Fem. Fatale

Ed. Anyone interested in incisive social commentary be sure to check out Salvo. I just received my new issue in the mail. This magazine is worth a subscription!

Salvo | Bernard Chapin | July 2007

An interview with post-feminist author Carrie Lukas

Carrie Lukas is not your typical feminist. For one thing, she believes that the original goals of feminism—equal rights and equal pay—have already been realized. And now, as evidenced by her most recent book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism, Lukas is departing even further from feminist orthodoxy, arguing that feminism itself is often a woman’s worst enemy when it comes to achieving autonomy. Here we talk briefly with the author and Vice President of Policy at the Independent Women’s Forum about what true female empowerment really entails.



Your book is a volume within Regnery’s Politically Incorrect Guide collection. First off, what would you say to those who dispute that such a thing as political correctness even exists?

I would tell them that they haven’t been on a college campus in a very long time! Anyone familiar with academia knows that within it some things simply aren’t considered appropriate topics of discussion. Think about what happened to Larry Summers, the former president of Harvard: He merely mentioned the possibility that innate differences could partially explain why there are fewer women than men in the hard sciences. He was censured by Harvard’s faculty and eventually lost his job. Political correctness is definitely no myth.

Early in your book you make the argument that women were the losers of the sexual revolution. How so?

During the sexual revolution, many feminists pushed the idea that women and men are the same when it comes to sexuality. Basically, they argued that the social conventions that had made women’s chastity more prized than men’s were tools of the patriarchy meant to keep women from having fun. But the truth is that women are very different from men when it comes to sex. First of all, women are more vulnerable physically to the consequences of sex: Not only do we get pregnant, but women are more likely to contract STDs, and many STDs have more serious consequences for women. Women are also more vulnerable emotionally. Women release different hormones than men during sex, which makes it harder for women to keep it casual.

. . . more

Comments

  1. Dean Scourtes says:

    As the father of a daughter I was thoroughly alarmed by the comments of Ms. Carrie Lukas. Her advice to my daughter in so many words was, stop reading those books and studying, forget about college and a fulfilling career, prepare instead for a lifetime of being barefoot and pregnant, serving at the beck and call of a lazy husband.

    The Feminist movement certainly has it’s faults, most notably its support for abortion on demand and a promiscuous lifestyle. Unfortunately, Ms. Lukas is more interested in using women’s issues as a spring board for a launching a wider polemic against government in general. Ms. Lukas is a radical right-wing ideologue masquerading as someone who cares about women. Anything that government can do to assist women, she is automatically against. Check this out:

    This is one of the primary ways that groups like NOW have really abandoned the concept of true independence for women. .. NOW wants government-run healthcare, government funding for childcare, more government workplace regulations, and expanded welfare benefits; NOW opposes economic reforms that return control to individuals; they oppose personal accounts in Social Security and school choice; they want higher taxes. Simply put, they want the government to control more and individuals to control less. That’s really not independence

    It is breathtakingly Orwellian. Neglect is freedom. Poverty is empowering. Lack of access to health care gives you more choice. Deficits and debt mean more economic freedom.

    Ms. Lukas aims for guilt by association if NOW is for it – it must be bad. Our health care system is inefficient and costly and leaves millions without coverage. But NOW supports health care reform so it must be bad. Government funded childcare helps single mothers get off welfare, but NOW supports it, so it must be bad, as well.

    Conversely, a huge majority of Americans opposed privatizing social security, but so did NOW, so that must have been a good idea. Most economists warn that we must allow the Bush tax cuts for the very rich to expire so we can begin balancing our budget before the national debt reaches ruinous levels. But NOW agrees with all those economists, so they must be wrong.

    I can’t see how the sweeping generalizations of this ignorant woman provide any value to anyone, particularly other women. Ms. Lukas demonstrates that today’s right-wing conservative is as radical and extreme of any Jacobin during the French Revolution, or any Bolshevik under Lenin.

  2. Dean,

    Was there an additional link? I followed the link and it was a brief interview that touched on only a few highlights. I didn’t see anywhere that she said women should be barefoot and pregnant. Where did you get all of that (and the other) stuff?

  3. Cepik –

    You need to get used to dealing with Dean S. He sets up strawmen, strawwomen, and strawchildren; he misquotes, mischaracterizes, and misconstrues; his links do not support his position – usually the opposite position.

    I would advise using his rantings as a hook on which to present a well-reasoned exposition of your views, much as Missourian did in the “Hindu Prayer…” thread.

  4. Dean Scourtes says:

    Tom C – Did you not read where the Ms. Lukas advised other women that they could not have a career and a family?

    I also cited the specific paragraph where she made a series of ridiculous comments linking “independence” for women to the elimination of a number of government interventions designed to help families and women.

    Now if you want to engage on the issues, and argue that maintaining our dysfunctional health care system, or turning over the fiscal safety of the social security program to greedy brokers on Wall Street are policies beneficial to women then, by all means, lets hear what you have to say. But to attack me instead – that’s just evasive and cowardly.

  5. Christopher says:

    Now if you want to engage on the issues, and argue that maintaining our dysfunctional health care system, or turning over the fiscal safety of the social security program to greedy brokers on Wall Street are policies beneficial to women then, by all means, lets hear what you have to say. But to attack me instead – that’s just evasive and cowardly.

    Dean, you never had a Big Fat Greek wedding did you? Is that why you instead are a Big Fat Troll on this blog? why don’t you take the democratic talking points to where it belongs, on the far left democratic wacko blogs. Your “barefoot and pregnant” garbage is really, really, over the top. Stop reading your hard left world view into everyone else. Try UNDERSTANDING for a change. You might even then be able to forgive your family for not giving you a Big Fat Greek wedding…;)

  6. Missourian says:

    Note 4, Dean isn’t out of line

    I disagree with Dean on many issues, BUT, I don’t think that his rhetorical approach in Note 1 is out of line.

    I would tend to agree with Dean in Note 4.

    I think anyone disagreeing should produce facts and engage in direct response to particular assertions if they want to persuade anyone else of the strength of their position.

  7. Missourian says:

    Correction, endorsing only last paragraph of Dean’s Note 4, otherwise no opinion right now

  8. Christopher says:

    I disagree with Dean on many issues, BUT, I don’t think that his rhetorical approach in Note 1 is out of line.

    How can you respond to propaganda, mischaracterization, and “bombs” such as:

    prepare instead for a lifetime of being barefoot and pregnant,

    &

    Ms. Lukas is a radical right-wing ideologue masquerading as someone who cares about women.

    &

    It is breathtakingly Orwellian. Neglect is freedom. Poverty is empowering. Lack of access to health care gives you more choice.

    These (and indeed his whole post) is of course a complete mischaracterization of what the women actually said. Dean is just pissed that someone does not buy into his Marxist worldview. He is not advancing any counter argument here, just sound bites that assume his thinking.

    If this is not “out of line” then almost anything is not “out of line”…

  9. Christopher says:

    Now if you want to engage on the issues, and argue that maintaining our dysfunctional health care system,

    It’s quite functional. Dean assumes the “democratic” talking point bot here.

    or turning over the fiscal safety of the social security program to greedy brokers on Wall Street are policies beneficial to women then

    Again, a standard democratic talking point. Better Wall Street than Big Government

    But to attack me instead – that’s just evasive and cowardly.

    It’s only an “attack” in your mind. He rightly points to the poverty of your post. It’s pure propaganda – it completely mischaracterizes the women’s words.

    Your post is pure Troll…

  10. Christopher says:

    BUT, I don’t think that his rhetorical approach in Note 1 is out of line.

    Your kidding right? It’s not a post, it’s propaganda. It’s too generous to call it a “strawman” or “rhetoric”. It’s democratic talking points – it’s pure political hack – it’s trollish…

  11. #4 , #6

    This is what Carrie Lukas said:

    Certainly much of the culture creates unrealistic expectations and a sense of entitlement. But the problem women face is that we often have conflicting desires. I talked to a lot of college women in the course of writing my book, and it was very common for these intelligent and ambitious young people to tell me that they expected to be both full-time moms and CEOs of major companies. Now, I’m not saying that no woman can accomplish both of these goals, but she’s going to have a tough time doing so. Often, “women’s studies” classes and groups like NOW [National Organization for Women] make it seem as though the problem women face in balancing work and family is caused by bad public policy or men who won’t do their share of the housework. But the real problem is simply a consequence of being human: We can’t be two places at once, and there are only 24 hours in a day. This means that we are going to face tough decisions and real tradeoffs when allocating our time.

    This is how Dean characterized her words:

    Her advice to my daughter in so many words was, stop reading those books and studying, forget about college and a fulfilling career, prepare instead for a lifetime of being barefoot and pregnant, serving at the beck and call of a lazy husband.

    Missourian, you said that Dean’s rhetorical approach was not out of line. I disagree. I think he purposefully twisted what Ms. Lukas said. He does that in the hope that most readers do not bother to read the posted articles or links in their entirety. Do you think he honestly summarized Ms. Lukas’s words?

    Christopher, while it might be tedious and non-satisfying to deal with Dean S.’s tactics, it is not productive to just rail at him. As you point out, he parrots the talking points of the left. Do the many readers of this blog a favor by pointing out why those talking points are not correct.

    Dean S. – I pointed out to Cepik that you have a history of mischaracterization, misquoting, misconstruing, mis-everything and mis-anything. You certainly are true to form on this thread.

  12. Christopher says:

    Christopher, while it might be tedious and non-satisfying to deal with Dean S.’s tactics, it is not productive to just rail at him. As you point out, he parrots the talking points of the left. Do the many readers of this blog a favor by pointing out why those talking points are not correct.

    I respectfully disagree. As you point out, he “purposefully twisted what Ms. Lukas said”. The man is simply rude. It is not about his posts – it is now about his Trollish behavior. We have been pointing out his “tactics” for years now, he continues to behave the same…

  13. Missourian says:

    Note 10, Tom, I was commenting on style not content or merits

    Dean should be engaged on the merits. I said that I had “no opinion” beyond that as I did not want to engage on the merits of the article or Dean’s post.

    I don’t think that his language or argumentation style is out of bounds. Since I don’t think his language or argumentation style is out of bounds, I wouldn’t classify him as a troll. If you disagree with him (as I usually do) then you should address his facts and his reasoning. If his arguments are unsupported then he should be easy to refute (which he sometimes is).

  14. Christopher says:

    Dean should be engaged on the merits.

    I respectfully disagree. That is part of what a Troll hopes, that others will endlessly “engage him on the merits”, so that he can distract from what otherwise would be of substance. Dean in this case showed perfect mischaracterization, as Tom pointed out. He answered a meritous arguement with pure propaganda. In fact, I think it is somewhat insulting to his intelligance to say that Dean does this unwittingly. He knows perfectly well he is answering with propaganda. He may be emotionaly involved, ticked off that others don’t buy into his Marxist worldview, but that is not an excuse to so wildly mistate what someone said.

    I don’t think that his language or argumentation style is out of bounds. Since I don’t think his language or argumentation style is out of bounds, I wouldn’t classify him as a troll.

    I take it that you believe that he is doing this honestly then. That he really did read into “We can’t be two places at once, and there are only 24 hours in a day. This means that we are going to face tough decisions and real tradeoffs when allocating our time.” to mean that “prepare instead for a lifetime of being barefoot and pregnant, serving at the beck and call of a lazy husband.”?

  15. Michael Bauman says:

    Christopher, constantly lambasting Dean, et. al. is no better than having it done to us. You’ve made your point, you don’t have to engage them if you don’t want. I happen to like Dean and enjoy having him around.

  16. Christopher says:

    Christopher, constantly lambasting Dean, et. al. is no better than having it done to us. You’ve made your point, you don’t have to engage them if you don’t want. I happen to like Dean and enjoy having him around.

    You might like him, but you have admitted you don’t like his behavior. It is one thing to respectfully, disagree and discuss. It is another thing entirely to drop bombs like:

    “Ms. Lukas is a radical right-wing ideologue masquerading as someone who cares about women.”

    “It is breathtakingly Orwellian. Neglect is freedom. Poverty is empowering. Lack of access to health care gives you more choice. ”

    Need I go on? As long as he behaves like a Troll, I am going to point it out.

    p.s Let me know when you boys get together and have that Big Fat Greek wedding…Shoot, maybe I can get an invite…;)

  17. Christopher says:

    Christopher, constantly lambasting Dean, et. al. is no better than having it done to us.

    The more I think about it, the less this sense this makes. Even if you disagree with me and believe Dean’s post be “an honest mistake”, and thus not an intentional flame bait, how do you get from there to equating yourself as being accused of being a Troll??

  18. Dean Scourtes says:

    RE: Number 10. It sounds like I’m reading too much into, or distorting what Carrie Lukas said, but I’m just trying to follow her advice to its natural conclusion.

    It IS challenging for a woman to have both a career and family. So why then does Ms. Lukas attack the very programs and proposals that would make it easier for them to accomdate both, like child care. (Interestly the first day- care programs were established during World War II for the Rosie-the-Riveter moms who were building the ships, tanks and airplanes after the men went off to war)

    Since she views government intervention as decreasing freedom, one has to assume she opposes legally mandated maternity leave, or flexible work hours, which also make it a little easier for women to have a a career and family, as well. She also ignores the fact that high speed intenet and computers have made it possible for a lot of highly skilled women to work from home two or three days a week.

    So basically, while while Carrie Lukas doesn’t actually say stay home and be barefoot and pregnant, she doesn’t appear to support anything that would help women have both a career and family, either, making barefoot and pregnant the default situation. Her right-wing talking points about privatizing social security and opposing universal health care were if anything, detrimental to women.

  19. Tom C (#3),

    Yes, I gathered as much from his initial statement. He appears to have an axe to grind which is why he starts off with a loaded post. Thank you for the reply.

    Missourian,

    I read your responses on another thread (I think it was the one for Arizona situation similar to Ms Schiavo). I would love to have a conversation with you sometime (cyber of course, I am just north of Mexico and you are mid America). You and I are are going through somewhat similar situations/journeys have similar (kinda) professions and are reaching similar conclusions.

    Dean,

    back on topic, where did you get the information from for all of your allegations above? ie: Barefoot and pregnant, government funded health care helps mothers get off of welfare, tax cuts are for the rich only, et al? I am curious about your sources, particularly since your post was longer than the interview. I was just wondering if your comments were based on any particular article or if they were strongly held convictions based on emotion. (not that there is anything wrong with either, I am just curious)

    Regards,

  20. Missourian –

    I didn’t particularly want to comment on this posting either. I was just trying to help poor Cepik (#2) understand that he or she was not missing anything but had instead fallen prey to Dean S.’s methods.

    Come to think of it, Cepik’s confusion – thinking that there had to be another part of the article somewhere – is pretty strong evidence of Dean S. being misleading in itself.

    Dean S. – My wife has a M.S., was an adjunct instructor at a major university, and speaks several languages. She chose to be a stay-at-home mother. Does that make her “barefoot and pregnant”? That phrase is meant to be derogatory to women who made the same choice and it is very hurtful.

    If you think that women in the US have a more diffcult time with work and family issues and than their counterparts in Europe you need to travel a little more and read propaganda little less.

  21. Christopher says:

    Note #17,

    To all:

    Now this post has some meat, some honest discussion to it. One will of course question the non-sequiturs like “I’m just trying to follow her advice to its natural conclusion” but at least it has real points like “…government intervention as decreasing freedom, one has to assume she opposes legally mandated maternity leave, or flexible work hours, which also make it a little easier for women to have a career and family, as well….”

    Now, the question is, what changed Dean’s behavior here? Sentimental “I like Dean”, or blunt and truthful “Dean, your being a Troll”, or none of the above?

    Probably none of the above, since he is not ever a real person – but a figment of Fr. Jacobse’s which he uses to stimulate discussion…:)

  22. Tom C,

    Touche (paragraph 2). . . and I’m a he. A hairy, Eurasian he who followed Abouna (Fr) Jacobse over here from Townhall to learn a little more about Orthodoxy.

    Regards,

  23. Dean Scourtes says:

    Tom- Women staying at home raising children are doing one of the most important jobs we have in society. No one should make them feel guilty for making that choice. I acknowlege that the phrase “barefoot and pregnant” can have that negative connotation and will stop using it.

    But women should also have the choice to return to work force when they are ready. They may need either the personal satisfaction that comes from work, or require the economic benefits.

  24. Michael Bauman says:

    Dean, women staying at home raising children is not what its about. Homemaking is what it is about. It is not in anyway separate from the father, it is not “job”. Women used to be mentored in their basic vocation by the mothers and grandmothers in their own community and supported by same when the time came. No more. Here is a place the Church could help but usually does not because so many are so caught up in doing it the way the world does it (HAVE IT ALL BABY!!!!). You don’t have to make choices, you don’t have to sacrifice, and GOD FORBID that you actually work with your husband on such things.

  25. Dean Scourtes says:

    Michael – Speaking of mentoring, my Priest recently gave a class for interested parishioners on how to make Communion bread, (just like the Food Network, he joked) because the number of parishioners who know how to do it is shrinking. Likewise some of the older women have started giving classes for the younger ladies in the church on how to make the traditional Greek cookies and pastries, because as you say, many have had no one at home to teach them.

    But back to the article, what provokes me I guess, is that I have bright young daughter, and I would hate for someone to try and crush her dreams, when she gets older, just because she’s a woman. That actually happened to a lot of women in my mother’s generation.

  26. Dean #23,

    True regarding paragraph 1, it is essential and like Michael points out above, it really should be considered more than a job. From what I see around here, I wish fatherhood was taken more seriously, too. But how, exactly, does what Ms Lukas say necessarily prevent what you state in paragraph 2?

    Michael #24,

    Excellent point on the Church helping out in the situation, many different churches help out with domestic classes (home eco), mother’s day out, out- reach, etc. but there is much more to do. There is an OCA church in a nearby city that does community service but I don’t know much about them.

    Regards,

  27. Michael Bauman says:

    Dean, a lot of people will try to crush her and abuse her just because she is a woman. I don’t know how old she is, but if she’s over 10, I suspect she has run into that already. Most of it she won’t even tell you.

    Christianity, especially Orthodox Christianity, despite its many failures, provides the best vision of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man.

    I have a very good friend who is a homemaker in the fullest sense. Spending time in her home is so regenerating and life giving. Her home is a sanctuary.

    I’ll see if she would be willing to come on and share some of what she does and how.

  28. Ronda Wintheiser says:

    When I was a young girl, I remember watching my mom and dad welcome each one of my five younger siblings into our family… I remember reveling in the muted rosy glow of family life — getting up in the morning and crawling into bed with my mom and dad or one of my sisters… Snuggling close with my daddy on the heat grate on the floor in the hallway on cold mornings… Watching Lawrence Welk on a Saturday evening while Mom put my hair in rollers for Sunday school in the morning…

    And in 1968 when I was 11, I remember watching the Viet Nam war on television… the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy… I heard about bra burning and people demonstrating against the Miss America pageant…

    And as I began to wake up to the adult world… I found myself more and more mystified when I saw adults actually choosing to go away from their homes — that rich, mystical foment and crush of human intimacy — to… what? To something they called a “job”… a “career”… . A place you had to stay for 8 hours a day — the main part of the day — to do something that was completely unrelated to the joy of what they left behind… at home…

    The most mystifying thing about this to me was that adults seemed to do this willingly — in fact, women proclaimed they had a “right” to do it.

    And for what?

    For money, of all things…

    So when I got into high school, I knew what I wanted. Yeah, I wanted to go to college. I wanted to write poetry, paint, sing, ride a horse, see the world, write a book, do something to make a difference in the world…

    And most of all I wanted to be barefoot and pregnant.

    (What is wrong with that, by the way? Does being barefoot and pregnant somehow snuff out my intelligence? Does being a wife and a mother damage or destroy my ability to read, to learn, to engage the culture, to play a musical instrument, to paint a landscape, to make a pot of… scrumptious Ratatouille… Does it remove the possibility of reaching out to a homeless person… an unborn person… a lonely person?)

    So anyway, I went to college. And afterward, I got myself one of those things called a “job”; I began a “career” as a political activist and after the stillbirth of my first baby, I became an advocate for families who had babies that died. It was a very challenging, stimulating, exciting, somewhat lucrative time in my life…

    It left me feeling… bewildered… confined… empty… constricted.

    And then I became barefoot and pregnant.

    My husband and I built a log cabin in the woods and moved far away from metropolitan and suburban life. My own life suddenly was centered around three other human beings, two of them who were very tiny and who depended completely on me for their very survival.

    God had handed to me the unspeakable privilege of being the person to introduce those two little girls to… the world… to the universe… and to God Himself.

    Nothing was ever as heady, as absolutely terrifying, as exhilarating, and at times, so utterly miserable…

    Being pregnant, and barefoot, and then unpregnant and barefoot… required me to use every bit of talent and resourcefulness and creativity and courage I could muster… to make a humble four walls into a safe haven for human beings who needed a place where they could love and be loved…

    My girls are almost 15 and 16 now. They have spent most of their lives to this point… in the company of one person — and that lucky person has been me. I was the one who got to get up in the middle of the night to nurse them, who got to hold their hair back from their faces when they were throwing up… I was the lucky person who showed them how to skin tomatoes when you’re canning; I’ve been the lucky person who showed them their first lilacs… and earthworms… and how to make a root beer float… I was the lucky person who introduced them to C.S. Lewis… and Louisa May Alcott… Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen… I was the lucky person who got to show them how to venerate an icon.

    That’s not a job. It’s not a career, and thank God nobody pays me for it. I don’t care whether or not what I’m doing is “hard science”, and I don’t even think about whether or not I get “equal pay for equal work”. We haven’t had much contact with the “dysfunctional health care system”, I never seemed to need something called maternity leave, and I had the most flexible work hours you could dream of.

    And I dread the time when I may have to “return” to the “work force”.

    I don’t think I will ever again find the kind of personal satisfaction or the economic benefits that came from being barefoot and pregnant.

  29. That was really beautiful. Good for you!

  30. Dean Scourtes says:

    Ronda – My advice to you is – count your blessings. The two-parent family where the mother can stay home with the children is an ideal that many are fortuinate enough to attain, but many others find themselves denied by practical difficulties. These practical difficulties highlight some of the internal contradictions in conservative policies on families.

    Consrevatives want single mothers with children to get off welfare and get jobs. But they also oppose day care because they beieve mothers should stay home with their children.

    Conservatives want mothers to stay home with children, while fathers work. But conservatives oppose living wages for the entry level positions that many young fathers would have, unions that fight for higher wages for workers, or efforts to keep companies from outsourcing jobs overseas.

    The conservative ideal is every family in their own home with a white-picket fence, but the price of that home in many markets is beyond the financial means of one-income families. In many locations if the family wants to live in that new subdivision in a community with good schools and parks, both parents have to work to afford the monthly mortgage payment. Should parents feel guilty if they want to raise their children in communites with good schools, in neigbrohoods that are free of gangs, violence and graffiti?

    Crushing medical expnses are the number one cause of bankruptcy for families in the United States, driving many families into poverty. Yet conservatives opoose any health care reform measure that would reduce the massive profits of insurance and pharmeceutical companies. Right now it is practically impossible for small business owners or employees with prior medical conditions to even get health insurance, yet conservatives oppose regulating insurance companies to correct this.

    Yes, Conservative like Carrie Lukas, talk a good game when it comes to supporting families, but when push comes to shove,they oppose measure that would actually enable the government to help families, or women, in any tangible way.

  31. Michael Bauman says:

    Dean, you are so dense. Where does Ronda say that she and her children live in an intact two-parent family? HMMMMM?

  32. Michael Bauman says:

    Dean S. I don’t think Ronda needs your advice. It seems to me she understands what, if you do understand your posts fail to reveal. WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS! We are not two-dimensional cut-outs to fit somewhere in an ideological jig-saw puzzle. You might benefit from reading Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury” especially the last section.

  33. Ronda Wintheiser says:

    Dean, I’m amazed. Every time I tell my story, people speak to me as if they think I must be independently wealthy and that is the only way I could have chosen to stay at home with my girls from the time they were infants until now.

    The fact is that when the girls were born, my husband and I were living in a log cabin that was not finished. We had chosen to build it without taking out a mortgage because we weren’t sure we could have maintained the payment. We had already purposed that I would not go and find a job and pay to have someone else care for our children. So as much as we could during the 9 months of my pregnancy, we planned how we would make that happen and work. We both worked two jobs to save enough money to get the cabin built far enough that we could live in it, and we were prepared to do without many of the things most people consider necessities — things like indoor walls… flooring… new appliances. We considered those things luxuries. The only things we considered necessities were things like outside walls, windows, a heat source, a water source including plumbing, and an electric source, and we actually considered plumbing and electrical to be luxuries. I felt lucky we were able to have both when my oldest daughter was born.

    The thing I considered absolutely necessary was for me to be at home with my own children. We lived in a depressed, rural area in central Minnesota. Mark could not find a job that would use his degree in electronics, so he took a job as a supervisor at a local year-round resort. For his services they paid him the princely sum of $7.00 an hour.

    We weren’t “fortunate” that we were able to attain what you call the “ideal”. I armed myself with sheer determination, self-discipline, faith that God would help us, and the willingness to make sacrifices and be creative. When you really believe in something, you can make it work, and we did. We were well-acquainted with what you have called “practical difficulties”, but we surmounted them because we wanted to.

    Most of the things we wear and use are second hand. I cook most meals from scratch. We have medical insurance but we don’t use it — we only have it in case of a life-threatening emergency. I did not take my children to the doctor for “well-baby check-ups” (something I admit I find utterly ridiculous). When the girls had a cold or a flu, we did the old-fashioned thing — I made a bed for them on the couch, I gave them lots of juice and I made chicken soup and showered them with tender loving care until their little bodies did what God made them to do — heal themselves. Therefore we did not have crushing medical expenses; as I said before we had very little contact with the dysfunctional medical system in this country even though I have a daughter with a profound disability. (Perhaps if we allowed the dysfunctional medical system to die of neglect we might find we don’t need it as much as we think we do. But in order to do that, we have to be willing to take responsibility for ourselves.)

    I happen to be a single mom now, but I’m not on welfare. I managed to get some training as a behaviour therapist — one of the curious benefits of having a daughter with autism. Both the school district and the county have hired me to work with young children with autism and I am able to work in my own home. I consider this a great blessing from God because it makes it possible for me to still be at home with my girls and continue homeschooling them. I don’t make much money — we still buy everything second hand and going to a movie theatre is a luxury. But we have a rich, happy family life that seems to preclude the need for constant entertainment and stimulation that so many kids in our culture seem to crave. My girls are not bored, they’re not lonely, and we love to be at home together listening to music, reading, painting, cooking, going for a walk to the park… When you have love, you really find that you don’t need many frills…

    I do have a mortgage, and I get very modest child support
    from my ex-husband who still lives in the log cabin we built together and that we still own together. We have worked hard to minimize the devastation that divorce can wreak on children, and again, I believe this is because we have been willing to put a premium on human relationships over material possessions, and eschew the personal peace and affluence that most Americans have as their primary values.

  34. Ronda,

    God love you for your determination, grit and resolve, you are truly my hero. Self reliance is a premium with me, I save as much as possible, scrimp as much as possible and dream to someday do what you and your ex did. Someday I will do, mark my words. What was most appealing to me was your faith in God . . . . I firmly believe that if your truly believe then he will provide. Again, my hats off to you.

    Dean Scourtes,

    I often admire your comments (though vehemently disagree with them) because I felt that you may have a different POV, but they could have come from your heart. I one time was quite “polyana”, dream into action, etc. but then grew up and saw the consequences of it. I am more skeptical of government intervention/action and learned there are many different ways, more efficient ways, better ways to accomplish things. Please respond to my earlier inquiries and I will then be able to respond to your latest screed.

    Cordially,

    Cepik

    PS: this is off topic, but I stopped by a local Orthodox Church. I would like to learn more about Orthodoxy and am following Christopher and Michael Baumann’s advice. It is Antioch (which I suspect MB’s St. George is as well) which is almost identical to where I go now (Maronite) and I am setting an appointment to visit with the Abouna (Father)

  35. Insert, I meant to say that it is similar but not identical to where I go now.

    My apologies,

    Cepik

  36. Christopher says:

    Note 30,

    You good folks seem suprised that Dean went off into another “screed”…;)

  37. Dean Scourtes says:

    Ronda – I sincerely apologize for making incorrect assumptions about your situation. My objective was to argue that Carrie Lukas’s recommendations were not family or woman-friendly. However, like a golfer who keeps slicing into the rough, my arguments are going off in unintended directions. So I will wish you luck and refrain from further comment on this topic.