14 July 2008

The Gynophobe Craptocracy

Mary Eberstadt's "new atheist" alter-ego in "Loser Letter" #8 (the best yet):
As I mentioned earlier, my personal religious belief took the usual battering by atheists and their fellow-travelers when I went off to college. What was left of it then got further blown away by my idiotosaurus boyfriend Lobo (about whom You’ll hear more in my next Letter than You ever wanted to, but it can’t be helped). So what with one thing and another, by the age of twenty-one I’d abandoned most of the religion I’d grown up with, and become what You might call a classic “cafeteria” Dull.

Actually, I would have been more accurately described as an anorexic cafeteria Dull, considering how little was left on my religious plate by then. Like any other believer in name only, I thought that I could somehow have it all, theologically speaking — You know, jettisoning whatever I didn’t like about the Loser (especially those laws about You-know-what!) and keeping whatever doctrines I “personally” approved of (i.e., the ones that sounded good and didn’t really get in my face).

But of those few things remaining things about Christianity that I did approve, I really felt more strongly than most atheists might imagine. What finally made me proud to be a Dull, what really lay beneath my unwillingness to relinquish all that nonsense, was that I thought the Loser and his followers had stood — and stood uniquely — against some of the grosser practices of Human history.

Abortion, infanticide, pedophilia, bestiality, Human sacrifice — these were things that I then thought of as somehow beneath the dignity of our Species. The fact that Judaism and Christianity had set their faces against these things was powerfully appealing to me — and not only to me, of course, but to millions of other people across the ages, too. As that Ueber-papist Elizabeth Anscombe said somewhere, it was a “known fact that Christianity drew people out of the pagan world, always saying no to these things.”

And though I’m embarrassed to admit it now, there were probably also personal reasons for my vulnerability. Perhaps because I am a Female, for example, it wasn’t hard to peer back through time to the hills of Rome and feel creeped out by the thought of the Patria Potestas law which granted fathers a right to off any unwanted baby girls. What kind of gynophobe craptocracy does that, I used to wonder? It seemed obvi to me then, as it does to so many Dulls now, that a society in which the weakest were getting hosed so ruthlessly could use a little moral fine-tuning — and that Christianity with all its sins at least had a fork for that kind of thing.

Ditto, I was freaked about the female infanticide underway in our own time. It seemed crazy to me — then, anyway — that all this preemptive baby-killing was going on with no shout-out whatsoever from Western feminists or other progressive types. Weren’t any of them Female, too? Why weren’t they bug-eyed like me about those weird statistics from China and India and a few other places, showing that ratios of XY Chromosomes to Xx ones were getting seriously out of whack?

Euthanasia to me was another no-brainer, also for personal reasons. I’d been a patient one too many times myself! So I didn’t think it was the most brilliant idea to ask someone who’s flat on their back with enough drugs packed inside to open a pharmacy to pay attention and decide whether they want to live or die. Plus which, the whole idea of a life not worth living (Lebensunwertes Lebens, auf Deutsch!) seemed sketchy to me. When You got right down to it, I thought, having well people wipe out sick people just didn’t seem fair — not unless we were going to let both parties flip coins each time so the patient had at least a shot at telling the attendant that it was his turn to be offed instead. But nobody I knew of seemed to be advocating that.
Here's the whole thing, and the eight letters published thus far are here, with new epistles arriving on Fridays.
 

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