Idiots With Degrees

Proof that someone with a law degree can still be an idiot —

The infamous one-child policy paired with the practice of sex-selective abortion has left China with 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls. In Chinese culture, sons are an economic asset and daughters a liability.

Chinese culture has long been grossly oppressive of women (think footbinding). Footbinding has stopped, but there are living women with bound feet, so we’re not talking about something ancient. The practice of footbinding, like female circumcision, reveals women complicit in their own oppression, forcing their daughters to go through what they’d been through because they’d been taught it was right. And cultural conditioning that extreme takes many generations to fade away. Just because the practice has stopped doesn’t mean the subservience and self-abasement that enabled it is also gone.

So, what does this genius have to say about the male surplus story?

In countries where a woman has a virtually unfettered right to choose abortion, the result is that women overwhelmingly choose to abort female fetuses.

How many fallacies can be packed into one sentence? He ignores China’s culture. How many husbands of those women gave them no choice but to abort their daughters, for example?

Second, as I read in an article by Michelle Goldberg just this morning, 60 percent of the world’s population live in countries with liberal abortion laws — 60 percent of the world’s women have “a virtually unfettered right to choose abortion,” in other words. And this has been true for a long time. By this mouth-breather’s logic, 60 percent of the populations on this planet ought to have the same lopsided surplus of males as China.

However, they don’t. I believe the only other nation in which sex-selective abortion is common is India, a place famous for bride burning. Yeah, those women have lots of “unfettered” rights.

Where women are genuinely free to choose to carry a pregnancy to term or not, the male-female ratio in newborns has remained within nature’s “norm” of 106 males to 100 females. Oh, except in some places where the prevalence of environmental estrogens is reducing the number of males somewhat.

What’s really hysterical about Mr. Idiot’s conclusion is that he has a bleeping law degree, or so he says. He also wrote:

Supporters of unrestricted abortion, such as the Center for Reproductive Rights, support China’s efforts to ban sex-selective abortions, based on principles of non-discrimination against women. But it seems as if the CRR and other pro-choice groups are trying to have it both ways. If a woman has a right to choose, then who is the CRR or the government to decide what is the right choice? Or is this Western hypocrisy at its worst, giving women in wealthy Western countries choices of which women in poorer countries are deprived?

He links to a page of the CRR, which carries this statement:

Our shadow letter underlined many areas of concern, including: harmful effects of the one-child policy such as forced abortion, coerced sterilization, and increased trafficking and abduction of women; limited access to infertility treatment; maternal mortality; sex-selective abortions; and deficiencies in sex education. The Committee, through its Concluding Observations, expressed concern over rights violations ensuing from these practices. It advised the Chinese government to investigate and prosecute instances of forced sterilization and abortion and to strengthen and enforce existing laws outlawing sex-selective abortion and female infanticide.

In other words, women in China have very little to say about their own reproduction. They are forced to have abortions and sterilization procedures they don’t want, for example. We do not know what percentage of Chinese women freely choose sex-selective abortions, compared to those who are not given a choice by their husbands and culture to abort girls. But “freedom” and “China” are not words that fit into the same sentence, as a rule.

Mr. Idiot clearly is anti-choice and anti-women. He is also anti-brain. One wonders how some people manage to learn to tie their shoes, never mine get advanced degrees.

Update: Captain Ed twists CRR’s statement into approval for male infanticide. I’m not kidding.

Update: Are righties congenitally unable to think? Don’t answer that. Here we have Sister Toldjah in a post called “Coming Soon to America?” Does she think the U.S. is about to enact a “one child” policy?

Anyway, the main point seems to be to pick apart the CRR statement calling for China to “enforce existing laws outlawing sex-selective abortion and female infanticide” as an inconsistency, since us evil libruhls are known to oppose any restrictions on abortion. However, the pro-abortion rights Alan Guttmacher Institute has funded a lot of research into the problems caused by China’s policies going back several years. This is what happens when extreme male dominance meets abortion technology — lots more boys than girls.

What the troglodytes don’t get is that widespread sex-selective abortions are not happening because women have been given the right to make the choice. They happen because a culture so devalues women that they are treated as disposable. And under no definition of the words “rights” or “freedom” can anyone say Chinese women enjoy reproductive rights. Clearly, they do not.

Update: Great minds, thinking alike. See Kathy at Comments From Left Field. In short, the whole concept of “free will” seems to elude the Right.

31 thoughts on “Idiots With Degrees

  1. In what reality is an abortion “freely chosen” when the state allows you to have only one child? That is, the law itself forces any woman who has already had a child to abort any future pregnancies.

    That isn’t “choice” by anyone’s definition, surely. The closest the women can come to “choosing” is to choose whether to have this child when she hasn’t had one yet. And at that point, she’s not just choosing between a girl or a boy, but between the earning potential of males and females.

    It has always been the case that sons were more valued than daughters for their earning power (and ability to support their parents when they were too old to work). Daughters not only have less earning power, but if they have outside jobs, they don’t have a wife to stay home and take care of the parents. In the circumstances, you can’t just treat having a daughter the same way you treat having a son. You can only have one child, and you know your future looks bleak if they aren’t in a position to continue the family business (even if that’s just a sustinence lifestyle) or get a better job and therefore see to your future care.

    Only great economic stability – or, in some countries, significant wealth – confers the ability to keep “excess” women in the household. That’s why rich men are allowed many wives, but polyandry is normalized only in poorer populations (so more than one man shares the expense of taking care of one woman and her children). Maybe that will have to be China’s solution.

    There is no distinction between a state that controls women’s reproduction by banning abortion/birth control and one that does so by forcing women to eliminate any possiblity of more than one full-term pregnancy. In each case, the state has decided women’s “choices” for them for its own reasons. And if it can choose to ban abortion today because that’s what it wants, it can choose to force abortion tomorrow because that is what it wants.

  2. There are many well educated people who are fools. I define a fool as someone who cannot acknowledge the truth when it’s staring at them in the face.

    I worked for several years with an extremely narrow engineer – he fit the stereotype as being someone smart enough to build the Brooklyn Bridge and dumb enough to buy it – except that he was a very shrewd investor – having grown up poor.

    Said engineer was a Republican shill – repeating any nonsense uttered by Rush or Bush. If Rush said that “the sky is green”, not only would this guy believe it, but he would come up with reasons why the sky really is green. And he would think he was being clever. He did this kind of thing day in and day out. It nearly drove me crazy.

    I bring up this story because it fits with how lawyers think. My wingnut engineer bud was good at using sophistry to win arguments, even though his conclusions bore no relationship to what was happening in reality. This is what Rush Limbaugh does all day long and gets paid big bucks for – feeding specious arguments into weak or lazy minds.

    It’s because of my years of experience with this form of intellectual cowardice that I have a very clear and well defined notion of what a fool is.

  3. It just boggles the mind how someone with so few critical thinking skills gets admitted to college at all, much less get an advanced degree. Doesn’t the law school entrance exam weed out people who really can’t tell shit from shinola?

    I dont know who exactly made you an expert on Chinese culture, but your insufferable arrogance never made yourself to stop and ask this question, “What if Chinese women chose female infanticide themselves?”

    I am from India and female infanticide was pretty common there too ( it is not as bad as it used to be). Women worried about having daughters because they thought of them as nothing more than expensive liabilities that needed to be married off to some one who demands a large dowry. Girl children were not even afforded education if they were not aborted. And most of these women who aborted were usually from rural areas.

    And if you have’nt heard of it before, having a male child is a symbol of prestige and financial security in many Asian countries. The son is expected to be a bread winner and help the parents out in their old age.

    China has a very similar attitude towards the male child and male children are ADORED by women AS WELL. This actually seems to be pretty common in Asian societies and may be even Latin American ones.

    When you have a one child policy, and you are so banking on a male child to be your family’s bread winner, you can very easily choose to abort the female child, however horrible and heinous this crime is. Chinese women co-operate in this too. Not all of them are helpless and co-erced by their husbands to do so. They actually see economic value to have a male child, if its the ONLY child that they are allowed to have.

    So, the question still remains – why is the Chinese woman who chooses to abort her female child because of economic consequences, any different from an American woman who chooses to abort her male child because of economic consequences ?

    Does the American woman somehow have more rights than the Chinese woman who has her own concerns and chooses to do what she thinks is in her best interests in her old age?

    Keep convincing yourself that you know so much more than people who disagree with you. That should help. A LOT.

  5. n countries where a woman has a virtually unfettered right to choose abortion….

    And here’s how that works in China. When a woman is pregnant and already has “enough” children, the government doesn’t get involved; the woman’s neighbors do. The Chinese government doesn’t send soldiers to escort the poor woman to the nearest clinic for an abortion. Instead, the local semi-official cultural enforcement squad gathers round her front door to harangue and attempt to shame her, shouting about what a terrible, selfish citizen she is, until she gives in and submits to an abortion.

    Sound familiar? Only in reverse?

    Clearly, the dope who’s quoted in this post is incapable of imagining what an “unfettered right to choose” really would look like. The thought scares him far too much. So he ignorantly cites examples that reveal how folks of his mindset play “cultural enforcer” in our own society.

  6. Nagarajan Sivakumar,

    your insufferable arrogance never made yourself to stop and ask this question, “What if Chinese women chose female infanticide themselves?”

    I realize English may not be your first language, but if you could read you might have noticed I addressed that question. In extremely patriarchal cultures, women are taught from birth to so self-abase themselves that they become complicit in their own oppression. This is a sad but well-documented phenomenon. So yes, I am sure a great many women do go along with sex selective abortion willingly. But is this genuine “freedom”? I don’t think so. See also Joan16’s comment above.

    So, the question still remains – why is the Chinese woman who chooses to abort her female child because of economic consequences, any different from an American woman who chooses to abort her male child because of economic consequences ?

    If the choice is made from genuine free will, and not because of law, societal pressure, family coercion, cultural conditioning, etc., then there is no difference. But in a culture where only female children are considered a burden, then the societal pressure/cultural conditioning factor is inescapable.

    It’s a terribly sad thing to terminate a healthy pregnancy because of economic factors, but when the economic factors are built into the system by sexism or racism it’s more than sad.

    This Alan Guttmacher study says that “about 10 million missing female births in India during the 20 years (1985– 2005) since ultrasound use became common.” That is a statistic that should shame you. That would not happen in a genuinely free and egalitarian society.

  7. In that context it’s worth noting that an excess of women to men would result in a likely higher reproductive rate for the population than an excess of men to women.

  8. [H]aving a male child is a symbol of prestige and financial security in many Asian countries. The son is expected to be a bread winner and help the parents out in their old age.

    Yes, of course we are aware of this. It’s why some of us do all we can to help improve the economic status of women in countries where, for many reasons, their status remains low.

  9. This is the most ridiculous abuse of common sense yet. You did not in any fashion address Nagarajan concerns. Economic pressure, and that is what happens in China, is just a valid a point as it is in America. They still have poor people that cannot afford many children. If they must choose, it’s going to be the one that can best support them in their old age. It’s self serving, but no less than anyone else…anywhere else. Being fined and risk losing benefits is the exact opposite of what happens here. Yet the decision to do what they think is best for them applies in both “nuanced” cases. This has nothing to do with raising the status of women there, it’s breaking the cultural norm that requires male heirs to have a stable old age. Much more difficult to break.

  10. Good answer, Maha. Nagarajan Sivakumar’s question shows that it was baited and biased by the fact that he switched genders in a bid to portray equality.

    Better luck next time, Nagarajan !

  11. Some other things to consider regarding the lack of reproductive freedom:

    There is not only human trafficking of women in these countries, but also of children. Because of the accepted rejection of female children in China, the business of adoption has become extremely large and corrupt. Adoption agencies and officials are turning a blind eye because that allows them to pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars from the misfortunes of such women and children. In other words, demand for adoptable children has created a culture of corruption.

    Another thing to consider is the blossoming industry – particularly in India – of “reproductive tourism.” Again, the demand for adoptable children has created not only a culture of corruption but also an amoral assembly line. Women in India are now being paid by wealthy white westerners to carry children for them.

    In countries like Guatemala, women are not carrying foreign embryos, but are being housed and impregnated for the purpose of producing adoptable children. How much uglier can it get?

    Even in the US, women are forced by their neighbors and communities – indeed, even their own parents – to surrender their children for adoption simply because they are not in an optimal child-rearing situation (by rich western standards). Women who go to “crisis pregnancy centers” find out too late that such centers are fronts for adoption agencies. The pressure not to abort from such “helping” agencies is strong, because the there is money to be made in not aborting.

    To me it seems that, even in the US, the economic status of women continues to suffer which, most definitely, affects their reproductive freedom. For more insight into the problem here, read Rickie Solinger’s Beggars and Choosers.

    Meanwhile, uninformed and misinformed American women and couples go outside the country in search of children while completely ignoring the 100,000+ adoptable children right here. They claim to be “saving” these foreign children while those at home continue to suffer. They are oblivious to the fact that pursuing foreign adoption does nothing but feed the corruption in those countries and delay the steps they need to take to confront and deal with these challenges.

  12. In the minds of many self-identified Righties, ‘free will’ means ‘freedom to decide whether to pay tax’. All other aspects of human behaviour are to be regulated by a rigid moral code based on reactionary prejudice and eccentric Christian theology … but they would argue that because people freely choose to adopt this moral code, there is no coercion involved.

    It’s the same mentality that condemns ‘liberal licence’ on the grounds that the personal liberty associated with a liberal democracy whould only ever be a theoretical abstraction; actually exercising these freedoms simply proves that the Taliban is right about our depravity.

  13. ken spiretti — another wingnut who can’t read and doesn’t know free will from his ass. I directly and specifically addressed Nagarajan’s “concerns,” and in fact I had already addressed them before he made his comment.

  14. If my law degree had any value left after Alberto Gonzalez rose to prominence, it is all gone now. Sigh.

  15. “moonbat”‘s Rush Limbaugh spouting sophist is typical amongst a particular right wing strain of educated elite. It’s not about arriving at the truth it’s about “winning” by any argumentation technique available. Specious (false) arguments are regularly used by the right because too few people on the left are willing to call a person out as being a dishonest shill.

  16. You did not in any fashion address Nagarajan concerns. Economic pressure, and that is what happens in China, is just a valid a point as it is in America.

    Um, yeah, Ken, which is why I wrote:

    Yes, of course we are aware of this. It’s why some of us do all we can to help improve the economic status of women in countries where, for many reasons, their status remains low

    more than an hour before your comment. And when you say:

    This has nothing to do with raising the status of women there, it’s breaking the cultural norm that requires male heirs to have a stable old age

    I wonder how you fail to understand that raising the economic status of women, and enabling them “to have a stable old age,” can change the “cultural norm.” Until roughly the last half of the 20th Century, the western world had essentially the same cultural norm about “male heirs” as modern China. It takes time, but cultural norms do change, and economic independence for the underclass (in this instance, females) is already proven to be a key factor in such change.

  17. The socio-economic pressures that promoted sex-selective abortions are likely to wane over time. What I’m concerned with is the demographic time-bomb now in place. What is to be done with 32 million men with no chance at reproduction?

  18. pluky,
    Maybe they can move to Vermont or Iowa. 🙂
    Seriously, this is going to have to be be watched. These males may become anti-social and violent if there is no female option for them.
    Social mores being what they are, they may feel inadequate if they cannot find a female partner. I only wish I had an answer…

  19. China was faced with a horrific over-population problem that needed to be addressed as quickly as possible because the number of births were not sustainable. Yes, the one child policy seems extreme to many of us, but it has produced some interesting unintended consequences: most all of the children are greatly valued by their families; the status of females, due to their relative scarcity, continues to rise; and the influences of Western culture are breaking down the old stereotypes of male/female rolls in Chinese society.

    Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that not all Chinese citizens are limited to the one-child rule. Farmers are permitted a second child if their first born in a girl. Minorities in China are permitted to have more than one child. Chinese citizens who are married to foreigners are also allowed to have more than one child. No one drags a woman off to an abortion clinic if she is pregnant with a second child; however, all governmental support will be withdrawn from that family. Which, I guess means about the only option left is begging.

  20. muldoon — You aren’t telling me anything about the “one child” policy I didn’t already know. However, I’m saying the “solution” is as bad as the problem, and you have to be a world-class dickhead to support it.

  21. “But is this genuine “freedom”? I don’t think so.”

    That Old False Consciousness Rag. What a lovely tune.

    “So, the question still remains”

    “Shut up,” they explained.

  22. Eh, let’s try something less “sneering”: what is the value of the abstracted *concept* of the “right to choose”, when its *expression* is so determined by a particular national context (overpopulation + patriarchy)? Do you answer this by citing the sex-ratios in countries with “true freedom of choice,” assuming those are the norm/an expression of what people truly want, and casting China as a deviation from this norm?
    Is it just really, really annoying when righties point out the culturally contextual nature of lefties’ values? I can see how that would grate.

  23. To quote from that “Sister Toldjah” post: “If it’s not ok to abort based on sex and “gay genes,” then why on earth should it be acceptable to abort over financial/convenience reasons?”

    Other than an appeal to “true” v. “false” choice, you haven’t really answered this question. You’ve just said “wignut idiot anti-woman.” That’s not an argument.

  24. Maha, I wasn’t advocating for the “one child” policy, just saying I can understand how it came about. Having seen the squalor and talked with Chinese people about how conditions were in the past–especially for women–it would appear that the “one child” policy is working, albeit very slowly. During Mao’s reign, 30 million Chinese died of starvation–many died with mud in their mouths, trying to eat something–anything–to stay alive. Those memories are still sharp in China, and no one who lived through those times ever wants to allow that to happen again. I sincerely wish there were other options to the one-child rule, but I’m at a total loss as to what those may be. Currently, the water is largely undrinkable, sewage disposal is at critical mass, and housing is so precious in the larger cities it is more the norm than the exception for three generations to live together in apartments no larger than the average U.S. bedroom. So yes, the one-child solution is bad. So are all the solutions I’ve tried to come up with. However, simply condemning the current practice doesn’t offer much help, either.

  25. As a Chinese woman I take offense that you think we’re so weak-minded and are incapable of standing up for ourselves.

    Yes, there is a general idea that having at least 1 boy is preferred because it’s the son that’s required to take care of the parents.

    But to assume that we Chinese are mindless drones that can’t think for ourselves is very mean.

  26. ZY — I’m sure you are less of a mindless drone than the fellow I called an idiot, but you are not free in any sense of the word to make your own decisions about reproduction.

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