The libertarian woman vs. the “liberal” Leftist (on unwanted pregnancies)

This past weekend I kicked a hornet’s nest on Twitter, resulting in my first big feud on that platform. Granted, since joining in 2012 I hadn’t used the site much for socializing until in recent months when I decided to find out what all the hubbub was about on there. Have been enjoying the memes and humor, but then I wound up following political threads (per my curiosity) which inevitably led to the topic of women’s rights and abortion — a topic I haven’t been as keen to weigh in on in recent times after tiring of dealing with feminists in years prior (and men’s rights activists in more recent years).

Not that women’s rights aren’t important to me. I’m a woman so of course I can’t help but care what laws and social/ideological trends are attempting to impact my life. However, it came to feel like a contest of wits, a political battle where people screamed at one another across the void, incensed that this group or that one could dare to see things differently. So I bowed out for the most part, resolving to accept that the only person I truly have control over is myself and that my energies are best directed there when it comes to protecting and promoting my own individual interests. Partially because I don’t agree with what appears to be the majority of people out in society (because either they’re pro-life and therefore detest my pro-choice stance, or because they’re pro-choice feminists who either celebrate abortions like a right of passage into womanhood and/or advocate for more government involvement in our lives in their efforts to push toward evermore “equality” between the sexes in accordance with their utopian visions for the future).

Before I began identifying with feminism in my late teens/early 20s, I first began identifying with libertarianism. Not the Libertarian Party itself, mind you (was over it back when Bob Barr came on the scene and, though I voted for him twice, am not a big supporter of Gary Johnson), but libertarian (or classical liberal if you prefer) ethos. Individualist strategies for seeking and preserving liberty, in other words. Which boil down to the fundamental principle that I as a human being have dominion, first and foremost, over my own self, my own body. That remains true if we’re talking about the drug war or self-defense and it’s what underpinned my own understanding of feminism/women’s rights.

But feminism took a hard left long ago, perhaps before I was even born, so after 10 years of debating with my fellow feminists and feeling like I was beating my head against a brick wall in attempting to communicate from my own perspective (while being heavily pressured to accept their way of looking at things along with the political positions they, as a collective, overwhelmingly embrace), I exited that movement and ceased referring to myself as a feminist in 2009 or thereabout. We’ve not been on chummy terms since, assuming we ever really were.

Both as a sex worker (in my 20s) and as libertarian-of-sorts (which I remain), I’ve been confronted time and again by feminists with notions that flew counter to my own unfolding understanding of how life works and what reasonable measures can be taken to improve the outcomes we claim to seek. While they busy themselves fighting in the political arena for evermore benefits for women specifically, claiming always that we women are at an inherent disadvantage in a man’s world, I’ve been experiencing and observing quite the opposite reality. More women admitted into colleges with higher test scores on average, more women running for political office, more women rising in ranks within businesses here and abroad, more women heading households, more birth control (and abortion) options allotted to women with legal protections on the federal level guaranteeing access, more freedom to live and work as we choose, more legal protections from sexual assault and harassment out in society (with claims, even without sufficient corroborating evidence, generally being taken more seriously), more products designed with our comfort in mind being marketed to us, etc. And yet feminists are more upset now than probably ever before. More demanding, more sensitive, less consolable, more hysterical, more vengeful toward men in general.

Consider this. Since the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, more out-of-wedlock births have been occurring across all racial and class demographics. At a time when more medical/pharmaceutical technologies exist to curb this trend than ever before, accompanied by legal protections allowing pretty much unfettered access in the U.S. Then, from the 1990s onward we’ve been blessed with so much information at our fingertips thanks to the internet. Nowadays a growing number of teenagers have access to the internet through smartphones: according to Pew Research in 2015 more than 60% of teens have gained this access, even among the lowest educated, lowest income, and racial minorities. And that’s only teenagers, mind you, saying nothing about adults’ increased access.

All the world’s information literally at people’s fingertips.

Leftists like to frame matters in terms of a lack of access, lack of resources, lack of life skills and knowledge to make better decisions. That strikes me as a rather glum view of humanity, giving the impression that they have pretty low expectations of both females and minorities when it comes to directing our own lives. Makes me wonder which came first, women and minorities’ ignorance and evident lack of self-determination, or the Leftist rhetoric that tries to convince us that we are victims of circumstances incapable of directing our own lives successfully?

Dr. Thomas Sowell’s books paint a very different picture, particularly in regard to his own racial demographic (black American), alerting us to the fact that many of these problems arose most markedly AFTER the Civil Rights era, arguing that all Americans actually had lower rates of unwanted pregnancies and crime and higher rates of marriage in decades prior (especially black Americans!). I recommend his books to others as food for thought, particularly: Black Rednecks and White Liberals, The Quest For Cosmic Justice, and Intellectuals and Race. These books can aid us in putting matters in a clearer perspective that we otherwise won’t hear about through our media or our education system.

Here’s a quick takeaway: Ideas being pushed from the Democratic Left aren’t helping people. Not really, despite all claims to the contrary. And the proof is indeed in the pudding.

Now, I’d like to share a bit from my own personal perspective, anecdotal as it is. Some of the Leftists I encounter online like to project onto me their assumptions of what I must be in order to hold the opinions that I do, including that I must be rich (or come from a well-off background) and afforded many opportunities others were not, that I am undoubtedly white (because frickin’ white people suck, right?), and that I haven’t encountered struggles that others face and lack firsthand experience with the topics under discussion at any given time. I’m occasionally mistaken for a man online and berated for being the “type of guy” they’re complaining about.  lol  Seriously. I am also told that I lack sympathy for “victims,” that “it must be nice” to have higher income and greater access to that which they claim other women lack, and they also like to dismiss me as “one of the lucky ones” who pulled myself up by “bootstraps” (a perennial favorite). If my experience doesn’t jibe with their narrative, it must be because I am somehow a super special snowflake all of a sudden, otherwise I must support the dreaded patriarchy. My ignorance must be due to my “privilege.”  Ha!  No shit. Guess I am to be counted as one of the extreme outliers whose experiences don’t count and needn’t be injected into any of their public conversations on any given topic, lest I offend the “real victims” who are trying to share their perspectives without “feeling shamed” by a conflicting point of view.

Ugh…

ALL OF WHICH ARE PROJECTIONS. Unwarranted and inaccurate.

So let’s see how I shake out in accordance with their own so-called “progressive stack.”

First off, I was born to a single mom living with her parents in a trailer in a small town in Mississippi. She became pregnant during her freshman year in college by a Saudi foreign exchange student, resulting in her dropping out of college and returning home. So, while I am Caucasian, less than half of my blood is of European origin. Without going into all of my upbringing and background, I will say I had some advantages while at the same time I most definitely don’t qualify as someone born with a silver spoon in my mouth or as a product of a remarkably stable and nurturing home environment. In the 7th grade I was exposed to one sex education class where protection and STDs were discussed. I dropped out of high school in the 10th grade and completed the GED. That same year, at age 16, I walked into a Planned Parenthood (in the Midwest where I lived at the time) and asked to be put on birth control pills, which were funded by what’s referred to as donation services offered by PP since I had very low income. No parental help with any of that and was living out on my own at the time.

I later attended university by applying for student loans (which I still carry the ever-growing debt from). During that same time period, I got married and 4 years later we divorced. I didn’t want to have kids, so we did not have kids because I remained on birth control (while pressured by a doctor to switch to Depo Provera, a method I absolutely loathed and gained a great deal of weight on). After my ex and I split and moved apart, I became a sex worker at age 21 and remained in that line of work for about 7 years. Still attended college throughout (did I mention I was a Social Sciences major?). Also managed to not get pregnant or contract an STD despite having numerous sexual partners because I remained on birth control pills, used condoms, and screened my clients the best I could.

In 2010, I decided to take a rest from taking hormonal birth control after 13 solid years of usage. A year later, during one careless occasion with a man I was dating at the time the morning-after pill failed and I became pregnant. He, being a decent human being and a close friend, helped me through that time and covered my abortion through Planned Parenthood 6.5 weeks in to the pregnancy. (I have a video where I discuss this matter on my youtube channel and will not go into further detail here.) He and I had for years discussed our positions on abortion and not wanting to have children, so this matter was handled without drama between the two of us. (Though, I will say this: after years of being accused by random people out in society for being a “baby killer” simply for supporting a pro-choice position, such harsh words launched at me since—typically from strangers who do not know me nor about whether or not I ever underwent an abortion—do noticeably sting more.) Tried the Paragard IUD after that and hated it (had it removed within a few months), but I have still managed to remain pregnancy-free, nearly 8 years on. Partly due to dating a partner for a few years there who agreed to undergo a vasectomy, thankfully — it’s nice dating men who give a damn about my health and well-being. (Albeit, clearly further evidence of my “privilege.”)

The last 10+ years I have worked in a different self-employment position where I don’t make much money, partly by choice since I’m not a fan of paying much in the way of taxes to our corrupt government. Personal decision there. I have not been covered by health insurance since I was 12 years old when sent me off to live with other relatives, aside from 1 semester in college many years ago. Yes, I was an avid Obamacare holdout and have been vocal about that. So, not rolling in dough over here or privy to health care coverage that plenty of others do access. Thankfully my health has remained pretty good, now entering my late 30s.

AND it’s not as if I sidestepped all of the pitfalls and vices that commonly plague our society. I drank heavily for a number of years. I smoke cigarettes too and have for over 2 decades (both are expensive habits). I’ve made all kinds of stupid, dangerous decisions in my day and put myself in situations where I am admittedly lucky to have not been more hurt by.

YET STILL I have managed to avoid an unwanted pregnancy 99.99% of the time (and terminated the one mistake that did arise). How is this possible for someone who comes from a poor household originally, who isn’t fully white, who’s female, who’s made bad life choices (according to plenty of people out in society), who’s a high school drop-out, who isn’t earning a high income (or even remotely a middle-class income), who isn’t insured, and who’s considered promiscuous even?

MUST be muh privilege to blame!

Did it require me threatening men to conform to my wishes? Thankfully a couple men in my life agreed to undergo vasectomies, but I’ve been intimate with far more men than just them — so, no. That alone wouldn’t have cut it. Have I ever had a man remove a condom during sex? Yes I have, and they received an earful too. Have I ever experienced negative encounters with men where I felt intimidated? Yes, and thank God I had backup methods or was on birth control pills at the time so as to protect myself. Have I ever encountered pressure from my former spouse to have children? Yes, and I told him he knew my position when he chose to marry me, so he didn’t get his way on that. Have I experienced condoms that either broke or slid off during intercourse? Yes, that’s why it’s best to utilize more than one form of birth control at a time (or use a backup method). Am I claiming accidents never occur? Obviously not.

Am I claiming other women in America can embrace their agency and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy if they so choose? YES. They could if they really desired to. Am I encouraging others to follow in my footsteps? Well, you all will live however you personally choose, regardless of what I say, but it becomes a problem when you start talking about wanting others, via taxation, to provide women with free birth control (especially when so many—particularly those who can afford it—aren’t demonstrating a willingness to take the responsibility seriously enough thus far) and/or abortions. The idea of state-funded abortions is a real stickler in the U.S. that upsets people whose religious convictions conflict, and I cannot and WILL NOT endorse any plan to force people to fund a practice that they consider immoral to such an extreme level. Similarly, I have a huge moral qualm with paying taxes that fund all these wars/invasions elsewhere around the globe — it’s wrong to compel people to be complicit (going so far as taking money out of their pockets) in matters that injure their soul. People are bound to be far more tolerant of our lifestyle choices if they aren’t foisted upon them or financed by them without their willful compliance. Hence why I don’t support government funding of Planned Parenthood, despite continuing to support that organization 21 years running — donations are the way to go there, not forced funding. Continuing down this path will only create greater social and political divides in this country that I don’t want to see.

Now, I think I’ve written enough on this topic, so if Max Brett () or whomever else wants to keep replying to argue or project, I’m going to go ahead and redirect you here because I’m tired of repeating myself and find Twitter to be a poor platform to try to debate ideas on. I am willing to expand at a later date on differences between libertarianism and Leftism and why the two camps can seem to share certain points of agreement while arriving at those points through totally different means, resulting in a desire for totally different outcomes — but not today. This was a looong post, so that’s enough typing for now.

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4 Responses to The libertarian woman vs. the “liberal” Leftist (on unwanted pregnancies)

  1. Cassady says:

    So Thomas Sowell is arguing we should take away the protection of Americans with black skin so they can return to the kind of abuse they received before 1964.

    That’s interesting!

    I knew he was extreme but I didn’t realize he was *that* extreme.

    He is truly a strange man.

    • Byenia says:

      No. That’s not what he’s arguing. I recommend actually reading or listening to his opinions before jumping to hasty conclusions.

      • Cassady says:

        I’m not assuming anything. There’s no need to.

        I’m paraphrasing what you wrote. And I have confidence that what you wrote is accurate because I’ve known Thomas Sowell for decades and it fits with everything I’ve read of his and heard him say in extended interviews.

        He sees the time before the civil rights of black men and women were protected —when their was racial segregation and lynching—as a very positive time and he wants to return to it.

        In other words, his ideas about non-whites and American history are just about as wrong as it’s possible for ideas to be. And you hinted at that in your paraphrase of his ideas.

        Why is he so successful if his ideas are SO wrong?

        Because white Americans who are anti-black agree with everything he says! They eat it up. They buy his books. They invite him to give speeches. And wealthy racists funnel him millions of dollars.

        When you’re a member of a hated group, completely betraying your own group pays! Big time!

        We’ve seen this throughout history. I don’t know why we Americans find this phenomenon so hard to understand and to recognize.

        • Byenia says:

          Then I must not paraphrase well. Others should look into his works and hear what he has to say on these topics himself. Very educational.

          He would never claim black people were protected prior to the civil rights era — that’s not his argument at all. Just that black folks had a higher marriage rate (higher than whites even for a spell), lower out-of-wedlock pregnancy rates (by far), less crime in their communities (including in Harlem where he grew up), lower unemployment rates, and better educational offerings even in all-black schools.

          He is clear about the issues of Jim Crow and in no endorses that aspect of society, but rather he’s pointing out that even under such conditions black families were doing quite well comparably to today. Against all odds, so to speak.

          His explanation of history is very informative and I recommend it to others to actually read or listen to it themselves before drawing conclusions.

          Hatred? There’s no hate here. And he doesn’t hate his fellow black people. He’s speaking to the black community precisely because he cares and would like to provide information and food for thought from his own explorations of history so that others might make better informed decisions today. Unfortunately Democrats/Leftists have done a major disservice to American blacks (among others) by misstating and skewing historical facts to suit their narrative, which only serves to harm those they claim to be caring about. Dr. Sowell is a gem for being willing to wade in the muck and weather insults all these decades for sharing his perspective on American life and history.

          He doesn’t earn millions of dollars. The man’s not rich and doesn’t do many speaking engagements, especially not at this late age. You must have him confused with the Clintons who actually do pull in millions of dollars for speaking to crowds and spreading lies.

          I’m not sure why Leftists remain so stubborn when it comes to grappling with facts. Probably because if they accepted them their entire worldview would collapse. But I’d rather see us shed ideologies and try to make sense of life for what it actually is, not merely what we wish it could be. It does a disservice to society as a whole to place ideology above all else, including those your movement/party purport to want to help. Sticking one’s head in the sand isn’t helping. Nor is spreading misinformation and discouraging people from looking into information and ideas for themselves.

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