Conservative Telegraph (U.K.) columnist Tim Stanley reported on the latest outrage from MTV star Dan Savage in Australia. “As part of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, he went head-to-head with Britain's Peter Hitchens on marriage, Christianity and sex – and got progressively filthier and angrier as the evening wore on.”
At the end, when panelists were asked to provide a truly “dangerous idea,” he cracked that abortion should be mandatory:
SAVAGE: Population control: there's too many Goddam people on the planet. [Audience applauds like lunatics]. You know, I'm pro-choice, I believe that women should have a right to control their bodies. Sometimes in my darker moments, I'm anti-choice. I think abortion should be mandatory for about 30 years.
What a misanthropic statement. Stanley analyzed it:
Savage might try to insist that he was only joking but there's no smile on his face and the point seems quite seriously made. It's also not funny. Had he said that old people should be exterminated to bring the numbers down, his career might be over. Because he said something similar about abortion, he'll probably be defended by radical pro-choicers. But what he's basically saying here is that women should be compelled to abort their children so that there are less people around to annoy Dan Savage. Of course, they already do this in China.
The irony is that prior to this comment Savage and Hitchens were arguing about who was the more authoritarian: religious conservatives or free-loving liberals. With this statement on abortion, Savage answers his own question. In a way that should make both Left and Right shudder.
Savage tweeted in self-defense: “It was modest-proposal-style bit of obviously and intentionally offensive hyperbole. Transparently so.” Then he added: "Only the professionally offended would take it—or claim I meant it—literally."
Stanley dismissed the man: "In another age, he'd be regarded as a public nuisance. In 21st century America, he's a serious liberal icon who has appeared on CNN, HBO and MSNBC. He was also a guest presenter on Channel 4's Sex Box, in which two people had sex in a box and Savage then talked about it. 'Downton Abbey' it was not."