Tea Party Family Values and the World's Greatest Freak Show

Tea Party Family Values and the World's Greatest Freak Show August 29, 2011

On fundamentalist counterculture & juvenile black market adoption fantasies …

by Vyckie Garrison @ No Longer Quivering

Do you remember when it first dawned on you that your relatives are all a bunch of crackpots and weirdos?  Seems like I was around 8 or 9 — my mother worked all night in the casinos and slept most of the day, leaving me alone to protect my naïve older sister from the depraved advances of Mom’s alcoholic boyfriends and worry about my big brother’s drug addiction. I couldn’t count on my grandparents to help — they were too preoccupied with their own divorce, dating, and remarriage dramas.

“Holy sugar,” I thought to myself, “these people are seriously messed up!”

That’s about the time the fantasies began.  My home, I imagined, was a three-ring circus — and my relatives were the freaks and the clowns.  In my daydreams, I was not really one of them.  No — surely, I was of aristocratic origin.  My REAL family were royalty in a faraway Kingdom and I was born a beloved Princess in a fancy castle with many servants and my own Fairy Godmother.  Somehow, I’d been separated from my blood kin as an infant — I was captured by gypsies and sold in a black market adoption — that’s how I ended up being raised by this group of crazies!


ABC’s Primetime Nightline recently aired a segment featuring the Gil & Kelly Bates family — a conservative, Evangelical mega-family of twenty.  The Bates, who are close friends of JimBob & Michelle Duggar of TLC’s “19 and Counting” fame, hold to the extreme fundamentalist ideals of the growing “Quiverfull movement.”

During the one-hour special, Gil, Kelly, and their children explained the family’s lifestyle which, to all modern appearances, represents a throw back to the imaginary 60’s-style “Leave It to Beaver” family combined with strict, Victorian Era sexual mores and the atavistic gender roles of ancient goat-herders. The Bates eschew all forms of birth control and adhere to the marriage model of the biblical Patriarchs — with Gil as family leader and Kelly as submissive “help meet.”  Kelly and the girls adorn themselves in modest, hand-sewn dresses, while Gil and his clean-cut sons teach bible study and participate in local Tea Party politics.

Aren’t they lovely?  Don’tcha wanna be just like them?

I sure did!  I left home at 15 and embarked on a quest to recreate my long-lost perfect, happy family — my REAL courtly family, where I truly belonged.  After a false start involving marriage at 16, a baby at 19, and divorce after seven years of abuse rivaling the most astonishing freak show acts Mom’s circus family had ever performed — I remarried, found a “bible-believing” church, and worked hard within the Quiverfull counterculture to implement the best of the best biblical family values into our home life.  I had six more children. I homebirthed, homeschooled, and home-churched. I submitted to my husband and joyfully sacrificed my time, energy and talents to build him up and help him to succeed.  I published a “pro-life, pro-family” Christian family newspaper to inform and encourage other Christians to defend “Traditional Family Values.”

In 2003, we were honored as Family of the Year at the Nebraska Family Council’s “Salt & Light” awards. I’d finally made it! I had built my own Magic Kingdom where my husband reigned as King and I was his Queen, the children were our loyal subjects and we could all live happily ever after …

Like the Bates family, we were the perfect picture of the “biblical family values” fantasy — an idealistic vision of big, happy families: devoted husband and wife surrounded by a passel of respectful, obedient children — we were all sweetness and smiles.  It is this mesmerizing dream world which energizes and motivates Tea Party Republicans like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann to work tirelessly to implement the “pro-family” theocratic agenda into every aspect of American society: not only in politics, but religion, family, media, education, business and entertainment.

Fundamentalist Christians are convinced that contemporary American society is the World’s Most Spectacular Display of hideously mutated, diseased and anomalous freaks.  “Step right up folks!” the preacher yells, “and witness a grotesque parade of ho-mo-sex-uals, lesbians, Wiccans, radical feminists, godless liberals, secular humanists, and …” (congregation gasps!) “Muslim extremists!!”

Simultaneously fascinated and horrified, respectable religious parents scramble to shield their innocent children’s eyes and ears from the depravity and corruption of “The World.”  They homeschool and form special Chastity and Creation Science clubs designed to insulate and isolate their vulnerable young from the miscreants and most depraved elements of popular culture.

It’s completely understandable and normal for preteens to create imaginary worlds — their own private, safe hideout where they can dream of nobility, of rising above and doing so much better than the clowns running the Big Top’s Museum of Mutantstrosities.  The grown-ups watch in silent, knowing amusement as kids disavow their relatives as “psychos” and “bozos.”

But when otherwise responsible, Christian adults in recent years set out on a mission to create a radically distinct way of life based on “biblical family values,” the resultant countercultural movement known as “Quiverfull” has become an all-too-real Hall of Mirrors horror show.

In my own life, perpetual pregnancies destroyed my health, and my indiscriminate acquiescence to my husband’s every whim transformed him from a loving father into a tantrum-throwing tyrant. Burnout and disillusionment led to abuse, neglect, family disintegration and a particularly nasty divorce.

When the dust settled, I took a good look at myself in the mirror.  I could no longer deny the strong family resemblance — I saw my mother in my own face staring back at me.  After all those years of fighting and denial, I had to finally accept the fact that I really am one of them — I belong to these crazy people.  I, too, am a conspicuous oddity — a bizarre spectacle and an embarrassment to my own noble children.

Funny thing is … these days, I don’t mind so much being associated with my misfit clan of circus freaks.  Life experience has given me perspective and a deep appreciation for the inevitable realities and desperate circumstances which deformed and mutated Mom and the rest of us into shocking and extraordinary creatures worthy of society’s disquietude and awe.

Black market adoption fantasies and youthful idealism are important wayposts on the journey to adulthood.  Rebellion against blatant injustice, hypocrisy, moral compromise and the myriad of other common grown-up failure is a healthy manifestation of a kid’s personal power and strong moral agency.  Arrogant and annoying, yes — but in moments of truth we have to admit, the kid’s got a point.

Society sucks.  Bigotry, racism, inequity, corruption, greed, depravity, malevolence, and all manner of evil abound. Let’s just face the fact that in many ways, the contemporary American social and political scene has devolved to become the World’s Greatest Freak Show.

No wonder Tea Party Patriot families like the Bates and the Duggars escape into their own personal fantasyland.

Ironically, with maturity comes humility — along with a profound sense of connection and belonging to that wacky bunch of buffoons who share our DNA.  We see our people with new eyes.  Sure, Grandma’s got a beard and Uncle Stan is a charlatan — Aunt Betty’s such a lunatic, she may as well have two heads.  But in the end, they’re all we’ve got.  That perfect, royal family whom we imagined searched frantically for us for years and never gave up hope that one day we would return to our true home?  They’re not real.  Cousin Roger is real — never mind that he doesn’t have a lick of sense and the only thing he’s good for is shoveling elephant shit — he’s the one who truly understands you, knows all about you, and loves you anyway.

Tea Party family values are the fundamentalists’ desperate attempt to deny their own imperfections, vulnerability, and their inescapable mortality.  Sure it hurts that they look down on us regular folk — those of us who make no pretense of actually having our acts together — they avoid being seen out in public with us, they disown us, and they shrink away in fear of catching our cooties.

But take heart — perhaps they’ll grow up.

I did.  Not saying I don’t still sometimes get all starry-eyed and visionary over the possibility of influencing our society for the better — I’ve got a bit of spunk left in me and I’m doing what I can to stick it to The Man.  But I no longer think of myself as qualitatively different or “other” than all the rest of my fellow human beings — my family.  My freakish, crazy, wonderfully imperfect people.

I don’t believe in God anymore, but I still have faith.  I have hope and I trust that collectively, we’re all gonna make it — we are learning from our mistakes and growing more compassionate.  Our shared experiences make us wiser and I have confidence that better times are just ahead.

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  • mwigdahl

    Although I think this is a well-written article and agree with most of the content, my experience with Tea Party folks is that they are explicitly _not_ the hard-core social conservatives that your use of that term would imply.

    While there may very well be an overlap between fiscal and social conservatives, the Tea Party groups are pretty solidly and explicitly fixated on _fiscal_ conservatism, to the point that more mainline social conservative Republicans have criticized them as libertarians. The thought that “Tea Party Republican” would somehow equate with Duggar-style Quiverfull would shock most Tea Partiers I’m acquainted with.

  • Bethany

    I was going to say just what mwigdahl said. Most ultra-conservatives including P/QF would actually quite dislike the TEA Party because the TEA Party’s desire is limited federal government, which would lead to a lot of things they disapprove of, such as potentially legalized marijuana and/or civil unions and the complete removal of government’s involvement in marriage. The TEA Party skews quite libertarian, and the ultra-conservative theocratic types are most decidedly not libertarian because of the social ramifications.

  • nolongerquivering

    Thanks for your comments. Maybe I should say “Dominionist family values”?

  • nolongerquivering

    Also, I realize the tone of this piece is totally condescending ~ hopefully it’s also light-hearted and entertaining ~ I’m poking fun at me as much as anyone.

  • anna

    I found this article to be a good laugh I particularly enjoyed the goat herder reference. I tend to believe that the perfect family, and the perfect man are like the perfect body they exsist only if you don’t look to hard, Sometimes if you sit back and look at yours its better than you think.

  • Actually, in my experience, the Tea Party is nothing more than a renaming of the Religious Right, with an attempt to appeal to others who share their fiscal beliefs by hiding their social beliefs. I mean, seriously, name one Tea Party leader who doesn’t also want to make gay marriage and abortion illegal. You can’t. Michelle Bachmann, who is often referred to as a “tea party leader” is essentially dominionist in belief. If you look at the Religious Right of the early 1990s, you’ll find the exact same views as the Tea Party today, including the exact same fiscal beliefs.

  • Michelle

    Oh, excellent point. I wish it weren’t so.

  • mwigdahl

    I can name two quickly, and I’m sure I can find others. Mitch Daniels, Indiana governor. Supports the tea party, called for a truce on social issues — in other words, focus on fixing the budget. There’s also Ian Andrew Dodge from Maine. His quote was “I want to build on our success, not ruin the coalition by bringing ‘God’s will’ into it.”

    Since there is a substantial overlap between fiscal and social conservatives, and the tea party folks represent a motivated and somewhat disorganized movement, it shouldn’t be too surprising that leaders with existing agendas are trying to latch onto the movement to bend it to their will.

    But the motivator for folks coming out to demonstrate was not because they were suddenly inflamed by some social issue or other — it was because of TARP and the rounds of enormous fiscal stimulus. The impetus for the organization comes out of economics. Whether they’re successfully co-opted for other purposes is yet to be seen.

  • Nice article. Amazing life experience. I was far behind you…didn’t realize my family were crazy until much later in life.

    When I read the bit about: “Step right up folks!” the preacher yells, “and witness a grotesque parade of ho-mo-sex-uals, lesbians, Wiccans, radical feminists, godless liberals, secular humanists, and …” (congregation gasps!) “Muslim extremists!!”, I couldn’t help but think of the child’s game of “which of these things is not like the other”.

  • April Galamin

    Thanks for writing this Vycki! I was laughing & just about crying at what you wrote….it really hit home with me.

    After escaping a bible cult 4-1/2 years ago, I’ve tried to think through the reasons & circumstances of what it was that sucked me in that abusive religion. I believe that one of the things that drove me into a religious cult was my looking for a better life because of my own family of origin issues.
    In my huge Catholic family of 11 kids…life could be rough. (though I know my parents loved me & did the best they could) I am so glad my mom wasn’t a “quiverful” mom. I had freedom in that I went to public school growing up & involved in extracurricular activities OUTSIDE of the family unit, & I attended private & public university. Although us older ones were expected to help with the many chores of living in a family of 13 people & a dog, my mom did not expect us to raise, uh, I mean “buddy” our younger siblings. School for me was actually a break from life at home, which made me look forward to learn & experience outside of the home.

    I did homeschool my own kids for a few years & I’m glad I had sense enough to incorporate social activities such as Girl Scouts, piano lessons & lots of field trips during those years. But over time I got burned out. Many of the large fundy families today are sheltered from the learning experiences of dealing with others who are DIFFERENT from them, which is unfortunate.

    In regards to joining the cult, I think I was searching for something better…..& after about 2 decades of religious oppression, guilt & indoctrination…I shook the dust off, left that prison & went HOME, in my heart, spirit, mind & eventually physically. (we uprooted our lives to another state for the cult & I longed for ‘home’…it took time, sell the house, pack, pack pack.. & we yet again, uprooted our lives. Continuing to live there, was not an option. Too many painful cult memories & for us to continue to live in that state.

    When we escaped from the cult, my catholic, “heathen” family 🙂 were waiting for me with open arms. My mom & siblings & relatives listened to me if I needed an ear. I am so grateful to them for being there for me during the time I was exiting the cult. (I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for those who walk away from a cult, whose whole family are still IN the cult!) I love & appreciate my family of origin, god knows we all have our issues, but they are REAL people & I am free to be ME. (which I was NOT able to do while in the cult…looking back I was another person during those years…)

    I am just glad that I got out while my kids were still somewhat young so that they can experience LIFE.
    Freedom is scary, but oh, so worth it!

    Thanks for all you do Vycki!
    Peace 🙂 🙂

  • mwigdahl

    I think it’s fine either way — it’s a great article and it deserves to be read widely, so I was just pointing out that there are some libertarian-flavor Tea Party folks that would probably feel like you were unfairly lumping them in with the rest of the Quiverfull/Dominionist carnival… 🙂

  • Lauren H.

    I disagree the Tea Party isn’t socially conservative. I’ve seen rallies where people had signs quoting the Bible and were calling for a return to Biblical economic values. That certainly is in line with the beliefs espoused by ATI, Quiverful, etc.

  • Lauren H.

    I should add, if they are espousing Biblical economic values, what are the odds they aren’t espousing Biblical social values?

  • nolongerquivering

    Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches has a recent piece making a strong case for the connection here:

    Tea Party=
    Religious Right=


  • mwigdahl

    So when you attend a Democratic Party rally and see signs saying “Workers of the World Unite”, etc., does that mean that the Democratic Party as a whole espouses Communism?

    As I believe I said, there’s a large (but non-total) overlap between fiscal and social conservatives; I’m not disputing that. But the tea party movement clearly stems from economic roots, not from social policy, and there are plenty of folks I know (namely: libertarians and libertarian-leaners) who sympathize with the economic goals of the tea party and wish the social conservatives would just pipe down and put down the signs.

  • mwigdahl

    Sure, and Politico has a story saying basically the opposite (it is older, though):


    “The rise of a new conservative grass roots fueled by a secular revulsion at government spending is stirring fears among leaders of the old conservative grass roots, the evangelical Christian right.”

    I think the folks that fear the return of the Religious Right are probably correct to keep shining the spotlight on the tea party, though. The old Reform Party got co-opted pretty thoroughly by the far right — it could easily happen with the tea party as well.

  • Sara

    I used to love The tea party when it was about fiscal responsibility, we were small business owners. now I have had to take refuge in the libertarian party(live and let live). Great article, my past was a sad freak show, my present is a joyous freak show. I love your insights and what you share from your journey!

  • If Daniels declared a “truce” on social issues, then why did he sign a bill banning Planned Parenthood from receiving medicaid funds simply because it also performs abortions (though not with medicaid money)? Daniels may SAY he is not going to get involved in social issues, but that’s not where he has put his feet. I would argue that the same is true for essentially all tea party leaders. Ron Paul claims to be a libertarian and not get into the social stuff, but he recently came out against evolution. And so it goes. As for the other person you mention – I’ve never heard of him. I looked him up and he doesn’t even have a wikipedia page, so I’m taking him as a smaller name, not a national name.

  • You really have to watch out even in the libertarian party, because you still have lots of religious nuts. Ron Paul came out against evolution the other day, for example.

  • Bill

    It’s hard to take these comments seriously when we get commentators so jaded, so deluded, so brainwashed that coming out against the obviously illogical fallacies of evolution is somehow “radical.” It’s hard to take anything seriously when hard core leftist nutjobs like that are in the fray.

  • Bill

    LA, I don’t mean to be unkind in my comments. Please forgive me if I came across so. I guess I was just confused as to why you picked out evolution, a non sequitur, to bring into the conversation? To me, that’s like saying you’re against robbery because many robberies are committed while wearing white after Labor Day. Wouldn’t it be more logical to be against robbery because it’s, well, robbery, than because of the fashion sense of the robbers? Libertarian beliefs espouse the rights of humankind and the rights of individuals. Killing an innocent person, through abortion for example, is not a good way to uphold their rights. I just found it somewhat interesting that you picked a rather strange, totally off topic view to disagree with instead of getting to the heart of the matter. It’s like someone saying they disagreed with Hitler because they don’t like mustaches. Granted, that’s a perfectly fine view to hold, but rather odd.

  • Bill

    Please pardon the hogging of the comment section. I just wanted to ask a question and actually try to engage in conversation. Are people against the Libertarian Party because they are racist? Libertarians believe in humane and just treatment for humankind, regardless of their gender or race. Evolutionary theory historically has a philosophy that black people are not as evolved as whites and therefore, are less deserving of equal treatment, since they are inferior. In that case, I can see why a person would have a problem being against evolution. To be against evolution would mean that one therefore believes that all humankind is equal.

    I am not declaring that that is what you believe. But I am asking, is that your reasoning?

  • Nope, I’m not against libertarians because they are “racist.” I don’t think they are. I’m against libertarians because a) they don’t understand that different people in society have different starting points and advantages, meaning that everyone does NOT have equal opportunity, and that that is why we have government safety nets, etc, and b) they often overlap with crazy religious nuts. And actually, the theory of evolution does not support racism. I know you’ve been taught that it does, but it doesn’t. There was a time when eugenicists latched onto evolution, but that time is past and scientists today believe that all humans are of the same race and that the outward differences are actually minuscule and only involve things like skin color, not intelligence or anything else. Don’t say “libertarians are good people because they think that all humankind are equal,” because I consider that a bare standard that every human should follow, not a standard for being good or somehow politically right.

  • Wait, I’m the one who is brainwashed here?! I was brainwashed, once – by my parents, into young earth creationist beliefs. Then I actually looked at the evidence, and I was completely shocked. Evolution is a sound scientific theory, just as gravity is. There is no question, none whatsoever, as to whether it happened, and any attempt to say otherwise IS pseudoscience and conspiracy theory mongering. I know you will disagree, so I provide a link to a blog post I wrote on this issue: http://lovejoyfeminism.blogspot.com/2011/08/young-earth-creationism-and-me.html

  • For me, disbelief in evidence shows an inability to consider real facts and accept scientific realities. It also is sort of a gateway drug – those who disbelieve in evolution are very likely to oppose sex education and birth control and support things like school prayer. Furthermore, those who believe in pseudoscience are more likely to also believe in pseudoeconomics, such as “trickle down” economics. For me, whether one accepts the scientific theory of evolution or turns to young earth creationist pesudoscience tells me whether one is a rational critical thinker or not. And to me, that matters.

  • I just reread your comment, and you seem to suggest that people who are against libertarians may themselves be racist. That made me laugh! Did you know that most minorities are against libertarians? Are you saying they are all racist? Historically, the libertarian part has actually attracted racists because it has been against “government handouts” and instead in favor of a “meritocracy” which usually simply means “I get to keep what I got and those poor people over there don’t get any handouts with my hard earned tax dollars.” I am not saying that libertarians today are racist, or that at some point in the past a majority were, only that your connection between non-libertarians and racism is laughable.

    Generally, people, including the vast majority of minorities, are against libertarianism because it has a faulty premise. It assumes that people start at the same point, or at least have comparable advantages and disadvantages, so that every person has an equal chance to succeed or fail. If this were true, I might be a libertarian, but it’s not. I was born into a white, middle class, well educated, two parent suburban family. That gave me advantages that someone born into a black, working class, uneducated, broken inner city family does not have. Can that person still succeed? Sure. But he would have to try hard to succeed while someone with my background would have to try hard to fail. We do not all have equal starting points, and I believe that it is the role of the government to step in and try to help even the playing field by giving the disadvantaged more opportunities to succeed. Secondarily, I do believe that there are some things that the government can do better than the free market – roads, for example, or police departments – and that holds me back from being a libertarian as well.

    Finally, the idea that someone should be against evolution because it is supposedly “racist” (it’s not) is silly. Evolution stands and falls based on EVIDENCE, not based on the possible implications of its findings (which again, the implications of its findings – that humans are actually almost impossible to differentiate between genetically when you look at the whole genome, because the differences are only skin deep – is to negate the entire premise of racism or eugenics).

  • Melinda

    All our families have some crazy in them. I learned to appreciate more than judge after I had my own family, realized that “Leave It To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best” were just as unrealistic as “Cinderella”… and then said out loud that I am an atheist. The sad thing about the Tea Party is that they were co-opted early on by right-wing politicians and corporate people who are using them AND that there is a far-too-large percentage of TP members who are pushing a very bigoted social agenda. The libertarian and fiscal conservatives need to find their own group and see who’s left in the Tea Party.

  • mwigdahl

    Wow, Vickie, I apologize. If I’d known my original comment was going to spiral off into what’s currently going on in the comment thread I would have just kept my mouth shut; it’s not that big of a deal anyway! Keep up the good work, and the good writing!

  • nolongerquivering

    It’s no problem, really. I appreciate your input here at No Longer Quivering. 🙂

  • nolongerquivering

    Isn’t it ironic that Quiverfull parents, who are in the very act of rebelling against contemporary culture, have “no greater fear” than that their blessings will grow up to be teenagers? Amazing how blinded we were to whole process…

  • Lauren H.

    You’re equating unionism with communism – not even close to the same thing. But the truth is, Tea Party leaders are for both social and fiscal conservatism. If you are a libertarian, I have no idea why you would want to be associated with the Tea Party.

  • Former QF mama

    This post was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! You nailed it in so many ways, Vyckie. I thought of myself, I thought of the many (mostly former, sadly) friends I have in the “Biblical Family” movement (who think of themselves as being Tea Party, too), and…yes. Yes, yes. You nailed it. The primary engine for it all? FEAR.

    And when fear is the primary engine, all thinking (about anything other than the party line), considering, mulling, wondering, questioning and evaluating takes a back seat. Fear creates a climate where those things are simply not possible.

  • duane

    “I believe that one of the things that drove me into a religious cult was my looking for a better life because of my own family of origin issues.”

    What was the nature of the betterment you sought? Which bait did the cult dangle that satisfied that need? Were you in anyway skeptical about the bait? Did the disparities between their promotions and circumstances unravel your membership or was your exit rather abrupt? Had that need for betterment been inculcated by your “family of origin”? I.e. was it a contradiction in that family that drove you away? Or was “society” more the source of discontent? Would you say the cult’s appeal was, consciously or not, honed for their own growth? Were they particularly egotistic, humble, or both? If so, did that appeal to you?

  • duane

    Well done, Libby Anne. I suspect Tea Party libertarianism is a mutation of the Religious Right in the face of declining fundamentalism/whatever. That collective maintains an unstable package of illusions.

    A right-wing libertarian would approve of your being a know-nothing, but he surely doesn’t want to be one himself. They’re happy if you want to be a fool; makes life easier for them. They’ll accept all kinds of cracked-pottery in the interest of “the movement” and because they are “tolerant”.

    It’s a sour mishmash and I applaud your striving for coherence. It makes for a healthier society. An understanding of evolution is necessary to science, a primary foundation of power in our technological society. Libertarians must accept this to have any credible foothold on governance.

    Their “tolerance” of creationism/ID is a delusional, unstable, and hypocritical political compromise. I’m pleased to see you are resistant to Bill’s pandering.

  • duane

    I wonder if you’ve given any thought to the designers of this engine? What is your opinion on their responsibility for the havoc caused by fundamentalism in the pursuit of “larger” social goals?

  • duane

    Beautiful. I would like to broaden this. Darwin held some cultural supremacist ideas (in the upper class of the British Empire, for heaven’s sake) and elitists in Britain and America latched on to “the survival of the fittest”. The science of evolution strove to steer clear of that entanglement.

    Let’s suppose it were established that genes or cultural practices were better adapted to their niche. For one, every one would be a supremacist in that niche. But niches are interdependent, so evolution develops cooperation, not dominance alone. This is the unrelenting metaphor presented by evolutionary science for generations yet we still have right-wing reactionaries projecting racism on evolution. The reason is obvious. They are ashamed of their own demons.

    Libertarians ineptly defend inequality with their ridiculous equality of opportunity. It enrages me to think of the terror, agony, and anguish this insidious ideology has promoted. And still, in your commanding rebuttal, I see a defensiveness provoked by our economic system. We do not succeed only by the Libertarian’s coveted competition. That inner lie must be confronted as well.

    Government is necessary. The free market delusion is a strategy to justify privatization and consolidation of wealth in the declining years of the American Empire.

    Bill’s contortions to portray libertarianism as anti-racist are painful. I was angered by his deceptive rhetoric, thinking he was trying to put one over. However, pity overtakes me. I am still angry that he wastes other’s time with that inept nonsense, but it is very likely that he is trapped by confusion. The poor b—— thinks he has a dilemma in evolution. With that nasty crap they’ve put in his head, if he believes in evolution, he’s a racist inegalitarian; otherwise he an egalitarian non-racist. Tough choice for Libertarians who are not supposed to be racist. He could be so much happier if he knew he didn’t have to be racist if he believed in evolution.

    The reactionary anti-liberal ideology propagates a twisted mess. The victims understand neither Liberalism nor there own libertarianism (which was originally left-anarchism). And that is by design. They don’t understand because it’s an exploit.

    So, I’m tremendously relieved that you are resistant to Bill’s incoherent ideology and hope you can see behind their mask. I hope you will have the talent to rescue some of these poor souls and us from their marionettes.

    Wishing you the best.

  • Bill

    First of all, I have no idea how I ended up at this site. Must have been some odd link. I have not the slightest idea what “Quiverfull” thing is. Never heard of this group in my entire life. So as far as that’s concerned, I couldn’t care less about debating a topic which I know nothing of. The only thing that interested me was the political talk of Libertarian ideas.

    “So, I’m tremendously relieved that you are resistant to Bill’s incoherent ideology and hope you can see behind their mask. I hope you will have the talent to rescue some of these poor souls and us from their marionettes”

    Sadly, I totally agree with Duane in his comments here. I think that our American culture is so brainwashed and misinformed that ideas such as those espoused by Duane will actually prevail. Unfortunately too many Americans actually agree with philosophies such as Duane’s that we are probably beyond hope of economic recovery. I’d like to think that enough Libertarian-leaning, logically thinking Americans are left in order to recover our nation, but my hopes are not set all that high.

    It’s disheartening that people like Libby Anne actually view Bachmann as a conservative and different than Obama. Yes, Bachmann refreshingly is socially conservative and for that we can admire her and thank her. But until I see otherwise, in my opinion I don’t see any difference between Bachmann and Obama when it comes to war. It baffles me how people can somehow act high and might and concerned for their fellow human being and talk about “social justice” and completely give Obama and the American military a free pass. How can you guys actually think it’s somehow ok to kill thousands upon unknown thousands of innocent Iraqi’s and citizens of other countries as well? How is Bush somehow evil and Obama is not when he supports unjustified warfare even more so than Bush? How killing innocent people by our military “heroes” somehow a non-factor, but not taxing people enough in order to provide more bike trails is somehow a great human tragedy?

    I think that Duane and LA are quite sincere in their beliefs, wrong as they may be, and I don’t mean to be unkind to them. I just find it baffling beyond words how they can ignore killing innocent human beings. But at the same time, to not tax the wealthy and take enough off their money is somehow a great injustice of humanity. It truly baffles the mind.

  • April Galamin

    That’s a LOT of questions. 🙂 But I will say it was a combination of factors that drew me into the cult, but I think the final element was manipulation & coercion on the part of the leader.

    I saw hypocrisies in my religion of birth…I thought “surely there is something better…” I saw cruelty in the society around me, as well as good, but the cruelty bothered me. “how can people treat others that way?” I became hardened & thought “I wont allow myself to be hurt anymore”..so I shut down emotionally & I ended up hurting others. This led to guilt…I felt bad about things I said & did. That is where a “believer” came into my life telling me that “god will forgive you & LOVE you…all you have to do is……”

    It’s a long story & I wont get into details here, this is Vyckie’s blog.
    But I will say that my exiting the bible cult was a combination of factors as well. I saw contradictions, hypocrisies, cruelty…mixed in with my own doubts & questions. Exiting was VERY difficult, but I did it! 🙂 The cult leader used many ways to elicit the feelings he wanted from people, he is a cunning manipulator. At times humility & piety was used. For example I was impressed because he said he didn’t own a television! That was looked on as being more spiritual I guess…but in my naive mind I thought “wow, this guy is serious about god!” He played whatever fit the agenda which varied from appearing humble, righteous, egotistical, but of course he really wasn’t being that way, he was just showing how he was on fire for the lord!

    I do believe the cult’s appeal is all about increasing membership in the pastor’s church.
    With all of the pain & suffering in this world, here are more recent sermon titles the leader is preaching on…this stuff is so important you know! (I’m being sarcastic there) 😉
    Sermon titles:
    “Relating to your pastor” (god, that must be terribly important!)
    “Knowing when to keep silence”
    (I wonder who he is trying to shut up now…)
    “When you don’t get anything out of the sermons”
    (just who is he referring to I wonder??)

    Some past doosy sermon titles:
    “Church Attendance”
    “Battle for the Mind”
    “Pastoral Authority”

    I’ll let folks draw their own conclusions of what they think a ministry that has sermons with those titles is all about…

  • duane

    Thank you, April. It does appear that predation had a heavy part. And I suppose you were not all that skeptical? Would you say that you were rejecting the Catholic faith for another?

  • duane

    Something must have interested you before the Libertarian ideas, Bill.

    You’re not brainwashed, you’re confused and incoherent. Maybe you could explain what you’re trying to say above about libertarianism and evolution. What ideas did I “espouse” which you are paranoid about? That government is necessary? Of course it is. That the free market is a delusion to justify privatization … ? That one is hardly prevalent. Do you believe the government collapsed the economy, Bill?

    What do you know of my philosophy? You’re feeding off paranoia and a persecution complex.

    Did you protest Bush II’s Iraq war? Lots of liberals did. Where are you getting the idea that, now, for them “it’s somehow ok to kill thousands upon unknown thousands of innocent Iraqi’s and citizens of other countries as well”?

    You’re putting words in my mouth and throwing red herrings. Redistribution for bike trails? Is that the libertarian idea of respect for your opposition? Spare me your compassion. I am afraid you are hopeless.

    Surprise me. Or just go sulk.

  • April Galamin

    I was completely naive & it NEVER crossed my mind that this pastor would use “god” to take advantage & USE others. So, I was not skeptical of the pastor or teachings…I really did drop my defenses & trusted because of his supposed ‘godly’ position as the “man o god”.

    I still believed some Catholic doctrine, what the leader was sly in doing is that he would point out that “the catholics are doing this wrong & that wrong…WE have it RIGHT” then he would proceed to prooftext (use the bible to defend his point, which ANYONE can use the bible to defend their views) It is a process to influence & break one down, well for me it was anyhow.

  • Dana

    Their worship of fiscal conservatism is going to lead to exactly the type of world the fundamentalists want, though. Which is why the fundies are on board.

  • Dana

    Limited federal government would also mean that people, especially women and the poor, have nowhere to go when rich people abuse them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to live in a police state, but there has GOT to be a happy medium between drowning the government in a bathtub, and throwing the disadvantaged under the bus. Someone’s gotta play referee. History has shown quite clearly that the rich and business owners are not willing to police themselves.

  • Dana

    Calling for a truce is not the same as disagreeing. In fact it’s a lot more suspect because it tells me he agrees with the Tea Party but wants votes from moderates and liberals in his state government.

  • Dana

    I’m not a teabagger or Quiverfull but I *like* the idea of people associating most strongly with their own families. Did you ever read about the American Indians or some interesting tribal people from somewhere else and wish that you had that kind of relationship with the people you knew and were related to? There’s a reason we don’t have that anymore, and it’s because people who are loyal to their families are viewed as freaks. The more we are separated from our families, the more vulnerable we are to poverty and exploitation. Plus our cultures cannot continue if we are not passing them down to our children. Converts just don’t have the same zeal to continue traditions as people who’ve been inside the culture since birth. With the possible exception of people who are natural social outliers (geeks, freaks, etc.), but you get those in every social group, they’re the ones who are eventually branded troublemakers and asked to leave. (I think those serve a function, though, in an evolutionary sense–they’re the reason we have so many different cultures and languages now!)

    Being with your family is life too. Living your culture is life too. You don’t have to be a good little consumer bot who goes out and buys everything and parties with weird people and travels all over the world–let’s face it–most of us are not going to have those experiences because we’re not people middle class and up who can afford to do it. And the government can’t look out for everybody. There’s nothing wrong with staying near home.

  • Dana

    He’s anti-choice, too. I don’t agree with the trend among some pro-choicers now to spout the same rhetoric as the right-to-lifers, only concluding that the woman ought to get an abortion rather than give the baby up for adoption–either way, no one dares suggest she might make a good *parent* with some help and patience–but Ron Paul says he’s for individual liberty and clearly he does not see pregnant women as individuals deserving of that liberty. I’m a human being, not a life-support machine. I should have some say in the matter. If women had that much control over whether a pregnancy occurs, no one would ever be infertile.

  • Dana

    If you’re not going to spell out what these alleged “obviously illogical fallacies of evolution” are, you’re the one being illogical. Personally I am not going to take your word for it. I’ve got On The Origin Of Species right here on my bookshelf. What have you got?

  • Dana

    Killing an innocent person, such as a pregnant woman, by making abortion illegal is not a good way to uphold rights either.

  • Dana

    Evolutionary theory teaches NOTHING about the worth of one race over another. That’s racists taking evolutionary theory and running with it when they don’t even understand it. White skin is an adaptation to geographical areas that receive less sunlight than at the equator. And you couldn’t believe that if you didn’t hold to evolutionary theory.

    If Darwin was racist, well, every white guy in his day was a racist, including the vast majority of abolitionists. They just happened to be racists who believed that black people should not be owned. But evolutionary theory *itself* does not require racism.

    For heaven’s sake, you believe so much in personal liberty. Well, you have the personal liberty to READ A DAMN BOOK. Go ahead. I promise it won’t hurt. Go to the Panda’s Thumb website, look over the books they recommend and go on from there. Seriously, you might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Dana

    We haven’t had a free market in a very long time and as long as libertarians ignore the elephant-donkey of corporatism sitting in the living room, we never will. It’s not liberals who are the enemies of a free market. It’s the megacorporations.

    I’ll listen to Ralph Nader before I listen to Ron Paul.

  • Dana

    Obama wouldn’t have two wars to continue if Bush hadn’t started them. I have no love lost for the man (though I don’t incoherently hate him either, and was proud of my country that we’ve advanced enough we *could* elect a black man President now), I voted Green in the last election, but let’s call a spade a spade here. Bush put those troops there. Bush started those wars. Go yell at *his* supporters.

  • JustKat

    I clicked over to your site from the comment left at Slate – your front page chops off the text of the posts on the right side. It looks like the middle bar is overlapping the articles.

  • nolongerquivering

    That front page is driving me crazy! LOL It’s been like that for a couple of days now and I cannot figure out why it is happening or how to fix it.

    Anyway – hopefully you’ve figured out that the text is only cut off on the front page and if you click on the full-post view, there’s no problem.


    Vyckie Garrison

  • Lori

    When did Ron Paul come out against evolution?

    Someone else said this same thing on a blog, and I asked a friend about it who said that during one debate the candidates were asked to raise their hand if they believed in evolution and Ron Paul raised his hand.

  • Lilah

    Coming to this site has been really educational for me. I’ve always wondered what draws people (especially women) to movements like Quiverfull. Reading the stories here has made me a little more empathetic and a little less judgmental towards such people. And reading stories about people breaking away also makes me a little more hopeful.

  • Ronnie

    Dana said: “History has shown quite clearly that the rich and business owners are not willing to police themselves”.

    Neither is the government willing to police the business. What seems to be the case now is that the government is giving a hand to the largest businesses, which is of course not leading anywhere near an actual free market.

    What would do the trick might be to make it illegal to donate large amounts of money while lobbying so that politicians would listen more to their constituents. Of course, politicians won’t ever vote for such a rule without massive pressure.

  • Denise

    You sound like a hater! Why did you need to talk about the Tea Party? You are so judgemental!

  • April Galamin

    Some church cults teach that one has to “deny & or hate” mother, father, brother….therefore these types of religious leaders/groups, DO advocate the fracturing of the family of origin. They want to replace that “flesh family” with a new “spiritual family”…namely their church/cult.

    There is nothing wrong with “staying near home”…but many controlling religious systems will try to separate people from their family of birth = their mantra is to leave your “flesh family” for your “spiritual family”.
    If the pastor/leader separates the person/s from their family & support system, they will be able to control them better & make them dependent on the cult & cultic system.

  • Jennifer

    Dana, Bush’s supporters HAVE been yelled at for years now, while Obama’s are still running at the mouth. It’s time for THEM to grow up.

    Vyckie, I love what you stand for, but you’re simply wrong about the Tea Party, or regular Republicans. My immediate family and many extra members are Republicans, who would and do find QF stuff insane. But we hate the liberal stuff too: I hate to tell you, but society IS mixed up. Homosexual parades, porn, taking God out of everything, and YES, Muslim extremists who are given the pass by liberals, ALL these things are signs of a very unhealthy society. One that hasn’t resembled anything QF for some time, but instead adopted a new kind of sickness. Rabid feminism, male bashing, and anti-Christianity ARE wrong. Believe it or not, there are more healthy and balanced people who dislike homosexuality but still embrace gay people, who neither hate men nor women, and who hate feminism but love education and freedom for women, than you think. Kids are different individuals and freedom of thought is essential, and I enjoyed reading your article about your kids being blessings. Nevertheless, I hope you do still keep scissors away from the little ones and encourage the kids to keep from calling their sisters bitches or cussing out older siblings.

  • SoBehind

    I have to agree here that most teapartiers I’ve seen are more Libertarian than fundie conservatives and seem a lot more relaxed socially. Still, the fundies like to hide out there just as much as communists in occupy groups, so yeah, valid points still.

  • Kiki

    I think the problem here is that we’re trying to generalize Teapartiers into one homogeneous group, when they’re really not. Different small groups around the country that identify themselves as Teaparty groups can skew both conservative and libertarian, and depending on what people you personally know who are affiliated with the ‘Tea Party’ your ideas of them are probably going to be quite different. For what it’s worth, the Teapartiers I know personally are all very conservative, homeschooling, sexism, no evolution, etc. but that’s only a *very small* group of people I know, who live in my particular county, in my particular state, and they have actually been known to clash with other local Teaparty groups. (As a side not, all these Teaparty-affiliated people I know personally are complete asshats, but that’s kind of beside the point.)

  • Jess

    HI Mod,
    I don’t give a damn.
    Have a nice day

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer