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Is Conservatism Really Fiscally Responsible? (Part 1: Family Planning)

A young couple plans their future. Conservatism.

In this wee series, I (very, very) lightly — and with a pinch of humour — take a peek at what it means to be a conservative in a late-stage capitalist oligarchy essentially wondering if Conservatism really has anything to do with fiscal responsibility.

Part 1: Contraception and Abortion

Conservative factions in North America are increasingly denying families and women access to reasonable family planning. This trend seems weird to me. I feel like if you’re really a conservative — a person who values things like restraint, fiscal responsibility, rationality — would you really want people to be saddled with way too many kids?

How is abortion and contraception related to fiscal responsibility?

If we take away the insanity of extreme religious views, the cynicism of political manipulation, and the just plain crazy, what does forcing women to have children they don’t want and didn’t plan have anything to do with fiscal conservatism?

Yes. The Patriarchy. Yes. The theory here is that keeping women barefoot and pregnant, literally and figuratively, will control them and will keep them as slaves in the home. I am not saying I agree with this. But it’s easy to see that if you’re constantly pregnant, it’s hard to develop your career. If you’re constantly nursing and raising children, it’s extremely difficult to be independent. If you’re at home anyway, why aren’t you in charge of everything that needs to be done there? You should be the one to do all the things. Sure. Okay. Free slave labour in the home. Got it.

But Conservatism Would Want To Be Fiscally Responsible. Right?

But isn’t solid family planning more aligned with the tenets of fiscal responsibility? A family headed up by educated and rational folks will know what they can afford and what they cannot afford. Doesn’t it seem much smarter to take charge of the process, decide what you want, plan, and execute that plan? Wouldn’t people who value fiscal responsibility honour a woman who plans and makes rational decisions?

Well, yes, okay. Capitalism. Yes. The theory here is that capitalism thrives on cheap labour. I am not saying I agree with this. For example, parents who need to feed a bunch of wee babies or children who grew up hungry and are pushed out to the workforce early out of need. People who do not know how to advocate for themselves. So, not free, but probably super-cheap labour.

So, current (post-neoliberal?) Conservatism doesn’t seem to be about fiscal responsibility. When looking at family planning, conservatives seem to be more interested in taking advantage of the poor and the overburdened. In this example, conservatism is about keeping people controlled by making them chase a very small amount of money, like a hamster on a wheel trying to get a treat. Got it.

Who is in favour of family planning?

Well, liberals. Does that make sense? The free-spending, fiscally crazy liberals. Huh.

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Jacqui Burke is a storyteller who writes and who also directs theatre. Jacqui has been telling stories for almost all her life (if you count the bedtime stories when her child was wee).

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