Monday, November 19, 2007

I Am Not a Pencil. I Am a Box.

Check out this YouTube video, via Trailer Park Feminist:

The video comes from

Trailer Park provides the narration for those who don't have access to the video:

SCENE: a box factory

NARRATOR: If you thought there was a small chance that a baby was hidden in a box, wouldn't you treat the box as if it held a baby, just in case?

SCENE: an ultrasound image

NARRATOR: So even if you think there's just a small chance that an unborn child is a baby, shouldn't you treat it as if it were, just in case? Something to think about.

This video, and Trailer Park's original post, attracted a flurry of attention, mostly from feminist bloggers, but it scrolled off Memeorandum pretty quickly. That in itself tells you something. This is about as horrifying a statement about how the "Womb Nazis," as Maha calls them, view women as any I've seen or heard, but apparently no one other than people who are already strongly pro-reproductive rights thought it was important enough to comment on. Oh, and one rabid far-right woman-hater who sees no difficulty with being a box and a whole person at the same time.

As usual, Maha has the most original and incisive commentary [ital is Maha's; bolds are mine]:
You can find high-flown absolutist rhetoric declaring that even a zygote has rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That may sound glorious and all, but in real life an absolute “protection” of “human life” from conception requires stripping fertile women of their rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and in extreme cases their rights to life, also. There are copious real-world examples of women living under draconian abortion laws who die gruesome deaths because of those laws. Clearly, such laws value the lives and humanity of women less than the lives and humanity of embryos. Women in these countries often go without medical help after a miscarriage because they fear persecution by the Womb Nazis. This is nothing other than political oppression.
Libertarians will disagree, but I say the essential difference between liberals and libertarians is that the latter define oppression as something only the federal government can do. If state governments violate the rights of its citizens and treat women and minorities like chattel, that’s OK with them. Liberals, on the other hand, think oppression is wrong no matter who or what is doing the oppressing. We think, for example, that if a state is denying its African American citizens equal treatment under the law, it’s a legitimate use of federal power to force the state to stop the oppression. Libertarians generally disagree, and would rather allow states to discriminate than concede any part of state sovereignty to Washington or federal courts.

Thus, to most libertarians, liberty and equality are less important than maintaining a weak federal government.

I actually don't think that libertarians would disagree with Maha's distinction between liberals and libertarians. I've had too many arguments on libertarians' blogs to believe they would have a problem with the notion that only the federal government can oppress people.

1 comment:

Joan said...

Hey Kathy!

That is the weirdest description of a libertarian I have ever seen. Libertarians believe ANY state (federal or state level) cannot enact any laws besides your basic "nightwatchman state". The gov't provides the apperatus(did I spell that right?) to enforce contracts, protect the security of the person (a police force) and the country (the military), and the gov't provides basic infrastructure such as roads and sewers and the like. No laws can be made to protect the individual from themselves, or to force others to help their fellow humans. I don't know where Maha got the idea a libertarian would allow intrusive laws over the individual provided they were made at the state level rather than the federal one.

Teh box argument is not a bad argument. I would not make abortion illegal and I am still choice, but there is nothing wrong with giving a woman all the information including the fact that we have no idea WHEN a fetus becomes a human being.

Take Care