Friday, September 7, 2012

Feminism and Chivalry

By all accounts Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last night was a dud, so let’s go back to where the action was, to Wednesday night when Sandra Fluke and Elizabeth Warren were made into audience warmers for Bill Clinton.

Obviously, the Democratic Party is trying to gin up the women’s vote. Apparently, it believes that women are so gullible that they will believe anything, even if it is spoken by a nobody like Sandra Fluke.

For my part I believe that women should feel offended by the blatant manipulation. It shows how deeply the Democratic Party disrespects women.

James Taranto underscores the bitter political irony:

The first speaker in the prime, network-broadcast 10:00 hour, was Sandra Fluke. Seriously, the party of Andrew Jackson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman chose to showcase someone whose claim to fame is that she demands that somebody else pay for her birth control.

Taranto is being too kind. When Fluke claimed that three years supply of birth control cost $3,000 she was either lying or completely misinformed. The true cost is closer to $300. Let’s not call it a rounding error.

Fluke rose to prominence when Rush Limbaugh impugned her morals by calling her a slut. The expression was infelicitous, but one must point out that many feminists have insisted lately that the word “slut” be made a badge of honor.

Limbaugh’s poor word choice launched the career of a Georgetown law student who has no real expertise on birth control or much else.

If she had an ounce of grace, Fluke would have offered Rush Limbaugh profuse thanks: he made her career; he gave her fame and notoriety beyond what she ever deserved.

Anyway, after whining about how Rush had tried to silence her Fluke got to the meat of her theory. She was deeply offended that Mitt Romney had not stepped forth to defend her honor.

In her words:

… your new president [Romney] could be a man who stands by when a public figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs. Who won’t stand up to the slurs, or to any of the extreme, bigoted voices in his own party. 

Comparing the possible Romney presidency with the current Obama presidency, Fluke continued to say that we live in:

 An America in which our president, when he hears a young woman has been verbally attacked, thinks of his daughters—not his delegates or donors—and stands with all women. And strangers come together, reach out and lift her up. And then, instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here—and give me a microphone—to amplify our voice.

Here, Taranto remarks, Fluke gets caught in a contradiction. Pretending to be independent and autonomous, she still expects that men will come to her rescue and will defend her honor according to the code of chivalry.

Taranto writes:

When one considers the specific context of Fluke's above-quoted comment, however, it turns out to be as patriarchal a conception of government as one can imagine. By criticizing Romney for failing to "stand up" against Limbaugh, she faults him for a lack of chivalry. The duty of the president in a Flukist regime is to act as a white knight when a fair maiden's honor has been besmirched.

Yet, Taranto continues, where the code of chivalry makes men morally obliged to protect and defend women, good feminists are supposed to believe that such a notion is a social construct:

In Taranto’s words:

But if the male instinct to protect women is a social construct, as feminists usually claim, then it is hypocritical for feminists to exploit it. If it is hard-wired, as most evolutionary psychologists would argue, then feminism is fundamentally false.

Taranto believes that feminists appeal to the male instinct to defend women in order to better exploit men. Using this tactic feminists and other radicals can use their opponents' weakness against them. 

Fluke was not alone in appealing to male chivalry. Taranto reminds us that during the Limbaugh/Fluke kerfuffle, Gloria Allred recommended that Rush be prosecuted for besmirching a lady’s reputation. Apparently, Florida has a law that makes such language a crime.

It is worth remembering that under most chivalric codes the man who would first be expected to defend his lady’s honor would be her husband, or, in Fluke’s case, her fiancé.

Somehow or other, in the midst of this brou-haha not one word has been heard from the man who has the most direct personal interest in defending Sandra Fluke’s honor.

It is astonishing to see that Sandra Fluke thinks that it is part of a president’s the job description to defend the honor of no-account law students who have been called bad names.

And that she feels that it is the responsibility of Mitt Romney to denounce any Republican who speaks ill of Sandra Fluke.

As Taranto suggests, Fluke’s argument rests on the idea that an educated law student is incapable of defending herself in the public arena.

Speaking of hypocrites, Fluke was followed on the podium by Massachusetts senate candidate, Elizabeth Warren.

Warren was there to tell us that corporations are not people and that the system is rigged.

On the first point Warren ranted:

Mitt Romney's the guy who said corporations are people.

No, Gov. Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that's why we need Barack Obama.

To take the latter first, a law professor must know that common law tradition holds that corporations can be treated as persons. This is called a “legal fiction.” One does not quite understand why a law professor allows herself to take up convention time explaining to people that a legal fiction is not a fact.

Apparently, Warren was not addressing herself to a very well-educated audience.

On the matter of rigging a system, Elizabeth Warren is fully qualified to comment. After all, didn’t she get her job at Harvard Law School by portraying herself as a minority candidate, specifically as 1/32 Cherokee? Isn’t that a flagrant instance of rigging the affirmative action system?

Warren did manage to deliver the best line of the night. In an effort to warm up the audience for Bill Clinton, she said:

I sure never dreamed that I'd get to be the warm-up act for President Bill Clinton--an amazing man, who had the good sense to marry one of the coolest women on the planet. 

Certainly, no one has ever accused Bill Clinton of having married one of the hottest women on the planet.

It is amazing that Warren offers this teaser without having known that the world will hear it and think roughly what Taranto thought, that Clinton has never ceased to cheat on "one of the coolest women on the planet.".

And then,  on an evening when the Democratic party pulled out all the stops to manipulate women, it closed with but a man who has been accused of every manner of bad behavior toward women. 

Here’s Geoffrey Chaucer’s description of a chivalrous knight. Tell me how well you think it describes Bill Clinton:

A knight there was, and he a worthy man,
Who, from the moment that he first began
To ride about the world, loved chivalry,
Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy.…
Though so illustrious, he was very wise
And bore himself as meekly as a maid.
He never yet had any vileness said,
In all his life, to whatsoever wight.
He was a truly perfect, gentle knight.


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Anonymous said...

“Chief” Elizabeth Warren is quickly becoming one of my most-despised politicians. Yes, Ms. Warren, you are correct, corporations (which are legal entities) do not have those human features. Neither does government. When Democrats go on with DNC convention videos entitled "Government Is the Only Thing We All Belong To," they look so foolish. They worship government like a living, breathing thing. They think that government is an animate being that takes care of us. Which makes Ms. Warren intellectually dishonest, beyond her 1/32 Cherokee based on her family’s “oral heritage.” It's disgraceful, and it's scary.

While we're on the topic of intellectually dishonest and scary stuff, let's talk about Sandra Fluke...

In Ms. Fluke, we see the contradiction of the "choice" moniker for the abortionist camp. Sandra attended and works at Georgetown Law Center (its law school), which is perennially in the top 20 law schools in the country. According to U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 rankings, Georgetown Law is #13, making it an elite program. More importantly, Georgetown is the only Catholic law school that in the top 20 (next highest: Notre Dame Law at #22).

Given Ms. Fluke’s acceptance at Georgetown Law, we can assume two things about her: (1) she must've been somewhat bright; (2) she could probably have gotten into into the vast majority of the lesser 132 law schools ranked by the magazine. Georgetown University has been a Catholic institution since its 1789 founding by the Society of Jesus. Georgetown opened its law school in 1870.

Did she not know it is a private university founded by the Jesuits? Does she not think that private schools choose to be private for a reason? Is this unimportant to her? She certainly thinks her privacy is important until she is offended that a Catholic educational institution will not fund her birth control as a medical insurance benefit.

Yet her demands place the Catholic Church in a position that directly contradicts their religious teaching authority, protected by the religious “free exercise” clause in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Does that not matter to her? Does she not respect other people's desire that their economic choices mirror their institutional positions? Should a religious employer's medical insurance choices enjoy some discretion?

Ms. Fluke resolutely says "No." She chooses the benefits of attending a top-tier Catholic law school, then later chooses to work for said religious institution, and then demands they pay for her birth control. She also thinks that gender reassignment surgery should be paid for as a public expense, too. Is this ever mentioned in the mainstream media? Of course not.

So Ms. Fluke couldn’t have been accepted into any other excellent law schools??? Impossible. She didn't know Georgetown was Catholic? Implausible. She didn't know the Catholic Church's position on contraception and abortion? You’d have to living in a cave to not know this.

Ms. Fluke CHOSE to attend Georgetown Law, knowing what the school stands for as a religious institution. She may want to have Georgetown cover her birth control, but how does she have the temerity to demand it? Does this have no bearing on her credibility when she positions herself as a victim?

Why is Ms. Fluke not held responsible for the choices she's made about where she went to law school and for whom she works for? Why are HER choices never discussed? Why is she given a prime time slot at the Democratic National Convention?

Who does Sandra Fluke think she is? If she knowingly chose to attend (and later work at) a Catholic institution, and look at their funding her reproductive choices as a right, then she is a fool. If she did it intentionally, then she is soldier in a secular political war against religion. She is a fraud, and indicative of a generation that believes that long-standing institutions should bend to their wants, needs and desires. This is feminism today.


Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks, Tip. By the way, does anyone know what Sandra's religious affiliation is? In what religion was she raised?

Of course, she may have wanted to attend Georgetown in order to subvert it from within.

Anonymous said...

She worships Venus.