Sunday, April 27, 2008

Giving Credit to Linda Hirshman

I will give Linda Hirshman credit for the fact that we had a very civil and useful debate. Our encounter was useful, in that it clarified our respective positions. She thinks well-educated women who stay home to raise their children are wasting their time and talent. I think such women are doing a valuable public service. She seems to view the work/family decision as an all or nothing proposition. I view women's life-choices as on-going, works-in-progress. Each woman can cycle in and out of the labor market, as her family's needs and her desires dictate. I pointed out that 1960's style feminism was based on Marxism, and that I consider this legacy to be unnecessary baggage. She never denied her Marxist roots.
I will give her credit for one other thing: she believes in Truth and Goodness. She said as much to me at the end of our panel. "With you, I can have a discussion about what constitutes the Good Life. We disagree about what constitutes the Good Life. But at least we can talk about it. A lot of people are unwilling to acknowledge that some ways of life are objectively better than others." (I'm paraphrasing here. I think I have the gist of it.) I asked her if that criticism came mostly from the Left. She said it was all from the Left.
I welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation with her about what constitutes the Good Life, and what public policies should do to support it.

No comments: