Saturday, June 26, 2010

Duggar Politics: Communal Capitalists

The Duggar political machine has always fascinated me. I will admit that I don't agree with any of their political ideals, but at the same time I have great respect for the fact that they so actively participate in our political process. In this day and age people take their right to vote for granted and I find that sad--especially when there's so much work to be done and so many people complaining.

I will also admit that the fact that Jim Bob became a state rep surprises and annoys me on a few levels. I don't have a problem with him running, but it goes against the grain that he was elected. While he may have the experience and point of view of the common working man/small business owner to bring to the table, I sincerely doubt he brought much else. Okay maybe that is my own personal belief that an elected official should have some kind of education beyond the high school diploma, but I can't deny my feelings.

We all know the Duggars views on abortion. From reading their book and hearing them in interviews, it's clear that anti-abortion legislation was Jim Bob's key platform when running. What little research my husband did (he's not a fan AT ALL of this family) shows that abortion is the main issue he showed up to vote for. His appearance record wasn't stellar, but then few reps show up for every vote, so we have to be fair. It just shows what his priorities were as a rep.

We also know that the Duggars have made their money by being successful capitalists. Jim Bob hasn't worked for anyone (TLC notwithstanding) since early in their marriage when he worked for a grocery store. Since then he's owned his own small businesses, some two or three at a time. We can't ignore the Duggars willingness to work hard and accumulate wealth. The last debt they had (hospital bills not included) was the first home Jim Bob bought before they were married. To say that TLC "saved" them financially is a mistake--they were debt free and living happily before TLC came to the door and undoubtedly would have continued to live debt free.

Clearly they have conservative values and beliefs. And when you add all this up you aren't surprised that this family is Republican in their voting. They still have McCain/Palin bumper stickers on their car and the election was over a long time ago. Now why none of this is at all surprising, what is interesting is that they way they live, worship, and share with those similar to them could also be viewed as quite communal. The Duggars are very kind and considerate of others--not to be viewed as a trait contrary to Republicans, I'm one myself, but is interesting that a lifestyle usually equated with "free spirits" or even hippies, is one that the Duggars have inadvertently embraced without probably realizing it.

Michelle has said that each child has their own space and the ability to lock away their personal possessions from their siblings. However we also read in their book and hear in interviews with the kids that they basically share and share alike when it comes to toys, books, and even goodies. The Duggars go beyond sharing within their family. They are virtually selfless when it comes to giving to their friends and members of their church family. When someone needs something the Duggars are the first to give what they have--they also pay for all the food/clothing/gifts that they take with them to El Salvador and buy while they are there for the families they are there to help. Helping others in this way is also not necessarily a non-Republican trait, but when you look at legislation the argument could be made.

I do see a lot of their lifestyle as being near communal. They might not view it that way, but the case could be made. They are also quite clearly living a lifestyle that was made possible by a pure capitalist view. It fascinates me to try to wrap my head around those two seemingly polar opposite stances.

What do you think? Does this give validation to the cult theories? Or are they a simple family who is trying to be a good example?


  1. There is a difference between choosing to give and share (which the Duggars do quite often), and being forced to give (through taxes). To me, it's an important distinction.

  2. You want proof they pay their taxes? here you go:
    1)Personal Property 921.04
    2)Real Estate 4,021.33
    3)Real Estate 998.22
    4)Real Estate 7,646.21
    Homestead Credit -350.00
    Timber Tax 1.05

    TOTAL for the properties ONLY in that ONE county that belong to them is $13,237.85

  3. Wow MaryBeth! Ya know I love it when you do research. Hehe. I think they are trying to set a good example.

    Is banning abortion the "only" reason JB ran for office?

  4. I looked up the definition of cult. Here is the article I found to be the most helpful with the source given at the end of the quotes;

    One of the most confusing and dangerous religious term is "Cult". The word is derived from the French word "culte" which came from Latin noun "cultus." The latter is related to the Latin verb "colere" which means "to worship or give reverence to a deity." Thus, in its original meaning, the term "cult" can be applied to any group of religious believers: Southern Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics, Hindus or Muslims. However, the term has since been assigned at least eight new and very different meanings. The original meaning of "cult" remains positive; more recent definitions are neutral, negative, or extremely negative:

    "...if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps 'the' religion;
    and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect;
    but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult." Leo Pfeffer. A humorous quotation, but one that is uncomfortably close to reality.

    Thus, we all could be called "cultist" if we believe in a God, worship him/her/it and adhere to some form of organized religion! If you follow the above link the article is quite interesting.

  5. thats insane... but i do agree that there is a difference between being FORCED by the government to give of ur money, than to give willingly. i believe they are the types who realize taxes are necessary, though may not like them, or how high they might be etc. even if they didnt have to pay taxes, i could see them giving that much to their local community and far beyond. :-)

  6. Darlin I think Anon meant that being FORCED to share (through taxes) is different than sharing because they want to.

    I don't see as big of a difference though as you do, they share with family and others because they WANT to, they live in dorm type rooms simply because it's EASIER to clean 2-3 bedrooms than 5-10 bedrooms. They like sleeping in the same room because they stay up and talk when the lights go out. Having never been to camp or having many sleep overs it's like a constant camp life.

    As for the wealth building... well frankly you can't give it away if you don't have it to give. Seriously though you can't take it with you and the other old adage is very true it's much more fun to GIVE than it is to receive.

  7. It annoys me that he didn't take his representative duties very seriously. That is not being a very good steward of what has been given to you. Being elected to office indicates that a large number of people have put their faith in you to serve and to lead them. If he only showed up to vote on the one issue he was interested in, he neither served or led his constituents. It is disengenous to not fulfill your elected role and then to be deeply involved in elections of other.
    Now, as regards the the share and share alike philisophy, I think it is great. It makes them happy, and there's not a thing wrong with it, many things right as a matter of fact. I'm all for people willingly sharing their own property with others. But I think it over the pale for elected officials to try to share MY property with others for me. As long as the Duggar only try to give away their own property, I say let them.

  8. Angie--from his book he says he felt a calling to serve...but from the interviews he's given (and we can all agree that he isn't the best interview) it seems that abortion is his biggest focus--whether or not it was the only reason, i honestly can't say, but it was his focal point...they try so hard in interviews not to offend anyone that it's difficult to nail things down with them...

  9. Very much enjoy your blogs. But must say that after watching all seasons of the Duggers - I have come to believe that Michelle and the girls are 100 percent smarter than JimBob and the boys. Dugger boys are only suitable for lifting heavy things!