Barton: Denying Women’s Suffrage Protects the Family

David Barton says a lot of really stupid, bigoted, moronic things, but this one still takes me a little bit by surprise. On his radio show Thursday he actually claimed that women were denied the right to vote as a means of protecting the family.

The family was the first and fundamental unit of all government. Actually, you have individual self government first, then you have family government second, you have civil government third, and have church government fourth. Those are the four levels of government in the order they are given in the Bible.

So family government precedes civil government and you watch that as colonists came to America, they voted by families. You look at the Pilgrims, when they finally moved away from socialism and moved toward the free enterprise system, they called the families together and gave families plots of land. Private property given to the families. And so that’s the way things work.

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.

So they had a strong culture, a strong society and it was based on a strong family to preceded government and they crafted their policies to protect a strong family.

He stops short of saying that we should do the same thing today, but what else could one conclude? After all, if this policy was crafted to “protect a strong family” and a “strong society,” it has to be a good idea, right?

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
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  • zenlike

    You look at the Pilgrims, when they finally moved away from socialism and moved toward the free enterprise system

    The pilgrims migrated in the beginning of the 17th century, socialism started only as of the beginning of the 19th century.

    Clearly, history is not Barton’s strong point.

    Also, if I read him correctly, he would not have a problem of giving the vote to the women, and deny it to the men? That reaches his goal of one family, one vote, right? Right?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    He conveniently imagines that nuclear families were as long-lasting as they are nowadays. What he doesn’t remember is the huge numbers of families in which one or both parents died; huge numbers of women died in childbirth, huge numbers of men died in wars. Through human history, epidemics would wipe out huge chunks of entire populations, leaving orphans, widows, etc. Somehow, people managed to raise kids successfully throughout all of that. Why? Because families are nothing more than a convenient teaming.

  • matty1

    @1 This is one of those depends what you mean situations. Socialism as a political movement is indeed 19th Century in origin, albeit drawing on older 18th century foundations, but the word can also refer to an economic system in which the control of resources is the responsibility of the community rather than individuals*. Systems like that have cropped up throughout history particularly in extremist religious groups and precarious situations like trying to build a settlement in unfamiliar territory. Given this I’d be surprised if the Pilgrims didn’t have some socialist aspects to their society at least in the very early days.

    *Exactly what this means is tricky but I think it more accurate than the alternative formulation of government control of resources, there are non-government and even anarchist socialist groups.

  • eric

    That is a family that is voting

    I’ll agree to that if they agree it’ll be the wife who gets to show up at the voting booth.

  • cptdoom

    He conveniently imagines that nuclear families were as long-lasting as they are nowadays. What he doesn’t remember is the huge numbers of families in which one or both parents died; huge numbers of women died in childbirth, huge numbers of men died in wars. Through human history, epidemics would wipe out huge chunks of entire populations, leaving orphans, widows, etc. Somehow, people managed to raise kids successfully throughout all of that. Why? Because families are nothing more than a convenient teaming.

    In fact, the realities of this kind of widespread early death also meant “family” had a different meaning. It was not the nuclear family, per se, but the larger, almost clan concept of an extended family. Cousins, uncles, aunts, even godparents, especially if they were of higher status, were all part of what was referred to as “family.”

  • mars

    The first two paragraphs are only true if you replace “family” with “man.” In his third paragraph he admits it. Iv’e found that many of these “pro-family” statements only make sense that way, which shows that they aren’t pro-family at all.

  • brucegee1962

    Note the problem presented to the puritan worldview when the man happens to predecease his wife, and she ends up owning his property. I wonder what Barton would think of the solution for that problem they came up with in Salem — simply kill those women and redistribute their property to the deserving male town leaders. Family values restored!

  • Trebuchet

    I expect pretty much the same arguments were being made 100 years ago, a time at which Barton would have been mourning the good old days of 200 years ago.

  • sceptinurse

    So when the husband dies first the wife gets to vote for the family?

    I seriously doubt he would agree with that.

  • eric

    Actually, you have individual self government first

    Funny how they never believe that when it comes to abortion law.

  • http://howlandbolton.com richardelguru

    Nonsense zenlike, as you’d realise if you’d seen that great documentary ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’?

  • mars

    IIRC, it was hardly assured that the wife would inherit. I think the standard was for the wife to be a trustee of any property for any (male) children until they came of age. If she was lucky she might have rights to manage and use property through her death, but she still wouldn’t own it outright. If the husband decided to cut her out entirely, he was within his rights to do so. Again, these “family” rights only seem to extend to one member of the family, which means they aren’t “family” rights at all.

  • lpetrich

    I like to call David Barton’s theory the reversed-sex deep-sea-anglerfish model of the family.

  • Synfandel

    @4 eric wrote:

    I’ll agree to that if they agree it’ll be the wife who gets to show up at the voting booth.

    Ah, but:

    …the head of the family is traditionally considered to be the husband and even biblically still continues to be so.

    Checkmate! (As Modusoperandi might say)

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Shorter Barton: “Oh, woe! Won’t someone defend the patriarchy!”

     

    You look at the Pilgrims, when they finally moved away from socialism and moved toward the free enterprise system, they called the families together and gave families plots of land. Private property given to the families.

    They just got given stuff? That’s not the Free Enterprise system!

     

    …you know, we’ve moved into more of a family anarchy kind of thing, the ‘Modern Family’ kind of portrayal…

    Modern Family:

    1. Jay and Gloria (married)

    2. Claire and Mitchell (married)

    3. Mitchel and Cameron (getting married)

  • Chiroptera

    So family government precedes civil government and you watch that as colonists came to America, they voted by families.

    Actually, if I recall my history correctly, in most of those colonies they voted by “property owners.” Since women and minor children didn’t own propterty, and adult children who did own property probably had their own families, I’m sure that it looks a lot like “voting by families”…if you have a point you’re determined to make.

  • dingojack

    Mars (#12) – Actually by the late 17th century women automatically inherited a third of her husband’s property under English Common Law (also used in the American Colonies), and could contest the third not reserved for the children too.

    See English Inheritance Law and Its Transfer to the Colonies.Carole Shammas. The American Journal of Legal History. Vol. 31, No. 2 (Apr., 1987), pp. 145-163.

    Dingo

  • Sastra

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

    Right. Because if wives also get to vote you get a potential Election Debate on Election Day. And look how unhappy it makes those couples! Nip those petty squabbles in the bud.