Friday, April 16, 2010

Remedial Re-Education Camp Is Filling Up Quick

And I can never remember whether the icepick goes on the left side of the plate or the right.
It truly saddens our new socialist overlords when the citizenry doesn't even seem to be trying. Come on, people -- how hard can it be to copy a picture? Then again, it probably occurs to our overlords that half of freakin' Texas flies its flag upside-down. And as they silently calculate how many times a day they might have to differentiate sarcasm from ignorance, they also realize that some sort of aspirin subsidy might be in order.

We Hold These Untruths To Be Self-Evident

One of the interesting attributes of the Tea Party crowd in Richmond yesterday was the Founding Father worship, possibly an offshoot of Confucianism based on the premise that the framers of the Constitution spoke to us directly in aphorisms suitable for printing on t-shirts and scrawling on patriotically-themed hand signs. Ultimately the Tea Partiers hope to collect a sufficient number of aphorisms so that every situation, from the humdrum to the critical, from the personal to the national, can be governed by reference to the most appropriate Founding Witticism.

Of course in building any collection, it’s essential to discard the inauthentic. Take the one in the picture above: “The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” And while it seems practically made for our very time and situation, maybe that’s because its first appearance in print was in 1986 and it has never shown up in any of Jefferson’s known writing.

It’s rather fortunate that Jefferson didn’t say it, really, as talk of earning one’s living through the sweat of one’s brow falls a little flat when the speaker owns hundreds of human beings who cook his food, make his bed, tend his crops, keep his stables and – almost certainly – sleep with him and bear his children.

Another quotation was indeed correctly attributed to Jefferson: “Never spend your money before you have it.” But the man who wrote this advice died in such debt that he was unable to free his slaves due to his inability to pay off the loans he had taken out against them – though it would still be good advice even if every person who passed it on died woefully broke. That it’s too general to be of much practical value while also being annoyingly unworkable only adds to its charm.

Anyway, the assemblage of the Jeffersonian hadith seems well underway, if beset by a few questionable sentiments and confused by occasional gaping chasms between his statements and his ideals. On the bright side, beating the plowshare of Jefferson’s profligacy into the sword of a fiscal conservative will seem like a piece of cake compared to the effort that’ll be required to turn him into a Christian.

Monday, April 12, 2010

So How’s He Recovering, Then?

With this trunk model, you won't ever need a back alley again.
I’ve heard you can supposedly reverse homosexuality and even get your virginity back, but this is a new one – Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota has proclaimed April to be Abortion Recovery Month. Now on first impression, the very name connotes ghastly images of fetuses being fished out of a dumpster somewhere – obviously the kind of holiday that could only be thought up by a male pro-lifer, the kind of idiot who thinks babies are produced the way it was portrayed in 1950s movies, after about fifteen minutes of a man pacing outside a delivery room door while smoking a cigar. I mean, what could these sick bastards possibly want with your old abortions?

But wait – it’s not that at all. Apparently Abortion Recovery Month is designed to honor all the abortion recovery programs in the state of Minnesota – which must surely have no other concern than for the mental and physical well-being of patients who have undergone abortions, right?

Well probably not. Just like those Crisis Pregnancy Centers that promise objective compassionate assistance to young pregnant women and then do everything they can to cajole, terrify and guilt-trip them into carrying their pregnancies to term, the abortion recovery counseling programs I Googled seem like religious rackets with a pro-life agenda, sometimes in the open and sometimes not so obvious.

Worst of all, they certainly doesn’t seem to be offering real counseling. If a therapist were to say to me, “In America we have a big drug problem, and we don’t realize it’s because of abortion,” I’d conclude that person was in more need of help than I was, starting with what constitutes a provable statement and what doesn’t. But these same counseling organizations offer certificates in abortion counseling after nothing more than a fraction of a semester of completely religious training.

Maybe Pawlenty’s proclamation really does honor some few souls out there who specialize in helping women get over the emotional trauma of abortion – and they doubtless deserve recognition. But right now the field seems dominated by proselytizing vultures who, with no actual secular training, descend on hurt and confused young women intending on converting them to faithful guilt-ridden tithing machines who can be counted on to vote against letting anyone else have the choice they felt was necessary at the time. And those charlatans don’t need recognition, because their reward is in heaven – whatever simpleminded, dogmatic, shrill millstone of a heaven happens to take them.