Saturday, January 13, 2018

Serving Mammon

All over the world, and for much of history, women have tried to avoid getting pregnant, and often sought to abort if they did, even at risk of their own lives. In modern times, wherever abortion has been legal, abortions rarely resulted in their deaths. I do not know if making abortion legal results in more abortions. But it's very clear that legal, available, and affordable birth control results in a lot fewer abortions. It's not even debatable. Statistics bear that out.

Nevertheless every Republican administration since Ronald Reagan's has instituted the so-called "global gag rule" withdrawing aid to any organization providing reproductive healthcare that includes abortion, or even alludes to abortion as an option. This has a large impact on the provision of birth control and invariably leads to more abortion. The current Republican administration has gone many steps further and has withdrawn money for all charitable aid services, if the organization that provides them does not denounce abortion. Mortality from malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, and other diseases is expected to spike. That is what it means, now, to be pro-life.

An adviser for the administration's new policy issued a strange rationale. She said "The Trump Administration, and most of America, doesn't believe that taxpayer funding ought to go to abortion. And it certainly shouldn't go to nations that generally are very, very pro-life, which is true all across Africa. The cultural imperialism that exists at the heart of this idea, that they can't be happy unless they have abortion like we do, is outrageous."

Cultural imperialism. This is not a phrase she came up with off the top of her head. This is calculated propaganda straight from a think tank.  The idea is to rip a page from the left-wing playbook, mark it up a bit, and toss it back. We lefties hate imperialism. We're always going on and on about countries forcing themselves on other countries. We're anti-colonial. We find it deplorable to blast our way into another culture and replace it with our own.

We are so shocked by the audacity of the phrase in this context that we splutter and falter. There are so many things wrong with this that we don't even know where to start objecting. That's the point, of course.

We're stuck with this counterproductive policy because those in power are not especially interested in reducing the number of abortions. They are interested in claiming their place in a holy war, marching into battle with the brightest banners and the loudest trumpets, a battle in which abortion is the greatest of sins but war is a perfectly honorable way to murder people. Many of us liberals are puzzled by the willingness of some self-described Christians to overlook or even reward reprehensible moral behavior in their candidates--let alone their worship of mammon--but we are making the mistake of imagining their doctrine stems from the Gospels, from the Sermon on the Mount. From Jesus. And it doesn't. It comes from Revelation. And according to Revelation, Christians are headed toward a final, cataclysmic battle for the human soul, and the sides we choose will mean our salvation, or not; so we'll follow that godly anti-abortionist, anti-gay leader straight to the gates of Hell, and it doesn't matter how many people we kill along the way, as long as they're post-fetal. All we need is righteous fervor and enough sacrificial Muslims.

With a few exceptions, the leaders themselves don't care about these issues. They're in it for themselves. The President himself almost certainly doesn't care about abortion--I'd be astonished if he hasn't paid for more than one himself--but he knows a good lever when he sees one, and many people can be maneuvered into voting for plutocrats as long as they swear allegiance to the right hot issues. Millions of single-issue voters will flock to their side if they claim to be anti-abortion, or pro-gun. But make no mistake, they're on their own side. They're fine with war. They'll make one out of whatever they have at hand.

That is why Iraq was selected to be bombed into smithereens after 9/11. Iraq was irrelevant but handy. Over a half million Iraqi citizens perished and those that survived lost their livelihoods as the United States, having manufactured deliberate chaos, privatized industry and opened up the country to piracy by multinational corporations. Billions were made and funneled off to private hands as our conquering armies smoothed the way to installing unfettered capitalism, which was the main goal all along. Quite a caper for a party that disapproves of "cultural imperialism." Iraqi society predictably disintegrated into factions, many of them now stoutly anti-American. And on and on it goes. Our leaders still profess to be against terrorism, but they're not. That's something they can use. Peace is the enemy of profit.

29 comments:

  1. Geez, Murr, you are really good at laying this out. Trying to get everyone to understand the truth is the difficult part of this. I don't think they want to know, though.

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    1. I like to think I'm occasionally persuasive in, say, a Facebook comment thread, because I remain calm and disarming as I suggest this and that. All the while huffing and puffing and screaming YOU IDIOTS at the computer screen...

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    2. Ahahahahaha! I do the same thing but far less elegantly than you.

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    3. As a retired military person, I salute your disciplined approach! Carry on.

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  2. Thank you for telling it "like it is"!!

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    1. My opinion only. Which happens to be true.

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  3. I had no idea where this was going to wander and I love how you put the pieces together all neat and tidy. I'd bring the asses I know to the water, but I doubt they'll take a drink. (If there is an afterlife or heaven, I hope that my years of reducing, reusing, and recycling is my ticket in.)

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    1. If I end up anywhere, I'm taking you all with me.

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    2. I want to be with everyone who hangs out here too.

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  4. You are magical. You took my thoughts and put them together into a logical, readable format. Thank you.

    btw, I have been waiting for at least one of those women who had an abortion funded by dt to come forward. Maybe now that the porn stars are talking, one of these (likely many) women will also feel that they can talk.

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    1. Abortion is such a potent single issue for so many that I think it might change some otherwise intractable minds.

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  5. The hypocrisy is staggering. As is the blind loyalty.

    "Peace is the enemy of profit" is exactly right. And it holds right across the globe.

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    1. The multinational corporations will see to it!

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  6. I am singing from your hymn book. Loudly. With my own chorus of expletives.

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  7. We're on the same page, too!

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  8. Your final sentence says it all. Greed for money rules the world. It's a sad, sad situation.

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    1. It almost invariably leads to bad decisions. There's really not much good to be said for greed. I prefer gluttony, myself.

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  9. Preach it, Murr. And thank you.

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  10. Well-written, and excellent essay Murr. I hope those who pray do so for the continued health of RBG, so Rowe vs Wade can continue to be the law of the land.
    I'm glad there are those like you who continue to voice reason and decency in my home state.

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    1. And I will, you can come up and chat. You know the place: Laurel Hill etc, just south of Springfield, on I5, just up to the west....easy to find.

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  11. Soo many things to say...not sure where to start.
    Here goes--first, if you have not read the history of how opposition to abortion got to be such a red-meat issue, you should. You are right--such opposition was absolutely manipulated, artificially by certain "church " leaders in the 1960s.
    Second, this administration does NOTHING that in any way helps any country, much less citizen of the U.S. that doesn't directly put money into their own pockets.
    Third, the "church" leaders whose daily drumbeat from their television pulpits are people who are TOTALLY complicit in robbing countries of the wealth in their natural resoures: think Pat Robertson owning diamond minds in the Congo.
    Serving mammon--the rest of the biblical injunction comes to mind: you cannot serve god and mammon.

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    1. And I believe that is one of those Bible bits that is absolutely true. Kind of a theme for our current pope, too.

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