I don't know the 17th-century conditions that caused British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli to describe the conservative government as "organized hypocrisy." I do know what it means in the 21st century.
Friday the U.S. House passed legislation to prevent discrimination against people based on sexual orientation. The bill is DOA in the Senate, though, where Associated Press said Republicans denounced it as "government overreach."
Yes: the best government governs least. Reagan-Goldwater stuff, you know.
One could grant this to today's Republicans if they in any way adhered to the bromide for all things.
As small-government words were being mouthed in the nation's capital, Republicans in several states were adopting government policy that could not be bigger and more intrusive: state monitoring of wombs.
So-called conservatives say they embrace small government, but that's not true. The biggest forms of big government are their passions:
Prisons -- That's big government, even if specious for-profit contractors cut as many corners as they can.
Drug policies -- Throwing the book at people for victimless offenses like pot possession is big government at its most vainglorious and costly.
War -- No big-government endeavor is bigger. Add the tools for waging it – in our case a military bigger than those of the next seven countries combined.
However, in scope and audacity, no big-government quest can match the newly revved war on reproductive rights.
Clothed in verbal drapery like "respect for life" (war being a fertile field for propaganda), call this what it is: the move toward state-ordered gestation.
State-ordered in Alabama: whether the pregnancy results from rape or incest; whether the victim is 12 or a mentally disabled 36.
Should these new restrictions on a woman's decision to carry a baby get the go-ahead from the Supreme Court, which decided more than 40 years ago that "unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional," we await the first inquests into a miscarriage suspected as being self-induced.
Alabama will then lead the nation into a new era of jurisprudence when it establishes its system of unwanted pregnancy courts.
Don't laugh. States like Georgia would put themselves in similar legal straits with laws banning abortion except in cases of rape and incest.
We would await the first trial in Georgia in which a 14-year-old victim tries to convince the court that the 23-year-old she fantasized to be a provider actually was a predator.
It's hard enough for rape and incest victims to come forward to press charges anyway. Under said situations, a so-called rape-incest exception is simple cruelty by "pro-life" know-nothings.
Not to suggest any more work for these busy reproductive-totalitarian states and those contemplating the same, but Sen. Kamala Harris had a good question for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Did he know, she asked, of any laws "the government has any power to make over the male body?"
Excellent question in a country in which a tiny bit more than half of the populace is female. What is your answer, Alabama?
A country truly interested in preventing abortion, rather than simply enforcing unworkable moral dictates in a complex medical world, must have laws that govern both genders.
-- Mandated condom use for all males under penalty of death.
-- Mandated seminars for all males on rape, incest and the definition of consent. With video and audio like those now presented to pregnant women seeking abortion.
-- Mandatory comprehensive sex education in schools, regardless of religious objections.
Of course, we know that the best way to "respect life" is to give women control over their reproductive choices, even that 14-year-old who can't yet vote. Colorado dramatically cut teen pregnancies with a state-funded program making contraception widely available. Religious-right Republicans opposed it.
Indeed, if Republicans really wanted to do something about abortion (which is going to happen, safely or otherwise, whatever they mandate) the most effective thing they could do is dramatically increase funding for Planned Parenthood. It does more to prevent abortions than any Bible-quoting lawmaker ever will.
They wouldn't dare fund contraception, sex education and more, because the proponents of "pro-life" laws aren't so much about "protecting the unborn" as punishing women for misappropriating their organs.
Anti-abortion? If you are not pro-contraception as well, you are a 21st-century hypocrite.
Article first published here.