Phyllis Schlafly (b. 1924) is the founder of the modern conservative movement. She carved a place for this incipient social movement in the Republican Party with her bestselling work, A Choice Not an Echo (1964), and then mobilized its grassroots activism with STOP ERA beginning in the summer of 1972.
Once a century, history produces someone who is so extraordinary and original that he changes an entire field forever. The rare examples include Shakespeare, Thomas Edison, and … Phyllis Schlafly. With a unique blend of originality, hard work, humor, toughness, and perseverance, she has been shaping American politics for 60 years on the most important issues.
The conservative movement is the house that Phyllis Schlafly built. She has been its architect, its bricklayer, and its interior designer. It does not exist where she has not worked to build it, as in Europe. The conservative movement today is the result of her efforts throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and beyond. There have been others, of course, but none as original, none as effective, and none as inspirational. No one has disagreed with her on a major issue and remained viable. That is not because she holds a grudge (she doesn’t), but because she has virtually always been right, and on time.
Her highly original masterpiece, A Choice Not an Echo (1964), created a home in the Republican Party for the growth of the conservative movement that she then led. In 1972, only 32 out of the 635 in all of Congress voted against the Equal Rights Amendment. Against the media, Ted Kennedy, Republican leaders, and all odds, with everyone in power declaring her wrong, Phyllis Schlafly founded STOP ERA in 1973 and it became the cornerstone for the conservative future. She was the first to recognize the importance of social issues, and she gave conservative values a powerful voice when no one else thought it even possible. She single-handedly made motherhood an acceptable career again for women, after feminists had demonized it in the late 60s and 70s. Her unique “Homemaker of the Year” award illustrates her originality and leadership.
No one else in American history has had as much political influence for so long. Liberals recognized this, but failed in their determined attempts to discredit her. She has been known to liberals as the finest debater in politics, the finest witness in legislative hearings, the finest political writer, and the finest organizer, all in one person.
The Left became so obsessed with her that her name would inexplicably slip out at unrelated events. For example, when the Democrat Governor Jon Corzine introduced someone who happened to have the first name of “Phyllis,” he erroneously presented her as “Phyllis Schlafly.” Corzine had never even met Phyllis Schlafly.
Some people are tough and some people are funny, but rarely both, and never both at the same time. Yet she has an incredible ability to stand up against intense hostility with good humor and grace. For example, when Phyllis Schlafly received an honorary degree from Washington University, feminists caused a terribly ugly incident by having students turn their backs as she was receiving the award. But when asked about this afterward, she reacted with her trademark grace and wit, “I’m not sure they’re mature enough to graduate!” She should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for several reasons. Her Phyllis Schlafly Report, written and published continuously by her for nearly 50 years, is almost certainly the longest running political commentary by an individual in history. Her many hundreds of speeches and debates at colleges, almost always to packed auditoriums, is surely more than anyone else. And her participation as a delegate to Republican National Conventions, nearly uninterrupted for about 60 years, is likely a record that no one else will ever surpass.
It is difficult to think of an important conservative value today that is not based on a foundation set by Phyllis Schlafly. Adherence to the Constitution? She promoted that more than 30 years ago, leading the successful fight against a constitutional convention (Con Con). Pro-life? She put that in the Republican Party platform more than 20 years ago, when many Republican leaders were not pro-life. Grassroots politics? She developed it decades before the Tea Parties. Homeschooling? She was teaching her children to read at home in the 1950s, and urging everyone else to do likewise.
A baseball fan growing up, she admired how Babe Ruth could hit so many home runs off of bad pitches that were unhittable by anyone else. She made it her goal to be able to hit a “home run” off of hostile questions thrown at her by the liberal media, and she perfected it. Yankee Stadium is called the house that Ruth built, but the conservative movement is the house that Phyllis Schlafly built.
Culturally, Phyllis Schlafly single-handedly restored the role of and respect for the homemaker in American society. In addition she has been instrumental in:
- stopping ERA, and blocking the blank check that it would given to the unaccountable federal judiciary on social issues
- making the Republican Party pro-life, changing the Party's official stance from pro-choice to pro-life beginning in 1976
- defeating attempts to hold a new constitutional convention ("Con Con") that would change the U.S. Constitution, since the early 1980s
- laying the foundation for the homeschooling movement by urging parents to teach their children to read, beginning the 1950s
- opposing judicial supremacy, including her book The Supremacists (2004)
- recognizing the importance of the family unit, and defending it
- supporting inventors' traditional patent rights in protection of American innovation
- defending against encroachments on American sovereignty, and the misuse of foreign law
Phyllis Schlafly Report
She has published the Phyllis Schlafly Report monthly since August 1967, making it the longest running personal political commentary in history.
Homemaker of the Year Award
Phyllis Schlafly started this annual award in 1985 , amid snickering by feminists and other leaders. It has since grown in success and influence.
Today many state, county, and town fairs honor an annual "homemaker of the year" with an award, including:
(add to list)
Imitation is the finest form of flattery!
Only new newspaper editorials in the United States opposed ratification of ERA during the ten years of controversy. One was written by Martin Duggan for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. In 2013, Martin celebrated his 71st wedding anniversary with his wife Mae.
She has aired daily radio commentaries since 1983. Prior to that, in the 1970s, she did a regular commentary on CBS Radio's "Spectrum" program.
She has appeared many hundreds of times at colleges to give a speech or be part of a debate, typically to packed, overcrowded audiences.
Live Radio Show
She has hosted a live call-in radio show since 1989, carried by the Bott Radio Network.