My response in the form of a letter to the editor at NR follows, but there are basically two points so excessively irritating about the article. One is the writer's, well, his male chauvinism though I hate that expression. I'm not by any means a feminist, but VerBruggen shows himself to be brainwashed by 50 years of feminist lies and so is one of those men who perhaps unwittingly, though conveniently, diminishes and takes advantage of the dignity of the woman as a human person.
The second excessively irritating thing about the article is its suggestion that conservatives need to nip a little here, tuck a little there, adjust their beliefs and views so they can get along with the Left.
This is the worst kind of cowardice. If this is NR's stance, fine, but then it can't rightfully call itself "up to the minute conservative commentary."
All the points in Robert Verbruggen's article "On a LARC" (December 31, 2014) follow logically one from the other if one accepts his premises, which he finally states halfway through his article. He writes: It's not as if we're going to ban birth control, eject women from the workplace, make abstinence until marriage. . . common, . . . .talk today's youth into marrying in their teens or early 20s, . . . . .
We're not? How does he know? Mr. Verbruggen writes that "many conservatives might prefer to bring back the marriage culture that America enjoyed decades ago,. . . . ." That's a handy over-simplification Verbruggen makes to allow him to draw the mis-guided conclusions he goes on to promote in his article.
Forget a return to the climate of the pre-60s revolution that Verbruggen implies some of us are looking for. We seek an awareness of the human person that includes regarding sex, not as some animalistic urge to be indulged at will, but as an aspect of our humanity that yields the most benefits to society and to us as individuals when enjoyed within the bonds of marriage. We seek a respect for and acknowledgment of the role that marriage plays in reducing poverty and providing the best environment for raising children. We look to educate teenagers about the value of their sexuality, the benefits of chastity and abstinence, and to impress upon young adults, especially women, the perils of single motherhood both for themselves and their fatherless children. We seek to re-educate men like Robert Verbruggen who've been bought and sold by the feminists as he writes "Giving women more control over their fertility is the most promising way to address this situation."
No, Robert, women don't need more control over their fertility. Men and women together will benefit when they control and respect their sexuality which is the gift and responsibility of both sexes. When it comes to sex, the commonly-held wisdom, and Mr. Verbruggen holds it in this article, is that rational adults and silly, hot-headed teenagers simply cannot control their sexual urges nor can they be held responsible for them. Yet, despite this inability, Robert Verbruggen has come to the remarkable conclusion that women alone can shoulder the load for our society's uncontrollable sexual urges by having a health care professional (I use the phrase advisedly) shove a piece of plastic into their reproductive organs. The women-folk won't mind. And don't complain about infections, cramps or other deleterious side effects either, gals. How convenient that one group in society, women, can bear the burden of responsibility for everyone else, including men. Mr. Verbruggen illustrates nicely the Real War on Women.
More to Verbruggen's own point I suppose, is his notion that women and their IUDs will bring conservatives, pro-lifers and "religious people" to the bargaining table with the Left on controversies surrounding contraception and abortion. This is appeasement and carries with it the tacit implication that the Left is really right on these issues and that conservatives ought to change or at least massage their beliefs enough to be nice and just get along with everyone else, that they should be moderates.
It's a large task, changing minds and hearts about foundational issues such as human sexuality, marriage, family and abortion when they've been obscured by the utilitarian, secular and politically expedient values Robert Verbruggen gives voice to in this article. It's a disappointment to read such an article in the pages of National Review.