16 February 2005

as a follow-up to the post below, let's talk about false consciousness. i know, i know: highly unfashionable. telling agents they lack agency, bad. telling agents they can do whatever the hell they want if they try hard enough, good.

kevin's comment on the post below is astute: the problem here is that most people aren't poor; hence, framing this as a moral issue about poverty might be pretty darn ineffective. but -- and here's where the false consciousness thing comes in -- people might not be dirt-poor, but they're not rich either. in fact, americans have ridiculously skewed ideas about socioeconomic class. there are people in this country who are so rich that i can't quite fathom it. there are also people dying young of malnutrition and working for sub-subsistence wages.

...and they all think they're middle class. that is empirical truth: a fairly large majority of americans, more of them poor than rich, say that they belong to the middle class. people whose incomes put them below the poverty line say this. people don't believe that poverty is a moral issue because they don't believe in poverty -- their own or others'. and can i just say? i hate politics that are based on mythology. i hate being thought of as a terrorist sympathizer because i think it's important to figure out the reasons for terrorism. i hate gender politics based on unknowables about innateness. i hate the way people continue to say that capital punishment is a deterrent. but more than just about anything, i hate it when we blame the victim and then convince the victim to blame herself. hence the idea that, while "choice" might not seem to be about poverty, it goddamn well is.


also, i feel that i should say the following regarding this complex of issues: safe/legal/rare is all well and good, but it only emphasizes how far we are from talking about women's autonomy in its own right. frankly, if i have all the money i need to support a kid, and i have a partner with whom i might raise a kid, and i know better but i get careless and therefore pregnant, i think i should be, and feel, both legally and personally justified about getting an abortion. the end.