Friday, July 10, 2009

Freudian slip?

A tip of the hat to Powerline for this remarkable find, a quote from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be published in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn't really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

It's a fascinating glimpse into the liberal mindset for a couple of reasons.

First is the strangely uncontroversial desire for population control, by any means possible and preferably in populations "that we don't want to have too many of" as she puts it. The wackier factions of the environmental movement have often fantasized about plagues to wipe out significant portions of the human race, and even the more mainstream left mostly sees humans as a bad thing for the planet, and thus populations need to be frozen or outright reduced or unspeakable catastrophes will occur (see Paul Erlich's unintentional comedy for a pointed example).

But second is the leftist impulse that dare not speak its name, namely that we don't want too many of certain kinds of people. You seldom hear it acknowledged, but the abortion movement of the 20th century in general, and Planned Parenthood in particular, grew out of the desire to keep down black populations. "A woman's right to choose" is much like "state's rights" in that it is not in itself, nor are even most (post-1960's/early 1970's, at least) proponents of the concepts in fact trying to find justifications for racist policy, but in that they have often been used as code words for those who want to keep blacks down, be it by segregationist laws or by limiting offspring.

Admitting these kinds of things is usually avoided in these days of political correctness, but then again Mrs. Ginsberg is 76, and it is not that uncommon for people who predate the PC movement to sometimes let slip things that would make their children or grandchildren blush. Nobody (except the loony right) thinks she's a racist per se, but how easily historically racist concepts such as population control and abortion slip into matter of fact conversation for the leftist who lived through the 60's is a fascinating glimpse into their underlying worldview. ("Affirmative action" serves a similar function for later generations).

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