whether it is okay to have sex? I certainly never noticed that role for government in the Constitution. Promiscuity will continue regardless of what the Republicans do, but if conservatives have their way the result will be turning back the clock to the day of coat-hanger abortions.

I’m not sure that this constitutes a “war on women,” as some have said, but it surely is a war  on freedom.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    As John Stewart once said: some conservatives are nostalgic for a past that never actually existed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2

  2. Bob in Zion says:

    Flip the question Doug, why are social liberals so scared of the idea of abstinence only education?

    The truth is sex education minus abstinence education doesn’t work or the other way around. I’ll place the blame squarely on the “choice” crowd, who’s made anything that doesn’t lead to a pregnancy, then an abortion as a problem.

    30 Years ago Planned Parenthood was an organization that mostly dealt with family planning and pregnancy prevention. The groups mission has been usurped, and they now are basically an abortion rights organization who gives away rubbers or birth control pills if you ask nice enough.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 42

  3. anjin-san says:

    Because people who use them are actually getting laid?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  4. christoff says:

    “Now, frankly, I’m not entirely unsympathic to those who want to defund Planned Parenthood, not because I disagree with it’s mission but because I don’t believe that providing taxpayer dollars to such organizations is a proper function of government. ”

    Really, it isn’t governments job to provide funding for health care needs of women? Do you also believe that government shouldn’t provide funding for healthcare for minorities?

    Zero federal funding goes to abortion related costs at planned parenthood, but rather rents, public education about STIs, cancer screening for women, birth controle.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

  5. ponce says:

    “some conservatives are nostalgic for a past that never actually existed.”

    Richard Nixon signed the Title X bill that provides the government funding to places like Planned Parenthood.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  6. Bleev K says:

    They hate contraceptives because they hate freedom.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Social conservatives are idiots. That’s the simple answer. And I’m not being flip: they are stupid people.

    They believe (wrongly) that things were better in some (undefined) good old days and they want (impossibly) to get back to a time that never existed. They’re nostalgic for a world they only learned about from re-runs of 1950’s TV shows (written by Hollywood lefties and gays, but hey, who’s counting?) They’re the intellectual equivalent of people who want a return to sharia law.

    The world is complicated, and complication requires intelligence and judgment to cope. Stupid people don’t want complexity, they want simple yes/no answers. They are threatened by complexity. So out comes the Bible (which they also don’t understand) and out comes the fits-on-a-bumper-sticker theology (which is of course to real theology what See Spot run is to Hamlet’s soliloquy,) and by God, they are going to turn the clock back to a time when (in their fantasy) the world was made for the stupid.

    There’s a reason liberals think conservatives are stupid: because a really big chunk of them are. Not to say we don’t have our own stupid people, but unlike you guys, we don’t generally listen to our dumbasses. You know, because we’re elitists and all that.

    When you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras. When you see people acting really stupid, it’s probably because they’re really stupid.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 4

  8. Bob_In_Zion says:

    When you hear hoofbeats think horses, not zebras. When you see people acting really stupid, it’s probably because they’re really stupid.

    Thanks for explaining the 70,000 people protesting in Madison for me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  9. They hate contraceptives because contraceptives divorce sex from procreation, undermining their whole worlddview regarding what they see as the relationship between marriage, children, and sexuality.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  10. wr says:

    Or, to put it in a slighty shorter version than Stormy has, it’s because they hate sex. They are terrified of the animal parts of the human being, and disgusted by the sexual act itself — although they tend to be drawn to the weirder and freakier versions of it, probably because of their repression. They hate contraception because then there’s no punishment for sex. KJ Lopez comes out and says it clearly.

    It’s a sad, sick group of people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Bob:

    Nice try. But the people in Madison are motivated by rational self-interest: they want to keep on being well-paid, and they want to be able to bargain for better pay in the future.

    Whereas there is simply no rational basis for opposing birth control.

    And dude, in the future, write your own bits, (if you can) don’t try to hijack mine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  12. If God’s will is involved from the beginning in our lives, if God has known us even in the womb, as the Psalmist says, then at some level we must acknowledge that contraception involves a rejection of God.

    By this logic, a decision to remain single and abistent is also a rejection of God. Can the government require people to get married and have children as well?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  13. george says:

    If God’s will is involved from the beginning in our lives, if God has known us even in the womb, as the Psalmist says, then at some level we must acknowledge that contraception involves a rejection of God.

    As does medicine – are they planning on shutting down hospitals too? For that matter, there’s the same sort of rejection in flying in an airplane (if we were meant to fly we’d have been born with wings), and any number of other technologies.

    I really hope Robert Stacey Mccain was being ironic in that quote, or perhaps intending the piece for The Onion

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  14. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    Dang Bob, looks like you kocked over a barrel of Marxists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  15. ponce says:

    “Stupid people don’t want complexity, they want simple yes/no answers.”

    I don;’t think that’s quite right.

    I think it’s more along the lines of Social Conservatives are compelled, in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ, to be judgmental.

    Yes, dividing the world into good and evil is simplistic, but it’s the judging, not the simplicity, that is the addiction of Social Conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  16. michael reynolds says:

    Ponce:

    But there are so many better ways to be judgmental that don’t require people to insist on the social equivalent of suspending gravity. Hell, I’m judgmental, I’m just not judgmental in ways that mark me as fundamentally divorced from reality.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  17. Axel Edgren says:

    Religious people are convenient – there will always be a need of cannon fodder, bread producers, tax payers and all the unexciting, empty, non-competitive, non-carnivorous and well-behaving roles in society.

    I am not some dumb liberal who wants to raise the masses out of ignorance and squalor. I don’t want competition, and I don’t want the squalid or mediocre to think above their station and try to achieve anything. Can you imagine a world with 7 billion people where everyone are somewhat educated and spiritually elevated?

    It would be pandemonium. No, as long as the majority are low and simple shrine-worshipers, there is more left for the proper people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  18. anjin-san says:

    > Dang Bob, looks like you kocked over a barrel of Marxists.

    Perhaps you can explain what it is that makes you a capitalist…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  19. ponce says:

    “Hell, I’m judgmental, I’m just not judgmental in ways that mark me as fundamentally divorced from reality.”

    Yes, but the moment you start being rational, the number of things you can declare as evil is severely limited.

    Social Conservatives need a constant stream of things and people they can feel superior to…a daily (maybe even hourly) fix.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  20. Kylopod says:

    Isn’t it part of current Catholic doctrine? That’s not an answer to your question exactly, but it is worth pointing out that a lot of social conservatives, including Kathryn Lopez, are Catholics. So the question then should be, “Why is the Catholic Church so opposed to contraception?” There are fairly concrete answers for that. We may not find those answers satisfying, but at least there’s an explanation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  21. sam says:

    As I’ve argued here before, conservatives, esp. social conservatives, are caught in a bind that they seem unaware of. They are staunch defenders of capitalism, but as George Will put it, capitalism destroys capitalist (read conservative) values. Think Schumpertarian creative destruction in social arrangements. Capitalism frees individuals to pursue their own ends without the dead hand of tradition to restrain them. You cannot on the one hand praise capitalism for the freedom it engenders and on the other wish to stifle that freedom. Unless, of course, you’re fundamentally incoherent in your thinking and unaware of the incoherence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  22. Franklin says:

    Flip the question Doug, why are social liberals so scared of the idea of abstinence only education?

    The truth is sex education minus abstinence education doesn’t work or the other way around.

    It appears that you are trying to have it both ways. Abstinence-only education doesn’t work. Study after study demonstrates this quite clearly. In a rarity, there has never even been a study that shows it DOES work. And in fact it appears that you admit that “… or the other way around.”

    Nobody has a problem with sex education that includes the information that the only way to be sure is through abstinence. But ending the lesson right there DOES NOT WORK. That’s why “liberals” are “scared” of doing that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  23. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    Nobody has a problem with sex education that includes the information that the only way to be sure is through abstinence.

    I am not to sure about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  24. Brett says:

    Kathryn Lopez’s argument probably comes out of the weird conservative Catholic hatred for contraception and any sex that isn’t procreative (not that I’d take the sexual advice from a celibate clergyman anyways), as well as plain ignorance. Superfreakonomics actually has some good info about how much more widespread prostitution was 100 years ago (back when it was supposedly about love), including the percentage of men who used it.

    No idea where McCain’s coming from, although it’s probably being a conservative Baptist. As an atheist, though, I love the unthinking arrogance with which he pronounces that contraception is contrary to “God’s Will”. It’d be fun to argue with him and refer to God as a “Sky Pixie”, just to see how riled up he would get.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  25. An Interested Party says:

    …why are social liberals so scared of the idea of abstinence only education?

    Because simply telling young people not to have sex does not stop them from having sex…

    When you see people acting really stupid, it’s probably because they’re really stupid.

    Oh? So now people practicing their Constitutional rights are doing something “stupid”…

    “I think it’s more along the lines of Social Conservatives are compelled, in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ, to be judgmental.”

    Ding! Ding! Ding! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner…certainly this wouldn’t apply to all Social Conservatives, but far too many of them seem to want to preach about Jesus without following his teachings themselves…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  26. tom p says:

    I’m not sure that this constitutes a “war on women,” as some have said, but it surely is a war on freedom.

    Doug, the war is on “the freedom of women“. Fat, barefoot, and pregnant,… that’s how we like ‘em.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  27. tom p says:

    “I think it’s more along the lines of Social Conservatives are compelled, in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ, to be judgmental.”

    I always have a problem with statements like these because, quite simply… we are all judgemental!!!!

    I mean c’mon, one should not judge Hitler and the SS? Pol Pot and the Khmer rouge? Yeah, now someone is going to accuse me of violating Godwin’s Law but really… haven’t you already made a judgement about them? Yeah, Jesus said,”He who is without sin, may he throw the first stone.” but somehow or other I am not sure he was speaking of Pol Pot when he said that (indeed, he was talking about a woman accused of adultery, if I remember correctly)

    We are all judgemental, rightly or wrongly, tell me you aren’t and I will call you a liar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  28. ponce says:

    “We are all judgemental, rightly or wrongly, tell me you aren’t and I will call you a liar.”

    tom,

    Some people can have one beer and stop drinking.

    Others drink 20 and have to be hauled out of the bar, kicking and screaming.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  29. Wiley Stoner says:

    I think you are framing the issue wrong. Historically that is what Mataconis does and as GA stated the marxists join in. Planned Parenthood is not about rubbers, it is about killing babies. I know communist babies are only alive upon birth. Everyone else is alive at conception. I agree with abortion for those who have adhered to marxist politics (most who comment here). What I would do is legalized post-natal abortion, although the process of brain removal would be impossible as you cannot remove what does not exist. Look at Reyolds picture and tell me there is a brain in there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12

  30. Walt says:

    I know a lot of social conservatives, and for the most part they really don’t fit the picture reported in these comments. There’s a lot of stereotyping and over-generalization going on here, and, quite frankly, some hysteric nonsense. It’s all much more complicated. . . as explained below.

    “The world is complicated, and complication requires intelligence and judgment to cope. Stupid people don’t want complexity, they want simple yes/no answers. They are threatened by complexity.”

    But some people want only simple answers . . .

    “Social conservatives are idiots. That’s the simple answer. And I’m not being flip: they are stupid people.”

    Perhaps only a social conservative, like I am, is really stupid enough to notice the blaring contradiction above.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  31. anjin-san says:

    > But some people want only simple answers . . .

    “Social conservatives are idiots. That’s the simple answer. And I’m not being flip: they are stupid people.”

    Perhaps only a social conservative, like I am, is really stupid enough to notice the blaring contradiction above.

    Ummm. Walt? Sometimes there are simple answers. Some people only want simple answers. They are two different things. But thanks for helping out with proof of concept.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  32. anjin-san says:

    > and as GA stated the marxists join in
    > I know communist babies are only alive upon birth

    Dirt everywhere is profoundly embarrassed by this display of stupidity…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  33. sam says:

    Anybody else think Wiley is Zels with a better grasp of syntax?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  34. Wiley Stoner says:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/49224994/US-Citizen-or-US-Natural-Born-Citizen-V4-0
    Open that sucker and read what it says. I dare ya.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. Walt says:

    anjin-san,

    Yes, I see. And Michael Reynolds is, at least in this instance, one of those people who “only want simple answers.” He doesn’t agree with — and seems not to like — social conservatives. Ergo then they MUST all be “idiots” and “stupid.” Yes, MR likes that simple answer. Now, since we already have MR’s simple “answer,” it might be wise to ask the question: Are all social conservatives idiots and stupid? Anjin-san, don’t you think the answer just might be a little more complicated than that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  36. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    “I think it’s more along the lines of Social Conservatives are compelled, in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ, to be judgmental.”

    I always have a problem with statements like these because, quite simply… they don’t make any sense!!!!

    But Im not being judgemental, just pointing out the obvious.

    Oh and as a moslty social conservative, I don’t hate rubbers. In fact I wish liberlas would do us all a favor and use them at all times.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  37. Have A Nice G.A. says:
  38. Walt says:

    Anjin-san,

    A more suitable question to ask is, What are social conservatives like in the area of intelligence? MR’s answer is certainly simple, but is it true?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  39. anjin-san says:

    > Anjin-san, don’t you think the answer just might be a little more complicated than that?

    Based on commentary I see from self-described “social conservatives”? As a great thinker once said – “a miniscule… a very small amount”.

    Tell me something Walt, who was the hero of “Atlas Shrugged”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. anjin-san says:

    If you took 100 social conservatives and asked them how many take Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck seriously, my guess is it would be what, 70-80%? Really, what is there to do at that points besides strike up the band and play Send in the Clowns?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  41. DRF says:

    Social liberals don’t “hate” abstinence only education. We do find it offensive that social conservatives insist on government funding of these programs when all studies show it is the least effective method of preventing unwanted teenage pregnancies. We find it offensive that social conservatives insist on abstinence only education for religious and ideological reasons, not because of its efficacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  42. sam says:

    ” Are all social conservatives idiots and stupid?”

    I for one don’t think all social conservatives are idiots and stupid, but I do think that all who are idiots and stupid are social conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  43. Taking a couple outliers and proclaiming they represent an entire movement is a tried and true technique.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  44. gVOR08 says:

    Mataconis—reading through the post, it’s apparent that you really do understand this. But let’s get more explicit. They believe that creating a life is God’s will. Avoiding conception is thwarting God’s will just aas much as abortion is. (I’m at a loss as to what they think about miscarriages. Probably avoid thinking about it. Well, not entirely, as some of them are trying to pretend there’s a long standing tradition of having funerals.) They of course can’t talk about God’s will, as then it’s obviously a matter of imposing their religious views on others and runs afoul of church and state. So they lie.

    As you pay attention to politics, you may come to notice that conservative Republicans lie a lot. It’s because they really cannot be honest. Al Gore can say publically that he thinks destroying the planet is a bad idea. James Inhofe can’t honestly discuss his motives in public.

    You really do need to read George Lakoff, perhaps starting with Whose Freedom?.

    “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.” – John Stuart Mill

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  45. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    I take you seriously too anjin-san :) Even Harry, I have no doubt that the both of you mean what you say….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  46. [...] Why Do Social Conservatives Hate Contraceptives So Much? (outsidethebeltway.com) [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. sam says:

    @Charles

    “Taking a couple outliers and proclaiming they represent an entire movement is a tried and true technique.”

    I don’t understand Charles. Are you saying that I was perpetrating a calumny on the stupid and idiot community by saying that all, or most, of them are social conservatives?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Bob in Zion says:

    Michael, it’s not “hijacking your bits” it’s called a blockquote, it’s so those who don’t know what someone is referring to in a comment can look back on what was originally said.

    And by the way, the folks protesting in Madison would still be allowed to negotiate for better pay, holidays and work hours. They wouldn’t be allowed to hagle over which benefit plan they’d be in, they’d all get the state workers plan for health care and retirement. Oddly, the benefits are identical to what about 90% of state teachers get through the WEA Trust insurance, but at about 68 million less per year for the school districts. Since the state is going to reduce state aid to schools it allows the districts to find a better fitting plan than the one the union happens to own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  49. michael reynolds says:

    Bob:

    Huge surprise: you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  50. george says:

    Social conservatives are idiots. That’s the simple answer. And I’m not being flip: they are stupid people.

    Much as I’d like to agree with you, that’s simply wrong. For instance, there are quite a few extremely intelligent social conservatives in the Vatican – some are famous historians, quite a few philosophers. The Jesuits in particular have a very strong reputation as intellectuals, for all their social conservatism. As well, several Nobel Prize winners in science are social conservatives (mainly Catholics for some reason – perhaps because Catholism came to terms with science a century ago, and now has no problem with evolution etc, just taking the position that God started the big bang).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  51. Walt says:

    Anjin-san,

    “Sometimes there are simple answers. Some people only want simple answers. They are two different things.”

    You are good at stating the obvious, since all three statements are bland truisms, yet offer no real argument. The issue is whether social conservatives are idiots, stupid people. Someone who says they are is, at least in this instance, a person who only wants a simple answer.

    “Based on commentary I see. . . .” I suggest there is a whole lot more to see. Lots more, especially outside the realm of politics, talk shows, CNN, etc.

    The hero of “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, that cheerleader for capitalism, self-proclaimed ethical egoist, priestess of the cult of “reason,” and writer of a screed for libertarianism. Can’t
    remember and don’t want to. Fortunately I never HAD to read another one of her novels; there is just too much real literature to read, and so little time. . . .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  52. anjin-san says:

    > You are good at stating the obvious

    Well, it may be obvious, but you completely missed it, as your failed takedown directed at MG clearly showed. So I had to state the obvious for you.

    > talk shows, CNN, etc.

    Never watch talk shows. Never watch CNN, except in Presidential cycles. Have not idea what you are going on about.

    You appear to be a semi-bright guy masquerading as a bright one. I guess that is what qualifies as an intellectual in social conservative circles. At any rate, I hope you can step up your game at some point. Right now you come across as a college sophomore who is trying too hard to impress people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. anjin-san says:

    > there are quite a few extremely intelligent social conservatives in the Vatican

    Outliers, George. Outliers. The intellectual firepower within the Vatican and of the Jesuits in impressive, no doubt about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  54. michael reynolds says:

    George:

    I think you’re confusing the sheep with the wool merchants.

    In any movement there are the bulk of followers and the small elite who exploit them. You had to be a fool to buy into Communism, but Stalin was not a stupid man. The Roman Catholic hierarchy aren’t fools, but their bills are paid by suckers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  55. anjin-san says:

    And now for something just a little more worthwhile:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLPHz8KT9No&feature=related

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Janis Gore says:

    I have an opinion. This is the last time I’ll tell theThe Intertubes. i was the the seventh after six perfect children, but was imperfect . I have something called Fong’s disease, or as we call it now, Nail-Patella Syndrome.

    I am a subject of what medicals call “spontaneous mutation” but others would call “God’s will”. I haven’t suffered much: some odd falls in my very young years, odd thumbnails, knees and lower legs that won’t suffer a miniskirt.

    But my babies can be born with club feet backwards. Our chidren’s conditions can be less or more. My children have a 50% chance of inheriting the gene.

    I married a man with a vasectomy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  57. Have A Nice G.A. says:

    The Roman Catholic hierarchy aren’t fools

    According to the Bible they are and so are believers in dialectical materialism…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. mannning says:

    From the Planned Parenthood site:

    “Our committed, professional staff provides high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for millions of women, men, and teens.
    Planned Parenthood health centers around the country offer you the health care you need. Our caring and knowledgeable staff provide a wide range of services. These services vary by location. They may include

    Abortion Birth Control Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill) General Health Care HIV Testing Men’s Health Care Pregnancy Testing & Services STD Testing, Treatment & Vaccines Women’s Health Care .”

    .Of the services provided by PP, there are three aspects of real import:

    1. That it is the government paying for this via taxpayers;
    2. That their most invasive service is abortion;
    3, That contraception is their attempt to head off abortions and STD.

    Were PP to become entirely privately funded, and also stop any support to abortion whatsoever, their remaining services would most certainly be welcome, and this includes their support to contraception.

    One gets the impression, however, that many here are trying to mount an indirect defense of PP by justifying its role in contraception, and eliding away from or suppressing its role in abortion, and the fact of taxpayer funding.

    The condemnation of social conservatives as being stupid is rather shamefully juvenile and unworthy of so-called “superior” intellects of a leftist bent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  59. epistorese says:

    Having grown up in the environment of which you are all talking, I can see that you seem to be missing one point about social conservatives/evangelical-fundies/catholics. Part of the “mission” of Christians is, at least in these camps, to be “salt and light” to the world. That concept has fairly routinely throughout Western history to mean that these groups see their role as to actively oppose and attempt to prohibit societal evil–such as promiscuity and abortion. (These people are the same free market capitalists who believe that the market never produces unnecessary or unwarrented products–except in the case of the recreational pharmaceutical industry–which is a communist plot anyway.) Many, if not all, of the people within this group genuinely believe that they have a moral and spiritual obligation to be against contraception, abortion, casual sex, and all the rest. More importantly, they believe that by not actively opposing these phenomena, they put their immortal souls in danger (except for the Calvinists, for whom the shame of not getting a “well done” at the end time will be bad enough).

    That this position contradicts another firmly held doctrine–that each human is his/her own moral agent and is entitled to act in opposition to God’s law if he or she chooses–simply doesn’t have a place in their thinking. Notions of dispensationalism and ideas that of America as “God’s shining city on a hill” also affect the practice of their beliefs. “God’s country” simply cannot be a place where some given number of pregnancies are aborted or some number of fertilized ova are prohibited from connecting to the womb by abortfacient birth control hormomes or devices. While it is convoluted, the belief has a logic of sorts driving it and to say that Christians hate sex or some other bromide simply reinforces the beilef of the faithful that “you guys don’t get it”–because you don’t when you resort to such reductionism. Understand your opponent better–they understand you better than you realize.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  60. sam says:

    @epistorese

    “These people are the same free market capitalists”

    See my comment upthread @ Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 17:23.

    As I said, they are incoherent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. mannning says:

    Well, gee, we can’t have it both ways: a free market and a good working set of capitalist values. Why not, I ask? We have had a “mixed market” (or a free market with controls) in the US practically forever, which means the impulses to absolute value-free behaviors are constrained to a significant degree by government regulations, the rules of the road, individual integrity, and the ethics of good businesses. If the regulations are defective, fix them. If the rules of the road are not adequate, fix them. If individual integrity either in the private sector or in government roles is deficient, fire the bastards. If the ethics of some businesses are deficient, expose them publically and shun them. Boycotts do work.

    That the government cannot keep up with the machinations of the financial sector is the government’s fault for not hiring, paying for and using really good financial analysts effectively, and the government’s bias as well towards short-term political decisions or non-decisions at any given time, never mind the advice of good analysts, witness Obama’s proposed budget!. Then too, we have the specter of the government pressing for ideological solutions they were not sanctioned by the public to pursue, with yet another negative impact on the market.

    That the government clubfootedly interferes with the operation of the free market in the wrong way, such as pressing and threatening lenders to issue highly dubious loans to prospective homeowners, or else, is certainly not the fault of the free market itself (Dodd and Frank pushed this dumb maneuver). That little maneuver is at the bottom of a lot of our financial woes, which were supposed to be cured by…government handouts to their favorite institutiions!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  62. sam says:

    Missed the point. Egregiously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. Sandra says:

    I must admit that I’ve never quite understood why social conservatives are so vehement in their opposition to contraceptive use, or even the very idea of sex education, while at the same time being stridently pro-life.

    I’m going to put this as simple as possible. The whole teaching about embracing “self-discipline and continence can be summed up as

    “Stop treating other people as objects only here for you self gratification.”

    More direct and to the point

    “Men, stop treating women like kleenex tissues, or a bath…”

    Sorry guys, the gals that are as libertine as you are only ‘copying” your behavior to get your attention for longer than the act takes, about as long as a sneeze.

    The sum of all of this is back to the Commandments. Which you have to admit is a pretty good set of guidelines for all societies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  64. mantis says:

    Were PP to become entirely privately funded, and also stop any support to abortion whatsoever, their remaining services would most certainly be welcome, and this includes their support to contraception.

    Welcome to whom? Not social conservatives. That’s kind of the point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  65. wr says:

    That’s right, Sandra. Women don’t really like sex. The ones who say they do are only trying to please men at the cost of their own selfhood. All the good ones know that sex is icky and gross, and good only for making babies and keeping their men from visiting that slut down the street who’s willing to do all the dirty things.

    You keep telling yourself that. Maybe it makes you feel better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  66. sam says:

    “The sum of all of this is back to the Commandments. Which you have to admit is a pretty good set of guidelines for all societies.”

    Perhaps. But social conservatives seem all too willing to employ the force of law to achieve the ends of these “guidelines”. Some of us harbor the, to those folks, strange notion that the government has no business in our bedrooms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  67. Walt says:

    “Well, it may be obvious, but you completely missed it, as your failed takedown directed at MG clearly showed. So I had to state the obvious for you.”

    Not a very good evasion of the argument. Thing is at first you did not think you were stating the obvious; rather, you thought you were making an argument. You wrote: “Sometimes there are simple answers. Some people only want simple answers. They are two different things.” And THAT proves my attempted “takedown” of MR a failure? You are more of a simpleton than I thought.

    “Tell me something Walt, who was the hero of ‘Atlas Shrugged’? Your version of an intelligence or knowledge test? Anjin-san, this sounds a bit sophomoric.

    Followed by this:

    George: “There are quite a few extremely intelligent social conservatives in the Vatican”

    Anjin-san: “The intellectual firepower within the Vatican and of the Jesuits in (sic) impressive, no doubt about that.”

    But, Anjin-san, according to MR, whom you defended, social conservatives are idiots and stupid people.

    Then. . .

    “You appear to be a semi-bright guy masquerading as a bright one. I guess that is what qualifies as an intellectual in social conservative circles.”

    Not sure about my IQ, but I spent four wonderful years doing post-graduate work under the direction of some of that “intellectual firepower in the Vatican.”

    Buon giorno!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  68. Janis Gore says:

    Epistorese has it. I am a free moral agent. If guilt is apportioned to me, I will accept it, and will deal with God in my own time. I hardly think that my piddling actions wll bring God’s wrath to the communtity where I live.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  69. Speckk says:

    Social conservatism is all about traditional, mostly religious values. You’re whole premise is bunk if you won’t accept that. Pundits will toe the social conservative line out of belief or expectation that it’s what readers want to hear, and what will help them keep their job. Even people who consider themselves more spiritual than religious often recognize that traditional values provide valuable consistency and healthy interpersonal connection in a disconnected society.

    As for mistaking every religious person for the sheeple masses, some of you need to read your Aldous Huxley. In the modern world, it’s easier for people to spend their lives caught up in a cycle of Sex,drugs and Rock ‘n’ roll than a life of self control (though the two extremes can provide self-reinforcement). There’s tremendous chemical and psychological change that gets built up with even the most “casual” of sexual encounters that many people willfully ignore in their pursuit of freedom from the consequences for their actions.

    While the pill may have freed women from bearing children whenever they respond to their basic reproductive instincts, it comes with its own hormonal package affecting moods, thought, and according to one study attractiveness. I have friends who are into organic and vegan lifestyles who have second thoughts consuming such a pill. While I’d prefer birth control in the short term relationship, I’ve discussed the curse on Eve from Genesis with Catholics, so I know and respect their scriptural basis for condemning birth control.

    You’re welcome to disagree with me on any of these points, but you’d have to be pretty ignorant to miss the rational basis based on belief systems and backgrounds behind the general social conservative objection to Birth Control. In some senses, objection to birth control could sound more logical to Libertarians than the “faith” Liberals have in their economic and social policies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  70. anjin-san says:

    > I spent four wonderful years doing post-graduate work under the direction of some of that “intellectual firepower in the Vatican

    Yet you still sound like a callow freshman. Yawn. Good luck with you quest to find folks you can impress with your rather limpid patter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  71. Janis Gore says:

    Before marrying a man with a vasectomy, I used an IUD with great efficiency for twenty years.

    “Ye Gods, it ‘s an abortifacient!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  72. anjin-san says:

    > Sorry guys, the gals that are as libertine as you are only ‘copying” your behavior to get your attention for longer than the act takes,

    Of course. Because no mere woman could ever be a strong enough personality to know what she wants and go after it for reasons strictly her own.

    What you are describing is the behavior of 15 year olds. Does your estimation of women really stop around there? Of is that just a very broad brush you use to paint women who chose a path you don’t approve of with so that you might better look down your nose at them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  73. george says:

    Michael and Anjin: My point is that social conservatives, especially in the context of the whole world as opposed to just the US, are anything but uniform in anything (even their belief’s – the Catholic Church for instance is more liberal than the Democratic Party on many issues, and more conservative than the Republican Party on other issues). There’s a tendency to think social conservative means fundamentalist Christians with high school and maybe a year of college, but that’s just one part of that collection.

    As well as the Catholic hierarchy, there are many Islamic and Hebrew scholars who are also very conservative on many issues (especially relating to reproduction issues), and yet who are very intelligent and educated. And there are also quite a few of their followers who let themselves be guided by their beliefs on those issues, but who are very well educated and intelligent – often in the sciences and engineering. As a student I was involved in the peace movement, and I was always surprised how many professionals (doctors, engineers, professors, not many lawyers for some reason) were part of that movement, and yet at the same time were socially conservative about reproductive issues because of their beliefs (again mainly Catholics for some reason … and no, I’m not Catholic myself, its just something I noticed). There are quite a few of them, especially in Canada and Europe, and lumping them in with the types of people who believe in the gospel of Beck is being somewhat blind.

    I don’t think there’s actually that much correlation between religious belief and intelligence, in either way … and strong religious belief tends to make people socially conservative with regard to reproductive issues (and often socially liberal in terms of poverty, education and peace).

    For my part, I don’t think peoples position has much to do with intelligence, I think it has more to do with what Michael said about getting an advantage from a given belief system … which typically has more to do with culture, family and community than anything else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  74. Janis Gore says:

    And I always love it when men pontificate about contraception.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  75. And I always love it when men pontificate about contraception.

    Why? Because they’re not allowed to have an opinion on whether or not they want to cause a pregnancy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  76. Janis Gore says:

    Because you provide nothing more than a map when it comes to biological issues. The sperm that you laid down in a wet dream becomes something sacred when you find a woman. It’s not. It is what it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  77. Rob in CT says:

    The answer is quite simple: Religion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  78. anjin-san says:

    George,

    You should know that a certain amount of hyperbole seems to be de rigueur around here. I have no doubt that there are bright conservatives. I guess they just don’t drop by here all that often.

    Hence my question about Atlas Shrugged. Conservatives reference it constantly, yet I have not found a one who can tell me who the hero of the story is. Intelligence is an interesting thing. You can have enough to read a tome like Atlas Shrugged, yet not be bright enough to be able to see who the actual hero of the story is, while being malleable enough to allow others to tell you what the story means. Or one might only grasp the obvious points of the story, of which there are many, and miss any nuance.

    In general, I think the conservative movement in this country has turned its back on it’s intellectual tradition. It has become the National Enquirer of politics. Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley have been replaced by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, and dogmatists rule the roost, promulgating doctrine based on idealized version of American history that is far more fantasy than fact.

    This has attracted a lot of folks who are frankly, stupid, and encouraged thoughtful folks to find alternatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  79. anjin-san says:

    > Because they’re not allowed to have an opinion on whether or not they want to cause a pregnancy?

    They can have all the opinion they want. In this case however, the woman’s opinion is the one that counts. If you don’t like your woman’s opinion on pregnancy, find a woman who’s thinking is in line with your own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  80. Shannon says:

    I don’t even understand how banning contraceptives would meet their stated aims, “to turn back the clock — to a time when we valued love and marriage and didn’t expect, support and even encourage promiscuity.” Married people use contraception, too, or they do if they’re not crazy and trying to breed their 16 children up as a little mini-army in the Oregon woods or something. (True story!) Even if women abstain from sex until marriage, they could still theoretically end up with a basketful of them during the part of their lives when they’re supposed to be getting educated, finding a career, etc. And that’s why I do kind of see this as a war on women: or at least a war on women as they’ve evolved in the last 40 years or so. But Kathryn Jean Lopez’s remarks strike me, in this regard, as highly hypocritical. Obviously, she’s a working woman who isn’t trying to care for 12 children without the help of reality TV. So what gives?

    I suppose someone’s going to argue now that natural family planning is the solution. But, of course, it’s just another form of birth control, so fails the “not interfering with the deity” clause and the “not using other people as tissues” clause. It’s still sex while minimizing the possibility of procreation: it just does so less effectively than other forms of birth control. As my friend the obstetrical nurse says, “We have a word for natural family planners around here: parents.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  81. Elvis Elvisberg says:

    Conservatives hate contraceptives because the “pro-life” movement is 0% about fetuses and 100% about government mandating of a certain view of gender roles. Simple enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  82. george says:

    Hence my question about Atlas Shrugged. Conservatives reference it constantly, yet I have not found a one who can tell me who the hero of the story is. Intelligence is an interesting thing. You can have enough to read a tome like Atlas Shrugged, yet not be bright enough to be able to see who the actual hero of the story is, while being malleable enough to allow others to tell you what the story means. Or one might only grasp the obvious points of the story, of which there are many, and miss any nuance.

    The problem might just be that the book is fairly boring – sort of like Marx’s “Das Capital” for communists, something they feel they should read to earn their credentials, but which puts them asleep when they pick it up. Though that’s just based on its beginning – I never got past the beginning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  83. Walt says:

    “Yet you still sound like a callow freshman. Yawn. Good luck with you quest to find folks you can impress with your rather limpid patter.”

    Hmmm. Every time I make an argument you can’t rebut, I lose status: first a “semi-bright guy,” then a “college sophomore,” and now a “callow freshman.” I don’t think the people on this site are really impressed with your stooping to ad hominem. It would be good for you to stop trying to take refuge in insult and be intellectually honest. I want to encourage you to try.

    As for “Atlas Shrugged,” Anjin-san, I know the story well, but I am unable to impress people with remembering a name. In response to your challenge, I could have looked the name up if I were trying to impress people, but I am not trying to do that. You say conservatives “reference it constantly.” I don’t know why. It’s second rate writing and “philosophically” (if that word can be used here) libertarian, not conservative. But then, perhaps I am not what is called a conservative in this country. I am certainly not one of the Beck or Palin variety.

    “Good luck with you quest to find folks you can impress with your rather limpid patter.”

    My real quest, obviously, is to debate. But since you refuse to do so, I’ll leave you with some helpful advice: do a little work on vocabulary, starting with the meaning of “limpid.” The word is never used pejoratively. It means “characterized by clearness, pellucid, easily intelligible, calm and untroubled, serene, free from obscurity, peaceful.” Or were you complimenting my “patter”?

    Buona sera!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  84. They can have all the opinion they want. In this case however, the woman’s opinion is the one that counts.

    So men aren’t allowed to use birth control without their wives permission?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  85. Hyman Rosen says:

    The social conservatives aren’t “pro-life” either. They believe that pregnancy is the proper punishment for women who dare to have sex, and are mouth-frothingly furious at abortion and contraception because it allows women to escape their just punishment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  86. Janis Gore says:

    See Lyman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. Janis Gore says:

    Back off. I married a man with a vasectomy..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. Janis Gore says:

    @Stormy Dragon

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  89. Janis Gore says:

    I have stood this ground for thirty years. If you want to make an argument against it, I’ll hear it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  90. Walt says:

    George,

    Appreciate your measured and insightful comments.

    You wrote, “perhaps because Catholism came to terms with science a century ago. . . .” Needs a little nuancing. You might want to check out the following:

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0101.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  91. mannning says:

    @ sam

    “Think Schumpertarian creative destruction in social arrangements.”

    Yes, you are right, I totally misread your statement, and went tangential. It must be that I just couldn’t get my mind around your phrase, and didn’t look up the concept of creative destruction a la Schumpeter, and then translate it to social arrangements. Obviously, something new for me today!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  92. Janis Gore says:

    Manning, you sound like a jerk. My case is not a hypothetical..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  93. Hugh says:

    Social conservatives are sex obsessed prudes who are upset that someone else is having more and better sex than they will ever know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  94. Irenist says:

    As a culturally conservative Catholic in my private life, who is also, like a good classical liberal, anti-war, pro-trade, pro-immigrant, pro-drug legalization and pro-civil-marriage-equality, I’ll try to address this post’s question. (Note for skimmers: The nub of my answer, and the part that contains info that Catholic cons roll our eyes about the broader culture’s complete ignorance of, is in part 2.)

    1. To begin, let’s clear the air about abortion: anti-abortion folks advocate a draconian legal regime that would restrict a woman’s civil liberties in her body itself. The legal implications of this for women’s freedom are ghastly. The only thing, from a classical liberal perspective, that could justify such draconian State intervention would be preventing violence. However, us anti-abortion folks think abortion is homicide, which even a minarchist night-watchman state ought to prohibit. But that doesn’t mean that I, at least, am not absolutely appalled at the invasion of women’s liberty that outlawing abortion would involve. Were murder not at issue, I can’t imagine supporting such a policy. But I think it is, so I do. YMMV. I respect that.

    2. Warning for friendly-neighborhood atheists: this next bit has lots of our Sky-God-worshipping nutjob jargon. Sorry, guys–try to bear with me: FWIW, I keep reading Dawkins, even though his most fun book was “The Selfish Gene” quite a while ago.

    I can’t speak for non-Catholic social conservatives, but Catholic thought on contraception looks increasingly to the “Theology of the Body” developed by John Paul II. That teaching depicts marriage as being a “free, total, faithful, fruitful” union in which marital sexuality allows spouses to come together as a “one-flesh union,” in which nothing is held back. This union partakes of the nature of Christ’s relationship with His Church–a relationship characterized by His servant-like self-giving and total self-emptying on the Cross. In giving ourselves to our spouses as totally, we are “the image of God,” in Genesis: we re-image the radically loving, radically self-emptying Oneness-in-Plurality characteristic of the Trinity. Contraception, by constraining this radical, existential openness to each other and to life, makes our self-gift less than total.

    (N.B., Notice that what this doesn’t have anything to do with is claptrap like “every sperm is sacred,” although, admittedly, “Monty Python and the Meaning of Life” is a fine film.)

    The upshot: some spiritual paths have Tantric sex. Married orthodox Catholics have sexuality as self-gift. It’s a path to the sacred. It’s, uh, lots of fun. It works for us, and contraception gets in the way of our spiritual practice. As such, contraception is an act that takes us farther from, rather than closer to, God: i.e., it’s what theologians call a “sin.”

    For an enthusiastic popularizer’s useful treatment of the Theology of the Body, see http://www.christopherwest.com/page.asp?ContentID=97

    3. That contraceptives don’t work for conservative Catholics’ spirituality doesn’t mean contraception should be illegal. Lots of stuff (e.g., narcotics, brothels, extra-marital sex of any kind, gluttony-encouraging restaurants, folk guitars at Mass for-crying-out-loud) doesn’t accord well with serious Catholic spirituality, but ought to be legal on any commonsense classical liberal analysis. (Now, homicide, that’s a different story. See 1, above).

    4. Lots of blowhards don’t get the distinction between 2 and 3 above. On behalf of stuffy old-school monotheists everywhere, my apologies. (“A Fire In My Belly” was moving art, and Bill Donohue is an embarrassment. So is Bill O’Reilly. I can’t explain that.)

    5. As for Griswold and its ilk, even those who don’t think contraception should be illegal can have a legitimate problem with that line of SCOTUS decisions: the contraception cases led the Warren Court to invent a “right to privacy” out of whole cloth, allegedly finding it in the “penumbra” of the Bill of Rights. Classical liberals, many still pining for Lochner, or reading with pleasure an editorial in Reason magazine in favor of Tenth Amendment maximalism, might be tickled with the whole “right to privacy” thing. And while I think it’s a strained reading of the Constitution, it’s a reading that I wouldn’t get worked up over if it hadn’t been used in Roe to legalize what us wacky Papists consider to be murder. (Again, YMMV. I really do respect that, honest.)

    6. I would indeed prefer that my taxes not fund Planned Parenthood. Or the NEA. Or PBS. Or ag and oil subsidies. Or the wars on Terror, Drugs, Poverty, or any other wars on nouns, thank you. (I’m more of a Milton Friedman Flat Tax with NIT basic income guarantee redistibutionist Christian bleeding heart than a War on Poverty redistributionist Christian bleeding heart. My apologies to Objectivist readers.)

    But illegal condoms? Sheesh, no. Rigorously practiced Catholic spirituality is a wacky, deviant minority lifestyle in modern, ever-more-secular America. So I feel safer if the government leaves everyone’s wacky private behaviors alone, thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  95. anjin-san says:

    > So men aren’t allowed to use birth control without their wives permission?

    Lack of agreement on this issue would probably be indicative of pretty serious issues in a marriage. I don’t see the point of using language like “So men aren’t allowed to use birth control” Allowed by who? it’s sort of a nonsense point. That is the kind of thing any couple needs to work out between themselves.

    I am not setting myself up to judge anyone’s relationship. My point is that getting pregnant is a decision where the woman’s desires trump the man’s. She does the work, and women generally get left with the children when a marriage fails. NOT getting pregnant is another kettle of fish entirely, as it does not place an unequal burden on the woman except perhaps emotionally.

    “Social conservatives” on the other hand, are in the judgement business, and they want to use the force of government to ram their own version of morality down everyone else’s throat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  96. anjin-san says:

    > Hmmm. Every time I make an argument you can’t rebut

    I don’t think you said anything interesting enough to burn daylight rebutting. Do you know bithead? You two could hang and compare notes on all your self-proclaimed blogging victories. Maybe you will become BFF’s.

    > do a little work on vocabulary, starting with the meaning of “limpid.” The word is never used pejoratively.

    Sorry, slept through a lot of English classes. Hell, actually I was at the beach, or possibly the river. Might have been sleeping there. Don’t want to work for Webster’s, nor Strunk & White’s. Hate good grammar, my syntax sometimes blows. I like truncated sentences and goofy words. I use caps where they don’t belong.

    I think of language like jazz, if you don’t make mistakes you are playing it too safe. And sometimes your mistakes can be brilliant mistakes. I don’t do too badly, I wrote the official bio for a group that won a Grammy a few weeks ago.

    Well, there is good money creating elevator music and jingles too. Are you an elevator music composer?

    I just like the way limpid sounds. Limp, boring, dull. It has you written all over it. I’ve been getting paid to write for long enough that your critique has precious little meaning to me. But by all means, you can be the vocabulary monitor here, there may be a vacancy. :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  97. anjin-san says:

    Interesting post Irenist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  98. Irenist says:

    Thanks, anjin-san!

    You wrote:
    >>
    “Social conservatives” on the other hand, are in the judgement business, and they want to use the force of government to ram their own version of morality down everyone else’s throat.
    >>

    I think you’re right that A LOT of us social cons are like this. But some of us social cons think that a traditionally religious private life is compatible with a live-and-let-live public politics.

    Show me a conservative Christian couple in Houston, and two men getting married in Boston, and I’ll show you four Americans. The way I figure it, life’s too short not to try to understand each other. Especially for those us that expect to have to answer in the afterlife for whether we tried to follow the commandment “Love your neighbor”!

    Thanks again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  99. george says:

    Walt, that link doesn’t work for me – I’m just getting a socket error when I try it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  100. Irenist says:

    Hugh,

    You wrote:
    “Social conservatives are sex obsessed prudes who are upset that someone else is having more and better sex than they will ever know.”

    True, some of us are.

    But some of us think sex in committed marriages is far better than one-night-stands and serial monogamy.

    Sadly, we social conservatives are often such un-humble, un-Christian, bossy jerks that we don’t make a good advertisement for our morality. Sorry about that.

    Still, we might be right. Thankfully, America is a (more-or-less) free country. You live your way; I’ll try (and mostly fail) to live Christ’s. But if you ever get curious about Christ’s way, you’re free to try it. If not, may you have a wonderful life all the same.

    The error we Christians make is when we try to force Christ’s way on other people. Never works. Better for each to live his own way, and let the proof be in happy, holy lives that make people think, “Wow, I want to be like that.”

    Be well, Hugh.

    PS: This is a lot of posts from me at once. Pardon my thread-jacking. No trolling intended.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  101. anjin-san says:

    Like your style Irenist, hope you stick around. Personally, I have no problem with Christians, I am married to one. But I think that any group trying to force it’s version of morality onto another, via legislation or otherwise, is a vast mistake. Promotion by attraction is a wise policy, as is live and let live.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  102. Walt says:

    Anjin-san,

    Seriously, you are a clever writer, and you’ve carefully learned to use your talent to hide your deficiencies in other areas, especially that of the intellect. Amusing, your ability to turn your ignorance of the meaning of a common word into something giggly; people kind of laugh, and the embarrassment is passed over. That aching attempt of yours to impress — “your rather limpid patter” — fails through ignorance, and you take cover with, “I just like the way limpid sounds.” Sweet. But when you are not trying to cover your ass with cheap wit and want to be “serious,” your style becomes so earnest, preachy, sweeping with an awkward attempt at the dramatic as you demonize the enemy: “‘Social conservatives’ on the other hand, are in the judgement business, and they want to use the force of government to ram their own version of morality down everyone else’s throat.” (To the barricades!)

    Congratulations on your “official bio.” You must have had a good editor. Do you write adverts for cereal boxes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  103. anjin-san says:

    Walt do you ever notice how people get sleepy when you talk? All of the people I want to impress with how smart I am are already impressed. You? I really don’t care. Seriously, look bithead up. You boys will have a lot to talk about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  104. Brett #2 says:

    My guess is that any law banning contraception would quickly become a widely flouted, rarely enforced joke. That’s what had already happened by the time Griswold v. Connecticut came around – the law was on the books, but like most Blue Laws it was almost never enforced.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  105. Walt says:

    Anjin-san, the people you’ve impressed must be really, sadly impressionable. You’re a fake, and I think most people around you know it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  106. Irenist says:

    Some scattered hellos, clumsily grouped together to avoid too many posts by me hereabouts (if that’s still possible):

    Walt,
    It’s fun to attack, especially for someone as witty as you are, but turning the other cheek best honors your old Vatican maestri, and best makes our social conservative case.
    Buona sera, amico.

    George,
    “To the right of Republicans and the left of Democrats”: thanks for grokking us crazy Catholics.

    Brett,
    I don’t know how McCain would feel about you calling God “Sky Pixie,” but I can’t say I’d mind it. It lacks the complete absurdity of “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” but it’s still amusing. Sadly blasphemous, but admittedly amusing.

    Michael Reynolds,
    I don’t think Catholicism is sheep and wool merchants. Under your worldview, to which you’re perfectly entitled, the hierarchy traffics in falsehoods. I disagree with you, but let’s leave that aside. I think it’s fair to say that, at least in modern times, Popes, and at least most bishops, if not almost all, have actually believed what they preached. You might think them (and me!) deluded. Okay. But I don’t think the evidence shows them to be insincere. I think you’ll find that pure charlatanism or hucksterism is a relatively small part of the history of world religion. There’s some of it, sure, but even most of the folks at the top have been true believers.

    gVOR08,
    Ah, the Mill quote about how most stupid people are conservative. Perhaps so. Two thoughts:
    1. Assuming a world where most smart folks are liberal, and all stupid folks and a few smart folks are conservative, that assumption wouldn’t necessarily indicate which group of smart folks was winning the ivory tower’s intellectual debates. Sometimes liberals are right, sometimes conservatives. The demographics of those who agree aren’t determinative of the truth.
    2. Wendell Berry, the conservative Christian ecologist and farmer, has written about the difference between modern meritocratic intelligence and the traditional, agrarian knowledge he admired in the Peruvian Andes. Modernity allows individual genius to flourish, but also surrounds us with ugly, wasteful sprawl. Traditional Andean terraced potato farming didn’t highlight individual genius, but Berry never saw a traditional farmer do anything stupid, ugly, or wasteful on the land. It wasn’t genius, but it wasn’t modern vulgarity, either. By stylizing folkways, Berry found, traditional constraints had distilled the wisdom and intelligence of generations, and distributed them democratically–the opposite of the winner-take-all innovation economy of American capitalist meritocracy. In other words, if some of us are stupid, then being conservative is probably our evolutionarily optimal survival strategy….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  107. matt says:

    Irenist : Please stick around and contribute more. I enjoy your style..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  108. george says:

    Irenist : Please stick around and contribute more. I enjoy your style..

    I agree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  109. anjin-san says:

    Gosh Walt, that hurts, coming from you. Really :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  110. anjin-san says:

    > but Berry never saw a traditional farmer do anything stupid, ugly, or wasteful on the land.

    For some reason, this reminded me of an old Robert Silverberg story about a man who was a telepath, but was losing his gift as he gets older. Apparently telepathy, like most things declines with age.

    His ability is almost gone, and he is reminiscing about all the minds he touched when he was young and his gift was in full bloom. The most remarkable one he had encountered was that of a farmer, who, by outward appearance, was utterly ordinary in ever sense of the word. His inner life however, was rich in a way the protagonist had never encountered before or since. The farmer saw a stunning depth of beauty in ever aspect of the world around him, from the most mundane things to the greatest. Inwardly, he radiated joy and meaning, but to the world around him he was just a farmer, a pretty dull guy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  111. wr says:

    George — I have read that once you get past the first section on economics, Das Kapital is actually a brilliantly written book. (This is not an argument for Marxism, simply talking about the book as a work of literature.) Apparently even some of Marx’s contemporaries urged him to move that section away from the front, since it was so deadly…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  112. wr says:

    Anjin-san — “Dying Inside.” I read that book forty years ago and it’s stuck with me ever since. And although I always thought I was the only one who read it, recently I keep coming across people (writers, mostly, although that may be because many of the people I come across are writers) who had the same experience.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  113. wr says:

    Irenist — Reading this site and others, I had long since despaired of finding a conservative who was both intelligent and intellectually honest. You have proved me wrong, and I thank you for that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  114. Sandra says:

    The odds of having a disabling or life threatening sexually transmitted disease (not just the act of intercourse between a man and a woman, but ALL forms of sexual activity, hetero, homo, oral …) increases with the number of sexual partners. Less than 3, is LOW risk, more than 8 is high risk.

    That’s why the aging hippies that long thought their days of free love were so great are part of an epidemic of cancers that are caused by a couple strains of a virus. Most oral and throat cancers today are caused by oral sex, NOT smoking.

    Funny who lots of those admonitions to NOT DO something are related to things that REALLY ARE harmful to you. If not today, then in years hence.

    For example, ever notice that many “cancer clusters” of breast cancer occur among women in a geographic area? And there may be a reason for it? Or that the longer a woman is using artificial means to prevent pregnancy, the MORE likely she is NOT able to conceive when she wants to.

    Unlike rabbits and mice, WE CAN control our sex drive, and not from artificial means and it will not cause mental illness or social depravity. On the other hand, it’s been proven that those with unlimited access to sexual “pleasuring” soon develop a “fondness” for pushing the extremes and have to “do” more and increasingly hazardous things for the same “feeling.”

    Kinsley was wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  115. wr says:

    Oh good. Now Sandra has moved on from “only sluts like sex” to “sex will cause cancer.”

    I love her made-up statistic about blow-jobs causing cancer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  116. matt says:

    Sandra : Thanks that was an amazingly hilarious post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  117. anjin-san says:

    wr… Yes, Dying Inside. I may still have a science fiction book club edition of it somewhere. Loved all the Silverberg stuff late 60s – 70s. “Downward to the Earth” is another favorite from back then. Silverberg still lives in Oakland, just about the last of the great sci fi writers from back in the day who is still with us.

    Is anyone writing decent contemporary sci fi? About 10 years ago I was into Charles Sheffield and George Turner, but they are both deceased now. Highly recommended if you are not familiar with their work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  118. george says:

    Unlike rabbits and mice, WE CAN control our sex drive, and not from artificial means and it will not cause mental illness or social depravity.

    We can also control our urge to overeat, to drink alcohol, and to take narcotics. However, we seem to have a problem with obesity, alcoholism, and drug use, so as a society our self control doesn’t seem to work consistently. Besides, from what I’ve read, regular sexual activity is not only enjoyable, but healthy – reduces stress, counts as exercise etc – outside of sexually transmitted diseases, and one of the prime ways of reducing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is in fact one form of contraceptive … the condom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  119. Brett #2 says:

    I don’t know how McCain would feel about you calling God “Sky Pixie,” but I can’t say I’d mind it. It lacks the complete absurdity of “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” but it’s still amusing. Sadly blasphemous, but admittedly amusing.

    I’ve used it a couple of times, and almost every time it really, really pisses off trolls spouting religious and conservative nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  120. Irenist says:

    wr,

    That was very kind of you to say. Thanks so much. I find that keeping lots of conservative and liberal stuff in my news and commentary diet pleasantly challenges my assumptions. If you’re a liberal who has lots of good liberal stuff to read already, but you’re looking for conservative reading to sharpen your mind against, here are a few recommendations:

    http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2009/03/front-porch-republic/
    This is the consistently thoughtful Patrick Deneen’s introduction to the Front Porch Republic website. The conceit of the site is that America used to be a nation of agrarian villages where people sat on their front porches of an evening and greeted their neighbors strolling by, but now we’ve become a tv-watching, web-surfing nation where our rare forays outdoors are to the backyard patio where we can grill our CAFO-raised beef with nary a neighbor in sight. In other words, it’s communitarian conservative site with a “cruchy con” flavor. If you like the Wendell Berry bit about Andean farmers, you’ll adore FPR.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/author/17449
    Jim Manzi is someone I disagree with fairly often. But he’s a careful, data-driven thinker, which sets him apart from most of his NRO colleagues.

    http://www.city-journal.org/
    This is a magazine that Manzi, e.g., is quite fond of. They’re conservative policy wonks writing about loving and improving cities–a too-rare thing for conservative thinkers to do. A fair amount of the data-driven urban police-work that (when Rudy Giuliani could avoid protecting civilian-torturing cops for media purposes) really did help to improve city streets in the ’90’s came from this school of thought. On the downside, so did the guys that wrote the (perhaps unintentionally?) crypto-racist-seeming “Bell Curve.” There’s plenty of bunk there, but plenty of really original thinking about urban economies, education, and crime, too. Dross, but also gold.

    http://www.amconmag.com/larison/
    Daniel Larison’s also comes from the “agrarian conservative” tradition that produced FPR, but his “Eunomia” column for the “American Conservative Magazine” is a paleo-conservative, anti-military-interventionist foreign policy blog in the “realist” tradition. Larison’s schtick is saying, essentially, “Being conservative means thinking small, local government is beautiful, and being cautious about change and respecting the deep wellsprings of traditional culture, and how hard they are to change with utopian liberal social schemes. What part of that made us think that a global empire–with its accompanying Big Govt. military-industrial complex–and trying to bloodily impose Arab and Afghan democracy through a bombing-based utopian social scheme was a conservative idea?!”

    http://www.amconmag.com/mccarthy/
    Daniel McCarthy’s “Tory Anarchist” blog is another agrarian-rooted blog over at AmConMag, drawing its inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien’s observation in a letter that he could be a monarchist or an anarchist, since both were rooted in personal relationships, but couldn’t really be a capitalist or a socialist, since big bureaucracies were the anti-thesis of the simple shires he loved.

    A note about AmConMag, btw: There’s a fair amount of cheerleading for the gold standard, apologizing for the Confederacy, and other such…idiosyncrasy…over there. Pat Buchanan has a column, FWIW. I’m not saying you’d enjoy any of that–I certainly don’t–but Larison and McCarthy can be worth reading.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/
    Among nationally prominent conservative writers, the culturally conservative Ross Douthat at the NY Times is usually thoughtful and self-effacing, and libertarian gay Catholic Tory Andrew Sullivan (temporarily at The Atlantic) is…Andrew Sullivan, and worth reading just for that.

    http://volokh.com/
    The libertarian lawyers at the Volokh Conspiracy are usually entertaining and informative.

    As for us Catholics, I’d recommend, if you’re curious:
    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea
    Mark Shea grew up an Evangelical conservative, but has since become one of those Catholics far to the right of Republicans on, say, abortion, but far to the left of them on, e.g., stopping torture, ending the wars, caring for the poor, etc. He gets a bit snarky about liberal atheists, and he sincerely tilts toward global-warming denialism, but if you can ignore that stuff, he’s one of the most intellectually honest, and humble, interlocutors you’re likely to have the pleasure of encountering on the web. His most recent columns but one have focused on this ethical question: “Are the undercover ‘sting’ videos of Lila Rose at Planned Parenthood clinics acceptable ways for the pro-life movement to advance itself?” His thoughtful answer: “No. We’re Christian. Lying is a sin. It’s even a sin to lie to people we disagree with. Pro-choicers are children of God, too. We’re not allowed to deceive them with ‘sting’ operations to advance our cause. No one is a means. Everyone is an end.” A fair number of the rest of NCR’s bloggers are pretty much the Church Lady, but Shea is well worth your time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  121. Irenist says:

    Brett #2,

    We social conservatives are an irascible lot, and many of us favor shouting over reasonable debate, ’tis true.

    Me, I figure if God can take being crucified, He can take being called “Sky Pixie,” or, say the episodes of “South Park” or “Family Guy” with Jesus as a cameo character.

    But although you, as an atheist, might understandably think those of us who believe ourselves to have close personal relationships with God to be raving loons, for those of us who do have such relationships with a loving, Father God, reading people mocking him can feel like how you might feel if a commenter made fun of your mom.

    So while I respect your right to call God “Sky Pixie,” or anything else that makes me picture Him as a walk-on in some ’80’s cartoon like “Rainbow Brite” or “Care Bears,” I’d like to suggest that you’ll have more edifying conversations with social conservatives more irascible than me if you cut them some slack.

    On that note, here’s a thought. Some sociologist-types recently did a paper about “When Morality Opposes Justice.” Their insight was to look at 5 axes:
    1. Justice
    2. Caring & Empathy
    3. Loyalty, as to one’s tribe, military unit, nation or family
    4. Respect for Authority and legitimate Hierarchy
    5. Purity, esp. sexual or dietary purity
    What they think they’ve found is that liberal undergrads (the research subjects for these things are always undergrads) evaluate ethical conundra by asking if outcomes are Just, and if they Care for the oppressed. Conservative undergrad research subjects tend to worry about the other 3 values, too. They don’t lack the first two, but they’re trying to balance them with worries that secular liberals tend to think are outmoded at best. So where a liberal looks at immigration and sees only people who need Justice and Empathy, a conservative worries about how That Tribe is going to affect Us. Both worldviews contain some wisdom and some folly. But if you’re from the Justice-Care worldview, calling the Deity “Sky Pixie,” especially if you’re an atheist, seems neither unjust nor uncaring. Which is true: you’re right! But to your social con interlocutor, it’ll seem disrespectful of Authority, and an assault on the denominational tribe to which he strives to be Loyal. So he’s mad about your infringement of values that you probably think of us as just stuffy, authoritarian backwardness. And you might be right. But if you remember the place he’s coming from, your time on the web will be more pleasant.

    And may the peace of Sky Pixie be with you….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  122. wr says:

    I think Samuel R. Delaney is still with us. As for the new stuff, I haven’t kept up in years, and now I’m completely lost. But I read a series by Dan Simmons a few years ago that was really brilliant. The first one, as I recall, was called Endymion…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  123. Irenist says:

    Sandra,

    You’ve been talking about the health-risks of promiscuity–particularly from unprotected sex, although I have a hunch you’re skeptical of condoms’ efficacy, although it’s just a hunch.

    As a fellow Christian social conservative, I agree with you that promiscuity is bad. I also think contraception is sinful. Abortion, too.

    But here’s are some thoughts, from one Christian to another, offered in a spirit of love and with an interest in conversation. You have argued above that we should overcome our nature, so I only mention the naturalistic fallacy below because it seems on point with your mention of cancer, not because I am accusing you of not recognizing it. That said:

    1. As Christian thinkers, we need to avoid what philosophers call “the naturalistic fallacy.” This is the idea that because something is natural, it is good. Eye-glasses are artificial, and have been, in their humble way, an unalloyed good. Ebola is all-natural, but awful.

    It may be true that promiscuity causes, e.g., cancer. I haven’t seen the research, but it’s not an area where I do much reading. But even if it’s TRUE, we shouldn’t, as Christians, be basing our arguments on that.

    Consider the following:
    i. Many urologists think that men who aren’t having sex regularly should masturbate to promote prostate health. In other words, like all male primates (many primates masturbate), homo sapien males may need to ejaculate fairly frequently for prostate health. Does this mean that I, a Catholic male, could masturbate if I were single? No. Christ’s Church tells me not to do it, and if I’m serious about following Him that means I ought not to do it—EVEN THOUGH the science is in favor of those arguing guys ought to sin on this one. Despite the possible prostate problems, I’ve got to bear that Cross if I’m a serious Christian. That, and bear the Christine O’Donnell jokes this section may inspire.

    ii. As liberal blogger Matt Yglesias (usually a good read) points out, according to the UK’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, abortion may often be less risky than natural birth!
    See http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2011/02/life-in-the-united-kingdom/

    For us pro-lifers, this is a depressing thought. But it may also, be…true. If so, abortion is still murder and it’s still wrong. But there would be trade-offs there, and we ought to be intellectually confident enough to face them. The Truth, even the parts we abhor, will set us free.

    In other words, as Christians, we should argue that promiscuity is wrong because of the way we believe it rots the life of the soul. Arguments about health research shouldn’t be where we make our stand. Whether they sound like they’re conveniently for us, or annoyingly against us, either way, they’re irrelevant to whether we’re deepening our relationship with Christ.

    2. As for promiscuity and contraception–well, if someone’s out having one-night-stands, his relationship with God probably isn’t going to get any worse based on contraception. Not that contraception isn’t sinful, just that extra-marital sex is already taking him farther from the mature person, capable of love for others and of self-mastery, that God wants him to be, and he should focus on that, not on the symptoms. BTW: Note to liberal readers here–I’m talking within the framework Sandra and I share. You obviously don’t think extra-marital sex is sinful. I respect that, it’s just not in line with the specific point I’m making.

    3. Our Lord pretty clearly spoke against lustful thoughts, and against divorce. Now, divorce (and impure thoughts!) have been, should be, and will be legal. But they’re sins. That means we Christians ought not to fall into them–or at least, that’s the Catholic perspective. Same with contraception and adultery: sinful. But while we must strive not to sin, it is not usually the place of the State to force others not to sin.

    As St. Thomas Aquinas taught in the “Summa Theologica”:
    “Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained: thus human law prohibits murder, theft and such like.” See, http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2096.htm

    In other words, virtue at home, tolerance in public. That was a core insight of America’s Founders, too, and it has stood the test of time. I don’t recall you saying anything should be illegal or anything, it’s just a point I thought you might find interesting, Sandra.

    Thanks for your brave comments. God bless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  124. anjin-san says:

    Irenist, have you ever considered starting your own blog? Based on what I see here, you have a valuable perspective that reaches across some pretty deep divides.

    Heres a little music for a winter evening…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ChASc5bTrI

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  125. matt says:

    I concur. I wish I was half as elegant in my writing and half as intelligent :(

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  126. george says:

    Very nicely written Irenist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  127. [...] constitutes a 'war on women,' as some have said, but it surely is a war on freedom," Doug Mataconis writes at Outside the [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0