Why I Am Uneasy with Women in Political Office and with Women’s Vote

Here’s an obvious truth: Men and women are different. This is not just a truth about wee-wees and hoo-haws. It’s also a truth about our character dispositions, interests, concerns, and virtues. We think and act differently. We talk differently.  In a marriage and in child rearing, we also bring different assets and make different contributions. In fact, even when we don’t have children, men still act with the character of fatherliness and women still act with the character of motherliness. That’s probably why women have a far greater dominance in nurture-related jobs (think nursing, pre-school and elderly care) even in countries known for their economic freedom and gender equality such as Iceland and Norway. Liberal political elites don’t like to acknowledge these facts and even punish those who do (recall Google-gate), but these are still facts. How we account for these facts is a matter of dispute (nature vs nurture), but that these are facts should not be contested.

With the understanding that men and women differ in these ways, it makes good sense to presume that the furtherance and success of women in political office will have a noticeable difference in governance, particularly since the western political institutions and its viable political philosophies were entirely dominated by men a short time ago. Not only can we expect a noticeable difference in, say, state perspective, but we can also expect a difference in state expenditures and its values. What sort of differences? Well, seeing that women are more empathetic, explicitly nurturing and “prosocial” than men, we can expect to see a greater focus and greater expenditures on social issues. And that’s exactly what we do see. In fact, since women won the right to vote, we have seen a bigger state with a broader scope. That’s a fact (see here).

The feminization of politics can thus be partially described as the extension of motherliness from the home to the state. It’s what we might call the maternalization of politics.

There’s nothing bad about this per se. Men and women complement each other; and so men need the influence of women. Men also need to understand that charity is good. Compassion is good. Empathy is good. Women help us understand this. But for those of us on the political and economic right, the function of the state is not and cannot be even remotely parental. The state is not our mom. It’s not dad either. It’s also not a charitable organization. Thus, the impulse for women to avert risk, care and nurture to the point of self-sacrifice, though a noble trait in the home, stresses the proper function of the state, increasing the chance of a dependent citizenry, a bloated state and a paternalistic government. That’s worrisome. In addition, it also risks obfuscating the fine line between private and public, treating the members of the public not as free, autonomous citizens, but as family. It is thus no surprise that this exact sentiment was conveyed by governor Mario Cuomo during the Democratic Convention in 1984, just a few years after the radical feminization of American politics during the 60s and 70s. Check out what he said:

We believe in a single — We believe in a single fundamental idea that describes better than most textbooks and any speech that I could write what a proper government should be: the idea of family, mutuality, the sharing of benefits and burdens for the good of all, feeling one another’s pain, sharing one another’s blessings — reasonably, honestly, fairly, without respect to race, or sex, or geography, or political affiliation.

We believe we must be the family of America, recognizing that at the heart of the matter we are bound one to another, that the problems of a retired school teacher in Duluth are our problems; that the future of the child — that the future of the child in Buffalo is our future; that the struggle of a disabled man in Boston to survive and live decently is our struggle; that the hunger of a woman in Little Rock is our hunger; that the failure anywhere to provide what reasonably we might, to avoid pain, is our failure.

For Cuomo, America should see itself as a family. For him, we should look after each other, that your pain should be my pain, and so forth. But notice that he also says, in the first paragraph, that the idea of proper government should be the idea of family. He is domesticating governance and politics. He is thus appealing to the sensibilities and inclinations of women who had feminized the Party. He knows this, too. Women today eat that shit up. That’s likely why even today the majority of women regardless of age or martial status vote Democratic and very, very few women identify as libertarian or hold characteristically libertarian values. Sorry, guys, but libertarianism is significantly a man thing – a white male thing, to be exact. What’s more, single women significantly support the Democrats in their politics (luckily they’re not reliable voters), which should not be surprising, because Democratic social and economic policy is doing a better job of channeling single women’s motherly sentiments.

So to get to the crux of the blogpost, I’m uneasy with women in politics and with women’s vote because women tend to domesticate the state, its role and scope. They’ve done this since the beginning of their participation in politics. Their current participation and vote increases the risk of a bigger and more paternalistic, nanny-like state. That’s fine and dandy if you’re a socialist or a progressive thinker, but if you’re convinced that the state should be small and restricted, then, as it stands today, women’s participation in politics and their vote should give you an uneasy feeling, for their current participation and vote makes those proper ends less likely to obtain. To put it differently, women’s involvement in politics has been to the detriment of economic conservativism, which is a detriment to the good of society.

Anyways, to help remedy this detriment, I advise conservatives to better frame their policy and issues so that they attract women (e.g., pro-family, tough on crime, tough on absentee dads, pro-animal cruelty laws). In addition, I think that conservatives need to make a clearer and more visible case for why big government is bad for America and even worse for the poor and the marginalized (see here , here and here). Lastly, it would also be helpful if single men married women, too. Marriage and children seem to redirect their motherly instincts to a domain better and more naturally suited (e.g., the home). It’s not just men who are pacified through marriage.

 

16 Comments

  1. Over the last 40 years women vote 8% more democratic than men on average. So the empirical case is an easy one. But since women have a right to vote, you could argue the converse – so much the worse for conservativism.

    Also bear in mind, men can do just fine creating big government nanny states by themselves, e.g. USSR, Maoist China.

    • Pointing out that some men can and have create those states, though in different countries, is a fine point. However, it doesn’t quite make the same sort of point that women have been leaning more toward those nanny states since they had the right to vote.

      If women are to vote well, I’d encourage them to vote with the conception of the citizenry as a bunch of free, rational and autonomous individuals, always keeping in mind that she’s not its mom.

  2. “If women are to vote well, I’d encourage them to vote with the conception of the citizenry as a bunch of free, rational and autonomous individuals”

    But isn’t this conception really what led to female suffrage–and mass democracy more generally–and which then naturally leads to women and everyone else drifting ever further left?

    As a description or prescription, this is either hopelessly abstract and vague or else it’s insanely reductive and destructive.

    Considered at the appropriate level of description, people are no more “free, rational and autonomous individuals” than they are (also, or more so) unfree, attached, constrained, non-rational or irrational, emotional, tribal, spiritual, etc. I see nothing wrong with that. I like people! Why should we agree with liberals and Leftists that all of these other aspects of normal human life are to be ignored or abstracted into nothing when we do politics?

    If the citizens of a country are, or should be, just a “bunch of free, rational and autonomous individuals”, or if that should be their primary or basic identity as citizens, then they’re _not_ or they _shouldn’t be_ any kind of real or natural or coherent or historical _community_. And that’s one of our big problems. Individual autonomy (or what passes for it) with no community to make sense of these things or orient them towards anything beyond the self–or worse, some alien parasitic mob (its members all being just ‘free, rational and autonomous individuals’ equal as such to all other ‘free, rational and autonomous individuals’).

    Women should not generally have the vote because, in a normal healthy world, the basic unit of society is not assumed to be the ‘free, rational and autonomous individual’. Most individuals shouldn’t have the vote–especially people who are a net drain, who have no deep attachments to the community and its history, who have no children, who aren’t yet married, who aren’t intelligent and reasonably informed, who have an incentive to vote selfishly or unjustly…

    The basic unit of western civilization is the family; from there we get communities and tribes and ethnic groups; from there we get federations or nations… And actually you can’t be free or rational or autonomous as an individual unless you’re integrated into all of that, or much of it. And the ideal family has a father, who represents the family in relation to society. Under individualism, the family and anything other than the individual is implicitly defined away for political purposes; it’s treated like it doesn’t exist, or doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t… So the result of that in the long run is social death and dissolution. For example, letting mobs of parasites and enemies into your society and then subsidizing them and their descendants until they can take over (because, of course, each mob’s members are just ‘free, rational and autonomous individuals’ and your own group is not really a group, or shouldn’t be…)

    • There’s a strawman of individualism going on here; individualism (in its specifically political sense) means individual rights for which governments are instituted to secure, that among these are life, liberty, and so on and so forth. Aren’t you implying that the likes of likes of John Locke and Adam Smith (people indeed way wiser than the semi-moronic poor souls known today as Politically Correct leftist types[*]) hold that “the family and anything other than the individual is implicitly defined away for political purposes; it’s treated like it doesn’t exist, or doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t…”? The view you are describing there is atomism, but please do see the likes of David L. Norton (Personal Destinies) and Dougs Den Uyl and Rasmussen (The Perfectionist Turn; Norms of Liberty, etc.) on neo-Aristotelian individualistic perfectionism. (Or, for that matter, see the intensely-strawmanned neo-Aristotelian individualistic perfectionist Ayn Rand on her conception of virtue-based sociality.)

      [*] – Is it the latest in leftist Political Correctness to notice in a hyperactive way that slave-owners are on Mt. Rushmore, so that even that venerated monument carries with it the shame and stain of slavery? Let’s ask the leftist pop intellectual du jour, Ta-Nahesi Coates?

      UP/CRC

  3. Hulk,
    That is a very Politically Incorrect post, seemingly calculated (in addition to its truth value) to trigger every left-wing sensitivity point, like you know exactly where their so-called funny bone is.
    Bravo!

    (It might (not) please you to know that you’re in some mighty select company with at least some other neo-Aristotelian hardcore gender essentialist types: https://www.google.com/search?q=ayn+rand+woman+president Or, as my favorite truth-rich-but-not-perfect(-…yet) TV troll of the moment, Tucker Carlson, might put it, “Does that bother you at all?” )

  4. As for some substantive points in your really good post:

    “Compassion is good. Empathy is good. Women help us understand this. But for those of us on the political and economic right, the function of the state is not and cannot be even remotely parental. The state is not our mom. It’s not dad either. It’s also not a charitable organization. ”

    I don’t know of any good left-ish response on this point. They don’t get to virtue-signal about having some sort of superior moral compass – based on coercive institutions compelling others to give up their earnings – just because they support a welfare-state model of government. But not any more. We are laying down the glove to leftists on this precise issue, are we not. Moral compasses don’t get superior by proximity to big coastal cities; that’s a mighty piece of bullshit the American Left has been trying to almost completely explicitly foist on mainstream America for far too long. The Left should just shut the hell up and listen to other viewpoints earnestly for once, and learn a little, and grow up intellectually just a little, before opening their yaps again. To wit:

    Is the basic function of coercive institutions to maintain law and order (protection of nature- or god-given individual rights, etc etc.), or is it to fulfill human needs? But what about the fundamentally human need to be as much free from coercive interference in their affairs as humanly feasible? That’s the core doctrine of Western political liberalism going back to Locke (with roots in the Aristotelian tradition including prominently Aquinas, and with such recent heirs to that tradition as Rand), and which leftists have sought to bastardize. Now they don’t know of a tax cut they like, and will keep on reminding us at every opportunity that Mt. Rushmore pays homage to slavery and white superiority, and so on and so forth.

    There’s also this big problem of the Left being so vacuous in the arena of (teleological) normative ethics, namely neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics. That isn’t the scope of the discussion for the likes of Rawls much less the far-left academic flank beyond Rawls. It’s all just very political with the Left today, without much of a wider cultural agenda. Inasmuch as they have a broad explanatory worldview it tends to very very materialistic (with shades of one kind or another of neo-Marxian economic-causation-as-primary) and scientistic (e.g., many nu-atheists). Getting to far-left representative figures such as Chomsky, I can’t recall him ever speaking on the subject of normative ethics, although he seems for the most part rather common sense on speaking about, e.g., atrocities committed by states. But nothing in terms of ethical theory that has come to my attention there.

    Anyway, the Left, like anyone else, does have a need for meaning. If it isn’t to be had in religion, then there must be something like a religion-substitute on the matter of the quest for meaning. Maybe it’s found in a life of virtue, whatever one’s ultimate metaphysical conceptions. Or, lacking even that, what if it can only be found in community, but in some twisted conception of community in which the ethical and the (coercively) political are treated as one. Or, lacking a good theory of the family and its nexuses being the next most basic social unit only after individuals themselves and their social nexuses, they treat the state as like a big family. Only with leftists and “liberal” “progressives” running things, there is greater family dysfunction over time.

    In any case, it has to be understood that for a present-day leftist, Politics are very important, almost sacred, and so you criticize their sacred institutions with that triggerable sensitivity ever present. But it is an objectively inferior and relatively impoverished means by which to achieve meaning in life – especially when politics becomes used as a means of virtue-signaling, greater “compassion,” etc., and they start speaking of “how tax cuts are going to be paid for” and other such twisted abuses of the language/understanding. Yeah, that perspective does make sense if the nation is a big family, as a source of greater meaning (something “greater than just oneself”). Etc.

    I think that more or less covers one salient issue raised in your post, and where leftists have an intellectual deficiency to correct.

    UP/CRC

  5. UP… I don’t think it matters what exactly Locke (for example) had in mind. The term “individualism” (in its “specifically political sense”) has been used in different ways. If Locke thought that society should be understand primarily as just a “bunch” of free and equal individuals–a natural way to think about his state of nature speculations–then Locke was an “atomist”. Now, if he merely thought that government should secure some rights for individuals, then I agree; but you can coherently agree with that even if you believe no one should vote, and in fact letting most people vote is a pretty reliable path to tyranny. Maybe Locke didn’t understand the implications of his own ideas, or maybe other people (who didn’t understand) distorted the True Liberalism of Locke’s time. Either way, “atomism” is now the sad suicidal common sense of pretty much the whole western world. The substantive point is that we should not think of society as just a collection of “individuals” who are (supposedly) rational and autonomous. That’s a bad description and a toxic prescription.

  6. For what it’s worth, I think Locke’s view is incoherent. He has principles that, if applied consistently and seriously, would destroy everything good that he takes for granted. He takes for granted what liberals and leftists now call ‘white privilege’ and ‘heteronormativity’ and ‘xenophobia’, for example. These things really are inconsistent with his own principles, but he doesn’t notice that–quite understandably! Just as the communist doesn’t notice that his own conception prohibits everything that he values, everything he hopes to achieve by communism–real community, values over and above money and power, development of the individual, etc. Hard to prove in a blog comment, but I think the principles of equality and freedom (or equal freedom) do in fact imply everything we hate. It’s just that the implications are very hard to discover, and we have to learn it the hard way. (This is compatible with Locke being very wise and smart, and not a semi-moron like the PC types nowadays.)

  7. Liberalism is anaesthetic poison. Its meaning is death, defeat, decay; but liberals think death is life, sickness health, weakness strength, etc. To the extent that a society goes on existing it is non-liberal: it relies on prejudice, tradition, in-group loyalty, hierarchy, heteronomy, etc. Any so-called “liberal” society is one that _inconsistently_ applies liberal principles while retaining illiberal features that enable life. This is the fascinating concept of the “unprincipled exception” that Larry Auster developed on View from the Right. The liberal appeals to a principle that would instantly destroy society. So at any point in the decline that liberalism causes (and then conceals) there is also a non-liberal principle that can’t be conceptualized. Anything beyond this limit is, for a while, regarded as “going too far”, “Political Correctness gone mad”, etc. Liberals once took for granted what they now call “xenophobia”. Now they think it’s evil to argue for an end to mass immigration. (That’s discrimination!) But they still draw an arbitrary line short of self-extinction. (We can’t let in _every_ poor foreigner in the world all at once! Only a few dozen millions coming in illegally from Mexico…)

  8. I’m confused, Hulk. Your bio blurb says “traditional Conservative” but the arguments given for a reactionary position here are based on beliefs about the value of a libertarian approach, not a traditionalist one.

    For example, you state, “But for those of us on the political and economic right, the function of the state is not and cannot be even remotely parental.” This seems only true if the right is conceived of as a libertarian/classical liberal form of conservative. Remember, classical conservatives were comfortable with some sort of welfare state historically.

    • I identify as a trad conservative. But that system is not now viable in minds of people; and so, given the poverty of the circumstances, I try to lean people more toward systems of thought that I prefer in its stead.

      One reason why I advocate for a more libertarian/classical liberal view is that this system leads to the vitality of the church, a focus on family and a focus on God. With the minimization of the state, the church can better flourish, just as it did in earlier years.

      If society ever leaned closer to this view, you’d see me nudge them closer and closer to a trad con view.

    • Women will often vote conservative on issues that pertain to the family. So for example, prohibition was once a cause of women, because men were spending too much income on it, getting drunk and abusive, etc. They put it in Christian terms, for that was the public morality back then, but this had everything to do with the betterment and preservation of the family.

      If republicans want to recapture some of the women’s vote, emphasize pro-family policies and philosophy. And tell women that the family is the rock of society (because it is), and they will swing conservative.

  9. I’m not sure why the line “To put it differently, women’s involvement in politics has been to the detriment of economic conservativism, which is a detriment to the good of society.” works.

    Looking at recent political history, the Democrat President has left the economy in a better shape that they inherited it. While the Republican one has generally tended to run up bills they cannot pay.

Leave a Reply (Be sure to read our comment disclaimer)