Women's Own Bodies
An effort at logical coherence is a necessary condition for any intellectual claim and a fortiori for any social theory. Speaking of vice-president Kamala Harris’s stance on abortion, the Wall Street Journal reports (“Biden at Center of Fight Over Abortion After Career of Reservations,” May 8, 2022):
During her commencement address Saturday at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., [Ms. Harris] said the U.S. was forced to defend principles such as “the rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies.”
Forget about what “the U.S.” is supposed to refer to. Ms. Harris probably means “the U.S. state apparatus.” It is likely that she does not have a clear vision of the problems involved in this way of speaking.
Here is the blatant contradiction that I am not the first one to note. I have never heard Ms. Harris speak about the right of a woman to make decisions about how she uses her own body to work—for example, by accepting a wage below a government-decreed minimum wage if she wants to, as opposed to remaining unemployed. Nor is she known for defending the right of a woman to make decisions about the use of her own body by carrying a handgun to protect herself against anyone who would be trying to use her body in a way she does not want to. (In this later case, an original constitutional Amendment exists that the vice-president could buttress, instead of incoherently undermining it.) Such examples could be multiplied.
Abortion is a complex and difficult issue, but a minimum effort of coherence is required.
Perhaps Ms. Harris is instead speaking of the collective right of 50%+1 of American women to use the body of any individual woman as they see fit? But, then, since any human being can apparently decide he is a woman, is she invoking the collective right of 50%+1 of all Americans to make decisions about the individual body of any minority woman in the 50%-1 group? And why focus on Americans as opposed to, say, Mississippians? Not to speak of women in the rest of the world, whose majority may have a different conception of, say, microaggressions. And what is so sacred about a numerical majority anyway? Logical consistency is not collectivism’s strong point.