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Population Control Chic IV--Not a gaffe but a policy

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.

Comments (40)

Wow. I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude on behalf of my gender.
The correct word is not "gender", but "sex". The word "gender", used as a replacement for the word"sex", is a leftist political-and-thought-control ploy; conservatives should not fall for it.

Okay, I'm overwhelmed (sarcasm) with gratitude on behalf of my sex. As in "the weaker sex." I'll buy that, Ilion, but I don't think I'll change the o.p.

Ilion, I am not sure why that should be the case. "Gender" has a long history of being used in grammatical and literary uses comparable to Lydia's, this is not a new way of using the word. "Sex" can be the right word, but it can also refer to an action rather than to a physiological arrangement. Because of that, it can ALSO have the connotation of having the physiological arrangement in preparation for the act, or in relation to engaging in the act, which is a connotation that we probably don't want to carry in all uses - such as when we are referring to the fact that only men are priests, and so on. "Gender" isn't wrong.

Gender refers to feminine, masculine, or sometimes neither (neuter). Lydia is a member of the species female: a sex. Female is associated with the feminine (a gender). It is possible that Lydia is expressing (sarcastic) gratitude on behalf of all things feminine (women, flowers, ships, tables, artistic works, souls, mouths, hands). But it is more likely that she is speaking on behalf of females, more specifically human females, which are a sex.

"Gender" is generally a very poor synonym for "sex"... but it's not considered polite to talk about sex. So the confusion is understandable.

Okay, okay, gen'lmen, time out. I _know_ Ilion's comment was tempting--whether you agree or disagree with him. But _back_ to the subject of the post.

Hmmmm, how ought we to refer to persons such as Biden who combine the physical attributes of the masculine sex with the pliability, urge to compromise, etc of the feminine gender? RINOs we know are Republicans in name only. Would good ole Joe be a MINO, a male in name only?

Conservatives need to face the fact that liberals are usually not bumblers.

Generally that is a fair statement, but Biden is the exception that proves the rule.

Regarding UNFPA, this is from a somewhat dated article, but it contains some useful background info.

The UNFPA Presence in China
UNFPA has not and will not participate in the management of China's population program. Assistance from UNFPA amounts to less than one-half of one percent of the total cost of China's national program (estimated to be more than $3.6 billion annually, compared to UNFPA's $5 million). Similarly, UNFPA has a staff of fourteen in China, as compared to the host government's 160,000 family planning workers. UNFPA is no more able to "manage" Chinese activities than any other nation or entity that deals with China - including countries like the United States that have important bilateral relations and high level interactions with China.

As is its right as a UN member, China has requested assistance from UNFPA for many years. At the behest of its 36-member Executive Committee, UNFPA is undertaking its fifth multi-year program in China. The Executive Board (representing the views of the international community) believes that UNFPA can demonstrate to China that improvements in quality of care, respect for human rights and support for free, informed choice are the proper means by which the health of mothers and children improves, the number of abortions decline and families choose - freely - to have fewer children. And UNFPA has the results to prove these ideas.

UNFPA's China Country Program 4 (CP4) undertook pilot efforts in 32 Chinese counties. As a condition of assistance, UNFPA insisted that China agree, in these 32 locations, to adhere to the principles contained in the Program of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). For example, the Chinese authorities agreed to abolish all quotas and targets in those counties.

Between 1998-2002, knowledge of modern methods of contraception doubled to more than 85% from 40%. Knowledge of natural methods (e.g. rhythm) also increased.
Knowledge of how HIV/AIDS is transmitted and strategies for preventing transmission increased dramatically
Female sterilization declined by 16% and contraceptive prevalence reached a level of almost 90%.
The percentage of women who made decisions about contraceptive use jointly with their husbands increased to 70% from 27%.
The ratio of abortions to live births declined by 30% and is now substantially lower than the ratio in the US
The percentage of women aged 25-39 who had a gynecological check-up doubled to 68%.
The average frequency of prenatal check-ups increased by 30%, and the percentage of home deliveries dropped to 18% from 50%.
Infant and maternal mortality rates have declined.

In addition to these clear, independently-verified results in the 32 counties where UNPFA operates, there are additional signs that UNFPA's efforts are inducing programmatic changes on the part of Chinese authorities. These changes include:

Relaxation of strict laws by various provinces
Initial steps by Chinese authorities to address the sex ratio imbalance.
Increased urgency from Chinese authorities on the HIV/AIDS epidemic

Step2, don't drink the kool-aid. Population Research Institute has examined so-called "model districts" and shown that coercion is of the essence of the Chinese program--birth licenses, fines, etc. The UNFPA funds China's program. It should refuse to do so. There really is no middle ground here. Saying that somehow the UNFPA is improving things is just another form of denial in order to justify continued U.S. funding for the UNFPA.

I quoted this, for example, in a previous entry:

In Lipu county, another UNFPA Model Birth Control County, located in northern Guangxi province, we were told by...village officials that “At the present time, if you don’t pay the fine, they come and abduct the baby you just gave birth to and give it to someone else."

I also quoted this:

In one UNFPA “Model Birth Control County,” we photographed a billboard of birth control regulations that warned:
Those who illegally reproduce … will be assessed, when their illegal behavior is discovered, a "social compensation fee" based on a unit calculated from a year’s salary for urban dwellers and based on a year’s income after expenses for rural dwellers; Those who illegally give birth to one child, will be assessed a fine 3 to 5 times their annual income; those who illegally give birth to a second child will be assessed a fine from 5 to 7 times their annual income; those who illegally give birth to a third child will be assessed a fine from 7 to 9 times their annual income; those who give birth to 4 or more illegal children will be assessed a fine extrapolated from the above schedule of multiples; Those who illegally take in a child, have an extramarital birth, have an out of wedlock birth, both parties involved will be assessed a “social compensation fee" according to the above schedule of (income) multiples.
That these fines were actually imposed was clear from our discussions with ordinary Chinese. We were told again and again that violators are fined “tens of thousands of renminbi,” or "20,000 or 30,000 renminbi." These are enormous sums of money by Chinese standards.


This is from Steve Mosher's lengthy testimony here:

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/112/mos051311.pdf

Steve Mosher is not someone I consider to be trustworthy in any way. So many of his claims have been proven false, it is incredible he is still allowed to give testimony to Congress.
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2002/06/13/unfpa

Step2, that's pretty...weak. Pathetic, in fact. Look at even its internal contradictions. On the one hand, we have a pious statement that while coercive population control _does_ take place in China, it doesn't take place in those model counties. But then, a few paragraphs later, we find the following, from someone who apparently visited Potemkin village (emphasis added):

In April, a British delegation chaired by M.P. Edward Leigh, a Catholic member of the Conservative Party, went to China to investigate PRI's charges. Upon returning, Leigh told the Washington Times that "there was evidence UNFPA is trying to persuade China away from the program of strict targets and assessments. My personal line is British or U.S. funds should not be used for coercive family planning, and I found no evidence of such practices in China."

What the heck??

A little later, we get the following admission:

Women in those counties can still be fined for having too many children, but Scruggs notes that while such fines are a human rights violation, if the UNFPA was limited to countries with spotless human rights records it wouldn't be able to work in much of the developing world.

In other words, these incredible fines (documented by the above quotation from the poster in one of the "model counties") are real, but hey, everybody does something bad, so let's go on funding the one-child policy!

So it's not forced abortion unless you're hog-tied and dragged away?

By the way, Step2, I didn't find anywhere in that article anything that I considered to "disprove" a single one of Mosher's statements about China's forced population control program.

And what are you saying? That the above quotations were something Mosher just made up? He never saw such a poster? The village official lied to him? He lied about what the village officials said?

I tell you, Step2: I am frankly sickened by the unending spin, spin, spin from the left about China and the UNFPA.

WelltheUNFPAismakingthingsbetterafterallnobodyhasspotlesshumanrightsrecordsthisonecommissionfoundnoevidenceofforcedabortionwellokaytherearehugefinesbuteverybodydoesbadstuffwellokaythereisforcedabortionbutnotintheUNFPAmodelcountiesunlessyoucountthefinesbutPRIareextremistswedon'twanttotalkaboutthefineslate-termforcedabortionsareillegalinChinawetotallyrepudiateChina'sterriblepoliciesbutUNFPAisreallymakingthembetterwellexceptforthefinesandabductionsbutMosher'stheonetalkingaboutabductionsandMosherisaliarandtheUNFPAdoessuchgoodworkyesit'sdraconianbutweunderstandbutwetotallyrepudiateitbutwewanttokeepfundingtheUNFPAbecausetheUNFPAisreallygoodandwhatyou'resayingthey'redoingisillegalsotheycan'tbedoingitandlet'snottalkaboutthefines.

It makes me ill. Really.

It is one of my signature cases of the choice devours itself phenomenon. You liberals can't even make up your own mind about your own line of spin. You're just sure you want to spin because this organization has been identified as "one of your own" and you're determined to keep the funding going to the tune of 34 million or more. So you spin one way and then another; whatever comes to mind, including term redefinition and misdirection. Faugh.

And shame, shame on anyone who pretends that this is about "choice." This is about the worship of death, of sterilization, of abortion, and of any organization that says it makes these more widely available, and even your supposedly beloved choice can go to the wall while you pretend to the contrary.

The difference, Lydia, is that the Left is incapable of enduring either irony or shame for any longer than a Planck time. Should such an event arise, the Leftist will seek to change the subject at all costs, and if cornered, throw a childish tantrum.

My thesis on the matter may take some time to develop, however the data retrieved from the Madison protests should prove to be invaluable.

The point wasn't about the word itself; the point was about allowing your mind to be colonized by leftist shibboleths.

What the heck??

He found no evidence that British or US funds were used for coercive family planning in China. It isn't that difficult to decipher.

I am frankly sickened by the unending spin, spin, spin from the left about China and the UNFPA.

I am also sickened by the unending spin from Mosher against a group that is trying to relax and eventually end the one-child policy in China through the limited means they have available to them. I guess being a purist means you can say anything you want, despite being debunked by multiple blue-ribbon government panels and various NGOs.

Again, this is a result you are actively opposing as a pro-lifer -
The ratio of abortions to live births declined by 30% and is now substantially lower than the ratio in the US

I guess being a purist means you can say anything you want

That's beautiful. Just beautiful. "Being a purist." So the one-child policy remains in full swing in these lovely "model counties," and let's face it--the very article you linked *admits that* because it manages to mention very briefly that women and their families face fines (it doesn't say how incredibly crushing they are) for unlicensed births in these places. After all, it wouldn't _be_ a one-child policy if there weren't punishments for violating it. But one is a "purist" if one doesn't want America to fund this.

Love the ambiguity on "coercive." What's-his-name found no evidence of use of American funds for "coercive" family planning. So either he's an idiot and didn't know that families are still hit with crushing fines or else he doesn't think that's "coercive."

Wow.

As for debunking, all I see is change of subject and term redefinition. That's not debunking. Even Mosher's and his investigators' claims about the mechanisms for punishing families who do _not_ pay the fines (such as home destruction and child snatching, to name only two) have not been "debunked."

I say it again: So much for choice. Choice can be out the window.

Perhaps I'm suffering from the heat, but it seems a bit interesting that the liberal agenda with regards to population control in the U. S. should tie itself to a repressive regime in China. In fact, it seems oxymoronic that the liberal agenda is really, ultimately, a repressive agenda, even more so than the conservative agenda. One would expect a true liberal not to want to control population, but to grow the population and to put the people to better use.

Of course, I am politically naive, but isn't it the same thing with regards to the environment? Who wants to shut down production? Isn't it the liberals? They seem to have a very oxymoronic stance of many issues: expansion by repression.

Since I don't follow politics, I assume I will now get a long lecture on what true liberal and conservative practices are. I will be happy to listen - as long as I get to eat popcorn.

The Chicken

Is that genetically modified popcorn?

You're definitely on to something, Chicken. What you're seeing is related to what I call the choice devours itself phenomenon. Sometimes even my conservative readers get confused about what I'm talking about, so I feel as though I'm not really clear enough about it.

In the choice devours itself phenomenon, the real victims of coercion, in the end, are the people whom the liberals insist are _benefited_ by the practice. So, for example, we start out pushing abortion in America under the aegis of "choice" for women and end up denying evidence of _no choice_ for women, women being forced to abort, in China. Or the liberals start out by pushing suicide and euthanasia under the aegis of "choice" for the patient and end up turning a blind eye when people are pressured into suicide or when euthanasia is carried out involuntarily or on people who lack mental competence to choose. And so forth. The very people in the name of whose "choice" the whole thing was promoted, legalized, and celebrated--pregnant women, the disabled, the elderly, for example--end up being coerced or massively pressured into these supposedly wonderful "choices," and the liberal either doesn't admit that it's happening, downplays what is really happening, makes excuses, or even applauds people who are enabling the evil.

"Choice devours itself" isn't just about totalitarianism. It's about this bizarre duality whereby "choice" is supposed to be so wonderful, but only choice in one direction. If people want to make the choice in the other direction, or if they are incapable of making a meaningful choice, and if they get pushed, pressured, or coerced in the pro-death (or pro-sex) direction, suddenly all that liberal concern for choice evaporates and excuses are made.

Another classic case was this: On the original "choice devours itself" thread on the old Right Reason blog, I instanced, inter alia, both liberal excuse-making for China's one-child policy and the UNFPA and also the following story: Some foreign aid group worked with sex slavers and (I still can hardly believe this) promised the sex slavers that they would give the female slaves no information about how to escape and no help to escape, in return for which the foreign aid workers were given access to the female sex slaves in order to treat them for diseases and give them condoms and advice on how to "negotiate" with men to try to convince the men abusing them to use the condoms.

Nearly the entire thread was taken up with liberals defending the foreign aid workers' deal with the devil.

As far as I was concerned, my point was amply proved by that fact alone. Supposedly sex is all about choice; supposedly the "sweet mystery of life" means that choices related to sex are virtually worthy of worship. But these women were _slaves_. They were being kept in slavery and forced to have sex with men. And these aid workers were willing to make deals with their slavers not to help them, and the same liberals who tell us that it would be just terrible for us not to allow, say, pornography on public library computers because it would reduce the "choices" of people using the library are just fine with that deal.

That's just one more example.

Here is the telling conclusion of the article Step2 linked:

To Mosher, the victims are the women the UNFPA serves. To Scruggs, they're the women it doesn't. "A woman dies every minute from pregnancy-related causes," he says. "Seventy-five to 80 percent of those deaths could be prevented. We're responsible for saving women's lives."

Here's the reality. The UNFPA "contracted" with China not to use coercive population measures in those counties. Theoretically, UNFPA funds and personnel in those counties are doing "ordinary" stuff to reduce pregnancy-related health problems. Here are the primary methods UNFPA uses:

(1) Promote condoms.
(2) Promote the pill.
(3) Promote knowledge about sex, including to young people.
(4) Promote before and after conception health care.

Unfortunately, there are 2 basic problems with UNFPA's approach here. First, they made a "deal" with a communist government. As Russia and China have proven for 90 years, communist governments feel no compuction whatsoever about telling lies: they do it all the time, to further their own causes. Since they (the government officials) are the only score-keepers for the "contract", there is nothing that prevents them from telling UNFPA one thing and then go on doing exactly what they had already been doing. And little in the investigations mentioned by the article makes it clear that they have actually STOPPED all of the coercive methods. (The one unambiguous STATEMENT is clearly defective - it doesn't even restrict it extent of blessing to the 32 contract counties.) There is undoubtedly a very strong dose of double-talking going on, with regards to what constitutes coercive methods. If you asked the Chinese officials, they would certainly give a different list than an unbiased American.

Secondly, UNFPA's own methods are bad. The UNFPA mentality is that the easiest "low hanging fruit" place to put your efforts on preventing pregnancy problems and child health problems is to reduce pregnancy and child-bearing. Their methods are bad from the the standpoint of long-term effectiveness, because condoms and the pill and sex education, after they have torn down traditional morality, have the effect of increasing pregnancies: improperly used condoms, method failure chemicals, and increasing youths' interest, curiosity, and and breaking down barriers all increase the amount of sexual events vastly, and youths are not notorious for using safeguards carefully.


But another aspect of these is the damage to women's bodies that come from contraceptives: the chemicals damage their endocrine system, IUDs cause sterility, and so on. The resulting sterility is NOT "voluntary" as in voluntary methods of birth regulation, it is involuntary because these women are being sold a bill of goods and don't have other sources of information to back-check it.

But the methods are bad aside from all this: it is simply wrong to promote contraceptives. Period. Even apart from the abortifacient nature of most contraceptives, using such things is sinful, contrary to human nature, and causes damage to marital (and non-marital) relationships. UNFPA is doing bad things.

What baffles people in the U.N. is why the U.S. is willing to let programs suffer based on reports by an organization fundamentally hostile to the UNFPA's mission.

UNFPA's mission, so far as they are concernced, seems to be to get women to stop having so many children. Now, if UNFPA wanted to spend money actually taking care of ill women, instead of making healthy women ill, that would be nice. And if UNFPA were to stop taking the stance that reducing pregnancies (even if wanted) is the way to reduce pregnancy problems, that would be good too.

"It is one of my signature cases of the choice devours itself phenomenon."

"And shame, shame on anyone who pretends that this is about 'choice.'"

OK, I'll buy that.

Unless one can demonstrate that individual access to abortion was considered a right in the PRC prior to the adoption of the one child policy and also demonstrate the causal chain that got us to "one child" from free Chinese choice. Of course, in order to do that one would have to assert and demonstrate the existence of individual rights in China under Mao.

Otherwise all we have is yet another example of a totalitarian regime violating their citizen's basic human rights (and a mirror image of Chauchesku's totalitarian anti-abortion policies in Romania).

Anyway, all this is quite a bit to hang on a parenthetical comment. What isn't clear is the role of the UN in the relevant counties. Is the program run in parallel to the government offices or does the UN give the money to the PRC? If the the program is run independently then it seems unreasonable to hold it responsible for Chinese government policies and possibly overzealous cadres.

Attempting to draw some connection to liberalism in American is simply ridiculous. Forget for a moment that such interference in individual matters is anathema to most on the left. A person attempting to do so has to explain why we liberals would bother in the context of a nation in which access to abortion and contraception as an individual right is established.

There seems to be one basic fact about we humans; given the means, most of us will engage in a rational spacing of our offspring and, given those means, over time the challenge will be maintaining a replacement level overall birth rate.

(Biden' point is perfectly valid. The combination of totalitarian methods and poor cultural values has left China with huge demographic problems. Experience and reason clearly show that a sane population policy will empower women and maximize individual human choice.)

The only value I can see in this thread is that it once again demonstrates the extent to which projection governs the conservative world view.

Ask yourselves, who among us wishes to insert the power of the state into folks' private lives? As Alan Roebuck pointed out in the thread just south of here,

"The order of society does not arise spontaneously from individuals practicing personal piety. Society’s laws, rules, customs, and traditions must also be made right by sociopolitical action, and the necessary foundation of a properly ordered society is a general belief among the population that society’s order ought to be proper."

Could Mao or Stalin have said it better? Conservatives see liberals as seeking unwarranted power because they can conceive of no other end to government.

One last point here. The whole notion of population control begs the essential question - why should we care if we multiply ourselves into a population crash? One more hominid species goes boom. Big Deal. Caring on that issue is definitional for the right.

What isn't clear is the role of the UN in the relevant counties. Is the program run in parallel to the government offices or does the UN give the money to the PRC?

This has also been documented, though (gasp) by the PRI, whom Step2 simply believes to be blatant liars. They work out of the same offices and fund the PRC's population control efforts. That is why they think they're in some sort of position to make a deal with the Communists to set up these "model counties."

Attempting to draw some connection to liberalism in American is simply ridiculous.

How can it be ridiculous? It is the liberals in America who want, indeed, _demand_, the UNFPA funded, who brand as crazy liars and zealots those who make a big noise about China's one-child policy, and who accept obvious double-talk and spin in defense, on some days, of the policy itself and on other days of the UNFPA. It's not the conservatives doing this. And it's a big wad of tax dollar cash we're talking about, which the liberals want given and the conservatives don't. It's the liberals and not the conservatives who write the columns I've documented saying sweetie things about the "benefits" and "greenness" of China's one-child policy.

This isn't rocket science. It is liberals and not conservatives who are doing these things. It is conservatives and not liberals who are calling them out on it. It's that simple.

By the way, for those of Step2's mindset, I point out that that so-called liar Steve Mosher _broke_ the story of forced abortion in China in the 70's the course of his, so-called, by the Communist government, "illegal" interactions with the Chinese people. (Leave the tour in a Communist country and report facts embarrassing to the Communist government, get called a liar and a criminal, with the happy acquiescence of the American Left.) _Now_ the liberal line of spin is that, well, yes, the Chinese government does have a coercive abortion policy, but the UNFPA is somehow helping that (except for the crushing fines and whatever the enforcement mechanisms are if you don't pay them, but you're a "purist" if that bothers you). But even the concession that the Chinese government is doing coercive things at all in this area was a result, originally, of the work of Steve Mosher. This is sometimes conveniently forgotten.

http://www.pop.org/content/full-report-on-unfpas-involvement-in-china

A lot of this is relevant. For example:

Local officials told PRI investigators that there is no distinction between UNFPA's program in Sihui and the Chinese family planning program in Sihui. PRI investigators visited this office on three occasions.

I'm sure, Al, that you'll find plenty of left-wing spin articles downplaying this, claiming that the investigation of the lack of distinction between the UNFPA and the Chinese family planning program amounts to nothing. (There are many such articles out there, of course.) Since "this amounts to nothing" is something you are often prone to say yourself in other contexts, you may well be very happy to accept such statements. I hope, however, that you will falsify my expectations this time.

Another point: The UNFPA justifies itself by claiming it has had all this success in stopping coercion in these "model counties." Based on the PRI report, this is flat-out false. The coercion in the model county they investigated in detail is in full swing and not even hidden. So the UNFPA is either stupid or lying, and their own presented justification is non-existent. This is _in addition to_ the fact that the UNFPA's family planning program is no distinct from the PRC's family planning program in the county. Even if the UNFPA were giving them money for or engaging in some quite different activity, if the UNFPA says that it does this only on condition that the PRC engage in only "voluntary methods" in the "model counties," and if the UNFPA says that that is happening, and if it isn't, then the UNFPA is saying something that is false as a justification for giving whatever "carrot" it is giving to the PRC.

These testimonies are a sample of the interviews carried out in China. All interviews took place within a few miles of the UNFPA office desk and within the borders of Sihui county:

Questioner: "If you violate the population control regulations by having too many children, what happens to you?"

Woman: "When I had my children, things were not as strict. Right now, things are very, very strict."

Questioner: "What happens to you if you give birth to another child?"

Woman: "You want to have another child! You think it's that easy to give birth!"

Questioner: "Would someone come to your house and take you in by force in for an abortion?"

Woman: "Yes. But they don't need to use force. They simply require you to go."

Questioner: "And if you don't go?"

Woman (astonished): "They require you to go and you don't go?"

Questioner: "What if you say you don't want to go?"

Woman: "What reason could you give [for resisting.] Giving birth to an extra child is difficult, very, very difficult to have a child."

Questioner: "But you yourself had three children. How did this happen?"

Woman: "First I had two. Then seven years later I had another baby boy. They had already tied my tubes and I had another boy."

Questioner: "After you had an operation? After they tied your tubes? How did they know you had a baby?"

Woman: "They found out. Someone told them."

Questioner: "Then the family planning workers came to your house. Did a whole troop of them come?"

Woman: "A lot of them came. Many, many people."

Questioner: "What if you hid?"

Woman: "That wouldn't work. They would tear down my house." (Points at the ceiling). "They would wreck it."

Golly, what a purist I am to object to that.

Or to this:

In another residential area, we spoke with a man who was working in his garden. He turned out to be the father-in-law of a woman who had been ordered to have an abortion but had instead gone into hiding. He was angry at local officials because his home and two others had been recently destroyed by Sihui family planning workers as punishment for his daughter-in-law's refusal to submit to an abortion as required by the law.

Nine of this woman's family members had been imprisoned and they had been forced to pay fines to win their release. Their neighbors had loaned them the funds they needed to pay the fines.

This man took PRI's investigative team to interview his daughter-in-law. She told PRI investigators of the punishments she and her family had experienced. She showed us the areas of her house that had been destroyed. Before leaving, PRI investigators were able to meet her baby boy, who was thirteen months old.

But of course, _every_ regime has its human rights abuses, and the UNFPA has to work with them, and the UNFPA is somehow making the situation better, and ... (blah, blah, blah).

Oh, wait a minute. This report is from PRI. That's it! I bet the interview they played for Congress was taped in a studio in the U.S. It was all a fake! And all the other interviews were just made up too. Hmm, wait a minute, no one claims that _exactly_. They just vaguely say PRI has been "debunked."

The order of society does not arise spontaneously from individuals practicing personal piety.

It worked for the Apostles and their followers during the years after the Resurrection; it worked for the Desert Fathers; it worked for St. Benedict and his followers in the sixth-century; it worked for the Mennonites in the sixteenth-century; it worked for the Shakers in the eighteenth-century.

Society can be run perfectly well on a small-cell basis with occasional conclaves. The Benedictine Order has survived for 1400 years that way.

Society’s laws, rules, customs, and traditions must also be made right by sociopolitical action, and the necessary foundation of a properly ordered society is a general belief among the population that society’s order ought to be proper."

It does not take sociopolitical action to achieve this, merely a common vision and commitment, which, unfortunately, exists almost nowhere in the world, today. Rules, customs, laws, etc. are merely substitutes for the natural charity which should exist in Fallen man. We have such poor governments, today, because we have such a poor understanding of the needs of charity (theologically-speaking). Put simply with regards to the topic of this post, where there is no charity, there is repression of everything it means to be human. China, as a nation, remembers nothing about charity. It has all been stamped out in the name of a cookie-cutter people. The U. S. is quickly getting there.

I saw a blow-up of the streets of my city circa 1910 on the wall at the bus complex a few days ago. Women wore dresses down to the ankles with no hint of their anatomy. Men wore suits and hats. All were polite to each other.

Today? Welcome to Narcissism Central. When is the last time you saw a man hold a door open for a woman or speak in polite tones? There was a time when friends were friends with whom you dared to speak of faults and fears in confidence. Today, no one admits to fears, much less faults, and people are so brazen as to practically stand on the street corner naked, such is the power of the Internet.

True charity? "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends..."

Against such a thing, there is no law.

The Chicken

It worked for the Apostles and their followers during the years after the Resurrection; it worked for the Desert Fathers; it worked for St. Benedict and his followers in the sixth-century; it worked for the Mennonites in the sixteenth-century; it worked for the Shakers in the eighteenth-century.
It does not take sociopolitical action to achieve this, merely a common vision and commitment, which, unfortunately, exists almost nowhere in the world, today. Rules, customs, laws, etc. are merely substitutes for the natural charity which should exist in Fallen man. We have such poor governments, today, because we have such a poor understanding of the needs of charity (theologically-speaking). Put simply with regards to the topic of this post, where there is no charity, there is repression of everything it means to be human.

MC, maybe I am misunderstanding you. Sooner or later, it becomes society-wide only when it becomes recognized and reflected in law, and that takes political action. Until then, the laws will be _at best_ somewhat counterproductive to the maintenance of such a "sub"-social order as can be achieved by individual action, something that has to be pushed at constantly so that it doesn't encroach and imperil your continued success in individual efforts. As you suggest, modesty in attire has gone from about 98% to about 10%, in 100 years. It is effectively IMPOSSIBLE to raise young men free of extra, enormous challenges to their capacity to develop chastity today, because both laws and customs were ignored during the 50s, 60s, and beyond. Customs sometimes need the support of law to keep them intact. This is not something that ought to be outside the political order: customs are necessary for the common good, and the legislator has care of the common good and may need to act to support custom.

Sorry Lydia, I'm going to have to agree with Akin on this one. Biden was actually CRITICIZING the policy.

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/how-does-vice-president-biden-really-feel-about-chinas-one-child-policy/

I think in times like this, CONTEXT is the key word. By the way, I agree with nearly everything you write and am ultra-conservative, I just don't think Biden was endorsing China's policy.

As Mr. Akin says:

"Yet it is clear if you read the actual vice presidential quotation that there is more going on here than a simple defense or endorsement. Biden is actually, in his own, clumsy, gaffe-tastic way, criticizing the policy.

Look at the core of his statement:

“You have no safety net. Your policy has been one ... of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable."

That’s clearly criticism. And criticism that is rather blunt, impolitic, and undiplomatic at that!"

...Later in Mr. Akin's article he suggests that Vice President Biden realized the mistake he was making when he made this rather politically incorrect and blunt comment, so he attempts damage control. In Mr. Akin's words:

"And so, after a valiant struggle, the following words were inserted into the second vice presidential sentence:

. . . which I fully understand—I’m not second-guessing—

Does he mean those words?

Of course not! He clearly is second guessing the policy. He is in the very act of audibly, publicly second guessing the policy.

He’s just blabbering some backtracking politeness to soften the blow of what he is otherwise committed to saying because he can’t think of a better way out of the situation.

And everybody knows that.

Including the Chinese."

...And, like Mr. Akin, I actually rather LIKE the fact that Vice President Biden put China on the hotseat here, even if it was in the most Gaffe-o-matic way possible.

Normally I wouldn't believe somebody could make such a bad and obvious gaffe like this, until I realized that it IS Biden we're talking about here...not a neurosurgeon by any stretch of the imagination.

I was in the middle of answering, Tony, when the power went out.

Laws that codify correct behavior that already exists in a society are merely charity crystallized. I have no problem with these. Many modern laws, however, are legal positivism, which impose behaviors which are far from correct simply by the will of a legislator. Without true charity, laws become inhuman dictates crystallizing depravity. It is easier to have charity where there is a common vision. Fewer things to sort out. In the everybody-shouting-their -own-opinion world of today, it is hard to see where charity (and where true laws lie) is because it is drowned out by a thousand angry and lonely voices.

The Chicken

Just a guy:

I'm going to put this this way:

Suppose that we were talking about a policy of sending Jews to gas ovens.

Would anybody consider it acceptable, I don't care if you insert the words "bumbling," "damage control," "back-tracking," or anything else of the kind, to insert, "which I fully understand, I'm not second-guessing," into a speech which criticized that policy *solely* on consequentialist grounds? "You know, you now have somewhat of a shortage of doctors in your country, because you've been rounding up the Jews, and that's been your policy, and I understand, I'm not second-guessing, but maybe we can talk together about what to do about this doctor shortage..."

Sickening.

No. I'm sorry. The problem here is, as I have noticed elsewhere, that government population control, even overtly coercive population control, is not really regarded as being *anywhere near* as bad as it really is by the left.

Now combine that with the fact that this administration had as a big priority, a fast priority, a high priority at the very beginning of the administration, the restoration of money for China's population control program.

You were saying something about context? Yes. So am I.

Oh, I understand your point of view here completely, and I agree that the left is definitely heading in the wrong direction. I just generally prefer to take the "innocent until proven guilty" outlook in cases such as these.

Put another way-I'm trying not to be immediately reactionary. My first response to the article was yours, Lydia. While this does not make it an automatically "wrong" reaction, I did try and force myself to step back for a moment and see other opinions on the article, and I thought Mr. Akin's was well thought out and articulated.

But your position is clearly well thought out and makes sense as well. I just think that Jimmy Akin is also a smart guy and that perhaps some other people here might think his opinion was worth something, like I did. I think it's worth noting also that Akin too is an ultra-right wing conservative (although I'm sure you know that!).

Or, Mr. Akin and I could just be wrong and this could be a Very Bad Thing.

Ew, I said "first response to the ARTICLE". Meant "first response to Biden's comments."

Send all the women in China a "Free Tibet!" shirt to wear for Western cameras. Maybe then the progressives will stop pretending.

When the "gaffe" is sounding like you're critical, in entirely utilitarian terms, of a government policy that is an atrocity, and when you then "babble" that you "understand" the atrocity, so as not to seem too undiplomatic towards the government that perpetrates the atrocity, we know what is important to you, don't we? The "gaffe" was not saying that he "understands" and "isn't second-guessing." The "gaffe" was being, horror of horrors!, a tiny bit undiplomatic by saying anything remotely critical, however cold-blooded and unprincipled, of China's one-child policy. That analysis is damning in and of itself. As I said before, it tells us that the leftists don't really regard this as an atrocity. Being "understanding" of the evil of China's one-child policy is itself not a "gaffe" on the part of this administration. It is their policy, as their actions show.

As another example of the left's (and this administration's) laissez faire attitude toward totalitarian population control, remember Holdren.

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2009/07/utterly_beyond_the_pale.html

Let me add that I think the Yahoo article cited in the main post (which we haven't talked about yet in the thread) is indicative of a particular liberal damage-control attitude toward China's coercive policy: Find something good to say about it.

It's an odious article and utterly inexcusable: The callousness toward the coerced women, the despicable implication that the coercive nature of the policy is some sort of isolated and illegal abuse, the unconcern for the aborted and otherwise killed baby girls. I don't guess that the author is a member of the Tea Party; I'll just put it that way.

Now_ the liberal line of spin is that, well, yes, the Chinese government does have a coercive abortion policy, but the UNFPA is somehow helping that (except for the crushing fines and whatever the enforcement mechanisms are if you don't pay them, but you're a "purist" if that bothers you).

You are a purist if you think you can impose your moral demands on a totalitarian regime as a precondition of working there. It is much better to stand on your soapbox and condemn those who are willing to work within an odious system to effect marginal positive change, but for those who want to improve the system it is a luxury they can't afford. By the way, I reread that old Right Reason post and even back then I was critical of you for being a purist on this subject. So at least you can't accuse me of being inconsistent.

The difficult problem, as I see it, is the need to make sure you are not simply enabling the oppressive regime. That is why results matter, why improvement needs to be verified. Obviously I think UNFPA is achieving some reform and improvement, albeit slowly, against a tyrannical and paranoid Chinese government.

Regarding funding, UNFPA has previously received US funding on the condition that none of it would be allocated to China, so this is not even about complicity in China's extremist policy, it is (as Tony correctly points out) about being against family planning per se.

You are a purist if you think you can impose your moral demands on a totalitarian regime as a precondition of working there.

Um, yes, you should "impose your moral demands" on a specific type of program as a precondition of funding that specific type of program. Yes, I do think so. Especially if your "moral demands" mean, oh, you know, not destroying people's houses if they don't pay crushing fines for having a non-licensed child.

Obviously I think UNFPA is achieving some reform and improvement, albeit slowly, against a tyrannical and paranoid Chinese government.

Because it's only those liars at the PRI who pretend to have interviewed people who say otherwise, and a UN commission found "no evidence" that coercive practices are going on in "model counties," and we can be sure that they would have found such evidence if there had been. (Good grief.)

Regarding funding, UNFPA has previously received US funding on the condition that none of it would be allocated to China,

Now here we go again with the shift-the-money-around shellgame. How do you spell "fungible"? Why should conservatives have to say the same thing over and over again every time such proposals come up? Take it as read.

it is (as Tony correctly points out) about being against family planning per se.

It would be nice if occasionally someone on the left started getting a clue that "family planning" programs, funded by international groups, and run through governments in foreign countries, are as a matter of the facts of human nature going to become coercive to one extent or another. I remember mentioning on a previous post (don't have time to look it up now) one of these "family planning programs" presently funded by USAID, IIRC. That program positively brags about how in some African country it is funding mass male sterilization campaigns. I'm sorry, but you're a fool if you think these are fully voluntary. Another of these same groups also brags about how it is "promoting" "family planning" to women in an African country in the course of offering them immunizations for their children. I'm sorry, but you've had your creepiness antennae removed if that doesn't make your skin prickle.

China is by no means the only country in which there is evidence of the coercive nature of family planning programs. Some of this coercion is more subtle; some of it is more overt. The problem is endemic to the genre, and it isn't difficult to see why for those who can see at all and who want to see.

Um, yes, you should "impose your moral demands" on a specific type of program as a precondition of funding that specific type of program.

So you think UNFPA is funding abortions, sterilizations, and/or penalizing those who have additional children? Prove it, and not with PRI's gobbledygook about having a desk in the same office as some Chinese officials.

Because it's only those liars at the PRI who pretend to have interviewed people who say otherwise, and a UN commission found "no evidence" that coercive practices are going on in "model counties," and we can be sure that they would have found such evidence if there had been.

It isn't like smear artist James O'Keefe is a conservative star, or Senator #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement Jon Kyle is penalized for telling whopping exaggerations. Mosher can find all these victims who are apparently eager to tell their story to anyone who will listen, except they only tell PRI investigators. Holy gullibility, Batman!

The problem is endemic to the genre, and it isn't difficult to see why...

Which shows I am right, it is about family planning per se.

Holy gullibility, Batman!

When a UN commission (!) goes to a Communist country (!) with, apparently, the consent of the government of the Communist country (!), and the UN commission comes back and reports that it saw no evil in flat contradiction to _specific testimony_ to the contrary from people in the country, and someone calls this "debunking," I have precisely the same reaction.

Which shows I am right, it is about family planning per se.

It is about family planning programs. And it is about coercion. That's what I'm talking about. Those issues are separable from, e.g., moral and medical questions about contraception per se. It is you who apparently don't even want to think about the coercive tendencies of government and foreign aid family planning programs.

Those aren't gaffes from Biden, they're disclosures.

And Jimmy Akin fully understands the difference between a literal interpretation of words and a literalist one. To insist on a literalist interpretation of Biden's remarks is taking generosity too far.

Biden's feet may often end up resting in his mouth but they never stop carrying him toward where he intends to go.

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