Saturday, July 09, 2022

Freedom to Control One's Own Destiny

Here is an old-fashioned desccription of American freedom:
This is probably the most basic of all the American values. Scholars and outside observers often call this value individualism, but many Americans use the word freedom. It is one of the most respected and popular words in the United States today.

By freedom, Americans mean the desire and the right of all individuals to control their own destiny without outside interference from the government, a ruling noble class, the church, or any other organized authority. The desire to be free of controls was a basic value of the new nation in 1776, and it has continued to attract immigrants to this country.

There is, however, a cost for this benefit of individual freedom: self-reliance. Individuals must learn to rely on themselves or risk losing freedom. They must take responsibility for themselves. Traditionally, this has meant achieving both financial and emotional independence from their parents as early as possible, usually by age eighteen or twenty-one. Self-reliance means that Americans believe they should take care of themselves, solve their own problems, and “stand on their own two feet.” Tocqueville observed the Americans’ belief in self-reliance in the 1830s:

They owe nothing to any man, they expect nothing from any man; they acquire the habit of always considering themselves as standing alone, and they are apt to4 imagine that their whole destiny is in their own hands.
This strong belief in self-reliance continues today as a traditional American value. It is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the American character to understand, but it is profoundly important. Most Americans believe that they must be self-reliant in order to keep their freedom.

This new New Yorker magazine essay by a Black feminist professor uses similar language, but note the differences:
But the right to abortion is an affirmation that women and girls have the right to control their own destiny. Without the ability to control when, where, how, and if one chooses to become pregnant or give birth, no other freedom can be achieved.
Now pregnancy is all up to the women and girls. If they want to get pregnant, it is their choices. If they want to abort it, or give birth, it is their own choices. The father is not consulted, and has no say. Even a married man has no right to even be notified of his wife killing their unborn child.

Any talk of self-reliance is missing. If the woman decides to get pregnant and give birth, then she expects the man to support her in every way. Because it is her choice and her freedom. No other female freedom can be achieved, unless she has the freedom to control her pregnancy. And control the man that she holds responsible.

In case you think the New Yorker is being transphobic, it traces the threats on women to threats on trannies:

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has brought old feelings of astonishment and disgust back to the surface. The Court’s utter disregard for the rights of women and of trans and nonbinary people who have the capacity to become pregnant is shocking in the twenty-first century. ...

The Supreme Court’s reversal of the right to abortion has usurped the rights and freedom of people who have the capacity to become pregnant. But anyone — including lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people — whose freedoms are not directly enshrined in the Constitution could see their rights threatened. ...

The recent flurry of attacks on trans youths’ access to prescriptions and medical care has helped to legitimize the power of the state to control the bodies of women and girls when it comes to pregnancy. We are quickly being thrust into a nightmarish web of authoritarian, theocratic rule. The right wants to assert control over an array of non-normative sexualities, family units, and ways of being in the world. And in allowing for some discrimination, largely against trans youth and athletes, the door to rank bias has now been kicked in, legitimizing all of it. Today we reap the whirlwind.

If evil Republicans get away with blocking the chemical castration of children, then they will be emboldened to deny abortion to women, er I mean, to people who have the capability to become pregnant. Men too will suffer, if they get pregnant and want to kill the fetus.

Theocracy is not the word for it. The arguments against chemical castration are not primarily religious. Most of the arguments against Roe v Wade are not either. No, we live in a femocracy.

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