How Environmentalists can Exploit the Abortion Issue
Ah, those pesky conservative Republicans: siding with big corporations, denying global warming, scarfing down factory-farmed food from Food Lion…What’s a good environmentalist to do? Write them all off?
I would suggest not. Swing votes are rather handy in our constitutional republic. And you need to prepare for those dry spells when the Democrats are out of power. Do you want the Republican Party to be completely dominated by corporate shills? And finally, the Democratic Party is not an entirely reliable ally. Yes, it includes an unfair share of sincere environmentalists, but many appear to be in the game for the loot: the lucrative energy programs and lawsuits. And those federal agencies are prone to regulatory capture: the USDA sides with factory farming more often than not.
The American Left also has a ravenous appetite for Keynesian economics, the economics of unnecessary growth. If you want sustainable economics, you have to look to the fringe Right, to the gold bugs, the Buchananites, the paleolibertarians, the truculent disciples of Mises and Hayek. Here you will find scholars skeptical of fast moving dollars as the measure of happiness. A fast food hamburger instead of a home cooked meal means more GDP, but is it a lifestyle improvement? The potential audience for a deep green message is there, but they are a wild bunch, not easily tamed by those with the scent of bureaucracy and big government on their clothes. Bring your tranquilizer gun.
I hope in the future to do an entire series on Eco-Conservatism, on the overlap in values between conservation and conservatism. But that must wait until I have more time. For now, I focus on a particularly effective tranquilizer dart: the abortion issue. This single issue renders all others moot for a sizeable fraction of the conservative clade. With a pro-life stance in hand you can win their votes against a Giuliani or a Gary Johnson even as you call for a carbon tax, mandatory recycling and many other goodies on the green wish list. But this is not what I am suggesting. Running in a Republican primary would be too much of a deep cover project, and you would get beaten by pro-life candidate with other conservative credentials.
No, I am suggesting a more subtle alliance: on issues where green and pro-life values overlap. And overlap they do! Animal rights and the anti-abortion stance both extend human rights to beings that are not universally considered human. The anti-GMO organic activist and the Christian fundamentalist are both wary of Frankenstein technology, of tampering with God-given Nature.
Of course, one group focuses more on the human “animal” and the other on the more endangered species. But we can focus even further to find the tip of our dart: where animal rights, and aversion to new chemicals, and sexual morality intersect: artificial sex hormones.
Abstinence education is all well and good when young adults have only a few years between puberty and marriage to wait through. But what happens when we extend education well into the twenties and puberty before ten? Answer: either safe sex, bastard children or abortions. Abstinence becomes the exception instead of the norm. Education is a weak tool in the face of biology, especially when the educators are forbidden to invoke religious arguments.
So what is causing young girls to become fertile long before they become mature? Is it too much fat? Simply better nutrition? Or is it plasticizers or the steroids pumped into the tortured animals at our abominable feedlots? If you believe it is one or both of the latter possibilities, you have a ready audience among the Religious Right. Take off your tie-dye and start exploiting.
If you haven’t already done so, read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. It is beautifully written, and yet horrifying where it covers modern factory farming, even organic factory farming. Take especial note where he covers the humane alternative: local integrative farming. His example farmer is not a tie-dyed hippie but a libertarian-conservative who graduated from Bob Jones University.
You might also want to do a web search on the phrase “raw milk.”