No Bristol-Levi wedding—what a surprise!

Last September 5th I wrote:

If the above rendition [my summary of an article in the National Enquirer] is accurate, there is reason to believe that Bristol has not agreed to marry Levi, since she fought against her mother’s earlier proposal that she marry him, and the story gives no indication that she changed her mind. In other words, far from agreeing to marry, she has refused to marry. Therefore the announced wedding is a fiction, and my previous skeptical characterization of the wedding as the “supposed” wedding was correct. Levi and Bristol do not want and do not plan to marry.

Today, March 11, 2009, the Associated Press reported :

Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin, the teenage daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin, have broken off their engagement, he said Wednesday, about 2 1/2 months after the couple had a baby. Johnston, 19, told The Associated Press that he and 18-year-old Bristol Palin mutually decided “a while ago” to end their relationship.

Now, going back to September again, do you remember the criticisms I took (some of it angry) for, among other things, my skeptical view of the announced wedding to be, about which many people were gushing with approval? For example, this exchange on September 3:

Mark J. writes:

Levi Johnston is the fiance of Palin’s daughter. That doesn’t seem like something they need to be ashamed of.

Yes they had sex before marriage and she got pregnant. Yes she is 17. But they are getting married, and he is her fiance. I say that if the girl is going to be on stage—and she should be, she is part of the family—then she ought to be able to have her fiance there too. Cut them a little tiny bit of slack, OK?

LA replies:

This “fiance” business again!

Last spring, when Bristol and Levi were high school juniors, Bristol got knocked up, now she’s five months pregnant, they’re starting their senior year of high school, and three days after Mrs. Palin’s nomination for vice president is announced, she and her husband announce that Bristol’s pregnant and add that there’s going to be a shot-gun wedding—and you’re calling the boy her fiance! Do you see how you’re slipping into this new conservative mold of putting a gauzy, sentimental, positive light over things that conservatives once were critical of?

And then this business that I should “cut them some slack.” First, cut them some slack for what? For turning the Republican party into a party that celebrates out of wedlock teen pregnancy? Second, this is not about the Palin family. This is about the Republican party and the conservatism movement which are turning the Palin family into a national icon. And they get no slack for doing that….

On October 20, I noted that Bristol was still not married. In commenting on a Sarah Palin speech in Colorado in which (to my cheers) she criticized Barack Obama’s socialist tendencies as identified by Joe the Plumber, I continued:

Also, just before Palin’s speech, while Hank Williams, Jr. was singing about “the John McCain tradition” (what’s that? the tradition of facilitating an illegal alien invasion and calling people xenophobes if they oppose it?), Palin was listening onstage with her husband and her daughter Bristol. So Palin’s still sticking in our faces her now very pregnant and still unmarried 17 year old daughter. Apparently it hasn’t occurred to anyone in the Palin family or the McCain campaign that this is not a time for Bristol to be at stage center. The message Palin sends by putting Bristol on display like this is that illegitimate pregnancy and childbirth is fine. But what is the greatest single factor that turns a self-governing people into a bunch of husbandless, fatherless families who are unable to provide for themselves and need the government to be their husband and father? Illegitimacy.

Is Palin, foe of big government, within a 100 miles of glimpsing this truth, and of seeing how promoting her out-of-wedlock-pregnant daughter contradicts her supposed conservatism? Did these troubling thoughts remotely occur to any of the cheering thousands in Loveland, or to any of the cheering millions across Red State America?

And here was my bottom line on the Bristol pregnancy and what it said about the Palin candidacy, written on September 3, the day of Palin’s convention speech:

So of course my position goes beyond just saying that she shouldn’t have run. Since she did run, she is imposing this mess on all of us and requiring conservatives and America to become nonjudgmental about illegitimacy and thus to abandon a fundamental principle on which civilized society rests. And that is something for which I consider her very blameworthy.

That was the slightest sampling of the Great Palin Debate from last September. Further VFR postings are listed here. Are you can go here and do a further Google search of VFR.

- end of initial entry -

Evan H. sent me my September 5 comment with which this entry begins plus the AP article, along with this note:

Good call!

Clark Coleman writes:

I guess we don’t have to buy a gift for the wedding of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston.

Note from the story in People that, when the engagement was broken, Bristol was in Wasilla while Sarah Palin was working the winter away in Juneau:

Bristol, meanwhile, is attending Wasilla High, taking a class to supplement course work she is completing at home. She also is considering enrolling in college next fall and studying nursing.

Bristol has been spotted around Wasilla shopping and exercising. She recently returned from Juneau where she was visiting her mother, who is spending the winter in the state’s capital with daughter Piper and son Trig during the legislative session.

Is this what the “WE ARE Sarah Palin and we are in your face!” crowd of conservative women had in mind? Do they have unwed mother teenage daughters living hundreds of miles away while they work? Is that what they defended so vociferously? It seems to me that most of them had columnist jobs that they could do from their homes. You know, the kind of jobs that a lot of women would like to have, because it does NOT require all your work to be outside the home, and the schedule is flexible, kids can be attended to, etc. I always wondered why they had such a bond to Sarah Palin in this respect. Their careers never seemed analogous.

LA replies:

You make an excellent point, and also remind us of the lowest moment of Michelle Malkin and several other “conservative” women: that angry, in-your-face, feminist YouTube.

March 12

Laura W. writes:

Many ordinary Republican women said of Sarah, “She’s just like me!” If a woman talks all the time about her family and yet spends little time with them, she can still call herself a family values conservative come hell or high water. High water came to Bristol and now it comes to little Trip (or Trap?) [LA: or Trick? or Truck?], who enters the remarkably expanding ranks of the fatherless. It won’t hurt Sarah, will it? She’s part of Loveland. Open, lavish, gushy affection for one’s children—plus cell phone calls and an appearance at their sporting events—exonerates one from the responsibility of raising them, from guarding them as teenagers and from providing them with the little trivialities of yesteryear, such as a home-cooked meal. Call it Romantic Parenthood—all sentiment and little content.

LA replies:

I saw something really disturbing and alarming the other day, but didn’t click on it and don’t have it now: that the illegitimacy rate in the U.S. is now 38 percent.

Kidist Paulos Asrat writes:

Clark Coleman writes:

“It seems to me that most of them had columnist jobs that they could do from their homes. You know, the kind of jobs that a lot of women would like to have, because it does NOT require all your work to be outside the home, and the schedule is flexible, and kids can be attended to, etc.”

Actually Michelle Malkin has written that her husband is a full-time stay-at-home dad who quit his job presumably to take care of the children, and to let her continue undisturbed with her political writing career. (Here is a more recent story which says that he is a “stay-at-home dad and health care consultant,” which sounds like the ideal job to have from home while taking care of the children. Interesting role-reversal here.)

Carol Iannone writes:

Regarding the cancellation of any Bristol/Levi wedding plans, Lisa Schiffren writes thoughtfully at The Corner, but ends by saying that Corner readers do not show much interest in the importance of marriage anymore. But wasn’t Lisa herself a supporter of Giuliani for president, along with quite a few other conservatives? Wasn’t that a pretty clear signal that they no longer regarded the marriage, family, and children issue as important—the fact that they wanted to see in the White House a man who committed open adultery, publicly humiliated his wife and tried to throw her and his children out of Gracie Mansion so that his girlfriend could attend functions there and play at being the city’s “first lady,” and then once in his new marriage, allowed his wife to estrange him from his young son and daughter who from that point grew up virtually without him? I certainly continue to consider the issue of primary importance, so much so that I could not support someone with Giuliani’s marital record for the White House, no matter how much electoral capital I thought he had; and, as it turned out, Giuliani didn’t even have that much.

But if Lisa is referring especially to the Sarah Palin episode, I would agree with her. It was astonishing to see conservatives who supposedly cared about the marriage issue rushing to toss it overboard in order to applaud Bristol Palin in her unwed pregnancy. Abortion had become such an obsession that single motherhood became a positive good.

John D. writes:

Carol Iannone writes:

“Abortion had become such an obsession that single motherhood became a positive good.”

This is a very weighty statement. Have we become so obsessed with the saving of life, without reference to any values other than the saving of life, that we justify the degrading of the quality of a child’s life—namely by consigning the child to fatherlessness—simply because of the fact that we were able to save his life?

Isn’t this a rather irrational compromise? And what about the alternative of adoption? Has it now become passe?

March 13

Laura W. writes:

It’s hard to fathom why anyone would see a need to embrace single motherhood in order to fight abortion considering the staggering, unmet demand for adoptable children. Here is an amazing figure. According to a recent article on foreign adoptions in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the number of American children available for adoption has declined to 13,000 annually from 89,000 in the mid-70s.

Why is it so difficult for a healthy teenager or young woman to go through pregnancy? Isn’t it the ultimate act of generosity to give a child she does not want to those who desperately do want one? This argument is essentially un-answerable by the pro-abortion left. Pregnancy does not seriously threaten a young woman’s health. The whole idea that the abolition of abortion will cause back-alley abortions is a lie in a world where there is advanced prenatal care and such a hunger for babies.

Gintas writes:

“Following the Bristol Palin disaster last September when conservatives eagerly abandoned their opposition to out-of-wedlock pregnancy, it seemed that opposition to abortion was the sole remaining conservative principle in the hollowed-out Republican party. And now Steele undermines that as well.”

There’s one other principle left: power. The selection of Steele shows that the GOP has finally conceded the contest to liberalism, and is now going to try to gain power by purely liberal means.

Laura W. writes:

There is an interesting question that gets to the secret shame and confusion a culture of promiscuity and legalized abortion causes. Why is it not shameful for a young woman to have an abortion, but it is shameful for, say, a student at Princeton to appear on campus pregnant even though there are plenty of couples who would love to raise her child? If promiscuity were truly accepted, then there would be loads of college students walking around pregnant. The truth is it is only accepted as a momentary good. It is socially impermissible for a Princeton student to appear pregnant because in doing so she appears constrained by her sexuality. A truth is revealed.

The abortion is invisible; the pregnancy is not. The pro-abortion movement is partly about hiding a residual shame attached not just to casual sex, but to the very concept of the individual as lacking in full freedom in relation to others. Abortion obscures the reality that sex by its very nature puts a woman in a state of dependence. It costs a woman very little to go through nine months of pregnancy, but it costs her everything to admit to herself and to others she is not free. Sadly, women who have abortions often discover their dependence later and that they have only contributed to their own nothingness by denying it.

March 14

Larry G. writes:

Laura W’s last comment in this thread (March 13th) is on to something when she says pregnancy constrains women in their sexuality, but perhaps not the right something. Are women, despite a half-century of feminism, defining themselves as sex objects? Then enduring a pregnancy puts them “out of commission” for nine months, while an abortion puts them back in business in a matter of days. Further, if women are using sex as a good to trade for other goods and services—not through actual prostitution, but informally—then a pregnancy is an intolerable economic imposition as well, even if the baby is eventually given away. So while abortion is promoted as necessary to give women the freedom to control their bodies, in practice they use that freedom to live as sexual commidities. Thus the feminist emphasis on abortion rights does not free women from sexual stereotypes, but aggravates and enables them.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 11, 2009 11:57 PM | Send

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