Recently a friend said to me that he wanted to know what the conservative woman’s perspective was. I really didn’t know what to answer. I’m sure I don’t know.
Not that I’m not a conservative woman; I am. But he made me think about that a lot. How do I make decisions? Upon what do I base my opinions? How do I reach my conclusions when I talk politics?
In the course of the conversation, I mentioned that I don’t filter things through my ovaries. I read the same things other conservatives do, men and women. I apply (mostly, anyway) the same logic that men do when arguing a point; at least I think my brain mostly runs the same processes. I am pretty sure I adhere to the same principles, but I was forced to try to set them down to be sure:
Life is Sacred – have a fundamental respect for life at all stages, as everyone is important
Speech Is Sacred – more speech, not less, is better for everyone – even offensive speech
Stuff Is Sacred – my stuff is my stuff; go earn your own stuff
The Golden Rule – don’t be an ass; give what you want to get back
Own It – if you made the mess – personally, politically, professionally – clean it up
Pay For It – freedom costs something – lives, money, time – accept the cost and pay the bill
Liberty = Chaos – accept that others will make personal choices you don’t like
Is there anything particularly masculine or feminine about those items? Is there anything there that a conservative man couldn’t agree with? I really don’t think so. It’s probably not an exhaustive list, but it’s certainly the top set of values I use when thinking about the issues.
This is why feminism puzzles me. The Left loves to build these tribal structures as constituencies; women, gays, varying minorities, union workers, the poor, environmentalists… the list goes on. They’ve crafted that coalition together in a grievance union of sorts. But I’ve never been able to think that way.
Take the birth control debate of 2012. Left logic says I should be for free birth control for women because I am one. Doubly so because I had a child out of wedlock. Triply so because I spent time in the welfare system. But if I look at those principles above, I find violations of several. For instance, free birth control isn’t free – someone has to pay for it. But Stuff is Sacred – so if the government uses force (via taxes) to take my stuff to give it to others, they violated my principle. Additionally, women should Own It – they should be responsible for themselves.
The great thing about that conversation was that it made me work out my thinking and clarify it. I can use that clarity in future discussions, and invite more conversations that challenge me. But I guess the other thing I can say is that I still don’t know what the conservative woman thinks, but I do know what I believe, and how it shapes my thinking, and that will have to be good enough.