On the Eve of Barrett Hearing: The Selling of RBG Was the Peddling of Destruction
NOTE: Confirmation hearings begin Monday morning for Amy Coney Barrett, nominated by President Trump to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. As we wait for those hearings to start, Stream contributor Joseph D’Hippolito reflects one last time on the pop culture figure Barrett will be replacing. And the damage left in her wake.
Pop culture’s influencers stoke the star-maker machinery behind more than popular singers, actors, athletes and comic-book heroes.
Exhibits A-Z: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
No other Supreme Court Justice has been marketed with such fervor and variety. Films. T-shirts. Coffee mugs. Greeting cards. Action figures. Plush dolls. Bobbleheads. Stickers. Pins. Covid-19 face masks. Women’s socks. Finger puppets. Votive candles.
Take Christmas. No “woke” household would be complete without a white oval tree ornament bearing Ginsburg’s stern visage and the message, “Merry Resistmas.”
But pop culture’s obsession with Ginsburg goes beyond merchandising.
‘Protected at Any Cost’
In November 2018, Ginsburg broke three ribs during a fall and went to the hospital. Twitter immediately erupted with volunteer organ donors.
“If Ruth Bader Ginsburg needs any of my bones or internal organs, I don’t need them,” tweeted actress Leslie Grossman.
Jimmy Kimmel used his talk show to offer Ginsburg a large plastic bubble. “For obvious reasons,” Kimmel said, she “must be protected at any cost.”
Why? Because pop culture embraces and promotes the radical political values Ginsburg advocated throughout her career. Most of today’s controversies concerning diversity and gender result directly from the values she expressed in her influential legal work.
As a law professor at Columbia in 1977, Ginsburg and another feminist lawyer, Brenda Feigen-Fasteau, wrote Sex Bias in U.S. Code for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. That book amplified the concepts they addressed in 1974 in The Legal Status of Women under Federal Law. Both reports advised changing the federal code to eliminate possible discrimination against women.
But Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau also sought to dictate social conditions that would ban legitimate gender distinctions as well. Both wanted a utopian egalitarianism justified by what they called “the equal rights principle.”
“The equal rights principle looks toward a world in which men and women function as full and equal partners, with artificial barriers removed and opportunity unaffected by a person’s gender,” their report stated. “Preparation for such a world requires elimination of sex separation in all public institutions where education and training occur. While the personal privacy principle permits maintenance of separate sleeping and bathing facilities, no other facilities, e.g., work, school, or cafeteria, should be maintained for one sex only.”
Achieving that goal meant rewriting federal code to replace all gender-specific language, including pronouns, with neutered terms. Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau sought to replace such terms as “manpower” with “human resources” and “chairman” with “chairperson.” Both advocated using “he/she,” “hers/his” and “her/him” for third-person singular pronouns, even using “plural constructions” to avoid such pronouns.
A Brave New World
Ginsburg’s and Feigen-Fasteau’s agenda also meant fundamentally redefining roles within the family.
“Congress and the President should direct their attention to the concept that pervades the Code: that the adult world is (and should be) divided into two classes — independent men, whose primary responsibility is to win bread for a family and dependent women, whose primary responsibility is to care for children and household,” the report stated. “This concept must be eliminated from the Code if it is to reflect the equality principle.” (parentheses in original, emphasis added)
Increasing numbers of women joining the work force also “should impel development of a comprehensive program of government-supported child care,” the report stated.
Redefining family roles and providing government-supported child care reflect Marxist ideas that Leon Trotsky promoted.
A “finished system of social care and accommodation” that included “maternity houses, crèches, kindergartens, schools, social dining rooms, social laundries, first-aid stations” and other facilities, Trotsky wrote, would replace the family.
“The complete absorption of the housekeeping functions of the family by institutions of the socialist society, uniting all generations in solidarity and mutual aid,” Trotsky added, “was to bring to woman, and thereby to the loving couple, a real liberation from the thousand-year-old fetters.”
For Ginsburg and Feigen-Fasteau, social transformation also meant revising legal standards concerning sex. Their 1977 report stated that “prostitution, as a consensual act between adults, is arguably within the zone of privacy protected by recent constitutional decisions.”
Three years earlier, the two feminists made a more dramatic statement: “To eradicate sex-based discrimination in the catalogue of crimes, prostitution should be de-criminalized … laws classifying or referring to prostitution or solicitation by or on behalf of a prostitute should be repealed.”
Abortion Über Alles
But Ginsburg’s support for abortion most endears her to her fans. As Ginsburg told Senators during her 1993 confirmation hearings:
It is essential to woman’s equality with man that she be the decision maker, that her choice be controlling. If you impose restraints that impede her choice, you are disadvantaging her because of her sex. … Abortion prohibition by the State, however, controls women and denies them full autonomy and full equality with men.
No wonder her enraged fans have used Twitter to demand more civil disorder since her death. They have a neurotic fear of an encroaching theocracy that would make abortion illegal. Lawyer Jamie Smith even joined the Satanic Temple to fight against that perceived possibility.
“Reading through the Seven Tenets, I was struck by how closely they aligned with the unwritten code I had used to try to guide my own life for several years,” she wrote in the Huffington Post. “I realized, happily, that these were my people and that I had been a Satanist for several years without even knowing it.”
The unintended irony speaks for itself.
Joseph D’Hippolito has written commentaries for such outlets as the Jerusalem Post, the American Thinker and Front Page Magazine. He works as a free-lance writer.