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Women In The Wilderness: Problem Solved

I mentioned I’d be discussing how to show women the strengths of limited government and economic liberty. The Independent Women’s Forum event was last night and it was really interesting. The most important thing to note is that I got to meet Barkha Herman in the flesh! (Her write-up of the event is

  1. Devereaux

    I don’t know, Mollie. I am constantly surprised at who turns out to be female here on Ricochet. The comments are not “male” or “female”. The thinking is, to my mind, no different male to female.

    But perhaps I’m a bit abnormal myself. I work in a mostly female environment, and spent military time in units with high percentages of females. So I have become accustomed to simply seeing people as people, not as gender issues.

  2. Trace

    I have long felt that the Republicans make a large error in simply dismissing the Sandra Fluke/Lena Dunham crowd.

    Without diminishing the moral implications of abortion on demand and the negative repercussions to society of greater sexual freedom, the right should acknowledge the gains that birth control has afforded women. The argument that birth control has leveled the playing field and permitted women greater control over their lives, including workplace gains is legitimate. And to simply counter that they have always had the freedom to abstain from sex reflects not only a stark double standard, but is grossly ineffective.

    The right needs to reassure unmarried women that no one wants to relegate them to the kitchen or retract the social gains that have been facilitated by contraception. And that opposing abortion, or opposing mandated free contraception does not represent a hidden agenda to restore 1950′s gender norms.

    This seems so obvious — but it’s really not. It needs to be said forcefully, persuasively, and repeatedly.

  3. WI Con

    I’d recommend that you invite notable Progressive (feminists, environmentalists, immigration advocates, pro-choicers, etc.) in to the Ricochet ‘Octogon’ for some civil back & forth. Have them on a podcast – have a women’s podcast, make a little news that can get picked up in other venues (friendly and non-friendly to conservatives).

    Step in to their ‘Ring’ as well Mollie – I’m confident you’d do our side proud.

    In making the case to women, I’d emphasize the ‘value and choice’ concepts to government as women look for value in so many aspects of daily life: groceries, clothes, insurance, and other services. Consider what ’one-size fits all’ means in clothing and relate that to so many government programs & policies. Women take a huge role in household budgets, paying too much for ineffective & overpriced programs (schools) eventually places them & society at greater long-term risk.

  4. Salamandyr

    I have noticed that, even conservative women tend to be less “freedom and liberty” than their male compatriots.  I have no numbers, just a feeling, but it seems to me that female conservatives tend to be more at that social conservative end of the scale and less at the libertarian end.

    Obviously this is not a universal quality, but broadly speaking, even within conservative circles, women seem entirely more preoccupied with controlling other peoples activities than men.

  5. KC Mulville

    Are women simply more risk averse?

    The advantage of letting government make decisions versus individuals making them for themselves is the (mostly illusory) premise that government is more risk averse, and more secure.

    We’re just coming off a period in which it is widely believed (rightly or wrongly) that the economy crashed because individuals and established institutions (i.e., banks) took risks that they shouldn’t have. Having been burned by risk-taking, it’s understandable that many want to avoid risk as much as possible. That manifests itself in a number of ways:

    • reduction of credit; banks aren’t lending

    • retreat to safety; regulations to make extra sure that no one does anything too risky
    • seeing rich and powerful people protect themselves, which poor people interpret (or are told by unscrupulous exploiters) as coming at their expense

    What I see, all around these days, is how the uncertainty of life affects how society behaves – and how different people respond differently to uncertainty. I’ve been interested for a long time in the study of knowledge, and the study of risk is closely aligned to it (how to proceed when you don’t know?).

  6. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Trace: I have long felt that the Republicans make a large error in simply dismissing the Sandra Fluke/Lena Dunham crowd.

    Without diminishing the moral implications of abortion on demand and the negative repercussions to society of greater sexual freedom, the right should acknowledge the gains that birth control has afforded women. The argument that birth control has leveled the playing field and permitted women greater control over their lives, including workplace gains is legitimate. And to simply counter that they have always had the freedom to abstain from sex reflects not only a stark double standard, but is grossly ineffective.

    Yes, I’ve had to think deeply about everything from the out-of-the-blue Stephanopolous question on birth control at an early Republican debate on down to Fluke and Dunham. If you want to show the error in a particular way of thinking, you must first understand it. And I find it difficult, but helpful, to put the best construction on another’s arguments while doing it.

  7. KC Mulville
    Trace:

    The right needs to reassure unmarried women that no one wants to relegate them to the kitchen or retract the social gains that have been facilitated by contraception. And that opposing abortion, or opposing mandated free contraception does not represent a hidden agenda to restore 1950′s gender norms.

    It pays to consider, then, that conservatives aren’t demanding that women go back to Ozzie & Harriet roles.

    Conservatives aren’t saying that – - but liberals (especially the media) are saying it. They’re assuring women that this is what conservatives want. The idea that conservatives want to oppress women is a fiction perpetuated by liberals. It isn’t the reality. So, rather than plead for forgiveness from women, far more honest to simply label that lie for what it is. A lie.

    Just a side note – look at Ricochet. Women here fight just as strong as men, and judging by my own, completely subjective perspective, I don’t think any of the men mind.

  8. Barkha Herman
    KC Mulville

    It pays to consider, then, that conservatives aren’t demanding that women go back to Ozzie & Harriet roles.

    Conservativesaren’tsaying that – - but liberals (especially the media)aresaying it. They’re assuring women that this is what conservatives want. The idea that conservatives want to oppress women is a fiction perpetuated by liberals. It isn’t the reality. So, rather than plead for forgiveness from women, far more honest to simply label that lie for what it is. A lie.

    Just a side note – look at Ricochet. Women here fight just as strong as men, and judging by my own, completely subjective perspective, I don’t think any of the men mind. · 6 minutes ago

    Yes, however there is a gender gap at Ricochet – more men than women.

  9. Trace

    Mollie is trying to be effective. I think your strategy, while satisfying perhaps, is ineffective. I think you need to acknowledge that whether the slur is unfair or not is beside the point —  it is believed. And you have to take it seriously and address is directly. 

    Part of the problem is that the left is unconflicted on the subject of sexual liberty while the right is conflicted, which leads to perpetual mixed and garbled messages. Moreover, I think there is legitimate suspicion that the right still harbors a double-standard on the issue. To my knowledge, Rush Limbaugh has never called a young man a slut.

    KC Mulville

    It pays to consider, then, that conservatives aren’t demanding that women go back to Ozzie & Harriet roles.

    Conservativesaren’tsaying that – - but liberals (especially the media)aresaying it. They’re assuring women that this is what conservatives want. The idea that conservatives want to oppress women is a fiction perpetuated by liberals. It isn’t the reality. So, rather than plead for forgiveness from women, far more honest to simply label that lie for what it is. A lie.

  10. Fricosis Guy

    The challenge with SS and Medicare is that these programs weren’t sold as an either/or.  They appeal to fairness (one accumulates “earning work credits” you see in a yearly statement) and to security/compassion (old age health, disability, widow, orphan benefits).  Insidious.

    Of course, the reason that most recipients of SS are female is that women tend to live longer.  Not sure whether that’s a feature or a bug.

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.: Veronique de Rugy … pointed out how much of the crises our government faces will hurt women (e.g. by a large margin, most recipients of Social Security are of the female variety).

    [snip] Those of us who already care about a limited government are convinced of the worthiness of the cause. But how do we reach out to others who are motivated less by fairness and more by compassion and security?

  11. KC Mulville
    Trace:  I think your strategy, while satisfying perhaps, is ineffective.

    [...]

    Part of the problem is that the left is unconflicted on the subject of sexual liberty while the right is conflicted

    To be fair, acknowledging that the Left labels conservatives for their own benefit wasn’t a “strategy.”

    But I would like to hear more from you on the notion that the Right is “conflicted” about sexual liberty. Exactly what do you mean?

  12. Trace
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Yes, I’ve had to think deeply about everything from the out-of-the-blue Stephanopolous question on birth control at an early Republican debate on down to Fluke and Dunham. If you want to show the error in a particular way of thinking, you must first understand it. And I find it difficult, but helpful, to put the best construction on another’s arguments while doing it. · 40 minutes ago

    As you might guess, I’m not as conflicted on this issue as I suspect you are Mollie, but as a father I am thrilled to see examples of strong, successful, independent young women who are iconoclastic because of their choice to abstain from pre-marital sex. They should be celebrated:

    Lolo-Jones.jpg

  13. Mollie Hemingway
    C
    Trace

    As you might guess, I’m not as conflicted on this issue as I suspect you are Mollie, but as a father I am thrilled to see examples of strong, successful, independent young women who are iconoclastic because of their choice to abstain from pre-marital sex. They should be celebrated: · 3 minutes ago

    Oh I am anything but conflicted on this topic. And I have always had friends with extremely different views than mine. This particular election was weird in a way I don’t quite understand but that I don’t think anyone quite understands. I’m going to have a post tomorrow on what a savvy reporter told me last night about one small aspect of that (how birth control got brought up in the weirdest way in that one debate). It was fascinating to me and a cautionary tale for Republicans.

  14. Fricosis Guy

    Out-of-the-blue to whom?  IMO, the Boy Wonder’s question shows that our opponents believe what we are loathe to admit.  That many on side only know their positions by rote (a la Todd Akin).  If you’re going to expect a woman bear a child conceived in a rape you better be able to explain yourself.

    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Trace: I have long felt that the Republicans make a large error in simply dismissing the Sandra Fluke/Lena Dunham crowd.

    Yes, I’ve had to think deeply about everything from the out-of-the-blue Stephanopolous question on birth control at an early Republican debate on down to Fluke and Dunham. If you want to show the error in a particular way of thinking, you must first understand it. And I find it difficult, but helpful, to put the best construction on another’s arguments while doing it. · 38 minutes ago

  15. Tom Meyer, Ed.
    C
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    Thisparticularelection was weird in a way I don’t quite understand but that I don’t think anyone quite understands. I’m going to have a post tomorrow on what a savvy reporter told me last night about one small aspect of that (how birth control got brought up in the weirdest way in that one debate). It was fascinating to me and a cautionary tale for Republicans.

    Color me intrigued.

  16. Trace

    I think the Libertarian side of party is fine with pre-marital sex and the social conservative end of the spectrum is generally troubled by it. While we might all agree that ever loosening sexual mores in the culture has encouraged sex at younger ages with some grave societal ills as a result, I believe there is some disagreement about relative costs and benefits. Some see the positives — social mobility, equality… fairness as important. While others, if they even concede these benefits, likely consider them underwhelming relative to the costs. I think young women sense this ambivalence on the right and mistrust it. It’s hard to vote for a party that you believe thinks you are immoral.  

    KC Mulville

    Trace:  I think your strategy, while satisfying perhaps, is ineffective.

    [...]

    Part of the problem is that the left is unconflicted on the subject of sexual liberty while the right is conflicted

    To be fair, acknowledging that the Left labels conservatives for their own benefit wasn’t a “strategy.”

    But I would like to hear more from you on the notion that the Right is “conflicted” about sexual liberty. Exactly what do you mean? · 3 minutes ago

  17. Tom Meyer, Ed.
    C
    Fricosis Guy: [The contraception question was] Out-of-the-blue to whom?  IMO, the Boy Wonder’s question shows that our opponents believe what we are loathe to admit.  That many on side only know their positions by rote (a la Todd Akin).  If you’re going to expect a woman bear a child conceived in a rape you better be able to explain yourself.

    I wasn’t surprised either, given Santorum’s statement to Caffeinated Thoughts a few weeks earlier that he was keen to lecture Americans about the dangers of contraception, should he be elected president.

    Someone must have come across that and realized that it would be a delightfully easy way both to entrap Santorum and to make the other Republican candidates squirm on camera.  A cheap trick, but a wholly legitimate one.

  18. drlorentz
    Fricosis Guy: Out-of-the-blue to whom?  IMO, the Boy Wonder’s question shows that our opponents believe what we are loathe to admit.  That many on side only know their positions by rote (a la Todd Akin).  If you’re going to expect a woman bear a child conceived in a rape you better be able to explain yourself.

    There is a deep idea contained in those few sentences that bears repeating. If you haven’t done your moral philosophy homework, you can’t be a good candidate.

  19. Rawls
    Mollie Hemingway, Ed.

    I even find it interesting here at Ricochet. I don’t have a running tally of which members are male or female (or pretending to be!) but I think it’s fair to say most members are male. Part of that, undoubtedly, is that women report less interest in political topics than men do. But I wonder if there’s anything else.

    It is a bit odd that Ricochet’s default thumbnail picture is male when nearly every other default avatar on the internet is either gender-ambiguous or a binary, choose-your-own gender choice.

    (Note: I swear I’m not trying to be the PC-police, I just wanted to point out an uncommon decision in terms of standard web design practices on the part of the programmers/designers of the site.)

  20. KC Mulville
    Trace:  I think young women sense this ambivalence on the right and mistrust it. It’s hard to vote for a party that you believe thinks you are immoral. 

    Well, a couple responses.

    The notion that conservatives are trying to force women back into a subservient role is, indeed, a lie. But that’s a heck of a lot different from saying we should happily embrace the New Morality where all sex is fine. It isn’t a binary choice between (oppression) versus (sexual free-for-all).

    It would be insulting to say that young women can’t or won’t make that distinction, and that any promotion of sexual morality must be interpreted as oppression; or that it’s ultra-freedom or nothing. That’s not “ambivalence.” That’s just adults making important distinctions.

    And, as my previous comment suggested, liberals deliberately blur those distinctions all the time, precisely to pander to their likely voters.

    I’m also completely unwilling to treat young people as a fixed, static group. Kids grow up. (After all, we did.) And the attitudes and moral perspectives of young people change as they grow older. No need to sell out to youth, is there?

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