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The Big Answer


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Beyond Gender: The New Politics of Work and Family

a book by Betty Friedan

(our site's book review)

She says that “There is no realizable dream of community if there are just these warring separate ‘corporate’ interests and government.” She bemoans the factionalized, polarized, special-interests mentality of American life and politics, claiming that: “Women and older people are not ‘special interests.’” These are our people, our families, our lives. These are not a THEY. These people are US and WE. She quotes the Tofflers saying that society isn’t moving away from family and community, but just away from Second Wave types and towards Third Wave types of families and communities. Also, that: “We need to invent social institutions for the Third Wave.”

Unfortunately, she climbed on the political salvationism bandwagon with the rest of the liberals and uttered this cliche as well: “We need a new political movement in America that puts the lives and interests of people first. It can’t be done by separate, single-issue movements now, and it has to be political, to protect and translate our new empowerment with a new vision of community . . .” Of course she’s right that politics should put the lives and interests of people first. (Clinton and Gore published a book just prior to their being elected in 1992 entitled Putting People First.)

But political reality simply isn’t like that, and probably never will be. It’s about money and special interests and duplicitous behavior from those we elect. The actions of the elected are determined by money and that’s the essence of politics. It’s one of the main reasons that it is futile to expect the political programs to “save” the society or any segment of society. It makes sense to vote for the politicians who will support the Third Wave societal vision, but beyond that, it’s time that liberals realize that politics is reactive and led, not proactive and leading. It will not fix or save anything about our lives. We are responsible to do that.

Politicians will not fix or save anything about our lives. We are responsible to do that
Politicians will not fix or save anything about our lives. We are responsible to do that.

In times past—such as the early 1900s and before—everyone knew this. These days—not so much. Politicians survive by presenting a facade of being for the people and representing their interests while they're actually representing their own interests and the interests of various special interests. Think of what they say they'll do for us versus what they actually accomplish. Think of the actions the people want and need from Congress and compare these to what they actually do. This explains why the vast majority of the public are fed up with an impotent Congress making excuses for massive failures. No, you'll never see these people fixing or saving anything about our lives. We alone are responsible to do that. How? See the MC movement info.

We need a solution that satisfies both sides, that empowers both responsibility and compassion, that transcends the right-left continuum, and that comes from individual choice, not tax-and-spend social engineering
We need a solution that satisfies both sides, that empowers both responsibility and compassion, that transcends the right-left continuum, and that comes from individual choice, not tax-and-spend social engineering

Politics needs to support equality of opportunity—the true essence of the American Dream. But the social engineers have warped that into politics supporting equality of outcome, which is just another one of the socialist ideas of the tax-and-spend liberals. It destroys initiative, entrepreneurship, innovation, self-sufficiency, independence, responsibility and self-respect while it engenders dependence and entitlement mentality. It creates victimhood and selfishness, while damping community spirit.

Politics has degenerated into a big whorehouse, with both elections and policies being up for sale
Politics has degenerated into a big whorehouse, with both elections and policies being up for sale

When people are obsessed with enhancing their entitlements, they cease caring about what happens to the other guy—their neighbors. They vote with their pocketbooks, not their minds. Democracy is threatened and politics degenerates into a big whorehouse. Liberals are right about equal opportunity, but conservatives are right about individual responsibility and the need to avoid relying on politicians for our answers.

If everyone votes with their pocketbooks, society degenerates into hogs at the trough fighting over pig slop
If everyone votes with their pocketbooks, society degenerates into hogs at the trough fighting over pig slop

Our best thinkers are calling for grassroots movements and community revamping by the people to effect the needed change, not reliance on political salvationism. Look at all the good the modern feminist movement (which Friedan launched) has done. Notice how the movement’s attitudes and ideas came first, and the politics came later. It’s the same for other issues.

The people must take the lead. The politicians will eventually follow since they're reactive, never proactive. Friedan is understandably impatient for the politicians to get their act together. But liberal talk about “. . . a basic restructuring of our economy is needed now—countering the income inequality” that expects a political solution that will do more good than harm—in spite of the historical record about such things—is not the answer. Part of her book seems to realize this, acknowledging our need for community and community action instead of reliance on government bureaucracies. But few feminists pass up an opportunity to toot the political salvationist horn, and she is no exception.

Few feminists pass up an opportunity to toot the political salvationist horn, and Betty Friedan is no exception
Few feminists pass up an opportunity to toot the political salvationist horn, and Betty Friedan is no exception