(I realize that this topic has been discussed ad nauseam by just about everyone, e.g. NYT op-eds 4/2, one by Gail Collins and one by Katha Pollitt, both excellent, but since I wrote it I thought I’d send it anyway.)
Pity the poor Donald. He just can’t win for losing.
He has been criticized repeatedly by the media and the pundits for not making sense. And there does seem to be something to that.
But then he makes a set of statements that are as rigorously logical as a paper by Bertrand Russell. And still…and still…he gets attacked from every side. People just won’t treat him nicely.
Most recently, questioned intensively by Chris Matthews about his positions on abortion, he tried to dodge and weave, but Matthews can be dogged and forced him to talk.
He declared that abortion should be criminalized. If it was criminalized, he said, those responsible should be punished.
Women and doctors are complicit in committing the crime. Therefore (after a bit of babble) Trump said women and doctors should both be punished. This is logical if you agree with the pro-life assumption that the fetus is a human being from conception. Then both parties are complicit in the murder and must be punished –just as if I were to hire a hit person to whack someone: if the crime is discovered, both the hit person and I must be punished equally because we are both equally guilty.
Should the men who impregnate women who have abortions also be punished? Matthews asked. Trump kerfuffled a bit, but finally said not. He gave no reason for this apparent inconsistency.
Except for this exception, thus far Trump’s argument is absolutely logical. But if men are up, as it were, for the impregnation, why aren’t they up for the incarceration?
Well, to see why letting the guys off scot-free makes perfect sense, you have to think, like Trump, with your testes. Two heads are always better than one.
Men have a God-given right to impregnate women. Women have no right to de-impregnate themselves. This is absolutely logical, the underlying but inexplicit logic of the so-called pro-life contingent. So Trump is, for once, being utterly clear and rigorously logical, two most desirable qualities in a POTUS.
But alas, poor Donald! Hardly were his arguments out of his mouth when everyone went after him, and not nicely at all. Conservative and liberal, pro-life and pro-choice, all fell upon him. And so the logician turned politician and speed-walked it back.
No, he said, while doctors should be punished, women should not. That’s because women who have abortions are “victims.” This is the new argument being worked up and shopped around by the pro-lifers, in the hope of saving themselves from the charge of being soldiers in the War on Women. No, they are women’s best friends. They realize that even when women have abortions, they are innocent. They are victims, not perps, in the crime.
While this argument may strike some as an abandonment of logic, if you understand who is making it and why, you can see that, despite appearances, Trump is as logical as before. You just have to see women through his (and the pro-lifers’) eyes.
Who or what is a “victim”? If you analyze the word, you find that the speaker is quite literally adding insult to injury. (What? The Donald insulting women? You must be kidding.)
A victim, by definition, is an innocent who has been harmed through no fault of her own. The victim does not and cannot will her suffering. Therefore, to call a woman a “victim” is to presuppose that something happened to her that she did not and could not choose, because she was not capable of choosing. She has no free will.
Who is capable of choosing? Who (if anyone) has free will? Human beings, again by definition. Anyone who is human has choice. Anyone who has free will is human. Men have both, and all men are human. Very easy so far.
But since women, by definition, don’t have free will, they don’t have the capacity to choose. Hence the very concept of “pro-choice” is, by Donaldian logic, empty and nonsensical. And better, the argument fits perfectly with what Trump has repeatedly demonstrated is his view of women. They are “things,” existing only for the use and convenience of alpha males like the Donald. Or they are beasts, needing to be trampled and destroyed underfoot. In neither case are they cognitive creatures with the ability or right to choose.
Although the pro-lifers are piling on Trump, in fact he handed them a threefer: first, the fetus is a human being; second, abortion is murder and should be penalized; and finally, women are less than human. The pro-lifers do not explicitly make this a part of their argument, but their “victim”-ization (and victimization) of women underlies their other arguments.
So, in the world that Trump is desperate to join, this political argument is just as logical as the others. Trump is confused. He is making perfect sense, absolute logic, and yet people are still jeering.
It’s ironic. Poor Trump just can’t win (and for him, winning isn’t the main thing, it’s the only thing). Contemplating the sorrows of the zillionaire, I am reminded of Freud’s joke about the schnorrer (beggar).
The schnorrer goes to see Baron Rothschild. “Please, Herr Baron,” he entreats. “Give me a little money so I can eat. I haven’t had a bite for days.”
The kind-hearted Baron gives the schnorrer a generous gift.
A few days later, the Baron goes into his favorite upscale restaurant. Seated at a table, to his astonishment, is the schnorrer, enjoying a luxurious dish, salmon mayonnaise. The Baron is furious: “Why are you eating salmon mayonnaise?” he demands.
The schnorrer looks up at him in bewilderment. “But Herr Baron, when I don’t have money, I can’t eat salmon mayonnaise. Now you say that when I do have money, I can’t eat salmon mayonnaise. So tell me – when am I supposed to eat salmon mayonnaise?”
When is poor Trump supposed to get credit for making sense?