Archives for posts with tag: Roe vs Wade

What happened:

And what various people make of it:

Some say that history repeats itself until we figure out what it meant in the first place.
Others maintain that history’s first ‘helping’ comes as a tragedy while the second becomes a farce.

Well, I’m afraid things are a little more complicated.

For starters, history doesn’t do anything.
History is nothing but a string of events. Considered noteworthy and written down by some of those who have survived the above mentioned events.
NB, ‘winning’ is not necessary. Being able to survive – and to write, of course, is!

It is us who consider some of the events we have witnessed – or read about, to be noteworthy.
It is us who attempt to draw meaning from what we ‘hear about’.
It is us who are arrogant enough to believe we have learned anything.

Which brings me to the next step.

We live in a huge reality.
But see only a small portion of it. Understand even less than that.
But consider ourselves rational human beings. We are convinced that what we do – the decisions we reach and then put in practice, are based on reason. And good will!!!

Day to day practice tells us that individuals make mistakes.
I’ll leave ‘alone’ the actual ‘criminals’, I’m going to consider – for the scope of this post, that all of us act in good faith, all of the time.
Hence we need a mechanism to cope with the ‘honest mistakes’ made by every one of us.
No matter how low or how high in the ‘pecking order’.
No matter how feeble or how power full each of us is.
How much decision power each of us musters at anyone moment.

We need a ‘procedure’, an ‘opening’, for each of us who sees something going amiss to be able to tell the others that ‘the emperor is naked.

That’s what ‘democracy’ is for.

But there’s a caveat here.

Like history, democracy is a human concept. A man-made ‘tool’!

Each of the individual members of the group using this tool is ‘limited’. Has a limited knowledge and a limited ‘processing power’. By definition… Otherwise, democracy wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place. If at least one of the individuals involved would have been omniscient, they would have – somehow, climbed to the pinnacle of the hierarchy.
The fact that all imperia – all ‘arrangements’ where one individual garners a lot of power over a complex system comprising many other people, have inevitably collapsed is a very powerful empirical proof of my assertion.
Further more, the number of individuals involved in any democratic arrangement is also limited. Also by definition. There’s no place on Earth – there are no humans living someplace else, for an infinite number of people. Hence even the aggregate understanding of things any democracy might reach is also limited. Fallible, that is.

Then even democracies need to follow rules. They just cannot ‘vote’ whatever their members wish to happen…

The first rule, of course, being the fact that you should not vote ‘against’ the rules of nature. You cannot, for instance, abolish Newtons gravity by voting it ‘unlawful’…
The second rule being that the individuals comprising the democratic arrangement have be convinced that each of them is equivalent. Not equal, that’s impossible, but ‘equivalent’. That each of them should be able to vote, that each of them should have only one vote and that each of them should have the opportunity to voice their concerns. In a nutshell, that all of them have equal rights and that nobody – no individual or a smaller number of people than the entire ‘congregation’, has the right to tell anybody else what to do. Or what to refrain themselves from doing.

Now, that I have reached this point, let be go back to history.

The first ‘democratic arrangement’ known to us was the Ancient Athens.
It had evolved, for while, as an increasingly democratic form of government. During this time, the city’s fortune and influence in the region had grown almost constantly until Pericles had ‘bent’ the democratic principles so that he could yield more influence. Almost two centuries of democratic ebbing on and off followed until Philip II of Macedonia had taken over entirely. As a consequence, Athens’ influence had waned and then disappeared entirely.
The second one had dawned in Scandinavia, during the Viking era.
That democratic seed had, in time, spread in Europe, America and, gradually, in many other countries.

In the US, for example, at first only the white men were involved in the democratic process. They were the ones who voted and who were elected into office. Gradually, the democratic ‘rights’ had been extended to the female portion of the society and to the ‘members of the other races’. These successive ‘extensions’ had been parts of the general improvement of the society as a whole. During this period – not necessarily due to but certainly simultaneously with, the entire population lived better and longer lives while the country as a whole had become more and more powerful. The energy and potential of the population – of an ever increasing proportion of the population, had been put to better and better uses.

Simultaneously, individuals – an ever increasing proportion of the individual members of the society, with the criteria of sex, gender and race gradually loosing the previously held power of discrimination, had enjoyed more and more power. More and more autonomy to determine their own fate.

Which brings us to the current developments in the US.

Some people, far from a majority of “The People”, would like to see the ‘other end’ of Roe v Wade.
‘These’ people seem to have somehow convinced a majority of the Justices sitting in the Supreme Court not only to hear their plea but also to ‘consider it in a favorable manner’.

In other words, a very small number of people – five out of nine, are going to restrict a previously granted right which had been enjoyed for almost 50 years by more than half of the American Population.

‘You have got it completely wrong!
Scotus isn’t going to prohibit abortion. Only the states can do that!’

Do you remember what the Civil War had been fought over?
Basically, the Confederates were claiming that individual states had the right to determine which people were to be considered ‘free’ while the ‘others’ kept maintaining that all people, regardless of their skin color, were free. That individual freedom was something which had to be determined at federal level, not by each ‘individual’ state.
Nowadays we have the very same thing. Some states claim it’s their ‘right’ to tell ‘their’ women whether, and in which circumstances, they may – or not, have an abortion.

Not a very ‘appealing’ proposition.
It opens the door for individual states claiming more and more ‘rights’ over their ‘specific subjects’.

The absolutely baffling thing about this whole development is the fact that those who want Roe v Wade to be repelled claim they do this in order to enhance individual rights (to live). I can understand that. I even sympathize with them. Ending a life, even that of an embryo, is not something to be treated easily.

But for a minority to impose their point of view – no matter how sound it might appear to some of us, to a majority… that cannot be, either, taken lightly.

So, in the name of liberty and in order to protect the lives of the innocents, the government should not mandate wearing a mask in public – for the duration of the current pandemic, but should close the public funded ‘planned parenthood’ clinics forever…

Individuals – both men and women, are to be trusted to take, on their own, the appropriate measures to protect themselves – and the others, but women are not to be trusted to decide, on their own, about what happens inside their own bodies.

Meanwhile, “The US and Brazil each recorded more than 100,000 cases over the seven days from June 15 to June 21, the WHO said, the only two countries with such high infection numbers.
Do I need to refresh your memory about the fact that neither of their presidents, Trump and Bolsonaro, have never been seen wearing a mask in public?

“A person may choose to have an abortion until a fetus becomes viable, based on the right to privacy contained in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

This was how the United States’ Supreme Court was reading the US Constitution in 1973.

Pro-lifers oppose this view. Their main argument being that life is sacred and needs to be protected. Period. For them, abortion equals infanticide. Plain murder.

What we have here is a clash of absolutes.
The absolute right to life and the absolute right to dispose of your own body.

The United States Supreme Court has solved the conundrum by setting a time frame. “until the fetus becomes viable”.
Pro-lifers propose another solution: “make abortion and attempted abortion felony offenses except in cases where abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother“. (Alabama’s HB314/2019)

Let’s see where lie the differences between Pro-Choice and Pro-Life.

Pro-Choice say that agency must be reserved for those who 1. are alive and 2. are directly implied in the matter.
Pro-Life extend the definition of ‘alive’ to cover everything they consider to be ‘living matter’ and thus take the final decision from those who are directly implied into the mater. And give it to those who have to decide the seriousness of the “health risk to the unborn child’s mother”.

In both cases the absolute becomes relative.
In the first case, the absolute becomes relative to the person directly involved in the matter.
In the second case, the absolute becomes relative to those powerful enough to insert themselves, and others, into the equation.

And both sides clamor they are acting in the name of individual liberty…


Am I the first to understand that once you’ve eaten it, nobody will ever again be able to part YOUR cake from you?

It stops being a cake as you chew on it?

Well… yeah. Actually it does. But… it remains a cake in your memory! That’s what you’ll remember having eaten: A cake!

And now, that we’ve settled the ‘eaten cake’ problem, let me ask you another question.

How strange is it that so many conservatives consider taxes as an infringement upon their right to freely dispose of their property yet they have no qualms to impose their beliefs upon other people – women, to be more precise, denying them the right to freely  dispose of their own bodies?

Because all life is sacred!

Hence, in their view, all abortion is murder. Regardless of the age of the fetus. Regardless of the consequences of having an unwanted child. Too early, too many, not enough money, health problems, sexual assault… nothing counts except for the right of the fetus to be born.

Some go even further. They consider that contraception is murder too. Because it denies the right of the egg-cell to become an embryo…

As I said before.
It is not only possible but very normal to have your cake and eat it too.
Same goes for convictions.
Once embedded in our heads they become ours and nobody can part them from us, no matter what logical arguments might be involved. Invoked?

Except for us. We are the ones who can leave behind some of our old convictions and reach new ones.
Conversion is the name of the game.

A game we’ve been playing since the dawn of time.

“Why did the woman cross the road?
Who cares what women do outside the kitchen?”

I was watching a BBC documentary about sexism and I heard the ‘joke’ I quoted above. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a link to that documentary, probably because they are still airing it, but I linked the quote to Yahoo answers because it seems that this one is quite popular)

The narrator had summed up quite convincingly the phenomenon: ‘every time when people not obviously biased against women laugh at sexist jokes the misogynists feel that their convictions are ‘right’ and this enhances the sexist side of their behavior’.

I understand this line of thinking and it is correct from the a psychological point of view. People seek validation from their peers, so each ‘public approval’ for one of their action enhances that particular streak of behavior. I’m afraid though that the real problem lies some place else.

A joke is supposed to be funny. That’s what makes it a joke and it’s up to us to determine what is funny or not.
I didn’t laugh at that joke not because it’s sexist but because, for me at least, it isn’t funny at all.

Some more jokes from Yahoo answers:

“What is the difference between a battery and a woman?
A battery has a positive side.”

So no ‘generic’ woman has ‘a positive side’!
OK, this leaves open the possibility for exceptions… a mother, a sister, maybe a wife… but still, I cannot wonder what kind of women has this guy met during his life? So hugely unpleasant yet passive enough as to feel no apprehension when stating publicly such a harsh position? I wouldn’t dare tell such a joke knowing that any one of my female friends would find out, including my wife. No, not because any of them would bodily hurt me or anything but because they would pointedly and purposefully react. Adequately. Well, in fact It wouldn’t cross my mind to use this joke otherwise than as an example but I believe you got the point…

“Why is the space between a woman’s breasts and her hips called a waist?
Because you could easily fit another pair of **** in there.”

Now this is a real good one. I don’t know for sure what those **** stand for but I’m afraid that the guy who came up with this joke would rather **** a bitch than a real woman. To each, his own…

If you don’t mind rather gross humor here is one for you:
“How do you make 5 pounds of fat look good?
Put a nipple on it.”

Excuse me if you are not and in both situations please consider the real case here: where is the sense of humor?

Maybe the last one will enlighten us.

” – If your wife keeps coming out of the kitchen to nag at you, what have you done wrong?
– Made her chain too long”.

I’m sure you all have heard about the three Ks – In German it’s Kitchen, Children, Church (Kueche, Kinder, Kirche). This expression was coined over a century ago by either Kaiser Wilhelm II or his wife Augusta while trying to belittle the feminist movement that was making inroads into the classic German Weltanschaung.
More than 100 years ago?!? Shouldn’t we get over it?!?
Meanwhile the situation has changed dramatically enough for me to ask you how come the guy in the last joke has a wife in the first place? Or maybe that couple is happy, she with the length of that chain and he with her nagging?

Now seriously, are we not all born by women? Educated, in the first few years at least, predominantly by women? So how come so many men are still finding jokes like that to be funny while so many women accept this situation?

One possible explanation may be that we are experiencing a reaction to ‘feminism’.
I’ve heard, and read, a considerable number of explanations about what it is and why it is named like that.
I must confess that while I agree with many of its goals I’m extremely unhappy about its name.

I think ‘suffragettes’ was, in those times, a far better denomination. It stated clearly what goal they had in mind – voting rights for women – and ‘disbanded’ as soon as they got what they had in mind.
But ‘feminism’?
What is their goal?
To establish that women are different from men?
OK, we already know that, don’t we?

Oh, equal rights? With whom? With men?!?

With which ones of the wide range of men? Men don’t have equal rights either… only in theory maybe, but in theory women have already been recognized (by men, OK?!?) as full fledged citizens. Well, there still is that small but nagging problem of being the masters of their own body (Roe vs Wade) but other than that there is no legal difference between being a man and a women. Not in the civilized world anyway.
So why are we still enjoying the presence of so many, and vocal, feminist activists of both genders instead of them joining ranks with the rest of the human rights activists?

Maybe because the entire human rights movement has reached a dead end?

Women want to be equal with men while men want to be equal among themselves and all pretend it’s their (constitutional) right.

In what sense can a woman be equal with a man? Or a man with another? Have you ever seen two absolutely equal eggs? Or, funnier even, can somebody pretend that egg yolk is equal to egg white?

Oh, the yolk is useless without the white (except for when you want to make mayonnaise) and the white is useless without the yolk (except for when you want to bake meringues) so no sensible person would ever dream of trying to determine which comes first… as we do with people… women come first when it comes to passing through a door and last when we are talking about promotions…

But who to change all this if not us?
We, men, should acknowledge that women are just as important as us, and just as wise, even if they cannot hunt as well as we do, while women should understand that their quest for ‘equality’ doesn’t make much sense.

What we really need is equal opportunity to develop our potential, regardless of gender. If a woman is denied promotion based on her gender and a less capable man is promoted in her place the real looser is the entire organization and its stakeholders. Shortly that woman would move over to another company if she is really good.
The same rationale is valid for the rest of us.
If a child, no matter how gifted, doesn’t get the right education to fit his potential, he might loose some. But the society at large looses big.
Even if the child is less than average he might become, properly educated, a self sufficient person. If not, chances are he’ll become either a ‘welfare benefits receiver’ or a ‘repeat offender’.
We all agree that an average person has more opportunities to become a respected member of the society if he receives more education, right? I’m going to presume we are talking now about proper education, the kind that benefits the recipient, not the ‘teacher’…
If we are considering really gifted individuals  then the situation is even clearer. What if Edison, or Marie Sklodowska Curie, couldn’t have learned what they did or experiment the way they used to? And now, that we are talking about Edison, do you know where Tesla came from? Croatia? Have you ever heard of that place before? (It’s in Europe, east of Italy).
I’m sure you already know where Poland lies, the place where Marie Curie came from, but I wonder if you know that she was educated in an underground university because higher education for women was forbidden at that time in her country by Czarist Russia, the imperial power who controlled Poland in those times.
Really bright people have a habit of being able to make it more or less on their own but also of looking for greener pastures. Not necessarily because they are greedier than the rest of us but because they need more resources in order to put their ideas into practice.

I’ll leave you to do the final reckoning.

Some additional reading about how men and women complement each-other in most unusual ways and how heavily this depends both on social habits and individual choice:
– Islamic women fighting for what they consider to be freedom (and I fully agree with them):
– Islamic women fighting to preserve ‘traditional values’ (To what end?!?, I constantly ask myself but I cannot find an answer)
– What women have to experience in places where their freedom is less than it should be: and
– Not only women can play the role of men. The opposite is not only possible but also sanctioned by some societies:
– For some historical perspective: and
– Even what we call ‘values’ depend heavily upon the social developments that are taking place:

%d bloggers like this: