On Fundie Friday, I will discuss famous fundies and random wackaloons alike. Whether someone has done something in the news that’s insane, or is just generally insane and I feel like talking about them. I’ve talked about fundies before, just never with a particular format or label (i.e., Phelps — homophobic asshat).
Fundie is a pejorative that I will use to address any fundamentalist thinking on any topic. Thus, these little profiles will not be limited to young-Earth creationists, but anyone with an unwavering belief in any sort of religious, paranormal, political, social, or pseudoscientific loonery.
Today’s fundie is:
Name: Sarah Palin
Defining Characteristics: Known for her Marge Gunderson-like accent, power suits, and not knowing a goddamn thing about politics. If elected this fall, will have been mayor, governor, vice president, and (if McCain kicks it) possibly president — all within 6 years. Thinks homosexuality is a choice. Doesn’t read. Doesn’t know what science is.
Fundie message: If your dad rapes you at 15 and you become pregnant, you should not have an abortion. Abortion is always wrong no matter what the circumstances: physical or psychological risk to the mother, socioeconomic status, disease status, predicted risk for the infant, availability of support, etc.
Why dangerous: Although she is perfectly free to voice her opinion on whatever she wants in whatever way she wants, she is in line to run a nation of 300 million people with varying social interests, wants, and needs. Her concreteness on this (or any) controvercial issue sets an atmosphere where discussion is not encouraged and progress is stunted. Her unwavering and rigid position means that although a law may not be made to support her view, a law probably also won’t be made that goes against her views, either. It is simply not acceptable for a vice-presidential candidate of a heterogeneous nation to publicly have fixed preferences on any such controversial topic that affects personal liberty if she is to represent the interests of her entire nation. The topic of abortion is a complex social issue, but it is not being adequately addressed if the vice president (who may be a heart murmur away from being president) has already made such a strong decision in a distinct con stance. There is no abstract provisional consideration, there is only concreteness and dogma. Also, I believe her decision is not based on what she thinks is morally or socially appropriate after careful philosophical consideration, but on what her religious and conservative beliefs dictate. The vice president of the United States saying that abortion is wrong, abstinence-only education is the only way to deal with sex in teenagers, etc. helps enable the self-proclaimed morally superior to feel that it is appropriate to, for example, refuse to sell condoms and birth control in pharmacies. I’m not blaming her directly for things such as this happening, but I do hold her partly responsible (along with all similar public figures) for setting a tone that allows people in a so-called free country to dictate to others what they should and should not do in their personal lives.
Bottom Line: She has taken a complex issue, boiled it down to a completely unrealistic expectation for human performance, and has promoted that view publicly in a morally-superior tone as if considering each situation on its merits is inherently less moral than making a blanket judgment for every human being. This allows for a dangerous atmosphere of intolerance towards people’s personal liberty, which can have far-reaching indirect social consequences such as professionals allowing their personal beliefs to prevent them from providing adequate services to the public.
UPDATE: I am not a libertarian, despite the tone of this post.