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Monday, May 17, 2010

 
More On Liberal Values And The Ruth Institute

by tristero

Following up on Digby's post immediately below, I just wanted to add a few comments about Dante Atkins post.

To briefly recap, the Ruth Institute is a "project" of the far-right-pretending-they-are-reasonably-conservative National Organization for Marriage. Since NOM is a rightwing group, their name is, of course, sheer hypocrisy. They are anti-marriage activists and were, for example, a major force in pushing California's odious Proposition Eight as well as many other initiatives that seek to restrict marriage to the Right Kinds of People.

And who are the Right Kinds of People? Well, in their own words, the Ruth Institute, according to a leaked internal memo
...aims to work hand-in-hand with other organizations in the marriage movement to:

Decrease the divorce rate
Increase the marriage rate
Decrease the cohabitation rate & increase the number of children who grow up with both married parents
Reduce the lag time between the age of sexual initiation and the age of first marriage
Maintain at least a replacement-level birth rate, so that the devastation of a European-style "demographic winter" is avoided [emphasis mine]
In other words, the Ruth Institute believes that whites are using so much contraception, they are gay-marrying, and they are aborting so many fetuses that non-whites are in danger of outbreeding them, leading to "the devastating prospect of a European-style 'demographic winter' " - ie, a non-white majority in America.

"Fucking weird sexist, racist shit" is the first phrase that comes to mind upon encountering this. I could say more, but this is a family blog...

Anyway, after Dante exposed the Ruth Institute's hidden agenda, the Head Ruther howled and howled, causing Dante to respond with his eloquent Round Two and Digby's observation that:
[Dante] sets forth the fundamental liberal value --- the freedom to choose your own destiny
which is rarely articulated as part of the public debate over abortion.

To that, I would like to add that the "freedom to choose your own destiny" has historically been an incredibly rare freedom, limited only to the wealthiest. The rich, for example, have always had, and will always have, full, unfettered access to safe abortion on demand, the middle class much less access, while the poor must resort to coathangers and lye. The struggle over abortion rights, in other words, is class warfare, pitting egalitarians against aristocrats. It is no wonder, therefore, that wealthy fiscal conservatives are such enthusiastic proponents of christianists and their efforts to coerce births - or are, at the very least, willing to find common cause with them. They have the same ultimate objectives: preserve and extend the privilege and wealth of upper class whites while limiting privilege and wealth - and freedom - for the rest of us.

I also noticed some interesting micro-rhetoric in The Ruth Institute's rants (longtime readers know that micro-rhetoric is a hobby of mine). A fairly recent trend on the right has been a conscious effort to rebrand feminism and detach it from liberalism. I suppose their market research told them "feminism" has pretty robust positive connotations for most women. For example, notice the following usage in this rant from the Head Ruther :
And I am a sexist, according to Dante, because, “The real mission of the Ruth Institute is to erase the gains that women have made with regard to their social, economic and sexual liberation and ensure that they become baby factories.” Dante evidently has missed the fact that many, many women, are fed up with the sexual revolution, the divorce revolution and all the false promises of Leftist Feminism. The fact is that the trends toward increasing labor force participation for married women and increasing higher education for women were under way well before Betty Friedan ever showed up to steer the whole conversation in the destructive direction that Leftist feminism has taken.
You see? There's now "feminism" and "Leftist Feminism." That creepy accumulation of sibilants, so evocative of the hiss of snakes. And, of course, the SS. The term "Leftist feminism" is all of a piece with the efforts to rebrand the Great Alaskan Grifter (hereafter, GAG*) as some kind of female hero:
Sarah Palin, it is now clear, is a feminist first and a “tea partyer” second.
Using that logic, Dick Cheney is an environmentalist first, an advocate of torture second because he is, after all, deeply concerned about the environment. Concerned about having the "freedom" to rape and pillage the environment, that is.

But I digress. The right has a long history of this kind of co-option and rebranding. Up until about 1993, for instance, the likes of Pat Robertson were called "Fundamentalist Christians." The adjective "Fundamentalist" takes note - perhaps slightly inaccurately - that their particular brand of Christianity was, in fact, a particular brand. But now, through the miracle of marketing, these religious nuts and cynical political opportunists are called simply "Christians," as if Robertson and Dobson and the rest of their Whole Sick Crew were representative of all Christian denominations and beliefs.

I'd also like to draw attention to the use of "Ruth" in the Ruth Institute name, which - biblical references to the side - is quite obviously a conscious attempt to create an oral pun with "truth." What next, Swift Boat Veterans for Ruth? For those naifs amongst you who think that's a bit of a rhetoric stretch, I'd like to remind you their extraordinary turn of phrase, "the devastation of a European-style 'demographic winter.' "Rarely have I encountered such a carefully honed and perverse euphemism for white supremacism, racist hate, and bigoted hatred.

Make no mistake: The Ruth Institute, like the mis-named National Organization for Marriage, is both ruthless and truthless in their pursuit of a racist, sexist agenda.


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