Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Free Choice?

I don't usually read Commercial Appeal columnist Wendi C. Thomas. She is too general in her topics and too lightweight in her approach for my tastes. But the headline of her Tuesday column caught my eye: (S)paying addicts ignores hard stuff.

She pastes activist Barbara Harris for paying addicts for either sterilising themselves or getting long-term birth control. Harris practices social policy at the hardest-nosed level -- cash economics.

Thomas seems most miffed that Harris looks at humans as animals, which in fact we are. Folks like Thomas who would like to turn a blind eye to that reality are part of the problem. We are animals, and losing sight of that leads to social policy set by idealists and utopians that quickly becomes disconnected from reality. The basic principles are unquestioned, but "eugenics" has become a taboo topic since World War II. Like it or not, we need to find some level of looking at ourselves that way.

Thomas makes the mistake of claiming that Harris is saying humans are pets. Harris looks at how we treat pets, and our livestock, then looks at how we treat ourselves. What we know is best in the animals we are guardians for is also what's best for us. Harris offers a choice to addicts, one they are free to decline. Heck, Thomas could offer addicts more than Harris to get them to decline, if she wanted. Nothing's stopping her, as nothing stops Harris, as nothing is stopping the addicts.

She's miffed at Harris giving addicts her own money up front, but apparently has no trouble with society taking money from all of us to give to addicts when they have children that become wards of the State in one form or another. Is Harris' direct-action approach worse than Thomas' palming off the problem on the "government?"

Thomas also does a dirty thing:
A disproportionate number of Harris's clients are black or Hispanic, but this isn't about race.
She could've snipped that sentence from her column and it would've been true. But she stuck it in, and by introducing the topic she has raised it in her readers' minds. Dirty, dirty pool

Thomas chastises Harris for being on "the wrong front in the war on drugs," which is ludicrous. Harris is in the war on population growth, especially women (and men) who will bring children into this world automatically at a deficit in their journey. Thomas needs to rethink herself.

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