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A Liberal View of The SOTU Winning the Culture War

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The First Lady Is Our Queen

by Christopher Chantrill
January 31, 2004 at 7:00 pm


ALL OF A SUDDEN, a couple of weeks ago as the Dean campaign lay on the table in ER gasping for life, they decided to reinvent the independent Dr. Steinberg of Burlington, Vermont as Judy Dean in primary colors and TV makeup.   But when the nation crowded around to take a look, it turned out that it was the feminist narrative that lay on the operating table gasping for life. 

But not to worry.  The Rapid Reaction Task Force jumped into action, and last weekend the elite newspapers were full of helpful features on candidate wifery: “Running Mates” in The Wall Street Journal assured us that the presidential candidate wives were all interesting, vigorous, modern women who brought a range of talent to their husbands’ campaigns, and “Better Halves” in The New York Times assured us that candidate wives were complementary, the yin to their husband’s yang.

No doubt political wives are a tremendous resource.  But modern womanhood and feminism have nothing to do with the symbols of political rule and the rites of campaigning.  When we elect a modern president, we are enthroning our King.  And the president’s wife is our Queen.  Fight that truth at your peril

What should a queen be like?  She should be the embodiment of the American Dream, graceful and determined, a prop to her noble husband and a source of inspiration to American womanhood.  She should be an angel of mercy, a comfort to all who are heavy laden.  That is why Hillary Clinton as First Lady went down like a lead balloon until she got a makeover and started acting the part.

You can see why the feminist War Room had to act.  The modern woman is supposed to have her own life, no longer a decorous accessory to an organization-man-father-knows-best husband.  The Dean fiasco threatened to turn back the clock on decades of progress.

But it won’t work.  It won’t work because women in the modern world are just like men.  Freed from the bone-wearying labor of outside work that barely put food on the family table, they now have options, just like men.  In case you didn’t know, “having options” is short for “having the power to screw up your life, big time.”  Just like men do.

When Betty Friedan announced that bored housewives like her were going quietly mad out in the boring suburbs she was neither bored, nor suburban, nor a housewife.  Instead, she was a veteran left-wing Manhattan journalist opening her own personal front in the left’s War on the Middle Class. 

Friedan offered up a special version of the left’s narrative of oppression and liberation.  She offered liberation to her oppressed believers by representing that the travail of woman’s life arose not out of the desperate struggle for survival and the risky scheme of sexual reproduction but out of the meanness of men who took all the good jobs for themselves and left women to do the dishes.

Of course, the all-powerful patriarchy soon put a stop to all that.  It gave feminists everything they wanted.  Birth control?  Got it.  Take lovers?  Be my guest.  Abortion?  Penumbrated in the constitution.  Divorce?  Certainly.  Real careers?  You go girl.  Men will do just about anything for the sake of domestic peace. 

It was great.  The lefties got a generation of women as foot soldiers for their War on the Middle Class, and the Democrats got the votes of single women.

But now the casualties are streaming back from the front.  There are the millions of pretty girls who have never known what it is like to be courted, for their mating dance is the hook-up.  There are the 45 million mothers mourning their 45 million aborted babies.  There are the millions of women who have found out that “sexually active” means symptom-free clamydia and sterility.  There are the millions of working moms who feel they have to work but would rather be home with their babies.   There are the pro-life teenagers marching for their absent brothers and sisters.

It is beginning to look as though Dr. Freud (who treated the “hysteria” of the first generation of modern women) was right.  You can’t repress the unconscious without descending into neurosis.  A woman is a woman, whatever the zeitgeist tells her or whatever she tells herself.

The feminists can spin us from their elite broadsheets all they want, but they are still wrong.  The president is our King, the symbol of our strength and power, and the First Lady is our national Queen, the symbol of life and maternal compassion.  “Dr. Judy Steinberg” doesn’t cut it.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
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Liberal Coercion

[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
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Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

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Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self

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Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
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Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Faith and Politics

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Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006

Never Trust Experts

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Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
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Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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