“Legitimate Rape” as a Contraceptive: Part of a Pattern

As the Republican establishment runs away from the insane comment of the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, let’s pause to notice the underlying pattern. Now that the GOP is the Party with the Fringe on Top, its membership has given itself permission – with the aid of the Murdoch press – to simply invent new “facts,” both natural and social. Young-Earth Creationism, Global Warming Denialism, Supply-Side Economics, Birtherism, and the claim that the current Adminisration is “socialist” are all of a piece with, e.g., Paul Ryan’s budget arithmetic. They’re simply false. And they’re also articles of faith among one or more Wingnut factions.

In this particular case, the claimed “fact” happened to be deeply offensive to women and to men who care about women, so Akin is getting hammered on it. But equally silly claims are the rule, not the exception, in his speeches and those of his co-partisans. Akin’s anti-feminism is appalling, but his contempt for truth – shared by an entire political party – is a threat to the Republic.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.