Not Hypocritical, Just Horribly Wrong

Whenever abortion politics flare up, there are some on the left construed very broadly who point out hypocrisies: how can anti-abortion supporters be pro-life when they support some hideously murderous policy. Sarah Jones makes a very good point about the seeming inconsistency of forced-birth conservatives (boldface mine):

What, then, should we make of this conservative consistency? What looks like hypocrisy should be understood as a deeper ideology. In Texas, the right to life is conditional. It has always been conditional, at least to conservatives. Only the fetus has an absolute right to life because it cannot err. Women are more complicated. They sin, these Eves, and deserve punishment. The right to life is fragile. The right to a good life is more fragile still. A person must be poor because of some moral failing; they’re lazy, unmotivated, or simply ignorant. The free market is never to blame, and neither are capitalists. Gun violence exists because of innate criminality, which must be answered with incarceration and more guns, borne by the right kind of people. As climate change becomes impossible to deny, the same arguments will appear: Personal responsibility must guard against burned or flooded homes; if the wealthy appear less susceptible to disaster, it’s because they’ve earned a better way of life.

This isn’t hypocrisy, but authoritarianism.

Conservatism never fails, only conservatives, who are then no longer conservative. Put another way, the ideology underlying anti-abortion is a subset of the ideology–not pathology, but ideology–of cruelty:

A fair number of conservatives don’t have a problem with our current system. Why? Because they believe those who have problems paying for it likely deserve it. If they worked hard, saved more responsibly, were better liked by their neighbors, and had a church that would help them, then healthcare wouldn’t be a problem. If they were good people–and good people, oddly enough, seem to be disproportionately white evangelical Christians–then they would not be receiving this misfortune (or, at least, would have the previously mention support systems). Besides, we know how those people are. This is an abhorrent melange of Ayn Randian libertarianism, Prosperity Gospel, and racism.

Put another way, what many people see as cruelty, they see as a just order. Like racism (and in part, derived from it), the cruelty provides a powerful organizing principle for understanding the world around them. Someone can’t afford healthcare? It’s their fault.

Same as it ever was.

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