From Abortion to Gay Marriage: The Right to Life and Human Sexuality (Part II)

And they’re only going to change this place by killing everyone in the human race.
(“Invisible Sun”, The Police)

img_1482.jpgThroughout history the idea of “Utopia” has fascinated people. Typically Utopian philosophies are reactions to perceived injustices, and are attempts to create an “ideal” world where these injustices no longer exist. Both the Left (Communism) and the Right (Fascism) have experimented with the idea of “Utopia”. However, not all-Utopian ideologies are centered in the political world. There are also examples of Utopian ideologies based on religious and/or moral concerns (The Puritans, and Amish). In fact, when you look at religions, Utopia plays a monumental role.

In the Christian faith, life begins (The Garden of Eden) and ends (Heaven) in Utopia. It is only because Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation that we were cast into this world of suffering and death in the first place. The desire to return to Eden is the most important principle in not only Christianity, but in almost all religions. Heaven represents redemption and a chance to return to the bliss of Utopian Eden. A way to facilitate redemption is to align the world with the demands and expectations of our Creator; in other words, a moral Utopia.

Since the beginning of time, a struggle has raged over human nature. Many religions see humans as creatures who are susceptible to temptation unless constrained. One of the most powerful of all temptations is our sexuality, and religions have struggled for centuries to find a way to control it. Human sexuality threatens not only the foundation of religion, but the foundation of society as well, and its power must be contained. However, our expression of sexuality is quite unique and attempts to control it are every bit as threatening.

At the beginning of Part I, I pointed out that although abortion, stem cell research, abstinence, hormonal birth control and the legal definition of marriage are often presented as separate issues they are in fact bound by a common strand. This strand not only runs through them, but through the lives of every person in this country like a fuse waiting to be lit. That strand is human sexuality.

When I began this piece I was guided by two questions, “What is the Right to Life Movement (RLM) trying to do?” and “What would happen if they were successful?”

My first observation was that many in the RLM are in fact Utopians. They desire an “ideal” world where their morality and values are reflected in everything they see: a world where sin and temptation are annihilated. All of us possess this desire to some degree, and I genuinely believe most involved in the RLM are sincere and kind people. However, the truth is, history is riddled with the casualties of the well intended.

During the past thirty years, the RLM has focused almost exclusively on changing laws as a way to implement their agenda. There are several reasons for this choice. The first is that the RLM is a reactionary movement, and it is constantly responding to challenges either from the secular or scientific worlds. The second reason is they know no consensus will ever be reached on these issues. A great deal of disagreement exists even within the movement itself. Therefore, their only chance is to get the government to make the decision for us, and this is why I cannot support them even when we agree. (Which is more often than you may think).

If the RLM were ever able to fully implement its agenda, they would grant the Federal government absolute power over sexual behavior. Not only could the government force women to have children they do not want, they could force them to have children who were products of incest or rape. They would control what our children are taught about sex, what birth control we use, and what constitutes a “moral” relationship. In fact, the consequences are so vast it would take me a hundred pages to point out all the potentialities. I can say for certain however, that the RLM’s agenda would sterilize sex and in the process destroy our humanity.

Throughout history the desire for Utopia has enamored millions of people, and this is undeniable. But there is another truth that is undeniable; Utopia is impossible. The very idea of a “perfect” society is antithetical to human nature. We are incapable of perfection, and personally I like it that way. It is our mistakes, sometimes-egregious ones, that give our life meaning and force us to change and grow as human beings.

I will admit I admire idealists, and consider myself to be one as well, but I am also a realist. Our disrespect for life, and each other has nothing to do with abortion, birth control, or irresponsible sexual behavior. And trying to get the government to control these behaviors is the acme of laziness, and requires zero introspection. Sure we ban murder, but people do not murder others so they can feel connected to them, but they sure as hell have sex to feel that way. This is not the problem of some theoretical “them”; it is a problem we all must face. Why in the richest and most powerful country in history is there so much unhappiness? Why are there are so many people who are willing to do just about anything to feel alive? I can assure you it is not because abortion is legal, and creating some kind of moral Utopia is not the solution.

Utopia, after all, is just a fancy word for, Tyranny.


~ by fairlane on September 22, 2007.

14 Responses to “From Abortion to Gay Marriage: The Right to Life and Human Sexuality (Part II)”

  1. Interesting thoughts, Fairlane. Our disrespect for life and each other seems to dovetail nicely with the rampant materialism that dominates this society. We may despise each other, but we like nice things.

    As I was reading this, I kept thinking about a favorite book of mine, Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.

  2. well spoken, in both parts, Fairlane. i also very much love the photo, but….uh….shouldn’t the guy be on top?

    if Utopia doesn’t include the freedom of personal choice, it’s not very Utopian, is it….

  3. “One of the most powerful of all temptations is our sexuality, and religions have struggled for centuries to find a way to control it.”
    And, lacking a method to control, they try to suppress, with guilt, fear, a million things. This is one reason why a Priest that hasn’t been laid in 25 years suddenly goes goofy in confessional.

    “However, the truth is, history is riddled with the casualties of the well intended.”
    I’m told the road to hell is paved with good intentions. All this time I thought it was Southern Comfort on the rocks! Damn!!

    “I will admit I admire idealists, and consider myself to be one as well, but I am also a realist.”
    I admire idealists as well, but it is a short jump from there to utopia, so they bear watching at all times.

    Man, when you start writing stuff like this, I just lay my mouse down and cheer! Just remember, I knew you when you was just a….a….what the hell are you again?:)

  4. Nvisible- “you fit into me like a hook into an eye. a fish hook, an open eye.”

    That’s my favorite Atwood poem. It reminds me of my daughter’s mother.

    Commander- Barbie’s “liberated.”

    Utopia is a fantasy. If people just left each other alone, and worried about themselves, life would be much more peaceful.

    Future- “what the hell are you again?”

    To be honest, some days I’m not sure.

    If I ever make it “Big,” I promise I won’t forget you. I’ll give you a shout out when I’m on Oprah:)

  5. Fairlane- an excellent part two to compliment the outstanding part one.

    I’d like to think that I am the “Official Catholic of Jonestown” (an honor I aspire to!LOL) my viewpoint is the same and yet different than yours. But we both end up in pretty much the same place. Close enough anyway.

    The bottom line is this- as someone of deep faith, while I am an active part of an organized religion, ultimately – I see the difference between religion and faith this way…

    Faith is an interior condition, that hopefully, when lived out, is in belief of something greater than yourself and (this is essential) in service of others and the world around you. It is belief and it is hope. Which in the way I mean them is not in service of Utopia, but to serve in the present moment.

    If via my faith I don’t find ways to be connected to the world and all people, then I have wasted my time.

    Do I believe in heaven? Yes I do. I am not a sunbeam for Jesus however, so I am not thinking that every fucking word that comes out of (ooops!) my mouth will deter me from my goal. What will deter me is if I do not serve others, period.

    My take- yes. But I am going with it and I didn’t think it up on my own; there are others like me. Just not so many that visit Jonestown perhaps.

    Religion- another matter. While it should be about faith formation it turns out it is more often about control. And that is the problem with the Utopian society in your post.

    And it terrifies me to think that we are in the midst of all these idiotic Dominionist types who do want to control everything, including what I do in my bedroom or wherever else we do it.

    There is the rub- it is essential that these people are driven off the rails. And to do so is one of the ways that I want to serve others.

    Well I’ve gone off the rails it appears, so I will end this too long comment.

    Again- great posting.

  6. Some of the rigidity is about security. The more rules they can impose, the more secure they are.

    You see it in the various denominations; each slightly different from the next and each insisting their way is the only way.

    As far as agreeing with the idealists on issues like abortion, I’ve learned that if I give an inch, I’m doomed. They’ve managed to force this somewhat to the left of center idealist into positions I might not otherwise take.

  7. Conservatives are driven by the idea that someone somewhere is having fun, and that person must be stopped. I can’t remember who said it but it’s true.

  8. Oh, god, Fairlane, I posted that poem on my old blog and got bitched out for that. That’s how I ended up with The Invisible Woman…. Long story. But I love that damned poem.

  9. The whole concept of Utopia and prelapsarian man drive me up the wall. This third dimension , that i so happily inhabit is full of wonderful , epic battles. The RLM is like the darkside….you have the force fairlane.

  10. So much excellent stuff to comment on here. I’ll stick to one thing. What would happen if the RLM gets a de jure elimination of the right to choice via privacy as written by Blackmun? At the federal level, of course, because the so-called Blue States would cinch-up legal abortion in the state legislatures in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. Oh, sure the RLM could get some Mann Act kind of provision put in but it wouldn’t have any effect and the Republican party would be blown into dust.

    But let’s say for argument’s sake the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade and the RLM prevail upon the Republicans to pass legislation outlawing abortion and that legislation passes legal muster. There’s no way it gets through both houses without SOMETHING attached, most probably a more generous prescription benefit. I’m a Russian Jew, buddy; I’ve seen this movie before.

    The old “coat-hanger” image was good theater for NARAL to raise money but it wouldn’t work like that. It would work like this: a whole bunch of Russian gangsters from Brighton Beach and Santa Monica and everywhere would start buying up medical offices as fast as possible. And kit them out as state of the art ob-gyn facilities. Now, you have all of these Harvard medical school graduates coming out with nearly $500,000 in recoupable student loans. So, the word goes around that maybe a residency in Ob-Gyn wouldn’t be such a bad idea because instead of starting out making $80k a year, there are these Russian clinics that are paying $300K year for Ob-Gyns. The kid says “fuck it” I’ll do this for a while, make some money and then take up a different branch of medicine.

    Now, the rich and upper middle class would have to pay probably twice what they pay now. The middle class, working class and poor would simply pay by using their new prescription drug benefit to get scrips for 500 Oxy Contin 20s at a time. 30 of those would pay for the abortion no problem.

    It would hardly be in the Republicans’ interest to do a lot of investigating into this because they need to keep the RLMs happy by showing these amazing statistics: only 10 abortions a year since the OBAMA/MCCAIN/LIEBERMAN ACT became law!

    So, there’s the token bust now and then but the Russkis are getting rich, women are getting abortions if they so desire, freshly-minted MDs are getting out from the terrible debt load and everything’s tucked-in. The Republicans and Democrats rejoice at how they’ve “preserved life.” And those poor RLMs are none the wiser, happy as clams that they finally “saved” America.

    We’ve done it before, God knows. You have heard of the Bronfmann family, si o no? The name Schenley ring a bell? If there is one thing Russian Jews know how to do it’s put a foot up a Fundamentalist ass. Look liberals can gripe all they want about Hollywood fluff and Wall Street greed but those institutions right now are all that’s standing between the friendly fascism of today and the Nazism of tomorrow.

    Lemonade out of lemons a Russian specialty.

  11. I left a rather long comment which didn’t go through. It was fairly radical in content. WordPress already trying to figure out Kelso’s home address. Good luck.

    The guts of the post is: NOT TO WORRY. We Russian Jews have a unique gift for making lemonade out of lemons. We busted up Senator Volstead pretty good in the 20s, no? Well, we’ll break the OBAMA/MCCAIN/LIEBERMAN LIFE ACT in a zillion pieces, as well, get rich in the process, plus get a lot of talented young med school grads out from under all that student death, and no woman need fear any coat-hangers or back-alley madness. Take that to the bank. We take exquisite pleasure in burying a foot up Fundamentalist asses. If you don’t believe, please be aware that Hollywood and Wall Street as much as liberals complain about them are the firewall protecting all of you from Nazism right now.

  12. Fran- Actually I went to Catholic Schools for 9 years, and then I went to a Private Presbyterian College. (The college had nothing to do with religion though. It was ranked in the top ten nationally so I thought I’d go there, and use it as a stepping stone to the University of Chicago’s Sociology program. Then the crack wore off, and I came back home).

    Ann- It’s definitely about control. If the world reflects who you are, or more accurately who you think you are, then maybe that means you’re a “good person” after all.

    I’m so sick of the “abortion issue” it makes me want to puke.

    Pyg- It sure seems that way doesn’t it? But when people are miserable they don’t want others to be happy, that’s simply not fair.

    Misery loves company, as they say.

    Nvisible- Why would someone bitch about that poem? I think I have an idea who it was, but I want to hear the story.

    Dave- If I have the “force” I wish I could find Yoda so he can teach me how to use it.

    K- The thing is the RLM knows what you are saying is true. Without these “moral” carrots the GOP is dead in the water. If abortion is outlawed, and we’re praying in school after learning about Creationism the Wingnuts have no platform on which to run.

    If the RLM types get their way, why would they want to support a candidate whose platform centers around more tax cuts for millionaires?

    The Wingnuts know this, and they will actually acknowledge it, some of them, and this is why their continued support of Wingnutism is beyond illogical and more in the realm of irrational.

    For some reason, longer comments are caught my Anti-Spam software. I posted two comments last night and they disappeared. I didn’t realize, until this morning, that they were marked as Spam.

    I don’t know why it does it, but I’m not going to complain too much because I get a shitload of Spam.

  13. […] Part II […]

  14. […] who remember, I’ve written about this issue before, and you can view my old posts here, and here, if you’d […]

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