Sunday, April 19, 2015

Would Government-Provided Birth Control Be Fair, Because Voluntary? How About Government-Provided Guns?

My students have been reading Cahn and Carbone's Red Families vs. Blue Families. As the name suggests, the authors contrast the vision of family life of conservative and liberal ideologies, and actual practice.  The short version of the difference:

Blue families promote marital delay, birth control, equality in marriage, and higher education.

Red families promote early marriage, sex control, complementarity in sex roles, and conservative religion.

I asked the students to try to come up with several policies that would justly serve a nation with both kinds of families.  Some of the students are liberals and some are conservatives, but all are students at a selective college, most of whom are planning on careers for men and women, as well as marriage and children. Some are, therefore, 'red' in their ideology, but tilt 'blue' in their practice.

Which led quite a few, on both sides of the spectrum, to want the government to make birth control widely available to everyone.  They reasoned that this was a fair policy to both views; the government was not promoting birth control, as blues would like, but simply making it available.

It occurred to me that a good parallel would be to have the government make guns widely available to everyone.  Would this constitute a fair policy to both views, or would the government be promoting gun ownership, as reds would like?


dennistheeremite said...

My goodness, you are sharp!

John said...

Thanks for posting this book reference. I will have to give it a look. Seems like a complement to The Righteous Mind by Haidt.

As for whether access to birth control is an analog to gun rights, I am not sure that is the right comparison. I think conservatives would put other things ahead of gun rights. Perhaps a stricture on late term abortions?

dennistheeremite said...

My dad was a lifetime member of the NRA, and he would have been tickled by the comparison. Although I think that abortion wasn't such an issue with him. I think the old conservatives didn't have abortion so much on their agenda. This shows how much conservatism has changed. Although...conservatism, by definition, shouldn't change. There's the rub!

Gruntled said...

John: The analogy works because in both cases the government is providing something. I don't think "providing abortion strictures" compares to providing birth control in the same way.

Mac said...

You can have you birth control if I can have my Ma Deuce.

ceemac said...

I suspect there was a time when there were folks who were members of both the NRA and Planned Parenthood.

Gruntled said...

George H.W. and Barbara Bush would be a good example of a generation of Republicans that would be a member of both. But the NRA in those days supported gun control and responsible gun ownership more than they do now.