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Phyllis Schlafly And "Appeasement"

We're slamming Phyllis Schlafly for her role in the culture wars, but she was arguably more destructive during the 1950s, '60s and '70s--decades she spent facilitating Barry Goldwater's rise (authoring A Choice, Not An Echo), while agitating against arms control and "appeasement" of China and the Soviet Union.

Campaigning for Congress in 1952 as a housewife enraged by Truman's pro-communist treachery--and later reprising those themes as a wildly successful political organizer--Schlafly wove together a grassroots conservative movement that only later pivoted from anticommunism to social issues: Her group, STOP ERA, grew out of the Eagle Forum, which agitated for missile defenses and against negotiation with evil states like the USSR.

Weirdly enough, the woman most New Politics liberals know as a threat to women's lib authored scores of bestselling books with names like Strike From Space and Ambush at Vladivostok--warning that merely talking to the Soviets would weaken America's will to prevail in a nuclear war and sap our moral legitimacy. Sound familiar?

Alan Wolfe wrote that Schlafly's "vituperative, apocalyptic, character-assassinating campaign against the ERA" set tone for America's culture wars, but that tone originated in her apocalyptic, vituperative approach to U.S. foreign policy. That, too, is still with us today.

--Barron YoungSmith