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Miscellaneous thoughts on Burton-Auster-McGrew

Readers may be somewhat interested in my and Steve Burton's discussion with Lawrence Auster about the Palin nomination.

Since Auster is away from his computer for today, my most recent response to him won't be posted until some time later, perhaps tomorrow. I also didn't happen to save it as a sent item or a draft, so I don't have those ipsissima verba available. In this post I am going to say just a couple of things I said there, not terribly philosophical, and I hope to put up a post later today squarely on the subject of what it should mean to disapprove of illegimacy.

First, reader Gintas (who has been a commentator on our posts here in the past) implies that talk about men and women as not interchangeable will "set me off." I can't imagine why. I sometimes call myself "Mrs. Eagle Forum." I am one of the most traditional women I know of currently writing on the Internet. I believe in traditional gender roles. I say things deliberately to get people's goats like "The husband should be the head of the home" and "The mother's place is in the home." I defended Auster against hysterical feminist responses to his speculations about the ill effects of the female vote. And I brought up spontaneously on Jeff Culbreath's blog the idea that Sarah Palin would do best to be at home with her own children. But I also said there that I might under some conceivable circumstances (not in this election, because of McCain) vote for her.

In other words, I'm strongly anti-feminist, and Palin is clearly something of a feminist, but that doesn't mean I'd never vote for her. It's not a deal-breaker with me. This seems to me a reasonable enough stance.

The second thing I want to throw in here that I didn't perhaps make clear enough in the earlier exchange with Auster is that I do consider it blameworthy for him to use the unpleasant phrase "knocked up" for Bristol Palin's pregnancy and to try in several different ways to distance the girl from her boyfriend. For example, he has made fun of people who call the boyfriend her fiance, though (the upcoming marriage having been announced to the entire nation) that seems a literal enough term. And he implies that the wedding is not simply hastened by the pregnancy but definitely pushed through for the sake of Palin's political career. At least, that is how I understand him. One could, of course, think that perhaps the young couple had genuine affection and love for one another and were already thinking of marriage when they committed the sin of fornication and that the "shot-gun wedding" is so only in the sense of being hastened because of the pregnancy. One could also think that perhaps the family really is considering what is best for the girl in promoting the marriage and has decided upon consideration that this is best rather than pushing the marriage cynically for the sake of the mother's career. In other words, the impression I get from Auster on this subject is that we have to put the most negative possible interpretation on the whole situation and that any conservative who doesn't do so is to be mocked as a sentimental fool. But that is hardly necessary to any contentful point Auster might have to make about illegitimacy, Palin, or anything else, and while I wouldn't use quite Steve's terms--'shameful' and 'disgusting'--I would say that this sort of uncharitable and unjustified implicit speculation is pointless and deplorable.

More later, I hope, on the subject of illegitimacy.

Comments (30)

Lydia, I stand quite corrected. Maybe I've been conflating you with Mary Jackson over at New English Review?

I know it sounds insulting that I might conflate you with Mary Jackson, but my brain got full when I turned 37, and things are jostling around in there.

I was merciless on Mary Jackson when that whole vote thing came up.

I remember that now.

Forgive me for wanting to "set you off." I was wrong.

'Sokay. If Auster posts my response that I wrote to him this morning, something along the same lines as the above will be there, though already outdated. The way of the Web.

Perhaps Palin is something of a feminist, but considering feminism as its understood in current form, we can use more of her kind of feminism...

You walk into her office and Piper is sitting there, the baby is in the crib -- that's just the way it is. This is how she lives her life. Someone who was in a meeting with her recently said she was discreetly nursing Trig

It's a crying shame for Bristol to be in the national spotlight, but that's Sarah Palin's doing.

But given that it's out there, shouldn't there be some social reprobation of such behavior? And, if so, what forms would it take? What do we tell our children?

Perhaps McCain will have Palin head up a "National Committee on the Disintegration of the Family," the kind of thing VPs get to do, and the kind of thing McCain would do to a conservative in a pickle.

It's very 'shameful' and 'disgusting' that Bristol Palin decided to live up to her mother's Pro-Life principles and keep the baby instead of simply seeking an abortion to cover up the whole affair like all good girls in the United States do.

She deserves a good stoning.

I hope to have a post up later today on the very question of "social reprobation," illegitimacy, etc.

I was discussing it with my teenaged daughter this morning. A short version is that the disgrace should be for sex before marriage rather than per se for getting pregnant. The sin involved is fornication, not fornication-without-a-condom. A baby is in itself a good thing, not a bad thing. In a sense, a baby is the only good thing to come out of fornication, and the sterile, cynical, recreational, ungenerous, and unloving misbehavior being deliberately taught to our children today in the public schools is by far the greater danger to our public morality than the sex before marriage of these two teenagers.

Aristocles, just to clarify, as you wd. see if you read the Auster thread, Steve Burton used the terms 'shameful', etc., for _Auster's_ coverage of the matter. So I think he and you are very much on the same side, here.


What I said is aimed more toward the liberal media that encourages the kind of thought I allude to in my above comments.

I mean, look at how Bristol is being pounded.

It just encourages all the more the notion that, according to today's society, it's more virtuous an act to cover up a pregnancy via an abortion rather than deal with such persecution.

I believe that is the common narrative with most teenage pregnancies that have resulted in an abortion.

In the end, the innocent life is really what suffers in the end.

In spite of Bristol's egregious error in the matter, I believe she has redeemed herself in a way by deciding to keep her baby unlike most other folks who similarly faced the same ordeal -- especially given the nationwide attention (stoning?) she's been enduring as a result.

In other words, I'm strongly anti-feminist, and Palin is clearly something of a feminist, but that doesn't mean I'd never vote for her.

My thoughts precisely. I'm glad there are other people noticing that she isn't June Cleaver.

Well, she is, after all, a devout "Feminist for Life"; not that this matters.

Mr. Auster is now comparing Palin to Ayn Rand's character, Dagny Taggart.

He doesn't mean it as a compliment. I would, but he doesn't.

Anyway, be that as it may, I don't think that the comparison is particularly apt. Ayn Rand was a pro-abortion absolutist, if ever there was one. But Sarah Palin is a *pro-life* absolutist who *actually lives what she believes*, completely and joyously.

It's quite something to see.

Dagny, if I recall correctly, was also completely without sexual morals. Herself. Happily and blatantly. And Rand obviously thought that was very cool, traditional sexual morals being one of the things she believed, in her libertarian heart, we would all be better off without. Someone more unlike Mrs. Palin would be difficult to imagine.

Actually, though, I suppose Auster may _partly_ mean the comparison as a compliment, in the sense that Rand's female protagonist is supposed to be brilliant, beautiful, principled (in her own way), and strong. But there the resemblance ends.

I read an Auster post a few months back advocating a return to segregation. Why does any conservative spend time dialoging with this guy?

I read an Auster post a few months back advocating a return to segregation.
I'd be interested in seeing a link to this.

Therefore I believe that a key to saving our civilization is a renewed sense of collective identity on the part of the white majority. If the majority re-asserted itself as the majority and once again set the tone and standards for our culture; if the majority let blacks know that they are the minority, and that all white racial guilt is over; if the majority let blacks know that we (the majority) far from being guilty, recognize that the minority is very fortunate to be in this country, that we know that the races are different in abilities and that equality of outcome is not in the cards and that we are not going to stand for any more anti-white double standards; if we let them know that we know that blacks are far more violent and specifically dangerous to whites and that we are not going to apologize for knowing this and dealing appropriately with it; if we told blacks that any kind of anti-American black nationalism of the Farrakhan-Wright type is totally unacceptable in this country and will not be tolerated, and that any black persons adhering to that view will be encouraged to leave America and move to Africa; if, further, we dismantled most of the civil rights legislation, leaving in place the 14th Amendment in its original meaning of protecting people's basic human rights and such acceptable parts of the civil rights laws as the public accommodations provisions of the 1964 Civil Right Act; if we allowed local segregation including school segregation to occur naturally again, while still leaving doors of opportunity open to blacks strictly on the same standards as whites, with whites relating to individual blacks on a basis of common humanity and common American citizenship; if, further, the white majority reformed itself morally, eliminating the moral libertarianism of post-1960s America which has been so devastating to blacks, and whites returned to bourgeois-Christian self-restraint and traditional morality, meaning most of all the centrality of marriage, and requiring the same of blacks; if all these things were done, we could have a society with a moral and confident white majority co-existing in peace with a moral and well-behaved--or at least not catastrophically badly behaved--black minority, a society in which the dominant culture would remain predominantly white, and individual blacks could be a part of that culture on the condition that they were good Americans and good citizens.


Let's not get OT, guys. New post gone up above, too.

Norm, I think there's a lot to argue with in the post that you quote - but to describe it as "advocating a return to segregation," *tout court*, is simply unfair.

I'll respect Lydia's wishes and not argue the point. My main concern is the belief that Auster is a time bomb and will discredit many conservatives by association (especially Paleos). Every6one is free to make up their own mind on that.

Norm, do you mean to say that associating with Paleos in general (Auster being a single example) is discrediting to conservatives, or that conservative Paleos associating with Auster would be discredited?

For clarification, I mean to say that paleos associating with Auster are setting themselves up for trouble. I don't view Auster as representative of paleos. He might be in sympathy with paleos on many matters, and some paleos express sympathy with him, but I don't view him as anything near a template that defines paleoconservartism. I can't imagine the sentiments in question coming from Zmirak or Richert or Tom Piatak. Linking to him from takimag bothers me for that reason.

I'm not sure I recommend Takimag as a baseline for credibility. They link to Lew Rockwell, who would call most of us "Fascists."

shouldn't there be some social reprobation of such behavior? And, if so, what forms would it take?

Maybe her parents have already taken care of that.

Here are a couple of Catholic Paleos on the Palin candidacy:

Scott Richert:

John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin to be his running mate was surprising, but the surprise pales in comparison to the reaction of conservative Christians, especially Catholics. In their race to endorse McCain-Palin, they have cast aside any questions about the complementarity of the sexes, or even the late John Paul II’s theology of the body.

But that doesn’t change the decision before us in November. Anyone who votes for John McCain because of Sarah Palin still votes for John McCain, with all that that implies: rabid support for a war that two consecutive popes have condemned; the possible expansion of that war to Iran, and maybe Syria; a new Cold War with Russia; a vow to expand funding of embryonic stem-cell research, including the creation of new lines, which requires the destruction of more embryos; an unwillingness (as McCain repeatedly stated back in 1999) to overturn Roe v. Wade; support for contraception, sex education, and family-planning programs.

Thomas Fleming:

If Ms. Palin is a truly a Christian conservative, she is certainly not a conservative Christian. Christians are supposed to understand the implications of “male and female created He them” and, at the very least, realize that a mother’s primary obligation is not to the taxpayers but to her children and husband. It is all very well to celebrate her prowess as a politician and moose-hunter, but I do not recall these as feminine qualities in the Scriptures. I or we are not saying that we cannot vote for a woman who did not stay home to take care of her family, but only that this decision is incompatible with traditional Christian morality.


Are you certain these folks are actually Catholic?

For instances, this Fleming guy said:

"It is all very well to celebrate her prowess as a politician and moose-hunter, but I do not recall these as feminine qualities in the Scriptures."

Well, I wonder what this guy thinks of such celebrated saintly figures as St. Catherine of Siena and St. Joan of Arc!

I regard it as contemptible that in the middle of a discussion about Sarah Palin, Norm brings up an article of mine on a completely different subject, in order to argue that my views on Palin ought to be ignored and dismissed.

I appreciate the fact that commenters here both rejected Norm's substantive claim about me and pointed out that this is not the time and place to have a discussion about my views of race relations.

Norm or anyone can challenge my ideas about race--when the topic is race.

I'm pretty sure they are Catholic. But, who are you?

I know it sounds insulting that I might conflate you with Mary Jackson

Far from it. At least one of us should be flattered.

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