The definition of a Social Conservative has always been fairly clear in my mind. My personal definition of a Social Conservative is very easily expressed: Asshole. Perhaps this is judgemental of me, but I am not going to stop people from wanting to live permanantly in the 1950s, I'm just not going to hang out with these people. That's okay, this is America.
Today The Fair Goddess Echidne examines Social Conservativism in a much more complete manner[emphasis mine]:
Note the argument that social conservatives want to have laws which reinforce their beliefs and the argument that they don't have to resort to them. Note that social conservatism is whatever is regarded as traditional in a locality. Thus, bin Laden is a social conservative and so is Jerry Falwell. But this also makes the definition empty of practical meaning. What would be traditional in the United States is not traditional in Iran, and even within, say, the United States what is defined as "traditional" seems to vary by the speaker or writer. If the second wave of feminism took place thirty years ago, isn't the idea of gender equality traditional by now? And why does bin Laden have to dig back a thousand years to get at something he regards as traditional? More generally, a cursory study of history shows all sorts of egalitarian values to have existed at various places and at various times. Why are these not traditional? Why is the right to an abortion not part of social conservatism, given that it was only in the last two hundred years the church turned against the idea of early abortions being acceptable?
In short, social conservatism is not really conservative. It can be quite radical as the bin Laden example demonstrated. What it always seems to be is hierarchical. The view of the family social conservatives embrace has a father as its boss. The religious organizations are seen as determining how the masses live. The government is worshipped as an authoritarian power. And all these hierarchies use some sort of fixed identifiers: sex, race, age, for deciding who will be on top of the pile and who will support the whole pyramid.
Here is the link to feminism. Social conservative pyramids require that women have pre-ordained roles centered around fertility and the service of the home. Anything less is seen as causing chaos, and chaos is what social conservatives fear (unless it's caused by their own radical moves to return the world to some utopian era). Women can't have equal participation in politics and in the public sphere in general because who would then take care of the children? Someone else would have to pick up the slack and as these tasks are arranged at the bottom of the power pyramid this someone else would suffer a drop in power and social esteem.
Some of this may be a little out of context so the whole article is worth a read if you are interested. But I find especially interesting the link to feminism and I really think she is spot on. It is all about maintaining some kind of hierarchy so that life makes sense for the people on top. I personally think that the whole point of christianity before the 20th century was to distract the working poor (from serfs to factory workers) from how crappy their lives were by scaring them with damnation and promising a reward for good behavior. And that would fit right in with the whole Social Conservative schema.
Though it is hard for me to figure out why women or minorities buy into it, just like why would a woman go along with being a Mormon? Personally I find the idea of being bound for eternity to a man without whom I can never go to heaven kindof offensive, but y'know that might be because of the feminist brainwashing.
What Feminist Brainwashing? Ohhhh the kind women get at shelters for abused women. Didn't you know? They take them in and strap them in chairs and brainwash them into thinking that they are equal with men and that they should be able to live their lives and make their own choices without having the shit beat out of them. It's evil I tell you, Evil. Ilyka got a letter from a someone against the Violence against women act because "she" claimed:
Those women who accept aid are presented with a “solution” that requires divorce, and immediate application for various welfare programs. Clients and their children are indoctrinated with feminist ideology, which places blame for the problem entirely on patriarchal men, and presumes women are always victims in need of outside guidance.
Maybe that's because these women ARE the victims of "patriarchal men". I was reading the site it linked to and I nearly climbed through the computer and started abusing a woman myself, then "she" would have been the victim of a brainwashed feminist. (Theoretically the person who publishes this abomination is a woman, but this is the internet and I find that hard to believe especially after the whole Libertarian Girl fiasco. )
Anyway, while I'm sure that like all government things in this country the VAWA is fucked up, that doesn't mean it needs to go away. That means that we should push for reform, and for the acknoledgement that men get abused to. But women get abused more often and why is that? Oh it's because they are bitches who don't know to shut up when they are told? Right?