Huckabee Speech: The GOP Wages a War Against “War on Women”
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “Why is it, though, that the political discussion of the day, in every instance, always turns upon conditions of human existence, not human action, human existence? In other words, it turns upon conditions of: What is your gender? I’m a chick; you’re a dude. What is your sexuality? I’m straight; I’m gay. What is your color? I’m white; I’m black.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Former presidential candidate turned broadcaster Mike Huckabee was at a – we’ll find out in just a second. It doesn’t matter. A gentleman that writes at Forbes Magazine, James Poulos, who has, I think, a better reasoned approach to discussing this and we’ll get into it in just a second. So Huckabee said this is not a war on women, this is a war for women. That’s where Poulos comes in here and says:
Again, set aside the semiotics of the gender-victimhood language. The crucial part of the story is contained in that one little word: war. If, from a GOP standpoint, too many Republicans have exposed themselves to criticism on the politics of women, too few Republicans have a clear idea of how or why this has happened. The easy, superficial answer is that too many Republicans are old, out-of-touch, prejudiced men. The more interesting answer—one that can give party bigs more leverage if they ponder it hard enough—is that the political rhetoric of symbolic “war” is particularly dangerous for Republicans to engage in.
Republicans have a hard time saying no, as a matter of principle, to war. But in a world where even most military conflict is conducted without a declaration of war, it’s time to shift perspective. Today, Republicans have good reason to seek reform across the board on our nation’s…
many so-called “wars”—on drugs, on terror, on poverty, and on and on. We’re surrounded every day by the propaganda of crisis, which frames every policy question as an all-out war between we the virtuous and the horrible other. As French theorist Paul Virilio has suggested, the propaganda of crisis works in a vicious circle with what he terms the “cult of progress” [Mike: Folks, you are hearing things I talk about on this show all the time.]—not simply an appreciation for improvement and development, but a worshipful, ideological devotion to the acceleration of change, to quickening events for its own sake. There’s no easier way for a government to accelerate its own applications of power than to construe all politics as a crisis of health and safety. (And there’s no easier way to get that kind of government than to construe all social questions as political.) [Mike: Boy, this guy is knocking them out of the park here.]
Unless they’re willing to walk away from their conservative or libertarian traditions, Republicans ought to view with deep suspicion any form of political speech that encourages people to conform their thoughts and emotions to the patterns established by the propaganda of crisis. Yet when Republicans are accused of prosecuting a war on women, their instinct is to fight fire with fire. In part this is because many Republicans are culturally distraught at the idea, gaining popular currency, that their key constituents, in identity-political terms, are the only ones who don’t have a legitimate claim to aggrieved victimhood. When Republicans who are despondent in this way sense an opportunity to turn the tables on their critics—in some inverted version of Malcolm X’s “Plymouth Rock” moment—they go for it. Perhaps that is “the politics of resentment.” Perhaps it’s the politics of pride. But the root enabler here is not rube-like hatred of smarter, cooler, more compassionate liberal elites. It’s Republicans’ honor-driven affinity for war, and their immense, wounded-bear-like frustration at being suddenly the party that has less galvanic all-out conflicts to offer than the other side.
Mike: He suggests that Republicans start talking about human issues and in the abstract. Let’s stop bickering over which war we’re going to fight, war on women, war on drugs, war on terror, blah, blah. Why don’t we start talking instead about what we want government to do, not complain about what it does do? Instead of doing that, let’s reverse the exercise and talk about what we want it to do. The only problem with that is that if you talk about what you want it to do and you base your wants on a very limited and previously-enforced and adhered-to system, you automatically are then placed in the position of being a fuddy-duddy, being some kind of a recluse, being some kind of 18th or 19th century racist plantation owner. To break it down like that, to me, is just as dangerous as being a warmonger. You can be a warmonger for terror, poverty, women, over and over again.
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Why is it, though, that the political discussion of the day, in every instance, always turns upon conditions of human existence, not human action, human existence? In other words, it turns upon conditions of: What is your gender? I’m a chick; you’re a dude. What is your sexuality? I’m straight; I’m gay. What is your color? I’m white; I’m black. What is your country of origin? All of our questions turn on conditions of our being. Few of them turn on questions of what we actually do. Even if they do turn on questions of what we do, then the basis upon that discussion is predicated on what? What is the human condition of the person to be affected by the policy? In other words, how will this affect women? What difference does it make? Why don’t you discuss how it affects humanity? How does this affect minorities? What difference does it make? How does it affect people, a person?
Folks, what I just laid out for you is teleocratic versus nomocratic. The teleocratic method is the one we are currently bedeviled and possessed with. It’s like a demon spirit. You can’t seem to shake it. It is the one that turns on conditions of our existence, of our being. The nomocratic, by contrast, turns upon and relies upon conditions of what we desire, what we do, how we act, how we behave. Nomocratic then would inspire a government that does a few very simple but very essential and necessary things. Teleocratic covers everything. It bases the thing that it covers on, again, condition, genetic condition. There is no end, therefore, to the teleocratic victim era. There is no end to the era of someone is always disadvantaged because they were born “insert place here.”[/private]
There will never be an end to it. In 5,000 years, if we continue this, we’ll be bickering or we’ll be trying to pose or pass policy based on condition, genetics, or otherwise. In a nomocratic system, you go about your business in your communities. You’d be saying: We’re having a problem here. Our youth are all obsessed with this Justin Bieber character. We really need to have more youth group here. Pull a Christopher Walken. [mocking Walken] “I could use a little more youth group.”
What Poulos is basically describing here is the difference between a nomocratic approach and teleocratic. Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Henry, Mason, all those guys, late 18th century, early 19th century statesmen, almost all of them are nomocratic. The ones that were aspiring for nationalism and bigger and better and never being satisfied with the moment, always basing everything on the future and the crisis that must be solved, as he described it, they were teleocratic. The teleocrats won. As a matter of fact, I would say that the teleocrats are usually going to win unless you can neuter them by legislative action, which is to say you have a written constitution, like we used to have, that is strictly adhered to and as soon as it’s not there are dire and grave consequences for those who violate it.
End Mike Church Show Transcript