Yet another weird SF fan


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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Roe Rage and Brown Rage?

Yale law professors Robert Post and Reva Siegel have recently published Roe Rage: Democratic Constitutionalism and Backlash that appears to lean on a comparison between opposition to the Roe vs. Wade decision and the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. (Liberalism sometimes looks like a has-been going over old clippings; it was on the side of the angels during the civil-rights struggle and has been living off that reputation ever since.) I don't see how the comparison is valid.

First, there is no logical connection between supporting segregation and opposing abortion. If anything, the connection runs in the other direction. Opposition to racism is based on the idea that human rights are independent of trivial physical differences. Opposition to abortion is based on the same principle.

Second, segregation was a temporary and local phenomenon. Pro-segregation politicians were only able to win elections in the South. (The 1964 election was taken by most voters to be a referendum on segregation.) By 1976, the pro-segregation region voted for the more liberal candidate and regional distinctions had pretty much disappeared by 1980. That was only 26 years after Brown. 26 years after Roe, we reactionaries were still vocal and you can find pro-lifers in fairly large numbers all over the United States. (I must admit the other side has had a local and recent degree of success in areas with low birth rates. Apparently, the pro-lifers have been moving away from those areas.)

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