Monday, March 23, 2009

How not to stop other people having sex

There are some bloggy conversations being had at the moment containing jaw-droppingly stupid arguments in defence of the Pope and his transparently dishonest 'Condoms don't work' argument re the spread of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, obviously a rationalisation of the Vatican's true line that every sperm is sacred, all contraception is bad, and a woman's place is in the labour ward.

These people are arguing, also with transparent dishonesty (or jaw-dropping stupidity, take your pick) that 'abstinence' works better than condoms (well, der; who'd have thought?), and 'therefore' condom distribution ought to stop. On the subject of how such abstinence is to be enforced and by whom, they appear to have no views. On the question of whether (as they imply but do not openly state) condoms and abstinence are mutually exclusive, they are also strangely silent.

Now I am not anti-religious, not anti-Christian and not anti-Catholic -- three discrete and quite different things -- but I really, really hate wilful dishonesty and disingenuousness, especially when knowingly intended to deceive people over whom you already have power. It's bad enough when the Labor Party does it (*sob*), but this practice of it in the name of God is terrifying. These people vote. Presumably they are the same people whose incapacity to reason through even the simplest syllogism makes them think (or claim to think) that people who are pro-choice actually want to have abortions. They also think that arguing for liberal and pragmatic solutions must mean one is living an undisciplined sex life oneself and is 'therefore' fair game for personal insult and abuse, usually of the most egregiously sexist and misogynist kind.

Which part of 'Other people are going to have sex whether you like it or not, so as a society we need to find ways of at least mitigating at least some of the consequences' don't these people understand? Yes, of course abstinence works. It's preaching abstinence that doesn't work.

Anyone with any kind of classical liberal education knows that the connection between religious nutcasery and sexual repression, leading to truly terrifying beliefs and behaviours of the evangelical or crusading kind, is very close and very old. Abstinence has its own dangers. But every time I see someone speaking or acting out of that nexus I get kind of terrified about the amount power and influence they still have over the way the world is governed.


Ann oDyne said...

That post should be on front pages everywhere. bravo.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Why thank you, Ms O'Dyne. I wasn't going to get into it any futher, but then I read one wilfully illogical comment too many, which I would have minded less if it hadn't been hateful as well.

Fine said...

I very much liked Casey's reference to St. John Rivers, one of the scariest men to appear in a novel.

skepticlawyer said...

Re your second last par: never a truer word spoken.

Ann oDyne said...

Sexual Reproduction is a primeval urge.

If every moronic irresponsible bogan who knocked-up a teenage girl, instead had a hot choirboy of his own as all the Father oBuggerys seem to have, then I would not have to scream out
Hypocrisus Vaticanus, and be thinking of the short brutal filthy unloved lives of Daniel Valerio or Baby P.

Dr S said...

I decided to post here as I have no wish to engage with the oddly obsessive rage of the defenders of the faith at both LP and SL. My apologies if that is a misuse of your comments thread.

Firstly, I wanted to comment on the grotesque excess of personal criticism leveled at you specifically, PC, in a number of venues. I find the imbalance between your invariably measured tone and the personal and professional vituperation directed against you rather disgusting. Exactly why you inspire such fury I find difficult to understand.

Secondly, isn’t there at least an element of what American blogs tend to refer to as “slut-punishing”, although with less gender specificity in this case? That worldly injury is the just outcome to commission of sin. This position is, however, so utterly vile that it must then be dissembled under sophistry and misdirection. said...

I find the imbalance between your invariably measured tone and the personal and professional vituperation directed against you rather disgusting. Exactly why you inspire such fury I find difficult to understand.

Perhaps it's because they consider Pav a genuine threat. I certainly hope so.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Thank you, Helen.

Dr S, you are very welcome here, but you have me worried. Either you know something I don't, or I have become more battle-hardened than one would wish to be. Most of the abuse that I've seen has come from a relatively small number of well-known nutcases, one in particular, who post at several blogs. To me the only real surprise is that it isn't worse.

But you may not know that there used to be a lot more women both posting and commenting frequently at LP than there are now. Cristy Clark and Katherine Wilson aka Weathergirl in the past, and Tigtog still, endure(d) far more grotesque abuse and insults from various nutcases there and elsewhere than anything I've ever seen said about me. There are some people who regard any woman saying anything about anything as a personal affront to them.

I don't take it all as personally as I am clearly intended to, and I've got a pretty fair idea why they do it -- not just one reason, more an assortment of things. A handful of boys (the same kinds of boys) at primary school used to corner me in the yard and punch me, or try to run over me on their bikes, so there's obviously some inherent bloke-infuriating quality there from birth, like the opposite of pheromones. Sad.

I agree absolutely about 'slut-punishing', by the way. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and all that. What a sweetheart He must be.