Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Liberals always want to throw money at a problem to fix it!"

The quote in the Title is near the end of the video. It was said by Margaret Hoover. The implication here is that it is bad to throw money at a problem, and this almost makes me wonder what kind of world these people live in. Seriously, in what world does fixing problems come without some type of cost? The reality is there is always some cost to fixing problems. Every problem, at minimum, takes time to fix, and, as the cliche goes, time is money. When I fix a problem at work, it takes time, time which I get paid for and time that I use up when I could have been doing something else...perhaps designing, for example. (Though, as an engineer, much of my job involves fixing problems. Fixing problems comes with the territory.) Even when I donate my time to an organization, there is some monetary consequence. (Yes, I'm considering volunteering as fixing problems for the sake of this argument. Consider it fixing societal problems.) When I donated my time on the United Way Day of Caring, my place of employment still payed me for the day, as they are a sponsor for the event. They incurred a cost even while I was gone volunteering and not doing the type of work I was hired for. Even when I volunteer on my own time, that is time I could be doing things to save myself money or maybe working a second job or even putting extra hours at my current job, which I can then use as a case for getting a bigger raise. In short, fixing problems costs money, so this implication that you don't need to throw money at a problem to fix it is absurd.

What could be seen as the more baffling part of this whole story is that this is in regards to this recommendation that birth control be freely available to the public in which there is the claim that the cost of preventing unwanted pregnancies will be much smaller than the cost of carrying out an unwanted pregnancy. In the end, money is saved, yet, these conservatives still complain.

This should lead people to the conclusion that there is something else going on here. I find that something else to actually be quite simple: They (the conservatives) don't want to have to pay anything at all, ever...which really boils down to selfishness. (Frankly, a lot of conservative ideas boil down to selfishness.) In other words, they are looking out for #1. For this case, O'Reilly and Hoover are likely thinking along the lines of "I'm a responsible person and never had to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. Why should I pay for someone else's irresponsibility?" When they complain about liberals throwing money at a problem, it is not because they live in some strange reality where fixing problems is cost free, as I suggested in the first paragraph, but rather because they had no interest in fixing the problem in the first place. When they disregard the fact that preventative measures can actually save money in the long term, it is because, once again, that they have no interest in the problem. Any cost in fixing a problem that is of no concern to them is too high of a cost.
Also note that earlier in the video, O'Reilly claimed that "Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex..." This is setting up the idea that unwanted pregnancies are always a result of irresponsible behavior, thus reducing sympothy for the pregnant woman. Amanda Marcotte at has a fitting response.
O'Reilly is framing unwanted pregnancy as a woman's just punishment for being a dirty, drunken slut. He doesn't, however, explain why he thinks it's such a great idea to have women he considers irresponsible, slutty drunks put in charge of raising the next generation. This is typical anti-choice thinking---putting punishing "dirty girls" above all other concerns, including the well-being of children.


O'Reilly clearly doesn't understand how the birth control pill works. His statement only makes sense if you assume that the pill works by a woman taking it right before or during sex to prevent conception, which is why being drunk might make you forget it. But in reality, that's not how the pill works at all, as roughly everyone in the world over 10 years old that isn't Bill O'Reilly understands. You just take it during the day and it covers you for having sex roughly whenever, as long as you're up on your pills. If you haven't been taking your pills and you take one right before sex, it doesn't offer any protection.
There is another issue at large in this discussion. Many conservatives are also moderate or fundamentalist Christians, the type of Christians that demonize the use of birth control. Even if freely available birth control makes sense (and it does), they will fight it as it goes against their religious dogma.

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