Once again, a public figure who claims to stand for “Christian” morals and “family values” gets caught up in a sordid scandal. Until he resigned, Josh Duggar ran the Family Research Council, a designated anti-gay hate group that has repeatedly accused gays of pedophilia and child sexual abuse. Duggar’s parents are also known for calling LGBT people a threat to child safety.
So what did Duggar’s parents and other “family values” conservatives do after it came to light that he, himself sexually assaulted his younger siblings and children from another family? They first covered up their son’s sexual abuse, and are now urging their fans and followers to forgive him. Furthermore, allegations of Duggar’s crimes have been circulating the web since 2006. That’s when Oprah Winfrey’s production team got wind of it and cancelled an upcoming show with the Duggar family. They also notified the Dept. of Human Services hotline, which led to an investigation by the Springdale, Ark. Police Dept.
Yet, just about everyone who’s anyone in the GOP and the conservative “family values” movement still wanted the blessings of the Duggar family and a photo with Duggar to prove their bonafides. So what do conservatives really mean when they talk about “family values?” Obviously, they’re not talking about what’s good for American families.
I also want to take a moment to note: I have friends and acquaintances who are evangelical Christians. Their views, family dynamics, parenting and politics are nothing like what I describe in this article.
What Do Right-Wingers REALLY Mean By “Family Values?”
In Salon, Dianna Anderson ventures that purity culture and “family values” are really about conservatives feeling threatened by the civil rights and women’s rights movements in the 1960’s and 1970’s. They want to go back to the halcyon days of the ’50’s: We don’t mean the 1950’s, we’re talking about the 1850’s, back when women and black people knew their place, couldn’t vote, and didn’t go around demanding equal rights and equal pay and sh*t.
The Supreme Court’s Virginia v. Loving (1968, interracial marriage) and Roe v. Wade (1973, abortion) decisions especially amped up the Christian Right’s fear factor. In reference to Mike Huckabee’s bizarre comments about Beyonce’s husband Jay-Zee “pimping” her for what Huckabee saw as Beyonce’s too-sexy performance at the 2013 MTV Video Awards, Anderson explains how Christian “purity culture” evolved from the pearl-clutching terror evoked by racial and gender equality and the “threat of black men to white women’s purity.”
Through this narrative, the purity movement as we know it today developed – full of True Love Waiting and abstinence-only education and purity balls. The threat of black men to white women’s purity is still a ghoulish nightmare in the minds of white evangelicals of the 1980s, when Falwell’s Moral Majority rose to power and when Huckabee was most active as a pastor in Arkansas. The cultural wars, imbued with the memory of the civil rights battle just a few years before, were the training ground for Huckabee’s pastoral and theological thinking.
The following photos show quotes on key right-wing concepts from 16 prominent “family values” conservatives who posed with Josh Duggar or his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle.
16. “Family Values.”
Josh Duggar @Joshduggar Jan. 21 Good to catch up with @govjebbush this morning in DC.
Josh Duggar and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
When conservatives talk about “family values,” they really mean a two-parent family headed by a man and cared for by a submissive wife. But in public, they’ll just wring their hands and cry crocodile tears over the plight of single mothers.
“It’s really important to recognize that family life in America has changed pretty dramatically. For the first time in American history there are fewer married women than unmarried women in the age cohort that’s measured. We’ve had dramatic increases in out-of-wedlock birth rates. Every study that I’ve seen suggests that if a young woman doesn’t have a child before she’s married and she can defer marriage [until] she’s 25 and can graduate from high school, the chance of her living in poverty is dramatically reduced, and similarly with men.”
— Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a 2013 interview with NewsMax.
Seriously, these right-wing “Christians” just want these single moms to get married and stay married, no matter how abusive, high-maintenance, incompatible or deadbeat their baby daddies are.
In her No Longer Quivering blog, Vyckie Garrison writes that in Quiverfull families like Josh Duggar’s, the father is the head of the family, and responsible for their spiritual well-being.
“God works through the father and he serves as an intermediary for his wife and children. Honor, obedience and submission are highly valued qualities because they are necessary to maintain order and work together to accomplish the Lord’s vision for a godly family.”
When something goes wrong in a family, the father is seen as failing to protect them. That — along with rejection of psychiatry, the social sciences, and the outside world in general — keeps families like the Duggars from seeking or accepting help.
15. “Instilling Values” In Children.
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · May 6 It’s an honor to spend time w/ @DrJamesCDobson @ShirleyDobson today at the @NDPTF — what a great blessing they are!
Josh Duggar with Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, and Shirley Dobson.
“Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.”
— Focus on the Family’s James Dobson (as cited in various quote collections)
Please note that Josh Duggar’s now-former employer, the Family Research Institute, was part of Dobson’s Focus on the Family until it split off in 1992. The FRC has been designated as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law center.
Of course “family values” movement conservatives love their children. But instead of accepting them as who they are as individuals and raising them to become their best possible selves, fundamentalist Christians strictly train and discipline their children to be part of a highly rigid family structure and belief system.
For children in families like the Duggars, the authoritarian child-raising experience starts with “blanket training.” The mother puts her baby on a blanket and tells him to stay. If he crawls off, she spanks him on the leg and puts him back on the blanket until he learns stay still. Patheos blogger Libby Anne was raised in an ultra-“Christian” family and explains:
“Authoritarian discipline shuts off questions and leaves little room for children to explore. The emphasis on obedience overrides anything else…”
Furthermore, in large families like the Duggars, the older children are expected to help raise the younger ones. This goes beyond mere babysitting and — as happened with the girls Josh Duggar sexually assaulted — can lead to disaster.
14. “God’s Plan” For Women.
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · Nov 2 #iStandSunday w/ @DavidDBenham @JasonBBenham @BeardlessBro @toddstarnes @Anna_Duggar @lisarobAlan #PhilRobertson
Josh Duggar and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson.
Fundamentalist “family values” Christians claim “God’s plan” for men and women demands they adhere to rigidly-defined gender roles. They insist these roles are “separate but equal,” but ask any black person who lived in the Jim Crow era how “separate but equal” works out. Naturally, “God’s plan” for women is for them to keep house, raise the children, and be obedient to their husbands. Or, as Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson explains more succinctly:
“If your woman picks your ducks, and she cooks and carries her Bible… now there’s the complete package of womanhood.”
— Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, 2013 interview with Parade magazine.
Oh, but to find a woman like that, you’ve got to grab ’em while they’re still hot young girls. Otherwise, they might get too hard to train, or too ornery to give a crap about your damned ducks.
“Look, you wait ’til they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16. They’ll pick your ducks.”
— Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, as recorded on video and reported by CNN.
In Quiverfull families like the Duggars, “God’s will” for women gets taken to an even greater extreme. As Garrison explains on No Longer Quivering:
“Quiverfull ~ is the idea that truly godly families will “trust the Lord” with their family planning. Children are viewed as unmitigated blessings (“As arrows in the hand of the mighty man, so are the children of ones youth, happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them”) and as such, the couple is willing to have as many children as the Lord chooses to bless them with.”
That’s right. Women are expected to just keep whelping out children, never mind the toll it takes on a woman’s health and sanity, not to mention the finances of families who aren’t as well-off as the Duggars.
13. The “Right To Life.”
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · Oct 1 Great to see conservative leader/Kansas Governor @govsambrownback tonight. #KS @FRCAction
Josh Duggar and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback.
“Unborn children do not have a voice, but they are young members of the human family. It is time to look at the unborn child, and recognize that it is really a young human, who can feel pain and should be treated with care.”
— Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback introducing an anti-choice bill as a U.S. senator in 2004.
In Josh Duggar’s bizarro fundie-world, fetuses have a right to life, but women, infants and children can go f*ck themselves. Like Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, “family values” conservatives go on and on about the sanctity of life within the womb, but exhibit no such reverence towards these little lives — or those of their mothers — once they’re born.
Does Brownback and his fellow “Christians” care about the “pain” children “feel” when they go to bed hungry at night because his state cut 20,000 people from its food stamps program? We doubt it.
12. “Punishment” And Discipline.
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · May 6 Great meeting today w @SenTedCruz. He always conveys passion for America & the importance of faith, family & freedom!
Josh Duggar and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“I am pleased that Attorney General Holder has decided to seek the death penalty in the case against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It is crucial that the United States send a message across the world that terrorists who seek to attack our homeland and bring harm to our citizens will be brought to justice and receive the severest punishment under our laws. My continued prayers are with the victims impacted by the attack at the Boston Marathon last year.”
— Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Jan. 2014 statement on seeking the death penalty for Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Clearly, “family values” conservatives only care about the “right to life” when it comes to controlling women’s bodies and depriving them of the same freedom to plan their families and pursue their careers that men enjoy. How else can you explain the ghoulish relish with which “pro-life” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and other right-wingers embrace the death penalty?
Conservatives tend to favor harsh punishments, even — maybe even especially — when it comes to “disciplining” their own children. Gawker notes that while investigating Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse, police spoke with an unnamed Duggar child who says the parents spank them with a rod (though, according to the child’s statement on the report, not hard enough to leave any bruises). On some level, the Duggars must know that hitting your child with a rod or spanking a baby on the leg is not acceptable. After all, nobody’s ever seen them do it on their show.
Photo of Bill Gothard and Jim Bob Duggar: Gothard’s ATI and the Duggar Family’s Secrets By Homeschoolers Anon @HomeschoolAnon The Duggar family’s involvement in Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute (ATI) homeschool program adds complexities to this story which are unknown to the average person. The underlying princi…
Bill Gothard and Josh Duggar’s father Jim Bob together at an ATI conference in Texas. via Homeschoolers Anon/Twitter.
Meet Bill Gothard, founder of the Advanced Training Institute (ATI), which developed the “Bible-based” homeschool curriculum the Duggars use. Last year, he resigned because over 30 women have come forward to accuse Gothard of sexual abuse. The incidents date back to the 1970’s and are posted on Recovering Grace, a blog and online community for people harmed by Gothard’s teachings. Yet, Gothard’s got lots of toxic advice on what to do when sexual abuse occurs in the home, and despite the allegations, “family values” Christians just adore Gothard.
Gothard’s “advice” on dealing with sexual abuse in a family includes includes blaming the parents:
What teaching could have been given to each child to resist evil? What factors in the home contributed to immodesty and temptation?
— Bill Gothard/ATI’s handouts on handling “Moral Failures in a Family” via Gawker.
…And blaming the victims:
Why did God let it happen? • Result of defrauding by: Immodest dress; • Indecent exposure; • Being out from protection of our parents; • Being with evil friends?
— Bill Gothard/ATI’s handouts on handling “Moral Failures in a Family” and “Counseling Sexual Abuse,” via Gawker.
Strangely, none of these handouts (which you can see for yourself on Gawker) mention anything about the perpetrator being at fault. The main reason why some fundamentalists believe girls and women should dress modestly is because they believe men are depraved beasts who just can’t help themselves. Which should make any rational human being wonder why God puts these depraved beasts in charge of their families’ spiritual well-being, but who are we to question the Lord’s strange and mysterious ways.
“Family values” Christians like the Duggars homeschool their children to “protect” them from “bad influences” from the outside world. Unfortunately, this kind of isolation also protects abusers inside the home. And if you’re one of those people who believes children have a right to an education, forget that…It’s a pretty safe bet that ATI homeschool kids won’t learn about evolution.
The web is strewn with powerful blog posts from adults who grew up with ATI’s creepy “family values” curriculum, and few have anything nice to say about it. Former ATI victim Suzanne Calulu — who also grew up in a Quiverfull family — writes that Gothard’s materials amount to “spiritual abuse.” She adds that “the ATI curriculum is a system that wounds children who have emotions and fail to live up to the holiness standard, all in the name of God.”
10. “Legitimate Rape.”
KOMU 8 News @KOMUnews 16 Oct 2012 The Duggar Family is in Osage beach to support Todd Akin. Via/@Amyefenton
The Duggar family campaigning for former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) while running for Senate in 2012. Photo: KOMU 8 News/Twitter with official Congress photo (inset).
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
— Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.ron) as a U.S. Senate Candidate on the St. Louis Fox Affiliate’s the Jaco Report.
Speaking of “family values,” what kind of man would believe someone’s mother, wife, sister or daughter deserved to get raped because she wasn’t “watchful” enough or somehow tempted her rapist? Yet it’s no coincidence that “family values” conservatives like Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) keep making bizarre and inappropriate comments about “legitimate rape” or “honest rape.”
On RHRealityCheck, Dianna E. Anderson explains how purity culture is “an elaborate form of rape culture.” In part, purity culture encourages abuse because of the morbid obsession with girls’ and women’s virginity, and also because girls and women never have any right (or “agency,” as Anderson puts it) to their own bodies.
When it comes to anything sexual, females are not allowed to say yes. But because of their strict upbringings, lack of autonomy, and lack of sexual education, they also lack the ability to say “no” to an abuser. Especially an authority figure like an older brother. Or, as Andersen elaborates:
“If they say yes before marriage, they are tempting Jezebels, luring men off the path of glory; if they say no after marriage, they are frigid, selfish wives who will be at fault if their husband strays.”
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · Aug 10 Thanks for saying hello in Iowa, always great to see you @GovernorPerry! #FLS2014 @FRCAction @theFAMiLYLEADER
Josh Duggar and Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
“The fact is there is forgiveness for those who seek God. And I believe in the power of redemption.”
— Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign suspension speech.
When former Texas Gov. Rick Perry suspended his presidential campaign and endorsed Newt Gingrich, he asked his supporters to “forgive” Gingrich’s philandering, scandal-plagued former opponent’s, erm, indiscretions. The problem with “forgiveness” among evangelicals — as Gingrich’s wives may have learned the hard way — is that if you don’t forgive you come across as bitter and “unforgiving.”
When “family values” Christians screw up, we often feel moved when sinners like Josh Duggar apologize and plead for forgiveness. Alas, “forgiveness” means nothing when the victims are not allowed to refuse. As Kathryn Brightbill points out, the sin and repentance narrative given by the Duggars is not about remorse: “It’s a statement designed to silence the victims.”
“Josh doesn’t want you talking about his victims, he doesn’t want you focusing on the five prepubescent children he molested. No, he wants you to talk about how sorry he is.”
8. “Personal Responsibility.”
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · May 16 Great to visit w/ my friend @GovMikeHuckabee this morning in DC. Thankful to have his voice on the #2016 stage!
Josh Duggar with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ […] No one needs to defend Josh’s actions as a teenager, but the fact that he confessed his sins to those he harmed, sought help, and has gone forward to live a responsible and circumspect life as an adult is testament to his family’s authenticity and humility.”
— Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee defending Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse on Facebook, 2015.
Not all “family values” Christians have forgiven Josh Duggar for sexually abusing his sisters. To his credit, Rick Santorum proves that old adage about even a broken clock being right twice a day by saying he is “sickened” and “prays for those girls.”
Yet Josh Duggar’s defenders — like Mike Huckabee — keep bringing up the theme of “personal responsibility.” Huckabee insists that we should forgive Josh Duggar, because he and his family have “taken responsibility” by admitting to his crime, (not) seeking help, and living a “responsible life” as an adult (as far as we know).
Conservatives love talking about “personal responsibility.” But really, all “taking personal responsibility” means to these “family values” Christians is “not collecting welfare.” If you’re a white male, they don’t care what you do, as long as you wave the flag, praise Jesus, and pay your own way.
Like many fundamentalist “family values” Christians, Quiverfull families like the Duggars strongly believe in “personal responsibility” and “self-reliance.” That means no personal debt and certainly no help from the government. And yes, that means Quiverfull wives whose husbands don’t earn as much as Jim Bob Duggar have a rough time of it. On Alternet, Vyckie Garrison explains how, as a Quiverfull wife, she had seven children in 16 years, was perpetually pregnant and/or nursing, and felt constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. in a post on her blog, No Longer Quivering, Garrison also describes the privations of a Quiverfull family embracing “personal responsibility” and not accepting any help from government programs.
[A]doption of this ideal often leads to financial hardship and deprivation in large families. In order to achieve financial independence, a QF/P family will often move to a rural location or live in sub-standard housing. Wives often operate businesses out of their home, often employing the children to help with the work, in order to supplement the husband’s income. Refusal of government assistance sometimes means that these families go without medical insurance ~ a situation which can influence the parents to choose “natural remedies,” home birth, and similar non-medical approaches to family health.
Oh, and Garrison also mentions how four of her high-risk “home births” became emergency C-sections. Yikes.
Josh Duggar with Rand Paul.
Josh Duggar with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) via Instagram.
“And when the time is right, I hope that African Americans will again look to the party of emancipation, civil liberty, and individual freedom.”
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in a 2013 speech at Howard University.
“Family values” conservatives love waving the flag and crowing about “freedom.” And faux-Libertarian Sen. Rand Paul is particularly fond of expounding on the blessings of freedom. Unfortunately, the only “freedom” they seem to care about is the “freedom” to treat others unfairly and discriminate against them.
They want the “freedom” to imprison their wives and children within the walls and fences of their compounds. They want the “freedom” to mentally, spiritually, and physically abuse their children while denying them the education they need to function in wider society. They want the “freedom” to deny gays the right to marry, raise children, make medical decisions for incapacitated partners, and inherit each other’s property. They want the “freedom” to terrorize and discriminate against black people and other people of color.
Of course, many fundamentalist Christians are not racist. And of course, many fundamentalist parents send their kids to public schools, do not use corporal punishment, and practice more flexibility in terms of gender roles. Yet these ‘family values” Christians still support politicians and public policies that are specifically designed to enable abuse behind closed walls and discrimination right out in the open.
6. “Free Market Capitalism” And American Exceptionalism.
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · Jan 22 It was great to see my friend @Reince at the @March_for_Life today! Thx @GOP for standing for life! @FRCAction
Josh Duggar and Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.
“Free enterprise, individual opportunity, limited government. They made America great; only they can keep America strong.”
— RNC Chair Reince Priebus at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
“Family values” conservatives like Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Reince Priebus love waxing lyrical over how “great” America is, and how “free enterprise,” “individual opportunity,” and “limited government” made it that way. But really, our country was built on the backs of slaves and the blood of Native Americans, and it’s not so great. As Tim Wise from Alternet writes about white America’s response to the protests in Baltimore:
We are here because of blood, and mostly that of others; here because of our insatiable and rapacious desire to take by force the land and labor of those others. We are the last people on Earth with a right to ruminate upon the superior morality of peaceful protest. We have never believed in it and rarely practiced it. Rather, we have always taken what we desire, and when denied it we have turned to means utterly genocidal to make it so.
Have you ever wondered why conservative “solutions” always seem to involve “accountability” for things their victims have no control over? Such as holding public school teachers “accountable” for their students’ test scores without addressing the students’ poverty or cultural bias in the test questions; or holding welfare recipients “accountable” for finding work, even though their communities either lack jobs that pay a living wage or lack jobs entirely.
Chalk it all up to Calvinism, a 400+-year-old theological doctrine that still has an immense influence on modern-day American Protestantism. “Family values” conservatives claim they want to find solutions for poverty because most of us believe our government should solve problems and alleviate suffering. But deep down, they believe in predestination: God has a plan for us, has already decided who is saved and who is not, and it is not up to us to interfere. If people are poor, sick and hungry, God wants it that way, so why bother. Nonetheless, people at least want their neighbors to think they’re saved, so they’ll try to look as prosperous as possible while acting all cheerful, industrious and sanctimonious.
Why anyone would want anything to do with such a horrible, mean and abusive patriarch of a sky God is beyond me, but to each his or her own.
5. “Persecution” Of Christians.
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · May 10 Happy Birthday to my friend @RickSantorum — I appreciate your courage standing for truth!
Josh Duggar, perennial presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.).
When I say things like ‘Marriage should be between one man and one woman,’ I’m called a bigot.
— Rick Santorum, 2005 NPR interview on his book, “It Takes A Family.”
Poor Rick Santorum. Every time the eternal POTUS candidate and former GOP senator from Pennsylvania says bigoted things against gay people, someone has the nerve to call him a bigot. And every time “family values” Christians try to take away gay people’s right to marry, women’s right to use birth control and decide whether or not they want to have a baby, and non-white, non-Christians’ civil rights, these so-called Christians howl about how we are persecuting them.
“Purity culture” — like that of the Duggars — takes a highly limited view of what constitutes “moral” sex. Any sex that takes place outside of marriage between one man and one woman is considered to be “immoral.” Fundamentalist Christians like the Duggars see little difference between premarital sex, extra-marital sex, bestiality, gay sex, or pedophilia…In their black and white world, all these forms of non-marital sex seem immoral. That may explain why they constantly — and bizarrely — equate gay sex to bestiality and pedophilia.
Because liberals are okay with premarital, gay, bisexual, polyamorous and other forms of sex, “family values” right-wingers think we have no sexual morals. Of course, that’s not true. In Patheos, Libby-Anne points out that the key component for liberal sexual morality is consent, not what “God” considers to be “allowable.” Therefore, pedophilia, rape and bestiality are immoral to liberals because the victim hasn’t given or cannot give consent. Unfortunately, people who are raised in a right-wing authoritarian culture and belief system may not have a full grasp of the concept of consent.
4. “Second Amendment Rights.”
osh Duggar @joshduggar Jan 20 Great job on the @GOP response to #SOTU delivered by Iowa’s junior Senator @joniernst! @FRCAction
Josh Duggar and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
“I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere. But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”
— Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) while campaigning at a 2012 NRA event.
For all fundamentalist “family values” Christians go on about how much they love Jesus Christ, they also have a fondness for their guns. This may be rooted in their observance of the Old Testament and Mosaic Law. To heck with Jesus “turning the other cheek,” they’re more down with the “eye for an eye” thing. As conservative writer Dave French writes in the National Review:
[It] has always been clear that human life is precious — so precious, in fact, that throughout time God has mandated the ultimate penalty for unlawful killing. Among God’s first words to Noah after the Flood subsided was this declaration of the importance of human life and the price paid for spilling human blood: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
That’s right. The reason why fundamentalist Christians think having guns in the home is ideal — despite all the children who tragically die in accidental shootings every year — is because they place such a high value on human life. Go figure. Never mind that our Founding Fathers originally ratified the Second Amendment so plantation owners could quickly mobilize the local crackers to put down slave rebellions. We want MOAR GUNS!
3. “Big Government” Vs. “Small Government.”
Josh Duggar @joshduggar May 19 Great meeting today w/ @ScottWalker! He has a very passionate vision for America #OurAmericanRevival #2016
Josh Duggar with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
“I hate big government, but I really hate a government that doesn’t work. So when ‘they say we either have to raise taxes or cut core services,’ it’s actually a ‘false choice.’”
— Scott Walker in a 2012 live stream with World Net Daily (WND).
So, why do “family values” conservatives love “Small Government” so much? After all, the rise of “Big Government” in mid-century America ushered in the greatest era of broadly-shared prosperity known to mankind. What could possibly be better for families and individual freedom than having the financial wherewithal for your pursuit of happiness?
Salon‘s Brittney Cooper blames it on right-wingers’ hatred of the civil rights movement and U.S. Federal Government programs for lifting blacks out of poverty and providing them with education, economic and other opportunities.
Black freedom & opportunity in America has always required the very federal intervention the right wants to destroy. Any discussion of welfare or public assistance in this country is rife with dog whistles from the right toward the lower elements of their base, who in Pavlovian fashion, respond to code words about welfare and public assistance by conjuring images of the undeserving Black and Brown poor.
The feds also offered similar programs to other minorities and disadvantaged groups, including women and impoverished rural whites, but conservative political leaders don’t care. They’re willing to screw their own in order to keep blacks from getting ahead.
2. Climate Change.
Josh Duggar with Sarah Palin.
Josh Duggar with Sarah Palin.
A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.
Sarah Palin denies climate change is caused by humans while campaigning with John McCain in 2008, as reported by Think Progress.
As failed 2008 VP candidate and famous-for-being-famous Sarah Palin points out, “a changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state.” Yet she’s still in denial about climate change being caused by human activity, namely our incessant burning of oil, coal and natural gas. Luckily for the big fossil fuel companies, Christian fundamentalism and the resulting climate change denial is highly advantageous for them.
For “family values” voters, human-made climate change — like evolution — is “just a theory.” Never mind that oil and coal-related chemical spills, explosions, and pollution aren’t good for families and children. Never mind that our children’s and grandchildren’s future families need some dry land to live on. “Family values” lawmakers will keep that Big Energy money rolling in by continuing to deny climate change exists.
1. “School Choice.”
Josh Duggar @joshduggar · Sep 26 [email protected] & @DavidLimbaugh, two great Americans! #VVS14 @FRCAction
Josh Duggar and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“It’s time to update traditional public schools, charter schools, home schools, online schools and parochial schools. Let the dollars follow the child instead of forcing the child to follow the dollars, so that every child has the opportunity to attain an education.”
— Bobby Jindal in a 2012 interview with CNN.
“Family values” conservatives like Louisiana Gov. Jindal talk a good game about “school choice” and “opportunities.” But make no mistake, what they clearly want is public funding for religious education…with no strings attached. This way, less well-off fundamentalist Christians can afford their toxic “bible-based” homeschool materials just like the Duggars.
Any time you hear a Republican talk about “choice,” that’s usually code for “crappy options that you won’t be able to afford unless you’re rich.” This especially applies when it comes to education and “school choice.” They talk about how they want all families to get vouchers that they can send their kids to any school they want. Alas, school vouchers don’t cover the cost of private schools and hence don’t provide much “choice”…unless what you happen to “choose” is a homeschool curriculum.
The link between poverty and poor school performance is well known. If right-wingers really cared about kids getting a good education, they’d make sure every school had adequate funding and that all children had adequate food, housing, healthcare and after school/vacation care. While homeschooling provides a good option for many children and families, an unsupervised program can also isolate the children and create conditions for abuse. For children from abusive households, schools are often the only places where they can get the help they so desperately need.
If They Really Cared About Families…
Slate’s Natalie Hopkinson declares that if we actually care about families, then we “need to create policies for the families we have, not the families we wish we had.” Patriarchal, two-parent families formed by marriage between a man and a woman, with labor divided by gender are a thing of the past, and that may very well be a good thing. Alas, Republicans (and many Democrats) still dwell in a past that wasn’t nearly as wonderful as it seems. If “family values” conservatives really cared about families, they’d do a host of things to help lift single parent families out of poverty, like raising the minimum wage, expanding welfare, and increasing funds for education. But of course, they’ll do no such thing.