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When's It Gonna End? So's Your Father!

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Does Big Government Help Women?

by Christopher Chantrill
January 16, 2008 at 3:30 am

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WHEN THE first woman to be a major party candidate for president wins her first presidential primary by playing the gender card it tells you something. The Romantics were right and the rationalists were wrong. Life really is all about feelings and not about reason.

That was a week ago. Now the first woman candidate for president is trading racial smears with her chief rival for the Democratic nomination.

The question that I would like to ask our women friends is this. Was it for this that women, inspired by Simone de Beauvoir, boldly emerged into the public square from out of the darkness of endless ages of oppression?

If so, what’s the point?

I say this because there is much for a woman president to do. In many ways women are as oppressed and as marginalized today as they ever were in the Dark Ages of the patriarchy.

Today in our government schools little girls are forced to learn their lessons according to a unisex curriculum imposed and enforced by activist feminists. Mothers who would prefer a little less feminism and a little more education are out of luck.

Today in our society teenaged girls are encouraged to experiment with sex by educators and pressured to have sex by teenaged boys. Nobody seems to have the courage to tell the girls that they don’t have to put up with this abuse.

Today in our society women in their twenties live under heavy social pressure to devote themselves to a career and un-devote themselves to marriage. The result is that in the prime of their sexuality and fertility they give away their favors to men for nothing. For this their grandmothers chained themselves to railings?

Today in our society thirtysomething women are frantically trying to get pregnant in their few remaining years of fertility. And that’s if they’re lucky and haven’t got divorced.

Today in our society women of all ages are encouraged to divorce if their marriages aren’t up to snuff. Divorced women, of course, often don’t get to have the number of children they want. They usually suffer significant economic hardship. And they don’t really improve their lives through divorce.

Today in our society women of all ages are encouraged to channel their energies away from home and family in paid employment or in a career. But for most women the most important things in their lives are their relationships and their children.

Today when women get old they get bustled off into institutions. Their daughters are encouraged to fill their mature middle years with jobs and careers, and have been socialized to be too busy to care for their enfeebled parents. Older women, surviving often into their nineties, are very weak and very feeble. And very often they are very frightened.

Two words best describe the society that has marginalized its women in this way. Cruel and unjust.

In the name of womens’ liberation our society has chivvied women out of their homes and neighborhoods and the life that many women prefer: family, children and cooperative relationships with other women. Above all it has bullied them out of their instinctive culture of giving and helping and into full-time paid (and taxable) employment.

Meanwhile the first woman candidate for president is busy trading racial barbs with the first black candidate for president.

The odd thing is that the political party that has created this unjust world for women gets most of their support. The “gender gap” means that more women support the big government party than the limited government party.

John R. Lott has explained how this works in “Women’s suffrage over time,” excerpted from his book Freedomnomics. Women are more risk averse than men, he writes, and since they have gotten the vote they have expressed their preference by voting for more government programs. Federal government spending started increasing in the 1920s when women got the vote and it has kept increasing ever since.

Women voted for big government because they were told that big government gave them security. But did it? Is it really true that big bureaucratic government with its one-size-fits-all top-down model can really provide better security and freedom from risk than a conservative society of family, church, neighborhood association, and mutual aid?

Conservatives would say: No. Big government creates big dependency. Women today face uncertainty and risks in their lives that they never faced when they created security for themselves in marriages that could not be easily terminated and when they controlled the social services of their communities because they were the social services of their communities.

Of course, women today do not face the privations that their grandmothers faced a century ago. But the biggest cause of poverty in women is still single parenthood.

The challenge to conservatives is clear. If we want to succeed in reforming big government we have to persuade women that big government means big risks for women.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


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.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

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Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


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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Conversion

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James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
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Education

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E. G. West, Education and the State


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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