Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sex and Fear

I have been having a discussion with a friend about what we should fear from the government. I am afraid of torture, suspending habeas corpus, declaring citizens "enemy combatants," warrantless wiretaps, secret prisons, and failing to enforce securities regulations that threaten the world economy. He is worried about government health care and the car company and bank bailouts as communism, which might force armed resistance to the state. I am not here raising the merits of these fears.

Instead, I was struck by a point that he made in a recent conversation. His wife was much more worried about these things than he was. As I thought about it, several of the women in my life are more worried about the things I fear than I am.

So I had this thought. Moms worry about dangers to their families. That is part of the job. And daughters who are preparing to be moms one day can do a fair job of worrying, too. Dads protect moms and daughters. They fear things that are actually threats to their families and, by extension, their communities. Dads also worry about things that their wives are worried about because their wives are worried. If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

This is the rough thought I am working on. Much of the emotion in the various cultures of fear are driven by the good impulse of men protecting women.

11 comments:

padist said...

It is funny (interesting) to me that even in your fears you are left of center though you continue to declare yourself a centrist. I guess it is all relative. At least you could fear Maxine Waters or Nancy Pelosi's steely glare!

Kelly said...

As girls, we are taught that the world is dangerous. That we will survive only if we are cautious, fearing the rapist on every dark street, and avoiding him at the expense of our personal freedom. Of course, there are rapists- there are dangers on the streets at night, but there are dangers to boys, too. Boys are taught how to be strong, how to defend themselves and defeat the danger, but girls aren't given that option. I think this, more than being moms, dads, daughters, or sons, is what makes us fear things more strongly as women.

Gruntled said...

Shouldn't everyone, left and right, fear the things I list? I would also be afraid of communism and armed militias rising against the government, I just don't think either are very likely in our country now.

padist said...

It's just that you trashed Mr. Bush for being too right wing yet you now ignore how extremely left wing Mr. Obama is. That's o.k. Just don't expect us to believe you are a centrist.

Gruntled said...

I hope I have trashed no one. I do not see it past posts. And in any case, I don't think right-wingness or left-wingness is the issue (or all that helpful as a category).

My concerns are the particular things I listed as worrisome. Padist, do you agree that these particular things are worrisome, regardless of which person or party might be promoting them?

padist said...

Absolutely. It's just that you tend to have a knee jerk reaction to the left side of many if not most issues. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's the pretense that distracts.

Gruntled said...

Can you point me to more particulars? I try not to have a knee-jerk reaction, and would like to correct that problem if I can analyze past cases.

padist said...

I appreciate your sincerity. Your reactions on second thought are probably well thought out.

"I am afraid of torture, suspending habeas corpus, declaring citizens "enemy combatants," warrantless wiretaps, secret prisons, and failing to enforce securities regulations that threaten the world economy."

These things that you are afraid of are the same things that the Bush administration are accused of by the far left. Not by a centrist, my friend.

Gruntled said...

The Bush administration was not just accused of doing these things, it actually did them. That is why I am afraid of them. A socialist takeover of America, on the other hand, seems to me so extraordinarily unlikely that I am not afraid of it.

Several of the bad things done by the previous administration - secret prisons, signing statements, and possibly suspending habeas corpus, the current administration is also doing. Same fear. Not partisan.

padist said...

You made my point in your last post, but go ahead and have the last word.

paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.