What Would The Humanist Say?

Marco Rubio: Women with Zika should not be allowed abortions

This is patriarchy at the pinnacle of ignorance—masquerading as a noble yet terrifyingly misguided moral principle that ‘everyone should be entitled to life’. It is nothing more than an egoistic, gendered dictatorship that Rubio is pushing for.

On the other side of the world Pakistani men are slaughtering their daughters and wives because ‘honour’—the local dialect for hegemonic control and possession of women—is deemed the be-all and end-all of a woman’s existence. They are to men nothing but fetishised products of virtue as defined by heteronormative dictates, born only to serve the appetites of male privilege.

That analogues of such barbarianism (and I make no apologies for ignoring irrelevant cultural idiosyncrasies) has been openly and politically endorsed in a country steeped in ideologies of liberty and individualism is almost infuriating. It seems that the narrative of gender oppression knows no bounds of time and space; it is a disgraceful universal human condition.

An innocuous comment on Facebook also appears to have revealed a twisted and thinly veiled hypocrisy:

Rubio is pro-birth, not pro-life.

It made me realise that this man is a misguided moral utilitarian whose ethical motivation is neither the psychological nor spiritual well-being of others, but some abstract and unbending decree far removed from humanity—and that, to him, is the greatest ‘good’. Never mind if those women bear malformed children who curse them for ‘giving life’ and delivering them physically damned into the careless arms of this world. Never mind if the bodies of these women are state-owned property, and that we continue to delude ourselves into believing that we have made progressive strides in gender equality. Never mind if the families of these children have to bear the economic burden of grappling with physiological complications, some of which may be chronic and life-long. No—only the prescribed collective conscience matters.

I’m not sure if he is religious or some follower of an absolutist pro-life New Age deity—I can’t be bothered to check. But this is why secular principles founded on concerted and pragmatic reasoning—grounded in the here, now, and human—are indispensable to sound governance and the good life. Not on the promise of alleged eternal reward, or the fires of eternal damnation. Not on your own beliefs in those promises. This is why humanism is so very important in a world awash in the empty rhetoric of an unfathomable divine future.