A dark day for sex

News from abroad
Police raided Gandhi Park in Meerut, India and slapped a bunch of couples for sitting together in “objectionable poses.”

Closer to home
Two California girls got expelled from their Lutheran school because their principal thought they were acting gay.

Now, David Foster Wallace, whose excellent essays I’ve just been reading, tells us to have a Democratic Spirit. To act with true DS, I need to quell my innate desire to tell sex-negative types to live and let live, and instead examine whether they have a point. Unfortunately, they sort of do.

“Live and let live” works really well until, as the saying goes, somebody’s idea of “living” is to kill your grandma. Then you pretty much have to stop letting live. Clearly, pro-life activists take this view: killing a fetus is no different than killing their grandma, so they can’t let you do it. This position makes sense to me, but I also submit that the burden placed on a woman who must carry her child to term unwillingly is greater than the burden placed on the person who morally objects to someone else having an abortion. Let this be an example to you of a Democratic Measurement Exercise of weighing burden against burden.

Your turn. In news from abroad, is it harder to be a town that watches its public spaces fill up with objectionable PDAs, or to be a couple that gets smacked and intimidated by the police? And in news closer to home, is it worse to have to leave school because you’re gay (assuming for the sake of argument that, unlike the girls in the story above, you’re openly, actually gay), or to see your children’s school condone behavior of which you disapprove?

Silly Capital Letters aside, I think this is actually a pretty important thought experiment in democratic coexistence. What do you, the viewers at home, think?


One Response to “A dark day for sex”

  1. A pro-choice friend of the Annalog Says:

    While I think “weighing burden against burden” is a useful thought experiment, it’s not a completely objective one. In the case of the abortion debate, you submit that the burden placed on the mother who is carrying the fetus to term exceeds the burden placed on the pro-life bystander whose moral sensibilities are offended. This is no doubt true. However, that bystander might counter that the burden on the fetus who is to be aborted is greater still.

    The issue, of course, is whether you think the fetus is capable of having a burden.

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