I just read a post
by Armed Liberal, taking Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post to task for this:
On any given day, one isn’t likely to find common cause with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He’s a dangerous, lying, Holocaust- denying, Jew-hating cutthroat thug — not to put too fine a point on it.
But he was dead-on when he wondered why a once-great power such as Britain sends mothers of toddlers to fight its battles.
I respectfully differ. I find it hateful and repulsive that we send women into harm’s way. We don’t need
to send them; we just do. Why on earth would we do something like that? It’s a decadent luxury. It says something about our society: we don’t care about motherhood, or collective self-preservation.Update: forget the striked-out stuff. Apparently I don't know anything about the birds and the bees. It's beside the point anyway, which is about human females.
Let me preface the following thrust of argument with the disclaimer that I am aware that we’re not insects. However, we are biological animals.
In nature, you don’t find beehives where there are large numbers of surplus females ready to die to defend a child-rearing King Bee. The pattern, everywhere you look, is that the males are out defending the home and children, and the females, enjoying the protection of the males, are rearing the next generation. I suggest that this ancient natural division of labor is not meant to be discarded lightly. We may have computers and tenured theorists of postmodern criticism, but we’re still hormonal mammals. Biological creatures. We aren’t pure and equal beings of light.
We may not have the same lopsided ratio of males to females as the bees, but a
A human female is only fertile once a month, when she releases a single egg. Her fertility ceases at a certain point in her life. A single male can, in theory, impregnate millions of women. He can sire children at the age of 100. The inescapable logic of scarcity is clear. Men and women are born in approximately equal numbers, but women’s reproductive role is dearer, by orders of magnitude.
Women shouldn’t fight wars. Women should never see combat. They should never face down a gun, or skirt encounters with bombs, bullets, and bayonets, and they should never risk captivity among the enemy. This is not misogynism. It’s accepting the reality of our biological difference. Women are different, and no amount of social or technological progress can ever change that. Armed Liberal asks, “Who is Kathleen Parker, and what century is she living in?” If this century asks women to fight wars, I would like a do-over, if you don’t mind; I would like to be born and live in a century where we aren’t such benighted fools.
I can happily accept women in auxiliary support roles in the military, out of harm’s way; I cannot accept that we send women to combat out of a misplaced sense of equality. Any given woman can be, and frequently is, every bit my equal of the mind. Her body, however, is inestimably more precious than mine. If some women must
on fighting, then, tongue firmly
in cheek, I advocate adopting a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
I can’t help but think that it all went downhill when chivalry became unacceptable. Chivalry can be thought of as an accumulated body of ritual and symbolically rich tradition, one that showed respect for the preciousness of females, and reinforced that we men stood ready to defend our women. I believe that turning this pro-forma expression of the reality of our mutual human condition into a thought-crime has led directly to our coarse and misogynistic present popular culture.
I want to go back to the way it was. The brutal calculus of nature is that we men are, by far, the expendable sex. War is about killing, and women are about living. Let’s not mix the two. Or else. The enemy would like us all dead; how can it be rational, then, to send him the mothers of our children to shoot at?