January 9, 2012

Can of worms, (re-)open!

RS McCain:

The originators and leading advocates of feminism have always seen themselves, and properly so, as part of the Progressive Left. Feminists have therefore contested any and all attempts by conservatives to co-opt and redefine the term “feminism” as something compatible with conservatism. Yet there are many soi-disant conservatives who, desirous of seeming fashionably modern and perhaps insufficiently knowledgeable of feminism’s leftist origins, persist in claiming that conservatives who reject feminism – as all actual conservative do – are guilty of throwing out the good feminist baby with the bad feminist bathwater.[...]

This is what the self-declared “conservative feminists” refuse to acknowledge: Feminism has no meaning outside the context of rights and equality. Once you begin defining the roles and relations of men and women in such terms, you have taken an irretrievable step down the slippery slope toward radical egalitarianism. The very fact that people who call themselves conservatives are incapable of recognizing what should be self-evident – that the radical conclusion of the egalitarian argument is implicit in its premises – should profoundly trouble those concerned about the future prospects of conservatism in America. [...]

Americans have been so rigorously indoctrinated about the sacredness of equality as a political, legal and social principle that one fears they’ve actually begun to believe that this kind of equality is possible or desirable, which is lunacy.

Men and women are different, and the differences are so obvious, intrinsic and profound that to prohibit “discrimination” between the sexes is to require people to pretend to believe in a transparent falsehood. No sane person could actually believe that men and women are equal – that is to say, fungible – in this way, and therefore the entirety of the feminist worldview is premised on a susceptibility to insanity.

Okay, here’t goes: Stacy’s mistake here — and it’s been a consistent one in his critiques on feminism over the years — is to allow the feminist project to conflate egalitarianism with equality before the law, the latter making up much of the basis for first wave feminism, which concerned itself with de jure inequalities and suffrage. Equality before the law — and the protestation of officially mandated inequalities that stand in the way of such an equitable arrangement — is a perfectly classically liberal / constitutionally conservative concept. And it differs importantly from the idea that men and women are fungible, which as Stacy notes (correctly) is absurd.

And this is precisely why feminism shouldn’t be surrendered to those whom I’ve called the “establishment feminists,” whose goal has been to turn what was originally a classically liberal concept into a progressive morass of grievance peddling and cut-throat identity politics. Stacy would deny that one can be a conservative and a feminist simultaneously; in fact, he admonishes that “[c]onservatives who defend feminism are not merely wasting their own time, but wasting the time of those of us who are required to leave aside useful work in order to refute their misguided arguments.”

Conversely, my position has always been that, to be a feminist in the original sense (what Christina Hoff Sommers has termed “equity feminism”), one need merely be a classical liberal / legal conservative: because feminism itself was born of Enlightenment principles of individual justice — an idea that permeated the then “radical” thinking of of Founders and Framers — one can’t NOT be a feminist, if one pledges fidelity to the foundational ideas upon which this country was constructed. And that’s because first-wave feminism desired that women be granted the same legal and moral rights as men — and the opportunity to vote their interests in the political process.

That the term feminism has been corrupted — just as the terms “liberal” or “tolerance” or “fairness” have been corrupted — does not mean we as classical liberals / legal conservatives need give up the fight to take back ownership. In fact, ceding ownership over such terms has enabled the left to claim the mantle of being liberal, tolerant, and fair — to claim that it is they who are advocates of the equal rights of women, even as their corruption of feminism has rendered them particularly cynical special pleaders — which of necessity suggests of their political opponents the obverse: legal conservatives / classical liberals — now framed as racist, homophobic, misogynistic and patriarchal right-wingers — must be illiberal, intolerant, unfair, and resistant to allowing the “equal rights” of women.

It has been my argument here over the course of the last ten years that by rejecting and then countering the left’s attempts to usurp the language of individual liberty, we as conservatives are able to then forcefully and consistently make the case that the left’s entire political facade is based on the ideological perversion of what are fundamentally classical liberal principles.

Stacy’s argument, conversely, concedes the game by conceding the term — an admission on his part that the designation “feminist” has become so completely corrupted that we as conservatives should distance ourselves from it. That is, because feminism, as it has been appropriated by the academic left, has become one fulcrum for a particular political bloc with aims toward radical egalitarianism (and there are various splinter groups representing various ideas, among them notions of social identity construction, gender fluidity, etc.), it is Stacy’s contention that what is now feminism is inherently anti-conservative.

And it is. But then, that’s because what is now “feminism” has so diverged from the origins of the feminist impulse that it is a perversion and, in fact, a direct rejection, of the principles from which it sprung.

Conservatives need constantly to remind people that such perversions of the language — easy deconstructions and refigurations that then disguise themselves beneath terms that they hope will continue to elicit positive connotations (liberal, fairness, tolerance, equality, diversity) — are how the left routinely pretends to seize a moral high ground they have not otherwise earned, capitalizing on the veneer such terms carry that redound to our foundational ideals of individual liberty and equality before the law while those who’ve usurped the terms simultaneously and ironically work to replace individual autonomy with political collectivism, and an legislated inequality that redounds to their favor.

Pointing out the mechanisms of progressive leftism is what helps to expose it and, one hopes, defeat it. Surrendering to it — whether it’s by allowing the term “racist” to be misused as a political weapon, or by allowing the term “feminism” to be appropriated and reconfigured to mean feminine supremacy or the dissolution of existential or ontological differences between the sexes — only assures that, somewhere down the road, the left will appropriate yet other liberal (in the true sense) terms, and in so doing, reap the benefits that convention has attached to them while simultaneously working to undermine the very ideas that animate them in an attempt to build their centrally-planned and controlled political Utopia.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:08am
132 comments | Trackback

Comments (132)

  1. actually, for RSM this is can of worms reopen! as several equity feminists (e.g. Joy, Cassandra and me) have gone round ‘n round with Stacy on just this point.

    he basis for first wave feminism, which concerned itself with de jure inequalities and suffrage. Equality before the law — and the protestation of officially mandated inequalities that stand in the way of such an equitable arrangement — is a perfectly classically liberal / constitutionally conservative concept.

    In many ways I don’t use “feminism” as a first adjective in describing myself — as the Vagina Warriors are apt to … because I think of myself, politically, as a constitutional conservative; “feminism” being but as descriptive subset thereof.

  2. Headline: Men are Women ARE different; Scientists shocked

  3. Hugging the isms has always been a problematic. Hugging one’s beloved, not so.

  4. Conservatives need constantly to remind people that such perversions of the language — easy deconstructions and refigurations that then disguise themselves beneath terms that they hope will continue to elicit positive connotations

    These days conservatives can barely remember a guy that makes his constituents buy health insurance is not a conservative.

  5. Their words do no mean what they want us to think they mean. Their programs do not achieve the goals they claim to want.

    Allowing people to choose the level of medical care they want based on personal resources and prioritization would be liberal. Breaking the state education monopoly would be progressive. Treating self-made women like Palin or Bachmann with the respect they deserve would be feminist. Honest engagement with Rush or Levin or Beck or Steyn would be tolerant. Insisting that everybody pay at least some kind of income tax would be fair.

    It’s not enough for them to lie, to say one thing and mean another. No, they insist on twisting actual words to make the truth appear false, and to make their fantasy world seem solid. That’s what we’re up against, and it’s to Jeff’s credit that he’s willing to take on these lies head-on, and to try to make others see what’s right in front of them.

  6. identity politics is retarded and Mr. McCain is right you can’t square feminism with a political philosophy what believes that individual people are endowed with rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness by their creator … but then you can’t really square santorumism with that either

  7. santorumism

    can you define that? Precisely?

  8. Allowing people to choose the level of medical care they want based on personal resources and prioritization would be liberal. Breaking the state education monopoly would be progressive. Treating self-made women like Palin or Bachmann with the respect they deserve would be feminist. Honest engagement with Rush or Levin or Beck or Steyn would be tolerant. Insisting that everybody pay at least some kind of income tax would be fair.

    so good it needed to be said twice.

    Bravo.

  9. How ’bout in memory of BJTex we try not to antagonize each other today?

  10. Headline: Men are Women ARE different; Scientists shocked

    Not all of us, scientists, that is. Men and women are complementary; neither is superior.

    We are, each sex, endowed with talents and qualities that are necessarily different from the other. This is to respected, but not venerated as a virtue, rather than the accident of birth that it is.

  11. identity politics is retarded and Mr. McCain is right you can’t square feminism with a political philosophy what believes that individual people are endowed with rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness by their creator

    It’s like you didn’t even bother to read what I wrote. Just looking for a way to get in something about Santorum, take the thread in a different direction, and thus engage in your brand of “lookatme!-ism.”

    The original feminist impulse of equality before the law — protesting legislated inequalities that denied women basic political and existential rights (of the kind we enshrined in the Constitution, and which Lincoln noted were bound to lead to an end of slavery) — is conservative. The perversion of feminism by the marketers — the leftist cultural robber barons — should not be allowed to stand.

    You know, on second thought, I don’t believe you’ve so much missed the point as purposely tried to miscast it.

    Sad.

  12. Is there a need to wrest the term “feminist” from the Left and return it to its “equity feminism” roots?

    As far as I can tell, there is no movement nor sentiment nor argument that suffrage was a mistake nor that women shouldn’t own property nor that women ought to differ from men before the law. As you noted, the “equity feminism” meaning is part and parcel with Enlightenment thought, but not one that has needed special emphasis for many decades.

    On the other hand, other aspects of Enlightenment thought are constantly under attack, and terms associated with it—tolerance, equity, fairness—have indeed been coopted by the Left and twisted to their opposite meanings.

    Might it not be more useful to argue that the Left’s “feminism” isn’t feminism at all but Pink Marxism and that “feminism” in the West is as obsolete as “suffrage”?

    Shouldn’t we be deleting the term from everyone’s political vocabulary, Left and Right? Because the poor women in the developing world, especially in Muslim countries, need as many spare instances of “[equity] feminism” as they can get. We should send them all of our cast-offs. Maybe shame the Left (assuming you can shame the shameless) into contributing theirs.

  13. As far as I can tell, there is no movement nor sentiment nor argument that suffrage was a mistake

    heh .. not according the VWs. All us anti-women womens (like Palin, Bachmann, Hoff Sommers, etc) are nothing BUT wanting to kick women out of the public square into the kitchen.

  14. Kitchen, ha! As if the world’s great chefs aren’t almost all men. Ptooey.

    (It’s a joke, people, a joke.)

  15. Darleen and dicentra, have either of you read any of Phyliss Chesler’s work? She writes extensively of her experience as the Jewish wife Arab man whom she met at university, married and returned with him to his homeland. Her story is quite moving, beatings, isolation, escape back to America, the subsequent birth of her child and her recounting of the packs of lies that Muslims tell us and their women.

    She is often a guest editor at Frontpage Magazine and is a professor of women’s studies as well as psychologist.

  16. Heh. sdferr, my father says God gave women small feet so we can stand closer to the stove.

  17. Sdferr, men do it professionally, and of course are better at it.

    Women were born for it, and that’s a good thing.

    *ducks and runs away*

  18. but Mr. McCain mostly isn’t talking about the days of yore when women were kept down by force of law he’s talking about today right now… and feminism is identity politics twaddle today right now

    we can’t make the word mean what it used to mean cause of the world in which it used to mean what it meant is gone gone gone and so the word means what it means today, and it’s not a helpful word to anybody but socialists

  19. Except, ‘feets, that the old meaning of “feminism” is sorely needed outside the West.

    We should donate the term with its “equity” meaning to them what needs it and give it up ourselves on account of we don’t need it anymore.

    And use “pink Marxism” in its place.

  20. we can’t make the word mean what it used to mean cause of the world in which it used to mean what it meant is gone gone gone and so the word means what it means today [emph. add.], and it’s not a helpful word to anybody but socialists

    Conserving the New Deal and the Great Society!

    Staunch

  21. Western feministas, being a buch of hypocrites, don’t really care about the oppressed women in other countries, though.

    That should have been patently obvious many moons ago when Hillary Clinton when to a Human Rights event in China.

  22. We should …. use “pink Marxism” in its place.

    The gays won’t like that.

  23. Except, ‘feets, that the old meaning of “feminism” is sorely needed outside the West.

    good point

  24. OT: Bill Daley steps down as WH Chief of Staff.

  25. Just to revert, one moment, to a reminder: Karl Marx saw the division of labor generated in the distinctions between the sexes, from time out of mind, and was himself minded to the obliteration of the inequalities he thought arising therefrom. This was his life’s work.

  26. Kitchen, ha! As if the world’s great chefs aren’t almost all men. Ptooey.

    Joking aside … (and if you watch FoodNetwork, the dearth of female chefs is overrated) … I do believe that professional male chefs v in-home female cooks is less about talent then about general (GENERAL) male/female differences.

    Males (GENERALLY) will find something to obsess about to the exclusion of all else. Cooking would be no different (listen to interviews with male chefs and it’s about “passion” “discovering my place in the world” “working my art 24/7″ …)

    Females (GENERALLY) like to do a lot of different things at the same time. “Jack of all trades”

  27. I don’t buy into that generalization at all, Darleen. I don’t suppose you can cite a social science study to that effect? You know I can’t stand up against the careful peer review offered by our finest social scientists…

  28. A lot of it has to do with different goals, as well. Cooking professionally is back-breaking work, performed under uncomfortable conditions for long hours with little compensation. I would, speaking for myself, rather do something less strenuous, like raising a family. I kid, I kid.

  29. We should …. use “pink Marxism” in its place.

    The gays won’t like that.

    Dude. Queer Studies is “Rainbow Marxism,” and pink ain’t in the spectrum.

  30. I stand corrected and withdraw my objection.

    So what do the race hustlers and diversity pimps call their brand of Marxism?

  31. I don’t suppose you can cite a social science study to that effect?

    I don’t remember where I read it (a long time ago), but they recorded one person reading several different stories. Then they put the test subject in a booth, played all the stories simultaneously, and instructed the subject to focus on one of the stories and follow it to the end.

    The men could do it; the women couldn’t.

    Female attention is definitely multitask: I’ve heard women complain that when they leave their husbands home with the kids, the husbands lose track entirely of what the kids are up to because they get all focused on one thing to the exclusion of all others, whereas women can be aware of the kids in the basement, the kids in the yard, the kids in the bedroom, and the cake in the oven all at once.

    My own personal experience is the same. If a guy is focused on something (TV, totting up a restaurant bill, whatever), and I say something offhand, he won’t hear it. I have to get his attention first, then say something.

    I’m sure many women figure their husbands are ignoring them, because a woman would hear the interruption and respond. But, in fact, men can shut out distractions where women’ can’t.

  32. OT: Bill Daley steps down as WH Chief of Staff.

    You just knew an adult wasn’t going to last in this WH.

  33. sdferr, I thought Karl’s life’s work was mooching off first his relatives and then Friedrich Engels. And also taking credit for Engels’s work.

  34. Shhhh, di. You are giving away a wifely secret. “I told you all about this yesterday!”

  35. So what do the race hustlers and diversity pimps call their brand of Marxism?

    “Tolerance.”

    “Pink Marxism” and “Rainbow Marxism” are MY derisive terms for them.

  36. Re: these male/female differences, my suggested search string would be “effects of sexual dimorphism of the corpus callosum”.

  37. Or to put all that succinctly:

    Men are good at one thing (at a time), and Women aren’t good at anything (all at once).

  38. Shhhh, di. You are giving away a wifely secret. “I told you all about this yesterday!”

    Word on the street is that even when you get a man’s attention and tell him the plans for celebrating your mother’s birthday, he doesn’t have a container in his brain for the information, so it lands on the ground unharmed and hops under the couch.

    Best stick to baseball stats and babes, where they have ample space dedicated.

  39. Pablo, Daley is to be replaced by Jack Lew; father of AmeriCorps. I want to hear Obama say Ameri-corpse, just for the lulz.

  40. Men are good at one thing (at a time), and Women aren’t good at anything (all at once).

    Yes. That’s exactly it. Watch a female event organizer in action and then tell that to me again.

  41. to be a feminist in the original sense (what Christina Hoff Sommers has termed “equity feminism”), one need merely be a classical liberal / legal conservative: because feminism itself was born of Enlightenment principles of individual justice — an idea that permeated the then “radical” thinking of of Founders and Framers — one can’t NOT be a feminist, if one pledges fidelity to the foundational ideas upon which this country was constructed.

    For a more transparent reading, replace the gender context with one per race: If I read you, to not see it — to thereby deny and deleverage its charlatans and hucksters — we must first see it and them, and then reject both as offensive to a greater, classical principle, not on face because of how it’s been co-opted which would be to cede the ground and make a war of the point. That dynamic I think “we” get.

    BTW, classic Goldstein, Yay.

  42. Wait. Are the ethanol subsidies really, really gone?

    Well, kinda, but progress is progress, I reckon.

  43. And, after a moment checking, this piece (pdf) in The Journal of Neuroscience suggests further differences at the anterior commissure and the interthalamic adhesion at the massa intermedia.

  44. Best stick to baseball stats and babes, where they have ample space dedicated.

    Some know this. Not universally, but commonly and as it seems, quite importantly.

  45. di

    That focus thing doesn’t always mean being about to screen stuff out.

    I have no problem with multi-tasking because I can focus on things and shove the distracting things away for a moment or three. Whereas my very linear husband loses where he was at during a task if interrupted or distracted.

    I think I have a good way of remaining calm in the midst of cacophony because I can selectively triage the situation and dim the lesser stuff down until I have time to address it.

    Like cooking a multi-dish meal with everything coming out at the same time and nothing burned or overcooked.

  46. … in case any of you have a few hundred men and women and labtime on a MRI machine at your disposal.

  47. Like cooking a multi-dish meal with everything coming out at the same time and nothing burned or overcooked.

    We manly men call that “time on target.”

    …he doesn’t have a container in his brain for the information…

    Wrong location on that container. It’s more like “I’m sorry, honey — you know I can’t hear you without a beer in my hand.”

  48. Whereas my very linear husband loses where he was at during a task if interrupted or distracted.

    Here’s a bit of humiliation for Homo sapiens sapiens: A Cat’s Short-Term Memory Is 20 Times Longer Than Yours.

  49. Pingback: Feminism By Any Other Name… Please | Goldfish and Clowns

  50. Great performance art bh.

  51. I’ll admit that I found it hard to focus on the problem at hand with all the distractions, Geoff. But, if we can buckle down here and concentrate, I feel an answer is within our grasp.

  52. Men: good at making torts.
    Women: good at being tarts.

    (Again, it’s a jest. See?)

  53. Feminism these days (ie the bastardazation of the traditional term “feminism”) seem more and more to me as a way for really, really hideous woman (sometimes both inside and out) to explain away why they don’t have a man or a family.

    I always thought the entire purpose of advocating for equal rights for woman was so that woman would have a choice of what they would be -whether they choose motherhood, business or both. But what do I know- I thought equal rights for blacks meant equal opportunity but apparently, in this day and age, it really means equal outcomes.

  54. But, if we can buckle down here and concentrate

    Sexist.

  55. Cats have a brain the size of a pea. Don’t expect too much from them.

    I am committing the Nicholson quote to memory.

  56. Quin Hillyer on Santorumism:

    Rick Santorum’s instincts and intellectual choices consistently tend toward freedom.

  57. WSJ sez

    Most disappointing is the Pennsylvanian’s proposal to triple the tax credit for children (from $1,000 today), which is a hobby horse of the Christian right. This is social policy masquerading as economics. Unlike a cut in marginal tax rates, a larger tax credit does little for growth because it doesn’t change incentives to save, work or invest. It merely rewards taxpayers who have children over those who don’t.

    Mr. Santorum is essentially agreeing with liberals who think the tax code should be used to pursue social and political goals.

  58. I don’t know this Hillyer chap so the trust just isn’t there I’m afraid

    And this “national review” outfit is a bit dodgy I think.

  59. I am committing the Nicholson quote to memory.

    The one about reason and accountability, cranky?

    How’s that go again?

    “I think of a

    WOW! WILL YOU LOOK AT THE RACK ON HER!!!

    uhh… what were we talking about again?

  60. Maybe that’s because some social and political goals are worth pursuing leigh.

    It’s not like it’s an accident that the West’s birth dearth coincides with the transformation of children from an asset to a liability, financially speaking.

  61. Furthermore, we’re probably better off giving direct assistance to parents in the form of tax credits than we are in continuing to feed the nanny-state bureaucracy.

  62. Yes, Ernst, the reason and accountability one. I know it doesn’t apply to all, but I’ve known way too many “adult” women who were spoiled brats, even some with near-grown children.

    Teh boobies only drain away my ability to think for a short time, and I can usually remember what I was thinking about before they showed up to distract me after I’m done being distracted. I guess I’m getting old.

    It’s kind of funny in that I have never chosen a girlfriend, nor even based attractiveness, on breast size, though I know many guys who have and do. The programming runs deep.

  63. The tax thing is, again, a question of liberty. Is it proper for the government to subsidize children at the expense of those who have no children? I think one could make a pretty good argument for either side. So, even though we’re talking about lowering one group’s taxes rather than everyone’s taxes, there is still a question of fairness, which, though I know it will never exist as an absolute, is a good goal to strive for.

  64. Squeeze the balloon over here, watch it puff out somewhere else, over there: with the over there often indeterminate, to be discovered.

  65. Well cranky, I look at it this way:

    We’ve borrowed a lot of money from teh chilrenz. It’s only natural that we should want to give some of it back.

  66. I think it a pitiful man who, having none of his own, would begrudge a family raising children a lower tax bill.

    Especially if he looks forward to those children paying his Social Security.

  67. It is the conceit of the progressives that they know — they know, trust them! — just what the indeterminacies are and where.

  68. I think calling someone pitiful because they don’t agree with you that someone else should get an inequitable tax break is a sad thing to do, and perhaps beneath you. Why should anyone get a tax break over someone else for any reason? Justify that encroachment on liberty. And if that’s okay, where will you stop drawing the line on who should get a break? That’s how the tax code got so frelled up in the first place.

    Note that I didn’t say which side I am on, either. That’s not relevant.

    However, social security is dead, so that’s a red herring. I will not get a dime.

    I don’t want emotional arguments. That’s the left’s stock in trade.

  69. There’s no doubt that small things like $1k vs. $3k vs. $no-k child tax credits would be a lot easier if we all didn’t feel nickled and dimed to death by all the small things every level of government uses to justify fees and taxes.

  70. Ok cranky, maybe this will help:

    Especially if he looks forward to receiving any social services after his own taxable productivity is ends.

    Raising children is a vital contribution to society. Encouraging the practice falls well within the general welfare clause I think.

  71. Plus, I’m sticking with pitiful, so go ahead and lower your estimation. It bothers me not at all.

  72. The problem is lots of public goods fall under that particular rubric. Which isn’t an excuse to say either we must fund all concievable public goods or we must fund none (and no one here is arguing either proposition, of course).

    The bigger problem it seems to me, just to bring this back to Santorum and his extremist social views, is that Santorum is correct when he talks about the importance of a sacrificial sense of liberty (your pardon for not digging through past threads in search of the exact quote): the entitlement mentality we’ve been cultivating lo these many years now is becoming increasingly incompatible with the sacrifice necessary to raise up future generations. Certainly that’s proving to be the case in much of Europe.

    I seem to remember somebody writing a book recently about the future consequences of the collective failure to think about the future because, collectively, we’re too busy living for the moment.

  73. Is it proper for the government to subsidize children at the expense of those who have no children?

    Sure it is … IF you’re beginning from the premise that allowing people to keep more of their OWN money is a subsidy (and that’s from the premise that ALL money belongs to the government who then picks the winners and losers)

  74. Especially if he looks forward to receiving any social services after his own taxable productivity is ends.

    As DINKS, my wife and I dump a large proportion of our income into retirement accounts, so that we can provide for ourselves after our productive days are behind us. Unless you’re advocating that we enslave children to care for us, I think I’ll stick with my plan to pay grown-ups for what I need.

    More than a third of my property taxes go to the school district. Most of my sick days come from whatever virus my cow-orkers bring into the office from their kids. Most of the horrible policy decisions rammed down my throat are justified “For The Children!” My garage is occasionally tagged, and I don’t think it’s a 40-year-old doing it.

    So count me among the pitiful. It really stings, coming from a magnificent, fecund tax-eater such as yourself.

  75. Oh, c’mon, Darleen. There’s no functional difference between “higher taxes for childless” and “tax credit for childful.” You wanna raise my taxes because I’m not paying enough for Other People’s Children already. At least be honest about it.

  76. Squid

    The problem with income tax is just this type of nasty argument, where the government ends up the winner.

    You want to pay people when you’re old to take care of you … um, would that be other people YOUR age or some young/middle age adult that was a kid during your grumpy Mr. Wilson stage?

    A country or nation and its ideals, principles and culture do not continue into the future without children. It then remains what is the best way do raise those kids?

    Do we let Big Nanny Government do it all? Compulsory state-run nurseries/preschools/schools with the “correct” experts and laws/statutes/regulations marginalizing parents? Or do we start with the premise that parents know best and government intervention should be minimal/last resort. Do we acknowledge this and allow those people raising kids to keep more of their own income towards that endeavor (note, I’m not talking about direct income transfers ala EIC) or do we continue on course set by Enlightened Leftists that children really are kind of like locusts and discourage traditional families in favor of “families” made up of random adults willing to redefine the label for their own pro-State agenda?

  77. and Squid, no more is this kind of “how dare you have more children then I deem reasonable because they are sucking up taxpayer dollars” then the creepy anti-Santorum stuff I’ve been reading.

    Maureen Dowd attacks the family for having 7 kids and Karen Santorum for staying home to raise them? WTF???

  78. Forget it Ernst, it’s Chinatown.

  79. Meh. The only reason we argue over the equity of subsidizing childbearing couples with a tax credit, is because the damned government takes so damned much money away at every excuse. Besides, I who attended parochial schools and have no children have to pay a local tax subsidy to those with kids, which dwarfs — erm, “little peoples” — what it costs us not being able to use a per-child tax credit. A thousand here, a thousand there, and government types will look at you like you’re nuts for complaining about so few zeroes.

    We have lobbyist infestations because the government has too much power and spends too much money. Instead of snapping at each other over pennies, what say we focus on the real problem?

  80. “So count me among the pitiful. It really stings, coming from a magnificent, fecund tax-eater such as yourself.”

    Wow! It must sting!

    OK, I withdraw pitiful, and restate: IMHO, I think it unwise and short sighted to deny any special consideration for parents with dependents. Society depends on them for continuing security and prosperity. The expense and added hardship of raising them, particularly since biology dictates they be born, for the most part, to the young at the bottom of the economic ladder, goes unrecognized at societies own peril.

    If all your generation were DINKs, none of you would survive past sixty.

    Also, I’m not a big tax-eater. I don’t even care about the home mortgage deduction, and that’s way sketchier than the deduction for a dependent. I don’t mind paying for schools even though I have no kids in one because I enjoy the benefits of living in an educated society.

    No, I’m more of a “quit spending money we don’t have” type, than a tax reformer.

    It would be nice to do both though…

  81. “It would be nice to do both though…”

    Actually, I think if forced to live within their means, tax reform would become mute. There would be a whole lot more people paying attention to the Laffer curve.

  82. what say we focus on the real problem?

    Yes, we should. The Spending.

  83. The problem with Chinatown, charlesaustin is that we’re in danger of forgetting that both children and elders are expensive, and if we as a society decide its okay to scorn one, we’ll almost assuredly end up spiting the other.

    Burke said something about the living and the dead, but he’s one of those scary conservative conservatives, not a classical liberal conservative, so I’m sure it’s irrelevant, to say nothing to old, dead and white.

  84. Seems just about everything prompts me to want to paraphrase the Reverend Jesse Jackson on Saturday Night Live so many years ago, “The question is moot. Every year we are spending $1.5 trillion dolars we do not have. This has to stop. Now.”

    I can dream can’t I? Or is that, I can’t dream can I?

  85. I dredged a simple “family” net through Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention.

    Found 4 uses of the term total:

    1 on May 31, by Col. Mason
    ["Every selfish motive therefore, every family attachment, ought to recommend such a system of policy as would provide no less carefully for the rights and happiness of the lowest than of the highest orders of Citizens."],

    2 on June 7: first, one by Mr. Dickenson:
    ["He adhered to the opinion that the Senate ought to be composed of a large number, and that their influence from family weight & other causes would be increased thereby."],
    and another in reply, by Mr. Madison:
    ["Mr. Madison could as little comprehend in what manner family weight, as desired by Mr. D. would be more certainly conveyed into the Senate through elections by the State Legislatures, than in some other modes."],

    and finally, 1 on June 29, by Mr. Gerry, with what appears to be a clearly metaphorical intent:
    ["He lamented that instead of coming here like a band of brothers, belonging to the same family , we seemed to have brought with us the spirit of political negociators."]

    (Let me hasten to add, I have drawn no conclusions therefrom. This is only a start to any consideration of the concept in a specifically political context, and a very small start, at that.)

  86. Sorry, Ernst trying to ironically riff (badly apparently) on the Nicholson quotes and the desire of some of our betters for us to emulate China. I have no argument with and nothing but respect for you, sir.

    IIRC, sometime during the Clinton years that we became the first society in the history of the world to spend more on our aged than on our children. I’ve had a pet theory for a long time about how the elderly in our society have been marginalized compared to say, the elderly as recently as fifty years ago, because the knowledge base they spent a lifetime accruing has become obsolete in our youth-obsessed, hedonistic, me-first culture. Technology has certainly played a role, but human nature does not change that fast. Something else is causing the problems we see today.

    That’s an observation, not a value judgment.

  87. Of course I’m going to jump on Ernst’s Burke bait. Of course I am. There’s no helping it. From Reflections on Dangerous Frogs (beginning of 2.1.159 at this link):

    Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure—but the state ought not to be considered as nothing better than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern, to be taken up for a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.

  88. And I was just riffing off your comment as well. Although I totally missed the Nicholson connection to earlier (and SHAME on me for it!).

  89. Which is why bh the most dangerous frog of them all made a point of insisting his long suffering maid/mistress abandon their offspring to the care of the orphanage. Because NOBODY was going to OWN him —least of all his own mewling whelps!

  90. This is neither here nor there for our purposes but maybe someone knows the answer off the top of their head and could save me some searching. Reading through the relevant notes of the linked edition I find this:

    L. 11. cannot be obtained in many generations. The germs of this profound argument are to be found in Cicero, but it was never put in shape so ably, nor enforced so powerfully, as in the present passage.

    Would those germs be found in De Republica maybe? I really don’t have a clue.

  91. we became the first society in the history of the world to spend more on our aged than on our children.

    we don’t spend money on children. we give it to the nea and say we are spending money on children.

  92. In the not this again file:

    [Bill]Keller went on to say, “People are free to believe whatever they want. I have no problem with a person of any faith running for office. The only thing I have ever asked Romney or any member of his cult like Glenn Beck to do is to tell the truth. Romney LIES when he calls himself a Christian, since he and members of his cult believe their ‘jesus’ was created through the sexual union of their ‘god’ who was once a man, and Mary, meaning their ‘jesus’ is NOT a deity, is the brother of Lucifer, and once visited the United States. The ‘god’ and ‘jesus of the Mormon cult is NOT the God and Jesus of the Bible, and the final authority for Mormons is NOT the Bible, but the writings of their cult’s founder Joseph Smith who was a documented con man, pedophile, polygamist, racist, and murderer.”

  93. Here is everything I know about Cicero.

    I bookmarked it years ago, ya gotta read it.

    Cicero’s Prognosis

    – by –

    THE HONORABLE MILLARD F. CALDWELL
    Justice – Supreme Court
    Tallahassee, Florida

    Presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.

    October 7-9, 1965, Columbus, Ohio

    Reprinted March, 1996

  94. Thanks, Lee. I will.

  95. Oh, for the sake of Pete:

    Romney LIES when he calls himself a Christian, since he and members of his cult believe their ‘jesus’ was created through the sexual union of their ‘god’ who was once a man, and Mary, meaning their ‘jesus’ is NOT a deity,

    Why? Because in your theology, deity must be uncreated? Or unbegotten? Where’s the Biblical cite on that?

    is the brother of Lucifer,

    We believe that we’re all the spirit brother of Lucifer, sweetie, and also the spirit brother of Jesus. Though some of us seem to have an affinity more for one than the other.

    Again, please show where the Bible rules out the spirit siblinghood of all of us, Lucifer and Jesus included.

    and once visited the United States.

    And once visited the American continent, location unknown, but probably Central America. Again, the Bible does not rule out the possibility of Jesus visiting the “other lambs that are not of this fold.”

    The ‘god’ and ‘jesus of the Mormon cult is NOT the God and Jesus of the Bible, and the final authority for Mormons is NOT the Bible,

    Why should it be? Jesus’ final authority wasn’t the scripture, either, and for that he was viciously excoriated by the scribes and Pharisees. Paul, Peter, James, John: none of them counted scripture as the final authority but rather revelation from the Holy Ghost.

    but the writings of their cult’s founder Joseph Smith

    Again, revelation from God is the final authority, whether written or fresh from the Spirit. The Bible is the record of prophets, who got actual revelation from God. There’s no Biblical precedent for people coming up with the right answer through scriptural exegesis alone: in fact, people who clung to long-standing scriptural interpretation in the Bible (scribes and Pharisees, again), and who refused to accept the current prophet, were always wrong.

    who was a documented con man, pedophile, polygamist, racist, and murderer.

    Documented at the time by people who hated his guts. The polygamy charge is legit; the rest is vile slander and libel. He was charged with murdering someone in Canada while he was in the U.S.

  96. You can count on the liberal lapdog media to ask the hard questions about Romney’s beliefs and how they might impact a Romney administration —just like they did with Obama and the Rev. Wright.

    Of course, unlike me, they’ll actually believe what they say.

  97. “liberal lapdog media”

    Not that Bill Keller. Just another one.

  98. This Bill Keller:

    Bill Keller, the world’s leading Internet Evangelist and the founder of LivePrayer.com, with over 2.4 million subscribers worldwide reading the daily devotional he has written every morning for 12 years on the issues of the day from a Biblical worldview, says Satan is cheering Rev. Franklin Graham, Joel Osteen, and the former special prosecutor during the Clinton impeachment investigation Kenn Starr for being too gutless to tell the truth about Mormon cult member Mitt Romney.

  99. “Mormoms? What be they, nr?

  100. Bill Keller, the world’s leading Internet Evangelist

    he also does nigerian spam on the side

  101. Dude, with 2.4 million subscribers! He probably thinks Catholics worship statues and Jews have horns. I mean, just look at that statue of Moses that Michaelangelo carved, eh? Proof!

  102. ask dujan

  103. I don’t go over to his site anymore. It’s a funny typo. Sort of a cross between Mormon and Mom.

  104. Bill Keller needs to look at the beam in his own eye.

  105. Ok, am I somehow less masculine if I credit my wife for being an excellent cook and mother while crediting myself with being not so bad as all that in the kitchen whilst not completely muffing the dad thing?

    Whatevs.

  106. it’s hard to credit Romney with for reals faith in anything

  107. I dunno, I think Romney’s faith in himself is almost as great as Obama’s. Almost.

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  109. “Mormoms? What be they

    Mormon mothers, obviously.

  110. ” … And it is. But then, that’s because what is now “feminism” has so diverged from the origins of the feminist impulse that it is a perversion and, in fact, a direct rejection, of the principles from which it sprung.”

    This … and I’m old enough to know.

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  113. That dog won’t hunt, Mr OtherMc. Nope, won’t.

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  115. On the basis of that usurped authority, feminists wield the awful fury of revolutionary terror against their enemies, so that even Jeff Goldstein seems afraid to openly oppose them.

    [My bold.] He does?

    I suppose Mr. McCain could say how it seems to him that way. Doesn’t seem that way to me.

    What’s that old journo trick? “Some think”, “giving the appearance of” or maybe even… “seems”.

    If it seems that way, something must be prompting that thought. Say what it is or you’re just talking about your soft girly emotions.

    (Couldn’t help myself with that last sentence.)

  116. Everyone realizes that Stacy’s just shaking the money-maker, right?

    You wanna stick it to the Sisterhood of Hirsute Bra-Burners in Sensible Shoes? HIT THE FREAKIN’ TIP-JAR!

    (and there’s nothing wrong with that)

  117. Heh, I’ve always rather admired his tip-jar shaking.

    A rather obvious parallel here is with the word “liberal”. It’s either the worst thing in the world or the school of thought that conservatives are dedicated to preserving.

  118. Rather.

    Why not say it again? Or another couple times.

    Rather. Rather.

  119. Dan Rather?

  120. I’ve always rather disliked the slather of blather from Rather.

    Increase and Cotton Mather.

    Rather.

    (Brain lesion or poem, one.)

  121. What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

  122. bh has either been drinking early, or he’s channeling pdbuttons.

    Though I suppose ‘both’ is a reasonable possibility as well.

    “Ma’am, we’ve traced it, and the doggerel is coming from inside the blog!”

  123. Let’s not rule out the possibility that I’m simply a highly functioning retard, JB. That often seems like the most likely explanation to me. Like today for instance.

  124. I’ll be drinking for bh this hour. And the next. And the one after that. Then, maybe, he can take over to drink for me (when I’m passed out).

    Rah-ther, Dan Rather. Oh bother, with patter
    Who slobbers his slathery-blather: Disaster!
    His news, he’druther, pretend to discover
    When it’s written by cruddier brothers. Or sisters.

  125. To go back a little bit now that the heat has lessened, I think it’s proper to acknowledge the tension between an Enlightenment/Hayekian/liberty conservatism and a venerable institutions/Burkean/traditional conservatism.

    They’re often complementary but not always. We see it here with the idea of child tax credits.

    We can lessen that tension by lessening the pull on each side. Reduce spending. Recognizing other similar and pre-existing payments like property taxes or, on the other hand, recognizing positive externalities like the benefits of a relatively linear worker replacement rate. All this can help minimize the conflict.

    But, though lessened, the conflict does still remain. And neither has the upper hand in an idealogical or doctrinal sense. How to judge? Functionally? That will differ depending on goals. Axiomatically? Those aren’t agreed to.

    It’s not an easy thing to determine in those manners. So… we vote, I suppose. Best by electing representatives and worst by referendum, in my opinion, but it requires something of this sort to decide.

    Here then, in the agreeing upon a process, we find ourselves as again likeminded.

  126. See? Highly-functioning retard.

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