One day it’s fine, the next it’s black

5 03 2012

Buncha thoughts, none of which currently coheres into an argument or essay:

Why should I have to pay for a woman to fuck without consequences?

An attack on women’s sexuality—yeah, yeah, nothing new—but the logic behind this bares not just hostility to women claiming their full humanity, but to insurance itself.

Why pay for contraception is a question that could be asked of any medical intervention. Why pay for Viagra is the obvious follow-up, but the underlying sentiment is why should I pay anything else for anyone for any reason?

Actually, that’s not just an attack on insurance, but on politics itself.


When to stay and when to go?

This is an ongoing conflict between my civic republican and anarchist sides: When should one fight to stay within any particular system, and when should one say I’m out?

One part of me wants the full range of women’s health services wholly ensconced in medical education and practice, an integral part of the medical establishment, and another part of me says Enough! We’ll do it ourselves!

I’ve mentioned that when I was in high school I helped to start an independent newspaper. We wanted to be in charge of what was covered and what was said, and decided that the only way to assert that control was to strike out on our own.

Given our options, given our willingness and our ability to do the work, and given what we wanted to accomplish, it was the right choice.

I’m not so sure that peeling ourselves off of the medical establishment would be anywhere near as good an idea, not least because the conditions are, shall we say, rather different from starting a newspaper; more to the point, what would be the point of such disestablishment?

In other words, what’s the best way for us to take care of ourselves?


For all my anarchist sympathies, I am not an anarchist, and my sympathies do not run in all directions.

I am not a fan of homeschooling, for example, and have at times argued that, in principle, it should not be allowed. I have at times argued that, in principle, no private K-12 education should be allowed.

I have principled reasons for these arguments, but, honestly, there is a fair amount of unreasoned hostility to such endeavors.

This is a problem.

No, not the contradiction, but the lack of reflection. If I’m going to go against myself, I ought at least know why.


I might be done with Rod Dreher.

I’ve followed Dreher on and off for years, first at BeliefNet, then at RealClearReligion, and now at American Conservative. He’s a self-declared “crunchy conservative”, writing about a kind of conservation care, community, and his own understandings of Orthodox Christianity. He also wrote quite movingly of his beloved sister Ruthie’s ultimately fatal struggle with lung cancer.

As an unrepentant leftist I think it’s important for me to read unrepentant rightists: not to get riled, but to try to understand. And Dreher, because he has so often been thoughtful about so many aspects of his own conservatism, has been a mostly welcoming guide to a worldview not my own.

More and more often, however, that thoughtfulness about his own side is being drowned by a contempt for the other side. This is not unexpected—one remains on a side because one thinks that side is better—but Dreher has turned into just another predictable culture warrior, launching full-scale attacks on the motives of the other side while huffily turning aside any questions regarding his own motives.

Perhaps he thinks the best way to deal with the alleged loss of standards is to double them.

And that, more than any political difference, is what is driving me away: he no longer writes in good faith.




3 responses

5 03 2012
Ben Hoffman

The best way to prevent abortions is to cut down on pregnancies. And insurance companies would much rather provide birth control than coverage for pregnancies because it saves them money.

The whole thing is just a fabricated issue. If it’s against Catholics’ religion to use birth control, the can simply refrain from doing so. They don’t need special legislation.

6 03 2012

seems to me that democratic political systems are as much about the limits of conversation/debate as they are about fostering such. when we get to the just ‘because’ rock-bottom of our beliefs/stances than it is time to vote.
The public on the left has spent a lot of time focusing on reasoning/debate and not so much on organizing, I don’t think that private groups can make up for serious gaps in govt. but the we will do it ourselves mode could be translated to interest-groups that work within the system.

6 03 2012

@Ben. Hi! It is and it isn’t. I think some believe this is truly an issue of religious liberty—I do not—but I think a fair number of others are appalled that women like to have sex. I do have pro-life friends who also favor birth control for precisely the reason you point out, but I don’t know of many (any?) pro-life organizations which encourage the use of birth control.

The RC church, needless to say, won’t be jumpin’ on the BC bandwagon any time soon.

@dmf: I was thinking about this with regard to Occupy Wall Street. One of the good & useful things I think some of the Occupy groups have done is to support foreclosed homeowners in preventing eviction. Nope, not the same as working on the infrastructure of organization, but it’s a start, and may help Occupy folks link up with housing and other social justice orgs.

All of that said, elections matter.

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