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  I already posted a comment about this elsewhere, but I think it's worth getting a post all of its own. The health of women is, of course, an important issue, but Sara Robinson over at Alternet makes a point I haven't seen made elsewhere. It explains something that seems to be a mystery to progressives: why have conservatives gone from their obsession with abortion to what is clearly a determination to make contraception unobtainable if not outright illegal?

   Understand that, and you can begin to understand their anger, and their desperation. Robinson in an aside puts it as clearly as I've heard it stated.

(The first rule of understanding apocalyptic movements is this: If someone tells you the world is ending, believe them. Because for them, it probably is.)
More below the Orange Omnilepticon

       I'll make this brief: Robinson makes a case we all need to think about. Contraception affects every human society everywhere at the most fundamental level. The assumptions underlying thousands of years of social patterns no longer apply.  Read the whole thing - but if you want a quick start, here's three paragraphs that spell it out:

Until the condom, the diaphragm, the Pill, the IUD, and all the subsequent variants of hormonal fertility control came along, anatomy really was destiny — and all of the world’s societies were organized around that central fact. Women were born to bear children; they had no other life options. With a few rebellious or well-born exceptions (and a few outlier cultures that somehow found their way to a more equal footing), the vast majority of women who’ve ever lived on this planet were tied to home, dependent on men, and subject to all kinds of religious and cultural restrictions designed to guarantee that they bore the right kids to the right man at the right time — even if that meant effectively jailing them at home.

Our biology reduced us to a kind of chattel, subject to strictures that owed more to property law than the more rights-based laws that applied to men. Becoming literate or mastering a trade or participating in public life wasn’t unheard-of; but unlike the men, the world’s women have always had to fit those extras in around their primary duty to their children and husband — and have usually paid a very stiff price if it was thought that those duties were being neglected.

Men, in return, thrived. The ego candy they feasted on by virtue of automatically outranking half the world’s population was only the start of it. They got full economic and social control over our bodies, our labor, our affections, and our futures. They got to make the rules, name the gods we would worship, and dictate the terms we would live under. In most cultures, they had the right to sex on demand within the marriage, and also to break their marriage vows with impunity — a luxury that would get women banished or killed. As long as pregnancy remained the defining fact of our lives, they got to run the whole show. The world was their party, and they had a fabulous time.

emphasis added

          When you hear conservatives ranting how liberals are destroying America and the family, when you hear them raving incoherently about values and religious freedom, the values they're really defending are the ones spelled out in that last paragraph above. This is why they are excluding women from the conversation - because they've always excluded women.  And the religious freedom angle?

It’s this rage that’s driving the Catholic bishops into a frenzied donnybrook fight against contraception — despite the very real possibility that this fight could, in the end, damage their church even more fatally than the molestation scandal did.  As the keepers of a 2000-year-old enterprise — one of the oldest continuously-operating organizations on the planet, in fact — they take the very long view. And they understand, better than most of us, just how unprecedented this development is in the grand sweep of history, and the serious threat it poses to everything their church has stood for going back to antiquity. (Including, very much, the more recent doctrine of papal infallability.)

That same frantic panic over the loss of the ancient bargain also lies that the core of the worldwide rash of fundamentalist religions. Modern industrial economies have undermined the authority of men both in the public sphere and in the private realms; and since they're limited in how far they can challenge it in the external world, they've turned women's bodies into the symbolic battlefield on which their anxieties over this play out. Drill down to the very deepest center of any of these movements, and you'll find men who are experiencing this change as a kind of personal annihilation, a loss of masculine identity so deep that they are literally interpreting it as the end of the world. (The first rule of understanding apocalyptic movements is this: If someone tells you the world is ending, believe them. Because for them, it probably is.)

emphasis added

      If you want to know why the right seems so unhinged lately, it's because the effects of the last 50 years since contraception really became available are finally starting to sink in to their consciousness, along with all the other things shaking up their world. It's why they are so determined to demonize women on the left, why they hate Nancy Peolosi and continually slander Michelle Obama. It's why they're obsessed with all the alleged fornication in Occupy encampments. And if you want to know why they're also trying to discredit science and rewrite history, it's all of a piece. They've seen the future, and they don't want it.

     Robinson's back from a year doing other things - just in time. Again - go read the whole thing. This is not a temporary issue - in one form or another it will continue for years to come. We're in unknown territory here - but going back is not the answer.

     I see too many would-be pundits who try to equate the Tea Party crazies with the Occupy Movement. This misses the key difference: the Tea Party wants to turn the clock back; the Occupy Movement is all about trying to make a future for more than the 1%. Robinson has a long standing interest in the Future as an academic discipline; if we want one worth living in, there are far worse people to whom to listen.

Poll

Sara Robinson on contraception and the future:

2%2 votes
5%4 votes
1%1 votes
20%15 votes
69%50 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes

| 72 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  xaxnar - I don't buy it at all (0+ / 0-)

    Because I don't hear any GOP lawmakers arguing that women should not have the right to contraception, or in any way making contraception illegal. The only issue I hear being debated is can the federal government mandate that all insurance plans offer free contraceptive services and who should pay for it? I have hear nothing about banning contraception, from anyone in Congress, or even the Catholic Church. Sara is arguing with herself.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:24:43 PM PST

    •  The lawmakers aren't....yet. (14+ / 0-)

      But their pastors are.

      When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

      by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:29:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the anti choice crowd has been aimed this (14+ / 0-)

      direction for decades.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:32:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think they're just asshole bullies. And they (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OldDragon, LSophia

        like to push women around because women are smaller. And women scare them.

        •  Women scare them because women actually (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OldDragon, xaxnar, LSophia

          control their lives.  Most men(especially older men) are lost without their wives telling them when to get up, what to wear and when to show up to what.  They walk out the door of their homes and are powered by the knowledge that their wives are taking care of their lives.  They go to work and their secretaries manage their lives, they tell them what meetings to go to and what to take to those meetings and most men are absolutely oblivious to how they actually get through life because women are SO good at it.  It is becoming clear because younger women are refusing to play and they see their sons lives which are so different than their lives and it frightens them.

    •  Are you sure? Take another look. (17+ / 0-)

      If you listen to Limbaugh or Hannity, you'll hear them calling contraception evil, equating it with abortion and worse. They're pursuing the same strategy they used with abortion: make it shameful, make it harder and harder to get, and use all kinds of excuses to get it by the voters.

      You don't hear all GOP lawmakers talking about it in Congress that openly, but they know how to dog whistle their base about this. And the ones who are Catholic are ipso facto against birth control. Rick Santorum, now leading in the polls is hard core anti-birth control.

      One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, ‘Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.’ It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.
      If that isn't the official position of the Republican Party now, it soon will be.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:32:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A Limbaugh or Hannity wouldn't make it for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, bigrivergal

        5 seconds in this house, nor any of my friends' houses either.

        They fear the Amazons. Only well adjusted and intelligent men don't. The first Amazon must really scare the crap out of them, because I bet she's smarter than her other half.....

        We should return to the matriarchal societal structure. We need more Senators and Reps and 9 on the SC........then we could make some progress.

      •  And the Holy Roman Catholic Church is BY GOD (6+ / 0-)

        against it (and still miffed that Protestants have ditched them on the matter).

      •  xaxner - it will never be the GOP position (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gooserock

        because they are smart enough to know it's a political loser, it's not only not a "dog whistle" to their base, there base doesn't believe it. There is no national controversy about birth control, that ship has sailed a long time ago. Abortion is still a big issue for the GOP base, but the overwhelming majority of Republican voters have, or did, use contraception. That's why I think Sara is having an argument with herself. There are very few, if any, Republicans on the other side.  

        I don't believe that Limbaugh is against contraception. I am sure he is against mandating it, or making it available for free, or Planned Parenthood, but I would challenge you to find me a quote where Limbaugh thinks that contraceptives should be illegal. I don't believe it, he is too much of a libertarian.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:56:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You forget - Stupid is the New Smart (5+ / 0-)

          And never more than among the GOP base. I have no desire to put myself in the position of trusting them to come to their senses.

          Robinson isn't arguing with herself - she's trying to get the attention of all those determined to look away from what's happening. Denialism isn't just about climate change.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:01:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  xaxnar - my view is that she is trying to (0+ / 0-)

            change the subject, from a religious freedom debate and tension regarding who should pay for contraception, an issue where there are Dems and Republicans on both sides, to one about access to contraception which is a winner for the Dems. I think it is an interesting political strategy, but it is not based on any real opposition on the other side. It's a straw man, but it might work.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:34:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And my view is that you miss the point. (4+ / 0-)

              It's not just about access to contraception; it's about the overturning of a social order that has largely given men primacy throughout history, and relegated women to inferior status. This is not a straw man at all.

              She's not changing the subject - she's getting at what lies beneath, and it's not pretty.

              "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

              by xaxnar on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:40:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  xaxnar - I don't agree (0+ / 0-)

                I understand that she has a theory, I just think her theory is bogus. I don't buy it at all (which was one of the poll options).

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:49:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your choice (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bronte17, martini, DarkLadyNyara

                  But if you look at the poll, it's a minority view. And while you may think this is bogus, check out some of the comments here from women. It's a very real issue for them.

                  "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

                  by xaxnar on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 03:37:54 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are spot on(or she is). Otherwise why (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    OldDragon, bigrivergal

                    would anyone give a shit about what medication(contraception) that someone is allowed to have, you control contraception, you control women and that is what this is about.

                    •  lakehillsliberal - no one is talking about that (0+ / 0-)

                      The only conversation is who pays for it. No one, not even the Catholic Church, is talking about denying any woman access to contraception. Trying to turn this into a conversation about the legality of contraception, or denying anyone access, is completely changing the subject. There is no one on the other side of that argument. It's a straw man.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 06:11:54 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  2011 State Governance Wasn't Their Position (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bronte17, Iron Spider

          when they ran for office.

          You're way behind the curve I'm afraid. You seriously need a month of attending megachurch services to catch up.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:46:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  All the Personhood laws will ban hormonal (9+ / 0-)

      contraception like the Pill and possibly the IUD.

      All the GOP contenders have signed the Personhood Pledge.

      While Mississippi rejected a vote for Personhood, VA and another state have the laws getting voted upon in the State Houses and are expected to be signed by R governors.

      Santorum has stated that he'd like to see Griswold vs CT repealed and he would not oppose states banning BC.

      Now do you think the RW doesn't want to invade our reproductive rights?

      Congressional elections have consequences!

      by Cordyc on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:23:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and why? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, OldDragon, bronte17, martini

        Why will the Personhood laws ban birth control pills and the IUD. Because the pro-lifers believe that the pill and the IUD work by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting on the uterine wall ... and they call that an abortion.

        They believe the pill and IUDs CAUSE abortions!

        Go to the Personhood USA website to read all about their crazy beliefs. And all of the GOP contenders signed the pledge except for Mitt Rmoney.

        •  These people don't actually care about people and (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OldDragon, bronte17, jdld

          I will show you very easily that they don't.  It takes about $250,000 to raise a child to adulthood, it you asked them would they pay a women that sum to have the child and raise that person, they answer would be an unequivocal no, hell no.  This is not about personhood, it is about control.  

    •  don't buy it either (0+ / 0-)

      Now you nailed this one.

  •  Robinson nails it (13+ / 0-)

    And she nails it in this article too  - New rules for radicals : ten ways to spark change ...

    The right is desperate to overturn all of the cultural and social advances made since 1890 and they are in it for the long, long haul. It might behoove us to take a long view approach ourselves about our future, as Robinson clearly does.

    'Cause the fire in the street, Ain't like the fire in the heart/ And in the eyes of all these people, Don't you know that this could start, On any street in any town ~ FZ

    by cosmic debris on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:28:46 PM PST

  •  And these "guys" have a deluded bunch of (7+ / 0-)

    women helping them, Phyllis Schlafly for one.

     

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:31:28 PM PST

    •  To repeat that joke from the other day (9+ / 0-)

      What do conservatives use for contraception?

      Their personalities.

      If you look/listen to people like Coulter, Malkin, etc. etc, there is such a common air of contempt and sanctimony in their manner, you have to wonder how they've gotten as far as they have.

      And don't even think about Viagra boy Rush. Funny how that particular drug case seems to have disappeared...

      It would be interesting - as a matter of conscience - to see how many male inhabitants of the right wing media machine would be prepared to swear under oath that neither they nor any of their sexual partners have ever used any form of contraception.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 06:42:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Robinson is only echoing what women here (17+ / 0-)

    have been saying for years. I've been arguing that contraception is their real target--because I did google search and looked at 200+ "pro-life" sites and only found ONE that wasn't also against contraception  too (though a few would allow condoms and other barrier methods--which, conveniently are the least effective form of birth control-- but all were against the Pill and IUD which are 99+% effective). They frame it as being  anti-abortion (and conflate  the Pill and hormonal IUDs with abortion even though no reputable scientist agrees with them ) but the real goal is keeping women pregnant frequently.

    Women who get pregnant young are tied to the home. They can't pursue an education., They can only get low-paying jobs they likely lose when they get pregnant again. They end up tied to a man they may not love or even like because they can't support themselves--even if that man is physically abusive to them and the kids. Theya re second class citizens with few choices available to them: abstinence or  frequent pregnancy.

    And men get back the world  pre-1955. There's no competition for jobs against women better qualified and better educated than them. They have a captive wife at home who has to do what they say because she has nowhere else to turn but them. They get view themselves as superior to women and view themselves as Masters of Creation, ordained by God Himself to rule over all Creation, including women (afte all, in the second account of creation in Genesis, Eve is crated from Adam's rib to be his helpmeet--and he names her just like all the other creatures  God gave him dominion over).

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:07:41 PM PST

    •  Something I heard the other day (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, martini

      A caller to Hannity's radio program from Florida identified herself as a "Catholic doctor", ranted about birth control pills causing breast cancer, and that they'd been classed as a carcinogen. She also rattled off something about her six children.....

      Part of the problem is that there are women just as there are men who are frightened by the 'brave new world' we seem to be stumbling into. Like many people, we grab at facts that support our beliefs rather than giving them all the scrutiny they deserve. The breast cancer link cited above is NOT simple, let alone the carcinogen label - but it gives that woman certainty in her life, as for so many, does accepting the traditional role of women as baby producers and nothing more.

      Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan family saga set in the future has some interesting story lines based on a very patriarchal society coping not entirely well with the advent of sex selection for children, and uterine replicators that allow women to have children without having to go through pregnancy. Add in a woman who goes off-planet for specialized medical treatment and returns as a fully functional male in order to qualify to inherit a countship, and you can see we're just getting started dealing with all the implications of technology here.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:29:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But she is in the tiny minority (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, DarkLadyNyara, Iron Spider

        since the vast majority of women, Catholic and otherwise, DO use birth control--and the Pill is perhaps the msot popular method. I can cite you data to prove that EVERY method has drawbacks. Latex condoms  and diaphragms can't be used by women who have allergies to latex  or spermacides . Diaphragms can't be used by women who have frequent UTIs. IUDs can cause heavy bleeding and breakthrough bleeding and worsen dysmenorrhea.

        And NIH has refuted the breast cancer claim many times, the last withint he last decade. A doctor would know that. This was just a broad making an erroneous claim. ANd yes, there are some women who side with patriarchy--the Phyllis Schlaffly of the world--but  even THEY use birth control at some point.  The evidence of that is pretty clear. How many famileis have 8+ children?  Unless they use in vitro like Kate What's Her name,  most famileis have 2 or 3 kids. Yes, there are the exceptions liek the Quiverful types--but they are the exceptions, not the rule.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:22:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what I heard was CATHOLIC doctor (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DarkLadyNyara

          Maybe it was just the way the words came out, but it sounded as though she considered herself a Catholic first and a physician second. That's not the priority I would look for in a healthcare provider.

          "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

          by xaxnar on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 11:44:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I doubt she was actually a doctor. Really. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xaxnar, DarkLadyNyara

            If she is, she should have her license  to practice medicine yanked for spreading lies that have been thoroughly debunked by NIH. I am betting she's more likely someone claiming to be a doctor--the sort who runs crisis pregnancy centers. "Pro-life" nuts will lie through their teeth.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 11:49:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Asdf (0+ / 0-)

    Then my current hatred of penis sperm and parasites is well founded. Men have screwed up massively that is why we have to control our fertility. They aint providing 4 their offspring. They just like penis in vagina, mostly.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:30:58 PM PST

    •  Well, sure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon

      Men (at least ones that like sex with women) like penis in vagina like women (at least ones that like sex with men) like it. And not all men are irresponsible. Some are.

      But tots with you on women need to control are own fertility. No doubt about it. As should men. And both need to worry about other consequences of sexuality like STDs.

      Of course, father time has largely taken care of my fertility, but I'm in the fight for the next gen and the one after that and the one...

  •  I appreciate Robinson's POV (10+ / 0-)

    Many, including myself, are frustrated with the ongoing battle for equal rights and the right to have control of our body. I'm 50 and seen several cycles of the backlash already. Maybe, taking a longer view will help lower the frustration with the realization that women should never get complacent after making progress.

    I think that there is at least 2 more issues at play with in regards to U. S. politics. 1. Racism - white population growth is declining. 2. Jobs - remember what happened to Rosie the Riveter when the war was over.

    Thanks for alerting me to Robinson's article.

    •  My mother is 91; she can't believe it either. (4+ / 0-)

      It's not just the people who refuse to learn, it's the ones actively embracing ignorance and unlearning what cost so much blood to gain.

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Thu Feb 16, 2012 at 07:37:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Its like what Robinson pointed out (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, OldDragon, bigrivergal

        We are living in the shadow of long standing traditions. I'm still haunted by the Doris Day image. She was smart and independent until the last 5 minutes of the movie. To be an independent woman is rough without equal pay, respect and opportunities. I can understand why some women would rather be taken care of by a man instead. Of course the price of that decision may require them to betray their sisters and daughters. Religious beliefs help justify the betrayal. Shame.

  •  I've always thought of it simply as (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, AZ Sphinx Moth, martini

    the wingnuts not wanting anyone getting laid outside of marriage. Not only outside of marriage, but only on Fri. nights with the lights off, missionary style, and clothes on. And, it better not last more than 3, 4 minutes.
    More than that suggests fun is involved, and that's a sin.
    But, Mrs. Robinson makes some great points!

  •  Shorter Robinson = Shorter (John) Lennon: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, OldDragon

    "Woman is the world's word-I-can't-say-cuz-I'm-white."

    And the social conservatives want to make sure she stays that way.

  •  I think Robinson makes some sound points. (6+ / 0-)

    I'd argue -- based on things I've read -- that globalized culture has a hand in this insecurity, too:

    Modern industrial economies have undermined the authority of men both in the public sphere and in the private realms; and since they're limited in how far they can challenge it in the external world, they've turned women's bodies into the symbolic battlefield on which their anxieties over this play out.
    In some patriarchal societies, men embrace modern business and science, but demand women be kept in a time warp to preserve their countries' culture.

    I've also seen it argued that things like divisive identity politics are on the rise around the world partly because, thanks to the IMF and World Bank, politicians don't actually have any control over their countries' economic policies.  So what can politicians run on?  Returns to rigid social or religious codes, when things were "better."

    Hey, it explains a lot here in the U.S., too.

  •  problems for millennia (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, martini

    wrote a diary a little while ago on Greek mythology and men having babies

    www.tapestryofbronze.com

    by chloris creator on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 12:33:49 AM PST

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