Saturday, November 17, 2007

Phyllis Schlafly Speech

This past week, Phyllis Schlafly spoke at Kalamazoo College. Schlafly has been a leading figure in the conservative movement for over fifty years.

She has been a delegate to numerous Republican conventions. She wrote many books on topics including education, feminism, national defense, and judicial activism; her total sales are several million. She led the movement to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, the chief goal of the feminist movement. She founded and still leads Eagle Forum, a conservative organization focusing on national sovereignty, immigration reform, education, and traditional values. Schlafly writes a weekly column and a monthly newsletter.

Her topic for the speech was feminism. She discussed its ideas, history, goals.

Feminism promotes the belief that there are no differences between men and women, except for a few trivial biological differences that have no practical importance. Feminism then promotes policies to impose equality of outcome and suppress the differences between men and women. These policies often hurt women, rather than help.

Schlafly discussed numerous differences between men and women. One that got an unusual reaction from the audience was that 45% of women can't throw a hand grenade far enough to avoid killing themselves.

Schlafly discussed the Equal Rights Amendment. The amendment promised "equal rights" for women, but in many cases this would actually hurt women. The most prominent argument against the ERA was that it would have subjected women to the military draft, which existed at that time. One fact that Schlafly did not mention in her speech (but did mention in her book Feminist Fantasies) is that feminists actually tried to force women to be subjected to the draft. They took a case all the way to the Supreme Court, where they thankfully lost.

The ERA also contained ambiguous language that would have made it easy for liberal judges to mandate government funding for abortion and "gay marriage".

Schlafly debunked the nonsense that women are discriminated against in pay. This statistic is arrived at by adding up everything that women make and everything that men make. But women work fewer years than men, work less full time, work less dangerous and less physically demanding jobs. In similar circumstances, discrimination is almost nonexistent.

The feminist scenario makes no economic sense, as companies would have a huge advantage if they could get the same work done for 24% less pay. Such a huge gap would have to disappear through competition.

One questioner asked what Schlafly what she thought of Hillary Clinton. Schlafly pointed out that "Hillary got her power the old-fashioned way, by marrying it."

Another questioner asked why he couldn't stay home and look after the kids while a women was employed. Schlafly had written a column about this very question that appeared in Feminist Fantasies. She pointed out that he didn't need her permission, he just needed to find a woman willing to agree to such an arrangement.

The audience at Kalamazoo College was mostly hostile, but relatively respectful. Schlafly's speech was very successful.

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