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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Gingrich and Mothers

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich spoke to a group of Iowa mothers at Java Joe's Coffee House in Des Moines, Iowa. He wept while talking about his own mother, who suffered from bipolar disorder and depression. He explained that her problems led to his policy interest in brain science.

The incident has generated a good deal of media attention, some of it highly cynical.  The press overlooked what he said shortly after:  "Mothers are the civilizing influence...Mothers play an enormous role in sustaining civilization."  Gingrich was echoing Tocqueville's Democracy in America:
For my part, I have no hesitation in saying that although the American woman never leaves her domestic sphere and is in some respects very dependent within it, nowhere does she enjoy a higher station. And now that I come near the end of this book in which I have recorded so many achievements of the Americans, if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women.