Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Political Dilemma Of The Liberal Woman


From Stanford University "Encyclopedia Of Philosophy":

Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. However, there are many different kinds of feminism. Feminists disagree about what sexism consists in, and what exactly ought to be done about it; they disagree about what it means to be a woman or a man and what social and political implications gender has or should have. Nonetheless, motivated by the quest for social justice, feminist inquiry provides a wide range of perspectives on social, cultural, and political phenomena. Important topics for feminist theory and politics include: the body, class and work, disability, the family, globalization, human rights, popular culture, race and racism, reproduction, science, the self, sex work, and sexuality.
We presume that Feminists are radical, leftist, man-hating, child-spurning, career-focused women based on the Gloria Steinem model. But that is like defining black Americans by using Louis Farrakhan as the model.
Yesterday, Sarah Palin stepped into the national scene and created the news story of the year... even eclipsing Barack Obama's nomination for president. Certainly, for 10% of the U.S. population, nothing could be more important than Obama's nomination. But for 50%+ of the population, this represented the future... and it wasn't because there was legislation calling for "fair play."
Here, at last, was America's potential "Maggie Thatcher." A strong, intelligent, independent, successful woman, who appears to put principle ahead of expedience, being selected to run for Vice President of the U.S.
This is the new model for Feminists.
How's that? The old Feminist required a rejection of men and family and the creation of a female oligopoly to allow women to rise to power. But over the decades since Ms. Steinem's preachings were popular, women have learned to become CEOs and governors and community leaders while not rejecting the rest of what has traditionally made life fulfilling.
Now comes a woman who has embraced the "non-Feminist" traditions of family, children, home, husband... and then gone beyond to become the head of a state, the owner of a business, one who stands up to big business and big government alike. She represents the woman who can go beyond the Steinem model of self-focus to the woman who becomes a leader of both women and men.
So why is this a dilemma for liberal women? Simply stated: it forces them to face a new reality... a change which they were not expecting or for which they were not prepared to embrace: being a Feminist does not mean rejecting a large part of life to have another; being a Feminist does not mean embracing radical political solutions to ensure personal success; being a Feminist does not mean rejecting faith or philosophies of responsibility.
Gloria Steinem's message was that you can have it all as long as you give up some of it. Sarah Palin's message is that you can have it all... if you are strong enough.
Liberal women are now faced with that dilemma. Do they turn their backs on the old model that has offered so much reinforcement and do they recognize that the world has passed that model by and they are allowed to celebrate the success of the New Feminist Model? Or will they remain locked into a 50-year old message?

I suspect for many, accepting that change will be asking too much. But for some, it will be a revelation that success has more than one definition. They may not agree with some of Sarah Palin's choices and philosophy... specifically her reproductive choices and philosophy. But that's not the central point.
The central point is that Sarah Palin has made her personal choices based on personal principles and has not allowed personal convenience or expedience to override those principles.

The central question is then whether liberal women, holding dear the principle that women should be treated as equals in all things, can vote for a woman who, in principle, agrees with that, lives that, and has achieved that... and who has accepted the personal consequences of her principles and her personal choices... even if it means they must change old affiliations?

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“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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- O. Henry
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)