He’s sexist, neanderthal, and sadly typical of today’s GOP

I wrote yesterday about how Fox News’ Erick Erickson, Lou Dobbs, and Juan Williams were simply beside themselves with horror over a new PEW study showing that 4 out of ten primary breadwinners in American families with children are women.

According to the men on Fox, the study was “concerning,” “troubling,” and evidence of the dissolution of society.

All because women were working.  And making money.  And providing for their families.  And not staying home with the kids and letting men fulfill their historical genetic duties to provide for their families.

What is with these people?  Erickson’s “clarification” today was actually worse than what he said yesterday.  Not that Erickson’s comments yesterday were anything to write home about:

I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.

The GOP definition of “science”

Yeah, that’s “science” all right, looking at how animals define home life and mimicking it. (It is telling, however, how the party that doesn’t believe in science doesn’t even understand what science is.) So now “science” is looking at how animals act, in the wild, with regard to gender roles, and suggesting that male and female human beings should act the same way.

Don’t me wrong, I think we can learn a lot from animal behavior, but determining the appropriate employment for women, based on what monkeys do, is offensive to women and science.

I’m hard-pressed to find any credible scientist who derives a “should” for humans out of animal behavior, especially based on the assertion that the only reason we should do it is because animals do it. Erickson doesn’t explain why the animal way is better, he simply parrots the usual far-right talking point about how men are better and hunting and gathering, and women at nurturing. Tell that to Christina Crawford.

Wild animals live in mortal fear of being eaten every second of their lives, so it’s natural that the bigger, stronger animal would become the hunter/gatherer, and the smaller one the animal-version of the happy homemaker. And while Erickson might have had a point tens of thousands of years ago – that perhaps the stronger of early humans should go out and brave the ice and snow and saber-toothed tigers, while the physically weaker humans stayed at home and did cave-work, human beings in 2013 don’t face the daily threats to our existence that people did in earlier days.

In a very real way, animals live the way we used to live. Not the way we live now. So the lessons are archaic and no longer apply to modern life, if they ever applied at all.

A married couple today should decide who gets a job and who stays home to take care of the kids (and even whether both of them get jobs and they send the kids to daycare) based on what’s best for their family, not based on what’s best for monkeys in the Congo.

Erickson on the importance of “gender roles”

Now let’s look at what Erickson said today, then we’ll chat a little:

When you look throughout society, look at other animals, the male of the species tends to be the protector, the dominant one in that regard. We’ve gotten to a point in this country where you have a lot of feminists who think that the male and female roles are completely interchangeable.

Let’s stop for a moment here.  Other than copulation intended to produce children – where it’s certainly more efficacious for a man to impregnate a woman, rather than the other way around – what other “roles” are there in society for which anyone can offer any justification for treating men and women differently?

Cavewoman dragging caveman, via Shutterstock

Cavewoman dragging caveman, via Shutterstock

Whether it’s serving in the military or on a SWAT team, the only real justification you can find is maybe claiming that certain jobs require a certain level of physical strength.  But even that doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be allowed per se – it simply means women will have to meet the necessary level of body strength if they’re going to do a job that requires a certain level of body strength.  And some women can, so why exclude them per se just because an orangutan would?

Erickson continues:

…you have a lot of feminists who think that the male and female roles are completely interchangeable. That there is no need for a man to support his family, you’ve got men walking away, you’ve got women becoming single mothers not by their choice, you got a lot of people thinking it’s a lifestyle choice. This isn’t healthy for society when we think that roles in gender can be completely interchangeable. No one is saying women can’t be or shouldn’t be a breadwinner or even the primary breadwinner.  It’s just that when we forced ourselves to this point in society where they have to be, that’s not a good healthy thing for society.

Woosh. A lot of verbal detritus in there.  Now, sure, it’s not a “good” thing if women are somehow “forced” to be single moms and they don’t want to be.  I’m not sure, however, how gender roles have anything to do with that.  I don’t recall anyone in favor of women having equal opportunity in the workplace suggesting that men should knock women up and then skip town.  It’s just not entirely clear how the two are connected.

Then Erickson starts spewing pseudo-science to bash gay parents. He cites a study by a religious right activist that’s now been thoroughly discredited, in addition to the fact that the study didn’t really look at the merits of gay parenting. But hey, Erickson works for the hate channel now, so he’s free to be a full-fledged bigot, and bigots don’t quote real science.

But Erickson doesn’t judge

More from the truth-slayer:

I don’t view it as judging, I view it as a statement of fact that when you’ve got a mom who is working full time, and who comes home to try to be a full-time mom as well, it’s very difficult.

What does that even mean?  So, when you’ve got a dad who is working full time and who comes home to try to be a full-time dad, that’s somehow easier?  Erickson isn’t even making sense.  He sounds like he’s suggesting that as soon as we let women work, they no longer needed men to make money for them, so they threw the men out, caveman style, and all decided they wanted to be single moms.  But he’s not really saying that, he’s just sort of dancing around the point.

I have to say, Fox’s Megyn Kelly did a pretty good job taking Erickson on.  But man, thank God CNN got rid of this guy. Though it’s pretty abominable that they gave him a seat at the table in the first place.  Not all conservatives are idiots.  But this guy is a bona fide idiot.  And what’s worse, people like him control the Republican party.

No wonder these people can’t win elections.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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