What comes after the culture wars?

The culture wars seem to be grinding toward a close. So what comes next? Are there ways that elements of the old left and right can hash together new alliances to deal with the circumstances we face now?

Noah Smith from the Noahpinion economics blog published an article in The Atlantic proposing what he described as a liberal “Marshall Plan” to reach out to defeated social conservatives. Its an interesting opening, encouraging the left to forego “the temptation to pillage the lands of the conquered enemy” and instead look to forge common ground in the quest to support the struggling working class.

The reason we need to reach out to conservatives is simple—there are a lot of them, and they are our countrymen. America is not going to be healthy unless conservative America is healthy. And America is not going to be a fully effective nation-state until conservative America feels completely included in the new liberal America that is now emerging.

It’s time to reach out to conservatives on the issue of family stability. It’s becoming clear that traditional family gender roles—the idea that the man should be able to be the sole breadwinner—are not sustainable in the modern economic environment. This is probably one reason behind the breakdown of two-parent families among the working class, as documented by Charles Murray in his book Coming Apart. But liberals—the same kale-munching, bottle-recycling goofballs that National Review and David Brooks have spent decades lampooning—have found a better way. The better way is what Richard Reeves, in a landmark article in The Atlantic, calls “High Investment Parenting.” When families focus on the kids, instead of on maintaining traditional gender roles, it turns out to be a lot easier to keep the family together.

That’s great, but there are a couple of problems with this approach. For starters, I think it’s more than a little arrogant to conclude that the culture wars led to a decisive liberal victory. As I’ve stated elsewhere:

A social conservative from the ‘70’s, plopped down into our age, might be thrilled by what they found as most of the greatest fears of their era have faded.  Divorce rates have not only leveled off, but declined.  Children are treated with near-reverence, buckled up, cherished, and sheltered from negative influences.  New York’s Times Square in our time is a ’70′s conservative’s wildest fantasy made real.

Substance abuse, crime, and smoking not only halted their rise, they have declined significantly.  Public disapproval of adultery has strengthenedAbortion is in steady, long-term decline.  Teen sexual activity and pregnancy are in dropping.

Our visitor from the ‘70’s would be treated to one particularly mind-boggling phenomenon.  Homosexuals, once mistakenly derided as lust-driven deviants, are pressing for the right to settle down in stable families and raise children.  The Village People now have entirely different plans for the YMCA – signing their kids up for soccer and gymnastics.

The only thing social conservatives lost in the culture wars was the opportunity to leverage government to impose their religiously inspired sexual repression on everyone else. The rest of what “family values” actually mean remains not only intact, but more vital than ever.

The fact that the “victory” Smith points to is based on same sex couples earning the right to get married says a lot about the direction taken by the sexual revolution since the eighties. For a vast majority of people who can still afford it, a “traditional” family remains not just desirable, but the standard. The problem is not that people have rejected family life. The problem is that in a highly dynamic, intensely market-dominated world, it has become extremely expensive to engage in any activity that does not produce an immediate profit. Traditional motherhood and fatherhood have become a radically expensive undertaking. If people on the left really want to engage constructively in a post-culture war detente with conservatives, it might be helpful first to acknowledge that the conflict ended with a new paradigm that was vastly different, and better, than what either side envisioned a generation ago.

In general though, this is a promising approach. If both liberals and conservatives recognized the desirability of stable families and the key role that economic stability plays in supporting them, we might have a basis on which to collaborate. That would require a bit more humility than Smith shows in this piece, but it’s a start.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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203 comments on “What comes after the culture wars?
  1. Manhattan says:

    Well, I see the discussion has entered some interesting topics. I had read this article before from a friend and thought maybe I could bring back the conversation.

    I think both sides coming together after gay marriage is being passed can bring a open discussion on how to solve the family issues that has come in this century. The LGBT community has had to live secret lives in the past and now less discriminatory laws are being passed and acceptance is coming slowly, it will become a norm and not result in an “us vs them” like what happened 50 years ago. Gay families and straight families may not always see eye to eye and won’t like what they have to see, but at least try to help each other.

    But why I do bring up 50 years ago? It’s been half a century since the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed and the changing of the ideologies of the parties. Some Dixiecrats became Republicans and some Rockefeller Republicans became Democrats and in 1968, both parties started to pit an “us vs them” in the elections ahead. Republicans did it with the Southern Strategy saying the non-whites in the Democratic Party use your hard earned dollars for welfare and Democrats used the fear of whites acting terrible to non-whites to shore up their base of non-white voters. Despite both sides tried to bring voters from the other side, both sides could not shake off the baggage of the 60’s and stuck with their base over the years.

    When they tried to reconcile with groups long lost, it was met with bitterness.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to repeat history and keep dividing the country. Why can’t we have an honest discussion and put aside the rivalries for just once? A lot of people are hurting from this recession from all walks of life.

    Meh, this generation’s politicians won’t listen because resentment brings out the votes maybe the next one.

  2. DanMan says:

    This post reads like an Onion article. The culture wars are over? Really? I saw yesterday where a guy was fired for not supporting gay marriage. Imagine that. The guy had the same views 5 years ago that Obama had less than two years ago and he was fired for it. Tolerance. Progressives has none.

    • John Galt says:

      I think you are referring to the newly appointed CEO of Mozilla, the non-profit that makes the Firefox browser. It came out that he donated money to the anti-Prop 8 campaign in California. In the tech world in California, this would be viewed very, very negatively by most people, including his employees. It compromised his ability to lead, particularly when an online dating site made a vocal protest by blocking the Firefox browser. Personally, I think this is a bit of an over-reaction, but it is a private organization entitled to make its own personnel decisions. Free speech does not insulate the speaker from consequences, one of which is making other people think you’re an ass.

      But, no, I don’t think the culture wars are over. The fight against gay marriage is pretty close to done, but there are so many other things to fight about.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Wow, John. I wouldn’t expect that view from you considering how you are so vocal about private companies and organizations should not be allowed to discriminate against anybody.

      • Crogged says:

        The best words on this (from Sullivan’s site), “There’s no freedom of speech if you can’t be employed while holding your opinion.”

        I disagree with the CEO, but a lot of ‘liberals and progressives’ should be a little more further looking in their choices of tactics.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I agree. Progressives for the most part have no tolerance for decent from their view.

      • Crogged says:

        Yup, only ‘progressives’ not ‘people’……………

      • Tuttabella says:

        Crogged, the key, then, is to “hold” your opinion?

      • texan5142 says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        April 4, 2014 at 9:18 am
        I agree. Progressives for the most part have no tolerance for decent from their view.

        WOW! Just WOW!

      • Crogged says:

        Well, the irony of a CEO with an employment contract learning the consequences of ‘right to work’ statutes via public opinion of his free speech rights is a rich bowl of chili, but hounding someone for a political disagreement would doom us all. Even ‘free speech does not insulate the speaker from consequences’ should be broadly construed in favor of protecting free speech, not schadenfreude…….
        .

      • John Galt says:

        Private companies should not be able to discriminate for race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation. They should be able to “discriminate” against being an idiot if it affects their job performance. And if someone in Silicon Valley thought they could publicly proclaim discriminatory beliefs and expect to effectively manage a team that almost certainly includes a fairly good number of the subjects of that discrimination, then he is an idiot. Like I said, I thought it was an over-reaction, but it’s their company.

      • Crogged says:

        Mozilla’s board overreacted, a new former executive who has decided to spend more time with his possessions, I mean, family, and a new another mob of ‘progressive’ internet trolls, a pox on all of ’em………wait, it’s Friday, they all have my heartfelt best wishes in their new pursuits

      • DanMan says:

        um…er Cuffy. he didn’t publicly declare anything. He gave a campaign donation to a political cause and it was disclosed by others. Celebrate that diversity!

        I think Tracy is right. The culture war will evolve into a liberty war.

      • Crogged says:

        Some people don’t know what to do unless there’s persecution or disagreement to be found.

      • John Galt says:

        Campaign donations are a matter of public record – it’s free speech, haven’t you heard? Apparently a substantial part of his clientele and employees were not too pleased at what he said while exercising his right to free speech and some of them decided to refuse to do business with his company any more.

        Rights, responsibilities, consequences. Damn, don’t you love America!

      • CaptSternn says:

        So, John, you want to discriminate based on your terms, but don’t want to allow others to do the same.

      • DanMan says:

        JG is for discrimination as long as its his side that gets to do so. Hey JG, should votes be listed as well? I mean if your name is subject to public display for supporting a cause, why shouldn’t your vote?

      • Crogged says:

        Why are the actions of Mozilla’s board, JGs to defend-but I do love each of you defending worker’s rights-do you go below the board level?

      • John Galt says:

        You two might want to look up the definition of discrimination. No discrimination took place here. CEO was hired by the board. Someone figures out he supported a particular political cause through a monetary donation and publicized that information. This made a lot of people who work for the company and a lot of people who use their products to think he is an asshole. The board says, “Hey, this might be bad for business. Maybe we should rethink this.” End of story.

      • DanMan says:

        who do you work for JG? I have something I want to tell them.

      • CaptSternn says:

        That is discrimination based on political views.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        And Stern…you are perfectly OK with that, so no need to act all offended by it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Of course I am ok with discrimination. But those that are against it should not defend or support it. There is a word for that.

      • John Galt says:

        Anti-discrimination laws are intended to protect individuals from biases against characteristics they cannot control: gender, race, origin, sexual orientation. They are not intended to protect people against opinions, if those opinions interfere with the performance of one’s work duties. Religion is also included and I understand why, but it is not really something a person cannot control.

        I think we are seeing why the right has problems with minorities: they have no idea what discrimination is, so they neither recognize it nor have any pressing need to address it.

      • GG says:

        “Of course I am ok with discrimination.”————OY. Sternn, I can only hope you don’t say things like this in real life and it’s only restricted to anonymous blogs. As JG said freedom of speech does not guarantee no repercussions of that speech.

      • CaptSternn says:

        GG, I hardly ever discuss politics outside of the internet. Most often people don’t want to talk about the subject. As I have said to Tutt, there are places for certain things. Usually, when somebody brings up politics and a family gathering, the table will be quickly vacated as everybody decides they suddenly have something else to do that must be taken care of immediately.

        However, on the rare occasion that politics does somehow come up, I am not ashamed of my views and will openly express them, even to complete strangers. If they get upset, well, maybe they won’t bring up politics again. Or maybe they will keep it on the internet.

  3. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    I’m in Canada this week for work, and I was reading through the healthcare comments in the last post over lunch on Wednesday. I shared some of the ideas and asked questions of my Canadian (and European) colleagues, and there was much chuckling. No one thinks their system is perfect (or even good), but there was not a voice in a room of 25 that would have wanted to move to a US-type healthcare system. Obviously, that is a small sample consisting only of oil and gas professionals, so not representative of the Canada as a whole but it does seem that more countries are moving in the direction of Canada than in the direction of the US.

    A more interesting discussion (and more relevant to this post) was maternity and paternity leave and how behind the rest of the world the US is. If you want to talk about family values, why not set up some things that actually helps families? Want to slow down abortion, do some things that make it easier for a woman to have a baby.

    Many many of the folks playing up “family values” are the same people hugely opposed to any sort of requirement for family leave. It was not the left that put up a fight against FMLA, and that is just a guarantee that you won’t be fired, not real maternity or paternity leave.

    I have a hunch our more libertarian folks would argue that companies should be free to hire and fire whomever they want, and if they want to fire all pregnant women, they should be allowed to. Heck, if they don’t want to hire qualified women at all, they should be allowed to do that too.

    Fortunately (in my view), we have tried to make such things illegal.

    Lifer’s minimum income proposal would go a long way towards making it easier for people to take off and raise a kid. I’m a bit afraid of federally guaranteed maternity/paternity leave (our taxes are going up), but those countries with such a thing generally have happier and healthier people.

    • Tuttabella says:

      So, HT, your Canadian friends don’t think their health care system is perfect, or “even good.” If it’s in a such a state that they can’t even say it’s good, then what is there to brag about?

      Is this how you get your kicks, providing links to this blog to your Canadian cronies so you all can get a good laugh at our expense? Aren’t you supposed to be working? Does your boss know about this?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Well…it was more a discuss rather than providing links.

        I think the point is that no one thinks their system is “perfect” and few think their system is “good” (in the US or anywhere in the world), but it seems that no one is rushing to adopt our system.

        Regarding your last points (which I assume is tongue in cheek), I was actually struck by how seriously folks took the discussion about health care and family leave. It is a very valuable thing to them. We tend to scoff about how much time off Europeans have for holiday and family leave, but they take it seriously. It is very meaningful to them.

        Regarding your very last points. I do very little work, and most people already know that.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, yes, my last paragraph about your not working was tongue-in-cheek.

        If a company must give, by law, expectant moms (and dads) paid leave so they can bond with their baby (or babies, in your case), what about those of us who don’t go through a pregnancy? Should one group of people (the child-bearing members of society) be granted privileges not given to the rest of us? Should we all get 6 weeks of paid leave every now and then, to compensate? Just something to think about.

        My boss allowed me to work part-time from home for about 3 years while I cared for my elderly mom during her final years. But that was his call, and I am grateful. It was not mandated, and I would not demand it of him or any other employer. I was prepared to quit or be let go over this. I’m sure my seniority worked in my favor, as I’d been with the company for over 20 years, and it’s a small, family-run business.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…absolutely it is different for different people. I spent 20 years of the work life as the kid-less person sometimes complaining about the “benefits” people with kids get. Full disclosure, I’m a flakey liberal, so I was pro-maternity/paternity leave long before I was thinking about having kids.

        We already give tons of things to people with kids that are not the same for the kid-less. There are a few tax deductions for kids that I did not get for my dogs. Most health insurance plans for “families” are less expensive than if you had to purchase four or five individual plans, yet those families are more likely to eat up health care dollars, so young single, kid-less people are already picking up the financial slack for that.

        My kid-less property taxes paid a lot for schools to which my dogs were not allowed to go.

        Do we want a high-functioning society? If so, support to folks with kids seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. The deviled details are around how much support.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      As most in our country liked our system and did not want to change to theirs. What the heck point are you trying to make? That Obama forced us to change a system that most americans were fine with? Okay. I’ll cede that point.

      You want paid maternity leave? How about having insurance companies provide the choice to purchase paid leave for having babies. The modern woman and male metrosexuals think we have discovered child birth and it’s importance though it has been going on for thousands of years. Did the farmers wife take a couple three months off after birth or did she get back to contributing to the family’s labor?

      Some of us are getting too soft in our capabilities. If a mother wants to take off for three months to bond with the child before she throws him or her into a daycare, plan it and do it. Don’t depend on me to pay for it.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…why does it have to be so hard to have a conversation about things?

        I think I pointed out (yep, I did, I just looked up) that I was a bit afraid about a federally funded maternity/paternity leave, but acknowledged that folks who have it tend to report a happier and better lifestyle.

        We’ve been knocking around the pros/cons of a minimum income for a few weeks now, and assisting with family care would seem to be a big benefit of a minimum income.

        I’m not sure how women and “metrosexual males” have just discovered childbirth, and I’m not sure what metrosexual means in this context. Our dictionary definition provides: a usually urban heterosexual male given to enhancing his personal appearance by fastidious grooming, beauty treatments, and fashionable clothes.

        I have a hunch most “metrosexuals” do not have kids to worry about, so I’m really now sure what you are going for with that.

        Regarding insurance for maternity/paternity leave, I think that is an interesting idea. Whether or not it is cost prohibitive would be an issue (almost everyone who bought it would use it, thus it would have to be fabulously costly), and how would we make sure employers did not fire folks who were using the time off?

        But hey, thanks for participating in the conversation, and yes, we’ll stay off your lawn.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      When I worked for a Canadian company in Dallas, the Canadians complained a lot about their health care system [and the royal post, for that matter]. But when they got sick, they went home.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Ahhh Buzzy…there is my little ray of sunshine this morning.

    • CaptSternn says:

      Well, HT, I would make a couple of points here. First, you are talking to a bunch of Brits that have to ask the Queen of England for permission to hold elections. Second, our current system is Obamacare, and most people here in the States don’t want it either. You are saying that the socialists think it is so bad they don’t want it.

      Minimum income again. Ok, let us put some numbers to it. What is a livable wage? The activists say $15 per hour. That is $31,200 per year. Since it comes from taxes as other welfare, there is no inconme tax. If there was, it would not be a livable wage. Now every person gets that automatically when they turn 18. If they get married, they have a household income of $62,400. If they have a child, well, can’t let the child starve, so the parents get the minimum income for the child as child support. Now we are talking of a family of three that has a household income of $93,600 per year, tax free. And all health care is free under this plan. Why would they want to go and work for the same or less than that?

    • Crogged says:

      Many of our more right leaning commenters here are quick to bring up the word ‘liberty’ as one of the animating forces behind the experiment that is America. But the expression “all men are created equal” was given as a predicate, a foundation, to the words, ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Of course there existed a limited universe of what constituted ‘men’ and they dealt with the prejudices of their time. To our broader vision of culture their view looks cramped, discriminatory or ‘sexist’.

      But, they came here and allowed people to have their own capital, which at that time is what we call ‘land’ simply by filing papers, taking possession, building their own living quarters and surviving. Are we so cramped by ‘original intent’ that we can’t make the metaphorical shift and seeing how allowing people to have their own capital in the form of money can allow for the same grand experiment? It’s the same process, equality of opportunity creates liberty. Now we make royalty via inheritance and intellectual property, we obsess about the ‘freedom’ of the privileged, but the world is for the living and the dead have their own rewards.

      • CaptSternn says:

        People are not allowed to have money? Really?

      • Crogged says:

        Carefully and broadly think about the answer to your question. Very often you deny people money because ‘we don’t have it’ or ‘they haven’t earned it’. Think about how vast the world looked to those men, there was land for all because they couldn’t forsee a future as we live in now. Do you think they thought men would fly? In 1776 the entire population of Houston was scattered across the East Coast inland for a couple of hundred miles. Take a few and grok that.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, people have to earn it or inherit it, but there is no law against having money.

      • Crogged says:

        “Inheritance” is not a natural right.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Property is a natural right, and providing for your family is a responsibility. But in the eyes of a socialist, all property rightfully belongs to the government.

      • Crogged says:

        The below was written by Justice McKenna of the US Supreme Court and quoted by Irving Fisher in 1919.

        “The right to take property by devise or descent is the creature of the law and not a natural right—a privilege, and therefore the authority which confers it may impose conditions on it.”

      • CaptSternn says:

        Well, yes, taking somebody else’s property is not a right. If a person inherits property, then it is their property, and taking it from them would not be a right.

      • Crogged says:

        Well Captain, as a regular infantryman for the British in 1776, King George sends his thanks for your service and defending his inheritance.

        Inheritance isn’t a right–a dead person has no rights in property (look up ‘perpetuity’) . A child has no rights to any property except for what is granted by law and the laws can, and should, be changed.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Crog-ged, one problem I see with your grand experiment is that we would somehow have to zero things out, go back to square one, start over from scratch in order to create the springboard of absolute equal opportunity for all. I don’t see how we could achieve that at this stage, unless you take everything away in one fell swoop and then redistribute it — a terrifying thought, by the way.

      • Crogged says:

        Well, if you are Paris Hilton or the Koch’s, changing our laws of descent and distribution could be ‘terrifying’ (after all they convinced many writers for the Heritage Foundation to call it the “death tax”), but for the majority of us it wouldn’t mean a thing. And in the below–as you may imagine, there are ways around the supposed forty percent tax rate on the excess……..

        The federal estate tax exemption of $5 million per person, indexed for inflation, is now permanent. So for 2014, up to $5.34 million of an individual’s estate will be exempt from federal estate tax, with a 40% tax rate applied to any excess over the exemption amount.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Again with the belief that all property rightfully belongs to the government. That is the case in places like Cuba, but not here. When a person dies, their spouse or their kids or next of kin take ownership of the property, and they do have property rights. It isn’t yours, it isn’t the government’s. It is theirs.

    • John Galt says:

      I had a conversation about maternity leave last week with my wife, a professional scientist and mother of two. Our employer offers insultingly bad maternity leave. She had access to unpaid FMLA leave, and could take vacation/sick time if she had it. In a little known loophole, if both parents work for the same company, the 12 weeks guaranteed by the FMLA is total for both of them – they don’t both get 12 weeks. But, there was no way she would have taken months off anyway. She’s the lab head, the boss. Who was going to manage her people, including students? She was working from home, at least part time, within days, was in the office part time within a couple of weeks, and full time within 6-10 weeks (depending on the kid). Upon reading an article about parental leave in Scandanavia, which appears to persist until the child gets married, she asked how a professional man or woman expects to disappear from the job for six months, a year, or more and come back to the same position. It’s just not a reasonable expectation.

      If you want to promote families, then the place to put money is in quality child care places for those who want them. There is a serious lack of affordable ones for working class mothers. Someone will soon rant about the equivocal results from Head Start, but the data is clear that good early childhood education (taken very broadly) is hugely beneficial.

  4. lomamonster says:

    After the culture war… Uh, huh. I don’t recall having been told to stack it up yet, and I fully intend to mount an even bigger front against the affront that is the social conservative scourge. Until Texas turns “blue” there will be no quarter.

  5. John Galt says:

    It’s interesting, though, that almost none of the declines that should please social conservatives occurred as a result of legal action, bans, or public shaming. Acceptance of gays has come despite some discriminatory laws. Drug use is down not because of harsh (and absurd) drug laws, but largely because of public health approaches. Abortion is down because unintended pregnancies are down because contraception is both better and more widely available than in previous generations. Studying the driving forces behind these trends might help us to promote more stable families in ways far less intrusive and subtle than either the left or the right might normally gravitate towards.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Let’s see, was it two years ago DOMA and DADT were thrown aside. You are revising history already?

      Birth control is better and more widely available yet your side claims it is being withheld.

      You wrote a very confusing comment.

      • GG says:

        Sternn, you blather “Then again, many on the left see killing innocent people as a form of contraception.”

        Really, only those on the “left”? No, dear, I have friends and family who identify as conservative and are also pro-choice. They personally don’t like it but they would never go back to outlawing it again. Most people don’t exist in a black and white world.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        More people GG ‘knows’ to make a point. If you believe in something personally, how can you not act on it? Progressives believe in the woman’s complete right to abort at any time and they act on it. Why not the other way around?

      • GG says:

        Yes, buzzy, I have a network of friends and family. We are different yet all get along. Most are conservatives. This IS still a red state.

        I’m sorry you are a sad, lonely old man but maybe you should leave the confines of your trailer once in awhile.

        Now, what happened to that vow you made the other week about attempting to not come in like a baboon and start slinging shit????? What kind of hard on do you have for certain people here?

      • texan5142 says:

        kabuzz61 says:
        April 4, 2014 at 9:26 am
        Progressives believe in the woman’s complete right to abort at any time and they act on it.

        Just because that is what you believe does not make it true, what was that you were saying the other day about painting with a big brush.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        GG, get off your cross, we need the wood. You and Texan without a doubt sling the most bullshit of anyone. There is no middle ground with you or Texan. And most of your personal story’s are just too much to be believable.

        I don’t live in a trailer but I certainly don’t look down on them like you do. That long, snooty liberal nose shows itself once in awhile. I wonder how many people who don’t comment read your snide remark and were embarrassed? Good job.

      • GG says:

        Buzz, you are unbelievable and full of shit. Your also a coward.

    • John Galt says:

      No, actually my comment was quite clear. DOMA was a law that restricted the rights of gays to marry. Passed with widespread bipartisan support, it did nothing to stop the tide of public opinion and was discarded. Abortion is down but this has little to do with restrictive laws being passed and everything to do with contraceptive availability and quality, which is better than it was 40 years ago. Though some conservatives seem committed to introducing restrictions on something that is incredibly beneficial, these efforts have not yet born much fruit.

      • CaptSternn says:

        DOMA did nothing to restrict the rights of gays to marry. Marriage is not a federal issue, it is a state issue. Part of DOMA was not discarded, it was struck down based on States’ Rights, the 10th amendment. If a state issues a license and recognizes a marriage, the federal government must defer to what the state recognizes.

        Contraceptives are better and more available, but to listen to the left, if they aren’t free then they are illegal and denied to people that want them. Nobody is currently trying to outlaw nor restrict access to contraceptives.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern says, “Nobody is currently trying to outlaw nor restrict access to contraceptives.”

        Yet….

        A U.S. District Judge has temporarily blocked an Oklahoma law banning over-the-counter access to contraceptives like the Plan B one-step pill,

        In Arkansas, abortion opponents are already pushing the legislature to consider imposing either an age limit or a total ban on Plan B sales next year.

        Missouri GOP Rep. Todd Akin took to KCMO talk radio Wednesday to decry the morning-after pill, arguing that it should be banned “totally, for everyone”

        The National Women’s Law Center has tracked at least 24 states that have refused to sell either birth control or emergency contraception to women who are well within their rights to purchase it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, contraception and abortion are two different things. Then again, many on the left see killing innocent people as a form of contraception.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I hate copying a previous comment, but here you go:

        A.D.A.M., the firm that writes medical entries for the National Institutes of Health Web site, deleted passages suggesting emergency contraceptives could disrupt implantation. The Times, which uses A.D.A.M.’s content on its health Web page, updated its site.

        The medical editor in chief of the Web site for the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Roger W. Harms, said “we are champing at the bit” to revise the entry if the Food and Drug Administration changes labels or other agencies make official pronouncements.
        “These medications are there to prevent or delay ovulation,” said Dr. Petra M. Casey, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Mayo. “They don’t act after fertilization.”

        The F.D.A. declined to discuss decisions about the effect on implantation or to say whether it would consider revising labels. But Erica Jefferson, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, acknowledged: “The emerging data on Plan B suggest that it does not inhibit implantation. Less is known about Ella. However, some data suggest it also does not inhibit implantation.”

        Scientists say the pills work up to five days after sex, primarily stalling an egg’s release until sperm can no longer fertilize it. Although many people think sperm and egg unite immediately after sex, sperm need time to position themselves.
        Diana Blithe, a biochemist who oversees contraception research for the National Institutes of Health, the federal agency for medical research, said the possibility of an effect on implantation should not be cited on the labels. “As a scientist, I would definitely take it off of emergency contraception,” she said.

        But hey, Stern says they are abortifacients, so, well, you know.

        What Stern really is against is the normal birth control pill.

        The Plan B emergency contraceptive does not have time to affect the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation. The normal birth control pill over the course of the month has a big impact on the lining of the uterus (thus most women have significantly lighter periods when on the pill). The lining does not become as thick and is thus much less hospitable to the fertilized egg.

        This is a group of folks that not only is wrong in the argument against emergency contraception, they are wrong about why they are against it, and they are wrong when they say, “we do not object to the birth control pill”.

        It would actually be difficult to find a way to be more incorrect on this issue, but hey, let’s see if we get folks trying to be more wrong in the replies.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, what part of this do you not understand? Plan B is used after sex, possibly after conception, to prevent prgnancy. That would be abortion if used after conception.

        So basically you are lying by claiming that I am against contraceptives. Next you will be screaming that I am against condoms.

        And that is all the response you comment deserves.

      • Houston-Stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…you are a fan of doing research….read the comments above, do some google-magic, and you will find that Plan B prevents fertilization, not implantation.

        The normal birth control pill (and IUD) prevent implantation.

        Also, folks don’t magically get pregnant as soon as someone ejaculates. It takes a while for the star crossed sperm and egg to meet, and Plan B stops that.

        Don’t trust me. Trust the doctors and scientists who do this stuff.

      • Houston-Stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…you are right about one thing.

        I said you were against the normal birth control pill.

        I should have said, “Stern should be against the normal birth control pill is he is against abortion because an effect of the pill is to make the uterine lining inhospitable to implantation of a fertilized egg”.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I’m giving you a bit of a hard time, but really, look into it.

        I had always assumed Plan B was an abortifacient. I’m pro-choice so that did not bother me, but then I learned more about it and realized I was wrong.

        There is a reason it is called an emergency “contraceptive”. RU486 is an abortifacient, but the morning after pill is a contraceptive.

        I was surprised too.

      • way2gosassy says:

        The Federal Government did make it an issue Sternn, “WASHINGTON — The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote.

        “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

        I think you may have confused the Prop 8 decision that pertains to California.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, from my understanding, many contraceptives prevent ovulation. Some do prevent implantation.

        Way, you are basically repeating what I already said. It isn’t up to the federal government to recognize or refuse to recognize marriages. That is for the state to determine. 10th amendment.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Stern…I promise I’m not trying to beat anyone up over this. I have a very bright intern who does some really interesting human sexuality research, so I run across lots and lots of “fun facts” (which explains why I have so much information about sodomy and such).

      There are plenty of folks actively arguing against birth control pills and IUDs because they do affect the uterine lining and disrupt implantation of fertilized eggs.

      “We are as much opposed to the birth control pill as to abortion,” Joe Scheidler, national director of the Pro-Life Action League.

      The Christian organization Focus on the Family, concludes that contraceptives that use only the hormone progesterone (or progestin) “do not reliably prevent ovulation.”, and Focus on the Family concludes that these types of contraceptives are “problematic for those of us who believe that human life begins at conception.”

      The science indicates that regular use of birth control pills more drastically affects the lining of the uterus than the one-time use of Plan B. Plan B and regular birth control pills both function primarily to stop fertilization, but if someone manages to slip one past the goalie and get an egg fertilized, the regular birth control pills are more likely to stop implantation than is Plan B. That is a “feature” not a “bug” in birth control pills. The current research suggests Plan B does not disrupt implantation but certainly an IUD and birth control will.

      Arguing against regular birth control pills in 2014 would generally get you laughed out of whatever room you are in (even if that room is in a Catholic church), but it actually is a more likely abortifacient than is Plan B.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        The morning after pill is not an abortive pill.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…why are so many folks that tend to vote like you trying to block the morning after pill?

        You don’t control why the GOP and social conservatives scream about the morning after pills, so it is an unfair question to ask you, but it makes no sense, especially given the general silence about birth control pills and an IUD.

  6. Tuttabella says:

    Mr. Lifer, this brings to my mind the minimum income proposed by you on more than one occasion. This blog entry would seem to contradict your idea of the minimum income. You were in favor of having just enough money to live a life devoted to entrepreneurship, study, creativity, and leisure, and now you’re saying that having both parents work makes more economic sense, that the traditional family structure does not pay off immediately.

    I would think that a situation in which only one parent works at bringing in that minimum income you favor (either of the two) is ideal, and the roles could alternate back and forth over the course of the marriage. The one who stays home would be with the kids, thus saving on child care expenses, and he/she can use that time at home for study and other personal projects, perhaps work or run a business from home. How much “me” projects you could accomplish would depend on the number of kids, of course.

    I think the modern employment structure, with telecommuting, etc, would fit in well with the modern family structure, with one complementing the other.

    • fiftyohm says:

      Tutt- Telecommuting saves only travel time. It is not possible to be productive at any job requiring mental focus and concentration with a bunch of screaming children around. Love the kids, but mixing them with real work, (and by this, I mean the kind of work to which women should aspire), is a very bad idea.

      • flypusher says:

        Even without kids, home can have too many distractions and temptations. I try to avoid taking too much work home.

      • Tuttabella says:

        You’re probably right. I admit I am naive about this, since I’m single and have no kids or siblings.

        However, I don’t believe in “shoulds.” Women “choose” to aspire to certain jobs, not “should” aspire. And I don’t agree with you that it’s a major waste to have stay-at-home moms, or that two breadwinners are an absolute, unequivocal economic necessity in today’s households.

        Options for women were limited back in the day. Why would you want to place “shoulds” on them now, in this day and age?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Tutt- The only ‘should’ I am in reference to is living up to one’s potential. We see men who hang around the house in a certain way. ‘Should’ we?

      • Intrigued says:

        I think telecomuting is a viable option. Don’t get me wrong I attempted once with kids at home and ended up working all day writing a proposal and maybe produced 3 hrs worth of productive work. However, if the kids went to school and or daycare telecomuting could provide the flexibility to attend school functions and get kids off to activities.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP- Working from home takes practice. You’re absolutely correct about the distractions. It probably took me six months, (if memory serves lo those many years ago), to get in the swing of it. By now though, working anywhere else would be a huge distraction!

      • way2gosassy says:

        Fiftyohm, there are times that I agree with you but this is one time I vehemently disagree!

        To work from home saves more than just travel time and maintaining focus seems to be easier for some over others.

        Just what the hell do you mean by “real work women should aspire to”?

      • fiftyohm says:

        Way2,

        Good. We’re not supposed to agree all the time, lest we have one too many in the conversation. More in the morning. A good evening to you.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Well alrighty then!

      • fiftyohm says:

        Way2- Thank you for your indulgence – I had to sleep.

        Here’s what I think about women in the workplace:

        First, only a cretin would hold that there is any difference between the sexes whatsoever regarding intellectual potential, creativity, or any of the other talents humans have to create value.

        Next, only a cretin would support any restrictions, tolerate any discrimination, or even suggest any impediments to any human being’s ability to realize their full potential as productive members of society.

        Now here comes the politically incorrect part, (but you should know me well enough to know I couldn’t give a FRA about that): The notion that women should, because of “their unique, god-given ability to nurture”, or their biological function in human propagation, be given special dispensation in the marketplace through the force of law or other coercion is horseshit. (See the paragraph above.)

        It is axiomatic that women have abilities identical to men in all important respects, save perhaps physical labor. Women should therefore, be held to standards of performance identical to men in the workplace. This means value creation, productivity, attendance, and remuneration for work experience. The raising of children carries with it the very real potential of interfering with any number of these. And now we come to the issue of choice and accountability for those choices.

        With the wide-spread availability of reliable birth control, (though to the chagrin of a pack of cretins), women gained, for the first time in human history, the ability to achieve their full potential in the marketplace. *If they chose to do so.* Of course, other choices are available. Women can choose to be mothers. Women can choose to be stay-at-home mothers. But choices have consequences. To suggest otherwise, to attempt to force the market place of ignore them, or to simply pretend they don’t exist at all is utterly foolish.

        If a woman with children misses work every time the kids have an ear infection, her productivity will suffer. That’s not her employer’s problem – that is a consequence of her choice. If a woman stays home to look after kids for some number of years, her career will suffer. That’s not the fault of the marketplace, that’s a consequence of her choice. (I will add here, and hopefully without the necessity to do so, that these same consequences must also apply to men.)

        Here’s what I mean by “real work”. I mean work in the marketplace that creates value. Specifically, I was in reference to professional or intellectual endeavors heretofore closed largely to women. House work does not qualify. Raising children does not qualify.

        Finally, no one, can perform to their peak performance at any task requiring complete attention with children around. (Unless one happens to be a kindergarten teacher.) I don’t care how smart you are. I don’t care how adept you are at tuning out the external. Won’t happen.

        Your question was short. My answer was long-winded, but I didn’t wish any misunderstanding here.

      • Intrigued says:

        Fifty, first let me just state that labor laws do not grant special treatment to women because of “their unique, god-given ability to nurture”, or their biological function in human propagation”. They simply require that employers do not discriminate based on these characteristics.

        The private sector is voluntarily choosing to adopt proven work life benefits that increase productivity and employee retention. These include PTO for maternity and paternity leave, telecommuting, on-site daycares, etc. They are not required “through the force of law or other coercion” to offer these programs and I guarantee you that these successful programs are as beneficial to the employers if not more than they are to the employees.

        Just to make sure I’m not being too politically correct here for your liking let me just adopt your tone to sum up my response.

        Only a cretin would assume essential employees would give up raising a family to solely focus their attention on their productivity in the workplace.

        Only a cretin would assume any programs or accommodations would be an “impediment to any human being’s ability to realize their full potential as productive members of society” when in reality these programs have the opposite effect.

        Last but most important only a cretin would suggest that “raising children” is in anyway menial work that does not “add value to the marketplace” considering they are our future marketplace. My husband and I have held many challenging positions that would more than qualify for your definition of “real work” but raising children is by far the most challenging and the most valuable contribution we can add to society.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Intrigued- Firstly, I said not a thing about ‘voluntary programs’. Not all such programs are voluntary. The FMLA and the proposed “FAMILY Act” come to mind. If such things are such grand and sweeping benefit of employers, why the requirement for legislation? Or are employers just plain stupid, don’t know what’s good for them, and need the government to force them down the path of enlightenment?

        “Only a cretin would assume essential employees would give up raising a family to solely focus their attention on their productivity in the workplace.” Utter nonsense. Women make precisely those decisions every day. The fact that you did not proves nothing.

        “Only a cretin would assume any programs or accommodations would be an “impediment to any human being’s ability to realize their full potential as productive members of society” I never said that. Please read more carefully. You (not so skillfully) took the comment entirely out of context. The programs are about removing the consequences of a choice. You can’t have it both way. You want the choice? Baby, I’m with you 110% You want me to pay for that? Don’t be a cretin.

        The entire final paragraph of your post was vapid. I can define ‘work’ in any context I please, and did so in order to avoid the conflation of work for compensation in the marketplace and child rearing and housework.. I was very specific and succinct about that. The marketplace owes you nothing for raising your children or keeping your house. *That* you owe to *yourself* and *your* children. The raising of our daughter was indeed the ultimate challenge. And yes, I do believe it will be to the benefit of us all. But we asked no one else to pay for it.

      • CaptSternn says:

        *Sternn stops by to see how this part of the discussion is proceding*

        *Sternn decides there are better places to be and quietly browses away from this place*

      • Intrigued says:

        Fifty after rereading your initial comment I realize I misinterpreted a lot. I was trying so hard to look past the sexist BS you were spewing and focus on the point I thought you were trying to make.

        If you really want the government to butt out of the private sector you would advocate for company sponsored solutions not this attitude of tough shit you chose to have a kid now deal with the consequences. For many women the consequence of having children is to be forced out of the workplace and into the arms of the government. Is that really what you want?

        My choice to stay home is rare in today’s society. I may have left a high paying career to stay at home but not without building a substantial savings first.

      • way2gosassy says:

        To Fiftyohm,

        Glad to know you aren’t a cretin! =)

        Let me attack this a piece at a time. I’m all good with the first two paragraphs so we will just move on to the politically incorrect parts. You said, “It is axiomatic that women have abilities identical to men in all important respects, save perhaps physical labor. Women should therefore, be held to standards of performance identical to men in the workplace”

        Personally, I spent 30 years of my working life as an industrial maintenance mechanic, a very physical and labor intensive job in which I was expected by my employers and co-workers to perform at the same level as everyone else regardless of gender. I do not believe that gender has as much to do with physical ability as age and general health do. Women in the 1940’s took over jobs that their husbands had previously held to keep farms, factories and other enterprises running during WWll. ( At this point I might add that the jobs were not redesigned to make them easier for the little ladies and they were not paid as much as their male counterparts.) As with most physically demanding jobs it is not always about brute force, rather working smarter than harder.

        As to your take on the consequences of a woman’s choice to be or not to be a mother, well, all I can say to that is that you are entitled to an opinion. I just don’t happen to agree with that opinion. If men were capable of carrying a baby I assure you that would change.

        In your response to Intrigue below you said some interesting things about how you do not agree with “paying” for or having legislation that requires such things as FMLA. Considering that FMLA is an unpaid leave equally applied to both genders for the purpose of dealing with a very narrow list of medical issues for one’s self or immediate family, the only guarantee being that you may return to your previously held position while taking that 12 weeks of leave. I might add here that taking care of a severely ill or dying parent is not a choice of procreation. While that may be seen as a “moral” choice, do you really expect an employee to be able to reach his/her maximum potential of productivity under such circumstances?

        You also said, “The programs are about removing the consequences of a choice. You can’t have it both way. You want the choice? Baby, I’m with you 110% You want me to pay for that? Don’t be a cretin.” I disagree with that statement for a couple of reasons. Many corporations in the 90’s discovered that a healthier workforce was a more productive workforce and as a result on site workout rooms and programs to combat obesity and other health initiatives were being implemented in companies both domestic and abroad. One of the side benefits they discovered was jump in employee satisfaction. That meant better retention of “more valuable” employees. “Work and Life Balance” programs were being tested by corporations without government intervention long before the concept came to the public eye. Here is one take on the benefits of on site Childcare, for instance,

        “Often a better long-term solution for both the company and the employee is to have an on-site daycare center. This is something that is promoted by many organizations worldwide and in the United States, for example, the Department of Labor offers onsite day-care centers for many of its employees.

        For most companies the advantages of offering on-site childcare as an employee benefit more than outweigh the costs involved. A company is able to recruit and retain well trained staff and there is better employee morale overall. There are also lower rates of absenteeism as parents don’t need to take time off work if a child has a slight touch of the sniffles. And if your child is in a daycare center on the premises you can easily pop in and check up during your coffee or lunch break.

        And it doesn’t have to be just white collar workers that benefit. Some 24 hour businesses like factories or health care providers even offer 24 hour workplace care for their employees’ children so that shift workers can bring their children to sleep at the workplace nursery. However, having on-site day care isn’t a solution for everybody’s childcare needs, especially if you have a long commute.”

        It seems to me that a small expenditure on the front end results in big profit on the back end.

        But then that would just be my opinion!

      • Intrigued says:

        Stern you should stay and take notes. Fifty basically used the same argument you use about enabling minorities as a form of racism. Still a BS argument but he almost had me fooled, at least until he called himself out;)

      • fiftyohm says:

        Intrigue- Once again, (sigh), did I say anything about voluntary daycare programs, or anything not legislated? What did I say that was “sexist B.S.”? I seem to have hit a nerve in you, and I wish I could say I’m sorry, but I’m not. That is precisely the purpose of these forums. My posts were meticulously nonsexist. You chose interpretations that were otherwise without a single shred of corroboration. We’re here to challenge each other and our biases and predilections. You say I use the same arguments as the Cap? You’ve not been here long enough. I “called myself out”? And just how did I do that? (BTW: No arm-waving. No points for anything other than specific references to what I actually said.)

        Good luck.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Way2- Actually we disagree, it turns out, on very little if anything.

        I used the word “perhaps” as a qualifier when excepting physical labor. Of course, that means indefinite, and not applicable to all situations. (This is not Clintonian parsing. I considered that in the context of both the military, and women in the defense industries during WWII.)

        To my mind, *anything* companies *choose* to do to obtain/maintain workers, regardless of cost, is their business, and theirs alone. I said I could not / would not work in a workplace full of children, but that is also *my* choice. What the Department of Labor does however, is not relevant. They are paid for with taxpayer money, and are able to make decisions quite differently from the private sector. If a company in the private sector decides to provide the benefits you have enumerated, well good for them. My *opinion* means nothing. Their *right* to do so trumps everything.

        To the both of you: this exercise is much less about rhetoric than clear thinking. I admit I do not understanding some of your, (particularly Intrigue’s), points of view. Neither does Mrs. Ohm. My intention here was to “incite a riot”. No accident here. Now is the phase where we remove emotion from the dialog and ferret out the points on which we agree and disagree. I think we might all learn something. I find this most enjoyable and enlightening. Thank you.

        And Cap, (for the the benefit of Intrigue), are you listening?

      • way2gosassy says:

        Well I’m sorry you didn’t incite a riot, at least not with me! I did understand your qualifier but I wanted to make it clear for everyone else.

        Ok, lets touch on the points in which we agree. You and I agree that work and life balance programs are great (as long as they are not legislated and you do not have to pay for it). I agree that there are just some places that children should not be, the chemical plant I worked in would be a good example. However, there are some non lethal industries that could provide a child care center removed from the worker bees so that they are not a distraction.

        Here is where I am, an awful lot of laws have been made since the days of Henry Ford based on nothing more than the experiments done by private sector employers to create a better work life for employees. Developing their employees as assets to their company rather than fodder for an early grave. Ford doubled the wages he paid his employees so that they could afford to buy the cars they themselves manufactured. As his business developed and grew he found a way to increase production which in turn created a whole new set of issues, safety. Because of the number of severe injuries that were occurring due to this shift to high speed assembly lines two things happened. One was that he created a way for his employees to forward their ideas to improve safety while maintaining production. Secondly he set up a fund to pay for the medical expenses for those employees hurt on the job and to help pay the bills while that worker recovered. Another interesting thing that he did was to reduce the hours of his workers so that they could spend some time with their families. Now granted many of the things he did was as much out of self interest than concern for his workers but he did have one damned loyal workforce as a result. People lined up to work for this man.

        It was this man and his policies that set a model for the labor movement of the 1920’s and 30’s. I won’t bore you with the entire history of the labor movement that stretches all the way back to the Revolution but I will say this, were it not for the labor movement and employers like Henry Ford there would be no laws to protect workers. We live in a modern world where 50% of workers are now women and what makes for satisfied and productive workers have changed over time. Then as now it has been the experiments private companies have done that have proved successful at improving worker’s lives. At a time when wages are stagnant for most workers but profit margins are at an all time high for employers it is my opinion that we will see a shift back to a work environment where workers will once again be treated like assets rather than liabilities or we will start to see a real drop in productivity.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Way2- It’s interesting that while Ford was certainly ahead of the curve regarding labor relations, wages, profit sharing, and the like, he was also adamantly anti-union. For this he is positively famous. In fact, it’s his treatment of his workers as well as his resistance to organized labor that I most admire the guy for. Of course, there was another, darker side to the man no one should admire.

        Otherwise, I read carefully your post several times. Other than a quibble really regarding a distinction I would make between Organized Labor, and ‘labor’ at large, I can really take issue with nothing you said.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Intrigued, Fifty is correct about the set-asidesn and affirmative action for women. That is not the part I am avoidning.

      • Intrigued says:

        Fifty, no need to be sorry. You did strike a nerve but in a good way. Women in the workforce, labor laws, employee motivation are topics I am very knowlegeable and passionate about. To answer your questions.

        “did I say anything about voluntary daycare programs, or anything not legislated?” I think Sassy and I made it perfectly clear that there are no legislated programs forced upon the private sector, only labor laws. You bring up FMLA and the proposed Family Act as examples of these legislated programs. FMLA only requires job protection and in no way requires the employer to pay for this leave. You should support this law considering without it many people, not just women were forced out of the workplace because of medical necessity. The proposed Family Act would pay benefits to FMLA qualified recipients out of taxes collected, similiar to SS. So again unless you oppose labor laws there are no legislated programs only volunteer programs. When you say things like the marketplace owes you nothing for your choices or any programs that enable a woman to achieve less than her potential are stupid, I’m going to think you are talking about these work life programs, like the one you opposed in FP’s article or telecommuting.

        “What did I say that was “sexist B.S.” When I first read your initial comment I became fixated on one paragraph “It is axiomatic that women have abilities identical to men in all important respects, save perhaps physical labor. Women should therefore, be held to standards of performance identical to men in the workplace”. Why should men set the standards that a woman must adhere to? It’s sexist to think that men have higher standards or a better work ethic then women. Do you know how much I would have to dumb down my performance to meet the standards of my male counterparts? Out of 2 pregnancies I not only worked until the day I popped but I also never called in sick, not once, but my male counterparts would call in sick due to a hang nail. So yeah most women would love to be held to the same standards as men. Also the whole notion that raising kids is womens choice in which she must suffer the consequences is ridiculous in this day and age. So you can say your not sexist but that doesn’t mean your words aren’t.

        As for my reference to Stern. I know you don’t hold entirely the same political beliefs as Stern but the idea that programs that help women in the workforce are in someway actually holding them back is very similar to Stern saying discrimination laws and programs that help minorities are racist because they assume that minorities can’t achieve success without them. Fifty, you are smooth and witty and your argument actually made me see what Stern has been trying to argue. It’s still BS though:)

      • way2gosassy says:

        Damn Fifty I was giving it my best shot at starting a riot. By the not everything about admirable people are admirable. Labor unions on the other hand is a subject we will agree to disagree.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Intrigue- The FMLA requires job openings be left open for 12 weeks. While I probably agree that doing so is generally the wise thing to do from the employers standpoint, just what is an employer to do during that interval? Hire a temp? Well, not if the job requires any modicum of specialized knowledge or experience. Hire someone for 12 weeks? Who would take that job? Lie to them, and fire them after 12 weeks. Ah – I don’t think so. Again, you are advocating the force of law to lead “stupid” employers down the path of enlightenment.

        The proposed FAMILY Act is a tax on both the employer and the employee. By what actuarial method were the rates established? What tax, ever invented by the mind of man, has ever been sufficient to cover the real costs of the program it was intended to fund? Again, this is advocacy of not only coercion, but taxation to fund a situation that should rightly be between the employer and the employee. So fail, on both counts.

        [By the way, I never said I did not support the philosophy of the practices described in those two pieces of legislation. That was another completely synthetic conclusion on your part. In fact, I do, but you never asked. I guess your mind was already made up, huh?]

        The bit regarding my ‘sexism’ was one of the more remarkable rhetorical contortions I’ve heard in some time. It went like this: I am sexist because I advocated using the same standards of performance, etc for women as men. You assert, “why should men set the standard?” OK – logic lesson: What if I used the phrase, “everyone else” instead of “men”. Would that be OK? Well, last I checked, the two statements are logical equivalents, assuming there are two and only two sexes that make up the whole. Who did I leave out? Space aliens? The term is (variously) defined as follows: “discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s gender”. And you not only suggest that holding “all people” to the same standard fits that definition, you accuse me of being the noun form of it?

        This has been a remarkable exchange. I will resist the (strong) temptation to conclude you always ‘reason’ this way. And I refuse to conclude by inductive extension, such ‘reasoning’ is emblematic of your gender. I know better.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Way2-

        “not everything about admirable people are admirable” Really? What about us? 😉

      • Intrigued says:

        ” The FMLA requires job openings be left open for 12 weeks. While I probably agree that doing so is generally the wise thing to do from the employers standpoint, just what” You answered your own question here, hire a temp. There is an exemption in the FMLA for key employees but usually it’s in the employers best interest to accommodate the leave even if they don’t qualify. I’m sure you know the recruitment, selection, and training process to replace a good employee can take much longer than 3 months.

        “Again, you are advocating the force of law to lead “stupid” employers down the path of enlightenment.” I’ve said it before I’ll say it again. Yes if a law can keep someone employed opposed to living off the government then yes I tend to favor it. The fact that we both agree that in most cases FMLA is mutually beneficial for both parties makes me wonder why we are still circling around this subject. As for the Family Act, I generally agree with you other than I think there is probably a need for it and you don’t.

        “OK – logic lesson: What if I used the phrase, “everyone else” instead of “men”. Would that be OK? Well, last I checked, the two statements are logical equivalents, assuming there are two and only two sexes that make up the whole. Who did I leave out? Space aliens? The term is (variously) defined as follows: “discrimination or devaluation based on a person’s gender”. And you not only suggest that holding “all people” to the same standard fits that definition, you accuse me of being the noun form of it?” You can use any statements you want but don’t get your panties in a wad when someone thinks they sound sexist. It’s your choice Baby! If you really want my opinion a better way to phrase your point would have been there are certain standards in the workforce that all employees need to be adhere to. Simple and no space aliens required:)

        As for the last paragraph WTF dude? You have an awesome writing style and I’m sure you know it. I guess this was supposed to be some kind of jab against me?

        Now for my conclusion:p I agree this exchange has been fun and enlighting. I think we might agree more than we want to believe which is probably why we seem to be debating in circles:)

      • fiftyohm says:

        Intrigued- OK. Look, I wrote the fist bit with the express intention of riling both those on the right and the left of the issue. I hoped to raise the hackles of the “traditional family’ righties, as well as maybe some feminist, womb-to-the-tomber lefties. My language selection was supposed to bring them in by the droves. Everyone could be, (superficially at least), pissed off about something in there. Well, it didn’t happen. Stern demurred, and I ended up with you and way2 – not particularly good examples of the radical left I was after.

        But what ensued was interesting enough. I ended up mostly saying, “I didn’t say that.” The take-away here, I think, is to listen more carefully to what a person says, rather than how they say it. When I listen to Sheila Jackson Lee speak, I think, “Gee. She has more than a third-grade vocabulary.” But when I try to bore down to the substance of her message, I get the drill sucked out of my hands by the the utter vacuum to be found beneath the surface. Loads of people are like that – form without substance. Buzzwords and bullshit. But they sound pretty good. It’s a trap for the unwary. It’s difficult to divorce that first gut-feel from the actual substance. I know. But I’m workin’ on it.

      • Intrigued says:

        Well Fifty that clears up why I couldn’t really figure out what we were arguing about. Lol Glad to know you are not a sexist or a cretin. I’m alos glad you tried to create a riot or we might have had nothing to talk about:) Have a great weekend!

      • fiftyohm says:

        You too, Intrigued. Cooking a birthday dinner for Mrs. Ohm tonight. Better get after it!

    • flypusher says:

      There’s also this option:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/gaygaddis/2013/06/27/babies-at-work-works/

      Granted it’s no cure all, as some work places would be unsafe, and once the kids are mobile enough to get in trouble (as pointed out in the article), it’s time for other arrangements. But where it can work, it can be beneficial.

      I’m not calling for any mandates, as this type of practice has to be a case by case sort of thing. But it is a fine example of an employer treating employees as assets rather than just operating expenses.

      • fiftyohm says:

        All I can say about that is I wouldn’t work in such a place. No one, and I mean no one can maintain the focus for anything but the most menial of jobs in such an environment. Tell me, F.P., aside from contaminating your little darling, could you perform up to standard in such an environment? I think these lame, pandering efforts do little more than perpetuate the notion that women are less productive, and generally more problematic employees than men.

        Assets that under perform, or that do not yield sufficient returns when compared to other similar instruments get disposed of – sold off.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Fly, VERY interesting that you bring this up. My mom never made much more than minimum wage, but she was allowed to take me to work with her, and she did so on a regular basis, on Saturdays, and after school, from when I was 4 to when I was a teenager, so I was essentially raised at her workplace. I had my own space, kept to myself, so I was able to read, study, and do my homework, and I grew up surrounded by adults, which is why I was very mature for my age.

      • Intrigued says:

        Fly, I finally got around to reading your article and I’m glad I did. We need more employers like him. I’m not saying that his solution was ideal but he saw a problem, proposed a solution, and saw it through the transitional triumphs.

        Fifty, you must have not read the article because he specifically stated that 4 of his KEY employees found out they were pregnant around d the sametime. So obviously they did not hold menial jobs.

      • objv says:

        Cap: One of the things that most impresses me about you is your desire to learn and read extensively. Some college graduates I know don’t seem to have cracked a book open since they graduated. No wonder our intelligent Tuttabella finds you a fitting mate. 🙂

      • objv says:

        Once again …. wrong spot. Sorry …

    • goplifer says:

      ***This blog entry would seem to contradict your idea of the minimum income.***

      Noah’s position, or at least his proposed compromise, represents a departure from the idea of a minimum income. I disagree with him on that. I don’t see anything socially valuable or personally enlightening about a menial dead-end job.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Any job is valuable as long as it pays the bills. It’s what you make of it. You can always get personal enlightenment on the side if you don’t get it at work. You yourself have posted that our identities should not be tied to our jobs. As I posted above, my mom never made much more than minimum wage, yet she owned her own home and car, read, traveled, ate out, attended concerts, and generally enjoyed life, albeit on a shoestring.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Any job that keeps a person off welfare is socially valuable.

      • goplifer says:

        ***Any job that keeps a person off welfare is socially valuable.***

        I disagree. When a kid drops out of high school to help keep his family afloat, that job he is doing is actually socially destructive in my opinion. When someone skips college because they need to work two jobs to support themselves, a sibling, and a sick parent, that job is not benefiting society at large at all. It is a cancer.

        Work is not ennobling in and of itself. I have seen and performed many jobs that were utterly destructive. I think our notion of “noble work” comes less from experience than from an innate desire to avoid incentivizing sloth. It is fair to be concerned about that. However, I think that concern is increasingly misplaced and was probably never very valuable in the first place.

      • objv says:

        Tuttabella wrote: Any job is valuable as long as it pays the bills. It’s what you make of it.

        Excellent point, Tutt. Many times, the more educated, look down their noses at people in lower income jobs and consider them unintelligent and uninteresting. That’s often far from the truth.

        The most valuable thing I learned as a nurse was getting people to open up and talk. I’ve tried to work on this skill since nursing school when I was assigned to an elderly Italian man with major health problems. I needed to write a care plan including social and psychological needs and I was at a complete loss at how to relate to him.

        My instructor took the lead and asked the man a few open ended questions. Soon my patient was giving us an interesting description of his early life in Italy and how to grow grapes. His concerns about his health and treatment were easy to discuss next.

        What I’ve found most fascinating after decades of talking to all kinds of people is that many who don’t have an education are very intelligent and lead interesting lives while some who are educated are frankly boring.

        Intelligence can manifest itself in all kinds of ways, and it is wrong to discount someone without taking the time to get to know them.

      • objv says:

        Lifer: I’ve got to disagree with you there. While it’s true that there some jobs out there that would drive me crazy – working on a production line comes to mind – there’s worth in even menial jobs.

        I worked in a nursing home while in high school and college. The job taught me compassion. If there hadn’t been the economic necessity to work, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the satisfaction of knowing I could do a difficult job while paying many of my own expenses.

        In some ways, I feel sorry for my own kids because they grew up having all the right economic and social advantages.

      • CaptSternn says:

        OV, meh on the production line. I had such a job for almost a decade, hated every minute of of. But it was mentally challenging. It was also dirty, dangerous, long hours and I could not advance any further unless I went into management. I wasn’t going into management, so I changed careers.

        You are right about the difference between formal education and intelligence. They are not the same things. And right on not judging intelligence or education based on a person’s job.

        No job I ever had or did was destructive, not from bagging and carrying out groceries, to contruction work, to the factory job, to web design and programming to being a network administrator. Not even the year I took off to do handy-man work. My level of formal education is minimal, but I have done well.

        Even people with years of college and many dimplomas and degrees admit that it didn’t prepare them for the real world. We have one guy with a contract company that was a teacher at a tech institute and he can’t even do what he taught.

        Work teaches an ethic. It helps a person to become and value being self reliant, to be independent, to be personally responsible. Welfare, minimum incomes, the PPACA, all that does is teach people to be dependent and controlled, to support those that promise to support them rather than supporting themselves and those that will allow that kind of freedom.

      • goplifer says:

        ***In some ways, I feel sorry for my own kids because they grew up having all the right economic and social advantages.***

        Why didn’t you take those “advantages” away from them? Think hard about that. We call them “advantages” rather than “impediments” for a reason.

        This isn’t about looking down on people who did menial jobs. I did menial jobs. Almost everyone I know has. This is about determining whether people are going to be compelled to do menial jobs. It’s about whether we think menial jobs are important for some kind of social reason, even if it would be cheaper from a tax and administrative perspective to just eliminate them.

        We all learned some things from everything we did. That doesn’t mean our lives might not have been richer, freer, and happier if we had enjoyed more freedom to decide what we invested our energy in. Lots of those “interesting” people doing menial jobs are there because their horizon of opportunity was cut short by circumstances they could not control. Instead of looking down our noses, some people would like to open those opportunities back up.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Instead of looking down our noses, some people would like to open those opportunities back up.”

        Therein lies the problem. First, why do you look down your nose at people doing menial jobs? Those are necessary jobs. We would all very much miss having those jobs done if they were not being done. They are low skill, so they are low pay. But they are honest jobs for honest dollars. I was raised to respect that and to never look down on anybody that worked an honest job for an honest dollar.

        Second, the opportunities are already there. One only has to have the drive and ambition to take advantage of those opportunities. Nothing more needs to be “opened up”.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Thanks, OV! I would think you have to look no further than your own family for inspirational tales. I’m sure your German immigrant dad (and your Swedish mom) had a lot of interesting stories of their own. I often think that our lives are boring in comparison to the lives of those who came before us.

      • GG says:

        Obj, you bring up a good point. I have quit answering “the so what do you do?” in social situations. Far too many Americans are hung up on occupation and tend to make snap judgements about intelligence or worth depending on other peoples jobs. I try to stay vague and just say “as little as possible” when asked.

      • objv says:

        Cap: One of the things that most impresses me about you is your desire to learn and read extensively. Some college graduates I know don’t seem to have cracked a book open since they graduated. No wonder our intelligent Tuttabella finds you a fitting mate. 🙂

      • CaptSternn says:

        Thanks OV. I try to keep up with her. 🙂

      • objv says:

        Lifer: Yes, I’ve got to admit I never took any of the “advantages” away from my kids. I encouraged them to work hard in school, but there was never the need for them to find a job other than to provide extra pocket money. The difficulty was in inducing a feeling of poverty when my kids very well knew that family finances allowed for us to buy them nice clothes and send them to private college. My daughter didn’t learn to budget until grad school when we cut off funds. Even there, my daughter knew there was a family safety net in place.

        Did growing up in a financially “advantaged” household actually help my kids? To tell you the truth, I’m not sure. They certainly did not have the stress of worrying about tuition, yet they also missed the satisfaction of being independent.

        My ideal would be much like the childhood Tuttabella described – with at least one loving parent who spent time to nurture, encourage and mentally enrich.

      • objv says:

        GG, Yes, unfortunately, a person’s job does often cause them to be stereotyped. That said, I almost always ask what a person does, because most people enjoy talking (or griping) about what they do for a living when they sense that I am sincerely interested. If anything, the question about work leads to talk about other interests and hobbies.

        Possibly, I come off as nonthreatening because my own career at this point is housewife and dog walker. 🙂

      • Tuttabella says:

        Thanks, OV. Cap and I are intellectually AND academically compatible. We’re both reasonably smart, AND we have about the same level of education. We discuss things and learn from each other with total ease, without any hangups about one being smarter or having more degrees than the other. We’re both language and logic oriented. He’s a computer programmer, and I have a talent for foreign languages, for analyzing language in general. You can imagine the discussions we have over what one of us meant by this or that word!

    • fiftyohm says:

      Int- Firstly, I said not a thing about ‘voluntary programs’. Not all such programs are voluntary. The FMLA and the proposed “FAMILY Act” come to mind. If such things are such grand and sweeping benefit of employers, why the requirement for legislation? Or are employers just plain stupid, don’t know what’s good for them, and need the government to force them down the path of enlightenment?

      “Only a cretin would assume essential employees would give up raising a family to solely focus their attention on their productivity in the workplace.” Utter nonsense. Women make precisely those decisions every day. The fact that you did not proves nothing.

      “Only a cretin would assume any programs or accommodations would be an “impediment to any human being’s ability to realize their full potential as productive members of society” I never said that. Please read more carefully. You (not so skillfully) took the comment entirely out of context. The programs are about removing the consequences of a choice. You can’t have it both way. You want the choice? Baby, I’m with you 110% You want me to pay for that? Don’t be a cretin.

      The entire final paragraph of your post was vapid. I can define ‘work’ in any context I please, and did so in order to avoid the conflation of work for compensation in the marketplace and child rearing and housework.. I was very specific and succinct about that. The marketplace owes you nothing for raising your children or keeping your house. *That* you owe to *yourself* and *your* children. The raising of our daughter was indeed the ultimate challenge. And yes, I do believe it will be to the benefit of us all. But we asked no one else to pay for it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        My apologies for posting this in the wrong place. Chris- my “permission” to delete it!

    • fiftyohm says:

      Intrigued- OK. Look, I wrote the fist bit with the express intention of riling both those on the right and the left of the issue. I hoped to raise the hackles of the “traditional family’ righties, as well as maybe some feminist, womb-to-the-tomber lefties. My language selection was supposed to bring them in by the droves. Everyone could be, (superficially at least), pissed off about something in there. Well, it didn’t happen. Stern demurred, and I ended up with you and way2 – not particularly good examples of the radical left I was after.

      But what ensued was interesting enough. I ended up mostly saying, “I didn’t say that.” The take-away here, I think, is to listen more carefully to what a person says, rather than how they say it. When I listen to Sheila Jackson Lee speak, I think, “Gee. She has more than a third-grade vocabulary.” But when I try to bore down to the substance of her message, I get the drill sucked out of my hands by the the utter vacuum to be found beneath the surface. Loads of people are like that – form without substance. Buzzwords and bullshit. But they sound pretty good. It’s a trap for the unwary. It’s difficult to divorce that first gut-feel from the actual substance. I know. But I’m workin’ on it.

  7. Actually, I think the culture war is gradually morphing into the Liberty war.

    Many folks are beginning to realize that they are not going to be able to change the thinking of those on the opposite side of the political spectrum short of duress. Social conservatives are coming to realize that gays are going to figure out how to get married no matter what. The eastern liberal political establishment is discovering that the response by hundreds of thousands of gun owners to laws requiring registration or confiscation is to simply *ignore* them. And so it goes.

    In the process we’re discovering that none of this is the end of the world. Gay folks getting married do not foreshadow Armageddon. They family man down the street who keeps an AR in his house for home protection is not the monster who shoots up movie theaters and elementary schools. We’re also discovering that the natural rights held dear on both sides of the political spectrum will not be denied.

    The common thread throughout all this is that much of the conflict touted in the news is ginned up by politicians seeking power over others. Power is meaningless except when backed by force; government is nothing more than the legitimization of a monopoly on force. It turns out you can’t utilize the machinery of government to take something from one group of people and redistribute it to another, or to force particular behaviors, without losing something in the process. And that something is not just property legally plundered; that something is liberty.

    It’s all good when your “side” is “winning,” but my, how quickly the worm turns. As so the people are slowly realizing that “us” and “them” is not “right” and “left;” it’s the political and administrative classes (and their cronies feeding at the public trough) vs. the rest of us.

    The rest of us are beginning to understand how we are being manipulated by our political leaders and their colluding media outlets. Unfortunately for the pols in both parties, there are just too many alternative sources of information for this scam to remain viable. The democratization of information is relentless. And when people begin again to think for themselves, the old notions of liberty upon which this nation was founded begin to stir. That awakening is a good thing.

    • goplifer says:

      ***Actually, I think the culture war is gradually morphing into the Liberty war.***

      You mean, “The Battle of Amish Acres”? The brand of social conservatives who depend on the conformity of those around them for their own mental security definitely have some hard choices ahead over the next few years. I expect a large number of them to head for the hills to find that good ole “liberty.”

      They will have to go pretty far away to sustain it. As you say, “The democratization of information is relentless” and it is precisely that expanding access to information that doomed social conservatism. It will be tough to keep their kids from finding out what’s available to them in New York and San Francisco. Liberty may not be enough to keep them off the grid.

      • “The brand of social conservatives who depend on the conformity of those around them for their own mental security definitely have some hard choices ahead over the next few years.”

        Yes, and the same goes for those radical leftists who depend on the conformity of those around them for their own mental security to the mores of political correctness. It’ll come as a hard lesson for the Chris Matthews and Bill Mahers of the world, but the Duck Dynasty segment of the population just doesn’t give a rat’s rear end what they think, and these folks are increasingly just as connected as the liberal intelligentsia. It goes both ways.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Can’t keep ’em down on the farm after they’ve seen gay Paree! Keeps going through my head!

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I know Tracy. The left always forgets that they are imposing their beliefs onto other as well. But in their mind they are right we are wrong. Ying and yang.

      • Sassy, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty plays a hick on TV, but he’s a very intelligent, successful businessman who holds multiple patents. He is very well-informed, and very well connected to our modern world. He lives where he does and how he does *BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT HE WANTS* for his own life. He *chooses* the lifestyle he lives.

        This might be hard for you to conceive, but Phil Robertson simply has no use for the values, social mores and lifestyle of the typical urban liberal. And guess what? That’s OK.

      • objv says:

        tthor, I read Phil Robertson’s book after the GQ controversy. Believe or not he has a master’s degree in education. He taught school for years because teaching was an occupation that gave him more time to hunt.

        In addition to the duck call business, he made shrewd real estate investments. Pipeline companies paid him for use of his land and he was able to plan where the pipe was laid in an environmentally friendly way so that the easements would attract ducks. 🙂

        Despite the humble abode and squirrel on the menu, Robertson is quite a wealthy man.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Good lord Tracy! What the hell or more succinctly where the hell did that come from?

      • way2gosassy says:

        By the way my comment was to Chris. Not to you. It was meant to be funny so lighten up!

  8. kabuzz61 says:

    I pretty much agree with you. Oh for the day our political classes actually want to work together. I am almost to a point that I think it cannot happen.

    I disagree with one point. There is no religious ‘class’ trying to repress. There is government. Some for all kinds of birth control and some against some kinds. You applaud when your belief system uses the government for what you think is morally right, but criticize and try to diminish when the other side tries to exercise their belief. Of course, you can’t have it both way. You might want to ‘compromise.’

    • Kabuzz, I think there is an element of the religious right that is quite content to impose its morality on the general populace via force of law. It’s one thing to oppose abortion, speak out against the practice, and try to convince your fellow citizens to protect the unborn. It’s quite another to attempt to outlaw the practice, or to require a gross infringement of one’s person to obtain it. In making the price of an abortion in Texas having an transvaginal sonogram (which is achieved by having an ultrasound sonde stuffed up your nether parts), the Texas GOP has left the path of wisdom.

      Compulsion and coercion are the epitome of government misuse and abuse, and are the antithesis of liberty. It doesn’t matter which party does it; it’s wrong.

      • CaptSternn says:

        TThor, there is no need to bring religion into the abortion issue. Calling for laws banning abortion can be based on basic human rights, individual liberty and rights of the unborn. You know my views on it, and never do I bring religion into the discussion. It is based on the same reasons we have laws against assault and murder of people that have been born. Those laws should apply to all, not a select few based on race, religion, sex or stage of development.

      • John Galt says:

        Tracy – this is a rarity in the conservative world: an entirely consistent position. It is impossible to rail against the travesty of government intervention in health care (Obamacare) while passing intrusive government intervention in health care (sonogram laws). Frankly, it’s a rarity in politics of any stripe.

        Sternn – trying to distinguish the pro-life movement from religious conservatives in this country is a fool’s errand.

      • Tuttabella says:

        JohnGalt, I don’t think tthor’s position is entirely consistent, in that, if he is opposed to abortion as the intentional ending of a human life, wouldn’t he be in favor of outlawing it? Or perhaps he is just being practical, figuring that outlawing it won’t produce the desired result of reducing abortions, whereas speaking out against it might.

        I agree with him in opposing the sonogram, which I think is too invasive a procedure in trying to make a point.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I assume at least some part of your belief that life begins at conception is based on your religious beliefs. Then, your liberty and constitutional arguments build from there. Those without your religious beliefs may not believe life begins at conception and thus your liberty arguments for the fertilized egg do not carry much weight.

        From a practical perspective, without the religious position, I don’t think are you going to be able to convince a majority of Americans that a one-day old fertilized egg is equivalent to a 26-week fetus or a two-day old baby.

        Heck, I’m not sure you could convince a majority of religious people that a one-day old fertilized egg is equivalent to a 26-week fetus or a two-day old baby.

        It would be so easy to get movement (and near consensus) on this issue if we talked about fetal viability.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Homer, are you just talking lines in the sand. So Captain and I draw ours at conception so where is your line?

        Life to me is anything that goes with the design of the species to propagate itself. So when a spermazoa meets and eggs, fertilizes the egg and attaches itself to the uterus, well, that is already to collaborative steps in the life process. Then the rapid growth of the baby starts in earnest. Since two steps of the joint venture to life occurred that to me is where life started.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz…I’m firmly at fetal viability. That is my line in the sand.

        However, get rid of restrictions for early pregnancy abortions, increase sex education and contraception availability, and provide provisions for the health of the mother and viability of the fetus, and you could pretty easily talk me into restricting abortion after the first trimester.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, HT, I don;t base it on religion at all. I base it on science. A human life begins at conception. The sperm and egg unite and a new human life is started. Nothing else is needed except time and nourishment for that human being to become an adult, barring disease or accident or being deliberately killed. My views on individual liberty and rights for all means that I support them for all, not a select few.

        There was a time in the past that we didn’t have modern science, people could only guess. That is when many speculated that life begins at the quickening, about the end of the first trimester when movement could be detected. But we have advanced a lot since those time, we can actually see what happens in the womb. We can even aceive conception outside the human body, then implant that person in the early stages of life in a womb, and they will grow and become adults given time and nourishment.

      • GG says:

        “Or perhaps he is just being practical, figuring that outlawing it won’t produce the desired result of reducing abortions”

        Practical Tutt. Outlawing abortion has never reduced abortions. Women have been aborting for thousands and thousands of years. Why on earth do some want to go back to the days of back alley butchers unless, deep down, it’s a way to punish to those “whores”? Remember, it’s only the poor ones affected by abortion bans. The rich have always had access to safe abortions. Watch Vera Drake.

      • Tutta, I do not believe there is any inconsistency in my position. Yes, I oppose abortion, and I speak out against the practice at every opportunity. However, there are many who feel that a woman’s rights supersedes those of the child she carries, period. Before stepping up to oppress such a person’s liberty, walk a mile in her (or his, for that matter) shoes.

        Do you *really* want step into, for instance, Owl’s life, and lay upon her the full weight and coercive might of the state, simply because she does not believe what you believe? Why would you *want* to do that? And if you were to so restrict her liberty, what bounds would be on her were your positions reversed, and she found herself with power over you? If you have no respect for her liberty, why should she respect yours?

        As a country, we seem to be locked into a terrible downward spiral of win-lose dealings with those on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Here’s a news flash: when you play win-lose, everybody loses in the long run.

        There’s another way. Agree when you can; agree to disagree when you can’t. If the cost of compromise is a reduction in liberty, just say no. Live and let live.

      • CaptSternn says:

        “Do you *really* want step into, for instance, Owl’s life, and lay upon her the full weight and coercive might of the state, simply because she does not believe what you believe? Why would you *want* to do that?”

        I can’t answer for Tutt, but assuming that Owl is a female, my answer would be yes, I would do that. There are still people in this country that believe the rights pf a white person supercedes that of a black person, maybe they want to keep some as slaves. Or even “brown” people, as was the recent case in Houston where a lot of hispanic people were kept prisoners in a house in terrible conditions. Do I want the full force of the state to prohbit that and punish people that have done those things? You bet I do.

        There are men in the world that believe tehir rights supercede that of women. They don’t want women to vote, to drive, to have a job, to own property or even to leave home unescorted. Do I want the power of the state to prohibit that and protect the rights of women, to punish people that would keep them as slaves, like that guy in Ohio? You bet I do.

        There are women that kill their born children, like Andrea Yates. Granted, she wasn’t mentally there, but do I want the power of the state to go after women, or men, that do such things even if their beliefs are such that they think they have then right to such things? You bet I do.

        It isn’t about morality or controlling women, it is about preventing innocent people from being denied their basic humanity, basic human rights, and being killed, disposed of, almost always for convenience. There are people serrving long prison sentences for killing the unborn, even at the request of te woman. There is one guy on death row, in part for killing his unborn son. Where is the equal protection under the law? Where are the equal rights for all? Do I want the fulll power of the state to protect those equal rights for all, that nobody’s rights supercedes anothers? You bet I do.

      • Tuttabella says:

        tthor, from your answer I take it that you don’t consider abortion to be homicide, then, or at least not homicide in the usual sense of the word — otherwise, you would do everything in your power to stop abortion, just as you would do everything in your power to prevent a 6-month old baby from being murdered.

        I can relate. As a pro-lifer I often ask myself why, if the fetus is a living being, which should mean that abortion is homicide, why don’t I feel rage or fear or the urge to run from or turn in to the authorities a lady who has chosen to have her baby aborted, why don’t I consider her “homicidal?”

      • And Cap, the problem with your example is that we did agree to disagree on minority rights for many years. It wasn’t until tide of societal consensus swept in that the Civil Rights movement became possible. The Civil Rights Act passed with *bipartisan* support. Any law worthy of the name is preceded by widespread consensus.

        Until widespread consensus is reached, all you can do to advance your position into law is to ram it down the opposition’s throat. Look at how well that’s working out for the proponents of the ACA.

        Americans of all stripes bear one thing in common: We don’t like to be coerced, compelled, or persecuted by our government. I know you don’t like it; you know I don’t like it; what makes you think that people who have fundamental disagreements with you would like it any better?

      • CaptSternn says:

        TThor, our system is set up to protect the liberty and rights of the individual from the tyranny of the majority.

    • Tutta, I do consider it homicide; Owl disagrees. She thinks it’s akin to trimming a fingernail. Therein lies the rub. What we can all pretty much agree on, I think, is that if a fetus has reached the point of viability, abortion at that point is definitely homicide. And there it is – the point of agreement. Start there, and *agree* on *something*.

      As for the rest, agree to disagree, and continue thoughtful debate.

      • Tuttabella says:

        When I hear about an abortion, I feel a sense of loss for the baby and all he/she could have been, and for the mother I feel sorrow for what she did and felt she had to do, for what she had done to the fetus that was a part of her. I don’t feel anger or resentment toward the mom, but still, I have the feeling that something terribly wrong took place.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…this is coming from a pro-choice person, so take it for what it is worth.

        From our side, the fact that your side does not get nearly as upset about an abortion as you do the killing of a 3-year old suggests that even the anti-choice side recognizes the difference between a blastocyst, a fetus and a baby.

        There were probably 50 abortions in Houston today, and another 50 tomorrow.

        If you knew 50 three-year olds were going to be pulled out of day care each day and summarily shot on the sidewalk, everyone would do everything to stop it.

        A few dozen in-vitro fertilized eggs were discarded today. No one is protesting the fertility clinic.
        Millions of miscarriages a year, yet no pro-life marches to pressure for more miscarriage research.

        Again, from the pro-choice side, it sometimes feels like the protest is against the woman…not for the fetus.

        The women seeking in vitro are seeking to create a baby, so it seems that the pro-life side will give those women a pass, even though many more fertilized eggs are “killed” for a woman seeking in vitro than even the most abortion-prone woman will “kill” in her lifetime.

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, I disagree with you that if the outrage is not about the fetus, then it must be about the woman. Either the fetus or the woman. That’s a false dilemma. It shows your defensive posture with regards to women, and how you tend to view this as a woman’s rights issue. Granted, there are some people out there who want to punish women for being sexual. And you have the usual batch of cynical politicians who use the abortion issue for selfish purposes. Faux outrage.

        I’d say a highly likely reason some people don’t get properly outraged over abortion is that it’s more about the “idea” of the fetus, the idea of abortion, abortion in theory. It’s like paying lip service. This may seem contradictory, but even though it’s about the idea, people haven’t really given it much thought, to the procedure itself, and this applies to both camps. I think that if both sides actually witnessed an abortion, there’s a good chance we’d all be properly outraged. As it stands now, it’s “essentially” an idea for both camps.

      • objv says:

        Tracy and Tutta, You’ll have to cut Owl some slack. He can’t relate. After all, what would you expect when the worst thing that could happen to his unhatched eggs is making them into an omelet for breakfast?

      • Tuttabella says:

        HT, it can also be that there’s not enough outrage, simply because we know that there’s little that can be done to prevent all these abortions done on a daily basis, it’s overwhelming, and it is legal after all, and you become inured to it and put it out of your mind, kind of like all the violence and hunger in Africa, and animals in inhumane conditions on factory farms. You want to do something, but you know you can’t, so your brain just shuts off.

      • objv says:

        Homer, To add my two cents, the staff of most pregnancy help centers consists entirely of women. The centers are run mostly by women for women. The pro-life movement is generally portrayed as some sort of misogynistic imposition by men trying to control women’s bodies. That is far from the truth. Although I’ve never volunteered at any of these clinics, some of my friends have. They, without exception, are concerned about the fetus AND the woman. Many times, an abortion causes mental distress and guilt years after it’s done. Ending a life through abortion is not always the quick, guiltless fix abortion proponents make it out to be.

      • GG says:

        “They, without exception, are concerned about the fetus AND the woman. Many times, an abortion causes mental distress and guilt years after it’s done. Ending a life through abortion is not always the quick, guiltless fix abortion proponents make it out to be.”

        I don’t think anyone is suggesting that choosing an abortion is a “quick, guiltless” decision. I have friends who have had them and none of them took it lightly. Most, however, are fine with their decision and have no effects because the pregnancy would have caused more problems if the pregnancy had come full term. My own mother had to make a decision.

  9. Intrigued says:

    I agree with Sassy on this one. My family life and parenting style are the image of “conservative” values. I have done the stay at home mom gig allowing my husband to focus more time on providing for the family and building a very rewarding career. Ironically, my very conservative Christian sister who spent hours as a child dreaming about her future ideal “Father Knows Best” family waited until she was 40 to marry and have her first child. She also voluntarily chose to continue working. Regardless of our political differences we both have very strong family values that we are passing on to our children. There is no need to embrace ideology that simply does not exist.

  10. Tuttabella says:

    “Compromise” has become a dirty word because it implies sacrificing one’s values, a pull and push in opposite directions, with one said gaining ground and the other losing it, leading to an imbalance, but “common ground” is the perfect term, because it signifies a coincidental overlapping of values, an overlapping of circles of values, with the common area shaded in.

    • Alternatively, “compromise” can be simply agreeing to let each other live and let live. It’s a big country; there’s plenty of room for all sorts of different ideas.

      Too often what’s called compromise is really I win; you lose. Suppose I were to propose to place a plastic bag over your head and secure it with half a dozen wraps of duct tape; you would naturally object. If I then propose a deal wherein I’ll use only four wraps of duct tape, that does does not for you constitute a *useful* compromise. You still lose, albeit maybe a bit slower.

      Much gun legislation that is characterized as a “compromise” falls into this win-lose category. The NY SAFE act is a classic example. If I submit to being restricted to 10-round magazines, the next step will be 7-round magazines, and then 5-round magazines, and so on, until my gun is eventually turned into a paperweight. Similarly with so called “assault rifles.” What legislation calls an “assault rifle” is nothing more than a semi-automatic firearm (an action type over 100 years old) with certain cosmetic features that are apparently objectionable to some. The next step is to ban all semi-automatic firearms, to be followed by lever actions, double actions, etc., until we are reduced to outlawing rocks. This type of thing is *not* compromise; it’s simply incrementalism. And it’s unacceptable.

      Win-lose compromise is not compromise at all. Lose-lose compromise makes everybody a loser. Compromise only has value if it’s win-win. Too bad the idiot in the White House can’t figure that out.

    • way2gosassy says:

      Just my opinion, Tutt, but I believe that compromise is an agreement in which both sides get some of what they want and no one is completely satisfied with the result.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Compromise would be how much to spend on defense. Compromise would be deciding what to eat for dinner. But for the left, compromise always means less freedom and more government control. For the left, compromise on gun control means banning magazines over ten rounds, then over seven rounds, but not quite one round … yet. That will be the “compromise” tomorrow.

        How about a real compromise? Unlimited size of ammunition magazines, allow people to buy fully automatic weapons, but restrict access to tanks, fighter jets and nuclear weapons? Both sides get some of what they want and no one is completely satsfied. Deal?

      • Tuttabella says:

        Actually, I was trying to point out the beauty of the term “common ground.”

      • way2gosassy says:

        Mighty broad brush you are painting with there Sternn. As for your compromise on guns I’m still laughing, considering that is exactly what we have now. By the way, I am a gun owner and a CHL holder. Now don’t faint, but I also have some semi automatic weapons with large capacity magazines. I hunt and fish and until a few years ago I participated in shooting competitions. (eyes aren’t what they used to be)

      • CaptSternn says:

        Anybody can go to a local gun store and buy a fully automatic weapon without a special license, Way? Excuse me if I doubt you on that and ask for proof.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Just as with a CHL you can purchase the right to own a fully automatic with a Federal License.

        ” Federal Firearms Regulations

        It has been unlawful since 1934 (The National Firearms Act) for civilians to own machine guns without special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department. Machine guns are subject to a $200 tax every time their ownership changes from one federally registered owner to another, and each new weapon is subject to a manufacturing tax when it is made, and it must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in its National Firearms Registry.

        To become a registered owner, a complete FBI background investigation is conducted, checking for any criminal history or tendencies toward violence, and an application must be submitted to the ATF including two sets of fingerprints, a recent photo, a sworn affidavit that transfer of the NFA firearm is of “reasonable necessity,” and that sale to and possession of the weapon by the applicant “would be consistent with public safety.” The application form also requires the signature of a chief law enforcement officer with jurisdiction in the applicant’s residence.

        Since the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of May 19, 1986, ownership of newly manufactured machine guns has been prohibited to civilians. Machine guns which were manufactured prior to the Act’s passage are regulated under the National Firearms Act, but those manufactured after the ban cannot ordinarily be sold to or owned by civilians.”

        http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcfullau.html

        Signed into law by Pres. Franklin D Roosevelt.

      • CaptSternn says:

        \In other words, no, what you claimed to be is not so. In Texas, A CHL is only needed for the privilege of carrying a concealed hand gun on your person. It is not required to purchase a weapon, it is not required to keep a weapon in your home, it is not required to keep a concealed weapon in your vehicle, or to carry it on your person from you home or office to the vehicle, or from the vehicle to the home or office.

        It is legal to openly carry a rifle or shotgun, on your person or in your vehicle, no license is required. There is no registration of firearms in Texas. A quick background check is required to purchase from a licensed dealer, but it is legal to make private exchanges and to own firearms without any background checks.

        So, a comperomise, lets have fully automatic weapons in the same category, just as available to the public as any other firearms, and include modern automatic weapons, but we will still have restrictions on nuclear weapons. Fair enough? Do we have your support, or do you refuse to compromise?

  11. fiftyohm says:

    Good piece, Chris. I would add only that apart from the general economic necessity of two-earner households, from the standpoint of utilization of human resources, sequestering women to the home was a massive waste.

    The fact is that the stay-at-home mom who spent all her time with the children was, with the possible exception of a couple of decades after the last war, pretty much of a myth. Prior to WWII, families were substantially larger and rural. without conveniences like washing machines, dishwashers, or even in many cases electricity. There was precious little time for attention to individual children by the typical mother. The advent of the war saw the dynamic change further. The 50’s were very short and now are little more than a mirage on a distant horizon. The desire to return there by many social conservatives is, in reality, a false sense of nostalgia for a time that lasted less than a generation. Good riddance, I say.

    • flypusher says:

      “There was precious little time for attention to individual children by the typical mother. ”

      Time for a little irony- I have heard/ read on a number of occasions some right-wingers wax nostalgic for those good old “Leave it to Beaver” days, then bash all those damn dirty hippie baby boomers for trashing those “traditional” family values. Never mind that it was the 50’s that shaped most of the boomers. So perhaps it’s better for the kids developing a sense of perspective that mom does have some aspects of her life and identity that doesn’t revolve around them.

      • fiftyohm says:

        ” So perhaps it’s better for the kids developing a sense of perspective that mom does have some aspects of her life and identity that doesn’t revolve around them.”

        Ya think?

      • GG says:

        I was actually going to post something about today’s parenting vs. the way my parents parented us. The helicopter parenting of recent generations has produced a generation of kids ill equipped for self-sufficiency and I’ve even heard stories of parents calling potential employers to grill them about the company. These are kids in their 20’s. Many of them don’t seem capable of quiet contemplation or entertaining themselves. My parents had adult time and us kids played in our rooms. My parents drew a line between their life, our lives and the family unit. Most of my contemporaries remember this too. Now, it’s as if adults have ceded all decision making about family to little Caitlyn and Jeremy. The world revolves around these children now.

      • fiftyohm says:

        GG- Well said.

      • Crogged says:

        I think there’s more than a little guilt involved it this scenario GG. Even with two earners most work some long hours, many are divorced etc. And then there’s the fact of people becoming who they are despite our worst efforts at parenting. Maybe as a parent that’s my defense mechanism, which still doesn’t work, MY genes…….I’ll work on further rationalizations………..

      • Crogged says:

        And if a parent of an applicant called me……..wow, the fun I would have with that ……..

  12. GG says:

    Yes, many of them think they have a market on family values, for some reason, but I have to add that family values will change according to social changes and vary by culture. We will see more families with two Dads and two Moms and other family structures as societal norms change.

    • GG says:

      Should have been under Sassy’s comment.

    • goplifer says:

      Um, yes I think conservatives can lay claim to owning the market in family values. Smith makes reference to this conflict in the article:

      “But to make common cause with such conservatives, we will need to agree that stable, two-parent families (including cohabiting and gay couples, of course) are important and desirable.”

      Most people can remember their sociology professor explaining the inherently oppressive nature of family life. The fact that there is so little awareness of this very recently powerful liberal line is a testament to how much more conservative the culture has become in the most fundamental sense of the word over just one generation.

      No, the centrality of stable family life to a healthy culture is not a staple of the political left at all. Until very recently, it was considered entirely anti-liberal and regressive.

      On another note, there really are virtually no liberals in the mainstream sense of the word in Texas. I never encountered one outside a university in my entire life there. That may account for the lack of exposure to this particular left/right conflict.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Most people can remember their sociology professor explaining the inherently oppressive nature of family life.

        Way left, me, too much time in universities and businesses, but I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        I remember nothing of the sort because it wasn’t universal.

      • Crogged says:

        I’ve never met a person who was raised anywhere but oppression or tyranny (home or school), certainly every child I’ve raised has claimed it true…………….

      • way2gosassy says:

        “On another note, there really are virtually no liberals in the mainstream sense of the word in Texas. I never encountered one outside a university in my entire life there. That may account for the lack of exposure to this particular left/right conflict.”

        Kinda reminds me of Sternn’s assertions that he never saw racism in East Texas.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Sassy – Cap grew up in a small community just outside of Houston, which is technically “East Texas,” not in the backwoods near the Louisiana border, so it’s entirely possible he didn’t see racism while growing up. In any case, there are several degrees of expressing racism — from the offhand negative comment, to discrimination, to actual violence against minorities. I would think most of us have witnessed the first but not necessarily the other two.

  13. way2gosassy says:

    Why is it that conservatives think that they are the only people who value families? Family values are an American value, in my opinion, not separated by political choice.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Only in you and GG’s mind do conservatives think that. First it is galling to admit you ‘know’ what conservatives think and secondly, I know some people are not conservative but have every right to their belief, but the left doesn’t.

      • GG says:

        No, I’ve heard many conservatives on the Chron claiming the “left” have no morals or values but, please, do go on being an angry, confrontational little teabagger.

      • flypusher says:

        What GG said. I wish I had a $ for every time I heard a righty get on the moral high horse with that issue. Undoubtedly all righties don’t feel that way, but a very vocal subset do.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Flypusher, please don’t join the ‘broad brush’ class. If a conservative says they have traditional family values is one thing, but to say conservatives say they are the only ones that have family values is not only incorrect, but stupid.

      • GG says:

        You obviously have forgotten the Chron commenters. All “leftists” or “progressives” were immoral and just didn’t their godly ways.

      • flypusher says:

        Just for once Buzzy, could you PLEASE comment on what I actually wrote, rather that your bad and incorrect interpretation of what I wrote.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Though you try to mitigate your comment at the end, when someone says ‘I wish I had a dollar,etc.’ implies a vast number.

        And GG, give us some examples. Go to the archives and cut and paste some in.

      • GG says:

        Do it yourself Buzzy. I’m getting ready to leave work and cannot cater to your sourpuss self who sits all day on your ass and grouses on the computer. They will not be hard to find. Just go to any article about conservatives, family values or churches.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        I was going to call BS but now that you won’t (can’t) I will call BS.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Buzzy – Kinda like when you made claims that head of the IRS went to the White House over a 150 times in 2010 and refused to back it up?

      • GG says:

        Buzzy, you are so full of shit the whites of your eyes must be brown.

      • Turtles Run says:

        LOL GG

        It explains why “shaite” is all that spews from his mouth.

      • GG says:

        I have to just shake my head at most of his comments. They are so ridiculous.

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