Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Quickies: The “Overclass”

     I hadn’t encountered this charming term before this morning. It has a lot more impact than “elite” or “political class,” and should be moved into our customary lexicon with dispatch.

     It appears in an article significant for other reasons, though it’s more than two years old: Rod Dreher’s short piece on “the law of merited impossibility:”

     The Law Of Merited Impossibility is an epistemological construct governing the paradoxical way overclass opinion makers frame the discourse about the clash between religious liberty and gay civil rights. It is best summed up by the phrase, “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.”

     Punchy, eh? “No, that can’t happen, but when it does, you’ll deserve it!” Given the speed with which traditional rights’ protections of individual latitude in speech and association are eroding, the “Law” might soon become merely a footnote of historical interest...but note how often it’s employed in the emissions of Leftist dribblers!

     It calls to mind the fiery exchanges over the Equal Rights Amendment that graced the late Seventies. That atrocity, which would have awarded Congress essentially unbounded power to legislate on matters of sex, failed by a narrow margin and the heroic efforts of Phyllis Schlafly:

     Schlafly focused opposition to the ERA on traditional gender roles, such as only men should do the fighting in wartime. She pointed out that the amendment would eliminate the men-only draft requirement and guarantee the possibility that women would be subject to conscription and be required to have military combat roles in future wars. Defense of traditional gender roles proved to be a useful tactic. In Illinois her activists used traditional symbols of the American housewife. They took homemade bread, jams, and apple pies to the state legislators, with the slogans, "Preserve us from a congressional jam; Vote against the ERA sham" and "I am for Mom and apple pie."

     According to historian Lisa Levenstein, the feminist movement in the late 1970s briefly attempted a program to help older divorced and widowed women. Many widows were ineligible for Social Security benefits, few divorcees actually received any alimony, and after a career as a housewife, few had skills to enter the labor force. The program, however, encountered sharp criticism from young activists who gave priority to poor minority women rather than the middle class. By 1980, NOW downplayed the program as it focused almost exclusively on the ERA. Schlafly moved into the vacuum. She denounced the feminists for abandoning older middle-class widows and divorcees in need, and warned that ERA would equalize the laws for the benefit of man, stripping protections that older women urgently needed. She said the ERA was designed for the benefit of young career women and warned that if men and women had to be treated identically it would threaten the security of middle-aged housewives with no current job skills. The ERA would repeal protections such as alimony and eliminate the tendency for mothers to obtain custody over their children in divorce cases. Her argument that protective laws would be lost resonated with working-class women.

     Back then, the gender-war feminists, who had established significant bastions within the overclass, particularly the main stream media, were practically licking their chops over what they were going to do to the “patriarchy” – nearly all of which would be impossible without the ERA. Yet Schlafly, a woman roundly hated by the overclass and excluded as far as possible from media attention, mobilized sufficient opposition to stop them, merely by compelling us to face the probable consequences posed above.

     It seems the overclass can be defeated if we but make the effort, no?

1 comment:

Ron Olson said...

Overclass. Thanks for bringing that term to attention. Talk about polarization and instant solidarity among the previously trussed up for disposal groups. I find the things that could be said about the two classes of Americans galvanizing and call to action sort of fiery rhetoric. Indeed fiery darts not diery farts.