Just when you think David Barton‘s ideas can’t get any more archaic and offensive, he can surprise you. Today the religious right’s favorite phony historian and the head of Texas-based WallBuilders told listeners on his radio program that our nation’s founders didn’t allow women to vote because limiting the vote just to men protected the family.
In his response to a listener’s question about why women originally couldn’t vote in this country, the former Texas Republican Party vice chair explained that men — as “head of the family” — represented their family when voting. He went on to suggest that allowing women to vote has simply contributed to “family anarchy.” Our friends at Right Wing Watch transcribed Barton’s remarks:
And you have to remember back then, husband and wife, I mean the two were considered one. That is the biblical precept. That is the way they looked at them in the civil community. That is a family that is voting and so the head of the family is traditionally considered to be the husband and even biblically still continues to be so …
Now, as we’ve moved away from the family unit – you need to be independent from the family, don’t be chained down and be a mother and don’t be chained down and be a father and don’t be chained down to your parents, you know, we’ve moved into more of a family anarchy kind of thing, the ‘Modern Family’ kind of portrayal – that understanding has gone away.
Clearly, what [the listener] has asked is a brilliant question because it does reveal that the bigotry we’re told they held back then, they didn’t hold and what they did was they put the family unit higher than the government unit and they tried to work hard to keep the family together. And, as we can show in two or three hundred studies since then, the more you weaken the family, the more it hurts the entire culture and society.
So they had a strong culture, a strong society and it was based on a strong family to preceded government and they crafted their policies to protect a strong family.
In Barton’s world, apparently, women can’t be trusted to express their own opinions at the ballot box. Because if they disagree with their husbands, that’s bad for the family and — by extension — society. “Family anarchy,” as he puts it.
Of course, those kinds of attitudes are why legions of right-wing male legislators continue to pass laws that restrict women’s ability to control their own bodies and their own lives. Those male legislators think they know what’s best, you see. And they expect women to simply fall in line — whether within the family, in the halls of government or at the ballot box. Otherwise, it’s “anarchy.”
Right Wing Watch has audio of Barton’s remarks here.