missing the point, again

A University of Rochester economics professor blogged in support of Rush Limbaugh’s comments regarding Sandra Fluke.

Quoting him directly:

While Ms. Fluke [the law student] herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover [sic]. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty. I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it,” wrote Steven Landsburg, the professor, on his blog, The Big Questions.

To his credit, Rush stepped in to provide the requisite mockery. To his far greater credit, he did so with a spot-on analogy: If I can reasonably be required to pay for someone else’s sex life (absent any argument about externalities or other market failures), then I can reasonably demand to share in the benefits. His dense and humorless critics notwithstanding, I am 99% sure that Rush doesn’t actually advocate mandatory on-line sex videos. What he advocates is logical consistency and an appreciation for ethical symmetry. So do I. Color me jealous for not having thought of this analogy myself.

Upon being sanctioned by his President, he has posted a follow-up, some of which I quote below:

The commenters [to my previous blog posts regarding this issue] have offered many bright and lively arguments and observations, some of which have led me to modify some of my views. This is a wonderful thing. It’s also the very opposite of Sandra Fluke’s approach, which amounts to a contemptuous dismissal of the very possibility of engaging these issues through intellectual discourse. I’d have expected a distinguished academic to feel the same way.

But he’s still missing the point. Or should I say points.

I’m curious as to whether Dr. Landsburg saw her testimony. It seems not.

Ms. Fluke DOES deserve respect, and was herself ridiculed, mocked, and jeered, quite appallingly so. Rush did not mock her position, he mocked her. This much is quite clear. It causes me to wonder whether Dr. Landsburg even saw or heard these himself, or was just reacting to the fray.

The concern regarding denial of oral contraception for women taking it for medical, non-contraceptive reasons is a real one.

And while Professor Landsburg congratulates himself on both his mastery of effective argumentative tactics and his open-mindedness, he does so in comparison to Ms. Fluke’s “approach” rather than to Mr. Limbaugh’s. As far as I can tell Sandra has been anything but contemptuous. One can certainly not say the same regarding Rush.

The fact that this clip is followed up with comments like these leave me very little hope:

This is just a few of them. Too early in the day for me to wallow around in such a misogynistic quagmire.

And it’s interesting how all of the “clueless” comments seem to come from men. Am I the only one who thinks that men should just stay out of this argument altogether? When you have ovaries, a uterus, and risk becoming pregnant every time you have sex, then you can talk about this.

Just sayin’.


4 Responses to “missing the point, again”

  1. 1 Miss Bessy
    March 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I don’t have a problem with Fluke’s opinion.
    I don’t have a problem with Limblaugh’s opinion.
    I do have a problem with Limblaugh (blaugh blaugh blaugh) being a bully.
    (it is almost the only opinion I have with this episode) Oh how I wish it ended there.
    I do feel Rush is a 1%er that loves the attention, and I wish we could ignore him.
    I wish it didn’t bother me that a Georgetown Law student (all of whom will soon to be 1%ers) on average will have a $160K salary out of college and it’s more than I will make in five years. (but it does bother me)
    So I kinda feel this is a big job interview for her and she will be way above the average.
    Title X was passed back in 1970 by then President Richard Nixon (he was in the news a lot back in the 70s) and it provides free birth control for most women of need. Target sells a basic month worth of pills for under $10 for those like me that have modest means and large expenses.
    I feel like we are getting played by both sides to make a mountain over a mole hill. (mole pill?)
    And yes when MSNBC’s Ed Schultz(another 1%er), who was suspended last year(can’t limblaugh suspend himself?)—and had to apologize—called radio host Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slu#” He didn’t get half the press or half the posts or any posts on this blog.
    And now we have Bill Maher(another 1%er) defending Limblaugh because he likes name calling too for plubicity reasons.
    Somehow I feel the regular folks like us still have day to day problems with the price of Gas going up and our salaries never going up as fast, but we never get to decide what gets talked about on the news. We just sit around and talk about 1%ers, or make fun of 1%ers, or just want to be a 1%er.

    • March 8, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      I don’t want to be a 1%er.
      I certainly don’t presume to comment on every single thing that happens in the world; just on the things that catch my attention, on days I have time to pay attention.
      And whether you agree with someone or not, calling them a slut or a prostitute rather than actually talking about something is inexcusable.
      And his name is Limbaugh.

  2. 3 Miss Bessy
    March 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Good reply. I’ll try to stop calling him names. I’ll just stick with Limbaugh the guy who goes on and on with his blaugh blaugh blaugh.

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