Monday, August 04, 2008


Yeah right.

Being "pro-life" is one of those unbreakable Republican, conservative creeds, kind of like "family values" (so now you probably know where I'm going with this...).

I've been reading this great book, 50 Simple Thing You Can Do To Fight the Right. Despite the title, it's not some leftist, liberal wiener, anti-conservative book. No actually about the Far Right Fringers (known in most circles as Fascists - Hitler was one) having pretty much completely taken over the Republican Party over the last thirty of forty years, making normal, center-left Democrats look like crazy liberals. Except it's the Right Wingers who are the nuts. The book basically discusses how normal, every day progressives, a silent, or rather silenced, majority can stop the Right from hijacking the US, what it means to be a Patriot, the flag, and everything else that used to be an American symbol and is now a Right Wing symbol (I was going to list the Constitution, but they just COMPLETELY ignore that anyway; they haven't hijacked it; they ripped it to shreds).

ANYWAY, the book is divided into two parts that are intermixed. The first are the fifty things one can do to fight the Right. The second, a section called "Why We Fight," is presented in in parts after every one or two of the "simple things."

One of the "Why We Fight" sections was about the Republican war on public health. What? you ask! How can that be?! you exclaim. After all, aren't the Right Wingers all about being "Pro-life?"

Here's a quote:

It's disturbing that people who consider themselves "pro-life" consistently side with forces that are willing to endanger people's health to make a few dollars... or that they choose ideological purity over genuine concern for people's well-being.
Oddly, I'd never thought of it that way. What an eye-opener. They go on to give several examples of anti-life Republican shenanigans (from changing the CDC's [Center for Disease Control] site to tell people to abstain from sex rather than use condoms [right, because that's REALLY going to get kids to abstain - "honey, let's see what the CDC has to say before we do it, OK?"] to removing bitter flavoring from rat poison to that was supposed to discourage kids from eating it to everything in between - thankfully, in the two cases I mentioned, they were changed back, though it took four years with the rat poison thing).

Yes. All the "pro-life" Right Winger Republicans are against national health care. If you can't afford it or have a "pre-existing condition," well, tough-shit on you.

That's VERY pro-life, wouldn't you think?

Ah, yes. The Republican Party. The party of family values and being pro-life...

I'll probably blog about this book some more. There are just SO many great tidbits in it. Again, they're not crazy Left Fringe nut jobs. It's just norman, middle of the road, left-leaning progressives fighting the Far Right.

Explain to me again how any Jew can vote Republican?


Kylopod said...

While I'm not in total disagreement, this type of argument has always struck me as semantic. You could easily make the same sort of attack against Democrats, by saying they call themselves "pro-choice" yet oppose choice on a number of other issues (e.g. guns).

The real problem is that the terms pro-life and pro-choice aren't descriptions but euphemisms. Pro-life means you want to force women to carry to term, and pro-choice means you want to allow the killing of unborn children. Neither side likes to state explicitly what it's really advocating, because it sounds too harsh.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Except that, supposedly, the "pro-lifers" oppose abortion because they supposedly believe in the sanctity of life. As long as it doesn't cost them or the big insurance and drug companies money, obviously.

The "pro-choicers" are the ones who back abortion because they believe the mother should have the choice in her hands, not those of the government. In essence, I agree with this. Let them take the responsibility. It should not belong to anyone else. A "pro-lifer" will say then she should not have gotten pregnant in the first place, but sex WILL happen, regardless of our own religious beliefs. And I KNOW abortion is against halacha, but there ARE instances when it is not only allowed, but a MUST, as in when the mother is in danger. The "pro-lifers" who oppose abortion oppose ALL abortion, no distinctions, which makes them even more dangerous. They're like the Sith. They deal only in absolutes, NO shades of gray...

Kylopod said...

First of all, Lucas put in that line--about Sith dealing in absolutes--because he wanted to take a jab at the Bush Administration. Coming from a moral simpleton like Lucas, the line is ridiculous. The Jedi are just as black-and-white as the Sith (if not more so). There are no shades of gray in the Star Wars universe.

Getting back to the topic, halacha does not merely permit abortion to save the life of the mother. Some authorities, like R' Eliezer Waldenberg, have allowed early-term abortion of Tay-Sachs babies, for example. While this view is far from unanimous (Rav Moshe rejects it) it is still legitimate. Supporting the pro-life movement--even the "rape, incest, life of the mother" exceptions which Republican politicians recite like a mantra for political survival--would in effect be letting the law interfere with a rabbinic dispute.

That's a convincing pragmatic argument for why a frum Jew should support abortion rights. But it falls short of a philosophical defense of the concept of a "woman's right to choose." My own perspective is as a civil libertarian who finds abortion troubling, but who thinks outlawing it would do more harm than good.

So, while I am basically pro-choice, I am not unsympathetic to the motives of sincere pro-lifers. Granted, you can easily cry hypocrisy at the Republican establishment for not really caring about the values it espouses and for simply being interested in accumulating power. But I think the same is true, albeit to a lesser degree, about the Democratic establishment.

My point is not to disagree with the substance of your argument but simply to point out that you could make a similar argument against Democrats, who aren't really "pro-choice" in general. (Only the Libertarian Party is consistently "pro-choice.")

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Oh, I didn't say the Jedi were ANY better. In fact, I found to be, basically, Yeshivish - everything they did was the correct thing, their "gedolim" dictated all, and there was no deviation from the path of Emes... :)

Bottom line with the pro business right-wingers: They're pro-life as long as it costs them (or the big businesses) nothing, and abortions cost money. So does healthcare, so they're against that too. It would cause serious damage to a huge industry that, quite frankly, needs to be destroyed...

I'm facing it right now (not just on a personal level with being denied medically necessary bariatric surgery, but with my dad as well), and I'll blog about that tomorrow.