Monday, July 5, 2010

Sigh of the week: "With Liberty and Justice for Most" (In which I try to play well with others)

So I wanted to write you a little post all about Plan B and ellaOne. There is good news and bad news, about that. The good news is, I spent this weekend at a little surfing beach on the Pacific, complete with fishing boats and coconut at snacktime and very little internet access. The bad news is, there are no carefully-explained, well-researched blog posts to be had around these parts! Only chilled beers and split coconuts, it turns out.

So, sorry. You can read all about emergency contraception here soon, I promise. In the meantime, do check out NYCProchoiceMD's super post at abortion gang about mostly the same topic.

Today, a burning question: Am I the only one who's had bad experiences with libertarians?

You know, I get that libertarians supposedly value individual liberty above all else, even to a fault -- for example, to the point of denying responsibility for the suffering of many individuals due to collective oppression, or to the point of forgetting that the roads they drive on are paid for by taxes -- uhm, et cetera. But what's so interesting is that, given those values, some libertarians still (1) introduce themselves to me as "libertarian" [not normally of external prompting] and then (2) dare to tack on "...except for abortion."

Argh, fuck you, buddy!

This has happened to me multiple times, in inappropriate contexts -- like the noisiest bar I've ever been in, or a mutual friend's house party. Actually, I don't even think I've met libertarians who DON'T make exceptions to liberty when it comes to abortion. It's like, I'm minding my own business, maybe making small talk or waving down a bartender or trying to avoid secondhand smoke, and then some dude (it is always a dude!) decides that "I'm a libertarian" is a good conversation item, and then that "except for abortion" is totally consistent and sensible and not at all likely to provoke a negative reaction, and then what? Well, then I'm faced with the perpetual shitty choice:

A) Have a whole long conversation (they are always long!) about how no sense is being made, in which the dude will never attempt to understand the point of view of someone else (which shouldn't be a surprise because, hey, libertarian!), eventually leading me to despair of ever being able to meet a stranger normally like normal people do;
B) Let him say whatever he wants to so I can get through the situation with a minimum of time wasted;
C) Tell him I have a policy, ever since a few years ago, of generally not talking to "libertarians" and definitely not talking to "anti-choice libertarians," and try to gently leave.

After enduring too much heartache with strategy (A), I've moved on to (B) and (C). But recently I've acquired this temporary neighbor, who I know will be easier to get along with if I don't shut down on him. And he's perfectly nice most of the time, it's just: I'd be lying if I said I didn't cringe when he revealed a few weekends ago that he identifies as a libertarian, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't been avoiding the subject of abortion ever since because I don't even want to deal with the part where he might turn out to be anti-choice.

On the other hand, he's quite young and not from where I'm from and maybe it's not all his fault and potentially at this point I can/should afford to give him a break, or a chance to learn better, rather than avoid it entirely? But ugh, what a drag that is. Help, what do y'all think?

In exchange for your advice, here's a ridiculous picture I found:

(saw this in the Washington Independent)

PS: I recently told someone else I was an abortioneer -- after watching my first episode of "Sixteen and Pregnant" (very harrowing!), hah -- and he took it fine, we are even totally friends I think. Score one for notdouchebags!


  1. I posted about libertarians on Facebook the other day, after noticing that pretty much all the ones I've met on Twitter are really Tea-Partiers who at least have enough sense to know how ridiculous the Tea Party is, so they're ashamed to associate themselves with it... but believe everything Tpers do.

    There are true libertarians out there (a good friend of mine, very pro-choice dude, is one of them), but I find most people A) don't know what "Libertarian" really means and what the movement really works for, or B) use it as a cop-out: "I don't vote because I don't like Republicans or Democrats, I'm a 'libertarian', so I don't have a candidate to vote on so I just absolve myself of all political responsibility."

    Your neighbor may be one of those few libertarians-who-actually-know-what-they're-talking-about, but I don't blame you for not wanting to press the issue. Odds are not in your favor.

  2. I've been a libertarian for a long time, and I know a lot of libertarians.

    I've never, ever, ever heard a libertarian say "I'm a libertarian ... except on abortion."

    There, is, however, considerable argument over what the libertarian position on abortion is.

  3. I agree. I feel like young-ish folks these days think it's cool or revolutionary to be Libertarians. I'm starting to see it everywhere, and I'm not sure where it came from.

    Re: your Lib friend, I'd say it's better to have the cat out of the bag before it explodes one day.

  4. So true. Kn@ppster, I would love to meet the libertarians who are not against the individual freedom to make a personal decision between a woman and her doctor.

    As for Plan B and ellaOne, I wrote a more scientifically oriented post about it (and why ellaOne is not necessarily longer-acting based on the methodology of their study, and my concern that almost all the study authors are paid by the pharmaceutical company), if you're interested:

  5. My experiences with libertarians have been mostly negative as well, not just regarding pro choice issues. It seems to me they love to complain above all things and seem to think greed is a virtue.
    Most I've seem to be ambivalent on abortion, some strongly oppose it, but I know one guy who is pretty fiercely pro choice (he makes a point to give the finger to anti choice clinic protestors when he drives by).

  6. Hey all, not sure what on earth is happening with the comments right now, but rest assured I'm not capriciously deleting them or anything. NYProchoiceMD, that post was FANTASTIC and said about 95% of what I was planning to say in my future-post, and another good deal that I hadn't even thought to write. Not sure I need to write another post on EC at all. Thank you for doing the work of bringing a little critical reading to the scene. Will plug everywhere.

  7. "Re: your Lib friend, I'd say it's better to have the cat out of the bag before it explodes one day."

    anti-anti, I definitely don't want any exploding cats around (or is it an exploding bag?), but am still trepidatious and still haven't said anything! We'll see though...

  8. i am... mostly libertarian, theoretically, but for reasonably obvious reasons(like the fact that no libertarian's getting voted in, ever, plus the system won't really work if they do), i vote democrat. and i'm staunchly pro-choice!
    (see, we do exist!)

  9. Valkyrie, that makes me glad to hear! I didn't mean to deny your existence :) Clearly this suggests a few things:

    1) The places I have hung out are not frequented by the promising kind of libertarians [not sure if this says something about me or about my cities of residence]


    2) I have been burned a couple times in a row and am now unfairly cautious around all libertarians, and ought to resist that hesitation if I want to be proven wrong in future.

    I want to believe, I do!


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.