Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Is Sarah Palin an Anti-Feminist?

Earlier today I was referred to this editorial from Ann Althouse's popular blog. To it I added this comment:

If I happen to not hate Sarah Palin does that make me a “troll” by your way of thinking? Put another way, all of you are of course free to think any way you wish (as am I), but thinking the way you do, are you open to actually listening to others who happen to have another point of view?

Here are two interesting articles that I found most enlightening:

Compare those with these:

If you still choose to label me as a troll, simply because I very politely and respectfully chose to post this then that’s your prerogative. It would be sad though.

Someone with the moniker of "JPlum" responded with this:

Robert, we have listened to other points of view, and disagreed with them. Reality, in fact, disagrees with Paglia’s opinion that Palin is a feminist. You see, feminists advocate for the rights of women. Palin advocates taking away the rights of women. Therefore, she is not a feminist. How many times do we have to say this? Opposing policies and funding that would help women is the antithesis of feminism. Palin opposes policies and funding that would help women. Therefor she is the antithesis of feminism.

I could say that you, Robert, are a turnip. Does that make you a turnip? Do you possess many-or any-of the qualities that make up a turnip? No? Then, I could call you a turnip ‘til the polar bears come home* and it wouldn’t actually turn you into a turnip.

*Ssince Sarah Palin wants to take polar bears off the endangered species list, we could be waiting a while for them to come home

To that I responded with this, which I felt I should repost here:

Thank you for your thoughtful response, JPlum. Consider this though: Your political views assert that more government funded programs are the answer to solving problems. Fair enough. But others just as sincerely believe that such programs are unnecessary and, in fact, often have the opposite effect. You have every right to disagree with such people and believe that your way is the better way. But then to go the extra step and conclude that therefore such people don't care about 'X' or want to take away the rights of 'X' is a logical leap of faith that is not warranted.

I'll give you a good case in point. Checking out my blog you would have learned that I'm a Canadian living in Vancouver, BC. We're currently engaged in our own federal election these days.

One of the parties asserts that the best way to provide low-cost childcare is to create government funded childcare programs to which any family (no means test) can take their children to for less than $10 per day. There's only so much money available for this, so once the funds are spent, no more families will be eligible.

Another party doesn't think such a program is equitable because it provides no funding for families who choose for either the mother or the father to stay at home with the children until they enter school. So they've decided to give money directly to all parents, totaling a budget amount that's comparable to what the first party wanted to spent on their program.

A 3rd party may come along and feel that current funding for current health care and education is also strapped and choose to increase the budgets of these existing programs instead of creating a new childcare program. Or perhaps they feel that with a rapidly growing elderly population, more money needs to go to low income seniors instead of to families where both parents are still of working age.

Like you, I would have my own opinion on which party's platform makes the most sense but perhaps unlike you, I would never say that any are "taking away the rights of children or parents". It makes for a great soundbite but only goes to stifle debate.

Here's another example. I frequently visit Chicago. I have a good friend there named Melissa who has been a registered Democrat all of her adult life. We've often discussed the massive ghettos that exist on the Southside of Chicago. She carefully explained to me the history of how they got to the abysmal state they're now in. Back in the 1960's well meaning politicians felt that the poor needed to be provided for. So they built huge apartment complexes which later became known as "The Projects". Apartments were provided at low or even no cost. Over time they deteriorated so badly that now many are being demolished.

Why did this happen? I think it can be summed up in one word: Incentive. More accurately, the lack thereof. If you give someone something for nothing and continue to do it over time, most people take it for granted. This is because you've taken away any incentive for them to try harder, work harder, and strive for more. I'm not a particularly religious person but there's an old parable that is quite apropos: "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day (and be back again tomorrow looking for another fish). But teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."

I realize that some consider this parable to be a fallacy. I, on the other hand, adamantly believe it is the cornerstone of human psychology.

In case you're interested, I passed on our conversation to a female friend of mine here in Vancouver. She's 46, a single mom, upper-middle class but not wealthy. In times past I've heard her describe herself as a strong feminist, but not a radical one. Her words, not mine. She's no fan of Sarah Palin (or Barack Obama) but is adamant that Palin is just as much a feminist as you or she is.

I can only conclude therefore that what you're really against is Sarah Palin's more libertarian views on the size and breadth of government. In the democracies we both live in you have absolutely every right to oppose her political views. In fact, I sincerely compliment you for exercising your democratic rights. But when you then jump the shark and assert that she is not a feminist, you choose to stray far away from what this woman has actually accomplished in her life and how much inspiration she is giving little girls to aspire to be anything they want to be.

1 comment:

Synova said...

Truly... what polar bears have to do with feminism I have not a clue.

I took a test once that determined that I am a "individualist feminist".

What this means is... I'm sort of libertarian.

I don't like government programs for *anything*.

Oh... and any feminist blog I've ever posted an opinion to... my comment got removed. I don't try anymore.