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Authoritarians, not hypocrites

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Sarah Jones has a good post observing that Republican supporters of abortion criminalization have a perfectly coherent ideology, even if the ends are generally justified with pretextual means:

What, then, should we make of this conservative consistency? What looks like hypocrisy should be understood as a deeper ideology. In Texas, the right to life is conditional. It has always been conditional, at least to conservatives. Only the fetus has an absolute right to life because it cannot err. Women are more complicated. They sin, these Eves, and deserve punishment. The right to life is fragile. The right to a good life is more fragile still. A person must be poor because of some moral failing; they’re lazy, unmotivated, or simply ignorant. The free market is never to blame, and neither are capitalists. Gun violence exists because of innate criminality, which must be answered with incarceration and more guns, borne by the right kind of people. As climate change becomes impossible to deny, the same arguments will appear: Personal responsibility must guard against burned or flooded homes; if the wealthy appear less susceptible to disaster, it’s because they’ve earned a better way of life.

This isn’t hypocrisy, but authoritarianism. While Texas hasn’t overturned Roe v. Wade with its law, SB 8 is “a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny,” in the words of dissenting Justice Sonia Sotomayor. What is happening in Texas is authoritarian, the product of a far-right movement that has been building power for decades. The people who form its ranks also back anti-democratic efforts, like the implementation of new voting restrictions, because they want to establish a particular person as the sovereign above all. This person is usually white, often male, and always a conservative Christian. Like the Republic of Gilead? a liberal might interject. No, like America. Dystopian metaphors are unnecessary. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood built her fictional theocracy out of real bones. No one is banning female literacy, but the reproductive obsessions of the right are old news.

We should also be very clear that complacency from people in blue states is completely unjustified — Republicans will try to do what they can nationally (or through the courts), and the more national political institutions over-represent Republicans the more they’ll be able to get away with.

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