Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

07 April 2009

Tracinski - Why Women Matter - Women's Rights as a Measure of Civilization

Robert Tracinski puts out a very good e-mail subscription service in which he points out and comments on most of the key issues of our times, with many useful links to news articles and commentaries. It is called TIA Daily and is very reasonably priced. In addition, he offers a free 30-day trial, which I encourage you to take him up on.

Today's issue of TIA Daily was shorter than most and limited to one topic, a Feature Article called Why Women Matter - Women's Rights as a Measure of Civilization. It is an excellent essay and one with which I am in full agreement.

He begins by pointing at the recent public flogging of a Pakistani girl by a Taliban thug. He notes that the left and, in particular, feminists are not the foremost protesters against such evils practiced in Muslim societies because of their "deeper commitment to 'multicultural' subjectivism." The political conservatives, while lacking proper concern for other of women's rights, are better defenders of women with respect to the violent use of force by peoples of other cultures.

He points out that women are the physically weaker sex and hence the manner in which a society treats women is "a revealing measure of that society's attitude toward physical force." He goes on to say:

In a society where might makes right, where the rule of brute force has been thoroughly unleashed, women are always the first victims. Even the poorest and meanest man, the guy on the lowest rung who is oppressed by others above him who are bigger and stronger—even he can find one person he is still able to dominate and oppress: a woman, whether it is his mother, his wife, or his daughter. And he will oppress her—if the oppression of others by force is the accepted norm of the society he lives in. For examples, look to the Muslim world with its "honor" killings, arranged marriages, sexual segregation, and special restrictions on the travel and attire of women.

This is a complete contrast to the kind of society in which force is subordinated to morality. A society in which a woman can do whatever she wants without fear is a society in which the physically weak can rely on being protected from the physically strong. In fact, in a civilized society the physically weak feel safe because of the physically strong. The mark of such a society is a sense of chivalry—the idea that a man's superior physical strength is properly used to protect rather than to dominate, to serve the cause of justice and freedom rather than to assert arbitrary power over others.

He goes on to discuss some of Islam's foundational affinities for using force and violence and I will not discuss that here, since it is not for me to put him into such danger as that might engender. But he goes on to say:
This is the broader significance of the new Taliban video: it demonstrates the central failure of Islamism, revealed clearly even to those in the Muslim world. The Islamic theocrats offer their supporters one central promise: to establish the rule of virtue on earth. But they always provide the exact opposite: the rule of brute force and the doctrine of "might makes right." Their code actually banishes morality from public life, subordinating it to force. The routine brutalization of women and girls under the rule of Islam is a constant and vivid reminder of this fact.
I have always maintained that the reason men evolved to be stronger physically than women was because it was an essential part of their function to protect women and children and to provide for them using those abilities dependent upon strength, such as were once required of hunters. When a man fails to use his strengths to protect women and children, then he is unmanly and an abomination. Such a man is useless.

Great civilizations put fewer demands upon a man's physical strength and make women less dependent upon men specifically because the use of force between people is set aside and rational, voluntary trade of values takes over. In such a civilization, men, women, and children all thrive in harmony. In such a society, the values women can offer in such trades are understood to be of great value and women are treated with great respect. Unfortunately, some societies maintain the use and threatened use of force as primary in the relationships of men and women and in these societies there is no such harmony of interests.

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