Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When wingnuts overreach

I'm generally not interested in writing rebuttals to Townhall columns, because they all would boil down to "the opposite of what he said," or "man, what a douche," and that's not very interesting. But I have to confess to being fascinated by this anti-feminist rant, via Feministing.

It's straight out of Modern Jackass, and as such, it's left me puzzling about what, exactly, the author believes about feminists and liberals and evolution - and how his beliefs could possibly be linked in such an absurd manner. I will give Mike Adams, the piece's author, this: he says a lot of things that are in a sense correct, if you want to play fast and loose with syntax and logic. For instance, he defines feminism thusly:

Feminism is a minority social movement, whose members murder innocent children in order to obtain sexual gratification.

Now, this may be true but woefully incomplete, in the same sense that opponents of contraception and abortion grant men sexual gratification only on the condition that women's blood, sweat, tears, time, and family structure will be spent on it. The focus of the concern is turned on its head, though I at least got my concept of the way events are ordered in time correctly. I am in fact being too generous here - even allowing abortion to be referred to as "murdering innocent children," it's not like feminists can't have orgasms without first having abortions - there's a problem with the placement of the phrase "in order to," to say the least. And for that matter, it's not like accidental pregnancies preclude feminists' sexual gratification either. Still, I will assume that the spirit and the letter of the above definition diverge, and agree that many feminists are comfortable with the risk of unwanted pregnancy (and one may assume therefore subsequent abortions) that comes with sex.

Clearly, what we have here is a guy who is upset about the sometimes connected concepts of abortion and nonprocreative sex. He doesn't like it that women who terminate pregnancies might have had fun somewhere along the way to that point, and he doesn't like it that they're having abortions to begin with.

That's all well and good, and perfectly within his rights to believe. It is also perfectly within my rights to believe he should go fuck off. Further, it's not very interesting, so I can see why someone looking to sell a piece of writing would be reluctant to put down the keyboard at that point. On the other hand, if all you're going to produce with the keyboard from that point on is nonsense, it's really a better idea to leave us all be.

Oherwise, a person might find themself writing something like this:

My understanding of (and disrespect for) the underpinnings of modern feminism was actually fostered by a biologist who once made a very candid remark about the foundation of his support of Darwinism. When asked about the lack of evidence supporting Darwinism – the fossil record, etc. – he confessed there was a very human reason for his faith in evolutionary theory despite the lack of scientific evidence. He confessed that if Darwinism were not true, he wouldn’t be able to sleep around.

At the heart of his support for Darwinism was a desire to get God out of the picture by any means whatsoever. And his desire to get God out of the picture was in turn motivated by his desire to copulate with as many people as possible without feeling guilty.

At this point, it really is impossible to give Adams the benefit of the doubt, and believe that the problems with his writing are about syntax, and not being batshit crazy. It is the case that many who do not believe in God do also believe in evolution, and that lots of these godless evolutionists have sex without "feeling guilty." But, the notably slutty Charles Darwin aside, a belief in the ability of natural selection to shape the natural world doesn't get anyone laid, even if it may be more highly correlated with a chance of sleeping with me (for example) than not believing in evolution is.

But even if this did make sense: what does it have to do with feminism? Or even abortion? Wouldn't a proper evolutionist be interested in passing his smartass genes on to the next generation? Unless he doesn't want future generations to believe in evolution, in which case...

Am I the only one getting dizzy?

As I think about the candid remarks of the freely fornicating biologist, I am reminded of a sociology professor’s response to a film showing an ultrasound of an abortion being performed on a fetus during its so-called first trimester of development. Without addressing the issue of when life actually begins she pleaded for the preservation of a woman’s right to choose by reminding people that a woman who gets pregnant “might not know” or “might not even like” the man who got her pregnant.

The similarities between the remarks of the freely fornicating biologist and the slut-sympathizer-slash-sociologist are analytically indistinguishable. And the remarks of the latter are a grim reminder that the feminist mantra that a “woman has right to control her body” is not a reference to the fetus at all. It is simply a reference to her own body and her desire to share it with those she “might not know” and “might not even like.”

Again, Adams has got the tiniest bit right here. The fact that a woman has a right to control her body has much more to do woman than the fetus (otherwise the "mantra" would be more about the woman controlling the fetus, eh?). I don't see what's so absurd about that. Adams is concerned that women are having abortions to make it easier to sleep with people they don't know or like - but my understanding is that when you neither know nor like the person who got you pregnant, it's because they raped you. It's not at all outside the realm of possibility that Adams is insinuating that it's sluttiness that gets a person raped, but he's made it very clear that his beliefs do not necessarily have anything to do with reality.

But again, the biggest problem with this column is not Adams' beliefs. He's creeped out by abortion - that's fine, but embellishing it with idiocy doesn't lend strength to his position. The problem is that he's trying to create a unified theory of liberal evil by linking together ideas to which he does not subscribe and does not understand. Ordering facts such that they might make your enemies look bad isn't very useful if in doing so they stop describing reality.
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