Birth Control Addendum

SABR Matt is absolutely right in his post below: The ready availability of artificial birth control has wrought enormous social harm. And yes — we should resist all attempts to declare this a settled debate. In the long run, it shouldn’t matter that most American women – including, sadly, a lot of poorly catechized Catholics – think birth control is peachy-keen. The truth shouldn’t be made subject to a popular referendum.

In the short term, however, I think we need to be very careful how we deliver our message with respect to the HHS mandate. Above all, we need to make it crystal clear that even if the bishops win this fight and the mandate is rescinded, a woman – yes, even one who works for a Catholic employer – will still be able to get birth control if she wants it. I Googled around the other day and discovered that a standard birth control prescription would even fit into my limited monthly budget. And if I wanted a sterilization or some other longer-term treatment? I’d have to save up for a while, but it would still be doable. Birth control, in short, is hardly as costly as, say, chemotherapy or heart surgery.

The HHS mandate is a solution to a problem that simply doesn’t exist. The Guttmacher Institute – i.e., the research arm for Planned Parenthood – reports that 99% of sexually-active women have used artificial contraception. That figure implies that there’s no access issue when it comes to birth control. Indeed, the very suggestion that women are struggling to get contraception is absolutely ludicrous. For goodness sake, you can get a condom for free if you’re really that strapped for cash! If you swing by the closest family planning clinic – or student health center if you happen to be on campus – the chances are pretty good that you’ll find condoms sitting in a bowl on the front counter in lieu of candy.

Bottom line, there’s no legitimate reason to demand that we Catholics pay for your birth control — and that’s why we are fighting the mandate so implacably. We personally oppose artificial contraception for all of the reasons SABR Matt describes, but our objection to the administration’s policy on this is less about those (wholly logic-grounded) beliefs and more about the completely unneeded federal overreach. We want people to put on their critical thinking caps, take some personal responsibility, and stop acceding to the progressive infantilization of the American populace. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, and it’s time people grow up and recognize that reality.

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Birth Control? I Think Not.

I’ll begin this little piece with a quote from Playboy chairman Hugh Heffner:

“The Playboy girl reflects the ideals of both genders.  She is pure, virginal, clean, healthy, free of blemishes and happy.  She is not concerned with the uglier parts of humanity. How could she lower herself to such pursuits as the worst of men?”

The full quote can be found with a proper Google search, but this send-off more than tells the story for the modern feminist movement.  Playboy Headquarters is largely run by women today – women so tragically and fully convinced of Hugh Heffner’s status as a feminist crusader for sexual parity that when questioned on the subject by social conservatives, they react as though they are staring at the face of the devil.  I’ll come back to Playboy – the ultimate cultural icon for horny young males and the ultimate symbol for everything that is wrong with the sexual revolution – in a moment.

You’re going to hear a lot about social issues in the media now that Rick Santorum has catapulted to the top of the polls in the 2012 primary race, so I think a careful examination of the FACTS – not the ideals or the ideologies of the desires of American women in search of insurance against the hard choices that life presents – is in order regarding women’s liberation and the sexual revolution.

I”ll start you here:

NRO Reports the Facts Regarding Contraception

This is a much MUCH more complex issue than the common treatment of it by the mainstream media would have you believe.   Here’s an executive summary of the facts presented by Erika Bachiochi and Catherine Pakaluk:

Liberals claim that contraception has freed women from the dangers of unwanted pregnancy and the related consequences (forced or premature marriage, single motherhood, abortion, poverty, forced retirement and the health risks of pregnancy).  In actuality it has done NONE of those things.  Since the advent of the pill, single motherhood has increased by an order of magnitude, premature marriage has been replaced by deadbeat dads, abortion is commonplace and every bit as devastating as it has ever been for the psychiatric health of mothers, and mothers no longer have the option of retiring. They must work AND raise their children, resulting in new consequences such as children who feel abandoned, children who go on to lives of crime and underachievement, and the depressing reality of the ghetto, where generation after generation are born, live and die in endless poverty and despair.  And the fact is, all of the responsibility for stopping pregnancy now shifts to the woman.  If she misses a dose of the pill (oh so easy to do), its effectiveness goes to zero and the man is far more likely to feel no responsibility for the resulting offspring. In fact, he may resent her for her supposed failure and break off their relationship.  All of this is despite thirty years of aggressive sex-education policy in this country designed to emphasize birth control and condom use over all other forms of protection for women and to de-emphasize the emotional and spiritual risks of premarital sex.

The leaders of the sexual revolution do seem to be doing well, however.  It appears that a class of elite women has developed that is immune to the crushing affects of this new “freedom” for the rest of female-kind.  Fascinating how the “creme” always seems to rise even if the coffee is rancid.

Many of my closest friends will respond to these facts with this refrain:

“There are a lot of bastards out there — a lot of guys looking for meaningless sex.  Shouldn’t women know how to protect themselves from this, and shouldn’t they use those protections?  Or are you asking us to turn back the clock and subjugate women to the yoke of marriage and motherhood?”

But this presupposes that men are always going to be this selfish in such large numbers.  The same sexual revolution that brought us the pill and a renewed interest in the female orgasm also brought us a fleet of men for whom society has had very low expectations.  They’re told by the culture that sex is safe now, that it’s just for fun, and that women want it just as badly as they do.  They’re divorced from a long history of religious teaching that focused CORRECTLY on the emotional risks of sex and the man’s responsibility for the outcome of his behavioral choices. 

Social memes are incredibly powerful things.  In twenty years, the average American went fro 82% likely to think homosexuality was immoral to merely 37% likely to say the samke.  In a mere twenty years, the KKK went from a legitimate political power in the South to the laughingstock of American history.  In twenty years, we went from believing that all school children should say the Pledge of Allegiance to believing that even the act of reciting it infringed on the rights of children who wished not to say it.  And in 35 years, we went from 5% of all pregnancies being out of wedlock to 40% (!)., And divorce? Divorce was the end result of roughly 30% of marriages decades ago, but that proportion has now increased to more than 55%.  We can get any result we want (in the gross statistical sense) from our culture.  So why do we want men to be freed from sexual burdens and loosed on unsuspecting women in the name of sexual pleasure-cruising?    Why don’t we want men to behave themselves and take care of women the way they should?

The answer to the problems of the sexual revolution isn’t to go back to the 50’s or to stay the course and hope the pills get better and less fraught with side effects and failure-rates.  The answer is a sex-education revolution that focuses on the emotional, psychological and physical risks of sex – not just on pregnancy and STDs – and lets men know that we expect more from them than to be walking hormone bombs looking for a sperm dumpster.  The emasculation of men must be fought if women are to ever take their rightful place as our societal equals and achieve levels of happiness they haven’t experienced since Eve and the figurative Garden of Eden.

It sure seems to me that the current accepted position for most women in the new order of modern feminism is precisely the position in which Hugh Heffner dreamed she would be forty years ago — minus the purity part.  There’s just one problem: when a bunny gets into trouble, Heffner casts her from his mansions.  What we’ll get if we follow the idealistic view of modern feminists – the one that supposed that if women were identical to men in their liberty to express themselves sexually, they’d be happier with sex – is a world of Playboy bunnies who are lauded for their sexual expression while they’re young and relatively pure (untainted by pregnancy) and then cast aside to be miserable with their options for reproduction and sexuality when they get too old or too altered by pregnancy to appear on a centerfold.  Don’t believe me?  Talk to Ms. October, 1995.

I guarantee you, ladies: I (and Rick Santorum) care far more for your happiness than Nancy Pelosi or Debbie Wasserman-Schultz would have you believe.  We both want you to be happy in the best way possible and we want that happiness to be for LIFE…not just during college or high school or your twenties.

Weather-Free Links (For Those Who Are Tired of the Irene Coverage)

Does contraception afford women greater freedom? No, not really:

Can contraception make America better?
by Carolyn Moynihan @ Mercator.net

It’s in this market setting, described by economists, that we confront the failure of the other contraceptive agenda: liberation. Men in fact still have the upper hand in sex and women find themselves paying a high price, materially and emotionally, for the relationship they hope for. And that’s to say nothing of the cost that children bear. Increasingly for the lower middle class, that relationship is likely to fall short of marriage, not last, and, if it produces a child, to result in one parent leaving the home by the time the child is 16.

Rather than doing their research among their pals in the birth control industrial complex (the “science and existing literature”), Drs Obama, Pelosi and Sibelius should have got out into Middle America and confronted the damage that contraceptive culture has already done. They should have interviewed some of the women stalled in uncommitted relationships and feeling they must risk the birth of a child anyway before it is too late, or trying a second or third gamble in the sexual market; the women who must be asking themselves, “Is this all?”

Paul VI truly was ahead of the curve when he wrote Humanae Vitae.

*****

Badass of the week:

Joseph Lozito

(Language warning!)

Lozito took down a spree killer on the New York subway and is now being celebrated as a prime example of traditional American masculinity.

*****

The pathetic Wisconsin left battles on. Their target this week? A Catholic school:

Locks superglued prior to protests of Governor Walker at local school

MILWAUKEE – Protesters crowded the street outside Messmer Preparatory School in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood as Governor Walker visited the school Friday to read to children.

The protests came just hours after someone vandalized the school ahead of the Governor’s visit.

“Some of these folks super glued our front doors at the prep school,” said Br. Bob Smith, OFM, the president of Messmer Catholic Schools, about the school on the corner of North Fratney and East Burleigh Streets.

He told Newsradio 620 WTMJ that a woman was walking in front of the school Thursday, asking people to protest.

According to Br. Smith, one protester said ” ‘Get ready for a riot,’ because they were going to disrupt the visit.”

This is why you keep losing, you union goons. When you pull these stunts, people logically conclude that you don’t actually give a crap about anyone other than yourselves.

*****

And lastly, Obama’s super-rich champion is a hypocrite (naturally):

Warren Buffett’s taxing hypocrisy
@ NetRightDaily

What likely got the Administration’s attention was Buffett’s oped in The New York Times. Buffett proposed that “It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.” He implied he would like to see the capital gains be treated equally as income.

To wit, he wrote of the so-called “super-rich,” which he apparently defines as households earning $1 million or more a year: “Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.” Isn’t that nice of Mr. Buffett?

But if he were truly sincere, perhaps he might simply try paying the taxes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says his company owes? According to Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report — see Note 15 on pp. 54-56 — the company has been in a years-long dispute over its federal tax bills.

And thus we discover why raising taxes on the rich doesn’t work. The very rich, you see, have high-priced tax attorneys.

On Feminism, Part V

For all their insistence that they are fighting for women, radical feminists are in truth only fighting for their abstract concept of womanhood and not for concrete women. When confronted with the concerns of concrete women in the concrete world, radical feminists display attitudes ranging from the curiously indifferent to the contemptuous.

The future of feminism, I feel, lies in fighting the oppression of women overseas. Sexual slavery, genital mutilation, stoning, honor killings, and wildly imbalanced marriage laws still exist outside the post-industrial West. In Islamist nations, women have had their noses chopped off or their faces burned with acid for the “crime” of having contact with an unrelated man — and in China, restrictive reproductive policies have resulted in the deaths of countless infant girls. If Western radical feminists truly cared about real women in the real world, they would be howling with rage over these injustices. Instead, with the exception of a few admirable dissidents, these feminists maintain a silence about women’s issues in the developing world that is absolutely deafening. They don’t want to drift from their anti-Western orthodoxy, you see, so they expend thousands of words in the New York Times complaining about the Augusta National Golf Club and ignore the plight of the globe’s Sorayas.

Meanwhile, when a woman in the West dares to question the radical feminist claim that left-wing policies will serve her best interests, the abuse that is rained down upon her head is simply astounding. If a Sarah Palin or a Christine O’Donnell should come along, radical feminists morph into those mean girls from high school who used to delight in spreading scandalous rumors about those students who weren’t members of their exclusive clique – and their fellow (male) travelers in the mainstream media happily go along for the ride. How many feminists helped spread the vicious rumor that Trig is not Sarah Palin’s son? How many feminists looked the other way – or agreed – when latent misogynist Chris Matthews declared on a recent broadcast that Christine O’Donnell is a pretty young thing without a brain in her skull?

On today’s political playing field, fair play is, for feminists, anathema. If a conservative politician called his female opponent a “whore,” NOW would be on him in a heartbeat decrying his “misogynistic language”; when an associate of the liberal Jerry Brown recently called Meg Whitman a “whore,” however, the Brown campaign basically got a pass. If radical feminists actually cared about concrete women, they would be consistent in their attacks against sexually charged terminology — but since their true goal is to defend a politically correct abstract, they tolerate the blatant hypocrisy in their midst.

On Feminism, Part II

In the last post, I predicted that when it comes to gender identity, the answer to the nature vs. nurture question will probably be yes. But there is also a chance that the question will never be answered because many radical feminists don’t want scientists to study gender-based disparities. The mere possibility that rigorous science may discover some fundamental and unalterable differences between men and women (beyond the obvious, of course) is frightening enough to some feminists that they actively work to squelch the whole discussion.

Not only are these ideological attacks blatantly anti-science, but they are also completely unnecessary. Feminists should not fear an honest discussion on the observed differences between men and women – unless, of course, their real goal is seizing the power to manipulate their fellow human beings.

A statistically significant difference between men and women may not matter at the level of the individual. If you test a population of human beings on a particular skill – for example, mathematical problem solving – the scores will generally be normally distributed. Why does this matter? Well, if you compare the distribution of scores for women and the distribution of scores for men, you will see a considerable amount of overlap even if the mean for one group is significantly higher than the mean for the other. Thus, the difference between the means can’t be used to justify willful discrimination against women because it is always possible that an individual woman will turn out to be more of a math whiz than an individual man.

On the other hand, uncovering stable differences between men and women on particular dimensions should make us think twice about establishing gender quotas by fiat – or forcing institutions and businesses to bow and scrape before feminist hustlers simply because they are male-dominated. If – dare I say it – natural differences between the genders are one day revealed, then the mere fact that there’s a statistical disparity in a certain profession will cease to be sufficient proof that discrimination exists — and that, I think, can only serve the cause of true social justice. For too long, feminists have demanded that certain entities prove a negative.

On Feminism, Part I

SABR Matt has suggested that I begin a series on feminism because he has heard me hold forth on the topic on many occasions. Very well – ask and I shall deliver.

I suppose I should start by challenging a big assumption that underlies the policy prescriptions put forth by many of today’s feminists: the assumption that the differences we observe between the sexes are wholly socially constructed. This assumption drives the radical feminist demand for 50-50 representation in every profession. This assumption has also led to calls for “gender neutral parenting” and other attempts at social engineering.

In truth, this radical “nuture-only” position is more a political expedient than a position based on empirical evidence. I find it difficult not to notice, for example, that the people who insist that gender differences are entirely culturally determined are also the people who insist that homosexuality is a fully biological phenomenon. Why do these folks swing wildly between the poles of behaviorism and biological determinism? Because taking the Watsonian stance on gender enables them to justify their sweeping condemnation of our society – and taking the opposing stance on homosexuality enables the very same thing.

The science on gender differences is disputed; researchers still need to conduct some large-scale cross-cultural studies to make any firm conclusions. But the key word is “disputed”; behaving as if the science has settled the question completely in your favor is irresponsible and potentially dangerous. As it stands, I find it highly unlikely that gender differences will be found to be either wholly cultural or wholly biological. Studies have shown that personality and intelligence are influenced by both biological and environmental factors; there is no reason to suppose that gender differences will be any less complex in their origins.

In reality, there is scientific evidence to support the view that some gender differences are biologically determined. Studies going back a few decades have shown that animals who are exposed to male hormones during fetal development will develop certain male behaviors in adulthood. Female rats who have been exposed to excess testosterone in utero, for example, will attempt to mate as if they are male. Yes, animals are different from human beings, but again, why accept animal models of homosexuality and not accept animal models of gender development? Either you believe in evolution or you don’t; you can’t have it both ways.

Moreover, scientists have documented real differences between human men and women on a whole host of variables, including brain structure, strength, speed, flexibility, aim, ability to mentally rotate objects, ability to remember the location of an object in an array, ability to read nonverbal emotional cues, etc. And ordinary people, if stand-up comedy routines are any indication, have noticed differences in emotional expression, styles of play, academic interests, hobbies, etc. Could some of these differences be environmentally determined? Absolutely. Do we fully understand the mechanism through which the environment (or biology, for that matter) determines the expression of our gender identity? Not on your life. But radical feminists think they understand the mechanism, and they want you to grant them the power to make sweeping societal changes based on their personal theories of gender development – theories which could be completely false. This is a pretty typical attitude among our elite; it’s also an attitude we should abhor if we wish to defend the cause of liberty.