“Glass Ceiling” Sarah

In her speech yesterday in Dayton, Gov. Palin said:

Hillary left 18 million cracks in the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America, but it turns out the women of America aren’t finished yet, and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all.

From what I’ve seen of Palin so far, I like her, as I indicated yesterday. But enthusiastically mouthing this cheesy and destructive feminist slogan hardly makes her seem like a conservative. I suspect that, as is the case with most conservatives, her conservatism consists of conservative stands on a handful of discrete issues (pro-gun, pro-life, pro-national defense, etc.), combined with insensible adherence to the overarching liberal principles, assumptions, and attitudes that dominate modern society.

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Terry Morris writes:

Mrs. Palin, in the quote, seems to be speaking very favorably towards Hillary’s cracking the “glass ceiling.” It seems that Mrs. Palin would have it that women are a political force to be reckoned with all to themselves. Is that conservative?

LA replies:

It certainly is not. It is the opposite of true conservatism.

As Nicholas Davidson wrote in his introduction to his translation of Louis de Bonald’s “On Divorce,” we must resist the current habit of dividing the world up into “women’s questions,” “men’s questions,” and “children’s questions”:

There are only social questions, which can only be answered in terms of society as a whole. Do you wish to help any of these groups? It can only be done by strengthening the bonds of society. To attempt specifically to help any of these groups necessarily corrodes those bonds, injures vital relationships, and so hurts those it purports to help.

August 31

Carol Iannone writes:

What is so objectionable about the “glass ceiling” refrain is that it implies that women have lived in darkness until now, have been suffering the humiliation of stunted lives because no woman has ever been elected on the national ticket. It keeps up the idea that our country has been roundly unjust to women, because in a just world, we would see absolute equality of circumstance between women and men and we would have had as many female presidents as male. The measure is not how free and blessed a woman is in her own life, but whether women are in the highest offices and positions in the land. It’s a twisted standard. Once a woman is elected and that ceiling cracked and we’re surrounded by the shards of glass, we’ll hear how woeful and telling it is that it should have taken so long. All the previous gains by women in public life will look meager, and attention will turn to how we can’t rest until electing women presidents and vice-presidents becomes as routine as electing men, and how for that matter we really can’t say we’ve arrived at true justice until we have as many female presidents and vice presidents as we have had male and until then “promise of equality” will remain unfulfilled.

I don’t remember this kind of thing surrounding the ascension of Thatcher. Despite Palin’s good qualities and genuine achievements and appealing profile, she is a diversity pick, and although diversity has trumped qualifications in many areas, who would have thought it would for the highest office of the land. If you think about it, what message does it send to all the girls and young women who are supposed to be inspired by this—that you are entitled to things even if you’re not really qualified, because society has been unjust and now owes you? That women in the electorate means women must be elected, because that is the standard of “equality” that we have now raised?

LA replies:

I touch on the above idea here and expand on it here: “How the liberal advance of minorities and women makes society more and more guilty in its own eyes.”

LA writes:

Heather Mac Donald writes at City Journal:

Thanks a lot, John McCain. With his selection of an unknown, two-year female governor as his running mate, he has just ensured that the diversity racket will be an essential component of presidential politics forever more.

Vincent Chiarello writes:

It is claimed that President Kennedy once told a reporter, “I am neither a pessimist or an optimist, but a realist.” For anyone to think that Sarah Palin will, as vice president, exert any major influence in changing John McCain’s mind about offering amnesty to 20 million illegal aliens currently in the country, or about the type of Supreme Court candidate he will nominate, well, think again. That she was chosen for her appeal to many conservatives, your humble scribe amongst them, as a pro-life and tax cutting conservative, is beyond cavil, but I will predict right now that, as VP, she will be sent on national tours to discuss family issues, the environment, and the role of women, including ceilings of all kinds. She will learn early on that, as far as major issues are concerned, to use the words of James Nance Garner, who served as one of FDR’s V.P.s, that, “the vice-presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit.” [LA replies: Readers may not be aware that “spit” is a polite substitute for the fluid to which Garner was referring.]

I have a neighbor and friend who served on Secret Service protection team assignments for vice-presidents from Agnew through Bush 41. In no case can he recall any of them used by the president as a consistent and serious sounding board for presidential policies and plans. Given Palin’s lack of Washington experience, which is, to many, an advantage and not a liability, I am convinced that the McCain White House will not be taking too much advice on how to proceed with securing our borders from the lovely Mrs. Palin. BTW, have you noted that the once controversial topic of the baleful effect of illegal immigration has, literally, been buried as a subject for discussion?

This will be the 12th presidential election in which I am able to vote. Never before have I been so hostile to the nominees of both parties. Yet an Obama presidency would, I believe, do more serious damage to this nation. I wonder how many voters will vote for McCain simply as the lesser of two evils. Sarah Palin’s presence may convince many that they can vote for McCain with a clearer conscience, but I still cannot. Either candidate will, to use the illustrious words of the editor of this blog, take us further down “the path to national suicide.”

LA writes:

Regarding Heather Mac Donald’s article (linked by me above), I am not persuaded by her main thesis that McCain chose Palin because she is a woman and that this is all about identity politics. However, based on the terms in which many Republicans have been touting the selection, it is undeniable that they have fully embraced identity politics. Consider Fred Barnes, whom Mac Donald quotes saying that the GOP ticket “desperately” needed diversity.

This is a disgrace and a disaster. And the view that this is about identity politics unhappily gets some support from Palin’s “glass ceiling” remark—a quintessentially leftist comment that should never enter the mind, let alone pass the lips, of any person calling herself a conservative.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 30, 2008 03:35 PM | Send

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