Uh…BTL, hate to tell ya, but who says you still aren’t?
Yesterday Salon’s Michael Lind indulged in some bizarrely over-the-top left-wing triumphalism:
Social conservatives are fighting a losing battle–not against a global secular humanist conspiracy, but against the social consequences of the pill, the automobile and the Internet. Short of reversing the industrial revolution, emptying the cities and restoring agrarian society, after the manner of Pol Pot’s communists in Cambodia in the 1970s, the best hope for social conservatives is to retreat to minority enclaves like those of the Amish. On self-created reservations they can raise their children as they see fit, segregated from mainstream culture and visited, perhaps, by morally liberal tourists nostalgic for an older, simpler way of life. And if their fertility is higher than that of the morally liberal majority, they can hope to take over America by strength of numbers–in 500 or a thousand years.
So, “social conservatives”, whatever that means to any of us, are either the Amish or the Khmer Rouge. Yeah, I get those two confused all the time.
Almost as unfortunate as the mean-spirited tone of this lurid fantasy is its timing. Today Gallup has a new poll that calls into question Lind’s smug supposition about the amoral majority:
The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.
In addition, “half of Americans, 51%, consider abortion morally wrong and 38% say it is morally acceptable.” Views on the legality of abortion are difficult to discern from the poll, which shows 52% think abortion should be “legal under certain circumstances”–a formulation that includes a wide range of degrees of restrictiveness.
Lind contends that “social conservatism has been undermined by technological progress, which has increased the opportunities for freedom in matters of sex and censorship while raising the costs of enforcing traditional norms.” There is truth to this, but the process started about three centuries earlier than Lind seems to think it did. “From the later seventeenth century onwards there developed new attitudes towards privacy and publicity, new ways of shaping public opinion, and a new openness about sexual affairs,” observes Faramerz Dabhoiwala in his new book, “The Origins of Sex.”
But technology cuts both ways as does morality. In the case of abortion, for instance, advances in prenatal technology have made it harder to deny that the procedure involves destroying a human life. That may account for the shift noted by Gallup.
That’s the point, libs. When I was a young liberal, footloose and fancy free, I supported abortion without any limits or controls. G’ahead, gals, abort away! It was the only position to take to get any action from the type of young women who were likely to give me any, and what did I care? I had already been born.
Then I had kids. Which only makes me biased, of course. Nothing like experiencing the miracles of pregnancy and childbirth (albeit secondhand) to disqualify one from having opinions on the subjects.
But you know what really made me change my mind on abortion?
What we so casually discard and dismiss as a parasite looks a lot more like something we take to the park on Saturday mornings and push on the swing.
I still support abortion—with limits—because I can’t dismiss the right of a woman to choose. But that’s an emotional stance. My rational, scientific side can’t deny that abortion tilts more toward infanticide than it does toward civil liberties. Sorry, but sometimes science sucks.
Just ask the victims of the Khmer Rouge if you don’t believe me. Right, fellas?