10/CHRONICLESnVIEWSnSEXUAL POLITICS by George GildernThe 1980’s witnessed one of the greatest miracles in thenhistory of American pohtics and the chmactic triumphnof one of the most effective poHtical leaders ever to emergenin America. That leader was a woman, and howevernwell-known she is today, she has never achieved the honornand celebrity of her many inferiors. The national newsmagazinesnhave never granted her a cover story or a fullnappreciation. The dimensions of her achievement are sdllnnot understood, even by the conservative publications thatngave her their moderately enthusiastic support. The newestnhistory texts pay heavy credit to her adversaries but scarcelynnnacknowledge her epochal role.nNonetheless, when serious histories of this era come to benwritten, Phyllis Schlafly will take her place among the tinynnumber of leaders who made a decisive and permanentndifference. As much as Martin Luther King, Earl Warren,nJohn Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Eugene McCarthynon the left and Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, RobertnHartley, William Buckley, and Jack Kemp on the right, shenchanged the political landscape of her country. In fact, bynthe measure of the odds she faced and overcame, Schlafly’snachievement excels all the others’.nSchlafly’s 10 books suggest the scope of her activities. AnChoice Not An Echo sold three million copies and helpednspark both the Goldwater movement and the Reaganncandidacy. Her works on military strategy spurred thencampaign that finally triumphed in President Reagan’snHigh Frontier defense scheme. But the centerpiece of hernachievement was the victory against the Equal RightsnAmendment, a mobilization against all the most fullynestablished and prestigious forces in American life.nOpposed to her at the outset were 90 percent majorities innboth houses of Congress, every live American President andnPresident’s wife, every major state governor except annambivalent Ronald Reagan, all leading mayors, both politicalnparties’ platforms and leadership, every major newspaper,nmagazine, and television network, the League ofnWomen Voters, all the old-line Protestant denominations,nthe National and World Councils of Churches, severalnleading Catholic and Jewish organizations and publications,nand huge majorities of the American public asnregistered by all public opinion polls. The ERA forces,nmoreover, combined their overwhelming numbers withnfanatical determination, continual use of government fundsnand agencies, and the same complete dominance of thenmedia that still today keeps Mrs. Schlafly from receiving herndue.nWithin months, this coalition pushed the Amendmentnthrough 35 state legislatures, just three short of the necessarynthree-quarters. For seven years the American politicalnestablishment unleashed a relenfless bombardment of thenremaining legislatures. Congress appropriated $5 millionnfor the International Women’s Year, the bulk of it devotednto the ERA campaign, and gave scores of millions to othernentities involved in the ratification drive. All Federalndepartments and agencies were ordered by the President tonapply “every resource of the Federal government” to thenThis essay is a chapter from Men and Marriage (PelicannPublishing, New Orleans), a revised edition of GeorgenGilder’s Sexual Suicide.n