There was an item, an opinion piece, in one of the online venues a few weeks ago, the link to which I didn’t capture at the time and could not find later. I didn’t even read the whole piece. But it’s central point has stuck with me. It’s title was something like “What Conservatives Lose When Roe Falls.”
Its point was that even if conservatives win cases before the Supreme Courts that will eventually, in effect, invalidate Roe v. Wade, thereby allowing states to criminalize all abortions, all they will have done will allow (certain) states to create a new class of criminals, without actually having solved any problem. They will not eliminate abortions. Do they not realize this? Why aren’t they doing things that *would* reduce abortions? Like making contraception easily available, and making sex education comprehensive in school? Because they’re against those things too.
More to the point, they will not have *convinced* anyone of their position, let alone the supposed righteousness of their cause. They will have changed no minds, no hearts. All they will have done is to *impose* their position on everyone else. As if passing a law could actually change the world. They will instead have cut off the debate, as if conceding that it is an issue they cannot win through reason. They will win, legally, but lose, intellectually and morally.
And it strikes me that this is a key to conservative thinking.
Michael Shermer’s Why Darwin Matter: The Case Against Intelligent Design (reviewed here) made the point that proponents of creationism, later rebranded intelligent design, thought they could win their battle against science not by doing science, but by winning court cases.
And then there have been the repeated efforts by Republicans to banish the very idea of gays from the minds of schoolchildren.
NYT, James Kirchick, 22 March 2022: When Reagan Said Gay. The print title was “‘Don’t Say Gay’ Is Nothing Knew.” The essay covers efforts by Anita Bryant and John Briggs in the 1970s to demonize gay teachers — or any teacher anyone might suspect was gay. Get ’em fired. As well as Reagan’s “shameful inaction” around HIV and AIDS during his presidency–for years!– because it was an issue that mostly affected gays, people he had acquaintance with through his days in Hollywood, but which he understood none of his constituents liked.
Now it’s happening against. Here’s a late update on what’s going on in Florida: Slate, Christina Cauterucci, 26 March 2022: Republicans Are Furious That People Are Calling Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill a “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, subtitled, “Also, they’re accusing the bill’s opponents of being pedophiles.”
Are these folks completely naive? Don’t they realize that all their kids are online these days and learning about the world on their smartphones? Even learning about sex via pornography? Do they really think passing a law will change that? Perhaps they only mean to demonize people they don’t like. And pedophiles? How low can these people go? Perhaps I could propose a “Don’t Say Republican” bill concerning schoolchildren, and accuse anyone who objects to it of being a seditionist.
And now we have the Supreme Court hearings this past week, where we saw Republican senators playing to their base (and Fox News), and in particular rejecting the complexity of the world, insisting that everything be black or white.
Salon: Matthew Rozsa, March 24, 2022: Republicans get the science behind sexual difference wrong during Supreme Court nominee hearing.
Subtitled: “Sens. Cruz and Blackburn claim the ‘science’ is clear that sex is fundamental. Scientists say that is far from true.”
A final thought, which I’ve probably mentioned before. Why is it Republican politicians are always so *angry*??
(And a follow-up to that thought will come when I write up my notes here to Stephen Prothero’s GOD IS NOT ONE.)