Sterilization Now: Redux

The U.S. has refused to aid the U.N.'s Population Fund for reasons cited in Eric's response to an earlier post on the subject: forced sterilization and abortion in China.

Coercive population control as a goal of the radical left has crept up too in Justin Case's excellent essay on Paul Ehrlich, Estimated Prophet.

Eric suggested I include the rest of my exchange with the person who spammed me in an effort to replace the $34 million with private contributions, so that shall follow. But I think the outcry is just plain silly in light of what the U.S. government already does for the cause:

The United States is the largest donor of bilateral assistance to help improve the health of women and children and is providing more than $1.8 billion this year through a U.S. Agency for International Development fund, department spokesman Richard Boucher said. This, he said, includes $429 million for reproductive health, including family planning.

Excerpted from the Washington Post article linked above.

Now on to the exchange.

In the previous post on the subject, and in the comments, I included the exchange prompted by the original well-meaning spam, and finally I sent a blanket response to the original list which asked them to consider the fact before buying into the hype.

Her response to my broadcast response:

I know you think you are doing me a favor by enlightening me. I thought I was doing that when I sent out my e-mail and that is fine. Thanks for the links. I will take a look at this stuff when I have time. I couldn't help but notice that in this last e-mail you not only replied to me but you replied to everyone I sent my e-mail out to. I request that in the future when you send stuff like this out to me in response to an e-mail that I sent to you, that you ONLY send your response to me and not MY mailing list. Feel free to take these references to YOUR sphere of influence but not mine. As much as I may or may not be interested in what you have to write or show me, I know that the people on my mailing list have no time or interest in reading about this stuff when it is referred to them by a total stranger. This is especially so because the way you present the information comes off as being really arrogant and being preached to by an arrogant stranger is worse than being preached to by just a stranger. At least in my e-mail I stated my opinion and just asked them to check out the link, not to agree with me.

Thanks and have fun in academia. It is clearly where you belong.

My response to that:

I think it's funny that you fail to see the contradiction in your reply. You accuse me of being arrogant yet you talk about ownership of an audience and spheres of incluence.

I don't have a sphere of influence or an agenda. And what I did was not ask
people to agree with an opinion I have. My response constitutes dialogue.
Your request that I limit my response is a request to limit discourse, to
ensure that only certain information reach certain people.

You pretended to encourage discussion by requesting that everyone forward
the message along to anyone who might be interested, but if you really think
those of us on your list are interested in the issue, you must think we're
interested in all of the facts, in a fuller discussion, not just one

But the truth is that you were consigned to the version presented in the e-
mail, and you're offended that anyone would disagree and would presume to
challenge the basic assumptions. Dialogue is dangerous to causes.

Personally I don't care whether a person is a stranger or a friend. That
doesn't affect how I receive a piece of information. It's the facts that
matter. It's true that in your e-mail you stated your opinion, but it's also
true that your opinion is founded on sentiment and not fact. You acted on
faith that it was a good cause, and I offered a little healthy skepticism.

So who's the arrogant preacher? The person who says she "knows" how
Bush "feels", and assumes that what she's read in an e-mail is true, or the
person who challenges an assertion made without evidence and asks people
to "consider" it before taking action?

Your response is telling. Feel free to exercise influence over your sphere,
or whatever it is that you're doing. I'll continue the dialogue with people
who aren't afraid of being wrong or of investigating things before taking
small moral stands.

Au revoir,

ps: My favorite bit was this:

>> Please add a little personal message, as
>> this would be more warmly received.

So you promote sweetening your propaganda that it be more easily digested?

And her enlightened response:

You're preaching again... and you say that you are not the preacher here. Do me a favor and never waste my time again. I'll do you the same favor. Now fuck off please.

The bottom line seems to be what Rush Limbaugh said many years ago about his efforts to support an AIDS charity. His money was refused because, as he put it, some money isn't wanted. While this may on the surface seem a very different thing the heart of the issue is the same. It's not the $429 million allotted in the U.S.-directed plan that they care about, but rather the $34 million refused the U.N. To the radical left the U.S. government is evil, or at best disingenuous, while the U.N. is the infallible humanitarian organziation par excellence.

These are the same people who demand that the President seek and conform to U.N. judgment, while supporting a candidate who asks that the President do what he is already doing: to put pressure on the U.N. to respond to the genocidal campaign of the Arab majority in Sudan.

I've already mentioned Darfur, and noted that the U.S. ambassador walked out in protest of the U.N.'s actions, and his comments bear repeating:

On May 4, American ambassador Sichan Siv, walking out of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in disgust after it had re-elected Sudan to membership, said to The New York Sun, "The least we should be able to do is not elect a country to the only global body charged specifically with protecting human rights, at the precise time when tens of thousands of its citizens are being murdered or being left to die of starvation." It's "Never Again" again.

My message to the well-meaning leftists is that the U.N. is not what you think it is, and you can't have it both ways. You can't demand that we subvert ourselves to this body while demanding that we pressure it to change. It is not infallible here, and a total failure there: it is simply a mess that needs cleaning.

posted by Dennis on 07.20.04 at 11:42 AM


Wow. I didn't know it was that bad, and I'm sorry to read "Now fuck off please."

It's a shame that even dialogue (theoretically between friends) can be so difficult. Your friend is in my opinion being completely rude and unreasonable.

Eric Scheie   ·  July 20, 2004 12:49 PM

She sure is. We hear a lot about Native Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and European-Americans. But the real division is U.S.-Americans vs. U.N.-Americans.

Here is what M. Stanton Evans wrote in "Revolt of the Campus" (1961) about the opposing psychologies of Conservatives and Liberals:

"...If I may expand upon Reisman's analysis a bit, I think our national history indicates that his 'inner-directed' people profess an ascending hierarchy of secular loyalties: they revere the individual and the family vis-a-vis outside influences, the rights of the states vis-a-vis federal authority, and the rights of the United States vis-a-vis foreign enemies and supranational institutions. Each is an expression of the Conservative impulse. Patriotic attachment is thus an affirmation of individuality at two removes, a pride of place enjoying intermediary status in a graduated system of affection and concern.

"In the other-directed, or Liberal, conception, the order of priorities is inverted, Having little or no faith in the individual, the Liberal affirms the claims of the community over the person, the claims of the federal government over the states, and the claims of 'world opinion' or supranational institutions over the United States. Liberal anti-nationalism is part of a coherent ethic of anti-individualism."

What this boils down to then, is the more fundamental division: Individualists vs. Collectivists

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