Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Reproductive Rights for Men

Finally, the reproductive rights absurdity reaches a natural waypoint. Men are now challenging their parental responsibilities, even denouncing them outright. That's not really new. Some men have been deadbeats probably ever since the dawn of man. But now they're seeking the legitimacy of the law to support their abandonment. and a few other sites are reporting that the National Center for Men has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Matt Dubay, a Michigan man whose ex-girlfriend is having his baby against his will. Dubay says the woman assured him she was infertile, and now he wants nothing to do with the child -- or the monthly support payments he would have to make for the next 18 years. If you believe the silliness about reproductive rights -- that people should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they will become parents even after they have already conceived a child, either allowing the birth or aborting it -- then you must concede that it is a violation of men's rights to force them to become fathers when they would choose not to.

Some will say that reproductive rights have nothing to do with men, that a woman's body is hers alone, and thus the choice is hers alone. But if that's the case, why should a man be forced to fund her choice, and continue to fund it for two decades, if that choice is to have a child? If we accept the notion that men have no say in the abortion issue, that the woman has sole authority in each reproductive choice, then we must also acknowledge the fact that we have totally disenfranchised fathers. How could we expect men to father children, or support them financially, when they never had any choice in the matter?

Of course, the entire reproductive choice debate overlooks the fact that, even without abortion, men and women already have the right to choose whether or not to become parents. They can choose to engage in the act that causes reproduction, or they can choose not to. If they want to have their cake and eat it too, they can fool around and use condoms, spermacides and other contraceptives. It's risky, assuming you are actually trying to avoid becoming a parent. But it's more fun than abstinance. But these choices are not enough for the radicals who preach for women's right to kill their babies. No, women and women alone should be able to make life and death decisions that compensate for their earlier bad decisions. Got a little drunk and let Seth and Billy let loose inside you at the party? No biggie, choose to exercise your reproductive right to scrape that baby out. Had a little fun on the side and don't want the hubby to find out? There's a clinic that can make it like it never happened. Wanna keep the baby, but don't want to have to pay the whole ticket? Choose to have a man pay you for the next 18 years. It's your body, after all, and it's your right to cut part of it out or to get paid not to. You really have come a long way, baby.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Perverted Love: Sex is a Sideshow

The current issue of Newsweek reports on the efforts to legalize polygamy, or the marriage of multiple people, generally several women with one man. These efforts illustrate that what opponents of gay marriage have been saying all along is correct, namely that defining marriage as any arrangement besides the union of one man and one woman threatens the institution of marriage by encouraging all forms of so-called alternative families.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is now considering whether a man whose marriage license application for a spare wife was rejected has suffered undue government intervention in his private conduct. According to the polygamists, laws banning harems are the same as anti-sodomy laws and other such restrictions on private liaisons.

Understandably, some (probably most) gay marriage agitators are wary of the connection made between these two causes. After all, it exposes the truth. A spokeswoman for one gay rights group was quoted as saying the link between tolerance of gay marriage and other alternative forms of marriage is specious. Predictably, she offers no basis whatsoever for that conclusion and the Newsweek journalist reports on no rationale as to why gay marriage should be legitimate while polygamy is not. Quite simply, gay marriage activists don’t want the public to think about polygamy, or worse, the infinite potential alternatives to one man with one woman. Newsweek, meanwhile, deserves credit for reporting on the issue that gay marriage advocates openly admit (in the article) they’d rather not see covered.

Like it or not, gay marriage does open the door to the legitimization and legalization of many other alternative living arrangements. Can anyone seriously doubt that it will be only a matter of time before a group of men demand their right to marry multiple other men, or that some people will choose to marry close relatives in incestuous unions? Assuming the people are all consenting adults, what would be the basis for denying them such rights? According to the gay marriage promoters, the only good solution is intolerance. That’s right, the gay marriage lobby claims their cause is a just defense of human dignity and liberty, while polygamy (and presumably other alternative lifestyles) are illegitimate. Why they are illegitimate is never explained, but if you scrutinize the arguments of gay rights activists their real feelings are pretty clear – being gay is OK, but those other lifestyles are weird. In fact, gay opposition to polygamy, incest, and other even more controversial relationships is hardly different from religious fundamentalists’ view of gays. Ironically, the polygamists turn this moral intolerance back on their gay rivals in the marriage wars. They think gays are weird, indeed, sinful perverts.

Honest reflection would reveal us all as at least a little weird, particularly in regards to our sexual proclivities. Straight people, too. The debate over alternative marriages, though, transcends sex. At least, it should. I suspect that for a great portion of all the warring factions sex is the central issue. Religious conservatives imagine a woman writhing around with another woman and are revolted. Gays, meanwhile, imagine some man being serviced by a harem of young women and judge them all perverts. But sex is a sideshow in this debate. The real issue is and always has been whether or not marriage should continue to exist. More on this later…

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ports Flap a Shame

It's sad to see so many Americans, including so-called progressives and conservatives, challenging the deal to allow a U.A.E.-based company to manage several American ports on no grounds except the company's Arab roots. While it makes sense to profile air passengers and flight school students, it's no more than xenophobia to extend such racial profiling where it makes no difference. It has been well established that the U.S. Coast Guard and not the Arab company will be responsible for port security. What's more, this very Arab company already manages many ports around the world that ship cargo into our ports today. As such, it is already in a position to do whatever harm opponents of the deal imagine they might intend. There are real and deep problems in the Arab world today, and across the Muslim faith more broadly. Our attempts to wall ourselves off, however, do nothing to alleviate these problems, nor do they enhance our own security. The Umma, troubled as it is, must be engaged and ultimately liberated politically and empowered economically if peace is to prevail in our world. Our military operations are critical to our security, but have always represented only part of the answer to terrorism. Perhaps more critical is the engagement so many now seek to avoid -- at the peril of us all.