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  • Women: America's Largest Special Interest Group?

    “Women are not an interest group,” said President Obama in a video aired on television Tuesday. “Women shouldn’t be treated that way.”

    Fair enough. But in a campaign where “women’s rights” are supposedly front and center in the national debate, the left has been claiming there’s a “war on women” in an attempt to gain political ground. If women aren’t an interest group yet, political pressure groups like EMILY’s List are doing all they can to change that.

    Regrettably, all of the political back-and-forth ignores an important question: What do women actually want?

    “[A] perceptive observer,” writes Meghan Clyne of National Affairs, “may notice a curious thing about this ‘war on women.’ It is based entirely on one set of policies: those pertaining to women’s reproductive systems.…Womanhood is thus defined by the desire for unrestricted abortion and free birth control; women themselves are reducible to ovaries.”

    It’s a rather un-American way of seeing the world. After all, our Declaration was clear on the idea that “all men” (meaning all human beings) are created as equals and endowed with a set of inalienable rights.

    So we should immediately be wary when anyone makes the case for “women’s rights” as something distinct from the rights of all Americans. In this country, we are all equals and all have the same rights—why is it a “woman’s right” to have assisted access to contraceptives, federal protection for abortion, and the ability to violate the free conscience of religious institutions?

    The truth, of course, is that this is part of a larger shift into the world of progressive politics. Progressives believe the individual is “something achieved,” as John Dewey said in a 1934 lecture, “and achieved not in isolation but with the aid and support of conditions, cultural and physical.”

    But what does “achieve” mean, and how do we do it? For Dewey, that meant a need to create “effective opportunity to share in the cultural resources of civilization.” In other words, it means looking at groups of people and deciding how best to create the appropriate environment for them to rise up and get what was considered to be their “fair share.”

    While this certainly sounds good, the implications are important. Instead of the Founding view—clearing the road for opportunity and punishing acts that violate your rights—the progressives appoint experts and professionals to decide what you deserve and how they’re going to give it to you.

    So the Founders believed in the inherent rights of all individuals, while today’s progressives believe it their duty to assist others in achieving certain outcomes. They determine the right outcome, they choose the right group, and they draft the right policy for the job.

    But here’s the rub: The President may not want to admit it, but this sort of “progressive” thinking is precisely the thing that encourages government catering to special interests.

    For progressives, individuals are no longer seen as human beings with inherent rights but as minority groups that require the “aid” and “support” of conditions created by the government. In order to provide this, the government may need to ignore silly, outdated obstacles like the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

    Until we reach the glorious Promised Land of equal success, happiness, and satisfaction, there will always be another “interest group” that the government feels duty-bound to assist. And to that end, the government knows no limit.

    So let’s be careful about declaring “wars.” Once they’re underway, innocent people, and their individual rights, too often end up in the crosshairs.

    Posted in Featured, First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Women: America's Largest Special Interest Group?

    1. Bobbie says:

      Very nice write. The last thing any people in America should want to be is a "special interest" and targeting women is wrong!! Sandra Fluke says she speaks for women? She's an embarrassment as women have the dignity to keep those matters personal. She insights women to take the responsibilities the man should be responsible for. The cost of any personal procedure is part of personal responsibilities and since Fluke needs contraception that takes two they can split the cost. Where's the men in all this? A woman doesn't have a reproductive system without one!! If women want to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies then they have to pay their own bills. Government paying our bills only subjects us to government decision making, rules and regulations where women will be in far less control. Look at the respect governments around the world have for the female gender. Including "planned parenthood" in America. What a disgustingly misleading title.

      No one is ever denied contraception. It is freely bought where available which is everywhere. Insurance has every right not to cover it by choice because sexual acts is not a necessity to survive.

      It was the government's promise to reduce costs but they failed that promise purposely and as usual only to take it over! Women, you're being hypocrites drawing attention to something so personal that you want government to take care it? Danger! Government has too many interests that conflict all along, with the understood intent. Lets have some dignity and push the government away!!!! Government will deny much more service than an insurance you're aware of what's covered. Wizen up girls. It's not comforting to see how other countries treat women who are controlled by government authority. Let's not bring it to America. This fluke is danger.

    2. Meghan Clyne has said it right–"Womanhood is thus defined by the desire for unrestricted abortion and free birth control; women themselves are reducible to ovaries.”
      It is in this way that the democrats' so-called war on women is actually demeaning to women and an example of the worst kind of sexism. I don't think the American people (including women) are going to buy it.
      As the democrats bring out more and more leftist speakers the stock market is rising. Perhaps both men and women investors can see that these views do not represent the American people and thus bodes well for Romney's election.

    3. Jose Molinaria says:

      A few things come to mind, first, the war on women extends to the business sectior because of the failure to pass the equal pay act, second, women have the sole discretion to maker reproductive decisions as they are the only people able to carry a child. When men can carry children they can choose thier course, until then its a women's domain, third, the "all men are created equal line" was intended for men as women couldn't own property or vote when that language was drafted.

    4. Imran says:

      'Until we reach the glorious Promised Land of equal success, happiness, and satisfaction, there will always be another “interest group” that the government feels duty-bound to assist. And to that end, the government knows no limit.'

      All parties in all government are, to some extent influenced by groups championing their own ideas. But it does not follow from this that a government will feel duty bound to assist all such groups. In fact, many interest groups trying to affect policy are mutually exclusive since they fall on opposing sides of a debate: whether its arms, reproductive issues or environmental policy.

      This is not just a so-called progressive problem.

    5. Frederick says:

      "why is it a “woman’s right” to have assisted access to contraceptives, federal protection for abortion, and the ability to violate the free conscience of religious institutions?"
      Maybe because we're supposed to be a secular country?

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