“We won’t go back”—it’s an inadequate rallying cry, prompted only by events that belie its message. But it is true in at least one sense. The future that we now inhabit will not resemble the past before Roe, when women sought out illegal abortions and not infrequently found death. The principal danger now lies elsewhere, and arguably reaches further. We have entered an era not of unsafe abortion but of widespread state surveillance and criminalization—of pregnant women, certainly, but also of doctors and pharmacists and clinic staffers and volunteers and friends and family members, of anyone who comes into meaningful contact with a pregnancy that does not end in a healthy birth. Those who argue that this decision won’t actually change things much—an instinct you’ll find on both sides of the political divide—are blind to the ways in which state-level anti-abortion crusades have already turned pregnancy into punishment, and the ways in which the situation is poised to become much worse.

On the post-Roe world.

2022-09-26T21:45:06+10:0026th September, 2022|Tags: , |

The new rifle association.

There was a rising movement for gun owners who wanted to have guns for personal protection in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was, like our own era, a time of social disruption and the feeling that maybe people were insecure. And there were very high crime rates at the time as well.

The leadership of the NRA [National Rifle Association] at the time was pretty moderate. They were opposed to a lot of gun control laws, but the leadership hatched a plan to move to Colorado Springs to refocus the organization away from political activity and toward recreational sports, hunting, and conservation.

This really angered a group of hardliners in the membership. And at the annual membership meeting in 1977 in Cincinnati, these hardliners staged a coup of the NRA, where they used the rules of order to elect a whole new board of directors.

Literally when the sun rose the next day, the NRA had been transformed. And the new directors were all committed to political advocacy, fighting gun control, and being much more politically assertive. And that group became an active part of the coalition that led to Ronald Reagan being elected president in 1980, and has since become an even stronger part of the Republican conservative coalition.

On gun history.

2022-09-26T03:45:04+10:0026th September, 2022|Tags: |

Recruiting hate.

The rhetoric that the Nazis used to denounce gay men in the 1930s and 1940s mirrors that coming from the right in the United States today. The words have changed: where the Nazis spoke of seduction, Republicans talk of grooming. But both interpret homosexuality and other forms of queerness as a social contagion. And the history of this animus suggests we must take Republicans’ rhetoric seriously. Theirs is the language of persecution. Make no mistake: the legislators passing laws to ban LGBTQ speech in the classroom and gender-affirming care will not hesitate to criminalize homosexuality or gender nonconformity. [. . .]

Now animus against queer people—especially trans people—is back with a vengeance. From the conspiracy-addled world of QAnon, in which a shadowy cabal of pedophiles, juiced on the blood of children, runs the world, to the mendacity of trans-exclusionary radical feminists (or TERFs), a growing segment of the population seems willing to entertain the notion that lesbians, gay men, and trans people are “recruiting” children. The bestseller Irreversible Damage, published in 2020 and reaching audiences well beyond the fringe right, insisted that girls were being seduced by a “transgender craze” that it termed a “contagion.” Just before Pride month, U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has embraced the rhetoric of “grooming,” predicted that in “four or five generations, no one will be straight anymore.”

On queer persecution.

Looking at you and all your nonsense, fandom puriteens . . .

2022-09-25T09:44:27+10:0025th September, 2022|Tags: |

The New Carthage.

Literary sources confirm the Carthaginian belief in child sacrifice. The Roman historian Diodorus wrote, “There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus, extending its hands, palms up and sloping towards the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.” Diodorus also alleged that some elite members of society actually purchased children from poor people and then reared them specifically for sacrifice. The burned remains of the children, often intermingled with those of animals who were also sacrificed with them, were then buried beneath tombstones expressing gratitude and thanks to the gods whose favor was now assured.

Americans have this in common with the Carthaginians. Year after year, the United States sacrifices children at the altar of gun rights. Since the Columbine shootings in 1999, at least 185 people have been killed in school violence, according to the Washington Post—the great majority of them children and teenagers. The Post’s database shows that more than three hundred eleven thousand children have now witnessed gun violence in schools. And school shootings are just a fraction of the death toll: already this year, 142 children (eleven and younger) and 515 teens have been killed by gunshots, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Tallying GVA reports from these last four years, more than four thousand children and teens have been shot and killed.

The Carthaginians believed that the good fortunes of their society or of wealthy individuals could only be maintained if these babies were sacrificed, pure and whole to their exacting gods. The good of many was thus assured by the annihilation of the weakest, the most vulnerable, the most worthy of protection. The same calculation is at play in post-millennial America. The unfettered freedom to carry assault weapons, American society has deemed, is so necessary and so important that sacrificing ten, twenty, or thirty children a year is a good bargain. The Carthaginian children that were rolled into a burning pit of fire were chosen and marked for sacrifice. In the United States, the killings are random—no one knows which children in which unassuming school will confront a killer. No one knows how many children exactly will die. The only certainty is that they will die and that no one will do anything about it.

On American blood sacrifice.

2022-08-11T01:29:51+10:0011th August, 2022|Tags: , |

Crypto (fascists).

So if you’ve ever looked at those ugly ape NFTs and thought, “ . . . man. These seem kinda . . . racist?” Then, lo! You’re not nearly the only one.

This, incidentally, also sent me down a rabbit hole of reading about the links between neo-Nazis (and also regular old fashioned Nazis) and fringe Hindu nationalism.1 I used to work with an Indian Brahmin guy — whose family had supported the Raj and thus exiled themselves to Australia after independence — who was a self-described libertarian involved with things like CPAC. He was very well aware of the Nazi fascination with Hinduism2 and used to “jokingly” buddy up to actual avowed neo-Nazis because of it. In retrospect, I bet he owns BAYC NFTs. He seems the type.

  1. Short version: Hinduism believes we’re in the “Kali Yuga“, which is basically the “bad age” in the cycle of ages. There are aspects of this belief that fit very nicely in far-right eschatology Christian views so it’s a nice way for white nationalists to try and dress up said beliefs without seeming overtly Christian. For the record, mainstream Hinduism believes we still have about 426 thousand years of Kali Yuga to go, so don’t expect Kalki riding in to smite the evildoers any time soon.
  2. Short version: the “Aryan” “race” supposed originally came from India according to dubious 18th century Western race “science”.
2022-08-10T07:29:42+10:0010th August, 2022|Tags: , |

The risk-takers.

Tl;dr, the convention wisdom of women being “risk averse” is based on badly designed studies that measured risk in the context of stereotypically “masculine” risky activities, such as skydiving or motorcycle riding, as opposed to stereotypically “feminine” risky activities, such as cheerleading or, yanno. Being pregnant. When those differences are accounted for, women actually aren’t substantially more risk averse than men, but they do face worse social outcomes for engaging in “masculine” risk-taking, particularly in the workplace.

2022-08-07T01:29:53+10:007th August, 2022|Tags: |

Unsafe haven.

Safe haven laws may actually increase the number of dumpster babies through a feedback loop of shame. By associating unwed birth with shame, safe haven laws suggest that unwed sex is shameful, and if unwed sex is shameful, then one certainly can’t plan for it by using birth control. And for that matter, if one cannot openly say yes to the sex one does want, it is more difficult to say no to the sex one doesn’t want, all of which may lead to unwanted — and unspeakable — pregnancies. Perhaps this is why Texas, first in the nation to pass a safe haven law, has high numbers of both legal and illegal infant abandonments.

The “culture of life” teaches that premarital sex and unwed pregnancy are wrong, yet they still occur, even among those who have absorbed these teachings. Indeed, unwed pregnancy is more common among those who are taught that premarital sex is wrong.

On terminated rights.

From a broader look at US “safe haven” laws — basically the on-the-surface-unobjectionable process by which the birth parent may legally surrender an unwanted baby — which are actually kinda fucking fucked up, hey.

2022-08-05T10:34:14+10:005th August, 2022|Tags: , |

The “or”.

People are furious right now. They have been furious before. They will be furious again. The direction they are given for that fury is sometimes useful. Donating to abortion funds that will help people get the care they need is a productive way to channel that rage. But more often, the people elected to protect our rights see our rage as an obstacle, something to be blunted and pacified. They tell us to vote, to donate to campaigns, to mostly wait. They tell us to be strategic, not cathartic.

What happens when the strategy fails? What is the reason exactly to have waited this long? What happens when we are faced with a complete erosion of our right to be whole in the eyes of the law, and the same politicians who have failed us again and again ask for our votes? When do we stop begging the people in power to listen to us, and force them to?

When resistance is not enough.

2022-08-03T13:13:10+10:003rd August, 2022|Tags: , |

In company.

From there, if this doctrine—of no right being a right but for those explicitly defined in the Constitution—is upheld, one need only look to the Christian dominionist agenda of the groups that put these justices on the bench to see where it would lead. As true as it might be to say, “If they come for Roe tonight, they’re coming for marriage equality tomorrow,” there are plenty of people they have come for already, from trans kids seeking health care to people giving birth in jails to sex workers sharing harm-reduction information to criminalized survivors of intimate partner violence. If you are today feeling for this first time like the government is demanding control over your gender and sexuality and bodily autonomy, you are, sadly, in numerous company. But that also means that there are countless people around you who already know that freedom, certainly now and maybe always, will not come solely from what the law can recognize. Either the law must be pushed to recognize those rights, or those rights must be won despite the law.

On the real fight.

2022-08-02T01:12:32+10:002nd August, 2022|Tags: , |
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