With all the recent women’s health controversies — Komen/Planned Parenthood, contraception in Catholic hospitals, and Virginia’s plan to wand women who want abortions — and their potential to steer women’s votes away from Republicans, you’d think conservatives would prefer to get back to talking about the economy, foreign affairs, and other things normal people care about.
Some of them, sure. But many of our rightbloggers keep hangin’ in. Much as they want their candidates to win, they’re even more interested in standing athwart history, yelling “Is not, so there.” So they’re still fighting this Lost Cause as if victory were in sight, and probably will be when the rest of the world is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut.
At National Review, for example, these issues have been Topic A for weeks, and always described as symptoms of encroaching orgasmo-tyranny. The National Review blog The Corner is full of posts such as “Sex & the HHS Mandate” (“The HHS mandate is a coercive codification of the libertinism of the sexual revolution”); “A Nation of Villeins” (“we are not free men, but serfs to an increasingly confident master. That is the nub of the HHS-mandate ruling”); “Abortion Advocates Wage a Misinformation Campaign over Virginia Ultrasound Legislation” (“[Doctors] shouldn’t fling the abdominal inducer over the woman’s stomach and claim to have ‘performed’ an ultrasound”); etc.
The god-bothering eventually got so egregious that editor-at-large Kathryn J. Lopez had to start her own blog to carry the run-off. (We don’t see why she bothered, as The Anchoress seems already to be working that side of the street very well, with posts such as “Obama vs First Amendment Liberties,” “HHS Mandate Serves Totalitarian Mindset,” etc.)
When these issues first emerged, our Kulturkampfers don’t bother to advance any coherent arguments showing why requiring insurers rather than churches to provide birth control is an affront to religious liberty, or why women should be wanded by the state if they request abortions, or why contraceptives are bad in the first place. They still don’t, and when they do, it’s just embarrassing.
For example, in “The Pill Is Not Good for Women,” Erika Bachiochi and Catherine R. Pakaluk argued at National Review that birth control is evil because it “ushered in an era of unprecedented (and, as things turned out, unwarranted) confidence that sex could be pursued without risk” — presumably via mislabeled packaging, as the products claim no such thing — resulting in in “a staggering increase in non-marital births” since the 1960s, abortions, unwanted children, etc.
If you’re wondering why conservatives, of all people, think adults need to be protected from the consequences of their own free choices, you’re not the target audience — though it’s hard to imagine even reliably rightwing National Review readers accepting Bachiochi’s and Pakaluk’s alternate prescription: The rhythm method, the number one birth control choice of early-20th-Century Irish Catholic households in which two or more children slept on the fire escape.
This the authors portrayed as a more woman-friendly family planning tool: “The feminist movement asked men for very little,” they wrote. “We should ask them for much more.” Thus, instead of forcing women to take birth control pills, Bachiochi and Pakaluk would throw to the menfolk the responsibility of asking, “Hey, when was your period again?”
At Impacting Culture, Tara Stone invented a Socratic dialogue in which Socrates argued that in the pursuit of sexual pleasure, “passions have enslaved or oppressed [a person’s] free will”; also, as “pleasure can be the only end of a contracepted sexual act,” it objectifies the other party; therefore, “contraception, then, must also be the opposite of liberty,” that is, slavery. In her reading of Plato, Stone presumably skipped the part about the Sophists.
At Wizbang, David Robertson also tried a philosophical approach:
As I see it, liberal hate is born out of a liberal’s desire to do whatever pleases the liberal, to give the liberal’s flesh what it wants. Whenever a conservative uses a standard of morality that conflicts with the liberal’s desire, the liberal will accuse the conservative of hatred, when in reality it is the liberal who hates the standard of morality used by the conservative.To sum up, if a conservative takes something away from a liberal, the liberal is wrong because the conservative is wearing a crucifix. Also, why are you hitting yourself?
Not convinced? Robertson further explained: “It is always possible that a liberal will have a just cause to hate something, but if it is a just cause, then a conservative will hate it, too.” No wonder there’ve been like 50 Republican Presidential debates — they can say anything and it will never be so ridiculous that it won’t be taken seriously by somebody.
Slightly less sweeping, but no less a master of argumentation, was The Cranky Housewife, who told readers about “the difference between conservative women and progressive women. For a progressive woman whose only concern in life is how to achieve her next orgasm without biological consequence — whose central vision which is the real glass ceiling (which happens to be the mirror over her bed, her pathetic, decomposing uterus which has been chemically stripped of all reproductive function and whether someone’s going to leave what she’s got coming to her on the bedside table)…”
We’ll cut to the chase: Progressive women don’t like Republicans because they’re sluts. This was not the end of Cranky Housewife’s comedy routine; having apparently noticed that conservative men sometimes get accused of amatory shortfalls, Cranky Housewife turned the tables and applied this treatment to… David Gergen, the famously and tiresomely bipartisan Washington insider, whom Cranky Hosuewife accused of “attitudinal hedonism,” “intellectual onanism,” and failure to satisfy his wife. Bet they were busting a gut about it at the Press Club.
Despite all this conservative colloquy, a number of the brethren claimed that it was Obama who was making an issue out of contraception in order to distract us from the recovering economy and the 13,000-point Dow.
“CONTRACEPTION: ANOTHER MANUFACTURED MEDIA CRISIS,” said Tucker Scofield of The DC Post. “Operating from Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals playbook, liberal progressives have orchestrated one fabricated crisis after another… now they’re telling us that Republicans, specifically conservative Republicans, want to take away contraception… And then there’s the whole ‘insensitivity’ of Foster Friese’s aspirin comment to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC! Holy frickin’ Moses, Mary, and Joseph people, what is so wrong about what Friese said?? Like it or not, there is still a large contingent of the population that believes in abstinence and Friese’s ‘aspirin between the knees’ comment is a reference to that morally admirable trait…”
OK, maybe Scofield’s not the best example. Let’s try LC Jackboot of the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: “This is a brazen and transparent attempt to control the narrative,” he wrote. “They took an issue, entirely of Ogabe’s creation and are now trying to create a national discussion, casting republicans as the villains. Only the lying cockweasels of the MSM are capable of lying, distorting and twisting the truth to fit their need to control the narrative something critical to Ogabelini’s campaign.” Well, at least Jackboot isn’t trying to be charming.
At Klein Online,
Aaron Klein claimed that “a consortium of progressive groups working with a marketing outfit that helped to sell Obamacare to the public recently recommended that President Obama’s make contraception into a reelection issue.” The progressives did polls and wrote reports, apparently, and also separately did business with outfits that met with “White House staffers.” (As usual, George Soros is involved.)
Klein doesn’t explain how these groups convinced Obama to “make contraception into a reelection issue,” nor how Obama enlisted the cooperation of the Republicans who’ve been going out of their way to publicly oppose (and thus support) his diabolical plan. For rightbloggers, we guess this really is a matter of faith.
Some of the brethren insisted it was all about freedom, and not the political advantages of stirring up religious voters. They weren’t very convincing.
Longtime culture crusader Peter Ferrara asserted at The American Spectator that the controversy was just a “way to deflect criticism of the Obama mandate” and “turn it into a charge that the Republicans are standing with the Catholic Church on this because they want to ban contraceptives.”
Ferrara did admit that “many conservatives disagree with the reasoning behind the decisions in [Supreme Court contraception cases] Griswold and Baird,” but understood that it would be politically disadvantageous for them to spread that around, at least for the moment.
And anyway, Ferrara continued, Obama’s real target is the Catholic Church: “The Obama administration, the Democrats, and their media allies are really attacking the Church as an outdated institution with retrograde beliefs unacceptable in modern society,” he wrote, “…because they literally hate the Catholic Church, for its very beliefs.” Other keywords: “Leninist-Stalinist,” “Hugo Chavez,” “Obamunism,” “henchwoman Kathleen Sebelius (the perfect villainess, taken right out of Ayn Rand central casting).”
Peter Wehner of The American Interest claimed, “I am neither Catholic nor Evangelical… I have no dog in this fight.” Nonetheless, the frequent National Review contributor agreed with the bishops and blamed Obama’s policy on his “captivity to his much-vaunted ‘base,’ with its strongly secularist contingent” and the President’s alleged belief that “religion is a virus to be kept out of public space, quarantined in religious reservations.”
Also, though neither Catholic nor Evangelical, Wehner was optimistic that “contraception in and of itself (that is, apart from the defense of religious freedom) will continue to be a bonding issue between the two communities.” After reminiscing about old times with rightwing Catholic convert Father John Neuhaus, Wehner attacked again “aggressive secularism,” and further hoped that “the enthusiastic response of many Evangelicals to the Catholic Rick Santorum may be a significant sign of this shift.” That dog’s looking pretty banged up for one that isn’t in a fight.
More explicitly religious angles were also considered, as in Tom O’Toole‘s Renew America post:
Having just finished re-reading Bud Macfarlane’s Pierced by a Sword, his classic 1995 novel of Catholic apocalyptic apologetics, I am struck by how much his prophecy comes into play in the 2012 presidential election. For if Michael D. O’Brien’s novel Father Elijah correctly predicted the increased promotion of abortion and loss of religious liberty the election of an Obama-esque president would bring, a “Pierced” Romney-like character shows that going from a lying, smiling socialist to a smiling, lying Mormon is like going from, well, the frying pan into the lake of fire. But if John Lanning escaped the flames (if not martyrdom) perhaps Pierced says there’s still hope for us (and the US) too…The upshot: “We can be spared the Tribulation by prayer, fasting…and Santorum.”
The Catholic Knight offered a video featuring one Michael Voris, who details the struggle to de-criminalize contraception in the Philippines “as the birth control mandate controversy still rages on in the United States.”
Legal contraception in The Philippines is of course opposed by “faithful Catholics,” Voris tells us, because they are aware of the “moral corruption that will follow in the wake of legalizing birth control here.” This is proven, he explains, by the words of Pope Paul VI, which predicted both “Obama’s evil mandate” and the sink of immorality that is America today.
“Moral standards have been lowered so much that morality itself is now seen as sort of strange and outdated,” Voris continues. “In the space of just fifty years — fifty years! — the fabric of American society has been ripped apart, and it is owing to contraception. And as an aside, for a person like Obama, who wants to continue the remaking of America, contraception is his perfect weapon.”
Also, “more people having more sex means more pregnancies, contraception or not, and many of those new lives will end suddenly and painfully in abortion chambers,” said Voris. “How can anyone seriously defend contraception and birth control as legitimate?”
“Catholic teaching” is presented as the only chance for The Philippines — and for the U.S.: “If Catholics in America, including the leaders, can find the vigor to announce this convincingly,” says Voris, “then there might still be a sliver of hope for the West.”
It’d all just be funny if they were operating in isolation, but there are plenty of Republican politicians who are holding the old standard aloft, too.
And at last week’s Republican Presidential debate, moderator John King asked about the contraception issue, for which he was rewarded with booing from the audience — and fifteen minutes of discussion of contraception by the candidates.
Boston Catholic Insider attacked Romney for claiming in the debate that “there was no requirement in Massachusetts for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims.” BCI provided detailed analysis — including advisement from “a constitutional law expert advising BCI” — to show that Romney was lying. They closed, “BCI hopes that the media and other candidates call him out on this” — that is, that Romney required Catholic hospitals to offer the morning-after pill to rape victims. Then people will turn against him for sure as a rape-victim coddler.
Newt Gingrich turned attention to Barack Obama’s alleged vote for “legalizing infanticide” and the alleged refusal of the “elite media” to report it — which claims, no shock, are bullshit, but which excited Peter Wehner of Commentary, who claimed “many journalists, leaning very much to the left on social issues, are more offended when candidates express personal objections to contraception than when candidates oppose laws against infanticide.”
As above, so below. if you’re a fan of this sort of thing, don’t worry — there’ll be no end of it, through the election and beyond.