Friday, April 27, 2018

Friday Thoughts, 4/27/2018: Kevin Williamson's Pregnancy, Trump's Latest Rant and Obligatory Veiling in Iran

1.  Kevin Williamson, the conservative writer who believes that abortion is first degree murder and deserves to be punished as such, is a gift that keeps on giving.

Kevin believes that a fertilized egg is a human being.  Suppose, just as a thought experiment, that someone violently attacks him and inserts a fertilized egg in his abdomen.  Suppose, also, that the necessary changes are made so that the fertilized egg can now use Kevin as its nutrition and as the place where it will grow to a much larger size, finally pushing its way out with considerable pain, discomfort and even the risk of death for Kevin.

Never mind that the whole process is traumatizing, never mind that the raped Kevin would be in pain and shock, never mind that others would be deciding about his life, his health and even about his possible death.   Kevin would not want an abortion, because it is murder.

Or might he change his mind?

I have no idea if Kevin has made such a thought experiment.  But even if he has done so, a thought experiment it would remain.  The questions he pontificates about will never touch his right of self-determination, because nobody can forcefully grow human beings inside him.  Yet I don't see the necessary humility in Kevin's writings, the kind which should be obvious to anyone who actually doesn't have skin in the game in that awful sense.

Perhaps our Kevin makes an exception to his abortion-is-murder rule for rape victims?  But that would be illogical.

2.  This video (about Trump phoning in to the conservative Fox and Friends show) must be great fun to watch from some other planet.  It's a snapshot of the mental state and emotional concerns of the most powerful man on earth:

3.  Many Iranian women have protested the obligatory veiling laws of the Iranian theocracy in the early months of 2018.  This opinion piece, published more than a month ago, clarifies some of the issues which are poorly covered in Western feminist writings.*


* The reasons for that poor coverage are very complicated, but include the argument that those who share the genetic background of the colonizers of Middle Eastern countries shouldn't center their own views about gender equality, acting, perhaps, like ideological colonizers, but should give center stage to women who live in the colonized countries in defining what feminism means for them.  Given the colonizing and racist history, the advice is theoretically excellent. 

But in practice trying to follow it has serious negative side-effects: Women in very patriarchal cultures are not likely to get their voices heard, unless those voices agree with the patriarchal values.  So sometimes the overall effect is a certain type of selective silence among Western feminists.  The scant coverage of ISIS and its treatment of women (which is horrendous by any yardstick) is one example of that silence.