Not to be outdone, Senator Gillibrand would not let Representative Bachmann get away with saying something pointless—she managed to lower the debate even further. As Democrats have done for decades, she brought up sexual liberty as being a women’s issue (as though it did not take two to, um, tango).
The meta-question was, who understands women better, Democrats or Republicans? As a Republican, I hope that the answer is neither. We shouldn’t be pitting the genders against each other any more than we should be pitting the races against each other; it accomplishes nothing for our country, no matter how many liberal base (and I mean that in more than one sense) voters donate to re-elect Obama.
I reject the whole notion that women have some sixth sense that men don’t have, or that women are affected disproportionately by economic realities. The market doesn’t care who you are—all the market cares about is what you bring to the table. That’s what makes it so beautiful.
It goes against the spirit of the Constitution, of the Enlightenment, and of classical liberalism more generally to put the genders in rivalry, or even to speak of them as having inherent inequalities. In fact, this is usually the criticism of classical liberalism—that, in contrast to previous schools of political thought, such as Aristotelianism or Thomism, it is atomistic, and treats people as “individuals” or “actors” (who don’t exist) rather than men and women (who do exist).
Conservatives should not be trying to out-factionalize the factionalizers; we should instead be returning to our principles—free markets not free healthcare; free minds, not free contraception. That’s real fairness—the blind equality of the market, not the pandering of hack politicians to frighten the ignorant into line.