Debating Abortion, Part II

I apologize for starting this post with a Star Trek clip, but whenever sentience/sapience/personhood is brought up in the abortion debate, my geek brain always flashes back to this scene from The Measure of a Man in which Picard argues in favor of declaring the android Data a sentient being. Trust me, though — there is a method to my madness. The working definition of “sentience” that Maddox supplies here correlates pretty well with the common man’s understanding of the term, so it seems like a good starting point for my discussion. Let’s look at each of Maddox’s three criteria in turn so that we may discover why conferring human rights based on perceived “personhood” is fundamentally problematic:

Intelligence

As I noted in my previous post, a fetus spends the months before birth gathering sensory data and learning to recognize certain rhythms, melodies, and, most importantly, voices. Though this prenatal brain activity certainly can’t be compared to the writing of a doctoral dissertation, it is laying the foundation for the fetus’ future language development. Even before birth, in other words, a fetus prepares to engage in the most identifiably human of intellectual activities, spoken language.

Human intelligence is not static; as any developmental psychologist knows, it evolves through time. In the fetal brain, certain vital connections are already being made; as a consequence, we are born with a set of specific cognitive abilities that are tailored to help us grow as human beings. And grow we do. A newborn’s skill set is different from that of a toddler. A toddler’s skill set is different from that of a child beginning his first day of formal schooling. The kindergartner understands many things, but an eighth-grader understands far more. Is an eighth-grader more valuable than a kindergartner?

Human intelligence is also variable. Not everyone has the talent or the inclination to master rocket science; not everyone has the ability or the desire to commit thousands of baseball statistics to memory. Some are quite gifted intellectually, while others struggle in school either because of a global intellectual impairment or because of a learning disability. Are geniuses more valuable than the developmentally disabled?

Lastly, human intelligence is, evidently, hard to define and quantify. Take a look at the fierce debates that still rage within the scientific community regarding the validity of standardized intelligence measures. Consider too how the scientific consensus regarding the cognitive capacities of neonates has changed over the years. Testing pre-verbal infants takes a hell of a lot of creativity and patience; thus, a lot of uncertainty remains regarding what babies know and when they come to know it. And as for the baby in utero? Take the doubt swirling around post-natal infant intelligence and multiply it by several powers of ten.

Because human intelligence is difficult to define, is obviously variable, and is constantly evolving, it is exceedingly dangerous to use it to discriminate between those human beings who “deserve” to live and those who don’t. If you want to avoid flagrant abuses of power, you must tie the fundamental human right to life to a firmly objective standard of application — and “intelligence” is not and cannot be that standard.

(And with that, I think I’ll close for the moment, as this post is getting rather long. Don’t worry, though: I will continue this deconstruction of the “personhood” criterion tomorrow.)

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Debating Abortion, Part I

Years ago, I got into a brief argument with a pro-choice blogger (henceforth designated PCB) that went roughly like this:

PCB: If anti-abortion activists are so damned concerned about microscopic embryos, they should also be concerned about the millions of sperm that are discarded on a regular basis.

Me: Your comment is biologically incorrect. An embryo is completely distinct from a spermatozoon.

PCB: I disagree.

Me: So basically, you disagree with the entire science of embryology?

Here are the facts:

A spermatozoon contains half the human complement of chromosomes, as does the ovum. Neither the sperm nor the ovum can develop into a human being without the input of another gamete cell; thus, neither the sperm nor the ovum can be considered “human” in the strictest sense.

However, according to many widely-used medical texts, when a sperm and ovum meet at the moment of fertilization, their chromosomes combine to form a genetically distinct member of the human species. This zygote will not change course one day and develop into a fish — and he is not identical to his mother. Though his mother may have brown eyes, the zygote may possess the genes for blue eyes. Though his mother may be Type O+, the zygote may be Type A+. Though his mother is (obviously) female, the zygote may be genetically male. To say that this zygote can be equated to the haploid sperm is 100% scientifically false. To say that this zygote is simply another part of the mother’s body is just as wrong.

If you want to draw a bright line in the sand, nothing fits the bill better than conception. Before conception, no unique life exists; after conception, there is such a life. Granted, it is true that many such zygotes die natural deaths before the moment of birth – natural miscarriages are a fact of life – but this reality does not justify the deliberate destruction of extremely young unborn human individuals. In the course of human history, countless millions have died in natural catastrophes – fires, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, plagues, etc. Does this mean we have a right to deliberately precipitate a disaster in order to cull the herd? No – nature is not prescriptive.

But what about birth? Is birth another bright line? No. In reality, a late-term fetus and a neonate have much in common. Fetal psychology is a young science, but researchers have already determined that, at the very least, a fetus of “viable” age can learn and remember. Did you know, for example, that newborn babies cry with an accent? In utero, a fetus is already learning the rhythms and melodies of his native tongue. He is also learning to recognize his mother’s voice. These are the very first steps in the process of human language acquisition, and they happen before birth, which indicates that the fetal brain is something more than a mere vegetative organ. It seems perverse to suggest, then, that an accident of mere location should determine whether a baby is “worthy” of protection.

(Next up: the problem with drawing the line at “sapience” or “independence”.)

Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, V – Steph’s Rules for Net Debates

  • When I ask a question, answer it. Don’t change the subject. Don’t fling yet more unsupported accusations. Don’t behave as if your position is self-evident to everyone who has a brain. It’s not.
  • Cite your sources. When I was a kid, Sub Spike taught me not to take people’s claims at face value. If you refuse to provide links, I’m going to assume you can’t back up your assertions.
  • No personal attacks. My biggest pet peeve is when people insinuate that I lack intelligence. I graduated summa cum laude with highest honors from a top 50 university. And by the way, I was a science major. I didn’t choose a course of study in which verbal virtuosity is valued over hard facts.
  • Don’t take your personal issues out on me. If somebody has hurt you at some point in your life, I’m sorry. Still, it’s not my job to be your therapist or your personal punching bag.

Now let’s explore how LM – the individual featured in my previous post – violated my rules:

  • I confronted LM and asked her to back up her assertion that the Tea Party is Racist/Sexist/Homophobic. She returned with a smart ass question that implied that I didn’t know what I was talking about. This violates the first three of my four rules. She didn’t answer my question, didn’t cite her sources, and attacked my intelligence through insinuation. I should’ve terminated the discussion here, but I simply couldn’t resist continuing. What can I say? I’m not a perfect human being.
  • I then tried to inject some facts about the Tea Party movement into the discussion. I should’ve provided some links, true, but I was writing in the heat of the moment. If LM were interested in having a good faith discussion, she could’ve asked for my sources, and I would’ve gladly provided them. Instead, she continues to call Tea Partiers nutjobs and states that I support the violation of her “bodily integrity.” Whatever, LM. I personally think the right to shoot one’s “almighty gun” will do more for the preservation of a woman’s bodily integrity than either legal gay marriage or unrestricted legal abortion. The right to kill my unborn children for my own convenience certainly won’t help me if a rapist should come looming towards me in a dark alley. A gun might.

    But anyway, I’m rambling. Suffice it to say that LM violated my fourth rule by ranting at me instead of genuinely responding to what I said. Thus, at this point, I decided it was time to bow out. I’ve been in internet debates often enough to tell the difference between an open-minded individual and a hardcore partisan. I can have a fruitful discussion with the former; a productive debate is impossible with the latter.

  • Unfortunately, LM came back with her whopper about the supposed intelligence deficit among conservatives. Because, as I said, that is my biggest pet peeve, I once again couldn’t stop myself from going back for another round. In response, I asked her to provide her sources. She refused to do so, thereby violating rule number two as well as rule number three. I was completely done at that point. She did demand later that I try to “convince” her that the Tea Party is not racist or sexist. I told her again that I didn’t believe she was ready to listen. Because really, what do you suppose would’ve happened if I had produced pro-right statements written by “brown” and/or gay Tea Partiers? Do you honestly think that would’ve persuaded her? I for one highly doubt it.

Failure to follow my rules for debate will ultimately result in termination of the discussion. I don’t have the time or the energy to waste on screeching harpies who refuse to argue in good faith.

Reponding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, IV – A Current Throw-Down

LM: I saw some itchbay on CNN the other morning saying she was “deeply offended” at people calling the tea party violent. I was like you know what’s offensive? Telling women and gays and brown people that their rights should be restricted. THAT is what’s offensive.

Me: How does the Tea Party do any of the things you are claiming, L?

LM: Have you been listening?

Me: Yes. Probably more than you have.

I’m a Tea Partier, so I think I can speak about our movement with some degree of authority. First of all, it is not centralized. There are multiple groups that bear the “Tea Party” label, and their agendas are not 100% identical. Some tend towards social conservativism, but others do not. There are gay Tea Partiers, “brown” Tea Partiers, and a HELL of a lot of female Tea Partiers, and I think they would all object to the characterization of the movement as anti-woman, anti-gay, or anti-“brown.”

The one thing that ties the disparate Tea Party groups together is a frustration with wasteful spending and government over-reach. You may disagree that the spending is wasteful or that the government is over-reaching, but advocating for limited government is not in itself sinister. Do Tea Party events attract the crazies? Yes, but so do leftwing events, AS I MYSELF have witnessed several times here in Washington D.C.

LM: Well, maybe you should tell the ones ought there telling me that I don’t have the right to what i want to with my body to stfu and stop trying to take my rights away, since you seem to be so up on the subject. I’m afraid that I can’t truck with anyone telling me that their right to shoot their almighty gun is more important than my bodily integrity. And yeah, that’s what you donation towards those nutjobs is supporting, friend.

Me: Okay. Clearly you’re not up for a rational debate, so I refuse to continue this discussion.

LM: Because you will lose. Look at all the stats on right-wingers lower education and IQ levels. You can’t win, my friend. Do you really expect anyone to believe the tea party is looking out for anyone’s rights other than old rich white christian men? Srsly expect anyone with any sense to believe that?

Me: Care to provide links to your bogus stats?

At this point, LM posted a macro that did not pertain to the discussion, at which point, I replied:

Okay. Thanks for confirming that you’re not up for an honest debate. THE END.

Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, III – The Logic 101 Edition

As you know, tutoring is my day job. In 2005, I started off as an ESL tutor; these days, I teach science and math in addition to the usual ESL work.

I’m bringing this up because I have had several clients over the years who have requested help in Geometry, and Virginia’s Geometry curriculum includes a section on basic logic. In my area, syllogisms in particular are taught using examples such as these:

Valid Syllogism

  • Major premise: All mammals are warm-blooded.
  • Minor premise: All black dogs are mammals.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, all black dogs are warm-blooded.

Invalid Syllogism

  • Major premise: All mammals are warm-blooded.
  • Minor premise: A robin is warm-blooded.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, a robin is a mammal.

Note the pattern of the valid syllogism:

All a are b.
C is a.
Therefore, c is b.

In order for your conclusion to be valid, your minor premise has to be connected to the first half of your major premise, not the second.

In discussing the motives of the Arizona shooter, supposedly “brainy” liberals all over Facebook are employing the sort of faulty logic used in my example of an invalid syllogism. Essentially, they are arguing the following:

  • The Tea Partiers have expressed anti-government sentiments.
  • Loughner has expressed anti-government sentiments.
  • Therefore, Loughner is a Tea Partier, and Tea Party leaders can be deemed accessories to mass murder.

Non sequitur, lefties. Non sequitur. This is what is known as the fallacy of the undistributed middle. Your conclusion rests on the implied belief that all people who express anti-government opinions must be Tea Partiers — and that is a categorically false-to-facts assumption. Anarchists are, by definition, anti-government, but anarchists and Tea Partiers have very little in common. As a matter of fact, I’m willing to wager that any anarchist would be insulted to be labeled a Tea Partier.

In any case, your major premise is false to begin with. The Tea Party is not anti-government; it’s anti-BIG-government. We Tea Partiers recognize the government’s vital role in preserving the rule of law. What we do not accept is this idea that government should be permitted to grow unchecked so that favored groups can become dependent upon it. And by the way, unlike the aforementioned anarchists, we act upon our core beliefs by gathering in peaceful rallies and exercising the power of the vote.

*****

The left’s highly orchestrated rush to use the atrocity in Arizona to slime conservatives and the Tea Party – and yes, the fact that accusations of Tea Party malfeasance started even before we knew whether Giffords had survived strongly suggests orchestration – is nothing less than an attempt to squelch legitimate dissent. Already, I am seeing calls for legislation to police political speech. That’s the left’s knee-jerk response whenever they encounter opinions they don’t like.

Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, II

I hate it when my Facebook friends depend on The Daily Show for their news. It makes them look incredibly uninformed.

Today, a friend of mine posted a Daily Show video in which Jon Stewart attacks the GOP’s filibuster of the 9/11 First Responders Bill. Thanks to Stewart, said friend now believes that we conservatives are just plain mean and want to take away “much needed health benefits” from our 9/11 heroes.

There’s just one problem: Stewart, naturally, is not telling his audience the whole story.

Here is the GOP side of the issue as explained by Sen. Mike Enzi in the New York Daily News:

One of the most significant concerns about this bill is its continued reliance on the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health to administer 9/11 health programs. NIOSH has sent $475 million in grants to New York to pay for health care benefits. Yet to this day, NIOSH, the city of New York and the various health care providers who received grants have failed to tell Congress where that money has gone. For example, Mount Sinai Medical Center has received about $137 million from NIOSH since 2004. Until they can show where that money was spent, it is irresponsible to give them more.

The proponents of this bill say it terminates the current programs and replaces them with one program run by a single administrator. In reality, the new program administrator would still be NIOSH, the same agency that has inadequately administered the program. Without the basic facts about the programs NIOSH administered for the past eight years, it is hard to design an effective program for the future.

The American people need to know that money is being used effectively because frankly, the nation can’t afford careless spending, no matter how well-intentioned. Our country is in the midst of trying to head off a short-term economic crisis and long-term deficit crisis that could deeply hurt us all. We need money to help 9/11 responders. We need money to help the men and women who are returning from the front lines of two wars. Victims of natural disasters, the poor and unemployed all warrant our attention. We owe it to all of them to use what money we have in the best way we can. In order to do that, legislators must take the time to consider, amend and vote on bills in the committees of jurisdiction.

I realize that my opposition to this bill, and how it is being considered, is not a popular position in New York. I understand and appreciate the frustration of the 9/11 responders, who want to see a permanent program put in place to address their needs. But it is reasonable for senators to ask questions, get answers and amend legislation before it’s rushed to the Senate floor during the final moments of a Congress.

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Jon Stewart is a liberal comedian, not a serious pundit. If he opens his mouth, you can rest assured that he’s lying.

Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook, I

A number of the sci-fi geeks I work with at Dragon*Con are liberals. Generally speaking, I have no problem getting along with them whenever we meet up face-to-face. But occasionally, I will see these folks post things on Facebook that run the range from nonsensical to downright outrageous. Hence, I am starting a new feature on this blog: Responding to Annoying Liberal Remarks on Facebook. If I see something on Facebook that just bothers the hell out of me, I’m going to vent about it here.

On the chopping block today is a status update left by writer acquaintance of mine that demonstrates what can only be described as willful liberal blindness. Regarding the recent tax deal proposed by Obama and the Congressional Republicans, he states:

After the tax deal yesterday, I will never take anything anyone says about the national debt seriously again. Please.

Right. Because the only way we can possibly get out of the red is to raise taxes on the so-called “rich.” Forget about slashing nonessential government spending.

As Citizens Against Government Waste and other such groups have repeatedly documented, a substantial portion of our national budget has been set aside for things we don’t really need. Do we need a National Endowment for the Arts, for example? During the Renaissance, artists used to seek out wealthy patrons to fund their work. Why, exactly, was it necessary for the government to take over this function?

When a household is forced to take a pay cut, do you know what most responsible families do? They pull out their budgets, examine them critically, and decide what they can do without. “Let’s see — I can stop getting a caramel frappe from Starbucks every morning. And we can downgrade our cable service. How many of those 500 channels do we actually watch anyway? And I suppose we should drop our gym membership. We can take walks for free.”

Granted, some families just sign up for credit cards and run up huge debts they can’t pay off — but this will eventually bite them in the butt in the end. Trust me, I know. As a somewhat impulsive and (I think) mildly bipolar young(ish) woman, I have struggled since college to practice fiscal responsibility, and my credit score still reflects that.

The liberal response to a budget shortfall is always the same: tax the “rich” and/or print more money. They refuse to look critically at our federal and state budgets and make hard decisions about what we do and do not need. As far as they’re concerned, we need everything, including the National Endowment for the Arts. And quite frankly, this is absolutely ridiculous, childish thinking. I’m sure we can find waste in every department — and yes, that includes the military. Let’s actually get down to the grown-up work of giving up our federal lattes.

And by the way, I’d also like to challenge, once again, the liberal idea that the “rich” deserve to be punished with higher taxes. First of all, as Thomas Sowell and other conservative writers have correctly pointed out, the upper class in the U.S. is always in flux. People climb into and fall out of the highest strata all the time. We do have the occasional heir or heiress who lives off of daddy’s trust fund, but most people who manage to exceed the magic $250,000 mark worked to get there. We don’t live in feudal Europe. We don’t have a large, permanent class of people living off their hereditary fortunes.

Consider a neurosurgeon. The median salary for a neurosurgeon definitely falls beyond the “rich” line. But what did that affluent neurosurgeon have to do to get there? First, he had to go to college for four years to get a bachelor’s degree. Then he had to go to medical school for another four to seven years (depending on whether he went for the MD or the MD/PhD). Then he had to spend several more years practicing as a resident. Then, perhaps, he had to spend a few more years practicing as a fellow. At no time during this long and arduous training process was he ever “rich” — and much of his income was probably used to pay off his student loans.

Liberals: are you seriously going to tell this gentleman who lived with far less for almost two decades to get where he is now that he must now cough up a huge chunk of his earned income to fund your pet government projects? How is this moral? How is this fair? And most importantly, how is this going to inspire others to put in the same hard work?

In order to believe that a neurosurgeon who makes, say, $300,000 per year should be punitively taxed, you have to believe that this neurosurgeon got where he is by stomping on the heads of the poor. This is simply not the case. Indeed, this is not the case for the vast majority of people who make more than $250,000 per year. Do “fat cats” exist? Yes, but here’s the funny thing: most of those who fit the left’s stereotypical vision of the “rich” have already safely stored their wealth away where you will never be able to touch it. In the meantime, the honest rich – those like the neurosurgeon who have struggled for years to be successful – will bear the brunt of the left’s despicable attempts to stoke class warfare. To this, I say no thanks.

On Feminism, Part IX

In truth, I could extend this series out to Part XX, but I think I’m going to conclude at this point with a manifesto of sorts that details what I feel should be the guiding philosophy of a new conservative feminism that moves beyond the leftist ideology of the radical feminist establishment.

Conservative Feminism:
A Declaration of Principles

As women living in the West in the 21st century, we can freely choose to pursue a career, stay at home, or do some combination of the two. We have the vote, and we are free to run for elective office. We can and do serve in every branch of our government and participate in our national economy as entrepreneurs and business leaders. In short, we Western women enjoy a freedom that is absolutely unprecedented; we are more affluent and more educated than any other group of women in the history of the world. And we recognize that our freedom and prosperity exists thanks to the efforts of our feminist foremothers. Because Elizabeth Blackwell persevered in her studies despite the taunts of her male classmates, women can now go to medical school. Because of the ceaseless activism of women like Susan B. Anthony, we now have a voice in national and local politics.

However, as the 20th century progressed, the feminist movement – which had previously been focused on establishing basic equity – evolved into something different. Cultural Marxism gradually made inroads, and it gave feminism a distinctly illiberal flavor. Simone de Beauvoir, one of the earliest members of this new feminist vanguard, became a harbinger of things to come when she declared in The Second Sex, “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” Today, many self-declared feminists idolize sexual libertinism, propagate misandry, attack marriage and child-rearing, and actively discourage dissent within their own ranks.

As conservative feminists, we categorically reject any ideology that seeks to control other human beings in the name of a supposed societal good;

We reject the proposition that marriage and motherhood are inherently limiting;

We reject the proposition that a woman’s freedom rests on her ability to murder her unborn children;

We reject the proposition that freedom and sexual license are the same;

We reject the proposition that a woman must be leftist in her politics to be considered intelligent, authentic and worthy of respect;

And we reject the proposition that men are uniquely sinful and deserving of special rebuke.

Instead of the hateful radical feminist creed, we affirm:

That all women – whether they be laborers, secretaries, CEO’s, or homemakers – should be encouraged to make choices according to their individual interests and desires and not according to a narrow “feminist” ideal;

That motherhood is a beautiful, fulfilling, and socially necessary profession that should be honored, not derided;

That struggling mothers should be supported by crisis pregnancy centers in the communities in which they live;

That abortion should never be our default response to an unplanned pregnancy;

That sexual monogamy promotes the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of women and should be actively encouraged;

That women are best served by a political system that is based upon objective truth, liberty, and the rule of law;

That women are best served by an economic system that fosters entrepreneurship, as many women are currently seeking ways to work from home;

That women are best served by a society in which the family is the central organizing principle;

That women should be able to express any opinion without fear that they will be personally attacked by those who control the engines of our popular culture;

That free and respectful debate should be encouraged among women and orthodoxies-by-fiat discouraged;

And that men are partners – not adversaries – with whom we will happily cooperate in order to advance those ideals that will lead to the betterment of the entire human race.

As conservative feminists, we feel it is our responsibility to vigorously champion the guiding principles outlined above — and we refuse to be silenced by the aspiring totalitarians in our midst.

On Feminism, Part VIII

As noted in the last post, today’s radical feminists are motivated in large part by an ideology that is virulently anti-Western. This should be a matter of great concern for women in particular because it is Western Civilization – in particular, its Christianity – that has made us the freest and happiest women in the world.

I know this is a bold claim. You no doubt have heard many times that women were blissfully liberated creatures up until the advent of Christianity, at which time the boot of patriarchy at last crushed their spirits. But you know what? That narrative is a load of hogwash. In truth, Jesus Christ was the first feminist. Don’t believe me? Let’s turn to the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Those who have a reasonable familiarity with the New Testament should recall that in this interlude, Jesus has a long theological conversation with a woman who has been married five times and is currently cohabiting with her latest beau. In the exchange, Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman just as He has spoken to many men; there is no sign that He considers her any less capable of spiritual enlightenment. Then the apostles arrive and – here’s the key detail – they are “amazed that he was talking with a woman” (John 4:27 NAB). Why are they amazed? Could it be that in Jesus’ time, speaking to a woman as an equal went against tradition?

Let’s consider another well-known female Biblical character: the adulteress who was nearly stoned in John 8. Notice, first of all, that this woman’s accusers don’t bring the man involved before Jesus. The woman is, in essence, unfairly singled out for punishment. Does Jesus accept this? No. Instead, in a moment that should warm the heart of any honest feminist, He subtly urges the men to consider their own sins before cruelly executing the woman for her weakness. Jesus may have selected twelve men to serve as His apostles, but He always – always – treated the women He encountered with a compassion that was radical for that time and place. The apostles recognized how very different He was — and so did the women who flocked in droves to the early Church.

A year or so ago, I independently completed an introductory course in Church history, and one of the things that really struck me was how often wives were responsible for converting their pagan husbands to Christianity. Why would they do that? Why would these women give up the supposedly wonderful pagan world of contraception, abortion, infanticide and “free love” and jump into a faith that condemned all four of these things? Could it be that the radical feminist version of “herstory” is wrong? Could it be that women were less happy in the pagan world? Could it be that the strictures of Christianity allowed women to feel safe and cherished for the first time?

I’m not saying that women were always treated well within Christendom. I am saying, however, that our upward trajectory as a sex started with Jesus and continued until a few decades before the present date. This truth is made manifest when we compare our current status as Western women with the status of women in parts of the world where Christianity has had less of an influence. In the Muslim world, women are still stoned for committing adultery. In some rural Hindu communities, sati (in which a widow is immolated on her late husband’s funeral pyre) is still practiced despite the Indian government’s furious attempts to suppress the custom. We really have it great relative to women in other nations; only a bratty sense of entitlement could bring a woman in the U.S. or Europe to the opposite conclusion. True, correlation doesn’t equal causation; but the existence of a relationship between the presence of Christianity and the eventual development of women’s liberation movements is certainly compelling.

And here’s more evidence for the inherent feminism of Christianity: now that Christianity’s influence on our society is under assault, we women are less happy — and arguably less safe. When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in the early nineteenth century, he famously observed that:

It is true that the Americans rarely lavish upon women those eager attentions which are commonly paid them in Europe, but their conduct to women always implies that they suppose them to be virtuous and refined; and such is the respect entertained for the moral freedom of the sex that in the presence of a woman the most guarded language is used lest her ear should be offended by an expression. In America a young unmarried woman may alone and without fear undertake a long journey.

This is certainly not true today. What changed? Urbanization is certainly a factor, but so too is the gradual loosening of moral standards — a trend that has definitely been helped along by radical feminists.

Today, women’s magazines – which are largely edited by women who identify as feminists – are hopelessly focused on sex and beauty. Why? Because we’ve slipped back into a pagan world in which a woman must constantly train her attention upon snaring and keeping men. The possibility that she may be abandoned by her boyfriend or husband for a hotter babe is ever present, and so she must worry constantly whether she’s sufficiently attractive — or sufficiently skilled in bed.

Over the past few decades, I have seen girls’ interests and concerns gradually narrow. Back in the eighties, I climbed rocks, swam in dirty ponds, and rode my bike several miles from home on a regular basis. I read every book I could get my hands on — and newspapers too. I developed interests in science and medicine, current events, American history, science fiction and fantasy, and religion. And the girls I played with were similarly well-rounded. In the twenty-teens, on the other hand, girls no longer get a chance to experience the long latency period I enjoyed on the coast of Connecticut. Tweens are expected to dress to attract before they’ve even developed breasts and body hair — and as a result, these girls are overly concerned with boys and fashion at a time when they should be developing their unique and wonderful personalities.

Again, correlation does not equal causation. Still, the fact that these changes have taken place after the advent of radical gender feminism should provoke serious thought.

On Feminism, Part VII

Not only do radical feminists hold a position on abortion that fails to reflect the attitudes of most ordinary women, but they also make statements about men that fly in the face of the ordinary woman’s experience. This is what radical feminists think when they look at your loving husband, your devoted boyfriend, your brother and best friend, or your wonderful, funny son:

  • “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” — Valerie Solanas, Authoress of the SCUM Manifesto
  • “Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman.” — Andrea Dworkin
  • “The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.” — Sally Miller Gearhart, in The Future – If There Is One – Is Female.
  • “And if the professional rapist is to be separated from the average dominant heterosexual (male), it may be mainly a quantitative difference.” — Susan Griffin, Rape: The All-American Crime.
  • “All men are rapists and that’s all they are” — Marilyn French, Authoress; (later, advisoress to Al Gore’s Presidential Campaign.)
  • “All men are good for is f*cking, and running over with a truck.” — statement made by a University of Maine feminist administrator.
  • Okay — I’m sure you’re all feeling overwhelmed, so I shall stop at this point. Women have experienced injustices in the past – and continue to experience injustices in certain corners of the world today – but this level of rage and hatred, I feel, can only be explained by trauma. Clearly, these feminist commentators have been wounded by men at some point in their lives and have not received the appropriate medical and psychological treatment. In a way, I feel sorry for them. But at the same time, I feel it’s my personal duty to fight against their attempts to impose their peculiar psychopathology on the rest of the populace through public policy.

    There is nothing intrinsically wrong with men in the aggregate. For every man who is a genuine rapist, there are hundreds – nay, thousands – of men who would never dream of forcing themselves on women. For every man who beats his partner, there are thousands of men who would never lay so much as a finger on a woman. Yes, men are a little more physically aggressive, but the vast, vast majority of men have sublimated their urges, expressing them in perfectly harmless competitive sports — or in their dangerous yet socially necessary jobs. The world’s colossal skyscrapers and massive bridges were built by men, some of whom did not survive to see such structures finished. Are the lights on in your home? Thank the men who are willing to risk their lives to procure the fossil fuels that still power the majority of our electrical plants. Do you like Alaskan crab? Thank the men who are willing to sail on dangerous seas to get it.

    If you believe a world dominated by women would be more peaceful, then you obviously don’t remember high school. “Oh my god, America! Russia totally slept with your boyfriend!” “That does it – we’re bombing Moscow.” We women may not do so well with hand-to-hand combat, but political intrigue and aggression from afar is certainly within our capabilities. And if you believe a world dominated by women would be more ecologically friendly, think again. Most of us women enjoy our modern creature comforts and will resist attempts to turn back the clock as furiously as would any man.

    The discussion above reveals a very strange contradiction in radical feminist thought: they insist that gender differences are wholly determined by culture, yet they simultaneously argue that women are naturally superior. Such seemingly irrational thinking makes perfect sense, however, as long as you keep in mind that radical feminism’s true goal is the destruction of Western civilization. Their arguments don’t need to be internally consistent as long as their result is the same.