February 2011 Archives

Margaret


I recently watched an old interview with Margaret Sanger.

Her very Catholic mother had a lot of kids and died sooner than usual. Sanger had a decidedly anti-Catholic agenda. The Pope was her nemesis for proclaiming to the world that marriage is only for making babies.

In the interview, she implied that poor people should have less children, and rich people should have more. There was no mention of race, but I suppose that issue is tied up in class issues.

The interviewer asked her if there was anything wrong with a rich couple using birth control to prevent children. She said she would excuse them if they had some sort of health problem. The interviewer asked her if she would have any problem with a healthy wealthy couple using birth control. She hesitated.

"Of course they should be able to use birth control," I thought. The interview was given a few decades ago. It's amazing how much public perception has changed about birth control since then. They were treating the question as if it were some scandalous topic.

After her hesitation, she reluctantly said that the healthy wealthy people would have the right to use birth control to prevent any children.

In her short piece that we read, she referred to "Woman" and "her" as if we are one entity with the same thoughts, desires, and obstacles. We are not.

Her rhetoric is warm, fuzzy, and unifying. Her way of implementing her ideals is not.

Her argument is simplistic and lacks a humanist consideration.

Here is the flaw in her argument for a rich people breeding fest:
The average American consumer exploits natural resources to a greater extent than, for example, a peanut farmer in Rajasthan who has no motorized vehicles and zealously restricts their water and electricity use. Rich people have a greater capacity to influence the world's health, often for the worse.

Here is another flaw:
It takes a few generations for societal attitude to change regarding the desired number of children. The first generation that does well still has eight kids because they're used to having to account for premature deaths. The next generation has less kids because their aunts and uncles survived. In many countries, children are needed to take care of their parents in their old age and serve as labourers in fields. No logical poor family would choose to have less kids before they could be assured of their economic well-being.

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