INCEPTION

I spent Monday re-reading The Handmaid's Tale for class tomorrow, and whenever I do that I am unable to form coherent thoughts for a few hours after I'm done. It will be interesting to see what the students think; based on precedent this semester, they will think nothing. And then we will be in the same position, albeit for vastly different reasons.

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85 Responses to “INCEPTION”

  1. wetcasements Says:

    Most of your students probably come from middle to upper-middle class backgrounds where contraception and abortion were available when needed by their parents.

    I wouldn't be too hard on them — the last 30 years of a GOP war on women was pretty much aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable. That's a feature, not a bug, of our society now — I got mine, it's their own damn fault for not having theirs.

  2. Xynzee Says:

    Read that for an Eng Lit class at uni. Did my head. I don't think I understood half of what was going on. We had good discussions though. I wonder if it was that we were a small private so were interested in getting our money's worth.

  3. Stephen Says:

    When I read it I thought it was not particularly well-written: the concept was interesting, but the explanation (radical feminists allying with the religious right over pornography, something something WWIII?) seemed ludicrously stuck in an early 80s fever dream.

    Of course, recent politics being what it is (and I only read it in 2011!), I think Atwood was being too flashy with the backstory. Relentless grinding down and a new Civil War of economic Balkanization and feudal-political gerrymandering, that's the real ticket. WWIII is too blasé.

  4. eau Says:

    @stephen: most sf isn't really about the future. It's about present trends, concerns, issues. Saying Atwood got it wrong is like saying Tolkien got history wrong.

  5. Gordon Guano Says:

    Hell Comes To Frogtown is pretty much A Handmaid's Tale, but vastly improved for having Rowdy Roddy Piper.

    Look, I get that Atwood and le Guin are important writers. But nobody seems willing to admit that they just aren't terribly good ones.

  6. Anonymouse Says:

    I read A Handmaid's Tale in the late 1980s and thought it was preposterous. The right-wing took it as a how-to manual. Twenty-five years later, they're well on the way to making it the way women have to lead their lives.

  7. c u n d gulag Says:

    I'm working on reading all of her books – slowly. I think if I read them back-to-back, I'd be in a straight-jacket.

    I recently finished "Oryx and Crake."
    It's another dystopian novel of hers. It's about a survivor of a man-made pandemic which results after a point where the pharmaceutical companies which created cures for diseases, decided that for profit, they'd create diseases, and then the cures.
    And, of course, nothing good comes of that.
    The book also has genetically modified humans as survivors, which are bred to be disease free, but also lack some of the things that make us humans, human as part of the story.

    She's kind of a clunky writer – but she's great at creating dystopian 'grave new worlds' that scare any reader with half a brain, half to death.

  8. Entomologista Says:

    That book made me want to put all my money in my mattress and buy a bunch of guns like a crazy prepper.

    Atwood is a great author, I just wish she would admit that she writes sci-fi. LeGuin is objectively good, I know, but I just can't get into her. I usually go to Octavia E. Butler and Sheri S. Tepper for my feminist science fiction.

  9. Dave Dell Says:

    Handmaid. There's two hours of my life I'll never get back.

  10. Cracksmoking Mayor Rob Ford's Brother Says:

    Well good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don't even know her. If she walked by me, I wouldn't have a clue who she is.

  11. Major Kong Says:

    I think the GOP read A Handmaid's Tale and said "Hey! That just might work!"

  12. Southern Beale Says:

    I've been reading Atwood's Oryx & Crake trilogy … finishing the final book, MaddAddam, right now. Felt like I needed to re-read the other two because it had been so long between books. So I've basically been immersed in Atwoodian dystopia for the past three months.

    During this time I also read Dave Eggers' The Circle.

    Suffice it to say, at this point I just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head, and cry for my mommy.

  13. Southern Beale Says:

    Last year Nashville's mayor picked The Handmaid's Tale for our annual city-wide "Nashville Reads" event. They then brought Atwood in to speak at our downtown library, which was an awesome event. One thing I found interesting is that Atwood said that everything in The Handmaid's Tale has already occurred in human society somewhere.

  14. Southern Beale Says:

    Entomologista:

    See my above comment for why Atwood says what she writes is NOT sci-fi. The scenarios she writes about have actually happened at some point in human history, and could happen again given the right circumstances. She's not dreaming up some new idea.

  15. GunstarGreen Says:

    Handmaid's Tale is the guidebook for the modern GOP policy re: women.

    The point, however, will be largely lost on most college students these days, given that one must now be from relative affluence to attend even a non-ivy-league public university. They are by this point used to the modern middle- and upper-class 'rules for thee and not for me' mentality.

  16. jeneria Says:

    When She Woke by Hillary Jordan is a more recent, more terrifying blue print for the GOP re: women. Check it out. It's like reading headlines in today's papers.

  17. Sarah Says:

    One thing I found interesting is that Atwood said that everything in The Handmaid's Tale has already occurred in human society somewhere.

    I actually can believe that, although the way we're heading now everything in The Handmaid's Tale will occur again in our human society, except this time it will be all at the same time.

  18. Doomed, we are Says:

    I read it once every 10 years or so as a reminder as to how fragile all of our gains are, and that CONSTANT VIGILANCE against the erosion of our rights is required. I once read it juxtaposed with Children of Men which would've made an interesting, if depressing, classroom or book club discussion.

  19. J. Dryden Says:

    @ eau: That's precisely what I'm teaching my students right now (well, not right now–I'm a good multi-tasker, but not that good); my "memorize this definition" blurb for dystopia is "a critical portrait of the future consequences of contemporary thought and behavior."

    And, like most of the people who've already commented, I think that anyone who claims that Atwood was off the mark, or overly concerned with what turned out to be a passing worry, isn't really paying attention. Setting aside the fact that, as others have pointed out, the social practices she portrays are historically accurate, there's a quality of anger and fear that men have always displayed towards women that instinctively manifests itself as belittlement, possessiveness, and, in some cases, violence.

    Not to throw a grenade into the room and then walk away whistling, but let me posit that for a lot of people,* being "pro-life" has little or nothing to do with "the rights of the unborn." It has, instead, everything to do with controlling women by forcing them to accept the consequences of unapproved behavior. The more I hear from pro-life advocates, the more I'm aware of hearing, for every comment in praise of the sweet little innocents, an equivalent comment in deploring the women who "treat this murder as just another form of birth control." To such people–and the number of women who believe this is appalling–women are vessels for the more important form of life–the children of men. A crisis in birth-rates would certainly give such people–and we've got a Congress and a judiciary full of them–the opportunity they'd need to enforce their values in terrible ways.

    I'm not a huge fan of the novel–like c u n d gulag, I think the prose is clunky–but I have no problem finding its premise utterly plausible. (And it's worth pointing out that the last section of the book is one of the most savage indictments of ivory tower assholery in modern literature.)

    *To clarify: No, not all pro-life people believe this; many come to this belief through thought, experience, and moral conviction and a weighing of sympathies. Anyone who thinks that all pro-lifers are bigoted and/or stupid hasn't bothered to listen to all of them.

  20. Brian M Says:

    Anyone who can claim that the writer of The Left Hand of Darkness is a "bad writer" is not a person whose opinion I will seek out on literature. Just sayin'

  21. burnt Says:

    I read it for class sometime near enough the book's publication that I found a super-cheap remaindered 1st edition to purchase. Like anonymous, I found the premise preposterous. It took me until the mid-90s to realize Atwood was a prophet.

    A friend of mine borrowed the book to read and somehow managed to coat the book with raspberry jam. Pity.

  22. OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:

    It's interesting how certain aspects of reality contrast with widely repeated talking points.

    Commenters here suggest that this book, in which (among other things) the Constitution is suspended, is a model for the GOP playbook. But, in fact, it has been libertarian-minded Republicans who have been trying to bring forth bills since the 1990s that would require every piece of legislation brought before Congress to state the enumerated federal power in the Constitution under which it is being promulgated. The Democrats and many "mainstream" Republicans won't even entertain the bill.

    At least in the book, the bad guys had the decency to suspend the Constitution; Democrats and like-minded Republicans in real life simply ignore it, which strikes me as even more dangerous.

    And what is this "GOP war on women" anyway? I hear the phrase a lot recently but can't follow the logic. Feminists have long used the shock phrase "keep your morality out of my vagina." The obvious response for conservatives is "Keep your vagina out of my wallet." But when GOP members of Congress attempt to get the federal government (and by extension, conservatives' wallets, morality and everything else) out of women's vaginas and return the entire matter to the states or individuals (just like it says in the Constitution), the Democrats call it a war on women.

  23. Sarah Says:

    *To clarify: No, not all pro-life people believe this; many come to this belief through thought, experience, and moral conviction and a weighing of sympathies. Anyone who thinks that all pro-lifers are bigoted and/or stupid hasn't bothered to listen to all of them.

    I'd be more inclined to be sympathetic to the pro-life/anti-abortion position (I am an ex-Catholic, after all) were it not for the utter hypocrisy regarding what happens to those babies once they're born. "Just put it up for adoption!" Yes, because the highest demand among prospective adopters isn't for healthy white infants. Older children, children of color, and children with any diseases or genetic abnormalities are out of luck. And then there's efforts to defund education and cut social services to families with children. Anybody remember the asshole who said he supported eliminating food stamps because giving food aid to poor families was like feeding stray animals and encouraging them to breed?

    This video illustrates this point pretty clearly and hilariously: http://www.upworthy.com/look-another-dude-made-a-bunch-of-rules-for-the-confused-pregnant-ladies

  24. OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:

    Sarah, at least "the asshole" is demonstrating some understanding of biology, population dynamics, ecology, and even economics.

  25. Sarah Says:

    OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:
    November 19th, 2013 at 11:46 am
    Sarah, at least "the asshole" is demonstrating some understanding of biology, population dynamics, ecology, and even economics.

    Flame war starting in 3…. 2…. 1….

  26. c u n d gulag Says:

    Sarah,
    Ignore.

  27. OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:

    No flame war required. In my previous comment I pointed out that the only reason conservatives have a say in women's reproductive choices is because they are forced to pay for those choices. The easiest way to shut conservatives up would be for women to get their vaginas out of conservatives wallets.

  28. Entomologista Says:

    The debate over whether Atwood writes science fiction has been had. http://io9.com/5847421/if-it-is-realistic-or-plausible-then-it-is-not-science-fiction

  29. middle seaman Says:

    I insist: it's illegal for comments to be longer than the post. Sentencing guidelines call for 1 year removal from comments!

  30. Matt Says:

    OrwellianDoublespeaker: truly, some doubleplusgood duckspeaking. Too bad reality doesn't agree.

    Exactly how is passing legislation requiring mandatory transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion taking anyone's vagina "out of your wallet"? Because it's LITERALLY putting the authority of the state into said vagina…

  31. J. Dryden Says:

    @ middle seaman: You can have my epic-lengthed comments when you pry them from my cold, dead hands. And should you ever do, then rest assured, one will rise who is far more powerful than I…

    (c u n d gulag, that's your cue.)

  32. c u n d gulag Says:

    Matt,
    That money saved from the vagina's can be used for quicker-pecker-uppers' for the dicks.

  33. ladiesbane Says:

    Saving the sci fi vs. speculative fiction debate for another time and place, but Entomologista has my vote with Butler and Tepper. The Gate to Women's Country blew my mind the way Handmaid's Tale did. (It was much more clearly written and with better characterization, making it unsuitable for poli sci classes.) Another big one for me was Heinlein, in Stranger in a Strange Land and "If This Goes On–", which was good juvenile fiction to get me out of my small-town high school naivete about theocracies and the power mongers who favor them. All flawed works, but still mind blowing.

  34. c u n d gulag Says:

    I hold the belt, and I will NOT be out word-turded!!!!!!

  35. bb in GA Says:

    @Matt

    Libertarians (mostly pissed on here) mostly are horrified by the required-by-law ultrasound or any other likewise mandated procedure on male or female.

    //bb

  36. mothra Says:

    The obvious response for conservatives is "Keep your vagina out of my wallet." But when GOP members of Congress attempt to get the federal government (and by extension, conservatives' wallets, morality and everything else) out of women's vaginas and return the entire matter to the states or individual…

    Erm…example, please of any GOP members supporting and funding birth control and sex education in schools? Likewise a list of current GOP members who are pro-austerity, but are also pro-choice? And how is my vagina in the goddamn conservatives' wallets? Abortion IS NOT paid for by Medicaid or covered in any federal worker's health policy–and I think the GOP managed to get the ACA to not require insurers to cover abortion. They are working on getting birth control dropped from the ACA requirements, too. Oh, I see, you mean when the woman who would have had an abortion has the child, then the conservatives have to pay for it? But that's not the vagina anymore. That's a precious, darling life.

  37. ladiesbane Says:

    @bb: I don't know about the "mostly". (Not in the rhetorical sense; I honestly don't know.) For ages I considered myself a libertarian, since a big part of my personal philosophy was MYOB, do as you would be done by, to each his own, and so on. Then I met party Libertarians and was informed that I had to support the authoritarian theocracy of the party or my right to use the word would be revoked. Since being Libertarian these days means being anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-social-contract, and pro-government-interference (in the support of the first three requirements but not when it interferes with profit at any cost) I have no idea what it means to be libertarian anymore. Maybe the capital "L" makes the difference. No True Scotsman versus modern party reality?

  38. Anonymouse Says:

    LadiesBane also speaks for me: "Entomologista has my vote with Butler and Tepper."

  39. Assistant Professor Says:

    @ladiesbane (and bb),

    My general experience is that libertarians will talk about how sure, they're against corporate welfare and transvaginal ultrasounds and the like, but when push comes to shove, they invariably wind up supporting police cavity searches, transvaginal ultrasounds, corporate welfare, etc. because really, the greatest threat to liberty is a 39.6% top marginal tax rate.

    (It's almost like people choose the label of libertarian because they're basically Republicans but don't want to be associated with a label that means Fusty Uncool White Guy in His Fifties.)

  40. bb in GA Says:

    @Assistant

    So yeah I'll fess up…..I'm a damn liar.

    //bb

  41. bb in GA Says:

    @Assistant

    So yeah I'll fess up…..I'm a damn liar.

    //bb

    P.S. – I'm 67 and White

  42. ladiesbane Says:

    @Assistant Professor: Hey, Christofascists assuming the Libertarian mantle was a surprise to me, but so was seeing our poster child for the Dems turn into the sales drummer for drone strikes and the NSA. I keep wandering into the wrong party….

  43. Assistant Professor Says:

    I wasn't talking about you, I was just noting that there's a certain species of libertarian who tends to say "BOTH SIDES DO IT" and then always come down on the right side. And if you're a libertarian… You've seen them too!

  44. Assistant Professor Says:

    (P.S., I'm a balding Episcopalian, so I think I'm pretty close to winning the prize for uncool and fusty.)

  45. bb in GA Says:

    @Assistant

    My ONE Episcopalian joke: (This might be dated because the dang Commie Metric System has prolly overtaken the liquor industry)

    "Wherever you have four Episcopalians,…there's always a fifth."

    //bb

  46. Sarah Says:

    Then I met party Libertarians and was informed that I had to support the authoritarian theocracy of the party or my right to use the word would be revoked. Since being Libertarian these days means being anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-social-contract, and pro-government-interference (in the support of the first three requirements but not when it interferes with profit at any cost) I have no idea what it means to be libertarian anymore. Maybe the capital "L" makes the difference.

    Vox Day and his wife call themselves libertarians and specify the lower case "L" with that. Dude is most definitely a Christofascist–yammers on endlessly about his Christianity, but he leans towards the "separate the wheat from the chaff" and "I bring not peace but the sword" model of Christianity. I swear I think he rubs his hands gleefully at the thought of the Rapture and all the godless heathens and folks practicing the "wrong" sort of Christianity being banished to the nether regions. He advocates genocide, too; as I recall the story, he got his ass kicked off of WorldNetDaily when he made a reference to Germany "ridding themselves of 6 million Jews" and said that in relation to this, the US should be able to deal with its illegal alien (read: Mexicans) problem.

  47. eau Says:

    Anyone else picturing aging White America desperately shuffling through his wallet at the counter, grumbling 'I have a five in here somewhere', while a steady stream of disembodied vaginas drift out to collect at his feet like old ATM receipts?

    No? Just me? Ok…

  48. bb in GA Says:

    @Sarah

    Exagesis? Context?…Not so much

    Matt 10

    32“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.

    33But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

    34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    35For I have come to turn

    “ ‘a man against his father,

    a daughter against her mother,

    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—

    36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’c

    37“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    38Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

    39Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."

    I have broadened the context a little here.

    The 'Sword' Jesus is talking about here is clearly division caused by choosing Him, not cold steel to literally cut people with.

    //bb

  49. mzrad Says:

    Ha ha: in a grad school class taught by one of our more famous faculty members, the prof mentioned something about the ending of _Handmaid's Tale_ that didn't jive with my memory of it (we were studying a Victorian text of some sort at the time, not reading Atwood). He'd only seen the movie and felt comfortable just going up in front of class and talking about something he was not informed. Gagh.

  50. Sarah Says:

    bb, if you want context, I suggest you read his blog. voxday dot blogspot dot com. It is searchable for certain terms. He also has another blog at alphagameplan dot blogspot dot com. I read both blogs and I can tell you that he is most definitely a racist, misogynist, homophobic shitbag, but if you don't want to take my word for it, have at it.

    What I find most fascinating about him is that he has very little mention of Jesus as a brown-skinned socialist who was giving away free health care (e.g. "love thy neighbor" and "whatsoever ye do to the least of these is what ye do to me"). He only makes reference to those passages whenever he wants to sneer at people who say that Christ's message was that people try being nice to one another, you know, just for a change. Check out his Easter message. Another of his most recent nuggets is when he came out as a fan of the Taliban because they shot Malala Yousafzai, because he opposes universal education of women.

  51. bb in GA Says:

    @Sarah

    Am no fan of Mr Day.

    I was sparring over the Sword reference. While Jesus was not a hardcore pacifist, the Sword reference you quoted was clearly metaphoric in its use.

    Thanks,

    //bb

  52. Sarah Says:

    the Sword reference you quoted was clearly metaphoric in its use.

    Please take that up with Vox Day. I was using it in the same context in which I've read him using it. And that's in reference to Vox Day as a "Christian libertarian."

  53. Bernard Says:

    lol, pro lifers are really pro-fetus. once the unborn is born, it's all the mother's "fault" to take care of and. god forbid, that child was born to a poor woman, the GOP's mantra of "I've got mine, Go Fuck Yourself" applies there, as well as everywhere else.

    it just amazes me women aren't 100% anti GOP with the way they want to keep women barefoot and pregnant and in the kitchen.

    but after 50 years of PR, American women and men buy the GOP BS hook line and sinker.

    science fiction is merely a prelude to what awaits us as we grow older. Amazing when i read things, like Heinlein, Vonnegut, Azimov and lots of others.

    Religion just freaks me out. it oozes evil.

  54. Doomed, we are Says:

    Lemme tell you how that whole "no abortion coverage for federal workers" thing plays out in practice.

    Earlier this summer, I had a miscarriage. The conceptus failed to vacate the premesis (more professionally known as a missed or silent miscarriage). We waited: nothing. We tried medication: nothing. Finally we did a D&C. Several weeks later we got a bill for EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS, noting "services not covered by insurance provider". Bullshit, right? My first thought was that some pro-life zealot had gotten ahold of my claim and I was totally ready to guilt-trip the hell out of said person. WHen I called, I found a nice fellow who explained that it had been coded as a "missed abortion" (which is the correct medical term; abortion does not imply natural vs. induced) and would have to be re-coded. The only saving grace is that I wasn't too emotionally upset by the whole thing, or else fighting with my insurance company would've been even worse.

    So, thanks pro-lifers. Thanks. Because it totally protects your soul if a federal worker pays wages for an abortion rather than using insurance coverage. The end result is just irritating women who've had miscarriages; well done. Bravo.

    Also, eight grand for a d&c? no wonder healthcare is such a large part of GDP because that's fucking ridiculous.

    Also thanks for the recs to Gate to Women's Country, which I've seen recommmended elsewhere and will pick up shortly. "When she Woke" recommended above was an interesting read but super easy- was it YA? I like dystopiasn fiction regardless, though…

  55. ladiesbane Says:

    Doomed, I'm so sorry about the insurance hassle on top of the health hassle. I hope they came through for you in the end. As far as the Tepper book goes, I love it, but there is one sticky point for me. In this projected timeline, homosexuality was traced back to a genetic aberration and eradicated long before the story takes place. There is no editorial endorsement of this historic event, but no condemnation, either. FYI.

    But if you are comfy with feminist SF, I would love to recommend "In the Mothers' Land", by Élisabeth Vonarburg, or even Tepper's Marjorie Westriding books ("Grass" and "Sideshow" — in that order). Alt hist, dystopia, post-apocalyptic, and full of ethical questions.

  56. Anonymouse Says:

    @Doomed: very sorry to hear of the aggravation on top of the miscarriage. One of the things that frustrates me the most about anti-choicers (and conservatives in general) is that they want to use the full force of the gov't to forbid things the conservatives don't like from other people. They'll spend any amount of other people's money to keep someone else from doing anything, even if it's perfectly legal.

  57. c u n d gulag Says:

    @Doomed,
    I'm very sorry to hear about what happened to you.

    But it could be worse in the near future, in certain states – and then, who knows, maybe the whole country.

    If our Christianist Fascista's have their way, someone in your situation might well be charged with some degree of manslaughter – and, on top of the bill, have to pay legal fees to defend yourself from the charges, and a jail sentence, and/or more fines.

    All the term, "Pro-life" means, is "Pro-subjugation of women."

  58. Anonymouse Says:

    @gulag; this is already happening, as the article at http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/07/02/miscarriage-face-prison-time-for-murder/ shows.

  59. Anonymouse Says:

    @gulag; this is already happening, as the article at http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/07/02/miscarriage-face-prison-time-for-murder/ shows. Another story, from The Guardian, documents a woman with a high-risk pregnancy who miscarries and is charged with murder: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jun/24/america-pregnant-women-murder-charges

  60. OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:

    Matt Says:
    Exactly how is passing legislation requiring mandatory transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion taking anyone's vagina "out of your wallet"? Because it's LITERALLY putting the authority of the state into said vagina…

    Matt, I'm far more concerned with federal issues than those in individual states. Since I'm not in Ohio, I haven't followed that issue closely. But, according to MSNBC (citing Reuters) "Under its provisions, the budget requires a woman to undergo a trans-abdominal ultrasound before receiving an abortion, regardless of whether or not the ultrasound is medically necessary. The budget also severely guts Planned Parenthood clinics in the state by cutting off $1.4 million in federal funding, reports the Columbus Dispatch.

    Additionally, the budget targets rape crisis centers by imposing restrictions on what counselors can say to victims who have been impregnated by their rapists. If these clinics counsel victims on abortion options, the budget allows for their public funding to be suspended, Reuters reports."

    So, Ohio is grossly infringing on women's right to choose what goes on with their bodies and, near as I can tell, also on the freedom of speech. Both of these are inexcusable. But each one appears to be tied to public funding for personal services to women. Therein lies the rub.

    I'm not saying the state is right to insert itself into vaginal business. I'm saying that as long as women demand that everybody pay for their vaginal services, it gives people who oppose certain vagina-related things an easy excuse for meddling. I disagree entirely with what the state is doing, but I also believe it's the inevitable price you pay for having controversial services funded by taxpayers.

  61. OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:

    mothra Says:
    "Erm…example, please of any GOP members supporting and funding birth control and sex education in schools?"

    I don't understand the connection you're getting at here. Many in the GOP oppose federal funding of birth control and sex ed in schools. The best of them oppose it because it's not enumerated in the Constitution. Period. Taxes are collected upon the threat of imprisonment and/or confiscation of property. So, if the social democrats (from any party) pass legislation that federally funds birth control and sex ed in schools, they are using the power of the gov't to extract money from the wallets of all taxpayers to pay for things that many oppose.

    The evil GOP is simply fighting fire with fire (albeit, fueled from a different source).

  62. Major Kong Says:

    Libertarians? Isn't that just what Republicans call themselves when they're trying to get laid?

  63. c u n d gulag Says:

    Anonymouse,
    OY!
    That's all I got.
    Just… just, oy…

  64. Jimcat Says:

    Major Kong: I thought a Libertarian was a Republican who smokes pot.

  65. Anonymouse Says:

    @gulag; have you noticed that the "small government!" crowd has endless money to go investigate the miscarriage of a woman carrying a wanted fetus, but no money for food assistance once that fetus is born? it's not about the "baybeeze", it's about controlling women and forcing them into life-threatening medical conditions against their will (pregnancy can and does kill women, and certainly permanently alters the woman's body regardless). They really are trying for a society just like the one portrayed in A Handmaid's Tale.

  66. Anonymouse Says:

    The GOP had no problems funding two illegal wars that demonstrably killed thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Tax dollars in the US go for all kinds of stupid stuff, like Sarah Palin's Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska, and football stadiums for millionaire sports team owners. Why, American tax dollars even go to fund religious cults who try to convince women that taking a birth control pill will give her cancer.

  67. J. Dryden Says:

    At this point, we're in danger of using the word "wallet" so many times that it will lose all meaning. Which wouldn't be so dire, except that we're coming pretty close to that threshold with "vagina" as well.

    Also: It's all very well for Conservatives to complain about social programs that they don't agree with–just say "I don't want the government to do this, ever." That's fine. I disagree, but you're allowed to believe that the government's authority should be limited.

    But do NOT say "I don't want the government taking my money to pay for these things." Because that is a specious argument. Because the amount of your money that the government is taking/would take to fund those programs is so negligible that it is the felonious equivalent of finding a forgotten penny in between the cushions of your couch.

    If you want to have lower taxes–and you do–then tell the government to stop funding a massive military budget that is completely unnecessary by any standard of reality. Unless we're gearing up for an alien invasion, we do not need to be spending as much as we do on more and newer weapons. That is where you're losing the big bucks, and–and I can't stress this enough–you are getting *nothing* in return, unless you live in a district that depends financially on the defense industry. (Which is what you call "a bailout" when it happens to a district you don't like.) If you want to hold onto your money–and that, frankly, is what's up your craw, not the fact that poor people are getting food-stamps–then focus on the person who's really taking it.

    You will not do this, however, because you like guns and you have not figured out that we no longer fight wars the way we did when the Nazis were the bad guys, and you hate black/Hispanic people and women, and all of this bullshit about "limited government" is a pretext for being able to be a hateful, selfish person who will happily let children go sick and hungry and uneducated because you are racist enough to hate their parents.

  68. bb in GA Says:

    @Major Kong

    Progressive…isn't that what a Commie calls himself when he's trying to get elected?

    See how easy and sophomoric it is…

    //bb

  69. Doctor Rock Says:

    Oh wow bb you really showed them. I have yet to see you offer a cogent, coherent defense of your position.

  70. Sarah Says:

    But do NOT say "I don't want the government taking my money to pay for these things." Because that is a specious argument. Because the amount of your money that the government is taking/would take to fund those programs is so negligible that it is the felonious equivalent of finding a forgotten penny in between the cushions of your couch.

    Also, we can quibble over the definition of what constitutes one's own money. Not even getting into existential arguments over how anything you can't take with you after you die isn't really yours, I will point out here that every single libertarian was educated at someone else's cost. Whether that cost was borne publicly or privately. Whether that cost was monetary (e.g. private school tuition or public funding) or a parent who gave up working hours and earning power to homeschool. If you're a libertarian and you don't have kids, bully for you. Neither do I. Can't stand the boogers–but I will acknowledge that I need for other women to continue having them, if for no other reason than because I need someone who will be around to care for me when I'm in the old folk's home. (I have a great-aunt who is in exactly this situation–she and her husband never had any kids, and my uncle who was responsible for maintaining her affairs just died of liver cancer, four months after being diagnosed. So now we have ongoing drama over how this will be handled.)

    I am less concerned with some asshole whining about "his wallet" (and is apparently too goddamn stupid to be aware of the Hyde Amendment) and more concerned with the women who will be shoving wire hangers and knitting needles up their hoo-has because for whatever reason, they can't deal with having a kid and can't get a legal abortion.

  71. Aaron Says:

    OrwellianDoublespeaker: "I'm saying that as long as women demand that everybody pay for their vaginal services, it gives people who oppose certain vagina-related things an easy excuse for meddling."

    Imagine a state where Feminazis outnumber the rest of the population by a significant majority. The government of this state now requires that anyone who receives a prostate exam using any taxpayer-supported medical program or medical facility (e.g. state university hospitals) have his/her prostate manually massaged to erection and ejaculation. Given shortages of medical professionals, patients are not allowed to specify the gender (or ring size) of their physician for this procedure.

    So, say again: how does the fact that a legal activity is controversial justify the unnecessary regulation of it?

  72. c u n d gulag Says:

    Anonymouse,
    Oh yeah, I've noticed!
    Believe you me, I've noticed!!!

  73. mothra Says:

    Orwellianblahblahblah:
    The connection is that you offered the response of a conservative to a woman who wants government out of her vagina as "get your vagina out of my wallet." So if that is really the valid response, then you would think that the GOP would be pro-choice and pro birth control because then the vagina wouldn't NEED to hop in their wallets. And, in the matter of birth control, it would involve not just the vagina, but the penis as well.

    Oh, and by the way, when you talk about federal government backing out and leaving these decisions up to the state, you DO realize that you are just advocating that a different government entity be given the job to dictate to women what they do with their bodies, right?

  74. Big dog Says:

    Dryden…with regard to your latest remarks on military spending…it occurred to me some time back that to keep America close to full employment and given the great rise in manufacturing productivity, we needed to manufacture some sort of waste product that could endlessly be recycled, and hopefully without undue ecological damage in the process. Military weaponry meets this requirement to a certain degree…we have yet to work out the ecology bit. Every couple of years we grind the stuff up and send it off to China for them to make more steel and new, cheap shit. Just think how many of us work for the military industrial complex directly or indirectly. Even minor tweaking would do irretrievable damage to our comfy house of cards.

  75. Major Kong Says:

    @bb

    Fox News, is that you?

  76. J. Dryden Says:

    @ Big dog: Well, we *could* just take those jobs and transfer them over to some government-subsidized industry that actually produces something that would be used by/would directly benefit the complaining taxpayers. (Such a solution is *staggeringly* simplistic in assuming that such jobs are easily or even possibly transferred and that such products are available and…yeah, screw it.)

  77. Mo Says:

    After slogging through all of the above, I think Cerberus at Sadly, No! handled this pretty thoroughly:

    No Woman Should Ever Get Pregnant Again, The End

  78. Robert Says:

    My husband and I are receiving financial support from government agencies to assist in raising the two children we adopted from foster care. I can't help but think that taxpayer dollars might have been spent in assisting their birth parents to raise them, or even on family planning services prior to conception. I suspect Orwellblah would be horrified by any of these ideas – are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Can't such children simply be placed in church-run facilities, like the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland? Why should taxpayer money be spent on anything but national defense?

  79. OrwellianDoublespeaker Says:

    Aaron Says:
    "how does the fact that a legal activity is controversial justify the unnecessary regulation of it?"

    I suspect, Aaron, that not everybody defines "unnecessary" the same way as you do. And I'd be careful using that "legal activity" term. The number of absolutely disgusting travesties of justice that comport perfectly with the law (for a time, anyway) are too many to count. But for me, the more fundamental question is, what says the Constitution? If the "legal activity" is regulated but not enumerated, it ought not to have been put under federal control to begin with.

    J. Dryden, I don't know who you're talking to when you mentioned ridiculously high military spending. Hawks trade votes supporting foolish military spending for votes in favor of unenumerated social science experiments their social democratic buddies put forth. It's the Democrats and Republicans who are the war mongers, not us libertarians.

    mothra Says:
    "you would think that the GOP would be pro-choice and pro birth control because then the vagina wouldn't NEED to hop in their wallets.

    Oh, and by the way, when you talk about federal government backing out and leaving these decisions up to the state, you DO realize that you are just advocating that a different government entity be given the job to dictate to women what they do with their bodies, right?"

    I think you're wrong on both points. It's my understanding that many in the GOP oppose abortions etc for religious reasons, and some of them oppose federal funding of it because those services are not enumerated in the Constitution. A true libertarian (in the way I understand the term) absolutely supports a woman's choice to do whatever she wants, but we abhor the use of federal gov't thuggery to extract money from unwilling individuals to pay for it.

    I disagree with you completely that all states would regulate all things uniformly if the federal gov't was the small version described in the Constitution. What–Oregon would suddenly become a red state? Communist red, maybe, but not religion-fueled conservative. If you look at state and local funding across the nation, you'll find that many laws and programs are on the books because the federal gov't required it, frequently in exchange for funding but not always. If the cash stopped flowing from Washington, I suspect many, many silly regulations and laws at state and local levels would disappear…because the locals never really wanted that stuff in the first place. It's just easier to go along when somebody else is picking up the tab.

    Robert–I don't care if you're receiving money from the state government with funds collected from the state. But since many welfare state programs are funded federally, it's inconsistent with the Constitution and, for me, that's a problem.

    I'm not sure why so many here appear to believe that pro-Constitution = pro-military. Y'all should visit the Cato blog and read what real libertarians think like.

    And, finally, what is it with the name-calling from "progressives" when someone articulates an alternative view? I encountered this at university quite often, too. Granted, you see lots of crass comments from GOP supporters (I assume) elsewhere online, but why would you want to be like them? I thought progressives were superior.

  80. Adam Says:

    Strict adherence to the constitution is neither advisable or moral in many cases. It is not a perfect document and never was. We need to be able to change or reinterpret it as our requirements and situations change over time.
    The idea that smaller "unregulated" populations would be more equitable, efficient, rational, etc. is easily controverted with a cursory look at history. If anything, it would balkanize many areas and I believe it would shatter the country as a matter of course.
    Also, liberty is not a mandate for you to be free of inconvenience and being asked to pay for things you may not wish to is not repression unless it means you cannot live in humane conditions. Your call for liberty is self-serving cant, not natural law nor constitutionally protected freedom. Your being myopic and not incidently annoying.

  81. Xynzee Says:

    Ah yes the "Constitution" a document designed to be amendable to change as the FFs knew the world to be dynamic. It's one of those things that "libertarians" appeal to when it suits, but use it as toilet paper often as not — eg ignoring the "well regulated militia" part of the 2nd.

    As pointed out before — as your lack of knowledge, understanding and insight of history is about par for the course for "Constitutionalist" — so I'll remind you again, Shay's Rebellion effectively put paid to many of those original ideas. What was still staggering after that was buried at Appomattox.

    Now if you actually understood history, you'd understand that the FFs being rich landholders who replaced one system of govt with one more to their liking. Seeing how they wrote the new rules any surprise we got what we have? So why is a navy Constitutionally mandated but not an army? A navy by its nature is far more expensive to operate than an army. To protect the merchantile fleets carrying the goods of said rich land owners to European markets.

    So pay attention. You might just learn something.

    Why the insults? Because "libertarians" are just narcissists with political agenda. Again pay attention to history. If you want to see what the "libertarian utopia" is, look at Somalia. There's what zero taxes get you. As most people prefer running potable water, light at the flick of a switch and a sense of physical safety we'll pass thank you. If you actually paid attention to real scholars rather than Rand you'd come away with the basics, such as why public models for fire and police? Simple, the private model proved to be an abject failure, from fighting over who got to fight a fire to actively sabotaging others efforts fight a blaze. Recently, a family in AZ just got slugged with a $20k bill for a private company. Despite the fact the volunteers arrived first — isn't the market supposed to be more responsive? — and their house still burnt down — where's the better service? Given that choice, I'd rather leave it to volunteers.
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4242734/
    It proves one thing, "libertarians" are in fact regressive.

  82. Aaron Says:

    OrwellianDoublespeaker: The article you cite from MSNBC or Reuters indicates that the transvaginal ultrasound is required regardless of medical necessity. You argue that this is the inevitable price you pay for asking the taxpayer to fund controversial medical procedures. I'm asking: why should a procedure's being controversial (or not being controversial) carry any weight at all in deciding whether a procedure or activity should be regulated?

    Of course there's a stronger way of putting this objection. Why should the fact that a procedure is controversial justify it even when medical professionals deem it unnecessary? The claim that the procedure should be required nonetheless, therefore, needs to do two things: justify why its controversiality has any bearing at all on how it can be regulated; and show how the opinion of doctors can be so easily overridden.

    For a group that has wrung its hands so furiously over patients being separated from their doctors and the state-rather-than-doctors 'dictating' which procedures will be legal and which will not, it's surprising (to put it politely) that this one procedure seems to cut through all of your supposed principles.

  83. John Doheny Says:

    @Orwelliandoublespeaker,

    "but I also believe it's the inevitable price you pay for having controversial services funded by taxpayers."

    Only when you have a politicized, private-insurance-based model like the US. Most other places, "health coverage" means your health care costs are covered, period. There's none of this bewildering array of co-pays, deductables, and covered-not-covered.

    I lived in Canada for 30 years. They have their share of pro-lifers up there, but as far as I know no one has every seriously suggested defunding a perfectly legal medical procedure just because SOME people are morally opposed to it.

  84. bb in GA Says:

    @Doc Rock

    My position….on what?

    I responded to childish ad hominem from the Major…so sorry

    Do I really need to defend (as a libertarian) that I am AGAINST (government directed) people carrying out nasty, personal, invasive procedures against citizens?

    Oh…other than being called a liar because I don't REALLY mean it and will slavishly vote for any R who offers him/herself for office in my district.

    Oh well…A Blessing….May you always be protected from malpractice lawyers (if you are that kind of Doc)

    //bb

  85. mclaren Says:

    The claims that "the premise was preposterous" shows what a group of sheltered middle-class liberals the commenters are. As Atwood remarked, all the practices she describes in The Handmaid's Tale come from some traditional society or other sometime in history.

    And Atwood and LeGuin are both excellent writers, thank you very much. The number of literary awards and prizes both writers have won makes a pile considerably taller than the commenter who sneers at their work.