Why the term “anti-choice” is so perfect
Roy Edroso sent me this link to a really classic piece of wingnuttery that I thought might be fun to fisk a little this Friday night. It’s one of the American Spectator’s “The Nation’s Pulse” pieces, which is great because it’s a real snapshot of wingnuttery without the media training filter.
My girlfriend and I are acquainted with no fewer than two-dozen forty-something women, all of them successful, well-educated, charming ladies. They are librarians, museum curators, teachers and the like. Besides these similarities, they hold two more characteristics in common. They are all single and childless.
You can tell where this is going. These women may think that they have lives worth living, but they don’t realize that all they have so much potential in the housework and providing heirs department and it’s going to waste! Also, he knows “dozens” of such women, but only one comes to mind.
Most spent their twenties working on themselves, attending graduate school and later focusing on their careers. By their thirties, they found themselves in long-term relationships that ended after a half dozen or so years. Their stories are strikingly familiar. Our friend and her partner moved in together. Years passed, until one day he (or she) decided it wasn’t working for him anymore. It took five to ten years to realize this, sure, but better to recognize it now than to make the mistake of getting married. He packed his things and by lunch he was out of her life forever.
She was supposed to stop this, how? Getting married so that when the break-up came, they had more paperwork to do? Anyway, she did what all divorced or broken-up-after-cohabitating types in their late 30s and early 40s do, which is start dating. The pickings are supposed to be “slim”, because even though there are also men in this situation, men apparently retire early, like athletes, from sex and dating.
She goes on this way for a few more years, then, with a sigh, accepts that her childbearing years are behind her. She settles into her spinsterhood and adopts another dog.
I don’t believe anyone who uses the word “spinsterhood” unironically has dozens of single female friends in high-paying professional jobs. A couple of said women might have such low standards, but that’s just generally a hipper crowd than the crowd that says “spinster” like the 20th century didn’t happen.
If these women are sad or depressed at missing out on motherhood, they hide it well. Most have bought homes (statistics show that single women buy far more homes than single men), they have good jobs, they are involved in their churches and communities, and they live active social lives, and not just online. There are exceptions. One of our friends, a single 41-year-old Ivy League graduate, could not take the gray winters here in St. Louis and recently picked up and moved to Austin, Texas, hoping to start over yet again. She finally found a way to make the rest of us envious of her.
If he loves statistics so much, then perhaps he should also note that college education is no detriment to marriage, and linked with happier marriages that are less likely to end in divorce. But I do think it’s funny that the horrors he predicts await middle class women who don’t marry or have children are that they might….be perfectly happy, own a home, and be freer than their married counterparts to live how they like and live where they want. My god, do they also have better sex?! Perish the thought. Who wants that?
Luckily, we have section two: Even If You’re Happy, You Should Hate Yourself For Failing The White Race (But Don’t Call Me A Racist).
MEANWHILE, IN OUR inner-city neighborhood, there are countless poor, young, single mothers with more children than they can handle. If, as evolutionary biologists believe, the purpose of life is simply to pass on one’s genes, they are Darwinian superstars.
This was my favorite part, because of the Darwinian thing, which is an excellent example of how to really do wingnuttery right. It’s all about packing in as many false claims and assumptions as you can within one sentence, this one being, “If, as evolutionary biologists believe, the purpose of life is simply to pass on one’s genes, they are Darwinian superstars.” Let’s count the false assumptions:
1) That evolutionary biologists are making claims about the purpose of life by explaining the natural processes by which we have the diversity of life itself. This is like saying because cars only work by burning gas, the purpose of cars is to drive back and forth to the gas station, and all other destinations are irrelevant. Evolutionary biologists aren’t really making any claims about the “purpose” of life. At best, the implication of evolutionary biology is that there is no higher purpose, so if you want to move to Austin and be a spinster auntie instead of have a bunch of kids with a dude you kind of hate, the greater universe doesn’t particularly care.
2) His implication that evolutionary biology is a philosophy or a faith, instead of scientific theory, and that it’s about “belief” instead of demonstrable fact.
3) He implies that this non-existent faith is a false faith. I don’t know where this falls into false assumptions. It’s like if I believe a cat is a dog, and then argue that the “dog” is a breed I don’t like.
4) That despite the fact that he disagrees with this false faith that wasn’t a faith to begin with, he is well within his rights to judge someone else for failing to live up to precepts that no one actually issues.
One neighbor started having kids at fourteen. She is now 26 and on her ninth child, and probably will continue to have kids until Mother Nature in the guise of menopause mercifully cuts off her supply line.
As one of my Facebook friends, it really is amazing that this man both knows “dozens” of women who are middle class, single women and he also lives in a poor neighborhood that has so many incredibly fertile women. But what is most extraordinary about this man’s unbelievable experience is that someone with such a wide array of highly unusual experiences would also think that his experience could be universalized. Which leads me to believe perhaps many of the numbers expressed in this letter are just a tad inflated.
It is hard to imagine that few if any of these children will be successful. They attend (sporadically) the worst schools in the world.
I love how it’s so assumed that you can’t fix this problem by improving the school system. Next you’ll be telling me space exploration is possible!
For the African-Americans among them, they are taught that being successful is “acting white.”
You know that holding out for most of the letter before finally giving in to this was incredibly painful for him. “I only get one or two overtly racist statements per letter before my claims not to be a racist start to smell funny. Can’t just blow it all at once!”
What’s missing is a sense of balance. My accomplished friends seem to have traded children for success, while my ill-fated neighbors seem to have traded children for failure.
Clearly, the Great Female Reproductive Conspiracy has failed. The current system, where the child rationing cards are just handed out to anyone who wants one, defeats the very purpose of women existing in the first place. We’re baby factories, and we need to act more like it and start looking at production not in terms of personal decisions but according to public demand. And Christopher Orlet, the self-appointed spokesperson for public demand, wants us to understand that the baby factories are putting out way too many of the wrong
colored parental income model, and too few of the model he prefers. So next time the Great Female Conspiracy meets, the solution is obvious. If women can’t figure this out for ourselves, some of us will have to be forced to have children, and some of us will have to be forced not to.
And that, my friends, is why we call them “anti-choice” and not “pro-life”. They aren’t even pro-believing-women-are-really-alive-at-least-not-like-in-the-human-sense.