Jesurgislac’s Journal

December 9, 2008

Persephone embraces Hades: Demographic Winter

Pomegranate Apple whines: …it still persists. this argument that if someone is pro-traditional family it means you are also a bigot, a homophobe, a religious-crazy, a racist etc.

Yes, it does, for fairly obvious reasons. “Pro-traditional family” is the name used for themselves by those who oppose equal rights for same-sex couples and their children: although these people talk a lot about being “pro” this and “promoting” that, they identify themselves primarily as against some couples, some parents, and some children.

this argument also says that if you promote traditional family you also promote the oppression of women, senseless breeding

If you are against the oppression of women, it’s fairly basic that you support the right of women to decide how many children to have, and when to have them. The post to which I am responding is all about promoting a video, Demographic Winter, which regards the ability of white women in developed countries to make use of effective and safe family planning as a threat. While some people linking to this video may be doing so stupidly, without thinking about what they’re promoting, the movement behind this video is very explicitly for the oppression of women and the denial of family planning because not enough white babies are being born.

Proposition 8 is pretty much over

No. Not by half. On 19th November, the California Supreme Court agreed to review the validity of Proposition 8 in response to a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). The lawsuit argues that Proposition 8 is invalid because it “improperly attempts to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality and deprives the courts of their essential role of protecting the rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such a radical change in the way the courts and state government work cannot be decided by a simple ballot measure.”

Proposition 8 will not be “over” until it has been overturned by the Californian Supreme Court. As this is the same court that determined in May that the state constitution made a ban on same-sex marriages invalid, I think the bigots happily hugging to themselves the belief that they won are having a premature bigotgasm.

my blog continues because I think strengthening marriage is a pretty crucial conversation.

I note, however, that far from “strengthening marriage”, this blogger is firmly on the side that opposes the freedom to marry – and far from wanting to have a “crucial conversation”, this blogger bans all comments except from pre-approved commenters.

Children are not accessories.

True, but who said they were?

Children are not annoying.

Oh, come now. Whoever said that has never looked after a child in their life. Every child has an entirely human capacity for being thoroughly annoying, and children have a special capacity for being specially annoying. I speak as an experienced babysitter/childminder and aunt to several niblings. Children can be exceptionally damned annoying.

Children are not burdens.

Oh yes, they are. Whoever said that has never had full financial/emotional responsibility for a child in their life.

Children are blessings.

True. This does not prevent them from being exceptionally damned annoying and burdensome.

From Nature, from God, from the Universe. They should not be lightly or selfishly dismissed (to day-care) (to raise themselves) (to fend for themselves) (to grow up with out a father) (to grow up without a mother) (to abortion clinics).

Now here is the crux of it. A “traditional family” by this definition is a family in which one or both of the parents, who are in this paradigm if “traditional” always a mixed-sex couple, provide all the childcare for all the children. Anything else is “lightly or selfishly” dismissing the children.

This excludes most of the families in the US. Not by sexual orientation, but by income. This is a statement of class privilege, not just homophobia, sexism, and racism: the only really good parents, in this paradigm, are the parents who can afford to raise a family with just one regular income. Parents who can’t – where both must work – are being “light and selfish”, treating their children as “burdens”.

It is unacceptable for any society to shrug their shoulders and say, “they turn out fine.”

Because it’s unacceptable to be content with fine children?

I’m not okay with fine.

Again: see the class privilege? Rich parents produce children who aren’t just “fine children”.

Children deserve (perhaps have a fundamental and natural right?) to grow up with a mom and a dad interested in all the moments of their lives.

But as we’ve just established: working-class parents can’t provide that – “lightly and selfishly” they put the kids in daycare so that they can both work to pay the rent. Middle-class parents usually can’t provide this either: “lightly and selfishly” they too need to use daycare: the only kind of “mom and dad” who won’t ever need daycare and won’t ever need to leave the kids alone when they work are, in fact, the kind of couple who are so wealthy they can afford live-in staff. Without having even a part-time job.

Adults should do everything they can to help make this a reality.

For the privileged few who can afford it?

Strong families means sacrifice, but it means children grow up healthy, happy, and capable of contribution (without being weighed down by emotional scars).

I think, actually, the children of the very rich who never went to daycare but who had a mom and dad “interested in all the moments of their lives” are quite as likely to be weighed down by emotional scars as the ordinary children this blogger thinks have “light and selfish” parents who merely work hard all day to feed, clothe, and house their children, and then pick their kids up from daycare and take them home…

Strong families means a civilization that can focus on art, science, helping 3rd world countries, instead of being traumatized by its own issues (poverty, welfare, crime, psychological problems, the list goes on). (and on).

So a ciivlisation made up exclusively of the enormously wealthy? Can you say “Eloi”? How about “Morlock”?

This is, yes, way beyond this blogger’s determination to discriminate against and dismiss some parents and some children: to denigrate strong families and to deny marriage as a civil right. This is about an idea of privileged, wealthy couples somehow being the only kind of couple who really deserve to have children. Parents who work for a living are “light and selfish” parents.

So, tangled up in a complex knot at the root of the anti-marriage movement there is classism, sexism, racism, and homophobia. My my my my my my, what a mess.

December 6, 2008

Humans are not an endangered species

Sometimes, the obvious needs to be said. The world’s population is 6.7 billion (World Population Clock) and rising: a large and flourishing population of human beings exists in almost every part of the world. About the only continent we don’t have a breeding population of humans on is Antarctica, and we could, any time we wanted, it would just take much more technological investment than penguins need.

So what’s with the “demographic winter” thing that Christian-right “profamily” activists are so keen on? As Kathryn Joyce points out in The Nation, what’s missing are the “right” babies – what worries this kind of person is not the human species becoming extinct, but not enough white babies being born.

At the national level, in 2004 Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered a “baby bonus” of about $1,000 to parents who had a second child. … Elizabeth Krause, an anthropologist and author of A Crisis of Births: Population Politics and Family-Making in Italy, tracked that country’s population efforts over the past decade and found politicians demanding more babies “to keep away the armadas of immigrants from the southern shores of the Mediterranean” and priests calling for a “Christian dike against the Muslim invasion of Italy.” The racial preferences behind Berlusconi’s “baby bonus” came into embarrassing relief when immigrant parents were accidentally sent checks for their offspring and then asked to return the money: the Italian government hadn’t meant to promote those births.

Barry McLerran, said to be a “producer” (he doesn’t appear on IMDB), did a “documentary” about this problem racists have with white women not having “enough” babies, which is entitled Demographic Winter.

Proposition 8 passed on lies: one of the most prevalent lies before it passed was that somehow it would affect the Californian school system. That’s not a lie the pro-Prop8ers can usefully stick to, as it will become evident as time goes on that “Yes on 8″ didn’t affect the school system in California at all.

But now the rash of homophobic blogs that appeared around Proposition 8 have been picking up on this: I noticed it via Beetle Blogger, Kingfisher Column, The Pomegranate Apple, all of whom are linking to a free torrent. They need an excuse: a claim that if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, this will somehow affect the white population of the world, or at least of their respective countries. This works for the anti-marriage movement because for them (as I wrote two years ago):

these people who oppose contraception, sex education, abortion, and who oppose child support, a right to paid maternity leave, breastfeeding, subsidised daycare, free education for all beginning in nursery school. Racism and sexism are the roots, with homophobia as a flourishing fruit of the tree.

Not just the bloggers, but their permitted commenters (most of these blogs only allow their own cohort to post comments):

  • “Oh man. If that video doesn’t make obvious the need for traditional, healthy marriage and family, I don’t know what will. Homosexuals seem to always bring up the broken homes, victims of divorce, that plague our society today. As if the crumbling family unit and committed, loving marriage will be saved by allowing gays to marry.”
  • Marriage has been weakened by no-fault divorce and the general acceptance of cohabitation and adultery. Will gay marriage serve to strengthen the desire for marriage in the eyes of young heterosexual males? The mule is about to kick again.
  • The amazing thing is that people can see pretty clearly that the trends are going south, but the majority of people haven’t been convinced enough to change how they see things. Perhaps this has to be like the new “environmentalism” cause. Save the planet, go back to basics, families, values, vegetables and whole grains.

It’s not just about equal marriage. For these people, racism is just as important as sexism is just as important as homophobia: not only must same-sex couples be denied marriage, white women must be denied contraception and access to abortion, because more of the right kind of babies must be born.

On 16th November, in The Advocate, Michael Joseph Gross described an encounter with an elderly straight woman:

The night before Election Day, a black woman walked into the San Francisco headquarters of the No on Proposition 8 campaign. Someone had ripped down the No on 8 sign she’d posted in her yard and she wanted a replacement. She was old, limping, and carrying a cane. Walking up and down the stairs to this office was hard for her.

I asked why coming to get the sign was worth the trouble, and she answered, “All of us are equal, and all of us have to fight to make sure the law says that.”

Right on.

October 27, 2008

The awful self-pity of the self-righteous bigot

On 1st July 2005, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain, told the Cortes Generales:

We are not legislating, honorable members, for people far away and not known by us. We are enlarging the opportunity for happiness to our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends and, our families: at the same time we are making a more decent society, because a decent society is one that does not humiliate its members. In the poem ‘The Family,’ our poet Luis Cernuda was sorry because, ‘How does man live in denial in vain/by giving rules that prohibit and condemn?’ Today, the Spanish society answers to a group of people who, during many years have, been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, their identity denied, and their liberty oppressed. Today the Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their liberty.

On Tuesday 4th November 2008, voters in the state of California will be asked to decide if their state shall remove the right to marry from same-sex couples: Proposition 8.
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