Laura at Pursuing Holiness reminds me quite a bit of my friend, Candy. They’re both very devout born-again Christian home-schooling moms who think far too much of this born-again agnostic than I have any right to expect. I occasionally find it a smidgen disturbing, but mainly it’s comforting.
Well, Laura linked (yet again) to one of my pieces, and used it to contrast the way the anti-war movement treats our troops with how they view abortion, especially for minors. She notes that there is quite a bit of overlap between the two groups, and notes the disparity — young men and women over the age of 18 are too young and immature and naive to volunteer for the military, but young women even considerably under the age of 18 are mature enough to decide whether or not to have an abortion — even without their parents’ consent or even knowledge.
With all due respect to Laura, I see a way to not only reconcile the two, but tie in numerous other issues with a Grand Unified Theory Of Liberalism.
Laura’s omission is in thinking that the matter is about “choice.” It’s an easy, even seductive mistake — the word is at the forefront of their arguments, it’s not too difficult to think that that is what it’s all about.
“Choice” would mean that the individual has two or more options, and has the full authority to select whichever they wish, without any outside interference or granting anyone veto power. Abortion is not a choice; Planned Parenthood pushes it (to its financial gain), and any attempt by anti-abortion activists to make it more of an informed choice or apply the laws that govern every other aspect of parental responsibility of the health care of their daughters is fought tooth and nail. Enlisting in the military, similarly, is not a “choice” unless the would-be recruit has been exposed to raving lunatics shouting that the military is Bush’s stormtroopers and they will be forced to bayonet and eat infants, while battling their way through anti-military protesters who are blocking the entrance to the recruiting center.
No, abortion and enlisting in the military are far more like other matters like AIDS and the mortgage crisis.
AIDS is viewed as a tragedy, a disaster, a blind curse that could afflict anyone at any time. Its victims are viewed as noble, suffering people who deserve nothing more than our sympathy and support and especially our money.
The mortgage crisis, apparently, resulted from evil, unscrupulous mortgage brokers who chased down innocent victims, coerced them into signing loan agreements that they wouldn’t let them read the full terms and conditions, then rubbed their hands and waited for the inevitable to happen. Then they cackled and rubbed their hands in glee as they set about foreclosing.
What is the unifying element of all these matters?
The overwhelming rush to deny people the logical consequences of their actions.
In the case of pregnancy and AIDS, it’s a simple matter: in the vast majority of cases, the person who experiences the unwanted condition acquires it through carelessness in pursuit of physical pleasure. There is almost no end of information on how to avoid AIDS and pregnancy, as well as countless places ready and willing to provide condoms and other implements of risk-reduction for no charge and with no questions asked. I would even go so far as to say that, apart from victims of rape or minors below a certain age, there is absolutely no reason for any woman to get pregnant without wishing to do so. In the vast majority of cases, AIDS and pregnancy are not OPPORTUNITIES for exercising a choice, but a CONSEQUENCE of doing so.
In the case of mortgages, I have absolutely no sympathy for those mortgage brokers who lied and committed fraud and otherwise deceived people into taking mortgages they knew the people could not afford. But I would be willing to bet that that does not apply in the vast majority of those cases. Rather, I strongly suspect that the brokers disclosed everything they were required to by law, but the buyers simply didn’t listen or didn’t seek out advice from impartial experts or (like a worked-up teenager in the back seat of a car) simply hoped for the best and counted on some great windfall before they fell too far behind on their payments on a home that is far more than they can afford.
I know it’s odd to conflate military service with these personal tragedies, but it really does fit here. In this case, the liberals (and yeah, it’s a broad brush, but I think it’s justified — while not all liberals are waging war against military recruiters, nearly all of those waging that war are liberals) are trying to “protect” the would-be recruits from the consequences of making the “wrong” choice. Like the pregnant teen, the HIV-positive adult, and the soon-to-be-former homeowner, the young person has made a very serious choice about how they wish to live their life.
But that doesn’t matter. They don’t have a right to make a wrong choice, and obviously military service is wrong for anyone. (Lord knows it would have been wrong for me. Health issues aside, I simply have way, way too many health issues. I’d have been laughed out of any recruiting office, and the Marines would have laughed at me, then called in more Marines to laugh at me and my name would become the new Marine Corps Boot Camp insult for underperforming recruits.) So they must be “helped” to come to their senses, to realize what a horrible thing military service would be,
So don’t sign up for the military. It’s a horrid thing. Instead, go ahead and go wild with sex and drugs. We’ll make sure you can have access to abortions and drug treatments when things don’t work out too well. And if you get AIDS, we’re pumping billions into finding a treatment and a cure — or we’ll at least talk about how wonderful you are, until it’s time to talk about how wonderful you were.
Should you survive all that, go out and get the best house you think you deserve. If you can’t swing the payments, we’ll then get the government to save you there, too.
After all, that’s the main role of government, isn’t it? To protect the people from the logical consequences of their own bad choices? I think that’s in Amendment 4.5 in the New, Expanded Bill Of Rights, With Magical Penumbras: “The right of the government to protect the people from making bad decisions shall not be questioned, and no one will be allowed to fail if at all humanly possible, because no one ever learns from their mistakes.”
There’s a term for a government that exercises that level of control over its citizens. Look it up in the dictionary — you’ll find it between Typhoid and Ulcerous.