Why do Republicans worship a projection of their id?

First the BP oil spill that is devastating the Gulf – product of a history of insane corporate recklessness abetted by regulation that was lax at best and corrupt at worst – was an “act of God.”

Now when a rape victim gets pregnant, it shows that “God has a plan and purpose for each one of our lives.” (I guess the rapist was just fulfilling the mitzvah “Be fruitful and multiply.”)

I try to be respectful of other people’s religious beliefs, but I have to say some of the wingnuts worship a very weird and nasty god. They seem to have projected their id rather than their superego.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

10 thoughts on “Blasphemy”

  1. Actually, though I'm completely opposed to their views, I find the consistency of those who state publicly that they're opposed to ALL abortions somewhat refreshing. After all, if you oppose abortion on the grounds that any fetus is "life" and taking it is murder, it shouldn't matter to your though process what the circumstances were that created that life. I always have the sneaking suspicion that those vehemently opposed to abortion really don't actually believe in the exceptions for rape and incest, they're just saying they do because it's more politically acceptable to more people.

  2. I wonder, Bev, if the test for whether someone truly believes that abortion is murder is a willingness to prosecute the mother and incarcerate her for life without the possibility of parole. Murder for hire is subject to this penalty. If you hire a hit man to bump off your husband, you go up the river with the actual gunman.

    “Abortionists” do not go around snatching pregnant women off the streets and subjecting them to forcible abortion; women seek out abortion providers when they feel that they cannot continue a pregnancy to term. Some extremists in the anti-abortion movement actually do advocate the incarceration of the woman who seeks the abortion, but they do not usually seek public office.

    Most people who equate abortion with murder balk at this clear inference from their premises. But it reveals that they really do not believe their own invective. Operation Rescue wants to incarcerate those who perform abortions, but not of the women who initiate the “crime.” This incongruity is rarely pointed out, but it ought to be.

  3. I too don't understand why people who say that abortion is murder think there should be an exception for rape and incest victims. Should a woman be able to murder her two-year-old child because he was the product of a rape? No, because the child is a person, and we can't murder people just because they are the children of rapists. If I believed that a rape victim's fetus was a person, I would have the same attitude toward it. How could I possibly countenance its murder?

    So I understand the view of abortion foes who would not allow any abortions. It's the folks in the mushy middle whose moral attitude toward murder confuses me. They don't, clearly, regard fetuses as having full human rights. Yet they are not opposed to forcing some pregnant women, but not other pregnant women, to continue unwanted pregnancies. There seems to be a notion of punishing some sexually active women (but not rape victims) with unwanted pregnancies.

  4. Miscarriage is a common event, but when it happens, the vital statistics department of the health department does not record a birth and death, nor have the sacraments of any church traditionally been administered. This means that the "abortion is murder" idea lacks support from tradition, not just from the fact that no one wants to follow through on its logical implications for incarceration of the pregnant woman.

    Many years ago, I picked up a hitchhiker who was running for President. Sort of a grass roots campaign he was running, you might say. He wanted to empty the prisons, since vengeance is the Lord's; he also wanted to grind up aborted fetuses and process them into hot dogs to feed to women who say they are nothing but lumps of tissue. I had to drop him off when we got to I-80, and did not get his entire platform (which included the abolition of money in favor of pretty beads as a medium of exchange, since the Indians did this and had good mental health), but his abortion policy did have a certain poetry about it, I had to admit.

    BTW, when David sinned with Bathsheba, the Bible says that the Lord did not smite him or her, but the baby which was the fruit of their adultery. This was after Bathsheba had delivered a live infant. Sharron Angle might be asked about that, if there were a biblically literate reporter to ask her about it.

  5. Thought experiment: You are in a burning room, in which there is a live baby and a locked freezer. You can only save one of them. Which do you save?

    It seems to me that almost no one would hesitate in this decision. Would it change your mind if I said that the locked freezer contained 100 frozen embryos? Again, it doesn't seem to me that any sane person would change his/her mind. And changing that 100 to 1000 or 10,000 would not alter the decision.

    This says, to me, that we don't equate (born) babies with embryos. Yet, my representative to Congress, many of my state legislators, and a depressingly large number of people in the US think that there is a bright and shining line at conception.

  6. Once you get to a certain level of believing in acts of god, sensible debate becomes impossible. If it's god's plan for a woman who's raped to become pregnant and carry the fetus even at the risk of her own health and life, then maybe it's god's plan for . Who can say? If you truly believe that anything and everything is part of god's plan, then your only problem is that you're committing blasphemy (by imposing your constraints on the deity) when you say that you absolutely positively know that getting an abortion is not part of god's plan…

    Bev M: It's possible that some of those who are opposed to abortion don't believe in the rape/incest exception, but my take is instead that the rape/incest exception is a sign that the anti-abortion crowd don't actually believe that abortion is culpable homicide. You get a much better fit if they consider unwanted pregnancies as punishment for consensual sex. (And some make that pretty clear, e.g. Priscilla Owen in her notorious dissent arguing that it's a sign of immaturity for a minor to avoid notifying her parents of an abortion out of fear of being thrown out on the street.)

  7. Paul says the rape/incest exception is explained with a "much better fit if they consider unwanted pregnancies as punishment for consensual sex". Yes, and supporting that explanation is the following data point: you don't see these same folks typically getting all exercised about the tens of thousands of frozen IVF embryos that will never "have a chance to be born". That's because the vast majority of those embryos belong to, or are discarded by, married couples of middle to high income — not the constituency to alienate.

  8. Were not the 9/11 attacks an act of God? The Russian Revolution? The Great Leap Forward? The recent robbery of the local Walgreens? The enactment of the Internal Revenue Code?

  9. You do see some people getting exercised about frozen embryos and just plain discarded embryos from IVF — that's ostensibly one of the reasons the catholic church is opposed to the technology. There are even people who "adopt" these "snowflake babies" and have them transferred. (This leads to a strange set of interlocking incentives, because a) it offers people who are infertile but religiously opposed to discarding embryos an out to salve their consciences, b) thawed-embryo cycles are way cheap compared to many other forms of assisted reproduction, but c) unrelated thawed-embryo transfer success rates can be really lousy, e.g. down to 10% live births. So the "adopters" are killing most of the embryos in a particularly expensive way, but one that lets them disclaim agency…)

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