Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tired of the Same Old Story

There's a lot to unpack in this article that details the insane practice of coercing single pregnant women into giving up their children, something that most people thought went out with the '60s but is apparently still around. I don't share Joyce's concern that the problem is a systemic one involving all crisis pregnancy centers or even the entire organizations that run them - I think there's more evidence to suggest that a significant minority of rogue CPCs are doing the damage. Joyce portrays the issue as a supply/demand thing - the concept is to funnel babies from "bad" unwed mothers to "good" Christian families.

And that sheds a little light on Arkansas' odious Amendment 1, forbidding unmarried couples (including same-sex couples) from adopting children. (I need a stronger word than "odious," but I can't think of one right now.) On its face this seems foolish - why would you want to limit the potential pool of adoptive parents? - but when you read Joyce's article it falls in place. A majority of Arkansans, it seems, want to funnel babies into "good" Christian families, so it makes sense to get rid of the competition by putting such a law in place. The Constitution would forbid a religious test for adoptive parents, else I'm sure Arkansas would have a ban on adoptive parents who aren't either Jewish or Christian.

So why the social engineering from the so-called "leave us alone" crowd? Let's look at a couple of other things I've been reading...

Oh look, here's an article by Kay Hymowitz arguing that feminism and the subsequent treatment of women as people with individual, often conflicting desires is driving a mass frustration on the part of men. Men are "going Galt," as it were, to protest the evil evil evil feminist encroachment on their world. I won't deal with this argument further - Will Wilkinson demolishes it and Amanda Marcotte pisses on the ruins, and they say all that needs to be said. But keep that in mind.

And here's Marcotte celebrating her birthday by writing about the bullshit notion that people are not "growing up," incidentally something parroted by Hymowitz in the first paragraph of the article I just linked to. She cites a commenter's insight, which ties it all together, for me:
I’m beginning to think that maybe what I thought defined being grown up was the shedding of uncertainty. Frankly, I’m pretty good with uncertainty. It keeps me honest, grounded, and skeptical. By that definition, I hope I never grow up.
Marcotte goes on to explain further:
Giving up the illusion of adulthood gives you a certain ability to be flexible, intelligent, forward-moving, and not calcified. Which is good for your health, you know.
(She also comments, towards the end: "Be goofy. Who gives a shit?" That's a worthwhile philosophy, there.)

See what's going on here? Conservative ideas are about certainty, and social change threatens that certainty. No great insight, I know, but one that's worth reemphasizing in this context. Conservatives have a certain idea of what the family is, and the growth of single motherhood (and fatherhood) doesn't fit with that vision. So they fight against it. Gay and lesbian people starting a family doesn't fit into that vision, so they fight against it. Women who desire something besides a family life don't fit into that vision, so they fight against that too. And people in general who want to pursue something else? Widespread panic.

Conservatives remind me, somewhat, of the goofy anthropologists who condescendingly insist on "preserving" some native culture. But guess what? As Hank Williams might say, "time marches on." Things change. Cultures change. People begin to want different things. And society isn't gonna collapse because of it. So give it a break and embrace change. You can live your life the way you want, and that's great. I'm not gonna tell you how to live your life. But trying to calcify something as dynamic as culture is a path to never-ending frustration and - in the case of the forced adoptions I linked to above - outright cruelty. Change is okay.

In short, conservatives, quit whining about cultural change and... well... grow up.

Take it away, Kevin Cronin (incidentally, I forgot how badass this song was until I started the search for this post... really, if you want to view this entire post as an excuse to put up this video I won't blame you):

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