Progressives, then, see society consisting of autonomous rights-bearing individuals which they group together under various rubrics of “common interest” such as gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and a host of others. Progressives believe—or at least say they believe—that such groups or “communities” live under siege by those who would take way their rights. Progressives pit every “community” against every other “community.” This way of thinking almost dispenses with “society” at all.
In contrast, most conservatives tend to overlook differences among individual Americans. Conservatives recognize that difference exist; they just believe that they was dwarfed in importance by the common interests that all individual or groups share.
We will take a look at several examples in separate short posts.
The recent example that stands out most is the supposed “war on women.” Progressives charge that conservatives not only oppose access to abortions, but also oppose access to birth control. “Opposing access” in this instance means refusing to require insurance companies or even tax payers to subsidize birth control. Sometimes Progressives spin the opposition as based upon religion. Other times they attribute it to sexism. Why any institution dominated by men—whether an insurance company, Congress, or the Supreme Court determine any individual woman's choices regarding birth control.
First, birth control and abortion are hardly issues that divide on the grounds of sex. Men find modern methods of birth control, including abortion, as almost as liberating for them as for women. No more unwanted pregnancies. No more financial support for an unplanned child. No more “shotgun weddings.”
Second, the progressive focus on birth control and abortion serves to narrow and minimize women. The horizons of most women extend beyond the narrow confines of reproduction services. Family budgets, national budgets, education policy, war and peace—all concern women as well as men.
Finally, this whole narrative ignores the greater common interest that men and women share. Men and women work together both as teams in the workplace and as partners in marriage. And there is nothing like the institution of marriage to demonstrate the shared common interest between men and women.
This perhaps explains why liberals attract more voter loyalty among single women while conservatives attract more electoral support from married women. Single women perhaps are less apt to recognize the interests that men and women share. Married women, engaged in the cooperative enterprise of marriage and family formation, seem less susceptible to rhetoric about the “war on women.”