A Man With a Mission in Two or Three Editions

Crank historian David Barton mansplains it all for you:

Responding to a question from a listener who argued that the Founding Fathers denied women the right to vote not out of sexism but rather based on the biblical principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand, Barton said that this interpretation was exactly right because not allowing women to vote was designed “to keep the family together”:

And you have to remember back then, husband and wife, I mean the two were considered one. That is the biblical precept. That is the way they looked at them in the civil community. That is a family that is voting and so the head of the family is traditionally considered to be the husband and even biblically still continues to be so …

Now, as we’ve moved away from the family unit – you need to be independent from the family, don’t be chained down and be a mother and don’t be chained down and be a father and don’t be chained down to your parents, you know, we’ve moved into more of a family anarchy kind of thing, the ‘Modern Family’ kind of portrayal – that understanding has gone away.

Clearly, what [the listener] has asked is a brilliant question because it does reveal that the bigotry we’re told they held back then, they didn’t hold and what they did was they put the family unit higher than the government unit and they tried to work hard to keep the family together. And, as we can show in two or three hundred studies since then, the more you weaken the family, the more it hurts the entire culture and society.

One thing we’ve all learned over the years is that the right wing cannot discriminate, it can only be discriminated against. By the way, any wingers who believe this can feel free to preserve their family unit by prohibiting their womenfolk from voting.

This is via Dan Savage’s podcast, where Dan points out that they called him paranoid a few years ago when he said the right wing was coming after birth control.

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63 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    Outreach!

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    In what sense is this guy a historian? He has certain beliefs and certain prejudices, but there’s more to ‘history’ than that. IMO.

  3. 3
    bemused says:

    Back in the early 2000’s, I told a young nurse that contraceptives were going to be under attack and she looked at me as if I had lost my mind. Not a surprise.That wasn’t on many people’s radar at the time except for obsessive news readers. I think this was when conservative pharmacists started to balk at prescribing bc.

  4. 4
    Hawes says:

    It is interesting that New Jersey – with a high proportion of Quakers – gave women suffrage during the revolution. But I guess Quakerism isn’t a REAL religion because peace and equality and shit. So Nathaniel Greene can go suck on it for not being an important figure in the founding of the country and New Jersey was like Berkeley and Birkenstocks.

    And it wasn’t like the Founders didn’t have sound science to back up their misogyny. I mean if you can’t trust phrenology, what can you trust?

  5. 5
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bemused: Because, being a pharmacist, is a constitutionally guaranteed right, doncha know?

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    the Founding Fathers denied women the right to vote not out of sexism but rather based on the biblical principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand

    Tune in for next week’s episode when we’ll discuss how the Civil War wasn’t about slavery.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    @Baud: Just ask Pat Lang.

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    don’t be chained down

    Over and over and over. I think it’s saddest of all when someone has ISSUES and they don’t even know it.

    And yes, this has the abundant Conservative stink all over it, where they smack you in the face for complaining that you are miserable and explain god wants it that way.

  9. 9

    @Hawes: Oh, yeah, we Quakers aren’t a REAL religion because we allow same-sex couples to get married under the care of the meeting.

    When I lived in Albuquerque, some right-winger in Santa Fe got it into his head to pass a law criminalizing same-sex marriage: the person conducting the ceremony would be guilty of a misdemeanor. The Quaker meeting I belonged to sent a note to him saying that since the entire meeting conducts the ceremony — actually called “Meeting for Worship with a Concern for Marriage” — to basically come and arrest the whole lot of us.

    The bill failed.

  10. 10
    Betty says:

    It would seem this guy is referring to the sitcom “Modern Family.” If he had ever watched the show, he would know that the parents are very involved with their children and their own parents. It’s very much an extended family with close ties. Whatever you may think of the quality of the comedy, it does not reflect the behavior this fellow supposes. But this type doesn’t usually let facts get in the way of their rhetoric.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    That is a family that is voting and so the head of the family is traditionally considered to be the husband and even biblically still continues to be so …

    A tradition of sexism is, of course, still sexism.

    But this is perfect example of rightwing thinking. “I believe so strongly in the unity of the family that I’m willing to sacrifice your rights to preserve it.”

  12. 12
    Chris says:

    So, the family has to operate as a single unit, and that’s not bigotry.

    But the only person entitled to speak for that single unit at the ballot box is the man.

    And that’s not bigotry because…?

    Next on Fox, another crank historian explains how Islam’s unacceptably sexist practices prove that it’s evil and why won’t you liberals help us wipe them out? because when THEY do it, it’s a whole other story.

  13. 13
    WereBear says:

    @Chris: when THEY do it, it’s a whole other story.

    Not really. I’ve come to realize it’s actually jealousy.

  14. 14
    Jade says:

    Dude would be less angry if he had gotten accepted into a good school. Poor Ivy League reject.

  15. 15
    Linda Featheringill says:

    “By the way, any wingers who believe this can feel free to preserve their family unit by prohibiting their womenfolk from voting.”

    Reminds me of my mother who long ago confessed to me that she always voted just opposite from the way Daddy instructed her to vote.

    If only we could depend on the rest of the ladies to do likewise.

  16. 16
    Chris says:

    @WereBear:

    Come to think of it, you’re not wrong. In between bouts of “they’re all terrorists” and “they should all die,” I do remember hearing envy for countries like Saudi Arabia – “at least they have family values!” – from wingnuts.

  17. 17
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @bemused:

    conservative pharmacists started to balk at prescribing bc.

    That was set up years before. High school kids in conservative/fundie churches were offered full scholarships to go for a Pharm.D.

  18. 18
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @bemused:

    conservative pharmacists started to balk at prescribing bc.

    That was set up years before. High school kids in conservative/fundie churches were offered full scholarships to go for a Pharm.D.

  19. 19
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Mustang Bobby: awesome.

  20. 20
    balconesfault says:

    The Mafia puts family ahead of government too, right?

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    Never realized that Gabby “Durn persnickety female” Hayes was a Founding Father.

  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: And they mocked Hillary Clinton for calling it a vast right wing conspiracy.

  23. 23
    debbie says:

    the Founding Fathers denied women the right to vote not out of sexism but rather based on the biblical principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand

    Yes, I suppose, if that house is a prison.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    I resent the assumption that religious freedom is always exercised by denying marriage equality. I guess they can’t grasp that there are people and faith communities for whom religious freedom requires acknowledging the worth and dignity of every human being. Many faith communities want the religious freedom to marry same sex couples.

  25. 25
    C.V. Danes says:

    Yes, because it was so much better when the men-folk made all the decisions and the women-folk had to get a signed letter from their husbands to get birth control, and so on.

    Whatever.

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    This crystalizes my long-ago hunch from this Honeymooners’ quote:

    Ralph: I’m the King, and you’re nothing!

    Alice: Congratulations. You’re the King of Nothing.

  27. 27
    dricey says:

    They’re after birth control, yes. Barton is letting us know that they’re after women’s suffrage, too. That isn’t all. I worked it out back in the 80s that ultimately conservatives want to reintroduce slavery, too. The way that they’ve been “whitesplaining” to us that slavery was actually better for the enslaved than freedom shows the emerging line of argument for that. When they picked that movie actor to play the President back in 1980 a careful analysis of the logic of the conservatives’ point of view indicated that their war wasn’t just against the 1960s; it was against the 1860s as well. They don’t just mean to take us back; they mean to take us all the way back. The South, which is what the modern conservative movement is all about, wants to reverse the verdict of the Civil War, wipe out abolition, racial justice, and modern science, and reimpose, through any means possible, the status quo of the early 1800s.

  28. 28
    raven says:

    @dricey: “The South” huh?

  29. 29
    A Humble Lurker says:

    If having one person in a family vote maintains family cohesiveness, than the womenfolk can vote for their husbands.

  30. 30
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @WereBear:

    And they mocked Hillary Clinton for calling it a vast right wing conspiracy.

    Not me. I grew up among fundies; I knew the conspiracy had been there for years.

    Same reason I won’t patronize a business with an ichthys in its logo.

  31. 31
    WereBear says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Same reason I won’t patronize a business with an ichthys in its logo.

    Yep. Just asking to be ripped off!

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @WereBear: They’re not ripping you off. They’re liberating your money for the greater glory of God!

  34. 34

    @Baud: That’s already happened. It was about tariffs (not if you read the states’ secession acts), we could have bought the slaves via government bailout of the South (it was put out as a hypothetical and rejected), and black slaves fought for the Confederacy (no, they really didn’t.)

    Anything that interferes with the narrative that God handed the Founding Fathers the Constitution written by His hand on two tablets of stone and therefore America was a godly, holy Christian nation that would never do anything wrong until godless liberals appeared and womenfolk started voting and doing naughty things with their ladyparts (because no one ever had sex in unapproved ways before then) and teh gay started shoving their agenda down our throats, must be suppressed and explained away.

    That’s why the Native Americans voluntarily killed themselves off and moved to the various desert and desolate locations. Real (read white) Americans had nothing to do with it. Honest. Trust us. :P

  35. 35
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    And, as we can show in two or three hundred studies since then, the more you weaken the family, the more it hurts the entire culture and society.

    I’m just relieved that denying them affordable medical care, making it necessary for both parents to work low wage jobs, or cutting food assistance don’t weaken families. I could have sworn that somewhere in Proverbs it read “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” But then I’m a Buddhist so what do I know?

  36. 36
    Chris says:

    @dricey:

    We can’t say they weren’t straightforward with us: “we just want to go back to what the Founding Fathers gave us.”

    People outside of wingnuttia just don’t connect the dots to what that actually means – a return to the days before women’s suffrage, before abolition, even before universal [white/male] suffrage, when if you weren’t rich, white, male and preferably Protestant, you had no voice – and why it’s actually a horrific idea and a call for an apartheid state.

  37. 37

    And you have to remember back then, husband and wife, I mean the two were considered one.

    No, the entire extended multi-generational family was considered one unit. Dear wingnut: Please learn actual history instead of assuming 1950s television shows are tradition. The nuclear family was a blip on the historical radar.

  38. 38
    Mandalay says:

    There’s no need to pounce on obscure pseudo-historians for this kind of crap. It’s in the MSM every damn day. Here’s Geoffrey Toobin and Gloria Borger mansplaining Monica Lewinsky on CNN yesterday:
    Borger:

    It’s the women who pay the price. And that’s what happened with Lewinsky here. Not to excuse her behavior, but…

    Toobin:

    This is a woman who wanted one thing out of life. To get married and have a family.

    And here’s well known misogynist pig Bill Maher on his last show mansplaining the woman who exposed Donald Sterling’s racism:

    “She says there was not a sexual relationship, or any sort of romantic relationship, and yet she took four cars and an expensive apartment [from Sterling],” Maher said. “I feel that makes her worse than a whore. A whore, that’s an honest transaction.”

    Whenever the womenfolk get uppity you can always rely on the Villagers to remind them of their place.

  39. 39

    @MomSense: I had much the same thought (shameless self-promoting click bait). A lot of denominations that have been around for a lot longer than the TV preachers have been in favor of marriage equality, and a lot of them are coming around to it, including Reform Judaism. It takes a lot of chutzpah to assume that one group speaks for all.

  40. 40
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    You’re overlooking the fact that, for today’s conservatives, religion, like the Constitution, history, and science, is whatever they say it is.

  41. 41
    Culture of Truth says:

    Amazing how much better off everyone was under slavery and with no voting rights.

  42. 42
    Paul in KY says:

    @Chris: They could have had the male child (if present) cast the ballot, but they were usually off laboring in the glue factory, so in their great wisdom it was decided that the husband and/or father would be the one.

    Logic!

  43. 43
    Citizen_X says:

    And you have to remember back then, husband and wife, I mean the two were considered one. That is the biblical precept.

    What is this with the singular, God-hater? Husband and wives are one, along with all the concubines, and the man speaks for all! Learn your Bible.

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    Great post!

  45. 45
    geg6 says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Seriously. This is where the christianist nutters just kill me. Always going on and on and on and on about how their book of fairy tales and mythology must be taken literally and how it backs up their interpretation of what “marriage” is. Have they read that book? Because it pretty much shits all over their one man/one woman bullshit. And I mean a huge, stinking, steaming dump.

    Plus their best bud, Jesus, seemed to me like he liked the bad girls.

  46. 46
    gnomedad says:

    They have their own planet and now they want ours.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    catclub says:

    So widows were given the vote in the secret constitution! Huh, who knew?

  49. 49

    I think I may be one of the few liberals who oppose vote by mail. I worry about family and other forms of interference in voting. I can see members of the family filling out adult childrens’ and spouses ballots.

    There is also the concept of a “voting party” where members of a group, whether it be unions or buisnesses are expected to fill out their ballots together.

    We at least need the option to vote in person.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris:

    So, the family has to operate as a single unit, and that’s not bigotry.

    But the only person entitled to speak for that single unit at the ballot box is the man.

    And that’s not bigotry because…?

    I am glad I read the comments before I started typing because this was more or less what I was going type.

  51. 51
    someofparts says:

    The easiest problem to spot with all the astounding stupidity in that passage is the nitwit’s complete failure to understand Modern Family. The whole point of that program is to show how much the characters DO love and support each other. Damn. Brain-dead much?

  52. 52
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Baud: Are you referring to The War of Northern Aggression? ;)

  53. 53
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Baud: Are you referring to The War of Northern Aggression? ;)@dricey: Well, think of Bundy’s words (I paraphrase): Let me tell you something else about the Negro… I often wonder if he wasn’t better off as a slave….

    And some on the right are now attempting a jig of explanation and rationalization, so, yes, you may be correct.

  54. 54
    Gus diZerega says:

    As usual these guys are incompetent or liars and probably both. A number of northern states gave unmarried or divorced women the vote and NJ gave all women the vote and had terms like “he or she”
    in their constitution. Women lost it when the suffrage was extended to all men later as that extension went to White men (before then in many northern states free Blacks could also vote).

    The constitution in its original form has no gender requirements for anything at all. The guarantee of suffrage to men was added in an amendment after the Civil War when Black men were to be protected but many though protecting Black women in the same way was a bridge too far.

    These right wing ‘scholars’ and ‘religious’ leaders are disgusting and vile. Their supporters are simply willfully ignorant, which makes them accessories.

  55. 55
    mcjulie says:

    @dricey: Yep. I think it comes down to t his: at a basic level, they don’t accept the idea of universal and unequivocal personhood for adults. That’s why they seized on the abortion issue — it gave them great cover. They could talk up the personhood of the fetus, as if that was their motivation, but their real motivation was denying full personhood for women.

    Members of their own tribe get to be people, but that’s about it. At heart they don’t believe in ANY of the enlightenment principles by which this country was founded. They don’t believe in inalienable rights, or reason, or progress, or equality. They’re royalists, or feudalists — they believe some people are inherently better than other people, by virtue of birth, and that those better people can do whatever they want, while everyone else exists to serve them.

    That’s why they’re so often public hypocrites. They don’t actually believe their own rules apply to them. They sort of know other people don’t see it that way, so they try to find some other rhetorical justification. But really, they’re just baffled — they’re the peerage, why would anybody expect THEM to follow the rules?

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    @mcjulie:

    My God, THIS! All of it! Well spoken!

  57. 57
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @someofparts:

    Brain-dead much?

    The man is a “Bible-believing Christian”. Being brain-dead is de rigueur for these vile creatures.

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I could have sworn that somewhere in Proverbs it read “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” But then I’m a Buddhist so what do I know?

    You were reading some vile liberal translation of Proverbs, obviously, on that has been informed by that hippy-dippy possiblly Buddhist-influenced Jesus character.

  59. 59
    TG Chicago says:

    This is perfectly consistent. One vote per family unit. That’s why they also opposed voting for unmarried men, right?

    Oh wait…

  60. 60
    ellie says:

    @WereBear: My dad used to say that whenever someone would announce he/she was a Christian, he would check to make sure he still had his wallet.

    God I miss him.

  61. 61
    JGabriel says:

    mistermix @ top:

    By the way, any wingers who believe this can feel free to preserve their family unit by prohibiting their womenfolk from voting.

    Or better yet, since it’s the family divided that poses the problem, they can refrain from voting themselves and let the womenfolk make the decision.

  62. 62
    JGabriel says:

    Hawes:

    And it wasn’t like the Founders didn’t have sound science to back up their misogyny. I mean if you can’t trust phrenology, what can you trust?

    Errm, not to nitpick, but the Founding Fathers didn’t really have phrenology. Phrenology was a largely 19th C. fad:

    Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796, the discipline was very popular in the 19th century, especially from about 1810 until 1840. The principal British centre for phrenology was Edinburgh, where the Edinburgh Phrenological Society was established in 1820. …

    It would be Gall’s collaborator Johann Gaspar Spurzheim who would popularize the term “phrenology”. In 1809 Gall began writing his principal work “The Anatomy and Physiology of the Nervous System in General, and of the Brain in Particular, with Observations upon the possibility of ascertaining the several Intellectual and Moral Dispositions of Man and Animal, by the configuration of their Heads.” It was not published until 1819.

    So I guess the Founding Father’s choice to not give women the right to vote was just traditional prejudice, no pseudo-scientific justification required.

  63. 63
    satby says:

    @bemused: indeed! I told people that birth control was the next target after abortion in the early 2000s and was treated as a crank. I am not pleased to have been proven correct.

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