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Failed Conservative Values: Elaine Charkowski on Patriarchy Family Values

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Women cannot serve two masters at once who are urgently beaming antithetical orders.... Either we believe in patriarchy the rule of men over women -- or we believe in equality.  Sonia Johnson

Elaine Charkowski talked to me about how conservative values have failed. She says, Conservative Family Values is  about  patriarchy and fear of authority. It’s about not using your own mind and woman are to be subservient to the man. The type of power used is random punishment and reward, which studies show is the best way to drive animals crazy.


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Failed Conservative Values: Elaine Charkowski on Patriarchy Family Values

My name is Elaine Charkowski.  I’m a feminist and an environmentalist, because I believe that both go hand-in-hand.  An issue that goes beneath politics are universal human rights.  Sure, family values, but they don’t go deeper. 

When you say family values, you picture a Walt Disney nice little family.  Everybody is happy with the kids and the dog.  But they are talking patriarchal family values, with the male leader of the household who gets to set the tone, and the wife and the kids just have to play along and listen.

So those are the kind of family values they’re talking about, and that’s why they just hate feminists, because feminists say women have a right to live their own life as they see fit – which is opposed to their definition of family values.

Like, for instance, women are coerced by society to bear children, like, to give honor to the guy, which is an old-fashioned macho value.  Like the man who depends on how many children you have.  And you see where this has gotten us today.  When I was born there were two billion people.  Now there is more than 6-1/2 billion people.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic, and since then I have rejected it, because it is all about fear of authority, God’s punishment.  I found a book by Erich Fromm called To Be Or To Have, and he says that there never was any separation of church and state – it’s all about fear or punishment from the state or from God.  Either you go to jail or you go to hell. 

It’s about guilt.  It’s about not using your own mind.  It’s blind faith.  You have a blind faith in God.  We have blind faith in the fearless and the all perfect leader.  And you’re supposed to just shut up and obey.

And also, the God that most conservatives believe in is a punishing God and a rewarding God.  See, we have random punishment and reward, which is the worst way to drive animals crazy when they experiment on the animals, because it is a random punishment.  And so God is either a god or a demon, whatever he chooses to be.

I was in an abusive marriage the first time, and there wasn’t enough of money, and this guy tried to push me around and run my whole life and was jealous.  And so I was basically a non-autonomous human being, because he was stronger than me.  And we had a lot of physical fights.  And so I left him, and I realized how I was under control.

"In our patriarchal world, we are all taught -- whether we like to think we are or not -- that God, being male, values maleness much more than he values femaleness . . . that in order to propitiate God, women must propitiate men."  Sonia Johnson

Definition of Patriarchy
A social system in which the father is the head of the family and men have authority over women and children.
A family, community, or society based on this system or governed by men.

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)
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