Brave New World is afoot:
I would like to close with an imaginary scenario: You, the reader, from behind the veil of ignorance, are asked whether you would prefer to be born into society A, where women bear all the risks and burdens of gestation and childbirth, as they do now, or society B, where ectogenesis has been perfected and is routinely used. You do not know whether you will be born as a man or a woman. Which would you choose?
This kind of Rawlsian bunk is exactly why I decided a while back not to use the word ‘ethics’– in spite of Aristotle, or Spinoza for that matter (Spinoza is part of the problem though)– and opt for the old-fashioned ‘morality’ instead. Not only does ‘ethics’ have no teeth; but it’s a tag for all the ‘bioethicists’ and other relativists who sound like they’re paid for by the Gramsci Project.
This is one Anna Smajdor, an academic from the University of East Anglia (yes, that!), and she’s given some thought to how pregnancy is injustice and therefore we’d best be getting women out from under its awful, slavish burden. Just how far this woman is out from the shadow of the Reality-Based Community should be evinced by her ludicrous, de-ontologized Rawlsian pseudo-Catch 22: pretend you don’t know if you’re a girl and then tell me if you’d rather be born in the real world or Brave New World? Oh the horror, the horror! And to think some benighted souls actually want to get pregnant?
“Pregnancy Is Barbaric” declares one of her paper’s subheadings.
It’s not that bad sweetie, I promise!Encouraging women to curb their other interests and aspirations in order to have children at biologically and socially optimal times reemphasizes that it is women who take on the risks, whereas society in general profits from these sacrifices. This, I suggest, is a prima facie injustice. Yet it is founded on a physical necessity: Babies must be gestated in women’s bodies.
Pregnancy is like– like slavery, isn’t it! That damned society (patriarchal too, I’ll bet) is just free-loading off of women’s hard, unacknowledged, unpaid work! Who’s footing the rent for that little shit hogging up space in her womb, I wonder? Hmm? Woman can’t get paid for gestating; hell, it’s like pulling teeth just to get society to pay for her contraception! It’s all injustice, I tell you!
I mean, what do men have to do?:I want to suggest that the desire of women to be able to reproduce as men do, without risking their physical and mental health, economic and social well-being, and—crucially—their bodily integrity, can be defended against charges of being mere whim, preference, or expensive taste. The effects of gestation and childbirth on women’s health alone mean that the claim of women to be relieved from this means of reproduction can be firmly located within a recognizably health-oriented need.
“This means of reproduction”– you know, pregnancy, that one silly old trick! Exactly how long have “women” been clamoring for babies in bottles? Hysterically, they are “risking their physical and mental health, economic and social well-being, and–crucially– their bodily integrity”! What in goodness’ name can she mean by “bodily integrity”? Is this all just another redundancy for “autonomy”, the be-all-and-end-all of every moment of existence? “Men” don’t “reproduce”, you unscientific dolt: the “reproduction” takes place between the sexes. If women just ejaculated and went on, they’d be men. If humans just drop spores and move on, they won’t be human.
I’m unsure whether anything women ever ask for can’t be fitted under the rubrics of “mere whim, preference, or expensive taste”. If men start strutting around like they’re going to live forever, you’ll (rightly) accuse them, in so many words, of getting too big for their biology. I’m not sure I even want a universe where personal immortality is assured (how can God stand to have Stalin, Hitler, and K*t* P*rr*, even in Hell, filthing up His universe with their snarling, unrighteous thoughts for eternity? Doesn’t he have to hear all that? Can K*t* ever be music to the ears?). If women can’t be bothered, as a– a species, let’s say– to bear children, I don’t see why we should bother letting their species continue. Oh wait wait– did I see that twist of thought occur in Anna’s brilliant paper? Did I miss something? Yes tell us, tell us Anna: if the human species can be reproduced in bottles, well then, men need women like fishes need bicycles so I guess we can just MAKE WOMEN EXTINCT.
Did I say something? What! By your argument we don’t need them.
Of course, men being men, we’d still want something to ejaculate into so I guess we’d make all the babies gay. Maybe that is the secret twist. It’s a Left Wing win-win.
In truth: it really does sound as if she thinks the Gay Man is the evolutionary goal of women. What else can even be meant by so ludicrous a claim as hers about “the desire of women to be able to reproduce as men do”? Plainly, what she means is: the desire to f**k as men do: i.e. without the slightest bit of consequence, self-doubt, or recrimination. An “ideal” so far from representing the actual psychological or social existence of men that it could only exist, if ever, inside a drug-fueled bathhouse orgy. In any event, gay bathhouses are not for reproduction; and it is far from evident that even the most promiscuous of women are clamoring “to be able to reproduce as men do”. Only leftist academics could be so sick in the head as to think like that.[T]hose who suppose that the mother’s bond is entirely dependent on her physical gestation of her child do a huge disservice to all the step- and adoptive parents who love their children dearly. More importantly, they sweep away any possibility of claiming that fathers can love their children as much as mothers do.
Reality check: step-parents and adoptive parents cannot and do not love their children as much as biological parents do. Pretending otherwise is risible cant (I’ve always wondered, in adoptive families, how often the incest taboo fails; clearly in step-families it fails all the time and, in quite a few cases, its pursued failure is the main attraction for starting the step-family!). –I know it’s something of a moral necessity to keep up illusions for those unfortunate enough not to have real parents of their own, and adoptive families can be genuinely loving and close. But it is Orwellian (as Camille Paglia once put it) to pretend here. Adoption is, for child and for parents, a second-best. Of course, life often forces us into less-than-ideal scenarios: this is not a definitive objection, thankfully, against living a good life. Anna Smajdor thinks, though, that even the most quintessentially benign facts of life are just wrong– unjust!– and to be warred against through science.
And as for fathers: obviously mothers love their children more totally than fathers do. And that love is returned, at least at first, in proportion. I’m not some neurotic egalitarian about that fact either.
Let’s get a sane person in here:
How did Anna Smajdor arrive at such a negative view of childbearing? Clearly, she looks on pregnancy more as a threatening impediment to female aspirations than as a fulfilment of them. If you take autonomy as your standard, that can make sense. There have been liberals who have criticised motherhood as a merely “biological” rather than self-determined destiny. They see careers as offering more autonomy to women as careers can be uniquely chosen and can bring financial independence.