Libertarians Go After So-Called ‘Vagina Voters’: With Which Body Part Are They Thinking ?

many libertarian and conservative men who bray about freedom do not seem to be in favor of a world in which women are free to decide what to do with their bodies

Source: AlterNet

Author: Lynn Stuart Parramore

Emphasis Mine

From polls, libertarians are known to be a fairly homogenous group that skews white, male, young, affluent (i.e. college-educated), and has a reputation for not being particularly gender-inclusive. Far more identify with the Republican party (43 percent) than the Democratic party (5 percent). Is it surprising that they get anxious on the subject of people with vaginas who vote for liberal/progressive candidates?

The latest freak-out comes from libertarian blogger-controversialist Brendan O’Neill, who warns in Reason magazine that “women voting for Hillary because she’s a woman are setting back feminism a hundred years,” hyperventilating that such nefarious activity “confirm[s] the descent of feminism into the cesspool of identity politics.” (In the past, Mr. O’Neill has expressed his concern for feminism by comparing it to radical Islam  and opining that “stupid men, drunken men, thoughtless men and idiotic men” should not be considered rapists if they have sex with non-consenting women; clearly in his view, being a libertarian feminist would be akin to being a theological atheist.)

O’Neill warns ominously of a tsunami of so-called “vagina voters” on the basis of a single blog by Kate Harding who justifies her own vote for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in 2008 by pointing to Clinton’s superior experience and the fact that she is female. Harding explains that she felt it unfair she was expected to disregard the candidate’s gender in her selection, “just as those who were excited to vote for an African-American person in the primaries were supposed to pretend they never noticed the color of the candidates’ skin.” Harding acknowledges that while she would prefer Bernie Sanders in 2016, she would ultimately vote for Hillary Clinton against a Republican because she found the Democratic party “less odious” than the other, and she figured that since we’ve had 220 years of white, male presidents, it might be a good thing to have a president who understood the experience of half the population. Shocking!

As Harding put it, we have “the first fucking woman who can win…running for president, and she is at least nominally a liberal! Can we not allow ourselves to get excited about just that?”

Certainly not all women are excited about that; some sense that Hillary Clinton is not the person to challenge the largely unimpeded advance of the oligarchy, vagina or not. But to imagine that many women — and men, for that matter — should not feel that the election of a female president would be a positive sign of political inclusion is both disingenuous and stupid. The cries of vagina voting, of course, also raise the question of whether the nearly 40 percent of men polled who say they would vote for Clinton in 2016 are somehow voting against their penises. Or whether women who vote libertarian are anti-vagina.

Perhaps the vagina voter freak-out is only meant to distract us from that fact that many conservatives and libertarians have a great deal of trouble with women in general and females daring to assert themselves in positions of power in particular. Such a figure is libertarian presidential candidate Rand Paul, often hard-pressed to keep his woman-anxiety in check, whether he is making dismissive, sexist remarks to female television personalities, mocking Hillary Clinton with a Valentine’s Day tweet directing readers to a Pinterest page imagining a White House redecorated with pink hearts and girly furniture, or suggesting that low-income, unmarried women should just stop having kids if they don’t want to be poor.

This last bit is especially hypocritical, considering that Rand Paul has described himself as “100 percent pro-life” and introduced the Life at Conception Act in 2013, which “declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.” In this assertion, he follows in the footsteps of his rabidly anti-choice father, Ron Paul, who once described abortion as the “ultimate State tyranny” and compared federal support of the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy to Hitler’s gassing of Jews. Ron Paul is known for pronouncing that the “rights of unborn people” is the “greatest moral issue of our time,” despite the fact that libertarian guru Ayn Rand stated that abortion is a moral right, end of story.

Dealing with people who possess vaginas is clearly a dilemma for would-be anti-government crusaders. As many as 40 percent of the libertarian-leaning can’t seem to reconcile their political philosophy with the horrifying specter of female autonomy and frequently resort to preposterous arguments about embryonic emancipation to justify their belief that freedom is okay as long as it does not extend to women. For all their posturing about rationality, many libertarians are clearly irrational on the subject of women, their vaginas and their freedom. Dare we say they are thinking with some other part of their body than their brains?

Libertarians tend to embrace a tired strain of 19th-century economic thought that correlates with 19th-century attitudes concerning women (witness the libertarian-leaning James Poulous making a Victorian argument that the “purpose” of women is to temper the barbaric tendencies of men). Such positions, of course, crumble when confronted with the real exigencies of the modern world. Libertarians love to talk about free markets and rational economic actors, and yet show them a woman who makes a rational decision to keep herself and her family from sliding into poverty by terminating a pregnancy and many will respond with fits of patriarchal moralistic frenzy. They have a hard time recognizing that abortion is an economic issue, even thoughpolling shows that the public increasingly understands it is.

Many Americans living in the real world, especially those who are not wealthy, get it that a woman cannot effectively participate in the modern workforce without being able to plan pregnancies and limit the number of children she bears. Ongoing pregnancy discrimination on the job, inadequate family leave, and unaffordable child and healthcare (the U.S. is the most expensive place in the world to give birth) are among the many reasons that a woman, acting rationally, would decide to terminate a pregnancy.

Quite rationally, women tend to support candidates who appreciate their economic and social concerns, as do many men who understand that the wellbeing of women extends to their families and the rest of society. They do not appear to be lining up behind female candidates like Carly Fiorina, who do not (Fiorina is anti-choice and does not tend to support equal pay). That’s in part why Republican men, after losing ground among women voters in the 2012 elections, are scrambling to change/soften their positions on issues like abortion. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who once opposed legal abortion even in cases of rape and incest, has lately been backtracking, telling Fox News that he “cannot change the federal law that gives women the choice whether or not to have an abortion,” a view which angered anti-choice activists. Is Walker a vagina campaigner?

It is too bad that so many libertarian and conservative men who bray about freedom do not seem to be in favor of a world in which women are free to decide what to do with their bodies without being coerced by a largely male government, or free to get the affordable access to childcare or healthcare that would certainly expand their possibilities in the world. By treating women as brainless “vagina voters,they reveal the contempt for anyone who is not, well, exactly like them.

Lynn Parramore is contributing editor at AlterNet. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of “Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture.” She received her Ph.D. in English and cultural theory from NYU. Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.


5 Egregious Right-Wing Moments this Week: Fox News’ Impeachment Follies

Source: AlterNet

Author: Janet Allon

Emphasis Mine

1. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer beat the impeachment drum . . . by likening undocumented immigrants to murderers.

Fox News loves Charles Krauthammer because they think he has the ability to sound rational, smart and calm while saying totally bonkers things. Fox thinks he gives them a veneer of respectability.

Fox also thought that of George Will, who calmly said insane things like how campus rape victims enjoy “special status.”

So, two Fox “smarties,” Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer, were discussing their favorite topic this week, which is how the hell can we get rid of this black president, and when can we start the impeachment proceedings? 

This week’s “impeachable offense” that has so addled their uni-brain is the imminent prospect of Obama taking executive action to shield five million undocumented immigrants from being deported. It’s been done before, by both Reagan and Bush, but somehow, when Obama does it, it’s completely different.

“There’s no doubt that what he is doing now is a flagrant assault on the Constitutional system,” Krauthammer said, doing his best imitation of a person who actually knows something. “I’m sure Obama will be able to find a bunch of lawyers who say it is okay. This is clearly illegal. “

We’re sure he will. Those lawyers will say anything. Especially when there are plenty of precendents.

But wait, Megyn Kelly has some law background, and it was her turn to try to sound smart. “There’s no doubt that the president has prosecutorial discretion. But it’s a sliding scale. Just as a prosecutor has discretion. He might decide not to prosecute one murderer. But if he said he is not going to prosecute any of the murderers, that would be unacceptable.”

So, yeah, she’s comparing undocumented immigrants to murderers. And no, that is not a mistake.

What it is is unacceptable and disgusting. Quite apart from the whole impeachment discussion, which is merely ridiculous.

2. Ted Cruz: Net neutrality is the Obamacare of the Internet. Also, it’s like Hitler.

Texas Tea Partier Ted Cruz does not understand neutrality. What he does understand is that now that President Obama has come out strongly in favor of not selling the Internet out to the highest corporate bidder, Cruz is against it. You know what else Cruz does not like? Obamacare, or, for that matter any word starting with Obama.  So, this week, Cruz tweeted: “Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.

Of course the tweet makes no sense, but since when did making sense become a priority of Ted Cruz? It’s all marketing anyway with those right-wingers. As Matt Iglesias at Vox explained, making sense is not the point: “What, if anything, that phrase means is difficult to say. But its political significance is easy to grasp. All true conservatives hate Obamacare, so if net neutrality is Obamacare for the internet, all true conservatives should rally against it.”

Crazy conspiracy theorist Alex Jones backed Cruz, saying net neutrality reminded him of Hitler. Because everything Obama does and says and all government regulation remind him of Hitler.

Still, not even conservatives were buying either the Hitler connection nor the Obamacare link, as numerous comments on Cruz’s facebook page attested. Sample comment from one Jinnie McManus: “Goddammit, stop making my party look like morons and look up net neutrality. It doesn’t mean what you and your speechwriters think it means.”

Well, goddammit Jinnie, your party does a goddamn good impersonation of morons.

3. Senate’s lead climate change denialist is really bummed that the Chinese seem to believe in man-made climate change.

Something terrible happened this week. President Barack Obama and the leader of China took a major step to prevent the planet’s destruction, when they agreed to both cut carbon emissions. Boo. Hiss. How rotten can world leaders get? Shouldn’t you go back to selling out to big business and waging futile wars in the Middle East right away?

Five minutes later, America’s absurd right-wingers said this was the “worst deal since the Trojans accepted a horse from the Greeks.” The Senate’s two most powerful climate denialists, Mitch McConnell and James Inhofe, vowed to fight tooth and nail against this blatant and shameless attempt to possibly save the planet. Inhofe wrote a whole book about how climate change is a grand hoax, and has been rewarded the chairmanship of the Senate’s environment committee because no way do his views in any way reflect his close ties with the oil industry. But he could only muster the criticism that the deal is a “non-binding charade.” He doesn’t trust China and he does not like the EPA.

Wait, is that all you got? Nothing about the whole hoax thing, Senator Inhofe? A hoax that the leadership of China now seems to be in on?

4. Kirk Cameron gets into the Christmas spirit by attacking “pagans,” women who won’t stay in the kitchen, and Christians who do Christmas wrong.

Holidays bring out the best in fundamentalist Christian former actor Kirk Cameron. He already trick-or-treated his followers to his bizarre notion that Halloween is a Christian celebration hijacked by pagans. Now, he is fearlessly trying to rescue Christmas, and not from all us secularist heathens, but from other Christians. Huh?

Turns out lots of Christians are doing Christmas wrong, according to the former “Growing Pains” star. Only his brand of Christians are doing it right. In Cameron’s book, sure Christmas is about Jesus’ birth, but also Santa Claus is downright “biblical” because he once “punched a heretic.” So, go Santa!

Also, in Cameron’s book, good Christian women need to pull their weight, get back in the kitchen and cook for their families. “Because Christmas is about joy, and if the joy of the Lord is your strength, remember, the joy of the mom is her children’s strength, so don’t let anything steal your joy. If you let your joy get stolen, it will sap your strength,” Cameron said, sounding very loony indeed.

5. Men’s rights activist: Women and their vaginas ruin the workplace.

Paul Elam, founder of A Voice for Men, is not a big fan of vaginas, which are another word for women, since women tend to be the ones who carry vaginas around. If men had vaginas, then vaginas would be  A-OK in Elam’s book. Elam went on “ManStream Media this week and shared his view that work should be a vagina-free zone. Because everything was fine and excellent when only men and their penises populated the workplace.

“I’m sorry, ladies,” he says in the interview, “but if we want society to advance, we need to leave men alone to do their work — to do their thing and be with each other to get things done. Because that’s how it works.”

Is it just us, or does his apology to the “ladies” seem a tad insincere?

Elam argues that ever since women showed up in the workplace, men can’t do what they have always done and what makes their work so excellent, which is harass each other!

Elam does a really excellent imitation of how women really talk, “‘Hi!’” he says in a high, falsetto voice, “‘I have a vagina and a whole new set of rules! Never mind what’s worked for thousands of years, because I’m female and I know how to make 9,000 people work together to build a bridge across two miles of river!’”

We know we always start conversations by pointing out that we have a vagina.