Guys! Guys! Come see what I can hide in this horse!

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"How do people become pro-lifers?" asks Fred Barnes in the New Standard. Through personal experience, he answers. The five "people" whose experiences he describes are Ronald Reagan, Henry Hyde, Ramesh Ponnuru, Wesley Smith, and himself.

If this is a joke, Barnes keeps a perfect deadpan.

Pro-lifers have to deal with the suspicion that their stance is a Trojan horse to keep women barefoot and pregnant. This suspicion is not quieted when a right-wing journalist uses the word "people" to mean "men," can't be bothered to tell the experiences of any pro-life women, and is unembarrassed by it all. (Several right-wing blogs have already linked to and quoted his article as gospel.)

Barnes undermines his cause in a deeper way, too. Intelligent conservatives are endlessly (and often rightfully) annoyed by the way liberals identify a Bad Thing and jump to the conclusion that the government should regulate or outlaw that Bad Thing. (Are Wal-Mart workers poorly paid? Raise their wages by law.) Whether or not the conclusion is true, it's often reached by evading questions like, will the law or regulation cost more than it's worth, or even accomplish its goal at all?

Barnes and his male examples mirror this do-gooder illogic. They learn that abortion is bad, or at least icky, and promptly conclude that we must pass laws against it. Bill Clinton's campaign slogan--"safe, legal, and rare"--looks more profound every day.

Poetic justice would require Barnes to write about castration using only female sources. But that wouldn't be as revealing as watching him build his giant horse.

(Hat tip to Feministing.) 

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