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Is Shame So Bad?

March 19, 2012

Doonesbury is harping on the new Texas sonogram law as a tactic of shame and embarrassment, as if that’s a bad idea.  The government is now spending tax payer dollars on ad campaigns putting a positive (and fictitious) spin on food stamps.

If shame is so bad, why is Planned Parenthood lying through their teeth claiming that no government funding would deny women’s health care (right down to claiming they do mammograms, which they don’t)?

It seems America is horrified that people might be induced to feel shame over embarrassing acts.

Sure, everyone needs assistance every now and then and there really isn’t anything shameful about asking or needing help.  We were on WIC for awhile when the kids were young and I was poorly paid.  And yes, it was embarrassing to use the vouchers.  And I was alright with that.  It motivated me to get off them as soon as possible.  I don’t want anyone to feel demoralized, but for people who are working under the table so their benefits aren’t taken way?  Yes, you should feel shame.  Shame can be a great motivator.

Should unwed mothers be embarrassed?  I don’t think they should feel proud of themselves.  And while I agree the sonogram is invasive and push-come-to-shove I’d rather opt for external sonograms, if a woman contemplating abortion feels bad about it, is that so wrong?

Negative motivators can be effective; negative behavior should have some consequences.  I’m not endorsing scarlet letters by any means, but a bit of a blush might not be a bad thing for our society.

(I realize this sounds harsher than I mean, but today, so be it.)

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