Meet the Schlafly Family


Goddamn Monday morning. What’s the first thing that pops up when I open the computer? John Oliver, which is not a problem, but he had to remind me about Phyllis Schlafly. She was a horrible person. She was on TV all the time in the 1970s, spewing her horrible views and motivating a horrible mob with horrible lies. A few of them are mentioned here.

Not mentioned, though, are her horrible sons. There’s Roger Schlafly, Trumpkin, racist, white nationalist, sexist, hater of Einstein. Worse still, Andrew Schlafly, creationist, founder of Conservapædia, the guy who is rewriting the Bible to bring it more in line with conservative views, pathological pedant (he really hates it when you use ligatures in the name of his site), general conservative caveman. Although he’s easy to overlook because he’s hidden from the media for almost 30 years, there’s also John Schlafly, who was exposed as gay, yet still ferociously defended his mother’s fanaticism.

The whole family is fucked up. I don’t understand why, because while they were all home-schooled, which you’d think would have expanded their mother’s malignant influence, but Phyllis seemed to spend an awful lot of time away from the family, screeching about liberals, which ought to have diminished her taint, but seems instead to have potentiated it.

Anyway, I didn’t need that reminder to get my day started, so I’ve inflicted her on you out of spite.

Comments

  1. kevinv says

    Thomas Schlafly is Phyllis’ nephew. He co-founded the St. Louis Brewing company that makes Schlafly beers. When he trademarked Schlafly name for use in beer marketing Phyllis objected and sued.

    He fought her and won. Now Schlafly name is all over the beer aisles.

    Not sure if he’s terrible in other ways but I like he stood up to his aunt to make some good beer with the name.

  2. Ruth Bucsh says

    Phyllis also sued her nephew to keep him from using the Schlafly name for his beer (Tom is an ok guy). The daughter Ann Schlafly Cori married the Noble prize winning couple Gerty and Carl Coris’ son. She was also shocked that her mom left her foundation to be run by her brothers (didn’t she listen to what her mom said for 40 years? The family provides St Louis with endless gossip.

  3. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    Well, it might be that they had to attach value to the things she left them for, because otherwise to them it would be that she abandoned them for no good reason, and we will tell ourselves stories that make us feel better about ourselves.

  4. alixmo says

    Phyllis Schlafly’s political success with her anti-feminist (also homophobic) campaign shows that willpower and tenacity pay off. Schlafly’s success should teach us not to underestimate the religious right. The majority was seemingly against Schlafly’s opinion, she was bound to lose. And still, she won. She changed public opinion.

    It is unwise to dismiss the religious right as a handful of ridiculous cranks. It is dangerous to assume that women’ s and LGBTQ+ rights are safe because of some polls that show that we have the majority of people/public opinion on our side.

    Schlafly hated the way society was progressing. But she did not accept failure, she wanted change and she effected change. Change to the negative. Roughly around the same time, another “conservative Revolution” took place: the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

    Iranian people have to live with the dire consequences for 40 years now. To see examples of what that means for Iranians, one could look into the Guardian (surely not an anti-Iranian newspaper): just yesterday, they reported about repression in everyday life, like the forced closing of restaurant. Read it!

    Yes, “Conservative Revolutions” are, sadly, not an oxymoron. Progress can be undone. Rights can be lost. Personally, I am unwilling to accept “two steps back”, even if there will be (maybe/eventually) one step ahead, or even two or three in the long run. Women and LGBTQ+ people were waiting much too long, enough is enough! Now, thanks to progress in medicine, they finally stepped out of the shadows. I loathe to see that moment fade away because of the assumption that religious zealots are too ridiculous and unpopular to sway opinions. Or get their way through other means? Let me remind you that only a minority of Germans were Nazis in 1933…

    The religious right should not be underestimated. In some nasty way, those people are admirable: they know what they do and they work tirelessly on their issues. And they seem to have internalized the “teachings” of Machiavelli.

    As far as women’s and LGBTQ+ rights are concerned, I see nothing as more helpful and more necessary than to fight the International religious right (consisting of all religions and denominations).

    Pro-feminist atheism should concentrate on that “single issue”. That is at least my opinion.

  5. alixmo says

    Concerning Phyllis Schlafly’s children: Is there a better example for early indoctrination? They regurgitate the same anti-feminist, homophobic, religious, reactionary nonsense as their mother. Sure, they will do to the next generation as was done to them. And the next generation will continue, and the next and so on. No critical, independent thought will enter that closed system.

  6. says

    that was one of the weaker Jon Oliver’s segments in awhile. the ERA should not be passed precisely because Scalia like originalism exists. It wold be a massive concession that 1) originalism is the correct interpretive theory of jurisprudence (it is not) and 2) that ‘person’ does not mean person in the 14th amendment but men of different races (no sorry person means person). Passing the ERA would utterly undermine all non-race, non-sex claims of equal protection and due process. Just imagine the horrors that would unleash.

    If you want to do what the ERA is meant to do just pass an amendment that says something to the effect of “all due process and equal protection, 5th and 14th amendment, claims shall be tested under strict scrutiny judicial review.”

    That way we won’t end having to pass an equal rights for every disfavored minority group.

  7. blf says

    Concerning Phyllis Schlafly’s children: Is there a better example for early indoctrination?

    Hair furor. His father, Fred Trump, may have been a kkk member / supporter (all(?) that is known is he was arrested at a kkk event but its unclear just what he was doing there then); Regularly hosted Roy Cohn (Joseph McCarthy’s legal consul during the witchhunt) and also Benjamin Netanyahu and other “usual suspects”; His housing complexes in New York are known to have banned black tenants; Very possibly profiteered from government-funding / guaranteed contracts; and so on. He was also slippery as an oiled eel, and generally seemed to escape serious consequences for his actions and omissions. Unlike his son hair furor, I don’t believe he ever went bankrupt, and apparently worked his way “up” in a rags-to-excessive-riches fashion. He also lied about his background, albeit on this point he may — for awhile — have had good reason (he spoke German (both his parents were from Germany), and lied about being able to do so during and for long time after WW ][; during some of that time, being suspected of being German was perhaps not such a safe thing… (hair furor has, of course, lied, repeatedly claiming his father was born in Germany)).

  8. says

    Pro-feminist atheism should concentrate on that “single issue”. That is at least my opinion.

    How about you concentrate on trying to guess what finger I’m holding up in your direction?

  9. alixmo says

    @blf,

    Sure, that is a telling example, too.
    Most rich people are indoctrinated into certain believes by their parents, e.g. that they deserve all the riches because they are better/more intelligent than others. What may have contained a tiny bit of truth for the first generation, is often blatantly false for the next (as you said, Fred Trump is seen as a more successful businessman). And of course, the crucial element of pure chance is conveniently left out of the “narrative”.

    The things a child learns in the formative years often stick. Especially if they never get challenged by life circumstances. It is hard to shake off what you learn from your parents, in words and deeds.

    Education matters hugely (that is why e.g. Charles Koch tries to influence universities), and education (socialization/acculturation) in early years matters even more.

  10. Peter Maritz says

    Just a correction: Phyllis Schlafly didn’t home school her children. I was a college (Princeton) classmate of her daughter, Liza (Phyllis, but she didn’t want to be known as Phyllis). Liza went to Mary Institute in Ladue (a St. Louis suburb). Andrew also went to Princeton, and he is certainly homeschooling his children, but he went to high school at St. Louis Country Day School.
    I didn’t know Liza well at all, but she, at least, never sought the public attention as did her mother and many of her siblings. She is a lawyer, married and raising a family fairly quietly in St. Louis. I always got the impression that she was sort of embarrassed by the attention seeking of her other family members.

  11. vucodlak says

    @ alixmo, #4

    The majority was seemingly against Schlafly’s opinion, she was bound to lose. And still, she won. She changed public opinion.

    This is a thing that happens all the time. Why are you talking about it as if no one here knows this?

    It is dangerous to assume that women’ s and LGBTQ+ rights are safe because of some polls that show that we have the majority of people/public opinion on our side.

    Who here does this? Almost every commenter here recognizes the precarious situation we’re in, and recognized how easily we could lose our rights long before Trump came along. Who are you directing this condescending lecture towards?

    *stuff about Iran*

    Yeah… way to ignore the huge role backlash against the US-installed dictatorship played in the Iranian revolution.

    I loathe to see that moment fade away because of the assumption that religious zealots are too ridiculous and unpopular to sway opinions.

    Who here is operating under this assumption?

    Let me remind you that only a minority of Germans were Nazis in 1933…

    Yes, thank you, but EVERYONE HERE KNOWS ALL THIS.

    As far as women’s and LGBTQ+ rights are concerned, I see nothing as more helpful and more necessary than to fight the International religious right (consisting of all religions and denominations).

    And the nationalist far-right movements? Racist far-right movements? Misogynist far-right movements? In what way are any of those less dangerous than religious far-right movements?

    Pro-feminist atheism should concentrate on that “single issue”.

    Oh yay. A condescending lecture and homework. I second Tabby Lavalamp’s gesture.

  12. wcaryk says

    And lest we forget, Andy’s finest moment every . (well, my favorite anyhow): “Simply put, E=mc² is liberal claptrap.”

  13. alixmo says

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vatican-gender/vatican-condemns-gender-theory-as-bid-to-destroy-nature-idUSKCN1TB20E (That is new, from today.)

    Billions of people adhere to religions with anti-women, anti-LGBTQ+ doctrines. And religions get a pass in the media, very often. There are very few “watch-dogs”, because religious people usually do not do that job. But atheists, PRO-feminist atheists, should. That is an opinion – my opinion.

    Billions of people are taught, on religious grounds (often by religious authorities), from birth on that girls/women are to submit to men. They are taught that women are on earth to obey and to have children. Children are taught that gays and lesbians are abominations, sinful. The result is that gays and lesbians are hated and too often, they are getting killed – because of religious teachings. Now, transgender people get ostracized, because “God” made man and woman.

    Fighting against well organised groups with huge infrastructure and billions of dollars to back their ideology, groups that encompass bilions of people, groups, who are arguably “enemy no. 1” of women’s and LGBTQ+ rights – that would be more than enough for an explicitly pro-feminist atheism to tackle.

    That is my opinion.
    You disagree, which is your right and your privilege. After all, this is called “freethoughtblogs”, not “thehivemind” or “groupthink”. You got your opinions, I got mine.

  14. John Morales says

    alixmo:

    Fighting against well organised groups with huge infrastructure and billions of dollars to back their ideology, groups that encompass bilions of people, groups, who are arguably “enemy no. 1” of women’s and LGBTQ+ rights – that would be more than enough for an explicitly pro-feminist atheism to tackle.

    It’s more than enough to tackle a single issue?

    Even if it were only a single issue at hand, it would then only be enough, not more than that.

    That is my opinion.
    You disagree, which is your right and your privilege.

    <snicker>

    Pretty sure that’s one inalienable right, right there.

    Me, I think patronising actual explicitly pro-feminist atheists, in particular those who live that stuff, is kinda pretentious of you. Crude, but pretentious.

  15. John Morales says

    Peter @12:

    Just a correction: Phyllis Schlafly didn’t home school her children. I was a college (Princeton) classmate of her daughter, Liza (Phyllis, but she didn’t want to be known as Phyllis).

    One can home school at tertiary level in the USA?

    (I associate it with children, and therefore primary and secondary)

  16. alixmo says

    The new Vatican document rejecting Gender Theory… (quote)

    < …seemed consistent with past statements by Pope Francis. He has often warned that gender theory is one of the principal threats to the modern family.

    In a 2015 book-length interview, he listed gender theory alongside “nuclear arms” and “genetic manipulation” for its failure to “recognize the order of creation.”

    Francis has also identified education programs as some of the primary channels through which gender theory has been allowed to take root in Western societies. Some prominent African clerics have long argued that a Western view that accepts shifting genders was poisonous to the church in Africa and should be rejected.

    Returning from a trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan in October 2016, Francis seemed to agree, speaking inclusively about gay people while blasting what he saw as the “wickedness” of indoctrinating people in gender theory, which was “against the natural order.”

    “It is one thing for people to have a homosexual tendency or even to change sex, but it is another thing to try to teach along this line in schools, to change the mentality. I call this cultural colonialism,” the pope told reporters on the papal plane.

    A few days earlier in Tbilisi, Georgia, the pope had said that gender theory was part of a “world war against marriage” and an example of the “ideological colonization” that had been spreading in many parts of the world. (End quote)

    (From: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/world/europe/vatican-francis-gender-identity-sexuality.html )

    I just love how Pope Francis and Co. choose their words! Who could ever be in favour of “ideological/cultural colonialism”? (Ironic, that coming from the Head of the Catholic Church…) This is addressed to leftists, since right wingers do not object too much against “colonialism”.

    Those words should silence critics from the left. Phyllis Schlafly would appreciate that rhetoric!

    No, there is not enough outrage in the media and in the public against this crap. Phyllis Schlafly is dead, but her nefarious methods are in daily use by religious propagandists. Even high up in the Vatican.

    And public opinion still falls for it, because most people reporting on it in the media are too tame, too soft on religion. Mostly for two reasons: 1. most of them are at least “somewhat” religious, 2. most of them are not “feminist” enough to be aware of the full consequences of religious doctrines and teachings.

    Note also the emphasis that the Church and Pope Francis put on “education”…! Now, they know what they are doing! They kept their show running for close to 2000 years.

  17. John Morales says

    alixmo:

    The new Vatican document rejecting Gender Theory… (quote)

    The Schlafly Family ain’t the Vatican.

    (The parts are not the whole)

  18. John Morales says

    PS, in the same vein:

    I just love how Pope Francis and Co. choose their words!

    You think the fundamental thing is right-wing religiosity as exemplified by the Roman Catholic Church and its societal power? Heh. What about the weakness in human societies that allows right-wing religiosity such influence — isn’t that even more fundamental?

  19. alixmo says

    @John Morales, 22.,

    I will address “the weakness in human societies that allows right-wing religiosity such influence”:

    Early religious education is akin to indoctrination, it perpetuates religion`s undue influence. Even most rather “un-religious” people (“nominal” believers, many “nones”) do not rebel against it, because they still see religion as a benefit for society, not a harm. They internalised that in early age!

    Education/kindergarten/school is a key factor here. People have to learn as children that there are better alternatives, that the Bible (e.g.) is not “the truth”.

    a.) Children have to learn to think critically and independently.

    b.) Children have to learn that ethics and Universal Human Rights are much better for humanity than the morally flawed and hugely patriarchal religions.

    A solid welfare state is a must to cut the undue influence of religion on society. (I talked about it in another thread at length.) As long as people feel economically insecure in life and Churches promise to help in times of need, many people have to be church members. It is a cheap form of (insufficient) social security.

    But the welfare state cannot be replaced, it is a necessity. (Churches cannot “solve” poverty.) And as soon as it gets introduced, church attendance and belief drop dramatically.

    Of course this all has to be addressed, this should be the major part of the fight. Winning this fight will also be a big win against racism and right-wing ideology!

    As I said, 1. a solid framework of critical and independent thinking, ethics/Universal Human Rights “inoculates” people best against nasty ideologies. All nasty ideologies! A mental “vaccination”, so to say. Additionally, 2. there has to be more care for people in need by the state, aka a true and rather “big” welfare state.

    Both (secular education + secular welfare state) together will be the best way to avoid the rise in racism and right-wing/white nationalist ideology.

    And it will protect womens rights and LGBTQ+ rights. Because for womens and LGBTQ+ rights, patriarchal religion is THE major enemy.

  20. alixmo says

    @John Morales,

    add to my last comment 3.) the necessity of the media reporting critically on religion (a job best done by secularists or even atheist-humanists).

    Those three points (sure there are more, like old hierarchies clinging to power) are the main reasons for the still great and undue influence of religion on society.

  21. John Morales says

    alixmo, I like that you acknowledge the Vatican is but one symptom of a societal syndrome.

    Of course this all has to be addressed, this should be the major part of the fight.

    Sure, but now that your original “single issue” has been shown to be no more than (an aspect of) a symptom of the societal syndrome that enables authoritarianism, it is become that which should therefore be the major part of the fight.

    Good stuff.

  22. John Morales says

    PS [extraneous HTML stripped]:

    And it will protect womens rights and LGBTQ+ rights. Because for womens and LGBTQ+ rights, patriarchal religion is THE major enemy.

    What about the various explicitly pro-feminist atheists who have been harassed out of the public cyber-atheosphere. Pretty fucking major for them.

    I mean, you are telling that to the ones on this blog, same thing.

  23. alixmo says

    @John Morales, #25,

    You are right, I see it now. Yes, agreed, the talk about “single issue” was nonsense. Bad from my part, my communication really sucked. I made my self clearer in the additional comments to you, and you summed my thoughts up nicely. Which proves that an honest conversation is very important and helpful. Thanks.

    @John Morales #26,

    Of course, misogyny and harassment coming from atheists is to be condemned in the same way as any other misogyny and harassment. And of course, for the women tormented by those anti-feminist atheists, this is of utmost importance. They suffered because of atheists being misogynists, that cannot be denied or made light off.

    I agree, we should not tolerate this crap coming from atheists. We should never show “solidarity” or stay silent when bad behavior (or worse, misdemeanors and crime) come from “our” side. Never. That was the mistake e.g. some Communists in Europe made who excused crimes when e.g. Stalin committed them. We should never fall into this trap.

    However, at the moment, it is the religious right which is trying to turn back time on women’s and LGBTQ+ rights internationally by changing laws. They have the greater societal power and more people behind them than the atheist anti-women crowd.

    Also (and this is absolutely no excuse for the atheists anti-feminists!) there are no doctrines, teachings etc. in atheism that compel men to become misogynists. These atheist men are misogynist by nature and/or nurture, not because of a “sacred atheist tradition”. We can only speculate about the “nurture” part, but it is possible that a number of those atheist guys were raised in a patriarchal manner, as Conservatives or right-wingers, possibly even in religious families And education in the formative years is hard to shake off. Again, this is no excuse, nor do I have the prove that this is the case.

    But I do think that we should not underestimate the link of patriarchal religion and misogyny in wider society. It is the main “source” of misogyny that even non-religious people draw from. It is in the sub-structure of our society and will be for some time in future.

    The reasons why I singled out patriarchal religion as the main “enemy” of women’s and LGBTQ+ rights was 1.) more influence, e.g. on politics, public opinion, media, education and “law makers”, 2.) many more people, adding up to a greater number of misogynists, 3.) the greater number is also related to a higher level of organisation, infrastructure and money which allows them to act more broadly and efficiently.

    Also, I see a danger of a “merger” of (conservative/libertarian) atheist misogynists and religious misogynists – and even “fascist” misogynists. Jordan Peterson (a Catholic) attracted a huge crowd of followers, many of them atheists.

    Peterson’s anti-women, anti-feminist talking points mirror religious anti-women stances. Most of it could be lifted from Catholic propaganda! And many of those talking points sound akin to fascists thoughts about women! Of course, we have to be alert about this development. (Note: Both fascism and religious patriarchy have doctrines that oppress women; atheism per se has not and cannot ever have those doctrines).

    The issue of women’s (in)equality is at the core of right-wing ideology and patriarchal religion alike. I am well aware of that. Strategically, doing what I suggested in my comments to you, will work against both, simultaneously.

    Criticizing patriarchal religion, a fair welfare state and fighting for real secularism will destroy the ideological basis of both right-wing and religious ideology (they are related and/or have much in common).

    Women’s and LGBTQ+ issues should be highlighted though, because they are a main common denominator:

    All “fascists”, all patriarchal religions, want to oppress and instrumentalist women. That has to be communicated, in order to stop the rise of those ideologies. Many citizens are not aware of the problem.

Leave a Reply