Take note. That's something that if you say it, you will lose your job. It's now, officially, a topic that cannot be discussed anymore. Feminists used to have to fight to get sex without consent recognized as real rape. (Here's Susan Estrich's book "Real Rape," spelling it out in 1988 for people who were struggling with concept could bring it within grasp.) Now, you're on notice that making distinctions between types of rape could utterly destroy you. Don't talk about it.She captures a great deal of what I thought was important about the matter too. If we're going to be governed by citizen legislators, they'll be ordinary men and women -- which means they will sometimes be, or at least sound, dumb and inarticulate. It turns out that Akin is a former Army combat engineer, so he's probably not stupid as such; but as Scott Adams pointed out, we're all increasingly functionally stupid as the amount there is to know grows exponentially but our capacity to learn stays largely put. Outside of our functional area, then, more and more we're going to sound stupid even if we're really quite smart inside of our proper sphere.
What a victory for women in the war on women.
ADDED: There's a big difference between Akin and Galloway, and it's not just that one's a righty and one's a lefty. Akin is, I think, rather dumb, and he's obviously inarticulate. By contrast, Galloway is quite smart and articulate.
Ironically, it was Galloway who was talking about a category that could be termed — using language properly — "legitimate rape." When Akin said "legitimate rape," he was referring to the most serious kinds of incidents within the larger category of unconsented-to sexual intercourse, the acts that everyone will agree are rape.
The word "legitimate" makes it sound as though Akin were saying those acts are acceptable, but he only meant those are the acts that are properly referred to with the word rape. And this was all in the context of talking about abortion.
Akin wants to say abortion is always wrong, and he's got to deal with the widely held opinion that a woman who has become pregnant through rape ought to be able to get an abortion. How can he find a way to say no? What if it were true that when it's a really serious rape — an act properly categorized as rape — that the woman's body would repel the sperm? That would be really convenient as a way to fend off the argument that has worked so strongly against his absolute anti-abortion position. Of course, it's not true, so it's some highly stupid wishful thinking on his part.
Now, let's look at what Galloway said. He's talking about the kind of rape that's not at the core of what is reprehensible about rape. Like Akin, he's thinking about the most serious types of rape and distinguishing other acts that also get classified as rape, and he's legitimating those less serious acts. Akin was probably only trying to say that it would be good always to favor the life of the unborn over the interests of the woman (because if she got pregnant, she wasn't a victim of the harshest violence).
But Galloway wasn't talking about the innocence of the unborn at all. He was talking about the innocence of the man who has sex with a woman without her consent. He was saying that when a man is naked in bed with a woman who has already had sex with him, that man can proceed with another act of intercourse without acquiring her consent. He's saying that something that some people categorize as rape is not really rape.
So Akin and Galloway raise 2 different issues about rape. One is about access to abortion in a world where there is rape. The other is about the extent to which sexual intercourse should be criminalized. These are actually both things we should be able to talk about!
So he said something that was wrong (probably, though as we've discussed it's actually very difficult to tell what to make of the numbers), and he sounded kind of dumb, but he did it in an honest attempt to explain the reasoning underlying his principles. That's good! In fact, it's the only way around the problem that Scott Adams is pointing us towards: the only way to take advantage of all this new knowledge is if we find a way to bring our stupid areas forward for correction by those whose functional area it happens to be.
We learned something from this (whether or not he did): about where we stand as a republic on the question of rape, about the existence of a theory most of us probably did not realize was informing part of the abortion debate, and about what we think about that theory. We are all better off for having had this discussion, even though it made a lot of people angry and upset.
I gather Dr. Althouse takes that to be to the good -- and except for some sympathy for those who were upset by the remarks, the effect is good. A legislator isn't elected to make policy about the one thing he or she knows about, after all: they're going to be functionally stupid in a lot of the areas where they have to make law. The freer they feel to talk in public about what they believe and why they believe it, the better off we will be as a nation.