Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why the Contraceptive Mentality is Bad for Women and Children

Here is an excellent article from First Things by an economist, Timothy Reichert, on why contraception is harmful to women and children, to marriage as an institution and therefore to society as a whole. It is an innovative and fascinating argument. Here is the introduction to Bitter Pill:
Economists and other social scientists have written extensively about the impact that contraception has had on modern sexual relationships. Almost without exception, the academic establishment makes the claim that contraceptive technology is a social good. By contrast, the Catholic Church (and until recent decades the Christian establishment generally) asserts that the practice of contraception is, in fact, directly contrary to the health of individual families and to society as a whole.

The difference between these two perspectives on an issue that is central to human sexuality—and therefore human existence—is striking. But meaningful debate between the two camps has been almost nonexistent. Certainly, part of the reason for this has been an unwillingness on the part of secular social scientists to engage in honest dialogue. But an equally large part of the blame for the nonengagement should be laid at the feet of Catholics. With a few notable exceptions, the Catholic perspective has not been taken seriously by Catholics themselves. Nor, in the cases when it has, has it been articulated using the language of social science, which is the language of the mainstream. As a result, the difference in viewpoint on an issue that is central to the human person is treated by our culture as a case of faith and reason talking past each other.

With this essay, using the language and tools of modern social science, I will articulate the position that contraception is socially damaging. I will also demonstrate that contraception is in fact a sexist practice. Using straightforward microeconomic reasoning, I will unpack the behaviors engendered by artificial contraception. I will show that the contraceptive revolution has resulted in a massive redistribution of wealth and power from women and children to men.

In doing so, I will reveal that despite the ethical inferiority of artificial contraception, the practice of contraception will, unfortunately, predominate as the social “equilibrium” unless legal restrictions or social mores “tax” men and “subsidize” women and children. More technically, artificial contraception sets up what economists call a “prisoner’s-dilemma” game, in which each woman is induced to make decisions rationally that ultimately make her, and all women, worse off. This result is particularly striking and has broad implications for how we think about the sexual revolution and its aftermath.
Read it all here.

The article is too complex to summarize, so I hope you will read it for yourself. It is a different angle on a growing consensus of opinion that the birth control pill has been a disaster for humanity in general and women in particular. The unblinking support for it displayed by secular feminism is proof that feminism is anti-women except those women who want to become just like men.

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