Next they'll want to drive
August 13, 2007 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Who can count the ills visited upon modern society by women's suffrage? Dr. John Lott would include government spending, taxation and social programs. Lawrence Auster thinks that it's worth considering an end to the experiment of women's suffrage. (And is mocked and responds). Perhaps he'll find an ally in former senator Kay O'Connor.

On some level, it's heartening to see conservatives conserving 100-year-old arguments.
posted by klangklangston (54 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
She only loves equality. And that is the very definition of a liberal. (from responds)
...Alll'righty then.
posted by nomisxid at 4:09 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


If this is them "returning to the roots" to win again in 2008, more power to them.
posted by DU at 4:14 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"the Britain that did all this, according to Jackson, was an uncivilized society."
I can think of a few million africans and asians that might agree. Not that he would care.
posted by 2sheets at 4:33 PM on August 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Lawrence Auster writes: I've never thought about this before, but without the women's vote in place, which established the idea of society as a collection of equal individuals rather than of men and women, would there have been the demand for the total integration of all racial groups, as in the ruinous school desegregation movement and in the 1965 Immigration Act?

...if this is how "Real Men" think, then I'm quite happy to be a "John Lennon".
posted by knapah at 4:41 PM on August 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


The political winds blow this way and that, but stupid is forever.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 4:44 PM on August 13, 2007 [11 favorites]


There's always one guy in every crowd who wants to disinvite all the females.
posted by Brian B. at 4:49 PM on August 13, 2007


"If women's vote leads a society in the direction of socialist statism, the weakening of marriage and the family, the loss of male responsibility, the loss of basic freedoms (which only men are physically and temperamentally suited to defend), and the loss of national vigor, does that not suggest that giving women the vote was a mistake?

Then there is the direct effect on society of having women in high leadership positions. I believe that with rare exceptions such as a Margaret Thatcher or a Golda Meir, women are not well suited for upholding the basic external structure of society. That is preeminently a male, not a female task. To me, the female-dominated politics of the Scandinavian countries do not represent a positive and uplifting direction for the human race. The huge number of women in the British Parliament do not represent a growth of British national strength but its decline."


Why don't you come over to my house, and I'll show you how tempermentally suited I am to uphold my basic rights! (grabs Louisville slugger from the corner)
posted by The Light Fantastic at 4:58 PM on August 13, 2007


Oh wow. I got trolled, I guess.
posted by nasreddin at 5:00 PM on August 13, 2007


When states gave women the right to vote, government spending and tax revenue, even after adjusting for inflation and population, went from not growing at all to more than doubling in ten years

Yeah, so, it's trolling, but really. Correlation is not causation. Lots of unemployed men wanted government handouts too.
posted by GuyZero at 5:10 PM on August 13, 2007


I wonder how Lott explains the huge impact that marriage has on women's voting -- in 2004 making them almost twice as likely to vote for Bush, for example. You'd think that married women have a greater sympathy for big government -- kids or the immediate prospect thereof increasing the urgency of all kinds of requirements that the government does or could satisfy.
posted by MattD at 5:11 PM on August 13, 2007


But MattD— married women have a man much closer to them than the government, to better support them.
posted by klangklangston at 5:23 PM on August 13, 2007


Bitches, man...
posted by jonmc at 5:28 PM on August 13, 2007


My home state of Kansas in the news again! (circa 2001) We win.... err um.. lose.

It seems like the national media only ever reports on our small extreme right wing batshit crazy population as per evolution, homophobes, and the Kay O'Conners of the world.

We also had really cool left wing batshit crazy people like John Brown too.
posted by jlowen at 5:36 PM on August 13, 2007


you've also gotta lotta pretty women there, and I'm gonna get me one...
posted by jonmc at 5:38 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is a brilliant analysis and it's convinced me that it would be best were I and all other women to give up the vote. Lott is a genius, and he's also quite handsome!

-Mary Rosh
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:23 PM on August 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


It seems like the national media only ever reports on our small extreme right wing batshit crazy population as per evolution, homophobes, and the Kay O'Conners of the world.

If it makes you feel any better, a lot of conservatives consider Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, Richard Dawkins, and nationalized health care batshitinsane and they get plenty of press.
posted by jmd82 at 6:29 PM on August 13, 2007


obligatory
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 6:35 PM on August 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine why anyone would be surprised by this.

Its been a fairly standard right-wing meme for some time that women don't have the mental or dispositional fortitude to be allowed to vote or otherwise make decisions outside the home.

It's actually a fairly run-of-the-mill position for them, actually.
posted by Avenger at 6:47 PM on August 13, 2007


...government spending and tax revenue, even after adjusting for inflation and population, went from not growing at all to more than doubling in ten years.

You say that like it's a bad thing.

This is what money is for. Spending on stuff we want/need. Reducing spending at the cost of increasing unemployment-driven crime gains us...what exactly?

(I have to remind my wife of this every time one of the kids has something the doctor might need to see. "It costs us a $20 copay!" she says. "Yes--that's exactly why I work. To get the $20 to pay for the copay to keep my children healthy. Take them to the doctor. I'd rather have a healthy child than $20.")
posted by DU at 6:48 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I think we should be scientific about this. Let's take away men's right to vote, and see what happens.
posted by rtha at 6:50 PM on August 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


Really, DU? That's why I have all your twenty dollarses.
posted by klangklangston at 6:51 PM on August 13, 2007


I thought the rest of the Lott article was pretty reasonable. I also noticed that of all the points he made, the one about women="big government" was the one where he didn't cite any sources. He just brought up a bunch of assumptions and personal biases.

It sounds like that's the "controversy topic" that got tossed into the book, in order to make sure he made it onto all the talk radio shows. All bluster, no substance. Unfortunate, because I think some of his other points are worth discussing, and they'll probably be overshadowed by the machismo bullshit.

(Also, did anyone else think that as a response to Freakonomics, the book seems a little disingenuous? I could see a lot of ways in which his observations could be seen to compliment those of Dubner and Levitt's, or at least just be various ways of saying the same thing. I doubt Levitt, for instance, would really argue about the 'resale value' of car warranties; but I think he'd argue that they're not really as damaging to his original point as Lott makes them out to be.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:57 PM on August 13, 2007


Reducing spending at the cost of increasing unemployment-driven crime gains us...what exactly?

Depends on the cost of the unemployment-driven crime, I'd think.

(It's the quantification that's always the bitch in most economics-related problems.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:02 PM on August 13, 2007


I wouldn't have considered this interesting if it wasn't for all the gay male Republicans being outed by their arrest records this summer.
posted by ardgedee at 7:03 PM on August 13, 2007


Look at it this way, women who can't vote can't pay income taxes right? No taxation without representation. How many would trade their franchise for a lifetime of no tax?
posted by bonehead at 7:33 PM on August 13, 2007


he just brought up a lot of assumptions and personal biases

Yeah, but if he's like me, all of his assumptions and personal biases are right on the money. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who don't get this.
posted by nax at 7:57 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did that guy on Auster's site just criticise Melanie Phillips from the right? Jesus fucking Christ.
posted by topynate at 8:18 PM on August 13, 2007


anybody have a link to the case for disenfranchising minorities and unlanded proletarians too?
posted by bruce at 8:24 PM on August 13, 2007


Wonder if Lott's wife likes salty biscuits?
posted by rob511 at 8:52 PM on August 13, 2007


Lott's argument nicely demonstrates that the right wing must emotionally appeal to macho gullibility across class lines, by hinting at their superiority and ownership of women, even in poverty. It's the oldest social bait there ever was. The modern notion that women need to be stripped of their vote in order to achieve a fake majority is an admission that most women can't be persuaded by appealing to their emotional insecurities or by dangling the empty promise that the economy is fair to the worker (the same problem they have with those from slave heritage, obviously.) The latent-homotarian bluff to the average man is that they hope to frame their argument as rational because most women won't buy it, without ever making the argument.
posted by Brian B. at 9:06 PM on August 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


"The Ephebians believed that every man should have the vote [footnote: Provided that he wasn't poor, foreign, nor disqualified by reason of being mad, frivolous, or a woman]. "
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:13 PM on August 13, 2007


Hee hee. America is such a fundamentalist backwater.

Move! Visit Europe! I'm going to start writing books about it, damn it.
posted by blacklite at 1:43 AM on August 14, 2007


Hmmm, I can't visit Lawrence Auster's site because it has been blocked by work as "extreme". That would certainly fit with someone who didn't think Melanie Philips was a big enough fascist.

I'm well acquainted with Lott though.
posted by ninebelow at 1:56 AM on August 14, 2007


Lott says "When states gave women the right to vote, government spending and tax revenue, even after adjusting for inflation and population, went from not growing at all to more than doubling in ten years."

As I understand it, women's suffrage in the US really gained traction in the early 1900's. Just in time for the enormous government expenditures of WWI. This was followed by the depression and the subsequent social relief programs, followed by WWII and a (thus far) permanent large increase in the military spend. I suppose that those 'risk averse' women were responsible for two world wars and a huge speculative investment bubble? And the military empire building that has characterised US foreign policy since the 50's?
posted by Jakey at 3:07 AM on August 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


> Look at it this way, women who can't vote can't pay income taxes right? No taxation without representation. How many would trade their franchise for a lifetime of no tax?

Citizens under the age of eighteen, felons, and resident aliens employed in the U.S. all pay income tax without the right to vote. Disenfranchisement would not constitute a pay raise.
posted by ardgedee at 5:36 AM on August 14, 2007


As I discuss in the book, the liberalization of abortion also led to more single parent families.
- from the first interview.

He doesn't explain this. Anyone have any clue as to how he might? He sounds like the type of guy who at least makes a damn good go of rational argument, so I figure there must be well-thought-out pretzel to go with this claim.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:02 AM on August 14, 2007


DU: This is what money is for. Spending on stuff we want/need. Reducing spending at the cost of increasing unemployment-driven crime gains us...what exactly?

That does not help rich people conservatives.
posted by LordSludge at 8:12 AM on August 14, 2007


The Light Fantastic: Why don't you come over to my house, and I'll show you how tempermentally suited I am to uphold my basic rights! (grabs Louisville slugger from the corner)

I can see it now: "Aww, she plays sports -- that's adorable!! Hey, wait, what are you... Aahh! AAAAAAHH!! My beautiful kneecaps!!!!"
posted by LordSludge at 8:13 AM on August 14, 2007


The modern notion that women need to be stripped of their vote in order to achieve a fake majority is an admission that most women can't be persuaded by appealing to their emotional insecurities or by dangling the empty promise that the economy is fair to the worker (the same problem they have with those from slave heritage, obviously.)

what
posted by Snyder at 9:09 AM on August 14, 2007


“When I originally started working on this my wife begged me not to do the research. Two reasons...”

Because I told the bitch twice already.

“..government rests ultimately on force,”

Ok.

“which only men are physically and temperamentally suited to defend”

Ah, there’s the problem: unfamiliar with history, not to mention modern snipers, FBI agents and wooden spoon wielding mothers.

Y’know, I can see concluding that women are more risk averse than men. I don’t know that that isn’t a symptom though. It’s been my experiance that men tend to be better executives (in general. I’ve served under some stellar female officers), not because men are more decisive (although on the fuzzy edges of that term one could say they are) but that men tend to be more arbitrary more quickly in the finalization of a process. Women tend to take a bit more time and be more judicious.
The flaw there is prioritizing one methodology over another. One method is more suitable to one style of leadeship and one way of approaching a task and the other is more suitable to other styles.
Sort of the tool/problem schema - where you have a hammer problems look like nails so that’s your preferred thing and if someone has a saw one might think of it as inferior, which of course it is, exclusively though, with ‘nail’ type problems. But that in and of itself is a self-reciprocating situation in that most problems have multiple solutions.

F’rinstance - from the other side of conservative I look at the statement: “Divorce causes women with children to turn much more to government programs” as true and a problem, but as a problem to be addressed socially. Most women in the 60s did not earn and earned far less than men, which is itself inherently unequal. Of course part of the rationale for paying women less is that they don’t support families.
The tautology there is obvious.

Women, when it comes to child rearing, have a naturally greater responsibility than men (they have, y’know, the womb) there has been a great deal of recognition of that responsibility, the onus placed firmly on the women, without a commensurate practical (or social) privilege.

I suspect some of the headway gained along those lines threatens the privileges males have enjoyed for some time and they characterize it as socialism or liberalism which seems to be the only language some people have to translate social change into (again - if all you have is a hammer).

I myself don’t want to see women in combat (front line type combat that is) but the reasoning I have for that is irrelevent, as is the “force” argument. War, or rather, physical combat, is once again (as it has been cyclic in history) becoming the baliwick of specialized professionals.
The force government is backed by is not only no longer physical, but it is increasingly less coercive in conquest terms and more a matter of communication. It is superior understanding of one’s own, and more importantly, one’s opponent’s strategy that gains the advantage. I’d attribute this in part to the rise of the corporate structure (double edged sword I guess), but also to advances in communication technology and defense technology that increasingly renders physical skills irrelevent.

The upshot is (if you want to avoid reading all the above) conservativism isn’t (or rather I don’t think it should be) simply arguing what the government shouldn’t do to change society as a contrary to liberalism (in the fuzzy term for purposes here) demanding government do something to change society, but rather encouraging society to balance itself - without government redress if at all possible (as with civil rights in the U.S., sometimes it’s not).

I’d argue that while more single parent families are a problem, prior to the legalization of abortion it was society that rested upon (and men that took advantage of) the artificially created onus on women - their naturally greater responsibility.
And that artificial male social privilege was enforced by the government.
As far as I’m concerned a subtracting effect on society is just as bad as a adding effect (which is what so many ‘conservatives’ blame liberals for).
Whatever reasons one might come up with for whatever women’s role should be in society, there is no conservatively justifiable position to maintain such a role if it requires governmental maintainance of an inequity.

Authoritarians (of whatever stripe) look for any means to justify whatever gives them greater privilege.

Apart from the obvious general principles, I think allowing women to vote gives them a chance to remedy disparity between their natural responsibilities (if they have a child) and the privileges that should go along with that. If that takes the form of more social programs because of an existing social inequity (like deadbeat dads, etc), so be it (although, y’know, the social thing should be fixed).
Because the ultimate costs to me are less, as with any system of prevention and maintainance versus any emergency stopgap measures.

Probably more verbage than such a specious topic deserves, but y’know, hypocrites bandying about ‘conservativism,’ arguing from ignorance and trying to argue social advantage into reality by characterizing it as an ideological conflict gets my goat.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:10 AM on August 14, 2007


es_de_bah: Anyone have any clue as to how he might?

I haven't read his book, so this is just a guess. The argument could go something like: a man is more willing to have sex without precautions, knowing that if the woman were to become pregnant they could get a legal abortion. She gets pregnant and doesn't want an abortion. He leaves because he isn't interested in having a kid and hey, presto, single mom.

It's a bullshit argument, but then, we're in a thread discussing Lott's argument to take away women's suffrage.
posted by nzero at 10:15 AM on August 14, 2007


Simply giving women the right to vote explained at least a third of the growth in government for about 45 years.



The effect on state governments was pretty dramatic, and I think that it not only explains a lot of the government’s growth in the US but also the rest of the world over the last century. When states gave women the right to vote, government spending and tax revenue, even after adjusting for inflation and population, went from not growing at all to more than doubling in ten years. As women gradually made up a greater and greater share of the electorate, the size of government kept on increasing. This continued for 45 years as a lot of older women who hadn’t been used to voting when suffrage first passed were gradually replaced by younger women.

After you get to the 1960s, the continued growth in government is driven by higher divorce rates. Divorce causes women with children to turn much more to government programs. Of course, changes in the divorce laws from “at fault” to “no fault” helped cause some of this change. As I discuss in the book, the liberalization of abortion also led to more single parent families.


A world of WTF.....

I'm not interested in delving into his argument, such as it is, but it does worry me that this might be a common kind of subtext through the American right.
posted by jokeefe at 10:34 AM on August 14, 2007


I'm not interested in delving into his argument, such as it is, but it does worry me that this might be a common kind of subtext through the American right.

I think the subtext being "wishful thinking." I think that's been the hallmark of popular right-wing philosophy in America for at least 10 years now.
posted by Snyder at 11:12 AM on August 14, 2007


I guess not being a "Traditionalist" prevents my understanding how society is made better when it is codified into law that one group rules by birthright over another.

This disconnect is so fundamental that I cannot engage with any of his "arguments" in a meaningful way.
posted by uri at 12:47 PM on August 14, 2007


Holy fucking hell. The comments on Lawrence Auster's site are real pieces of work.
Female knowledge is derivative; females tread where males have gone before. This is a known fact in science. Show me any originality from a female (and please don't drag out that Madame Curie bit in the light of Galileo, Newton, Copernicus, Einstein, etc). Or Emily Bronte in the light of Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Aristophanes, Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, etc.

I remember these battles being fought in the public sphere the early 70s... I suppose there should be some comfort in the thought that the echoes of those debates are part of the right-wing lunatic fringe.
posted by jokeefe at 1:51 PM on August 14, 2007


Whoops, messed up the close blockquote. Oh well.
posted by jokeefe at 1:51 PM on August 14, 2007


jokeefe, funky.
Galileo, it occurs to me, was intellectually oppressed and by an organization (or environment, more appropriately, given its ubiquity) that was very anti-female.

There seems to be a special kind of stupid at work with some folks. But it seems to have common roots. Still murky to me tho. At least part of it must be that some people learn that they can't reevaluate their preconceptions.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:53 PM on August 14, 2007


(or shouldn't reevaluate them, I mean. That it's wrong to, as opposed to taking observable reality as fact)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:53 PM on August 14, 2007


This is what what my second amendment rights are for, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:59 PM on August 14, 2007


Aww. He noticed, and he doesn't like Kos ripping me off either (of course, I first found Auster through the Undercover Black Man blog linked a couple days ago, so who am I to complain).
posted by klangklangston at 4:29 PM on August 14, 2007


Kos:Shadan7::Mathowie:klangklangston
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:44 PM on August 14, 2007


I love how anyone that doesn't agree with this guy he calls sub-intellectual. What does that really mean? He says liberals are name calling, but um, isn't he doing the same thing? And that word, it's so disingenuous. Or maybe if you use a big enough word in your name calling it becomes valid arguement.

Hey you liberals, you are all a bunch of stupid-heads!!!!!
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 5:28 PM on August 14, 2007


Look, listen and take heed!
posted by flabdablet at 4:59 AM on August 15, 2007


This reminds me of previous discussions to some extent. Clearly he's just trying to stir things up, but if one were to take him seriously, the main issue that is being ignored is why the boundaries of the category "nonvoter" should be identical to the boundaries of the category "female". "female" only informs us as to the chromosomal make-up of an individual. It may provide some statistical likelihood, whether due to nature or nurture, as to other traits, but it cannot guarantee anything beyond the tautological definition of "female", as even the author agreed in admitting that he saw Maggie Thatcher as an exception to expected feminine behavior.

Therefore if the pool of "those who oughtn't vote" overlaps but is not identical with "those who are female" then perhaps we should consider some other method for determining who retains the vote. Maybe some men are too wussy to vote. Maybe some women can kick your ass at voting. Maybe if the criteria he considers necessary for voting are made explicit, it will become apparent that we no longer live in the 18th century...

I am always both worried and somewhat intrigued by the thought of having voting licenses, where one would have to pass some sort of test of knowledge, like being able to name important foreign leaders or (ha ha) explain both sides of major domestic debates.

As for the argument that we mustn't dismiss it or we're rejecting our history, heritage, culture and so forth, I fully expect a defense of slavery from him next.
posted by mdn at 1:31 PM on August 15, 2007


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