Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Archive for the ‘Feminism’ Category

Women and the Growth of Liberalism

Posted by Tony Listi on May 30, 2008

Very insightful article. Makes perfect sense: the more nurturing sex is more likely to think that the federal government can nurture its citizens as if they were children.

Just fyi, this doesn’t mean I’m in favor of repealing the 19th Amendment. Just means conservatives may have to work a little harder to educate women politically. Just means we need to show how the government cannot be nurturing but can be abusive when we try to make it  an instrument of nurturing. We need to empower women to look to themselves (and their private actions), not government, as the chief nurturers of society. We need to continue to strengthen the institution of marriage, so single women do not seek out big government, instead of faithful husbands, for love and security. We need to show married women how the federal government is a threat to children in general.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0%2C2933%2C358179%2C00.html

Monday, May 26, 2008

Indeed, she believes this year’s presidential campaign has shown that sexism limits women’s influence in politics. She claimed last week that “every poll I’ve seen shows more people would be reluctant to vote for a woman [than] to vote for an African American.”

It’s possible that Democrats are particularly sexist, but with women making up the majority of voters, one would think that politicians were ignoring women at their own peril.

In 2004, women made up 54 percent of voters. At least through early February of this year, women made up a much greater share of Democrat primary voters — accounting for between 57 and 61 percent of the vote in primaries and caucuses.

But whatever difficulties Clinton might be having, it seems that the policies adopted are much more important than who puts them into action, and the evidence indicates that women have long gotten their way.

Academics have for some time pondered why the government started growing precisely when it did. The federal government, aside from periods of wartime, consumed about 2 to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) up until World War I. That was the first war in which government spending didn’t go all the way back down to its pre-war levels. Then in the 1920s, non-military federal spending began steadily climbing.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal – often viewed as the genesis of big government – really just continued an earlier trend. What changed before Roosevelt came to power that explains the growth of government? The answer is women’s suffrage.

For decades, polls have shown that women as a group vote differently than men. Without the women’s vote, Republicans would have swept every presidential race but one between 1968 and 2004.

The gender gap exists on various issues. The major one is the issue of smaller government and lower taxes, which is a much higher priority for men than for women. This is seen in divergent attitudes held by men and women on many separate issues.

Women were much more opposed to the 1996 federal welfare reforms, which mandated time limits for receiving welfare and imposed some work requirements on welfare recipients. Women are also more supportive of Medicare, Social Security and educational expenditures.

Studies show that women are generally more risk-averse than men. This could be why they are more supportive of government programs to ensure against certain risks in life.

Women’s average incomes are also slightly lower and less likely to vary over time, which gives single women an incentive to prefer more progressive income taxes. Once women get married, however, they bear a greater share of taxes through their husbands’ relatively higher incomes – so their support for high taxes understandably declines.

Marriage also provides an economic explanation for why men and women prefer different policies.

Because women generally shoulder most of the child-rearing responsibilities, married men are more likely to acquire marketable skills that help them earn money outside the household. If a man gets divorced, he still retains these skills. But if a woman gets divorced, she is unable to recoup her investment in running the household.

Hence, single women who believe they may marry in the future, as well as married women who most fear divorce, look to the government as a form of protection against this risk from a possible divorce: a more progressive tax system and other government transfers of wealth from rich to poor. The more certain a woman is that she doesn’t risk divorce, the more likely she is to oppose government transfers.

Has it always been this way? Can women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries help explain the growth of government?

While the timing of the two events is suggestive, other changes during this time could have played a role. For example, some argue that Americans became more supportive of bigger government due to the success of widespread economic regulations imposed during World War I.

A good way to analyze the direct effect of women’s suffrage on the growth of government is to study how each of the 48 state governments expanded after women obtained the right to vote.

Women’s suffrage was first granted in western states with relatively few women – Wyoming (1869), Utah (1870), Colorado (1893) and Idaho (1896). Women could vote in 29 states before women’s suffrage was achieved nationwide in 1920 with the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

If women’s right to vote increased government, our analysis should show a few definite indicators. First, suffrage would have a bigger impact on government spending and taxes in states with a greater percentage of women. And secondly, the size of government in western states should steadily expand as women comprise an increasing share of their population.

Even after accounting for a range of other factors – such as industrialization, urbanization, education and income – the impact of granting of women’s suffrage on per capita state government expenditures and revenue was startling.

Per capita state government spending after accounting for inflation had been flat or falling during the 10 years before women began voting. But state governments started expanding the first year after women voted and continued growing until within 11 years real per capita spending had more than doubled. The increase in government spending and revenue started immediately after women started voting.

Yet, as suggestive as these facts are, we must still consider whether suffrage itself caused the growth in government, or did the government expand due to some political or social change that accompanied women’s right to vote?

Fortunately, there was a unique aspect of suffrage that allows us to answer this question: Of the 19 states that had not passed women’s suffrage before the approval of the 19th Amendment, nine approved the amendment, while the other 12 had suffrage imposed on them.

If some unknown factor caused both a desire for larger government and women’s suffrage, then government should have only grown in states that voluntarily adopted suffrage. This, however, is not the case: After approving women’s suffrage, a similar growth in government was seen in both groups of states.

Women’s suffrage also explains much of the federal government’s growth from the 1920s to the 1960s. In the 45 years after the adoption of suffrage, as women’s voting rates gradually increased until finally reaching the same level as men’s, the size of state and federal governments expanded as women became an increasingly important part of the electorate.

But the battle between the sexes does not end there. During the early 1970s, just as women’s share of the voting population was leveling off, something else was changing: The American family began to break down, with rising divorce rates and increasing numbers of out-of-wedlock births.

Over the course of women’s lives, their political views on average vary more than those of men. Young single women start out being much more liberal than their male counterparts and are about 50 percent more likely to vote Democratic. As previously noted, these women also support a higher, more progressive income tax as well as more educational and welfare spending.

But for married women this gap is only one-third as large. And married women with children become more conservative still. Women with children who are divorced, however, are suddenly about 75 percent more likely to vote for Democrats than single men. So as divorce rates have increased, due in large part to changing divorce laws, voters have become more liberal.

Women’s suffrage ushered in a sea change in American politics that affected policies aside from taxes and the size of government. For example, states that granted suffrage were much more likely to pass Prohibition, for the temperance movement was largely dominated by middle-class women. Although the “gender gap” is commonly thought to have arisen only in the 1960s, female voting dramatically changed American politics from the very beginning.

John Lott is the author of Freedomnomics and a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland.

Advertisements

Posted in American Culture, American History, Budget, Spending, and Taxes, Culture War, Feminism, Government and Politics, Liberalism, Political Philosophy | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Straight Talk About Casual Sex

Posted by Tony Listi on May 15, 2008

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JaniceShawCrouse/2008/04/25/straight_talk_about_casual_sex

By Janice Shaw Crouse

It’s not news to anybody these days — not if they watch any television or glance at the covers of the magazines lining the checkout counters at the grocery stores — that we live in a sex-saturated society where supposedly the majority of young people are “doing it,” more often than not without “benefit of marriage.”  The “Playboy philosophy” is trumpeted by a thousand voices that glamorize casual sex, while most of the shrinking mainline churches present pitifully watered-down messages about morality that confuse rather than clarify.  Academic institutions, particularly the women’s studies programs, promote the idea that marriage is optional and young people are advised to “just do it!”  The secular mantra, heard from middle school on up, is that sex will make you popular and happy; it’s great recreation that is free and fun.

There is a mountain of media out there promoting a phony philosophy about the joys of casual, risky sexual experimentation; one need look no further than the junk advice featured in magazines like Cosmopolitan to see just how pernicious it is.  Even the “Dear Abby” column in many daily newspapers spreads the expectation of sexual activity even for the youngest of our teens.  This assault will not be neutralized until a brigade of those who know better find their voices to convince today’s Sex in the City generation of young women that only discipline and restraint — it is having an attitude that says, “I won’t mess up my tomorrows by fooling around today” — will open the gateway to achieving their dreams and ambitions.

Well, the time for some straight talk about casual sex is long overdue.  Every young person needs to know the following three truths:

Truth #1: Casual sex impairs the ability to establish a lasting emotion bond.  When natural human emotional responses are repeatedly denied, the person is hardened and the capacity to bond is weakened.  Dr. Donald Joy published groundbreaking research in the early 80s and has updated it periodically in the intervening years.  He chronicles the ways that intimacy produces bonding.  His research indicates that human beings respond to sexual intercourse by bonding, and they are driven to make that bond permanent and exclusive.

Dr. Joy reported on the work of a researcher at a hospital clinic in Detroit who worked with 1,000 couples for 10 years studying their marital problems and recording their sexual histories.  He concluded that sexual intercourse is constructive only within marriage.  His evidence is overwhelming that one or the other of the partners in casual sex (usually the girl or woman) experiences immediate emotional pain even in the absence of acknowledged injury.  The experience of casual sexual intimacy produces memories that can contaminate future relationships and create lingering problems later on, when the person eventually marries.  When the married couples in his research had problems, he said, “The pain in the marriages was rooted in their promiscuity.”

Truth #2: Casual sex leaves young people alone and lonely.  Counselors tell us that sexually active girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their abstinent peers.  Among the boys, sexually active ones are depressed twice as often.  Sexually active teens are more likely than their abstinent counterparts to attempt suicide (girls 15 percent to five percent and boys six percent to one percent).  But the most telling fact is that the majority of teenagers, 72 percent of the girls and 55 percent of the boys, acknowledge regret over early sexual activity and wish that they had waited longer to have sex.  So much for the cultural mantra that “sex is no big deal!”

On another front, replacing marriage with casual sex is especially harmful to young women’s long-term well-being.  The marriage rate in the United States has dropped by nearly 50 percent since 1970.  In 1940, less than eight percent of all households consisted of people living alone; now more than a quarter do.  The number of unmarried couples living together temporarily in the U.S. is 10 times as large today as in 1970.

Truth #3: The so-called “sexual revolution” has produced dramatic increases in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  Sadly, 65 percent of STDs appear in young people under age 25, and fully 20 percent of all AIDS cases are among college-aged young people.  In the U.S., over 15 million new cases of STDs appear annually, a number that is triple what it was six years ago.  Having three or more sexual partners in a lifetime increases a woman’s odds of cervical cancer by 15 times.

The National Center for Health Statistics analyzed data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and found two startling facts.  Among young women who used contraception at first intercourse, the probability of giving birth at each age is roughly half that of those who did not use contraception.  Further, the probability of a sexually active female giving birth approximately doubles between 18-20 years of age whether the young woman uses contraception at first intercourse or not.

A young person’s choices about sex reveal his or her attitudes about others.  Is sexual activity merely fun and games?  No.  Treating sex as something casual can never actually make it a casual matter.  The Scriptures raise the age old question, “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27, NKJV)

Sexual intercourse can be an intense and pleasurable experience, but it is more — much more.  Sexual intimacy triggers the strongest and deepest, most exhilarating passions in life.  Its purpose is to bond a man and a woman into “one flesh” in the deepest intimacy that human beings can share.  Further, sex is designed to both create life and build a strong relationship to protect and provide for that life.  Little wonder that the Creator fashioned the means of creating life in such a way that it is one of the most awesome forces in our lives and then linked it to marriage so as to signify to us, “Priceless.  Handle with great care.”

It is impossible to ignore or dictate to nature.  Young people need to choose carefully.  Sex can never be free; choices always have consequences.  We cannot expect young people to act responsibly when adults — whose thinking is sometimes clouded by their rationalization of their own hurtful and toxic sexual experimentation — are irresponsible by not providing the best possible information to encourage self-discipline and self-control, which are the surest keys to young peoples’ long-term well-being.

Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Feminism, Government and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Sex | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pride in Your Gay Genes?

Posted by Tony Listi on April 27, 2008

Hypothetically, let’s suppose that homosexuality is completely and ineradicably genetic. Let’s suppose that people actually are born gay. The breakdown of the traditional family and our hyper-sexualized society have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Then I have a question: how can homosexuals possibly take pride in their homosexuality?

Typically, we take pride in the things that we personally choose and accomplish. Can one conceive of pride in any other way? We can have pride when we set goals, choose to pursue them, put our best efforts into them, and then, hopefully, succeed. We can have pride in a culture that we choose to identify ourselves with because of the values and beliefs that it upholds. But homosexuality supposedly has nothing to do with this. We are constantly told that homosexuality is not a choice. But no choice means no pride. How can one take pride in one’s genetic makeup? How can one take pride in something that one has/had no control over whatsoever?

Regardless of whether homosexuality is good or bad, if it is genetic, then not only can one not take pride in it, but one should not take pride in it. This is because there is something extremely perverse and dishonest in taking pride in something that one played no role in. Blacks have no reason to take pride in the genes that make them black. Hispanics have no reason to take pride in the genes that make them hispanic. Women have no reason to take pride in the XX chromosomes that make them women. The Nazis had no reason to take pride in the genes that supposedly made them Aryan.

But somehow this conflict between pride and genetics within the so-called “gay rights” movement has been ignored or overlooked.

If homosexuals want to reasonably take pride in their homosexuality, then, at the very least, they should back down from their claims that they were born gay. They need to revert to their previous position that homosexuality really is a choice to have sexual relations with people of the same sex. Like other minorities have done, they need to claim (however absurdly) that homosexuality is a culture, a lifestyle. Otherwise, those gay pride parades can be nothing other than silly, ridiculous nonsense.

Posted in American Culture, Feminism, Government and Politics, Homosexuality, Race, Racism, and Affirmative Action, Science and Politics, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Rush Limbaugh, Divorce, and Contraception

Posted by Tony Listi on April 20, 2008

I’ve always been a fan of Rush, but nobody’s perfect. For quite awhile, I’ve vaguely sensed that he seemed to lean more towards the libertarian side of conservatism than the traditional, Christian side.

http://www.americandaily.com/nucleus/plugins/print/print.php?itemid=1736

By Matt C. Abbott (06/21/04)

I couldn’t help but (figuratively) shake my head when I heard the news. Rush Limbaugh, famed conservative radio talk show host who has millions of listeners and millions of dollars, is getting another divorce. Number three, to be exact. Aye.

I’ve been listening to Rush for several years now, and while I don’t agree with him on every issue, I do agree with him on many issues. He’s pro-life, albeit not overly outspoken about it. He doesn’t subscribe to the homosexual agenda. And he seems to recognize the libertine nature of the mass media.

Not too bad for a soon-to-be thrice-divorced rugged individualist, no?

Yet, the fact that Rush can’t seem to get his marital life in order is quite troublesome, especially considering the multitude of liberals who now are accusing him of hypocrisy because he has defended the institution of marriage against the onslaught of homosexual activism. Not that these pro-homosexual marriage liberals have a leg to stand on, but still…

I obviously don’t know what caused the break-up of Rush’s marriage(s), but I do think there is an oft-overlooked, indirect factor in many broken marriages: the use of contraception.

So does Dr. Janet E. Smith, Chair of Life Issues at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. In a popular and published lecture titled Contraception: Why Not?, Dr. Smith discusses why the divorce rate doubled between 1965, when 25 percent of marriages ended in divorce, and 1975, when 50 percent of marriages ended in divorce (same as today).

Dr. Smith cites the research of social scientist Robert Michael, who concluded
“that as the contraceptive pill became more and more available, divorce became more and more popular.” In fact, Michael attributed “45 percent of this increase [in divorce] to increased use of contraceptives.” Why is this so?

There are three reasons, according to Michael. First, his statistical data showed “that those who use contraceptives have fewer children and have them later in marriage…those who have the first baby in the first two years of marriage and another baby in the next couple years of marriage, have a much longer lasting marriage than those who don’t.” (Rush has no children.)

Dr. Smith observes that married couples who have children “become better people…almost instantaneously.”

Secondly, Michael found that “since contraceptives have arrived on the scene, there is much more adultery than there was before.” Observes Dr. Smith: “People have been tempted, for the history of mankind. It’s easy enough to think about wanting to have an affair but wanting a child out of wedlock is another story. But if most every woman is contracepting, then most every woman is available in a certain sense and there is no real reason to say no. Adultery is absolutely devastating to marriages.”

The third explanation, says Dr. Smith, is “that women are financially more independent. They do have fewer children. They do go into the work place. And, again, when they have difficulties in the marriage, it’s much [easier] to say, ‘Take a walk,’ than it is to work it out because they need their husband for one fewer reasons than they did before.”

Dr. Smith also says that widespread pre-marital sex and cohabitation has contributed to the increase in divorce. Obviously, those who fornicate often use some type of contraception, and, if that fails, they can always have the unborn child killed through abortion.

“So contraception hasn’t made for better marriages,” concludes Dr. Smith.

Indeed. Now consider that the divorce/separation rate for married couples who use Natural Family Planning – that is, periodic abstinence from sexual intercourse – is less than one in eight, according to Brian Clowes, Ph.D. of Human Life International (www.hli.org).

Sadly, many married couples are either ignorant of Natural Family Planning methods or have been duped into using contraception by the abortion industry, the pop-culture, and not a few “mainstream” doctors.

It boggles my mind, too, that so many health-conscious people will buy all kinds of “natural” products so that they don’t have to put “chemicals” into their bodies, but seem to have no qualms about using artificial and even poisonous means of contraception. Not to mention that most so-called contraceptives are actually abortifacients, that is, they can and do cause an early abortion by preventing implantation of the living human embryo into the uterine lining.

Look, I do realize there are several factors that can contribute to a divorce. But I would submit that if married couples would use Natural Family Planning instead of contraception, far fewer of them would end up in divorce court.

Perhaps even Rush would still be married.

(For more information about Natural Family Planning, see http://www.ccli.org and http://www.popepaulvi.com.)

Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Culture War, Feminism, Government and Politics, Politics and Religion, Sex | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Marxism/Feminism/Liberalism and the Family

Posted by Tony Listi on February 25, 2008

It Takes a Family to Raise a Village: The Significance of the Family for the Free Society

http://www.isi.org/lectures/lectures.aspx?SBy=search&SSub=title&SFor=Social%20Significance

http://www.isi.org/lectures/text/pdf/t000212_morse_013008.pdf  

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. left a tenured position in the Economics Department at George Mason University to move with her husband and children to California in 1996. She is now the Senior Research Fellow in Economics at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.

Posted in American Culture, Feminism, Government and Politics, Socialism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »