Stacy McCain rips most entertainingly into Amanda Marcotte over her anti-endorsement of Santorum. There’s no doubt whatever that Our Amynda is a piece of work with a number of fairly frantic bees in her bonnet, but it’s worth asking how she got that way. Rightists often ask, with visible wonder, how people like Marcotte and Margaret Atwood come up with their extreme and often hysterical views of the Right, and I consider myself a Rightist (of sorts) but totally understand where they’re coming from.
There is a vast chasm of a gap between opposed to abortion and wanting a Law against abortion. The first is both moral and practical. Moral issues are canvassed elsewhere much better than I can manage, but the practical remains stark: You are gonna die someday. The future belongs to those who show up for it, and if you don’t have children you have no future. The second — aaah. The second is what generates Marcottes.
Postulate a Law against abortion. What would have to be done? Well, would the simple existence of a Law stop babies being killed? Of course not. The Law would have to be enforced. There would still be doctors, nurse practitioners, med students, a host of other medical practitioners, and a good-sized number of wannabees providing the service on the sly, and you have to have a way to detect them and put them out of business. The information about how to do it is public on the Internet and elsewhere, and you have to find a way to suppress that. It’s perfectly possible, although damned dangerous, for a woman to do it to herself, perhaps with a sympathetic friend to help, and a method must be found to keep that from happening.
Parsing the Whys and Wherefores, we circle around and come to a conclusion: the only way to stop abortion using a Law is to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, charged with finding out whether any woman is pregnant and preventing her from getting an abortion. Any lesser means will still allow leakers, and experience tells us that any system that allows leaks will eventually allow a flood. Behind all of Marcotte’s sneers and vulgarisms, it is that police force that she opposes; The Handmaid’s Tale describes one alternate version of such a police force, and not the worst version possible by any means. Atwood, too, is opposed to the establishment of such a force — and so am I.
If you want to establish a massive, powerful, expensive, and highly intrusive police force, I am your opponent — and I don’t give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn what you want it for. It’s a source of power, and by Rule #3 becomes an attractant for power-seekers who, once ensconced in it, will seek to expand its power without limit regardless of its original function or the reasons for establishing it. Nor do I give the slightest whisper of the faintest possible hint of a damn about your bitching about, e.g., the EPA, which is a marvelous example of a police force seized by extremists and power-seekers who use it for ends its founders never intended. In all the history of the World, there has never, ever, ever been a case in which such a police force didn’t get seized by extremists and power-seekers, and if you want to set up Yet Another Example of a proto-Gestapo (which is what all such are, your excuses about Saving the Children being totally irrelevant), I’m agin it.
I vote for, and generally support, the Right over the Left, and I consider Amanda Marcotte and her ilk to be generally wrong and distastefully nasty in expressing themselves, but I also see, at least in many cases, where the fears that led to their nastiness originate — and they are often, as in this instance, perfectly logical and rational. I don’t like them worth a damn, but if push came to shove I’d be bound to join their camp over the underlying issues. The fact that they have issues requiring the establishment of massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police forces for their own ends just makes it into a matter of selecting the lesser of two evils, and as a general rule the Left at least tends to be honest about it, to the point of delighting in what their goon-gangs will do to opponents if allowed. It’s unattractive as all Hell, but the obliviousness displayed by many “socon” rightists is even more distasteful. If you’re going to rant that consequences be damned if you can save one child you make my trigger finger itch in exactly the same way the Leftists do, because the only difference between you and them is some technical terminology. I have to ally with you because the other causes you support are more in line with my thinking, but it doesn’t mean I despise you any less than I do any other supporter of intrusive meddlers with guns.
All of which is one of the main reasons Left and Right have gotten to be, and stay, neck-and-neck in politics. Independents, whose votes are crucial in any election, tend strongly to have (usually incoherent versions of) the same attitude — there are already plenty of goon squads euphemized as “police forces” out there, and establishing another one is not to be favored. The fact that socons tend to gloss over, or seem oblivious to, the difference between wanting some outcome and establishing a goon squad to achieve an outcome makes them equally, if not more, unattractive to people whose actual wish is to be left the f* alone. It was opposition to such measures that led to “smelly hippies” getting their hands on the levers of power in the first place, and that’s going to keep happening. Examine your Issue. If it means establishing a massive, powerful, expensive, and intrusive police force in order to accomplish it, I’ll vote for the Other Guy — and I know damned well I’m not alone in that.