24.1.11

PROCESS, NUANCE, FAILURE.  Kay Hymowitz of City Journal recalls the litigious impulse of activists, back in the days of the sheltered industrial economy the U.S. inherited after World War II.
The second-wave feminists of the 1960s and 1970s who revived the moribund suffragette movement came of age during and after World War II, a time when confidence in Washington was high. Modeling their aspirations on the civil rights movement, they saw government as the vehicle they would ride to their liberation. America’s powerful strain of don’t-tread-on-me libertarianism was largely quiescent, and Great Society liberalism was the default mode for the young and educated. Bringing legal complaints before judges and lobbying legislators, bureaucrats, and civil servants to take action on a multitude of “women’s issues”—that is, barriers standing in the way of female advancement—seemed the only way to go.
Technocracy, expertise, Presidential Power.  Ms Hymowitz argues the formula didn't work for everybody, particularly for all ambitious women.
Tech geeks, businesswomen, and ranchers: not Lesley Stahl feminism, that’s for sure.
Further unsettling the feminist framework was the vigorous maternalism of the newcomers. Many heartland women had seen in feminism’s enthusiastic careerism, as well as its resentment of men and domesticity, an implicit criticism of their own lives. Hence their rejection of the feminist label even as they joined the workforce and lived lives that looked, in many respects, consistent with the movement’s principles.
Vanguardism is like that.  The corrective is coming a little late for me, but come it will.

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