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President Obama's Problem Obama's First Fumble

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Women and Safety

by Christopher Chantrill
January 29, 2009 at 11:38 am


NOW THAT President Obama is safely inaugurated into the office of President of the United States, working on pleasurable stimuli for the Democratic faithful, let us resume our conservative seminar. While the Democratic stoats and weasels roister and revel at Toad Hall, we stalwarts of the republic, Moles and Rattys and Badgers, even the excitable Mr. Toad himself, must think and plan for the day when Toad Hall will be returned to its rightful owner.

The biggest problem we have to consider is the Woman Problem. We have to confront the fact that one of the reasons that we live in an age of Big Government is that ever since they first got the vote, women have used their franchise to vote for more government. Can we even hope for change?

Consider a moderately liberal woman of my acquaintance pondering the awful fact that her son, studying for a Ph.D. in Classics, considers himself a conservative. Fortunately a mother, even a liberal mother, cannot bring herself to disown her son for apostasy. So she has allowed our worthy brother-in-arms to persuade her that there is something of life beyond “basic needs.” Whereas his mother thinks of politics as legislating to make people safe through schools, health care, lunches, etc., her son asks her to consider also the call of the good, the true, the beautiful, and the care of the soul. Then he asks her to wonder what it means to pass a law that weakens the ability of people to develop these perennial virtues.

Woman thinks first of safety, and thinks nothing of erecting a vast apparatus of compulsion to achieve it. But woman is not just wedded to safety. She is also defined by her relationships. She does not just want those in her circle of care to be safe; she wants them to thrive and be happy.

Woman wants safe, but does government really deliver on safe beyond national defense and domestic policing? Is it safe for government to run risky “affordable housing” schemes? The result is a Federal Reserve Board swinging madly from credit flood to credit crunch and foreclosing women out of their dream homes. Is it safe for government to compel children into its government schools? The result is said to be STD infection in about 25 percent of high-schoolers. Is it safe for government to subsidize single parenthood in the name of compassion? The result is fatherless children growing up into violent adults and criminals that disproportionately target women.

Our task is clear. We must persuade women in the truth, that they will not find safety in a pile of government programs for health care, for education, and for welfare. Government does not care for women; it just wants their votes. Government cares about only one thing: Power.

We must work for the day when women wake up and realize that big government oppresses women more than the patriarchy ever did. If they come to realize that, it will be because conservatives have persuaded them, using good conservative conversation, that government doesn’t care about people. Government is force, not safety.

While everyone is wondering what kind of stimulus package President Obama will offer to the nation, let us start work on the big issues on women and safety. President Obama proposes to increase government control of health care. This means that health care will become less responsive to the special needs of consumers (read: women). President Obama proposes to increase government control of education with the first step towards universal pre-kindergarten. This means that education will become less responsive to the needs of the parents of special children (read: women). President Obama proposes to increase the investment into alternative energy and discourage use of fossil fuels. That will make transportation for expensive for consumers (read: women).

A majority of male voters are already sold on the conservative vision. That’s not too surprising, given the costs that government piles on every man of aspiration from Joe the Plumber on up. Now the job of conservatives is to persuade women. Can we persuade women that safety is not spelled government? There’s one encouraging indicator. Women are more easily persuaded to change their minds on political issues than men.

But there is still the awful possibility that women actually like the current system, in which government gets to demolish freedom every day with some new legislation to improve “safety.” After all, if TV commercials are to be believed, women eagerly respond to the idea that men are useless incompetents that need constant direction and supervision.

It couldn’t be that women actually prefer the present welfare state. It couldn’t be that they want suffocating government control and regulation over the conservative alternative. It couldn’t be that they prefer compulsion over a voluntary community that mediates between the individual and the megastructure of government. Could it?

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990

Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures

German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


“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

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.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


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


[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


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh

Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital

presented by Christopher Chantrill

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