Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If Feminism is all about vicitmization, then who will save the victims?

We all know that the patriarchy is the source of all our problems on the racism, sexism, and homophobia front. But suppose it isn't?

Yes, I know. If there is one thing we all agree on it is the evil of the patriarchy that kept women barefoot and pregnant since the dawn of time. But wait a minute! Chaps like Nicholas Wade in Before the Dawn and The Faith Instinct suggest that the invention of religion helped free humans from the rule of the alpha male and created the egalitarianism of the hunter-gatherers.

OK, let's just say that the evil of patriarchy kept women barefoot and pregnant since the dawn of capitalism when a ruthless individualism was born out of the comfortable village communism that obtained somehow under the boot of the feudal system. But wait! Chaps like Alan MacFarlane in The Origins of English Individualism say that the birth of individualism in England in the mid 12th century meant that women were owning property as individuals and could sue in the manorial courts. In the much-loved extended family women were always under the control of some patriarchal male.

Well, anyway, everybody knows that women were beside themselves with boredom in the heyday of 1950s suburbia. Or at least Betty Friedan was, in The Feminine Mystique. Except of course that it is women that like nice leafy nests in which to raise their children in suburbia away from the testosterone of the big city. It is men that like standing on the corner, watching all the girls go by.

Here is what I really think. I think that some sort of patriarchal society, where women are expected to value family before career, is essential to the survival of the species. Sorry about that, girls.

Exhibit A is the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. Robert Stacy McCain writes about it in "Warriors Against Human Nature." He tells us about the emergence of queer feminism, as against the old traditional "binary" feminism.

On McCain's testimony, queer feminism is the invention of Judith Butler in her 1990 book Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, now required coursework at hundreds of US colleges. Here's how it works.
Professor Butler declares that the division of humanity into male and female is an artificial illusion, the gender binary produced by the heterosexual matrix. Therefore, those characteristics we think of as naturally male (masculine) and female (feminine) are not natural at all, according to Queer Theory. Instead these categories are imposed on us by the oppressive demands of the male-supremacist system of patriarchy.
Er, which US political party is supposed to be anti-science?

But suppose that all that the feminist cultural Marxist rubbish were true. Then how do you account for this piece on privilege? Here are Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven writing about "Why Won't Liberals talk about the Most Important Kind of 'Privilege' in America?" It's marriage privilege. You see, they write, studies show that the children of married parents do much better in life by any measure you like. Oh, there is one other little matter. Studies show that children of married parents do better if there aren't too many children of single parents in the area.

Yes, liberals and queer feminists. Marriage: It's for the children.

Want more? Here's a young academic that doesn't dare assign any reading or do or say anything that might set off the liberal students in his class.
All it takes is one slip—not even an outright challenging of their beliefs, but even momentarily exposing them to any uncomfortable thought or imagery—and that’s it, your classroom is triggering, you are insensitive, kids are bringing mattresses to your office hours and there’s a twitter petition out demanding you chop off your hand in repentance.
Or the special snowflake liberal students might get you fired.

It's easy to laugh at all this. After all, medieval scholastics (they say) used to argue about the number of angels that you could fit on a pinhead. Nothing new here.

It would all be great fun if lives weren't being ruined. I am talking about the millions of children of single parents, who are predominantly from the low income 30 percent, because liberals condone single parenthood. I am talking about the millions of women that listen to their liberal instructors and direct their life trajectory away from marriage and children and then wake up at 50 empty and alone, wondering who will take care of them in their old age.

You see liberals: the problem isn't economic inequality. It's "spiritual inequality," as Robert William Fogel says. The problem isn't money; the problem is that the modern administrative welfare state incarcerates the poor in cultural ghettos. What's your four-point program for that?

My take on feminism and abortion and childlessness and twentysomethings in the city is that it is a self-indulgence of the rich and the well-born. The fact is that marriage and children is a life of work and effort, for both sexes. A certain amount of money allows you to choose a life of personal growth and creativity, become an artist or a writer, instead of a wage slave and a parent. Really, who wouldn't choose hanging out in the city with witty, intelligent friends against a life of diapers and bosses and meltdowns?

Who wouldn't? Anyone with half a brain. The fact is that feminism and gentry liberalism are merely the modern instantiation of age-old upper-class self-indulgence. What we call the "patriarchy" is merely the call of the genes. They demand to be reproduced and they demand to flourish. Or else.

The funny thing about queer feminism is that it demands victimization. McCain quotes feminist professor Sandra Bartky:
Feminist consciousness is consciousness of victimization... to see oneself as a victim.
Of course, it's not funny at all. It's an argument for force. If someone is a victim, because of social injustice, then it stands to reason that government must act to end the injustice. That is the common thread that runs down left-wing thought from the French Revolution  down to the present. If there is something wrong in society then it can only be solved by political action, which means force.

If you have a taste for power then you have a taste for politics. And politics executes its program in government. So anyone with a taste for power will naturally find their thoughts turning to some great injustice that can only be resolved by government action. If that person with a taste for power cannot find a real injustice to fight they will find some minor injustice and inflate it into a great political cause.

The genius of Marx was to find in the working class such a victim -- even though the working class in the 19th century was improving its lot beyond anything ever known in history.

The genius of the cultural Marxists was to generalize the victimization-of-the-working-class meme into a general concept of victimization that could be applied in behalf of anyone and everyone against a target oppressor class, the capitalists, the patriarchy, whoever.

But if women can only be safe when protected by powerful feminist activist custodians that means that women just aren't strong enough to live as the "independent woman" of Simone de Beauvoir of The Second Sex. And if women need protection from powerful patrons or matrons, what then is the difference between a patriarchy and a liberal femiarchy? Power is power; all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Anyway, what matriarch could really be free enough of victimization to be able to protect the poor little queer feminist victims?

If women are victims then they cannot be allowed out alone at night. They must be guarded and supervised. And obviously the guarding cannot be done by women, who are victims. Only men can do it. So we are back to the patriarchy.

Michael Barone has a piece out today on Raul Emanuel's campaign for re-election as mayor of Chicago. He writes about the rise of "gentry liberals" as a political force with the election of John Lindsay as mayor of New York City in the 1960s. Typically, gentry liberals have acquired power in coalition with African Americans while antagonizing the old white ethnics that used to supply the Democratic votes in the big cities.
Lindsay constructed a new coalition of gentry liberals and blacks, setting up a police civilian review board and claiming credit for preventing a riot in Harlem. He showed disdain for ethnic and middle-class whites, a “new snobbery” as I called it at the time.

Lindsay’s policies played a major part in a negative national trend, as crime and welfare dependency roughly tripled in the 1965–75 decade, and New York City teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. Other cities with fewer strengths went into death spirals, like my native Detroit.
Gentry liberalism has tended to be really bad for big American cities, from New York to Detroit, and particularly bad for the minorities that vote with the gentry liberals.

I'd say that goes for any victim group. By allying themselves with gentry liberals the victims are just setting themselves up for more failure and heartache. Because in the end, the allies of the gentry liberals are just votes, to be discarded when no longer useful for the liberal project of power.

There is, in other words, no substitute for getting out of the victim syndrome, getting away from the mechanical model of political system, and becoming a responsible individual. "In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista," as Burke wrote two centuries ago, "you see nothing but the gallows."

And nothing has changed on the left-wing front since then.

No comments:

Post a Comment