I’m old enough to remember when, along with debt and deficit reduction, anti-protectionism and so-called “family values”, a strong opposition to population control was one of the fundamental principles of the conservative movement and the Republican Party.
But apparently, like debt and deficit reduction, anti-protectionism and so-called ‘family values’, strong opposition to population control has been another victim of the Trump era, a faded memory of populists. right-wingers who prefer to own the remaining principles and policies.
How else to explain the utter weirdness that transpired on the right-wing, Trump-loving cable network Newsmax the other night?
Anchor Rob Schmitt, formerly a Fox News host, suggested that COVID-19 vaccines “usually kind of go against nature.”
He added: ‘Like, I mean, if there’s a disease out there – maybe there’s just an ebb and flow in life where something is supposed to wipe out a certain number of people , and that’s kind of how evolution happens. Vaccines sort of get in the way of that.
Schmitt, while perhaps singular in his eloquence, isn’t alone in thinking that “vax bad, COVID good” in the New Right Wing, the movement that has been chosen to repeat President Donald’s anti-science quackery Trump out of favor, public health malice, and rejection of common sense. (It is painfully worth pointing out that Trump, some of his family members, and many of his employees contracted COVID-19 while openly bragging about flouting masks and social distancing recommendations.)
At a Conservative Political Action Conference rally in Texas over the weekend — an annual event that now airs Trump’s self-serving conspiracy theories so effectively that he’s held it twice this year — a crowd protested. applauded the statement that the country has not achieved their vaccination goals. The inanity was breathtaking.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem also got involved in CPAC’s ridiculous self-ownership, bragging about his state’s refusal to, you know, do things that would keep the residents alive.
“We have Republican governors across this country claiming they didn’t shut down their states, they didn’t shut down their regions, they didn’t mandate masks,” he said. she outraged, conveniently unaware that this stuff could have kept South Dakota from to becomeon a per capita basis, one of the worst states in the nation for COVID-19 infections.
Other right-wing media figures have also tried to scare Americans life-saving vaccinefor all sorts of insane “reasons”, including my favorite – that Bill Gates, who has donated at least $1.75 billion to fight the virus, and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, established the pandemic to insert traceable microchips into people’s arms. If you want to laugh (or cry) quickly, scroll through TikTok to watch people insist the spoons stick to magnets subversively implanted in their arms.
But Schmitt’s cavalier reflection on population control stands out for its absurdity, because someone forgot to tell him and others that conservatives are supposed to be against such arguments. Roughly.
In 2009, President Barack Obama’s climate czar John Holdren came under intense scrutiny over a 1970 manual he co-wrote that examined extreme and hideous ideas for curbing population growth, such as “forcing pregnant single women to have abortions and adding chemicals to drinking water to make people infertile,” as the New York Times puts it.
Many on the right were understandably horrified.
More recently, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came under fire for his response to a question about population growth and climate change during a 2019 town hall. He suggested that better access to abortion in poor countries was the solution. Rightly National Review called this “scandalous”, and linked it to the long and dismal history of progressive eugenics.
Search “population control” on right-wing sites like The Federalistand a long list of articles, spanning years and covering issues such as China’s one-child policy, appears.
So what has changed? Have Schmitt and others suggested that COVID-19 is an evolution or even God’s way to thin the herd, simply ignoring that such arguments have long been disavowed by the political movement they presumably support? Did they forget to read their recent history? Did they fail to consider the moral and ethical implications of such dangerous arguments?
Maybe that’s giving them too much credit. More likely, Trump and his corrupt GOP have so subverted conservative orthodoxy that up is now down and right is now left.
The well-reasoned principles that helped propel the party to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th century have been abandoned — by Trump in particular, but especially by movement conservatives, elected Republicans and right-wing media who should know better, it’s been here before.
So when someone goes on TV and blithely promotes a macabre argument for population control, probably because they think it will appeal to their audience and the Republican base, it’s horrifying, disorienting and shameful – but without surprise. What is that is not is conservatism. But, then, there’s not much to it these days, which may be why the Republicans keep losing. Because with ideas like these, who needs opposition?
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SE Cupp is the host of “SE Cupp Unfiltered” on CNN.