Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ayn Rand, Phyllis Schlafly, and a ditsy coed

I have been reading Atlas Shrugged for awhile now (I know I am past page 400). While I am nowhere near done with it, I must admit that Ayn Rand has the liberals in her book portrayed perfectly. They do everything for altruistic reasons, regardless of how stupid or how many people inevitably end up getting hurt by their actions.

I mention this because I was reading an interview over on the Fox News website today between Laura Ingraham and Jill Strominger, a Washington University student who was one of many students and faculty who protested against Phyllis Schafly's receipt of an honorary degree there (by standing up and turning their backs to the stage):
LAURA INGRAHAM: ...Which conservative, which prominent conservative do you think would deserve an honorary degree at Washington University? Why don't you name a few?

JILL STROMINGER, PROTESTER, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, I absolutely think that's not the issue, Laura.

INGRAHAM: Now what is the issue? And I just ask the questions, Jill. Stay with me here. We only have a few minutes.

You turned your back on one of the leading lights of the conservative movement. Phyllis Schlafly is a pioneer. Whether you agree with her or not, she changed the way people think about politics in this country, period. So I'm asking you: If she is not someone who legitimately should receive an honorary degree, which conservative do you think should?

STROMINGER: Well, I mean, there are many fabulous choices, like Colin Powell. But the issue...

INGRAHAM: He wouldn't qualify as a pioneering conservative. He's a great man though.

STROMINGER: Laura, you're completely mischaracterizing, you know, what happened and what we were standing against, which is actually part of the reason that we chose to protest Schlafly.

Our problem was less her specific viewpoints but more the way that she expresses herself. The way that she mischaracterizes her opponents and how her style of debate changed the debate in such a way that it led people to be oppressed.

INGRAHAM: Jill, do you or do you not believe in free speech on college campus?

STROMINGER: I absolutely believe in free speech, but there's a difference.

James Taggert or Lillian Reardon could not have said it better than Strominger, who would have fit perfectly into Rand's novel. But I haven't gotten to a part in Atlas Shrugged that includes ditsy liberal coeds.

I still want to know who has been led to be oppressed because of Phyllis Schlafly's "style of debate"? And how does one lead people to be oppressed in the first place? "Please, come here. I'm in the mood to oppress someone today, and you look like a jolly good candidate!"

Seriously, I watched the interview afterwards, and Strominger was clearly nervous (and not very Media savvy). Laura Ingraham had her for lunch.

But even with that consideration, Strominger showed where liberal arguments fall apart. I question whether Strominger even knows who Schlafly is, other than Strominger knows Schlafly is a conservative. But for most liberals, that is all they need to hear. Much like a KKK member only needs to know someone is black to hate them, liberals only need to know a person is conservative to hate them.

Liberals tend to be two-dimensional characters in our society, much like the antagonists in Atlas Shrugged. For both, there is what they feel, and what they do. What they think is irrelevant, since reason never enters their mind.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

you're an idiot. the well-covered schlafly protest was not a liberal/conservative issue unless legalizing rape is part of the conservative platform.

EdMcGon said...

Huh? Enlighten me please. When did Schlafly advocate legalizing rape?

Anonymous said...

http://media.www.studlife.com/media/storage/paper337/news/2008/05/05/press/Questions.For.Phyllis.Schlafly-3366544.shtml

- this is particularly unfortunate given that married women often suffer the worst in abusive relationships and was stated by students as one of the main reasons for the protest along with the fact that schlafly's style of debate has been to slander her opponents rather than engaging in discourse about the issues at an academic level

EdMcGon said...

Anon,
Regarding your link, I will certainly agree that Schlafly doesn't have a very keen understanding of rape, since she states, "That doesn't mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn't rape, it's a he said-she said where it's just too easy to lie about it."

In other words, if there is no violence, it's not rape. As I said, her view is overly simplistic, and even ignorant, since rape is by it's nature a crime of violence. But she is also from the old school where marital rape was unheard of. Is it surprising she would have this view? No.

Regardless of whether you agree with her, she was very influential in the early conservative movement of the mid-20th century. Personally, I've never been fond of her, but I wouldn't protest giving her a degree either, because many of her ideas had, and still have, merit.

Anonymous said...

(Different Anonymous)

You are mistaken Ed. What Schlafly is saying is that by getting married you are consenting to having sex with your husband. One of the elements of the crime of rape is that the sex must be non-consensual. Schlafly appears to be saying that by being married you have consented to sex and therefore cannot be raped by your husband.

She appears to attempt to further justify her view by suggesting that there is a problem with proving rape in marriage because allegations are likely to create an "oath on oath" situation (i.e. the only two witnesses are the victim and the accused). Such situations are, of course, not unusual in many sex related crimes and such crimes are prosecuted nonetheless.

Schlafly is just out of her depth and, frankly, out of her century (which would appear from her comments to be the nineteenth century).

In any case, Ms Strominger is a straw co-ed. Just because she is an idiot doesn't mean Schlafly is worthy of an honorary degree. You cannot, with any credibility, extrapolate Strominger's views to those of all liberals.

Anonymous said...

(And again)

Oops. That last sentence should read: Furthermore you cannot, with any credibility, extrapolate Strominger's views to those of all liberals.

William R. Barker said...

Anon #1. I hate to stoop down to your level (let me guess... you're either a student or facilty member), but YOU'RE the idiot.

Schlafly neither defended rape (marital or otherwise) nor spoke in favor of "legalizing" it. (*SMIRK*) There's nothing worse than a disengenuous debater.

(Oh, jeez... [*SIGH*]... just read Ed's reply. Oh, Ed...)

Ed. Actually, rape is about dominance. It's a psychological assault where violence or the threat of violence may or may not be the means to an end. (*SHRUG*)

Basically... Schlafly was right on target.

Different Anon. I don't read Schlafly's remarks as you do. Now... perhaps *I* am filling in the blanks with my own views rather than Schafly's (too bad she's not here to take part in this discussion), but I don't read into Schlafly's remarks any context that "once you're married, sex with your partner should be available upon demand."

Again... perhaps *I* am wrong... but just as I fill in the blank with my assumptions, you fill in the blank with yours.

ACTUALLY... I blame the interviewer - Sam Guzik - for not nailing Schlafly's true meaning down. (*SHRUG*)

BILL

Anonymous said...

William,

Third anon here. You "fill in the blanks with your own views", which isn't unreasonable, as Mrs. Schlafly's remarks were controversial and perhaps not well clarified in the interview (as you said).

However... how does that give you a solid base on which to call those subscribing to a different intepretation "idiots"?

Besides, you yourself said rape is primarily about dominance, not violence. So in case where the husband doesn't use force, if the only issue is the non-consent of the wife, than I can't... really see how Schlafly was not basically defending that.

And what's with throwing out random accusations of anon's identity? Or was that just "stooping down to his level"?

Apart from those two things, I have no problem with your post, everyone can choose to interpret a comment however they like...

Part of the right to free speech is the right to protest peacefully that which you object to. No? To label that in itself not "believing in free speech" - as Ingraham did - makes an absolute mockery of that right.

William R. Barker said...

"However... how does that give you a solid base on which to call those subscribing to a different intepretation "idiots?""

Hey, Anon #3! Nice to "meet" you.

*MY* referring to Anon #1 as an idiot was a direct response - in order to make a point - to Anon #1 calling Ed and idiot.

Scroll up! Very first sentence of Anon #1's post: "You're an idiot."

See...??? (*SMILE*) Again... by *my* use of the SAME tactic I was hoping to highlight the childishness of Anon #1's post - not emulate it. Sorry if my point got lost.

BILL

P.S. - BTW... if all you various "Anon" posters would simply use tags/handles/names... back and forth discussions would go more smoothly.

William R. Barker said...

"...you yourself said rape is primarily about dominance, not violence. So in case where the husband doesn't use force, if the only issue is the non-consent of the wife, than I can't... really see how Schlafly was not basically defending that."

Fair enough. (*SHRUG*) That's how you see it. It's not how I see it. Again... too bad the interviewer didn't think to clarify Schafly's point. (*SHRUG*)

BILL

William R. Barker said...

"And what's with throwing out random accusations of anon's identity? Or was that just "stooping down to his level?""

"Accusations...???" How do you mean? It was a guess - which is why I wrote... err... "just a guess."

(*SMILE*) You're cute, Anon #3. Spunky! If you're gonna joust with me, though... get a new lance - the one you're using is apparently warped. (*GRIN*)

(BTW... the above is generally referred to as "ball busting." If you have no balls... substitute "busting chops.") (*WINK*)

"Apart from those two things, I have no problem with your post, everyone can choose to interpret a comment however they like..."

(*BOW*) Why thank you, Anon #3! Hopefully I've cleared up any misunderstandings on your part.

BILL

William R. Barker said...

"Part of the right to free speech is the right to protest peacefully that which you object to. No? To label that in itself not "believing in free speech" - as Ingraham did - makes an absolute mockery of that right."

Were you still addressing me or was that a general observation? In any case...

When I was a youg'un, my class' ('87) commencement speaker was Barney Frank. Lots of us didn't like it. Lot's of us turned our backs on him as he spoke to indicate our displeasure and "protest."

WE WERE ASSHOLES.

Don't know how old you are... but your perspective changes - mellows - as you get older. (*SHRUG*)

Sure... we had the RIGHT to turn our backs on Franks. Still... we were wrong to do so. It was rude. It was petty. It accomplished nothing other than to demonstrate a lack of maturity on OUR part.

Anyway... (*WINK*)

BILL

Rodak said...

Sure... we had the RIGHT to turn our backs on Franks.

Any man who would turn his back on franks would turn his back on apple pie. Fie, Sir! Fie on thee!

EdMcGon said...

Actually, rape is about dominance. It's a psychological assault where violence or the threat of violence may or may not be the means to an end.

Bill,
This is becoming an argument of semantics. Let's try an analogy.

A husband asks his wife for sex. She says no. He grabs her, then forces her to have sex anyway. In Schlafly's view, there is nothing wrong with this.

EdMcGon said...

TO ALL OF YOU:
I would like to clarify one of my points. I don't have an issue with protesting against anyone as long as two conditions are met:

1. It's peaceful and at least handled with a reasonable amount of decorum (in the case of the Schlafly protest, this condition was met).

2. You have a good understanding of what you're protesting against.

The second condition was NOT met by Strominger. While I can't say the rest of the protesters were as ignorant as she was, I find her lack of understanding on the issues to be quite common among liberals today. How can I say this? The nomination of Barack Obama is a good indicator.

William R. Barker said...

re: ED 5/24/2008 11:19 AM

Actually, Ed... what *you* are so sure Schlafly meant is what Anon #3 and I both admit we're not positive about. (*SMILE*)

Just to clarify, I believe what Schlafly meant wasn't that a husband has a right to rape his wife but rather that sex is an expectation of marriage and while there's negotiation involved, the wife no more has the "right" to say "no" all the time or nearly all the time than the husband has a right to "force" the issue.

(And obviously we're discussing this in a "sexist" manner - from Schlafly's "old styple" perspective of it being the man who wants sex more than the woman. I suppose a woman could rape a man with help from some viagra or whatever hidden in his food or whatever.) (*SHRUG*)

Bottom line, just so no one misunderstands *my* position, I believe "forcing" sex is wrong. If one spouse has a low sex drive or whatever or one spouce is so damned horny he or she would wear out a porn start and it becomes an insumountable problem between a couple... there's divorce. (*SHRUG*)

In any case, as I've said all along, the reporter should have clarified Schlafly's position.

BILL

EdMcGon said...

Bill,
A responsible journalist might have gotten the explanation, but the interviewer obviously got his "gotcha" quote and was happy to move along. Regardless, it was a reckless quote for Schlafly to have made, and you would think she'd be a bit more Media-savvy at her age, unless she truly believes what she says.

Anyway, I don't really care about Schlafly. The whole point of this post was how the Left uses "feel-good" arguments to defend their actions, rather than well-reasoned arguments, which they could have done in this situation.