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Author Topic: Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism  (Read 6462 times)
Beet
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« on: November 13, 2005, 05:56:44 am »



Author: Donald T. Critchlow

In this long overdue biography of the author of books such as A Choice Not An Echo, Strike from Space, and Feminist Fantasies, Donald Critchlow takes us into the life and times of the so-called godmother of modern conservatism. This frankly favorable treatment sometimes grates upon the more knowledgeable reader, such as when he fails to mention the support for the E.R.A. seen in national polls, or his characterization of Strom Thurmond primarily as a senator who "had distinguished himself for his liberal views on race" (p 186). In the end, his biasedness damages this work's credibility when covering lesser-known topics such as internal disputes within the Catholic Church regarding the Cardinal Mindszenty Society, Schlafly's involvement over missile debates, the 1967 National Federal of Republican Women (NFRW) election, and Schlafly's alleged connection to the John Birch Society. Nevertheless, the author makes at least a minimal attempt at seeming a dispassionate observer, and offers substantial insight into the life of his subject.

One of the most satisfying parts of this book from a scholarly perspective is Critchlow's coverage of Schlafly's early life as an ambitious middle class woman from a conservative Catholic family, growing up in the Midwest. Schlafly represented a confluence of strands of American conservatism: First, Midwestern conservatism, which under Sen. Robert Taft carried the banner against liberalism before the rise of Orange County, the Arizona Republicans, or Ronald Reagan. Second, Catholic conservatism, which would move many Catholics away from the Democratic party in decades hence. Third, Cold War conservatism, which was driven by a rabid, arguably paranoid anti-communism. This account helps explode the myth, perpetuated as recently as this week (11/8/05) in The Economist, that modern American conservatism was born with the career of William F. Buckley in the 1950s,  (whose conservatism draws from the same religious Catholic family roots as Schlafly's own).

Critchlow's account of Schlafly's background, and his comparison with that of Betty Friedan, provides an apt contrast of two women who represented well the midcentury left and right, as well as womens' increasing roles in these factions. This angle could perhaps have been explored further. 

Finally, Critchlow identifies the source of Schlafly's success as her role in bridging the gap between conservative intellectual material emanating from such organizations as AEA/AEI, or writers such as Hayek, Kirk, and Buckley, and the values-driven masses of the Midwest. Schlafly's writings and speeches popularized conservative ideas in a way that the general populace, especially women, could understand. Much, indeed virtually all, of her early work was driven by a virulent, arguably paranoid war against internal communism, and later on, the Soviet Union. However, it was for her work A Choice, Not An Echo that garnered her first major success, and it was not until her successful struggle against the Equal Rights Amendment that she became known--and hated-- on the national stage. In between are several books, two congressional campaigns, and the successful upbringing of six children. Indeed, perhaps the most ironic thing about Schlafly's life, is that she was a highly active career woman and mother of six, while arguing the case for womens' place in the home.

Edit: In case anyone is still interested, here's a better review in the 11/7 edition of the New Yorker
http://www.newyorker.com/critics/books/
« Last Edit: November 14, 2005, 12:23:13 am by thefactor »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2005, 08:17:47 am »
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I suspect that what Phyllis Schlafly didn't want, and rightly feared would come about, was the women would be FORCED out of the home and into the workplace, whether it was their choice or not.  And that is largely what has happened.

Feminism was always a movement of upper middle class white women, and they're the ones who stood to gain the most from it.  Feminism promised only more toil and less societal support for lower class women, women of color, etc.

Lower class women, including most black women, already worked outside the home in substantial numbers prior to feminism.  This is how they bridged the income gap with more upper class people, and maintained a decent standard of living.  These women did not work for the most part in exciting careers, which the feminists presumed awaited them, but relatively low paying and low prestige jobs, as their husbands did.  These women were not waiting to be liberated from the shackles of their homes.  They probably would have preferred to be liberated from the shackles of their jobs.

Feminism made things harder for these women in several ways.  For one, it discounted the value of male support for families, and its hostility to men and to the male role within families helped drive men away from their families by usurping many of their perogatives with respect to their children, and causing a cultural shift that made abandonment of paternal responsibilities more acceptable.  This hit the lower classes the hardest, and placed an increasing burden on lower class women who were already carrying a heavier burden than their upper middle class "sisters" in terms of family support.

In addition, as larger numbers of well educated and upper middle class women, who were also usually married to well educated and upper middle class men (or not married at all), sought highly paid careers, a greater concentration of wealth in the upper eschelons of society developed.  High income couples drove up the prices of housing, which helped freeze lower class couples and lower class single mothers out of the market, marginalizing them economically.  As two income families became the norm in upper middle class households, lower class families were unable to narrow the economic gap by having the woman of the house work outside the home, and the lower classes fell further behind.

Feminism has worked out great for the well educated, upper middle class women who created it, at least in a financial sense.  But it has caused suffering among many other segments of society, most particularly lower class women and children.  The economic changes wrought in part by feminism have also forced middle class women, who previously might have had the choice of staying home, working part time, or working full time (with only a small percentage choosing the last option) to join the work force on a full time basis in large numbers.

Perhaps Schlafly foresaw the bad effect that feminism would have on many women (not to mention men who actually care about their families; feminism has had a great effect on men who want to dump family responsibilities) and sought to fight it.  Perhaps she recognized a central truth that feminists have long denied -- that women have a special role due to their unique ability to carry children, and that it is in the best interests of society to provide some support for this role in terms of the way societal expectations of gender roles are determined.  Of course, the feminist answer to this issue is abortion, but that does not address the fact that many women and couples want to have children, and need to have an environment in which they can be raised properly.  As feminism is anti-children and anti-family, it has not seen the need to address that issue.

Schlafly saw sooner than most that feminism is a based upon a gigantic lie, and she worked hard to expose it.  For that, she is a great woman.
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2005, 04:49:00 pm »

Dazzleman, that is an interesting reply. I had a reply prepared for it, and I think you make a bunch of wrong assumptions, but I think your economic argument is interesting. Could you flesh it out a bit more why you think lower class couples and lower class single mothers have been priced out of "the" housing market, and why this is caused by women in the labor force? Why would they be worse off than they were when one-income households predominated?
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2005, 08:57:14 pm »
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Dazzleman, that is an interesting reply. I had a reply prepared for it, and I think you make a bunch of wrong assumptions, but I think your economic argument is interesting. Could you flesh it out a bit more why you think lower class couples and lower class single mothers have been priced out of "the" housing market, and why this is caused by women in the labor force? Why would they be worse off than they were when one-income households predominated?

Sure.  It's relatively simple, actually.

The housing market is driven by the predominant family structure in a given area.  Under a free market system, the prices cannot rise beyond the point that sufficient people can pay the prevailing price at the quantities that the market is able to supply.  For that reason, markets with tighter supply will have higher price points, and and supply expands, the price point lowers as sellers must reach down to lower income levels for a sufficient quantity of buyers.

Through the 1970s, the housing market was driven largely by the single income family with kids -- father working, stay at home mother, and kids.  This was the predominant family structure.  Starting in the mid to late 1970s, there was a large increase in the numbers of women working.  In addition, couples were waiting until they were older to have kids.

The double income-no kids couples had a much higher disposable income that they could spend on housing, and they bid the prices up exponentially, especially in markets in places like the northeast where areas within reasonable commuting distances of the job centers were already more or less fully developed.

Therefore, lower middle class couples, who were previously competing against single income families, now have to compete against double income families, predominantly.  Whereas lower income families could narrow the gap significantly with higher income, single income families through the wife working in the past, that option is lost to them now, and they have been pushed out of the housing market in many areas.  In many places, they are now forced into crummier neighborhoods with bad schools where higher income people refuse to look.  That is how it is in my area, anyway.

Keep in mind that the economy is largely a competition.  Goods like housing are scarce, and the person/people with the most money get the best, while others get the crumbs.  The advent of feminism for upper middle class women has worsened the relative position of lower middle class men and women.  This has been exacerabated by a sharp deterioration in the family structure of the poor and lower middle class, something that feminism has also contributed to through their disdain of male contributions to family life as well as their disdain for the work that women have traditionally done in keeping families functioning.

thefactor, I'd also say, in response to your comments, that what I have said is not based on assumptions, but on analysis of what has actually happened.  Analysis can be flawed by overemphasis on certain factors and underemphasis on others, but nothing I have said involves assumptions per se, which really are of a more predictive nature than the retrospective nature of what I have said.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2005, 09:15:43 pm by dazzleman »Logged
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2005, 11:45:08 pm »

Dazzleman, that is an interesting reply. I had a reply prepared for it, and I think you make a bunch of wrong assumptions, but I think your economic argument is interesting. Could you flesh it out a bit more why you think lower class couples and lower class single mothers have been priced out of "the" housing market, and why this is caused by women in the labor force? Why would they be worse off than they were when one-income households predominated?

Sure.  It's relatively simple, actually.

The housing market is driven by the predominant family structure in a given area.  Under a free market system, the prices cannot rise beyond the point that sufficient people can pay the prevailing price at the quantities that the market is able to supply.  For that reason, markets with tighter supply will have higher price points, and and supply expands, the price point lowers as sellers must reach down to lower income levels for a sufficient quantity of buyers.

Through the 1970s, the housing market was driven largely by the single income family with kids -- father working, stay at home mother, and kids.  This was the predominant family structure.  Starting in the mid to late 1970s, there was a large increase in the numbers of women working.  In addition, couples were waiting until they were older to have kids.

The double income-no kids couples had a much higher disposable income that they could spend on housing, and they bid the prices up exponentially, especially in markets in places like the northeast where areas within reasonable commuting distances of the job centers were already more or less fully developed.

Therefore, lower middle class couples, who were previously competing against single income families, now have to compete against double income families, predominantly.  Whereas lower income families could narrow the gap significantly with higher income, single income families through the wife working in the past, that option is lost to them now, and they have been pushed out of the housing market in many areas.  In many places, they are now forced into crummier neighborhoods with bad schools where higher income people refuse to look.  That is how it is in my area, anyway.

Keep in mind that the economy is largely a competition.  Goods like housing are scarce, and the person/people with the most money get the best, while others get the crumbs.  The advent of feminism for upper middle class women has worsened the relative position of lower middle class men and women.  This has been exacerabated by a sharp deterioration in the family structure of the poor and lower middle class, something that feminism has also contributed to through their disdain of male contributions to family life as well as their disdain for the work that women have traditionally done in keeping families functioning.

thefactor, I'd also say, in response to your comments, that what I have said is not based on assumptions, but on analysis of what has actually happened.  Analysis can be flawed by overemphasis on certain factors and underemphasis on others, but nothing I have said involves assumptions per se, which really are of a more predictive nature than the retrospective nature of what I have said.

Dazzleman, when I said assumptions what I mean is when you paint feminism all with the same brush.

For example, firstly you seem to suggest that if the womens' movement failed to entitle all working class women to exciting careers, that is somehow a failure, but feminism has never promised that every woman will necessarily have an exciting career, though it does open doors for women of every class to have that opportunity along with the opportunity for independent mobility.

Secondly your assumption that feminism does not value male (or female) contributions to family life, or somehow blocks out the importance and care needed in raising children. Many happily married people who consider themselves feminist, including many couples who are raising children well enough, would disagree with that. Their example would go against the notion that feminism exorably leads to broken homes as you seem to imply.

Thirdly you assumption that women are deprived of the choice to stay home, though about 30% of married women do actually make that choice. Socially, feminism has operated to expand the choices of both men and women, though historically men in general have been less vocal and active about being a 'stay-at-home-dad' than women have been about being allowed in the workplace.

Regarding your housing example, of course I can't speak for the experience in your neighborhood, or about a time period decades ago, but your reasoning is still a bit confusing to me. Assume the supply of housing is fixed, then a certain number of families will live in those homes, or the homes will lie empty, in which case why not sell them for a lower price? It seems the price should always adjust so that a desirable neighborhood is full-- in the net I don't see how families could be "pushed out" unless the housing stock actually declined. The only thing I see happening from your reasoning, even given that all your assumptions are correct, is some wealth is being created, leading to a redistribution.

Now of course there could be more complex things going on in your story, which I can't speak to, though I don't see it coming out from only the reasoning you have laid out so far. On the other hand, there are many other theories for increased neighborhood stratification and home prices in certain areas, including increasing divergence in school quality that wasn't to be seen before; this could lead to a decline in overall welfare if the quality of school is actually falling over time, as many Americans have been felt has occured. Yet, this is an entirely separate problem.
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2005, 09:35:28 pm »
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thefactor, I don't think you're really understand my point about the economic disadvantage to lower middle class families caused or aggravated by feminism.

Like many liberals, you use a static model theory to reason the issue out, and you come to the wrong conclusion.

Even using your static model thinking, increases in total income will lead to increased housing prices, not stable prices as you seem to suggest.  The type of housing a family will be able to afford will depend upon where that family's income falls within the population as a whole.

Picture this scenario.  Pre-feminism, the typical upper middle class family has one wage earner and an income of $100,000 per year.  A lower middle class family has a husband making $40,000 per year, and a wife who works part time, and makes $20,000, bringing their total income to $60,000 per year, and 60% of the upper middle class family income.

Post feminism, the upper middle class family now earns $200,000 per year, while the lower middle class family, with the wife now working full time, makes $80,000 per year.  Their ratio has now dropped from 60% to 40%.  While the upper middle class family has sufficient income to have in-house babysitters, housekeepers, gardeners, etc. to ease the burden of both parents working, the lower middle class family must do all this work themselves, with both parents working full time.

And because their place in the economic hierarchy has fallen, they cannot afford the same level of housing they could have pre-feminism.  They are now unable to buy in the better school districts, and are often marginalized to sketchy neighborhoods with bad or mediocre schools.

This is not just a theory.  I have seen it happen on a broad scale.

I don't think all the goals of feminism were bad, though I think it has become a very bad movement.  It has done some good things, but we should not pretend that there was not a high price to be paid for the gains of feminism.  And the price was generally paid by people other than those who gained the benefits.
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2005, 08:10:03 am »

thefactor, I don't think you're really understand my point about the economic disadvantage to lower middle class families caused or aggravated by feminism.

Like many liberals, you use a static model theory to reason the issue out, and you come to the wrong conclusion.

...

While the upper middle class family has sufficient income to have in-house babysitters, housekeepers, gardeners, etc. to ease the burden of both parents working, the lower middle class family must do all this work themselves, with both parents working full time.

Right, but this is only because wife has gone from working part time to full time. They may be making less than the income of an another family that has improved itself even more, but they are still making more than they used to be. Plus, you seem to assume that the wife was forced into working full time, which is only true if the family wants to increase their standard of living above what it was before, relative to prices. The family could simply remain in the status quo and have nothing change.

Quote
And because their place in the economic hierarchy has fallen, they cannot afford the same level of housing they could have pre-feminism.  They are now unable to buy in the better school districts, and are often marginalized to sketchy neighborhoods with bad or mediocre schools.

Wrong. Their real income has gone up, so they are able to afford more than they could in the past. How you ascribe all of these other things as a factor pure of someone else's real income going up more is impossible to explain.

Quote
Even using your static model thinking, increases in total income will lead to increased housing prices, not stable prices as you seem to suggest.  The type of housing a family will be able to afford will depend upon where that family's income falls within the population as a whole.

This is where your reasoning falls all over itself. You seem to distinguish between wealthier and less well-off families in your income analysis but not in your price analysis. I mean, consider an auction. Does the bidder for good A really care how much good B is sold for? No, it doesn't affect his price at all. From another angle, look at it this way. A family can't be shunted into worse housing unless another family is doing the shunting. The problem in your neighborhood it seems is not enough housing in good neighborhoods. As a inevitable consequence of this, some people are going to be forced into worse neighborhoods. Whether it is family A or family B in the end is not the true problem. Your right in that what you've said is "not just a theory"... in fact it's not a theory at all. Nowhere do you explain how this supposedly massive drop in affordability of housing due to women in the workforce might occur. You have never attempted to explain how the demand for housing is now greater than supply, which is ultimately the crux of the affordability issue. In order to make any possible rational chain of reasoning, you must have some connection with demand and supply. Right now I see none.

The real problem here is not womens' workforce participation but the fact that there aren't enough neighborhoods with good schools. It has nothing to do with womens' workforce participation. The reason there aren't enough neighborhoods with good schools comes from two related factors. The first factor being that some schools have declined in quality, particularly during the 70s and 80s. This creates a cycle of underperformance whereby it is difficult to attract dedicated administrators, teachers, and students with attentive parents. The second factor is increased segregation, not by race but by class. The wealthy are increasingly choosing to isolate themselves in exurban or gated communities rather than living with the working class as in the past. Part of this is a function of rising wealth inequality, but there are many reasons for this rising wealth inequality, including shifts in the tax code, a less stable, more service-oriented, skills-oriented labor market, increased reliance on capital gains among the rich, the decline of organized labor, and yes, a new conservative-driven ideology that is more hostile to poverty. Rather ignoring all of these factors you attempt to narrowly pin it on womens' workforce participation. The real root of the problems you describe, however, are glaringly clear: as a complex combination of factors has led to greater class segregation and stratification, our education funding system which was designed for an earlier, more egalitarian era has proven insufficient.

This is probably much more of an issue in economically struggling areas than it is in the fast-growing south and west (though in the west property tax initiatives have completely distorted the picture).

What is needed for poorer areas and families today who cannot possibly win in a rat race where there are only "places" for a minority of families in neighborhoods with good schools, no matter how these places are distributed, are reforms that make funding for educational systems more egalitarian than ones based on local property taxes. This might come in the form of vouchers for private or parochial schools, or it might come in the form of certain local property taxes being redistributed by the state. In the end, even this won't address the non-economic problems in poor neighborhoods, but it is an important step.
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2005, 09:04:24 pm »
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thefactor, I don't think you are understanding my economic point, and I think your reasoning is flawed.  I don't get the sense you have a real grip on economics or how housing prices actually come about.  I'm not going to spend more time on it, because it's a dead end.  But keep in mind that it is a person or family's RELATIVE place in the economic spectrum that decides basic standard of living, and in my example, the RELATIVE place of the working class family was lowered.  I have not only the theory, but years of observation and personal experience to back me up on this.  You are simply not following the economic link all the way through to its full conclusion.

Of course, everybody is for better schools in more neighborhoods.  That's motherhood and apple pie.  But the real question is how to bring this about.  It cannot be brought about without parental involvement and a strong family structure, and that is what is missing from poor and marginal areas.  Part of the reason it is missing is the devaluation of the traditional family role and the denigration of male roles within families that feminism has engendered.

I don't hold feminism responsible fully for all these ills, but I believe it has contributed to them.  I don't say feminism has done nothing good, but it has come at a price, and as I said earlier, that price has more often than not been paid by those who have not reaped the benefits of feminism.  Nothing you have said has convinced me otherwise.
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2005, 10:15:55 pm »

thefactor, I don't think you are understanding my economic point, and I think your reasoning is flawed.  I don't get the sense you have a real grip on economics or how housing prices actually come about.  I'm not going to spend more time on it, because it's a dead end.  But keep in mind that it is a person or family's RELATIVE place in the economic spectrum that decides basic standard of living, and in my example, the RELATIVE place of the working class family was lowered.  I have not only the theory, but years of observation and personal experience to back me up on this.  You are simply not following the economic link all the way through to its full conclusion.

Of course, everybody is for better schools in more neighborhoods.  That's motherhood and apple pie.  But the real question is how to bring this about.  It cannot be brought about without parental involvement and a strong family structure, and that is what is missing from poor and marginal areas.  Part of the reason it is missing is the devaluation of the traditional family role and the denigration of male roles within families that feminism has engendered.

I don't hold feminism responsible fully for all these ills, but I believe it has contributed to them.  I don't say feminism has done nothing good, but it has come at a price, and as I said earlier, that price has more often than not been paid by those who have not reaped the benefits of feminism.  Nothing you have said has convinced me otherwise.

Dazzle, I think I understand your point perfectly, though the way you originally explained it I think was not very accurate. Instead, it seems the main problem at the root of your symptoms is actually wealth inequality and class segregation. This is significant because then all of the economic factors that have led to increased stratificaton and class segregation become significant, whereas you have tried to skirt around them, implicitly blaming it all on feminism. It's trying to take this shortcut straight from feminism to worse schools while ignoring the 800 pound gorillas of economic restructuring and the educational funding system that has led to your muddled explanation of what you saw happened. As in many cases here again you try to impute to this principle far more than its due. And even your economic-based argument only works if funding is the main variable of educational performance, which can be remedied as I suggested.

As for "denigration of the male role" in the family and all the implications of that I consider that an entirely separate issue not at all inherent to feminism.
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2005, 06:52:53 am »
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thefactor, I don't think you are understanding my economic point, and I think your reasoning is flawed.  I don't get the sense you have a real grip on economics or how housing prices actually come about.  I'm not going to spend more time on it, because it's a dead end.  But keep in mind that it is a person or family's RELATIVE place in the economic spectrum that decides basic standard of living, and in my example, the RELATIVE place of the working class family was lowered.  I have not only the theory, but years of observation and personal experience to back me up on this.  You are simply not following the economic link all the way through to its full conclusion.

Of course, everybody is for better schools in more neighborhoods.  That's motherhood and apple pie.  But the real question is how to bring this about.  It cannot be brought about without parental involvement and a strong family structure, and that is what is missing from poor and marginal areas.  Part of the reason it is missing is the devaluation of the traditional family role and the denigration of male roles within families that feminism has engendered.

I don't hold feminism responsible fully for all these ills, but I believe it has contributed to them.  I don't say feminism has done nothing good, but it has come at a price, and as I said earlier, that price has more often than not been paid by those who have not reaped the benefits of feminism.  Nothing you have said has convinced me otherwise.

Dazzle, I think I understand your point perfectly, though the way you originally explained it I think was not very accurate. Instead, it seems the main problem at the root of your symptoms is actually wealth inequality and class segregation. This is significant because then all of the economic factors that have led to increased stratificaton and class segregation become significant, whereas you have tried to skirt around them, implicitly blaming it all on feminism. It's trying to take this shortcut straight from feminism to worse schools while ignoring the 800 pound gorillas of economic restructuring and the educational funding system that has led to your muddled explanation of what you saw happened. As in many cases here again you try to impute to this principle far more than its due. And even your economic-based argument only works if funding is the main variable of educational performance, which can be remedied as I suggested.

As for "denigration of the male role" in the family and all the implications of that I consider that an entirely separate issue not at all inherent to feminism.

Feminism has increased wealth inequality and class separation, in my opinion.  I stand by that point.  They would both exist no matter what, but feminism makes them worse.  Feminism has been an integral part of the economic restructuring that you speak of.

Though I am not a fan of feminism, that is not my main point here.  I think that when examine these issues, we should take a "whole society" approach rather than the special interest approach inherent in feminism and other similar philosophies.
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« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2005, 01:42:44 am »

thefactor, I don't think you are understanding my economic point, and I think your reasoning is flawed.  I don't get the sense you have a real grip on economics or how housing prices actually come about.  I'm not going to spend more time on it, because it's a dead end.  But keep in mind that it is a person or family's RELATIVE place in the economic spectrum that decides basic standard of living, and in my example, the RELATIVE place of the working class family was lowered.  I have not only the theory, but years of observation and personal experience to back me up on this.  You are simply not following the economic link all the way through to its full conclusion.

Of course, everybody is for better schools in more neighborhoods.  That's motherhood and apple pie.  But the real question is how to bring this about.  It cannot be brought about without parental involvement and a strong family structure, and that is what is missing from poor and marginal areas.  Part of the reason it is missing is the devaluation of the traditional family role and the denigration of male roles within families that feminism has engendered.

I don't hold feminism responsible fully for all these ills, but I believe it has contributed to them.  I don't say feminism has done nothing good, but it has come at a price, and as I said earlier, that price has more often than not been paid by those who have not reaped the benefits of feminism.  Nothing you have said has convinced me otherwise.

Dazzle, I think I understand your point perfectly, though the way you originally explained it I think was not very accurate. Instead, it seems the main problem at the root of your symptoms is actually wealth inequality and class segregation. This is significant because then all of the economic factors that have led to increased stratificaton and class segregation become significant, whereas you have tried to skirt around them, implicitly blaming it all on feminism. It's trying to take this shortcut straight from feminism to worse schools while ignoring the 800 pound gorillas of economic restructuring and the educational funding system that has led to your muddled explanation of what you saw happened. As in many cases here again you try to impute to this principle far more than its due. And even your economic-based argument only works if funding is the main variable of educational performance, which can be remedied as I suggested.

As for "denigration of the male role" in the family and all the implications of that I consider that an entirely separate issue not at all inherent to feminism.

Feminism has increased wealth inequality and class separation, in my opinion.  I stand by that point.  They would both exist no matter what, but feminism makes them worse.  Feminism has been an integral part of the economic restructuring that you speak of.

Though I am not a fan of feminism, that is not my main point here.  I think that when examine these issues, we should take a "whole society" approach rather than the special interest approach inherent in feminism and other similar philosophies.

Dazzle, to be honest, the Democrat party will do a better job ameliorating the effects of wealth inequality and class separation, feminism aside. There are lots of ways to look at the causes and possible solutions to the problems you speak, and feminism is only that which you choose to look at and blame first, as fits with your approach to many issues. When looking through the glass of the general welfare that I follow you down, there are many more indefensible causes of wealth inequality in comparison with the womens' movement.

I know much of your opposition stands because of your long-standing association with feminism as a special interest approach. You should ask yourself more closely what constitutes a special interest, even if it doesn't change your opinion. A special interest puts one segment of society's interests ahead of those of others. The special interest in our discussion dates back to what Jared Diamond calls "the rise and spread of food production", what others might call the agricultural revolution, and the development of cultures that placed the mens' interest ahead of the womens'. Such interest is not always one-sided. Today's so-called fathers' rights movement, for example, would have perhaps benefitted more than any others from the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. On the other hand, if feminism were merely a mirror image of the object of its criticism, I would not be a feminist, nor could feminism claim descendence from one of the main scourages of special interests, Hobbesian liberalism, as it can.
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2005, 09:48:24 pm »
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Dazzle, to be honest, the Democrat party will do a better job ameliorating the effects of wealth inequality and class separation, feminism aside. There are lots of ways to look at the causes and possible solutions to the problems you speak, and feminism is only that which you choose to look at and blame first, as fits with your approach to many issues. When looking through the glass of the general welfare that I follow you down, there are many more indefensible causes of wealth inequality in comparison with the womens' movement.

I know much of your opposition stands because of your long-standing association with feminism as a special interest approach. You should ask yourself more closely what constitutes a special interest, even if it doesn't change your opinion. A special interest puts one segment of society's interests ahead of those of others. The special interest in our discussion dates back to what Jared Diamond calls "the rise and spread of food production", what others might call the agricultural revolution, and the development of cultures that placed the mens' interest ahead of the womens'. Such interest is not always one-sided. Today's so-called fathers' rights movement, for example, would have perhaps benefitted more than any others from the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. On the other hand, if feminism were merely a mirror image of the object of its criticism, I would not be a feminist, nor could feminism claim descendence from one of the main scourages of special interests, Hobbesian liberalism, as it can.

The Democratic party would ameliorate the effects of wealth and class separation by making everybody poorer.  No thanks.  I'd rather try to pull people up from the bottom than push them down from the top.

As far as the father's rights movement goes, I don't think anything would have been much different had the ERA been passed, frankly.  Feminists would have fought against anything perceived to benefit men in any way, ERA or not.  Who's kidding whom here?  When it comes to fathers, feminists are interested in money, and nothing more.  Fathers are simply walking wallets to the feminist movement.

And as to whether feminism is a mirror image of what it objects to, that is a matter of opinion.  I believe that that is what it has become, and that you are deluding yourself if you think it hasn't.
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2005, 12:45:36 pm »


Dazzle, to be honest, the Democrat party will do a better job ameliorating the effects of wealth inequality and class separation, feminism aside. There are lots of ways to look at the causes and possible solutions to the problems you speak, and feminism is only that which you choose to look at and blame first, as fits with your approach to many issues. When looking through the glass of the general welfare that I follow you down, there are many more indefensible causes of wealth inequality in comparison with the womens' movement.

I know much of your opposition stands because of your long-standing association with feminism as a special interest approach. You should ask yourself more closely what constitutes a special interest, even if it doesn't change your opinion. A special interest puts one segment of society's interests ahead of those of others. The special interest in our discussion dates back to what Jared Diamond calls "the rise and spread of food production", what others might call the agricultural revolution, and the development of cultures that placed the mens' interest ahead of the womens'. Such interest is not always one-sided. Today's so-called fathers' rights movement, for example, would have perhaps benefitted more than any others from the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. On the other hand, if feminism were merely a mirror image of the object of its criticism, I would not be a feminist, nor could feminism claim descendence from one of the main scourages of special interests, Hobbesian liberalism, as it can.

The Democratic party would ameliorate the effects of wealth and class separation by making everybody poorer.  No thanks.  I'd rather try to pull people up from the bottom than push them down from the top.

That's a matter of opinion and a whole other debate. Personally I don't believe trickle down economics truly works to reduce poverty or narrow the gap in school quality in different communities, especially the way it is being financed now. And recently it hasn't been doing a very good job of creating jobs either.

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As far as the father's rights movement goes, I don't think anything would have been much different had the ERA been passed, frankly.  Feminists would have fought against anything perceived to benefit men in any way, ERA or not.  Who's kidding whom here?  When it comes to fathers, feminists are interested in money, and nothing more.  Fathers are simply walking wallets to the feminist movement.

And as to whether feminism is a mirror image of what it objects to, that is a matter of opinion.  I believe that that is what it has become, and that you are deluding yourself if you think it hasn't.

Again, you impugn motives on others. All I can say is, I can't defend other people's positions, I will only defend my own positions.
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2005, 12:57:34 pm »
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I never claimed "trickle down" economics would reduce the gaps in school quality among communities.  Frankly, that is not an economic issue except in result.  Good schools require good parents who are interested in their children's educations and an overall strong family structure in the community.  Without those factors, there won't be schools, and the poor economic condition of the surrounding community will generally be the result, not the cause, of those factors.

I think the term "trickle down" economics is itself a misnomer, but as you said, that's another discussion.

As far as me impugning the motives of others, I am perfectly justified in impugning the motives of certain feminists.  I don't believe they have good motives, and I don't see anything wrong with saying so.  Those people have been very successful in blunting opposition to their special-interest oriented ideas because they have bamboozled many people into thinking they stand for motherhood and apple pie.  That is not the case, and I am not going to pretend that I'm fooled by them when I am not.  Notice I have never impugned your motives, because I think you have good motives, though I think you don't fully understand the deleterious economic impact of feminism on the lower middle class.   As I said, I don't claim it's the only problem, but it surely hasn't helped, and has hurt badly.
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2005, 01:14:50 pm »
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I never claimed "trickle down" economics would reduce the gaps in school quality among communities.  Frankly, that is not an economic issue except in result.  Good schools require good parents who are interested in their children's educations and an overall strong family structure in the community.  Without those factors, there won't be schools, and the poor economic condition of the surrounding community will generally be the result, not the cause, of those factors.

No, you have it completely backwards, as usual dazzleman.  (bold added)
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2005, 01:18:03 pm »
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No thanks.  I'd rather try to pull people up from the bottom than push them down from the top.

Actually that would never be the case. Unless we exported our economic problems to another country.

If everybody that was poor suddenly rose to middle-class. Prices would rise to account for it. The poor would be the poor again.

Poverty and self-destructive behavior are somewhat requried in the current system we have now to maintain price stability.
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2005, 02:00:59 pm »

I never claimed "trickle down" economics would reduce the gaps in school quality among communities.  Frankly, that is not an economic issue except in result.  Good schools require good parents who are interested in their children's educations and an overall strong family structure in the community.  Without those factors, there won't be schools, and the poor economic condition of the surrounding community will generally be the result, not the cause, of those factors.

The only thing I can say to this is that in upper middle class communities there is a different peer atmosphere, one that is more highly emphasizes success. Perhaps this is because parents who have been successful themselves are more likely to highly regard professional success for their children. This by no means implies that working class parents cannot take their children's education seriously or that all upper middle class parents do, however the working class parents have much more of a struggle and must be more into their school community in order to achieve the same results. They must rely more on the family and less on the community. In wealthier communities, everyone tends to have higher expectations and the educators and students are more motivated.

You are the one who brought up the economic argument, not me. But I do think that economic reasons contribute to community and school inequality. People know that schools in "good" neighborhoods will have better funding and thus attract more ambitious and competent teachers and administrators than schools in other neighborhoods. Thus, the parents who are more serious will put a higher premium on getting into a "good" neighborhood. The only problem, due to income inequality and class segregation, there are not enough "good" neighborhoods around for all the parents who want them.

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As far as me impugning the motives of others, I am perfectly justified in impugning the motives of certain feminists.  I don't believe they have good motives, and I don't see anything wrong with saying so.  Those people have been very successful in blunting opposition to their special-interest oriented ideas because they have bamboozled many people into thinking they stand for motherhood and apple pie.  That is not the case, and I am not going to pretend that I'm fooled by them when I am not.  Notice I have never impugned your motives, because I think you have good motives, though I think you don't fully understand the deleterious economic impact of feminism on the lower middle class.   As I said, I don't claim it's the only problem, but it surely hasn't helped, and has hurt badly.

Dazzleman, the only economic argument I've seen you make goes to the effect of women in the working force leading to income inequality. And the only objection I've seen you make to income inequality revolves around poor school quality in working class neighborhoods, which could only come about when the upper middle class segregates itself out of those neighborhoods. What I'm suggesting is that there are many more practicable and less objectionable ways to reduce income inequality than opposing feminism, and the Democratic party's economic positions would do a much better job at doing that.

As for "certain feminists" of whom you speak... I don't see why they are relevant at all. Frankly I don't see them as having much influence on policy.
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« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2005, 08:11:40 pm »
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the deleterious economic impact of feminism on the lower middle class.

Dazzleman,

I assume you are talking about the impact of two spouses both holding jobs when one could live off of the other's income. Even if your statement is true, women and feminism should not be blamed for it. If a husband and wife both work outside the home, both are responsible for their impact on the economy.
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dazzleman
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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2005, 08:24:11 pm »
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the deleterious economic impact of feminism on the lower middle class.

Dazzleman,

I assume you are talking about the impact of two spouses both holding jobs when one could live off of the other's income. Even if your statement is true, women and feminism should not be blamed for it. If a husband and wife both work outside the home, both are responsible for their impact on the economy.

True, both are responsible, but feminism encouraged a change from the old status quo, and that is why I hold feminism partially responsible for growing economic gaps.  Of course, there are other causes, such as the decline of manufacturing, the need for a higher level of education than was previously the case to earn a comparatively good living, etc.

I'm not sure you younger guys realize how much the cost of housing has increased since the 1970s in relation to an average SINGLE income.  The increase has been astronomical in many parts of the country.  This is due in large part to the proliferation of 2-income households driving up prices.  It puts those on a lower income at a severe disadvantage in trying to find decent housing.

There has also been a huge increase in incomes for many educated people even after accounting for inflation.  I make more than 10x the amount of money that my father made at my age, and we were considered the lower end of upper middle class.  That single income supported a family of seven in a nice house in an upper middle class suburb.  A similar income today, even adjusted for inflation in the interim, could never do the same thing because of astronomically higher housing costs.

Economically, I have been on the winning side of this whole issue, so don't take anything I'm saying as a personal complaint.  I think though that it's important to acknowledge who has suffered from these changes, many of whom are good, hard-working people just trying to live decently, and think about how things might be made better for them without government subsidies and things like that that never work as intended.  I know a good number of people who are on the losing side of this whole issue -- struggling financially even with both spouses working (and forget how single parents with average jobs make out in this type of economy).

If you didn't live through the pre-1980s period, it may be hard to comprehend the type of economic shifts that I am describing, but I do think they have made life a lot easier for a lot of people, such as myself, and harder for others who really didn't necessarily deserve it.
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« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2005, 08:33:59 pm »
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the deleterious economic impact of feminism on the lower middle class.

Dazzleman,

I assume you are talking about the impact of two spouses both holding jobs when one could live off of the other's income. Even if your statement is true, women and feminism should not be blamed for it. If a husband and wife both work outside the home, both are responsible for their impact on the economy.

True, both are responsible, but feminism encouraged a change from the old status quo, and that is why I hold feminism partially responsible for growing economic gaps.

True about feminism changing the status quo, but the reality is that women's jobs are no more expendable than men's jobs, regardless of the former status quo, or the impact on the economy.

I'm not sure you younger guys realize how much the cost of housing has increased since the 1970s in relation to an average SINGLE income.  The increase has been astronomical in many parts of the country.  This is due in large part to the proliferation of 2-income households driving up prices.  It puts those on a lower income at a severe disadvantage in trying to find decent housing.

There has also been a huge increase in incomes for many educated people even after accounting for inflation.  I make more than 10x the amount of money that my father made at my age, and we were considered the lower end of upper middle class.  That single income supported a family of seven in a nice house in an upper middle class suburb.  A similar income today, even adjusted for inflation in the interim, could never do the same thing because of astronomically higher housing costs.

Economically, I have been on the winning side of this whole issue, so don't take anything I'm saying as a personal complaint.  I think though that it's important to acknowledge who has suffered from these changes, many of whom are good, hard-working people just trying to live decently, and think about how things might be made better for them without government subsidies and things like that that never work as intended.  I know a good number of people who are on the losing side of this whole issue -- struggling financially even with both spouses working (and forget how single parents with average jobs make out in this type of economy).

If you didn't live through the pre-1980s period, it may be hard to comprehend the type of economic shifts that I am describing, but I do think they have made life a lot easier for a lot of people, such as myself, and harder for others who really didn't necessarily deserve it.

I agree about the economy changing, and it is unfortunate, but like I said earlier, women's jobs are no more expendable than men's jobs. There are other ways to reduce the income gap between the rich and the poor without undoing feminism.
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dazzleman
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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2005, 09:54:54 pm »
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I agree about the economy changing, and it is unfortunate, but like I said earlier, women's jobs are no more expendable than men's jobs. There are other ways to reduce the income gap between the rich and the poor without undoing feminism.

I don't think feminism can be 'undone' but I think its negative features should be recognized.  I also think it's had a severely negative effect on family life and on the way children are raised.  There is no turning back, but recognizing certain unpalatable (to some) realities can help us build a better future.
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