Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The left has entered a new level of insanity

Lawrence Auster has had some good posts recently on the contraception mandate. Like any sensible person, Auster is in something like shock at the audacity of the left in presenting these insane ideas, and still more, at the level of acceptance they are receiving:

I cannot get into my head that people are demanding, as a right, as an unquestionable right, that they should be provided with contraceptives totally free.... No one heard of such an idea a couple of months ago. And now it's already a pillar of America which no one may safely challenge.

He also makes this point:

This is liberalism taking off into hyperspeed. And if Obamacare is not repealed, we are going to be dealing every day for the rest of our lives with this faster-than-light liberalism.

I've noticed this as well since Obama became President. The left makes new demands at breathtaking speed. The Internet then puts out talking points for defending them as essential, and all the little leftist commentators go about repeating them everywhere until people simply believe that whatever is now being touted is now normal, a right, etc. We've seen a bit of this in the relatively quick speed with which homosexual "marriage" has moved from being a fringe idea to being the only alternative to evil bigotry. But the free contraception mandate sets a speed record.

My own opinion is that the abandonment of democracy and constitutional government is connected to this new speed with which insane liberal ideas become accepted by the public. Someone might argue that it is otherwise, that this shows the pitfalls of democracy, because people are too easily manipulated. But my instinct is that it is otherwise. I believe this contraception mandate would have moved much more slowly if it had instead been proposed as something to be passed individually by Congress. There would then at least have been a debate, with people saying, "What? This is silly," and so forth. As it is, because Sebelius was given dictatorial powers by Obamacare, the left stole a march on us by promulgating the rule as a done deal, as something they already have power to dictate. The debate then automatically takes place in reactionary fashion. Indeed, I've seen commentator after commentator piously declare, "This is now the law." Sebelius and Obama make this thing up out of their heads one fine day, announce it in a press conference, and that makes it "the law," and that is used as a pompous argument for its legitimacy. So real American constitutional representative democracy would have some power in slowing this process down, if it were operating properly. Which it is not.

Auster also makes the point that the left is losing its humanitarian halo in all of this. There are all sorts of people with serious illnesses and very high co-pays, or people who need drugs not on their HMO's formularies and who are in really dire straits as a result. And what does the left decide to declare to be "free" and an entitlement? Birth control pills! So much for their caring about sick people. Auster relates this to feminism:

The situation described by Mr. Zarkov exemplifies how, as Gintas and I wrote in another entry, liberals have launched themselves into some speeded-up liberal dimension of complete irrationality. As we all remember, nationalized health insurance was supposedly absolutely necessary because, as the Democrats kept saying over and over and over, there are so many people in America with terrible medical conditions for which they cannot afford the care. Nationalized health insurance was demanded on the basis that there are seriously suffering people who lack affordable health care and must have it. As flawed as that argument was, it at least made a rational-sounding appeal related to some supposed actual human need.

But now, with this contraceptive business, the Democrats have thrown away their own supposedly irresistibly compelling rationale for nationalized health insurance. Now they want to give free birth control to every woman in America who wants it,--free birth control from puberty to menopause--while people with serious, debilitating conditions must continue paying very large amounts for their care.

Why? What explains this?

What explains it is that the Democrats' sob stories about sick people in need were never their true or highest motivation. Their highest motivation is their ideology of sexual liberation and particularly of female empowerment, all aimed at destroying whatever remains of the traditional family and traditional sex relations.
I certainly agree that there is a connection to feminism. In fact, I've pointed out again and again that the state laws that are somewhat like the present federal law (though, contra the leftists, providing more loopholes for religious organizations) were passed on a wave of feminist ideology. This is for women. If you don't do this you are anti-woman. (A friend asked recently why the left is casting this as a women's issue rather than an issue affecting couples who are allegedly unable to afford contraception. The obvious answer is that neither the left nor the mushy middle gets really teary-eyed over couples. "It's for women" is a battle cry that rouses the public and makes the PC-whipped scurry to obey, so that's what they are using.)

But of course the other aspect, which Auster mentions, of "sexual liberation" is also powerful. There is a kind of frenzy here. Why push free contraception rather than free migraine medication? The only answer I can find is that contraception is not being treated as just another product by the left. If people were treating contraception as just another product, one can imagine their meeting with bemusement the idea that it should be free. Indeed, one can even imagine people who actually purchase contraception being baffled by this new entitlement. "Um, I also purchase many other products. Why is free access to this an entitlement?" I discussed here the selective Marxism of the left, the idea that things are to be "made free" on an ad hoc basis to the extent that they are considered "really important." It can only be that contraception is being treated not simply as important, but as uber-important, as somehow holy--to be worshiped rather than simply used in a matter-of-fact fashion like any other product on the market. And if it is to be worshiped, then evidently everyone has to participate in making it available "for free" to its users.

Now this is utterly crazy. This is sexual liberationist hysteria cojoined with economic stupidity. It is unclear what, if anything, will stop it. See above on the speed with which people start parroting talking points. I would say that perhaps it might be wise to send people suffering from other very serious health maladies to testify before Congress and to point out the bizarre double standard. "Why should contraception be free when my medication for rheumatoid arthritis costs me so much?" If you get enough of such testimonies concerning enough different illnesses, perhaps the sheer arbitrariness and sex-related frenzy of all of this will become more evident. And since hopefully even people without much economic sense can see that you can't make all of these things "free," the drive to make just contraception "free" might lose its oomph. It would be worth a try.

Ultimately, the best thing we can do is to appeal to people's common sense. This mandate is so bizarre that, if there is any common sense left in people, they ought to be able to see that it is insane tyranny, regardless of their position on contraception itself. Then perhaps Congress would wake up and take back some of those super-powers, the power to make laws with a snap of a finger, that they have delegated to The Secretary.


Jeff Culbreath said...

Yes, the speed at which our society is unraveling is staggering.

Democracy? It might have prevented some problems, but I can't see democracy or the constitution putting the genie back in the bottle.

As for common sense, I hope you are right and will do my best, but you have to admit that common sense is becoming more scarce every day, and that even many of the "best" sorts of people - intelligent, outwardly decent people - have inexplicably lost it.

The hour is late.

Lydia McGrew said...

At this point, I'd settle for just slowing down the genie a bit. I'm not aiming for putting things back in bottles. But I do think that this particular insane mandate would not have passed as an actual item of law to be individually debated and voted upon by Congress.

Samson J. said...

The left makes new demands at breathtaking speed. The Internet then puts out talking points for defending them as essential, and all the little leftist commentators go about repeating them everywhere until people simply believe that whatever is now being touted is now normal, a right, etc. We've seen a bit of this in the relatively quick speed with which homosexual "marriage" has moved from being a fringe idea to being the only alternative to evil bigotry. But the free contraception mandate sets a speed record.

I think the explanation for this is that these proposals aren't really "radical" in the sense that they comport perfectly with the liberal worldview. It's less a case of leftists making stuff up and getting it accepted, and more a case of them discovering, "Hey, our worldview logically leads to this, so let's promote it!"

At least that's my explanation. You're right, the speed is breathtaking.

Lydia McGrew said...

I don't know, though. Can't you imagine instead leftists coming up with something different that comports with their worldview? For example, declaring diabetes medication and supplies to be an entitlement and hence "free" would fit with the whole bleeding-heart liberal thing and would also display the same economic silliness according to which things can simply be made free.

Or why not any number of other things? Hearing aids for elderly people. You could make a great TV commercial about how much the elderly need hearing aids and how expensive they are (and that's all true, and hearing aids aren't usually covered by insurance, either).

One needs a particular brand of leftism, a brand that pretty much worships anything to do with sex and that involves actually _worshiping_ contraception, to get this arbitrary mandate for something so comparatively frivolous. Not just any old leftism will do.