In this episode of Crown and Crozier, we learn just how far 21st century advocacy for women's rights and equality has drifted from the original philosophical and moral framework underpinning the women's movement.
Our guest is Erika Bachiochi, author of the recent book "The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision." In her book, she revisits the seminal work of 18th century British philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, who is widely regarded as one of the principal intellectual architects of what has come to be known as feminism.
The book calls for a rediscovery of Wollstonecraft’s understanding that both men and women are entitled to political freedom and equality on account of their shared capacity for reason, and that freedom and equality are not ends in themselves, but are means for pursuing the higher goods of virtue, wisdom, excellence, and service to God, family, and community.
Over the course of this conversation, we explore a range of classic Wollstonecraftian themes, including valuing the work of the home more than the needs of the market, political self-government's presupposition of personal self-government, the importance of self-mastery as opposed to self-ownership, and the primacy of dependence over autonomy.
Erika is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute, where she founded and directs the Wollstonecraft Project. In 2018, she was a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School. A self-styled "pro-life feminist," her areas of specialty include equal protection jurisprudence, feminist legal theory, Catholic social teaching, and sexual ethics.
0:00 - Introduction
2:40 - Revisiting the vision of Mary Wollstonecraft
7:35 - Rights, responsibilities, and virtues: a package deal
10:15 - A flourishing society depends on personal self-government
14:40 - The Godmother of feminism?
16:45 - Christian influences on Wollstonecraft
20: 15 - Wollstonecraft's take on great Catholic women
21:55 - Is "pro-life feminism" really a thing?
30:45 - The (d)evolution of feminism in the 21st century
36:30 - Equal citizenship
43: 35 - The impact of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
47:20 - A response to RBG and alternative vision: Mary Ann Glendon
50:45 - Transgender "rights" through a Wollstonecraftian lens
53:15 - The family vs. the market - whose needs should prevail?
56:25 - Conclusion
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Erika Bachiochi, The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision (2021)
Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman(1792)
Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk (1991)
Please note that this podcast has been edited for length and clarity.Support the show