Friday, February 13, 2009

GINSBURG AND CARHART

I had mentioned in recent Posts about my concern now that Justice Ginsburg is ill.

I have read her Dissent in the Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Carhart.

It prompts a few thoughts.

She makes approving reference to the 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. There, she notes, the Court “restated and reaffirmed Roe’s essential holding … It recognized the right of the woman to choose to have an abortion before viability and to obtain it without undue interference from the State.”

She then goes on to note that “Second, the Court acknowledged the State’s power to restrict abortions after fetal viability, if the law contains exceptions for pregnancies which endanger the woman’s life or health”. [italics mine] I would point out here that We face the same difficulty as exists in handling such problems as ascertaining the actual existence of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): the definition of ‘health’ has now expanded so much in the past twenty years or more that a) the slightest emotional upset b) reported as an incorroborable fact by a patient seeking this or that medical outcome, is now legally and professionally acceptable instance of a ‘health’ issue. This, in effect, means that the ‘restriction’ requiring a ‘health’ issue for a post-viability abortion is not really any restriction at all.

So when a few lines later Ginsburg intones that “of signal importance here, the Casey Court stated with unmistakable clarity that state regulation of access to abortion procedures even after viability must protect the health of the woman”, she is not being entirely upfront. By gaming the current working definition of ‘health’ she and to some extent the Casey Court try (successfully) to have their cake and eat it too.

She goes on: “The Casey Court described the centrality of the decision whether to bear … [Ginsburg’s ellipsis] a child to a woman’s dignity and autonomy, her personhood and destiny, her conception of … [Ginsburg’s ellipsis] her place in society”. You can start to see why Marriage and Family is such a target of the Second Wave (and perhaps follow-on cohorts).

She is upset at the Carhart decision. “Today’s decision is alarming. It refuses to take Casey and Stenberg [another ‘health’ affirming case] seriously.” We can perhaps see why.

Once again, she piously insists that the Court is now “retreating from prior rulings that abortion restrictions cannot be posed absent an exception safeguarding a woman’s health”. This is the type of gaming that you wind up with when first you practice to deceive. The functional definition of ‘health’ permits all manner of non-life-threatening and even non-serious ‘grounds’ for abortion while her stance demanding ‘health’ would to all appearances be the ‘high ground’ and quite ‘reasonable’ and even – though the Wave would never endorse the use of the word – ‘moral’.

And of course, as in the old Goebbels-Israeli playbook, Roe has now established ‘facts on the ground’; so many such ‘facts’ that you can now claim that what might actually be an effort to try to cure the deceptiveness in the terminology can be labeled “retreating” from precedent.

Stunningly, the Casey Court acknowledges blithely the deeply flawed legal reasoning of Roe but then goes on to assert that so many women have come to rely on Roe that it wouldn't be nice to fix things at this point. How can that be? How many women can actually say that they have built their lives around Roe? How can you build your life around what is - on the face of it - a rather rare possibility: that you would have a serious life-threatening problem in the first trimester? Or is there more going on that the Court would rather not talk about, or have Us talk about?

She takes Us down the historical path. “There was a time not so long ago when women were regarded as the center of the home and family life, with attendant special responsibilities that precluded full and independent legal status under the Constitution”. Unwittingly, she reminds Us of just what has been lost – thrown away, actually – in the past few decades. Families are no longer the sustaining and nurturing environments that anchor the upbringing of children, with consequences for society that can no longer be hidden or ‘spun’ away. Nor, for that matter, is Marriage a sustaining and nurturing matrix that would ground the interpersonal commitment and the lives of two adults.

In that regard I return to what I was saying in the recent Post “Crumbling Utopia” about the marriage situation in the immediate postwar period of the 1940s and 1950s. Somehow the ‘spin’ is that the husband was out having all the fun in the world by being in the world, while the wife remained chained to the kids and the home that was the locus of their upbringing. The home was “Dachau” in Betty Friedan’s nightmare vision, the husband was the Nazi guard, and the wife was a “concentration camp inmate”.

Working on that strategic ‘appreciation’ of the situation, the Second Wave insisted that such ‘camps’ be broken up immediately (and the guards punished for their crimes). Duly done by the Dems and later by all the pols, courting the ‘women’s’ constituency.

But the novel and the film “Revolutionary Road” both indicate that the husband was just as frustrated by his ‘job’ as the wife may have been by the family life. There was something in ‘the job’ or else in the expectations of the postwar males and females that led to a frustration and boredom that they were unable to handle. That or something like it was far closer to the actual strategic situation.

But noooo … that was too complicated for the Wave. And anyway, in politics, you don’t get very far if you don’t paint bright, simple pictures. Ditto in revolutions.

So now the ‘women’ are ‘liberated’, at the expense in far too many instances, of Marriage and Family. And now We are bethumpt – decades, almost half a century, later – by continuing complaints that ‘women’ are dissatisfied and unfulfilled. This, of course, can only be due to the ongoing machinations of ‘patriarchy’. The possibility that the problem lies with the challenges of conducting decent human living in an advanced capitalist society couldn’t possibly be the Correct answer. The possibility that the entire Second Wave ‘vision’ and strategy and ‘agenda’ were massively flawed from the get-go … Nope, that can’t be it.

So, the upshot – I would have to say – is that We have been inveigled into trying to run a society, a culture, and a civilization without the institutions of Family and Marriage. Which no other world-class civilization has ever attempted. And so far it doesn’t look like We are succeeding.

But Iraq looks like that too, and so does Afghanistan – and they’re going to work out eventually, right? Stay the course.

At this point, the National Security State and the stubborn clinging to a hopeless war in Vietnam pale in comparison to the frakkery brought down onto Our heads by the Second Wave’s ‘revolution’, assisted by a Beltway that had fallen into a politics of bribery and pandering rather than deliberative courage. Who in the Beltway wants to discuss that?

Nor do I for one moment imagine that all the women in this country are behind the Wave, nor do I forget the vast amount of damage done to lives, to Our society, and to Our viability as a civilized enterprise.

She takes the Court to task for invoking “an antiabortion shibboleth for which it concededly has no reliable evidence: Women who have abortions come to regret their choices, and consequently suffer from severe depression and loss of esteem because of their fragile emotional state and because of the bond of love the mother has for her child”.

Suddenly, ‘anecdotal’ evidence – the telling of one’s personal ‘story’ – is insufficiently evidentiary. Although in the assorted Domestic Violence, Violence Against Women, and sex-offender legislation such ‘stories’ constitute the vast body of ‘evidence’.

Worse, the Politically Correct approach takes the Court and all of Us right into the maw of Nature itself. Surely if Nature evolved things such that the woman would be the bearer of the child, then any woman is going to have – ‘naturally’ – powerful, built-in, hard-wired connective capabilities focused on children she bears or is carrying. Does the Wave seriously imagine that court decisions or legislation will override or neutralize or nullify eons of such evolution? Must We not at least expect a verrrry significant amount of pushback from a woman’s own psyche, from the eons’ worth of evolved predisposition, even if her conscious desire at the moment is going in a ‘non-child’ direction? Have We abandoned all pretense or scientific skill, such that We cannot even entertain the possibility – probability – of such situations arising?

I wonder if in a way the Second Wave’s ‘revolution’, built around abortion-on-demand however much that might be denied, is trying to achieve the same magnitude of imposed-change that Marx and Lenin tried to impose upon human nature with their insistence that , really, human beings like living in huge, impersonal collectives and being assigned the resources the State thinks they need?

If that or anything even somewhat similar to that is what is now going on here, then the Wave’s ‘revolution’ is doomed to the same ‘success’ as the USSR; and, as a society, a culture, and a civilization, so are We. This would not be good.

Nor is it sufficient for Ginsburg to simply quote Supreme Court cases against the awesome fact of Nature: “United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 595, 533, 542, n.12 (1996), (State may not rely on overbroad generalizations about the talents, capacities, or preferences of women; such judgments have … impeded … women’s progress toward full citizenship stature throughout our Nation’s history” [all ellipses Ginsburg’s]. So Nature has been put in its place by the Supreme Court. That’s not a bit … ummmm … activist?

Sure, there’s no law that says a woman must have children; but it would be hugely prudent to presume that the vast majority of women are going to roll that way, unless Evolution is a joke or a myth – but that’s what the Fundamentalists say, not the ‘progressives’ … or have I not gotten all the memos?

And prudence would dictate that We would want to try to work with Nature rather than against it, since it’s going to play out Nature’s way anyhow. To insist otherwise is to impose a Political Correctness on Nature – and once you try to use your ‘revolution’ or your ‘revolutionary politics’ to do that, then you’re setting yourself up for a world of hurt; you are in the position of issuing, in Lincoln’s pithy metaphor, “the Pope’s bull against the comet”. And you’re going to create a blast-zone big enough to ruin a whole lot of other lives in the process. But, to use Chris Floyd’s acute phrase, “only for noble, progressive ends, of course”.

(Can it be surprising that a Supreme Court that saw itself sufficiently ‘empowered’ to tell Nature what it could do or should do would then think it wasn’t such a big deal to interfere in the electoral process as it did in Bush v. Gore?)

We might have expected Congress to try to provide some adult supervision here. But no. When the history of this once-viable civilization comes to be written, it may be described in the post-mortem report as ‘died of the need for viable electoral majorities’.

Although, again, I’m not really sure how many folks – even ‘women’ (using the term in the best possible sense) – go along with the real gist of the Wave’s revolution. A revolution which has now been around so long trying to patch up in this session the consequences of the legislation and decisions it got in the last session, that it seems like the ‘normal’ state of affairs.

So in those Sixties when it was becoming clear that the West’s nations were recovering from their postwar damage, when the world’s nations were starting to develop their own economies, when it was clear that We would have to provide jobs for Our workers in a situation now where there would be much more competition for fewer jobs ... the pols gave into the Wave’s ‘demands’ and went and pretty much doubled the potential number of jobs that needed to be provided, while deconstructing Marriage and the Family … this was a coherent, competent long-range national strategy?

And in best Beltway fashion, a ‘theory’ suddenly popped up that would ‘justify’ it all: We wouldn’t need to retain Our own industrial capacity (so ‘male’ anyway) because We would become a ‘service and idea’ economy. That’s worked so well. The ‘jobs’ and the ‘work’ would simply require tap-tapping on keyboards and ‘generating’ reely reely great ideas that the rest of the world would ‘buy’ from Us.

A very ‘woman-friendly’ world it would be. Just as ‘war’ would be a Star Trek push-button affair and ‘women’ could do that even better too. Wheeeee! The ‘Washington Post’ now reports that female (and even male) soldiers are enjoying manicures and pedicures and getting their hair done, because apparently there’s a ‘demand’ for it; salons have been introduced on bases in Iraq.
Of course. No doubt potential enemies in that un-evolved part of the world will be suitably impressed with the prowess of the American fighting-person and will think twice before opposing US forces . The salonnierres are hired from among the local population, which demonstrates that ‘force security’ has been redefined in an other-than-upward direction. But the local salonistas may not give massages because that could lead to ‘sexual contact’ – which is one of the few nods to Nature that We’ve seen in American policy – foreign or domestic – for quite a while. If there is no saint for keeping-a-straight-face, then the saint-happy Kathliks better make one – We are going to need the help.

Well, here We are decades later: no industrial base and war back to the old slog-carry-and-shoot under conditions of alternating boredom and terror. And since We are now often ‘occupying’ countries, and seen as ‘invaders’ rather than ‘liberators’ there’s going to be the added weight of having to do things that We hung German and Japanese military folk for, back in the day. And the money’s running out – and there’s no obvious way to replace it, except to print it, at which point We will so debase the currency that the world’s nations – as they already are considering – will stop using the dollar as the planet’s reserve currency.

For decades the Dems bribed freely: the Identities got all their demands met with no regard to consequences, while the bankers and big-money interests got deregulated so they could make even more money. The ‘strategy’ lasted for a couple of decades, but now is now.

Meanwhile, back in the White House, the Dems are wondering if they really want to divest the government of the Bushist Imperium’s Unitary powers. After all , if there’s one damp-dream that even John Rawls didn’t dare let himself imagine, it was that his ‘elites’ – those who did ‘get it’ – would not only infiltrate the courts but would actually wield the police and impositional authority of a Unitary Executive that was coming more and more to resemble a Soviet central-authority or a Czarist absolute monarchy. And the USSR not even 20 years in History’s dustbin! That’s where ‘revolution’ will get you if you’re not paying serious attention.

And just what is the freight packed into “full citizenship stature”? May We presume that what they really mean is that they want to be like ‘men’? Is that what they think ‘men’ have. It’s like the old Eddy Murphy skit where he puts on whiteface, walks around ‘as a white man’, and finds that everything goes his way and he doesn’t have to pay for anything or lift a finger. This isn’t about ‘citizenship’ at all.

Ginsburg asserts “this Court has repeatedly confirmed that the destiny of the woman must be shaped … [Ginsburg’s ellipse] on her own conception of her spiritual imperatives and her place in society”. You can see why the Wave is not partial to religion. And when it’s only ‘you’, just what ‘spiritual imperatives’ can there be? Don’t you sort of need … God? Some sort of God? Except for the New-Agers, but are We to understand that this Wave is receiving benefit of clergy from New-Age stuff? And the is the Court accepting such guidance from New-Age frakkery as well? Oy.

And do men get a chance – have they ever gotten a chance – to shape their own lives on their own conception of their spiritual imperatives? Have men ever had a chance to live like this? Aside from dreaming about it in bars and frat houses? Aside from watching their ‘betters’ do it?

Has this entire ‘revolution’ been built on the female equivalent of a college-dorm bong-fest dream-sharing?

That might explain at least part of the remarkable fall-off in genuinely spiritual comprehension and even mature thought-processes among the citizenry (and , it would appear, the Court).

Wall Street, I think, was not the first major societal institution to take Us for a ride.

And We really are on a ride now.

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