Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Women Changing the Public Square

My friend Stephen asked about women presidents the other day, and I responded with waffle about the Empress CiXi in China, about whom I'm reading in Jung Chang's The Empress Dowager CiXi: The Woman Who Launched Modern China. So yeah, women can be amazing heads of state, although that doesn't mean that the failed Hillary Clinton should be our First Woman President.

And, of course, there is the problem that five years after the death of CiXi China descended into 30+ years of civil war.

But now comes an interesting piece promoted by Instapundit that touches the question of women faculty in law schools. The article is about the proposed merger of two Rutgers law schools, one in Camden and one in Newark. It appears that the law schools are heavily in into law-and-social-justice.
Not surprisingly for a school that emphasizes race, gender and philosophy and has a history of misleading employment statistics, the Camden law school has had trouble attracting students.
This provoked a commenter to comment:
I was wondering when someone was finally going to address this issue. A large number of junior ranking faculty are trying to transform law schools into something completely different. These professors, who are largely female, want to talk about anything but traditional law. Their focus is instead on abortion, parenting, racism, sexism, human rights violations and the environment. I get that there will be some overlap between these topics and the law, but they should be restricted to when the topic actually comes us and not woven mercilessly throughout the general curriculum. Since traditional topics still need to be taught for the bar exam and some business courses need to be offered, schools end up with a bloated faculty just so that they can have a strange panoply of socially progressive seminars that fit each faculty member’s niche interest.
That's interesting, and I get it. It is much more congenial to be talking up liberal social justice issues than the uncongenial hard work of teaching law which is, after all, a patriarchal concept that men have worked out over the last several millennia with very little input from women.

Now, I've written that, as George Simmel the German sociologist put it, women in the modern age are in the middle of adapting the public square to "a more feminine sensibility." When liberal women law faculty are moving the law school curriculum from law to social justice, is that a case of women adapting law "to a more feminine sensibility" or is it just mind-numbed liberals doing their thing?

Government is force; social animals deal in pecking orders and hierarchy. Men are fighters; they reduce everything to a battle. Women are lovers; they reduce everything to manipulation and persuasion.

So if you ask me we have an unholy mess with the current liberal administrative welfare state, staffed mainly by women. Government is force, yet its practitioners are women that instinctively want to move the culture towards manipulation and social shaming.

Marxists had a good way of understanding this sort of thing. They liked to talk about the "internal contradictions" of capitalism. But think about the "internal contradictions" of liberalism, and the internal contradiction of having women, the manipulators, winkling away at law, which was men's way of resolving fights into agreed-upon rules. And the even bigger internal contradiction of having women, the manipulators, in charge of government, the enforcers.

I suspect that at the end of the modern era, women will retreat from the public square where it requires male-style combat and head-banging, and specialize on areas that require loving attention and relationships. But we are going to get there by learning the hard way, and the journey is going to be hell.

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