July 6, 2013

ANN ALTHOUSE RESPONDS LESS DISMISSIVELY. But kind of social-connishly:

That’s true, and that is something that makes the proposal in my post not neatly about equality.

But there really can never be equality about pregnancy and childbirth. It is the woman’s special burden, and the policies have to be arranged to make sense around that basic inequity. I’m not trying to punish men by imposing a corresponding inequity, I’m just not impressed by the whinings of males who were profligate with their sperm. They are not the backbone of society.

The backbone of society is the married, committed couple who channel their sexuality into making and growing the next generation. Those who do other things are free to make choices, but we as a society have no reason to facilitate their choices, especially their destructive choices.

I know people like their free sex, but the expectation that the rest of us will save them from consequences is pathetic. I heartlessly laugh in their face.

What I think about that advice is immaterial, though on a prudential level “don’t sleep with people you don’t trust” or even “don’t sleep with people you wouldn’t want to be the father/mother of your children” is probably pretty good advice.

It’s also, of course, advice one dare not give to women in today’s society without facing a huge backlash. When Rush Limbaugh suggested that Sandra Fluke should at least pay for her own birth control, he was savaged. But to suggest that a man should pay child support for 18 years because a woman lied about birth control is fine. You can’t say “she should keep her legs closed,” but you can say, “he should keep it in his pants.” That’s fine.

Over the past several decades, women have asserted a right to make all the judgments in matters of gender and sexuality. And, in fact, we do “facilitate” destructive choices, when they’re by women. We subsidize unwed mothers, we give women a pass on sexual behavior that would be considered predatory if it were done by males, we give them all sorts of “choice” that men don’t have and then absolve them, culturally and legally, from judgment over the way they exercise those choices. No similar dispensation is given to men.

A society that ran according to Ann Althouse’s views on marriage and commitment might, in fact, be a better one than the one we live in now, but it is most definitely not the one we live in now. Observing that, and noting the unfairnesses involved, is not “victimology” — though given how successful women have been in obtaining power via victimology, no one should be surprised if men start to give it a try.

But I do not believe that women deserve a monopoly in determining what views on gender and sexuality and parenting are acceptable. Why would they?

What’s funny is that so many women seem genuinely perplexed that men would even dispute that monopoly. Ann is a thoughtful and open-minded and smart woman, but at some level I feel like she doesn’t really get it. But then, that’s what women have been saying to men on gender issues for decades: “You just don’t get it!” Maybe the not-getting goes both ways. The problem is, if society is to accomplish the goals that Ann sets out above, it needs to be a reasonably attractive proposition for both men and women. How are we doing with that? At the risk of stepping on my wife’s turf, I’d say not so well.

Meanwhile, before dismissing the fatherhood-by-fraud stories as urban legends, I do recommend my colleague Michael Higdon’s Fatherhood by Conscription: Nonconsensual Insemination and the Duty of Child Support. How often do they happen? I’d say they’re probably at least as common as abortions that are needed to save the life of the mother. So if you don’t want rare cases to drive the law . . . .

FINALLY: If things have gotten so bad that you have to shut down comments, I think I’ll end the volley.