Even taking into account the extraordinary capacity of the left for hallucinatory self-aggrandizement, the insipid blather about the feminists and the total radio silence on Phyllis Schlafly is astonishing.
The elite media cast about for women to praise, hailing any female who has achieved the amazing feat of having passed the bar exam, but treat the stunning accomplishments of Phyllis Schlafly like the publisher of the New York Times treats his SAT scores. (It is a dark secret that must not be revealed.) Schlafly simply cannot be mentioned – except for the occasional demeaning caricature.
About the time a young Hillary Rodham was serving as inspiration for the perfect little girl in the Hollywood thriller "The Bad Seed," Schlafly was remaking the Republican Party.
In 1964, Schlafly wrote "A Choice, Not An Echo," widely credited with winning Barry Goldwater the Republican nomination for president. The book sold an astounding 3 million copies. (The average nonfiction book sells 5,000 copies.) Goldwater lost badly in the general election, but the Republican Party would never be the same.
Goldwater's nomination began the retreat of sellout, Northeastern Rockefeller Republicans who hoped to wreck the country with slightly less alacrity than the Democrats. Without Schlafly, without that book, it is very possible that Ronald Reagan would never have been elected president.
As the feminists spent 20 years engaged in a death-match debate over whether it is acceptable for feminists to wear lipstick, Schlafly was writing 10 books, most of them on military policy.
She co-authored "The Gravediggers," accusing the elite foreign-policy establishment of cheerfully selling out the nation's military superiority to the Soviet Union. That book sold 2 million copies. She also co-authored the extremely influential (and extremely long, at more than 800 pages) "Kissinger on the Couch," methodically dissecting Kissinger's foreign policy and attacking his beloved Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.
Meanwhile, the feminists moved on from the weighty lipstick debate to pornography. (As Irving Kristol has suggested, their primary area of agreement was that 18-year-old girls performing sex on stage should be paid the minimum wage.)
An early and vigorous proponent of a missile defense shield, Schlafly has written extensively about ICBMs and missile-defense treaties. Her work was a major factor in President Reagan's decision to proceed with the High Frontier technology.
Having reached agreement on the necessity of a minimum wage for prostitutes (oops "sex workers"), feminists turned their inexplicable wrath on the titles "Mrs." and "Miss."
About the same time, Schlafly noticed that the Equal Rights Amendment was sailing toward ratification without anyone noticing. When Schlafly took up her battle against the ERA, the Senate had passed it by 84 to 8. The House had passed it by 354 to 23. The ERA was written into both the Republican and Democratic Party platforms. Thirty states had approved it in the first year after it was sent to the states for ratification. Only eight more states were needed.
But the ERA had not yet faced Phyllis Schlafly. Over the next eight years, thanks to Schlafly and her Eagle Forum, only five states ratified it – but five other states rescinded their earlier ratifications.
What the feminists lacked in linear thinking, they made up for in viciousness, control of the media and Hollywood glitz. As Schlafly said, feminists had "the movie star money and we have the voters." With an army of women behind her, Schlafly defeated the ERA, beating both political parties, two presidents, the Senate, the House and a slew of Hollywood celebrities.
Soon feminists took up the issue of girl-firemen, demanding to know what possible arguments there were, pray tell, for women not to be firemen. (A short list: their inability to pick up the hose, their tendency to cry and panic when confronted with dangerous situations, the effect on families whose homes are on fire when they open the door and see the female equivalent of Michael Dukakis in a tank.)
Schlafly moved on to ludicrous United Nations treaties, the Violence Against Women Act, sexual harassment law, values-clarification programs and other monstrosities too numerous to catalog. People who dismiss her as a mere demagogue or rabble-rouser either don't read her work or don't have any idea what actual "scholarship" is.
She was nearly the first woman ever to attend Harvard Law School – though it did not then admit women, Schlafly's Harvard professors found her so brilliant that they offered to make an exception for her. (She declined.) Instead, she married, raised six amazingly accomplished children and later attended law school in her 50s – all while fighting the establishment in her free time. She is brilliant, beautiful, principled, articulate, tireless and, most important, absolutely fearless.
That Phyllis Schlafly is the mortal enemy of a movement that claims to promote women tells you all you need to know about the feminists. That most people know more about Madeleine Albright's brooch collection than Schlafly's achievements tells you all you need to know about the media.