This speech was delivered by Mary Harrington at the 2021 National Conservatism Conference in Florida. "Fetishising freedom harms us all," she says.
It’s often noted that the Right generally has a better grasp of the Left’s motives and arguments than vice versa. The Right thinks the Left is mistaken, while the Left thinks the Right is evil. There is one exception: feminism.
I have sympathy with some critiques advanced by friends on the Right, of the excesses and uncounted costs of feminism. I have made a number of those critiques myself.
But I’m often frustrated by conservatives’ refusal to engage with feminist arguments or history much beyond the ‘pop’ versions you might find in the pages of Vox. The result is, regrettably, a Right-wing treatment of the women’s movement that is often as ignorant of what it decries as modern liberal feminists are of the conservative case against abortion.
We can do better. And we must, because today defending women’s interests is properly, and rightly, a defense of the family. Which is to say of all humans including men – understood as relational beings.