Out From Under

March 7, 2012

The struggle for the mass of men and women to get out from under the thumb of the wealthy elite has, historically, been a long one.  Until now the United States has in it’s 235 + year, history helped the cause of poor men and women by managing, however slowly, to give its underclass the chance to free itself from the bonds of slavery and virtual indentured servitude, the stifling influence of religious fableism and the oppression of workers and women. But now we see in America the rise of a kind of new feudalism, the threat of theocracy, and a return to state and church sponsored misogyny.

What Rush Limbaugh did by slandering Sandra Fluke with his typical ugliness was to expose the thinking of a significant part of the conservative right and the Republican party. The vileness of that creep’s remarks has been tepidly challenged not only by the pathetic stock of this year’s GOP candidates, but by the party in general. If silence is golden the Republican party is again in its element. John McCain, to his credit, has been one of the few Republicans to call Limbaugh out for uncovering the sewer of his character yet again.

Sandra Fluke’s basic problem in the eyes of Republican fundamentalists is that she is a woman.  What’s worse Ms. Fluke is a smart, brave, accomplished, and socially conscious woman. This last is most likely the source of the derision of Limbaugh heaped on Fluke.  Let’s face it, besides his Machiavellian loud mouth and the money it sucks in, Limbaugh has little going for him in the realm of soul or physical attraction when it come to women.  He’s been married four times because (my guess is) once the allure of his wealth wore off and his exes realised what they’d married they decided it just wasn’t worth it, dumped him and left Rush to the desert of himself.

But what the Limbaugh-Fluke incident brought to stark light is the iron grip that its medieval right has on Republicans. But why does the right hate women and feminism? This is a question Digby at Hulaballoo asks:

“We know why misogynist creeps like Rush Limbaugh hate feminism. But why do conservative intellectuals hate feminism (assuming they aren’t also twisted creeps like Limbaugh?)”

His answer comes in a piece by Mark Steyn.

Summing up, Steyn’s view is that the modern state’s trajectory is to undermine the traditional family and, therefore, everything that’s good. Without the support of the modern state women would have to perform the duties and responsibilities of millenia of women before them.  They would be forced to become subservient drudges and the sexual object of husbands —or men in general.

For Steyn “Big Daddy (big government) sings a siren song: … statism is a girl’s best friend.  So it is in government’s best interest for those men old fashioned enough to marry women and thereby woo them away from the big stash of Big Daddy Statist.”

So the state that allows women the same freedoms and opportunities as men, that lifts them out of subservient drudgery, or worse, is something to be reviled. This is the fundamental thrust of the conservative hatred of the liberal state and modern women: that it (and they) undermine, among other things, the traditional family and traditional economic structure that have allowed a small wealthy elite to pull the strings of power through most of history.

As Cory Robins summarizes at Hulaballoo:

“The priority of conservative political argument has been the maintenance of private regimes of power—even at the cost of the strength and integrity of the state. We see this political arithmetic at work in the ruling of a Federalist court in Massachusetts that a Loyalist woman who fled the Revolution was the adjutant of her husband, and thus not be held responsible for fleeing and should not have her property confiscated by the state; in the refusal of Southern slaveholders to yield their slaves to the Confederate cause; and the more recent insistence of the Supreme Court that women could not be legally obliged to sit on juries because they are ‘still regarded as the center of home and family life’ with their ‘own special responsibilities.’”

The cases Robins cites are old, but the sentiment is as immediate as Rush Limbaugh’s anti-woman rant and the attitude of a huge segment of the conservative right in this election year.

Jim Culleny
3/7/11

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