The Many Hidden Agendas

abortion, Immigration, Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Regarding abortion — the Fetus People perpetually accuse “pro-aborts” of just wanting to kill babies. Giving women control over their own lives and bodies doesn’t register with the FPs.

But what is their agenda? “Saving babies” doesn’t make sense when you acknowledge that criminalizing abortion doesn’t stop it. It doesn’t seem even to reduce it. Abortion rates tend to be higher in countries where it is illegal than where it is legal. Restricting access to legal abortion just drives it underground. The one factor that does make a measurable difference in reducing abortion rates is use of contraceptives.

There is copious data from many studies over many years supporting these facts. Yet the hard-core FPs remain fixated on criminalizing abortion, closing clinics, and restricting access to birth control and sex education. It’s illogical.

Well, unless “saving babies” isn’t the real agenda.

I’ve come to think there are two kinds of hidden agendas. One is about greed and gain. The other is emotional and psychological, and almost always is buried so deeply in the pysche that people who have it deny to themselves it is there. Demagoguery is all about the people with the first kind of agenda manipulating the people with the second kind of agenda.

In the case of the Fetus People, the only agenda I can think of that makes consistent sense is a fear and loathing of female sexuality. All those copulating women have to be controlled! The FPs will deny this, but this is not a crew famous for self-awareness.

Politicians in conservative districts have been demagoguing this issue for years, because it’s a big, fat button to push that gets big results. So the politicians have been acting from the first kind of hidden agenda. But in recent years, I believe, more and more people suffering from the second kind have been getting into office, especially at state level, and they will not rest until those womenfolk have been properly brought back under patriarchal control. They’ll still get abortions, of course, but they’ll have to do so secretly, illegally, and thereby shamefully. That’s what’s important.

But it’s not just abortion. Let’s look at economic policy. Please do read “Can libertarian populism save the Republican Party?” by Mike Konczal. A bit:

The specifics of a libertarian populist agenda are often lacking, but advocates sometimes point to to things like Rand Paul’s budget plan. This is a plan that calls for flat taxes, cutting discretionary spending through a balanced budget and removing the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate to promote low inflation and high employment.

This brings to mind Eugene Mirman’s joke about bears, where he notes that the common notion that you should play dead if you see a bear “is a rumor that bears spread.” Similarly, the idea that reducing the tax burden on the rich while calling for tighter money and deregulation counts as “populism” sure seems like a rumor spread by the 1 percent.

Yet all kinds of people well down in the 99 percent ranks will support this, partly because they don’t understand it but mostly because there is something about the way the plan will be marketed that appeals to their psychological and emotional issues.

Here’s another one — the bleeping border fence. Is that stupid, or what? Joshua Holland writes,

Only about half of the country’s unauthorized immigrants entered illegally through the Southern border to begin with. And with illegal entries at a 40-year low, and the undocumented population down by a million from its 2007 peak, the right’s fetish for security spending is shaping up to be a boondoggle for giant defense contractors with a consistent track record of bungling past efforts to “secure the border.” . . .

…Reached by phone in Chihuahua, Mexico, Tom Barry, a senior analyst at the Center for International Policy and author of “Border Wars,” told Salon that the effort is simply “absurd.” “Border patrol agents are tripping over themselves now,” he said. “They have nothing to do. They’re reading magazines in their trucks. If they increase the force by the levels they’re talking about now, you’ll have measures of boredom and waste that are almost inconceivable.”

It’s not just a fence, of course, but I’ve spent enough time on rightie websites to know they have a huge emotional investment in a fence. Maybe it’s just that there’s something about a fence that their little minds can understand, but I suspect also they have a deep emotional/psychological need to have a real physical barrier between themselves and those Brown People.

And, of course, the defense industry will make out like banditos. It’s a perfect storm of agendas.

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  1. James F. Epperson  •  Jul 7, 2013 @6:10 pm

    I have long believed that the anti-abortion folks are really anti-sex. They long for the days when people having sex out-of-wedlock could be “punished” for it by getting pregnant. They really are not interested in the unborn child, they are interested in shaming the mother.

  2. Paraquat  •  Jul 7, 2013 @6:29 pm

    Religious conservatives of any stripe – but mainly fundamentalist Muslims and Christians – have a long record of suppressing female sexuality. A few centuries ago, it was fashionable to burn witches at the stake in Europe and later in the Americas as Christianity spread. Muslims seem to prefer stoning (even now), though you may recall a story in the Bible about how a mob (probably mainly Jewish) was ready to stone a young woman to death had not Jesus intervened with that famous “Let he who is without sin caste the first stone” line. You also may recall from the Bible how that hot naked young chick in the Garden of Eden seduced Adam with an apple, and God has been punishing humanity ever since with all manner of horrors.

    My point being – it’s always these religious fundamentalists who never tire of burnings, stonings or forcing women to give birth (God’s punishment). Young women terrify the Fundies because of their own sexual insecurities. They see an attractive young woman who they can’t have, so let’s put that bitch in her place – burn her! Stone her! Better yet, she should get raped (she probably wanted it anyway, right?) and force her to give birth. That’ll teach her!

    Note: Hope that nobody here thinks that I agree with the above “logic.” The Fundies are batshit crazy in my opinion, but there’s never been a shortage of them. Ask any victim of the Inquisition (the majority of whom were women).

  3. Swami  •  Jul 7, 2013 @6:41 pm

    Home depot has a sale going on featuring 6’x8′ sections of “Arlington” PVC fencing. A very attractive fence that could save us billions in maintenance costs, not to mention that a one mile run of fence would price out at about $6,000. as opposed to spending 15 million per mile.

  4. uncledad  •  Jul 7, 2013 @8:03 pm

    “But what is their agenda? “Saving babies” doesn’t make sense when you acknowledge that criminalizing abortion doesn’t stop it”

    They are evangelizing. It’s the last stop for the anti hippie god warrior. Once they arrive they can socialize with the fundies and the freaks. Hopefully this is just a spike spurred on by Rupert M’s Kermit coverage but it seems like more. I am a Man so I do not feel the assault so closely but I do feel the momentum. They are gaining it is real.

  5. Tom_B  •  Jul 7, 2013 @9:59 pm

    It’s all about stoking hate groups — evangelicals and catholics — to the point where they will vote against their own economic interests. Same with the anti-browner person hysteria.

    Trouble with abortion is it’s a “ratchet issue”– they always tighten the screw, but few Democrats would wish to wade in and risk annoying shaky voters by easing abortion rules.

    One simple solution MIGHT be to, by executive order, have HHS set national standards for woman’s health clinics. Let the clinics abide by a federal standard rather some rat-f*cker ALEC state standard. States have a ridiculously generous notion of what they are empowered to regulate under the 10th amendment. My thought is, anything more controversial than the color of the state flag and it’s probably best handled at the federal level.

  6. Doug  •  Jul 7, 2013 @11:42 pm

    “I’ve come to think there are two kinds of hidden agendas. One is about greed and gain. The other is emotional and psychological, and almost always is buried so deeply in the pysche that people who have it deny to themselves it is there. Demagoguery is all about the people with the first kind of agenda manipulating the people with the second kind of agenda. ”

    When I read something that concise and profound, I am overcome with envy – One of the most quotable quotes you have penned, Barbara. I only wish there was a way for moderate voters who can see both sides of the issue to read it – and resist the manipulation by distortion which the evangelicals employ – without shame.

  7. Swami  •  Jul 8, 2013 @12:01 am

    My point being – it’s always these religious fundamentalists who never tire of burnings, stonings or forcing women to give birth (God’s punishment).

    Paraquat…I don’t want to contradict you, but I’d like to clarify that God’s punishment to women was not their having to give birth. God’s punishment to women was that they should suffer through labor pains in giving birth. Prior to Eve’s disobedience and her leading Adam astray in the garden, God had no intentions of making child birth a painful experience for women. Not to bad a punishment for women, huh?…considering that the guys got punished by having to bust their humps every day to make to make a living.

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 8, 2013 @7:57 am

    The same types of religious folks as these “Fetus Folks,” were the ones who were against almost every single civil and human rights advances we’ve made since The Enlightenment Era began.
    They said slaves were acceptable in the ________________ (insert favorite Holy Book and text)- and hence, it was acceptable to keep people of African heritage as slaves, in American society.
    They were always against women’s suffrage, but PRO, women’s suffering, because their Holy Books made women into second class citizens.
    They’re against homosexual rights, because of some obscure line in a long list of obscure, Bronze Era, rules, in a part of their Holy Book where they usually entirely ignore all of the other rules, around that one.
    And how many of the homophobes who protest homosexual rights, think nothing of going to a Red Lobster in clothing made of wool, cotton, and synthetic blends, and ordering up a heaping helping of traif?

    And now that technology (the real enemy of these religious folks, I suspect) has advanced to the point where a woman can have a simple, clean, and safe abortion – instead of shaming themselves by going to some back-alley butcher like that Gosnell hack in Philly, or some person who is an expert on herbs that can induce an abortion, but is otherwise shamed in society – the same people who’ve been on the wrong side of EVERY civil and human rights issue, have taken it upon themselves to make sure that lumps of human cells have more rights than the people who produced that lump of cells.

    They think of themselves as Martin Luther King Jr’s, fighting for the civil and human rights of the those yet to be born – but then, once the child is born, these same hypocrites don’t give a Hershey=squirt sh*t about what happens to the mother, the child, or anyone else.
    If you want American Dominionist Evangelical Christians to care about any rights an individual may have, then stay in the womb, and don’t come out – because that’s the only time our Pro-life people care about any life, besides their own.

  9. muldoon  •  Jul 8, 2013 @9:52 am

    Swami, I’m going to go with Paraquat on this one. The original myth may be that birth pains are God’s punishment, but our current crop of fundies — authoritarian followers not known for their biblical scholarship — seem bent on forcing women and young girls to give birth just because authority-sanctioned judgmental self-righteousness feels good.

  10. joanr16  •  Jul 8, 2013 @10:17 am

    our current crop of fundies… seem bent on forcing women and young girls to give birth

    The horrible irony is that the Fetus People have more in common with the Taliban than they do with other Americans.

  11. moonbat  •  Jul 8, 2013 @12:29 pm
  12. c u n d gulag  •  Jul 8, 2013 @3:16 pm


    Governor Goodhair of TexASS won’t be running for Governor again next year!!!

  13. Stephen Stralka  •  Jul 8, 2013 @4:17 pm

    Regarding moonbat’s link, just last night I read the following observation that Harriet Beecher Stowe made about poor southern whites clear back in 1853:

    “Singular as it may appear, though slavery is the cause of the misery and degradation of this class, yet they are the most vehement and ferocious advocates of slavery.”

    I was also going to comment that I’ve seen at least one wingnut draw an explicit connection between abortion and immigration. The idea was that if we hadn’t killed all these babies we’d have that many more people, so we wouldn’t need to import workers.

  14. joanr16  •  Jul 8, 2013 @4:41 pm

    if we hadn’t killed all these babies we’d have that many more people, so we wouldn’t need to import workers

    Ah, so we’re breeding fetus-Americans to work in the fields and meat-packing plants, and to clean motel rooms and install roofs on houses on 105-degree days. I see.

    Lord, when crazy talks, it just won’t shut up.

  15. Anniecat45  •  Jul 8, 2013 @7:54 pm

    Right-wingers live in a fantasy world full of simple magical solutions to every problem.

    Over at Kevin Drum’s place, one of the right wing trolls wrote something about the need to “seal the bordere.” I wrote back that the border is not a door, or the hatch on a submarine; that in fact there are 4 borders, and two of them are immensely long coastlines, and the northern border has many stretches of forest so thick you can’t see somebody who stands two feet away. IN light of this I asked how they planned to “seal” the border, and how much more they were willing to spend on border enforcement.

    In response, the right-wing troll who started the whole thing said something like, “so you want to give up any idea of any kind of border security.” which of course was not what I said at all. He never did try to answer my question.

  16. David Kowalski  •  Jul 9, 2013 @12:42 am

    The Berlin Wall was relatively small, ineffective and evil. Why should we copy that over a longer border?

  17. Diana  •  Jul 9, 2013 @3:56 pm

    Years ago (early 90’s) the socialite mother of a friend of mine bought a table at a political fund-raiser for some right-wing troglodyte candidate. She couldn’t fill it and asked her daughter to come and just bring her friends, and that is how we wound up listening to the campaign pitch.

    I can’t remember everything the candidate said, but even though the issues were presented as a smorgasbord of policy recommendations, they were all essentially one thing: ways to officially condemn non-kosher sex. Seriously. The candidate, whose current job was public prosecutor, wanted addition restrictions on registered sex offenders, minors’ access to abortion, some kind of ban on allowing gay-friendly books in schools, etc. Nothing about economics, schools, transportation, housing, environment, etc. Ostensibly they were all measures to protect American families, but they all focused on sex.

    I completely agree with Corey Robin’s thesis that the goal of the right wing is to increase the power of the patriarchy and the freedom of the patriarchs. Have you ever noticed how the Republican platform speaks of freedom mostly for business, and otherwise provides only for American families, not American individuals? We are all supposed to be in someone’s harem.

  18. Swami  •  Jul 9, 2013 @5:03 pm

    Anybody notice how Scalia made a distinction between homosexual sodomy and normal sodomy in explaining his DOMA position? Oh, Lord Jesus come quickly! Gee, I didn’t know there were two classes of sodomy. I’ll have to bring that up at my next bible study to get a ruling. Wow, just when I thought I knew it all.