Home > Politics, Things to be Outraged by > Everything that Someone Should Be Saying About Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, and Contraception

Everything that Someone Should Be Saying About Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, and Contraception

When the Obama administration first announced its policy that all employers, including religiously affiliated employers, would be forced to provide health “insurance” to their employees which includes birth control coverage, most commentators seemed baffled by the move.  After all, it seems to make no sense to alienate Catholics, who are a very large bloc of swing voters that broke for Obama in 2008, during an election year.  But now I think we can see the logic behind this move.  As usual, there are several issues converging here, so this will be kind of a long one.  I will break it down into its key components.

The left’s war on reality

As you probably know, last week Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University, testified in front of congress on behalf of the President’s policy of forcing universities and employers to cover contraception.  It is commonly said that you can boil a frog alive, you just have to do it slowly.  If you turn up the heat to fast, the frog will jump out of the pot, but if you do it slowly enough, he won’t notice he is being cooked.  America, we are being boiled!  We don’t notice it because it’s been going on for a hundred years.  But there are certain moments when we have the opportunity to look around us and realize that it’s getting hot in here.  When I first saw this testimony, I thought this would be one of those moments.

This woman thinks it is an outrage that she doesn’t get free birth control.  She is 31 and attending a prestigious law school.  She lays out a number of horrifying scenarios that her friends have or could have experienced.  For instance, her friend didn’t go to the doctor after being raped because she assumed that her insurance wouldn’t cover it even though it does.  Another friend was humiliated when she didn’t check what was covered by her insurance before going to the store to buy her birth control.  Also, some hypothetical students at other unnamed universities might not get birth control that they need for reasons other than birth control, even though they do at Georgetown.

America, meet my generation.  We make decisions without thinking about the consequences.  Then if there are consequences we didn’t foresee because we didn’t really think about them, we become outraged and expect someone else to fix them for us.  In short: we don’t think it is fair to expect us to take care of ourselves.

If Sandra Fluke “needs” birth control there are any number of things she could do (or could have done) to solve this problem herself.  The most obvious one is that she could have paid for it herself.  Of course, she would say that she can’t afford it.  But do you really believe there isn’t anything possible she could do that would allow her to afford it.  She claims it costs $1000/year.  On several shows on Fox News, they have been saying that you can get birth control for $9/month at Wal Mart and target.  I don’t know anything about birth control.  I assume there are different kinds and they cost different amounts of money but let’s split the difference and say that a typical woman can get what she “needs” for around $600/year, or $50/month (I expect that is on the generous side).  If you worked for $10/hour, that’s 5 hours of work per month.  She can probably save that much time by quitting Georgetown Law Students For Reproductive Justice.  But let’s say she can’t get a job.  In that case she could live somewhere where rent is $50 cheaper per month.  But maybe she already lives in the cheapest possible place.  She could cancel her cable TV but I assume she doesn’t have that since she is in such a miserable state of existence.  And obviously she must be wearing clothes from Goodwill or handed down from her older sisters when she was in highschool.  She could probably save some money on food, but we may as well assume that she already cooks all her own meals and eats nothing but rice and chicken and a few vegetables–dark meat chicken of course, and with bones (how horrifying)–so she will need to think of something else.

Well she could ask her parents for money.  Considering the “financial, emotional and medical burden” she is under, her parents who probably love her and want the best for her should be more than willing to voluntarily finance her birth control.  But maybe her parents are dead or don’t like her or something.  In that case, she could get a loan.  Surely, someone would be willing to voluntarily finance her birth control on the expectation of being paid back in the future, like after she graduates from one of the top law schools in the country and doesn’t have to live in the cheapest apartment in town and eat only chicken and rice and wear hand-me-down clothes any more.  By the way, the average Georgetown Law student makes $160,000/year right out of school.  That would be next year for Miss Fluke.

Finally, if it was so important to her to have a school that paid this $50/month, she could have looked into it and chosen a school that did.  Oh and I almost forgot, she could not have sex–or for that matter, make the guy buy a condom, trust me he probably won’t complain about the expense.

But you know what would be easier than any of these things?  Having the government force someone else to pay for it.  This is a portrait of a person who has no concept of responsibility for her own life.  The only way she knows to take care of her “needs” is to demand them from someone else.  She blames every gripe she has about her life, her situation, and the laws of nature in general on whatever powers she sees as directly above her (her university or her government) and believes she can petition them with prayer until they remove these “burdens” from her shoulders.  Listen to what she says.  I will translate in brackets.  Keep in mind that this all seems perfectly reasonable to her.

We expected women to be treated equally. [We expected women to get something men don’t get.]  To not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success [To have our school remove any burdens, however minor and manageable by us individually, which nature may place upon us.]  We expected that our schools would live up to the Jesuit creed cura personalis, to care for the whole person by meeting all of our medical needs. [We expected the school to meet all of our material desires.]  We expected that when we told the university of the problems this policy created for us as students, they would help us. [We expected that if anything came up that we didn’t like we could complain until someone took care of it.]  We expected that when 94% of students opposed the policy, the university would respect our choices for insurance students pay for completely unsubsidized by the university. [This is what democracy looks like….Oh and by the way, it’s nonsense to claim that it’s completely unsubsidized, if this were the case she could just not get that insurance and go get whatever insurance she wants which would be equally unsubsidized.  Would she be happy if they covered her $83/month birth control and raised her premium by $83?].  We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that we should have gone to school elsewhere, even if that meant going to a less prestigious university. [We were shocked when people suggested that we should have to face tradeoffs in our lives and choose what is most important to us rather than simply demand everything we want.]  We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health. [We demand everything we want and refuse to face any tradeoffs.]  And we resent that in the 21st century, anyone expects us to make this choice simply because we are women.  [We resent God/Nature for making us face tradeoffs, especially tradeoffs that other people (men) don’t have to make and we can’t believe that modern technology hasn’t yet created a new utopian age where this is no longer the case.]

This woman has taken everything I have been trying to explain about progressives, put it into a single succinct paragraph and  stated it emphatically on national television.  This is the mindset of a spoiled child.  But this child is fully grown.  She is screaming for another candy bar from congress.  She is already on a “public interest scholarship.”  In other words, somebody else is paying for her law school.  But she is outraged because she doesn’t get another $50/month for birth control.  And the worst part of it all is that America is not standing up to her and saying “you only get one candy bar.  If you want another one get a job and you can buy all the candy bars you want.  Until then stop whining, you’re making a scene.”

On the contrary, this mindset already infects at least half of the government.  We create more of these people every day.  We are creating a new feudal system where you are not responsible for supporting your own wants and needs but rather it is the responsibility of your employer, or your school, or your labor union, or the government.  If you don’t have something, it’s because they aren’t taking good enough care of you.  And then we wonder why there “aren’t enough jobs.”  Again, listen to what she says.

This is the message that not requiring contraceptive coverage sends: A woman’s reproductive healthcare isn’t a necessity.  It isn’t a priority. . . This policy communicates to female students that our school doesn’t understand our needs.

Since when is it a school’s responsibility to decide what is a priority in your life, or to understand all of your needs?  What if a school just provided a service that people wanted and were willing to pay for, and let them decide on their own priorities and understand their own needs?  I guess that notion is just old-fashioned.  But the real tear-your-hair-out, shoot-blood-from-your-eyes,  tragedy is that she identifies exactly what the ultimate result of this mindset is but acts as though it is the solution and not the cause.

When you let university administrators or other employers, rather than women and their doctors, dictate whose medical needs are legitimate and whose are not,  a woman’s health takes a back seat to a bureaucracy focused on policing her body.

You see, she takes for granted that the university must provide healthcare and therefore the “bureaucracy policing her body” is the result of the fact that she can only get certain kind of healthcare.  If only she could get whatever she wants, there would be no need for it.  This is the lie underlying every progressive deception, that scarcity is not inherent in nature but only a construct produced by some power structure that you don’t like.  If you just overturn the power structure, you can have whatever you want.  But this is a dead-end.  And it’s obvious if you think it through carefully.  People just can’t have whatever they want, this is a law of nature.  Considering we can’t have whatever we want, there is only one way to avoid bureaucracies policing everything we do and that is to take responsibility for providing for ourselves.

II. Boiling the frog

Last month the Obama administration proclaimed that all employers must provide health insurance that covers contraception.  When Catholics pushed back against this policy, the administration “compromised declaring that instead, they would make insurance companies pay for it!  This is outrageous on so many levels that nobody seems to have even gotten to the most outrageous one yet.

First of all, it is completely ridiculous to act like this is some kind of “war on women” prosecuted by right-wing religious extremists who want to prevent women from having “access” to birth control.  Nobody serious is trying to outlaw birth control.  Second, you don’t have to know much about economics to realize that just saying insurance companies will pay for it doesn’t change anything, it will still make it more costly to insure these people and that will make premiums go up which the employers and educators will have to pay.  This is so obvious I don’t feel any obligation to explain it further.  This rhetorical misdirection seems to serve no purpose other than to give committed leftists who already support the policy some kind of cover from which to shout down those of us who are opposed to it (to see what I mean check out the comments on the video).

But the people who are opposed to the policy only get one step farther.  They see this as a question of freedom of religion.  Their argument is that religious institutions shouldn’t have to cover birth control because it is opposed to their values.

“This is an issue that’s greater than any short-term political gain. It gets right at the heart at who we are as a people,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said from the floor just before the vote Thursday. “This isn’t about one particular religion, it’s about the rights of Americans of any religion.”

In doing this, consider what intellectual territory they abandon to the enemy.  This argument implicitly accepts the notion that it is alright for the government to force one citizen to buy something for another as long as they are not affiliated with a recognized religion or it is not opposed to the recognized tenets of that religion.  When did that happen? Doesn’t every American of any religion or no religion have the right to not give things to someone else that they don’t want to just because the government says they must?  Of course not, don’t be silly, we haven’t had that right for generations.  But did you ever notice that?

Did you ever notice that when the government takes taxes from someone and uses it to give food stamps to someone else, that it is forcing the first person to pay for the second person’s food?  Or that when it takes Social Security payments from one worker and pays benefits to another, that it is forcing the first worker to pay for the other person’s retirement?  Did you notice that when the government says insurers can’t discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, it is forcing healthy people to pay for unhealthy people’s healthcare?  Did you not notice or did you say “well it’s fine, I want those people to be taken care of and it’s not that much of a burden on the rest of us, we can afford it?”

Well now we have completely cut out the middle man.  The government is literally telling some members of society that they are legally responsible for the medical care of other members directly.  And we are arguing about Catholics and contraception!  Wake up America, you’re being cooked!  If during the 90s when the government was going through the last round of healthcare nonsense, someone had gone on TV and said “the next thing you know the president will just be proclaiming who’s healthcare you have to pay for and what you have to buy for them” what would we have said?  That that was ridiculous?  That isn’t in the bill under consideration?  He’s just exaggerating, or he’s a hate monger?  Surely, that could never happen, not in America.

Every time someone makes a “slippery slope” argument with regard to our liberties, they are met with rolled eyes and a reply like “really you’re gonna bring out the slippery slope argument?”  They never answer the argument, they just dismiss it as though it’s inherently irrational to believe in a slippery slope.  But look around.  We’re sliding baby!

This is not about women’s health and it is not about religious freedom.  It’s just about plain old regular freedom–the freedom to not have to pay for things for other people that you don’t want to.  It shouldn’t make any difference why you don’t want to, their life should not be your legal responsibility.  Are we now going to create a bureaucracy for the purpose of determining what is a valid religious belief and what is not for purposes of deciding what the government can force you to buy for someone else?  If we really fancy ourselves a free people, we should find this outrageous.

At this point Miss Fluke comes on the scene and poignantly displays the disgusting culture that we have created and for two days I though the left had finally overplayed their hand and once people saw how deluded she was and realized that this spectacle was going on in our houses of government and being taken seriously by our elected officials, that people would be shaken from their trance and start thinking to themselves “what are we doing here, we need to jump out of this pot before it’s too late!”

Then this happened.

Shooting yourself in the mouth

The political discourse was already operating on numerous levels, all of which were far more superficial than the obvious reality of what is going on here.  Now it has descended into reality TV territory.  For the record, what I have heard of what Limbaugh said is completely ridiculous and offensive.  I have no intention of defending it.  But it has obliterated any chance of a meaningful discussion on the real issue of individual liberty and responsibility.  And now the whole strategy makes perfect sense to me.

The left seems to have figured out the right’s weakness.  The right has central icons that make their living by spending all day on the radio, TV, and/or internet talking about politics and saying edgy and outrageous things.  So when they want to move the ball forward on real issues of liberty, they don’t attack those issues head on, they tie them together with other issues that are particularly divisive, and preferably on which they think a majority of Americans will side with them.  (This used to be abortion, but the tide turned against them so now it is contraception.) Then they use their connections in the media to frame the issue as a matter of the other thing and not essential liberties.  The policy is rightly found to be outrageous by those on the right who foam at the mouth to tear into it and anyone associated with it.  Eventually, someone says something over-the-top about a member of a protected class and then–boom–the story becomes about the right being racist/sexist/homophobic/whatever.  Since most people only see what is in the news, they see a rich loudmouth on the right saying mean things about a poor girl who is fighting for “women’s rights” and they think “I don’t want to associate with people like that.”  And that’s it, liberty loses another round.

If you think I’m exaggerating the ability of the left to frame the issues through the media, read this article by Kirsten Powers, a noted liberal, documenting the different treatment liberals receive in the media when they make misogynist comments.  Why do they get a pass when Limbaugh gets raked over the coals?  Because the narrative is that the left is for “women’s rights” and the right is for some form of stone-age religious puritanism that seeks to repress women, gays and minorities.  For the left to win, every issue must eventually circle back around to this narrative.  If a woman is a conservative, she is a traitor to women.  Therefore, it is okay to drag her through the muck, she deserves it.

So the moral of the story is this: Conservatives, don’t act like assholes!  Yes, I know the left does it too but this is asymmetric warfare.  They have different weapons than we do.  They are experts at framing the issues and manipulating the media.  They are going to get away with it and you are not.  This is largely because their whole strategy is centered around making us look like assholes.  It’s a trap.  Meanwhile conservatives get caught up in all kinds of complicated philosophical arguments.  Then when a conservative stumbles into the carefully laid trap, he acts shocked that the media is jumping all over him because they never do it to liberals.  But liberals aren’t their natural prey.  They were waiting for you, sitting patiently, salivating over their catch.

Our weapon (I’m throwing myself in with conservatives in this case) is the truth.  This is why we turn to complicated philosophical arguments because we know that if people have enough information and think about things enough, they will probably come down on our side.  But the problem is that, if they get distracted by the food-fight, or turned off to us because we’re acting like assholes, then they can’t follow our complex philosophical arguments.  In other words, our weapon only works when we can avoid falling into their trap.  If you could just do that Rush Limbaugh, we would be winning this debate.  There’s another old animal saying: “if you wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty but the pig likes it.”  We have to be better than them or they win.  It’s that simple. (For the record Rush has said as much during his apology.)

Sandra Fluke is a foolish whiney baby and she’s a tool of the left.  When you call her that you are telling the truth.  This is our weapon and we have to use it.  When you call her a slut or a prostitute, you’re just being an asshole.  Don’t be an asshole.

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  1. March 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    This is an amazing article! I’m definitely going to have to post something about this today after I get off work.

  2. Free Radical
    March 6, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Cool, thanks man!

  3. littlefish
    March 11, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Yes, an amazing article, and it is getting hot in here.

  4. March 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Well said. This article lays out how the left works their way into the mainstream- by making conservatives look reactionary and bigoted and trying to frame themselves as a sensible, modern alternative. The key is though, that we are trying to defend the truth and the left cares little about reality, truth, or logic- so conservatives are on the upper hand (generally). The problem is, so many conservatives like Rush Limbaugh say stupid things that the media can twist into making all people on the Right sound intolerant. That is why moderates are scared away from the conservatives and over to the liberals even though they would agree more with the general worldview of conservatives if they new the truth about the Left. Great Article.

  5. Free Radical
    March 18, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Thank you (=

  6. Anonymous
    April 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Solid assessment!

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