Last week someone sent me a link to this article about Vice President Biden's outrageous recent remarks in China. J. Bottum asks why we had to send China a "court jester" "dressed in motley."
In case you've forgotten, Biden told the Chinese that he isn't "second-guessing" their brutal one-child policy and that he "understands" it. He suggested that perhaps we (who also have a graying population) and the Chinese might help each other out in dealing with this little demographic problem. Bottum beautifully skewers the silly attempt to defend Biden as "criticizing" China's policy:
As, for instance, one might have criticized the Politburo’s 1930 decision to exterminate the middle-class kulaks as opponents of the Soviet regime by mentioning to Stalin that the policy seemed, well, a trifle counterproductive. Financially speaking.
I couldn't possibly have said it better.
But let's reexamine this "gaffe" motif. My response to the claim that Biden made a gaffe is just this: No, he didn't. He told us where he is really coming from. Recent administration statements to the contrary notwithstanding, Biden voted in 2000 against a Senate resolution condemning China's policy (lest it damage trade relations!), and, of course, one of the earliest actions of the Obama administration was to restore funding to the infamous UNFPA. Nor is there any indication that that will change. Actions, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, speak louder than words.
Conservatives need to face the fact that liberals are usually not bumblers. They know what they want, and they pursue it. And opposing coercive population control isn't one of the things they want. Far from it. In fact, flirtation with coercive population control is chic among liberals, as I have documented already here, here, and here. And in this post (see the end) I have several links (were any documentation needed) on the gushing, eager support of the left for UNFPA funding. What liberals really want is to cover up the brutal nature of the China policy and to continue to fund it. This is because the policy has something to do with abortion, sterilization, and birth control (which liberals have trouble believing could ever be anything but a benefit to anybody) and because it has now been spun as "green." So they aren't bumblers. They--including Biden--are committed for ideological reasons to aiding and abetting blatant evil.
Today I received the latest sickening installment:
Our ever-neutral mainstream news media, in the form of Yahoo News, informs us sweetly that the "One-Child Policy [is] a Surprising Boon for China Girls." Yes, you read that right, folks. How is this possible? After all, China has (as the article admits) a huge male-female imbalance because, motivated by the one-child policy, people are selectively aborting their baby girls so that their one child can be a boy. Wow, what a boon! Then there's the small matter of post-birth female infanticide in China. Then there's the issue of female infant abandonment and the high rate of infant death in orphanages, where the children are overwhelmingly female. The Yahoo article doesn't bother to mention post-birth infanticide and abandonment, though it can't entirely ignore sex-selection abortion. But the message is this: If a little girl isn't aborted before she's born (or killed shortly thereafter, or abandoned, or neglected to death in an orphanage), then her parents are nowadays likely to value her more than (in some sense) similar parents would have valued a girl prior to the institution of the one-child policy. So if a girl is born first, and if her parents accept her existence at all, then they adopt a more egalitarian position towards her than traditional Chinese parents would have done when they were allowed to have more children, and the girl may have access to various societal benefits that a girl in the past wouldn't have had access to, such as a college education, tutors, and (wait for it) laptop computers.
Wow. I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude on behalf of my gender.
The Yahoo article is clearly attempted damage control in the aftermath of both Biden's remarks and increasing reportage of the missing girl problem in China and other Asian countries--for example, Mara Hvistendahl's book Unnatural Selection. The article attempts to appeal to feminist sensibilities. After all, if you are a committed pro-abortion feminist, you have a certain amount of cognitive dissonance concerning sex-selective abortion of females. As a pro-abort, you aren't actually supposed to recognize the personhood of the unborn child, so in what sense are real female people being killed? And if you're committed to "choice," then why shouldn't the mother have the choice to abort the female child selectively if that's what she wants to do? And if this results in more egalitarian treatment of and better educational opportunities for women in the society--that is, more egalitarian treatment of the women allowed to live at all--that may be an irresistable argument to a feminist.
Of course, it doesn't fit very well with feminism to recognize the forced nature of many abortions in China under the one-child policy while still supporting it. The women forced to abort (or even forced to use birth control or be sterilized when they would like more children) are fully recognized "persons" even by the feminist ideology. The Yahoo article manages to choke out a mention of forced sterilization and late-term abortion, alleging that these are "illegal" (whatever that means on the ground) and are perpetrated only by "over-zealous" family planning officials. No mention of crushing fines, required use of birth control, and required abortion generally. So Yahoo's position is that the one-child policy isn't coercive? The usual leftist cover-up, denial, and excuse-making thus goes on, despite the fact that the official and coercive nature of China's policy has been demonstrated ad nauseum. What sort of "boon" is it to those girls when they eventually grow up, become mothers themselves, and are required on pain of massive fines or other punishments to abort a wanted child for whom they lack a "birth license"?
So we have two liberal tropes: First, the unborn girls and newborn girls who are killed or abandoned don't really count, because their personhood is not recognized. Their personhood is not recognized, in true postmodern form, because society hasn't accepted them. Second, women punished for having "unlicensed" children are made invisible, because they do not fit with the narrative. So much for choice.
Population control chic marches on.