Sunday, November 20, 2011
Four Legacies of Feminism
They have made life -- and life for women -- worse
As we approach the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s feminist magnum opus, The Feminine Mystique, we can have a perspective on feminism that was largely unavailable heretofore.
And that perspective doesn’t make feminism look good. Yes, women have more opportunities to achieve career success; they are now members of most Jewish and Christian clergy; women’s college sports teams are given huge amounts of money; and there are far more women in political positions of power. But the prices paid for these changes — four in particular — have been great, and outweigh the gains for women, let alone for men and for society.
The first was the feminist message to young women to have sex just as men do. There is no reason for them to lead a different sexual life than men, they were told. Just as men can have sex with any woman solely for the sake of physical pleasure, so, too, women ought to enjoy sex with any man just for the fun of it. The notion that the nature of women is to hope for at least the possibility of a long-term commitment from a man they sleep with has been dismissed as sexist nonsense.
As a result, vast numbers of young American women had, and continue to have, what are called “hookups”; and for some of them it is quite possible that no psychological or emotional price has been paid. But the majority of women who are promiscuous do pay prices. One is depression. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat recently summarized an academic study on the subject: “A young woman’s likelihood of depression rose steadily as her number of partners climbed and the present stability of her sex life diminished.”
Long before this study, I had learned from women callers to my radio show (an hour each week — the “Male-Female Hour” — is devoted to very honest discussion of sexual and other man-woman issues) that not only did female promiscuity coincide with depression, it also often had lasting effects on women’s ability to enjoy sex. Many married women told me that in order to have a normal sexual relationship with their husband, they had to work through the negative aftereffects of early promiscuity — not trusting men, feeling used, seeing sex as unrelated to love, and disdaining their husband’s sexual overtures. And many said they still couldn’t have a normal sex life with their husband.
The second awful legacy of feminism has been the belief among women that they could and should postpone marriage until they developed their careers. Only then should they seriously consider looking for a husband. Thus, the decade or more during which women have the best chance to attract men is spent being preoccupied with developing a career. Again, I cite woman callers to my radio show over the past 20 years who have sadly looked back at what they now, at age 40, regard as 20 wasted years. Sure, these frequently bright and talented women have a fine career. But most women are not programmed to prefer a great career to a great man and a family. They feel they were sold a bill of goods at college and by the media. And they were. It turns out that most women without a man do worse in life than fish without bicycles.
The third sad feminist legacy is that so many women — and men — have bought the notion that women should work outside the home that for the first time in American history, and perhaps world history, vast numbers of children are not primarily raised by their mothers or even by an extended family member. Instead they are raised for a significant part of their childhood by nannies and by workers at daycare centers. Whatever feminists may say about their only advocating choices, everyone knows the truth: Feminism regards work outside the home as more elevating, honorable, and personally productive than full-time mothering and making a home.
And the fourth awful legacy of feminism has been the demasculinization of men. For all of higher civilization’s recorded history, becoming a man was defined overwhelmingly as taking responsibility for a family. That notion — indeed the notion of masculinity itself — is regarded by feminism as the worst of sins: patriarchy.
Men need a role, or they become, as the title of George Gilder’s classic book on single men describes them: Naked Nomads. In little more than a generation, feminism has obliterated roles. If you wonder why so many men choose not to get married, the answer lies in large part in the contemporary devaluation of the husband and of the father — of men as men, in other words. Most men want to be honored in some way — as a husband, a father, a provider, as an accomplished something; they don’t want merely to be “equal partners” with a wife.
In sum, thanks to feminism, very many women slept with too many men for their own happiness; postponed marriage too long to find the right man to marry; are having hired hands do much of the raising of their children; and find they are dating boy-men because manly men are so rare.
Feminism exemplifies the truth of the saying, “Be careful what you wish for — you may get it.”
How the Obama Administration Helps Kill the Chances for Arab, Turkish, and Iranian Democracy
By Barry Rubin
In a speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asks: “Why does America promote democracy one way in some countries and another way in others?”
Here’ s how the question should be rephrased: "Why does America subvert the chances for democracy one way in some countries and another way in others?"
Here’s the answer: In some places—notably Iran, Syria, and the Gaza Strip—America does nothing to promote democracy and the downfall of anti-American regimes because it is afraid to challenge the dictatorships. In fact, at times it comes to their aid and comfort.
In Iran, it did so by wasting two years on engagement and by failing to back the democratic opposition, even at the height of protests over a stolen election.
In Syria, by coddling the dictatorship until that became too obviously gruesome in backing such a bloodthirsty regime during an all-out revolt. Since then the U.S. government sub-contracted choosing the Syrian opposition exile leadership to the Turkish Islamist regime. Naturally, it chose a majority of Islamists. So this is the group that will be asked by the U.S. government for advice and be given money!
In the Gaza Strip, it helped the tyrants by pressing Israel to reduce sanctions and by doing nothing seriously to subvert that anti-American, genocidal revolutionary Islamist entity. Now it is empowering Hamas’s strongest ally, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood which in power would give Hamas a huge amount of help.
While in other places—such as Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia–it enables anti-American, anti-democratic, antisemitic, dictatorial movements.
But if I were to take Clinton’s question at face value the proper answer would be this:
The United States should support democracy most energetically where it hurts enemies and is aimed against the most vicious, bloody dictatorships. That means Iran, Syria, and the Gaza Strip.
The United States should support democracy less eagerly when it hurts allies and the prospects are for a new regime far worse than the existing one. That means Egypt, Tunisia, and several other places. At any rate, in each such case U.S. policy should support genuine moderates and do everything possible to reduce the power of revolutionary Islamist and far left groups that are anti-American and anti-democratic.
Clinton explained U.S. involvement in Libya as being part of a broad coalition that worked “to protect civilians and help people liberate their country….”
Is U.S. policy going to defend civilians in Turkey, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and the Gaza Strip when they are threatened by Islamist regimes? No, it is going to help put those civilians in far greater danger . It is doing the opposite of liberating their countries. It is helping to enslave them.
“In other cases,” Clinton continued, “to achieve that same goal, we would have to act alone, at a much greater cost, with far greater risks and perhaps even with troops on the ground.”
Imagine the intellectual poverty of this statement. Is sending troops the only option? This is a trick known as setting up a straw man. We couldn’t help people in places like Iran or Syria, we are told, because we would have to send troops and since we don’t want to send troops we won’t do anything at all.
There are, of course, many other ways to act: to support the moderates through overt and covert means,, to consider establishing a no-fly zone, and to do everything possible to undermine the interests of those regimes. For example, a serious campaign to sabotage Syrian interests in Lebanon would make sense.
Instead we get a policy of helping Islamist groups in Egypt, Tunisia, Gaza, Libya, and even Syria.
Says Clinton: “Our choices also reflect other interests in the region with a real impact on Americans’ lives — including our fight against al-Qaeda; defense of our allies; and a secure supply of energy,”
Yes, the U.S. government is fighting al-Qaida and the Taliban, or at least a “faction” of the latter. But those are the only revolutionary Islamist forces it is battling.
Moreover, which allies is America defending? Give us a list. When an ally tries to defend itself, like Israel, Obama says he can’t stand Netanyahu because the Israeli leader won’t buckle under to make more risky concessions. Is U.S. policy defending Arab allies? No, with the partial exception of Iraq. It is enabling their foreign enemies and often suggesting–albeit implicitly–that those monarchies should be overthrown as well.
What about defending Saudi Arabia and Jordan? The moderate government in Lebanon, was overthrown because Washington wouldn’t help. If the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is so moderate and should be running the country why doesn’t that apply to Jordan, too?
Concluded Clinton, “What parties call themselves is less important than what they do.” But doesn’t what parties call themselves have something to do with what they do? And what has the Muslim Brotherhood done that shows it isn’t a radical group? How has the Turkish regime behaved, at home and abroad, that shows it isn’t a radical Islamist government?
Finally, here’s something interesting. Consider Bahrain, which Clinton called a “challenge.” She explains, “Mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away.”
What’s going on there? A hardline Sunni Muslim monarchy that is friendly toward the United States is repressing a Shia Muslim majority. Among the Shias there are more moderate forces that just want fair treatment and more rights, and a radical Islamist faction backed by Iran.
The Obama Administration makes things worse. By backing Islamists, it has convinced the Bahraini government and its Saudi backers that compromise is impossible. The ideal solution would be to make a deal with the moderates and defeat the radicals.
But with the Obama Administration arguing that there are no radicals, how could Bahrain’s regime take such a risk even if it wanted to? The Obama Administration has thrown away all of its potential leverage over Bahrain’s government. By becoming the enabler for radical Islamists, Washington proves the hardline regime “correct” in arguing that compromise would bring disaster. If an election were to be held, the Shias who want a pro-Iran Islamist regime (and to throw out the U.S. naval base there) would win.
So let me say it again: The chances for a stable, moderate democracy in Arabic-speaking states were always slim. By being so weak in supporting the moderates and so energetic in backing the radicals, the U.S. government has destroyed those chances and helped to ensure years of bloody dictatorship.
Does this sound too extreme and alarmist? That’s because the policy is too extreme and dangerous enough to set off the alarms.
The UK press is on trial for its freedom
And the tabloids have already been found guilty by Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry/inquisition
The Leveson Inquiry, set up by the UK government in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal, has just begun and is not due to report until late 2012. After the very first day’s proceedings, however, the result of the judicial inquisition led by Lord Justice Leveson already seems clear enough.
Behind the charade of neutrality, the British press is on trial for its freedom here. And the verdict is in: the tabloid press in particular has already been found guilty. Only the precise sentence remains to be decided.
Why else would Tory prime minister David Cameron, with all-party support, have ordered a judge-led inquiry not only to look into the phone-hacking cases but to scrutinise the entire ‘culture, practice and ethics’ of the UK press? It seems unlikely he expects it to conclude by praising the sophisticated culture, sound practice and high-minded ethics of the media. The rest of the tabloid press might avoid the death sentence already imposed on the News of the World. But it seems set to take a punitive beating and be subject to supervision orders.
The headlines this week are once again all about the extent of phone-hacking practised at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World and possibly other papers. But it has been clear all along that this circus is about far more than that. Of course the interception of murdered teenager Milly Dowler’s voicemail was indefensible, which is why nobody has ever tried to defend it. It was an extreme symptom of a degenerative strain in British journalism, the shift from investigation to voyeurism. As such it should prompt journalists to look at themselves, while the police look into any criminal aspects.
Instead, the voicemail hacking of the high-profile victims and celebrities has been turned into a pretext for the authorities to interrogate the entire press, using the Dowler family along with the likes of Madeleine McCann’s parents as emotive human shields behind which they can advance their crusade to ‘clean up’ the media industry. It was explained this week that part two of the inquiry, looking into the broader culture and ethics of the media, would unfortunately have to precede part one, examining phone-hacking in detail, because too many of those allegations are still the subject of criminal investigations. In fact this turnaround inadvertently confirms the real priority behind the Leveson inquiry – to put the press, rather than some hackers and their backers, in the dock.
For instance, as Robert Jay, the smug-sounding QC acting as counsel to the inquiry, laid out in his opening remarks, they will not confine their investigation to phone-hacking but will also examine any other ‘illegal and unethical’ practices used to obtain stories, from subterfuge to blagging. Yet these are all the tools of investigative journalism, used by reporters who often have to sail close to the wind to uncover truths that somebody does not want to see revealed. I always recall the words of William Randolph Hearst, a US press baron and the Rupert Murdoch of his day, who defined news as ‘something somebody doesn’t want printed; all else is advertising’. Underhand methods, possibly including rooting through somebody’s bins and voicemails, are often the only way for the media to get answers others would rather not give.
Of course the inquiry’s top lawyer was at pains to insist that they were not opposed to investigative journalism as such. So what examples did he give of investigations of which Leveson and Co might approve? Surprise, surprise, he cited the Guardian’s obsessive campaign over News of the World phone-hacking, which began long before anybody suggested Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked, and seemed driven largely by the conviction that the Murdoch press was evil. He also endorsed the Daily Telegraph’s high-minded revelations over MPs’ expenses – which arguably were not produced by investigative journalism at all, but by simply republishing leaked documents. The irony is that one British paper still investing serious resources in making and breaking investigative news stories was the tabloid News of the World. But those distasteful probings did not meet with the legal establishment’s approval.
As Lord Justice Leveson himself made clear in his opening statement, the key question his inquiry will address is not who knew what about hacking but the far grander issue of ‘Who guards the guardians?’ Which means: how is the press to be best policed and controlled – by law, or by a strengthened watchdog, or what? David Cameron has said in advance that if Lord Leveson’s inquiry were to recommend full statutory regulation of the press, then that is what we would get. The decision on how far to reverse the centuries-long struggle for press freedom is effectively in the hands of an unelected, unaccountable law lord.
Yet almost everybody is going along with the ‘important’ Leveson inquiry and the need for new measures to tame the press. Even self-serving celebrity muppets such as Hugh Grant have been accepted as the authentic defenders of ‘the public interest’ against tabloid prying. The only voices speaking up for the freedom of the tabloid press seem to be the editors of those papers, backed by a few more traditionalist establishment figures. The liberal elite, however, appears to be fully behind Lord Justice Leveson and his legal guardians. This should hardly come as a shock; the allegedly liberal Guardian newspaper has led the campaign for more police and court action against tabloid journalists, and a Labour spokesman on the media recently proposed that journalists be formally licensed, so that they could be ‘struck off’ the register if they failed to meet the standards demanded by the authorities. (Meanwhile, almost the only ‘alternative’ to full statutory regulation being proposed is to police the press via a more muscular Press Complaints Commission with mandatory powers, which is now headed by another unelected, unaccountable Lord.)
The outlook of the liberal elite today was captured by Leveson’s opening statement to his inquiry, where he said he believed the freedom of the press to be ‘fundamental’ to ‘our way of life’, before adding the obligatory ‘But…’ They all believe in press freedom ‘But…’ these days. And the buts are getting bigger. Lord Justice Leveson went on to insist that he had ‘no wish to stifle freedom of speech or expression, BUT I anticipate that monitoring will take place of press coverage [of the inquiry] and it might be necessary to conclude that those vital rights are being abused’. In other words, the media is ‘free’ to remain on message.
Enough. In all the debate about reform and regulation, the underlying assumption is that the media – and especially the ‘feral’ tabloid press – is now too free to run wild and trample over decency and privacy. But the real problem is very different.
There is not too much media freedom in Britain today, but too little. There are not too few controls and restrictions on what can legitimately be published and broadcast, but already too many - both formal and informal.
Some newspapers in Britain and elsewhere might be going ‘free’ in financial terms, under pressure from declining sales and the new online media. But in almost every way that matters, the press is less free – thanks both to external constraints and the internal corrosion of the foundations of good journalism.
The UK press is less free from the threat of state regulation or of tighter ‘self-‘regulation; less free from the stultifying conformism that generally makes censorship unnecessary; less free in the sense of being willing and able fearlessly to investigate the truth; less free in terms of being independent of the political class; less free in the sense of being objective and open-minded; less free under the influence of the narrow-minded, emotionally correct, celebrity-centric, you-can’t-say-that culture of intolerance which has drained much of our public debate of substance and meaning.
These are the issues we should be debating in the open, not watching while the fate of a free press is deliberated over by government-appointed judges and lawyers.
And worse, we are left with this sorry state of press freedom at a moment when our society is in the midst of an economic and political crisis that has posed new questions and exposed many of the old answers as redundant. There can rarely have been a more pressing need for a free and open debate about how we got here and where we might want to go in future. And the media in all of its shapes and sizes has never been more important as a forum for public debate, the decline in the authority and standing of every other public institution leaving it with a virtual monopoly on shaping the national discussion.
Even before Lord Justice Leveson and his legal team get to work on it, there is no such thing as a free press in the UK – and we have never needed one more than now. The last thing we need is a fixed state-appointed inquiry to make matters worse. Never mind ‘who guards the guardians?’ Who will judge the judges?
Child rapist used 'human rights' to fight deportation from Britain - then struck again
A convicted sex attacker raped and violently molested two young girls as he fought deportation on human rights grounds. Asylum-seeker William Danga, 39, subjected the children to appalling abuse before and after he was jailed for raping a teenager.
One was just four years old when the Congolese national forced himself on her before heading out to preach as a Jehovah’s Witness.
Yesterday a judge said it was ‘remarkable’ that the sex attacker was not thrown out of Britain after being jailed for ten years for raping a 16-year-old girl a decade ago. Officials were ordered to deport Danga at the end of his sentence but he frustrated their efforts after losing his passport.
He was then freed on immigration bail while he challenged the move on the grounds that he had a right to a ‘family life’ because he had children with a young girlfriend.
The case is the latest in a string of outrages in which dangerous foreign criminals have used European laws to continue living here.
Just two months ago Nigerian rapist Akindoyin Akinshipe, 24, escaped deportation after European judges ruled he had a right to a ‘private life’ in Britain. Like many others, he used Article 8 of the Human Rights Act to claim the right to a ‘family life’.
Home Secretary Theresa May wants to scale back the use of the controversial clause in a bid to wrest back more control over our borders.
Danga was convicted of rape and a string of other sexual offences yesterday after a five-day trial at Croydon Crown Court, and jailed for 15 years.
His victims, now aged 14 and 12, were forced to relive their ordeals as they gave evidence to the jury via video link. The elder girl was first abused in 2000, when she was four.
Danga repeatedly attacked her before church meetings, but she escaped his clutches when he was sent from South East London to live in an immigration hostel in Portsmouth a year later. It was there that Danga was convicted of violently raping the 16-year-old girl in her bedroom after she tried to end their friendship. He was convicted of rape and jailed for ten years, with the judge ordering him to be deported on his release.
But in 2006 he was able to return to South East London after serving half his sentence, and began his legal battle to stay in Britain.
He began sexually abusing his first victim again before raping and molesting the second girl, who was just seven.
She said Danga wore a smart brown suit and would leave after the attacks to knock on doors and teach people about the Bible.
The younger victim told officers Danga would entice her into the bedroom by playing her pop hits including ‘Don’t Cha’ by the Pussycat Dolls on his mobile phone.
Describing one attack, she said: ‘I didn’t really like it but I didn’t say anything because of the music. I didn’t want it to happen again.’ Asked why she did not tell her parents, she added: ‘It crossed my mind a few times but then it was like, I felt like really bad because I felt it was all my fault.’
Yesterday Judge Nicholas Ainley jailed Danga of Beckenham, South East London, and ordered that he be deported on his release. He said it was ‘astonishing’ he had been allowed to remain in Britain after being freed the first time in 2006.
Unemployed Danga, who has two young children with his girlfriend Carla, whom he met when she was 18, shouted abuse at relatives of the two girls as he was led to the cells.
Last year around 200 foreign criminals won the right to stay in this country using Article 8, the right to a ‘private and family life’. They included failed asylum seeker Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, who ran over 12-year-old Amy Houston and left her to ‘die like a dog’. He has fathered two children here.
Tory ministers have pledged to replace the Human Rights Act – which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights into British law – with a UK Bill of Rights, but they have been opposed by their Lib Dem coalition partners.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: ‘We will seek to remove this individual as soon as he has finished his sentence. In 2010 we deported 5,235 foreign national prisoners from the UK.’
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.