Have you ever seen one of those boxing movies where, in the inevitable climactic scene, the soon-to-be-defeated boxer is standing there, wavering back and forth from heel to toe, stunned, knees wobbling, barely conscious, and just waiting for the victor to deliver the final critical blow?
Have you ever seen one of those boxing movies where, in the inevitable climactic scene, the soon-to-be-defeated boxer is standing there, wavering back and forth from heel to toe, stunned, knees wobbling, barely conscious, and just waiting for the victor to deliver the final critical blow? Well that sorry sack of pulverized man-flesh has been, for quite some time now, the thing called Chivalry. A riveting Rocky Balboa-esque comeback always was possible, albeit unlikely.
Then, from out of nowhere, the entity known as the Obama administration came flying in, Bruce Lee style, and delivered a decisive round-house kick to Chivalry’s noggin. I’m speaking, of course, about the recent flexing of the executive arm which lifted the exclusion rule for women on direct ground combat.
This event has highlighted several things about the current situation, which have long been obvious, but not so neatly combined into one act. Of those things I want to mention three: one regarding equality, one regarding democracy, and one regarding abstract moral philosophy.
First, there is a thing in America that can only be described as a “Culture of Equality.”
It levels all distinctions like an elephant in a rose garden. This is unfortunate, because the reality in which we live contains a whole lot of distinctions. One is that there are two genders, which are profoundly different on almost all levels. This is dictated, as I said, by reality. This means that reality is, in a sense, sexist. I’m sorry—I didn’t make reality.
The “Culture of Equality,” in this particular area, has gone about obliterating “barriers” which were really just common sense bastions of society, dictated not by prejudice but by reality itself. This excessively superficial “respect for equality” depreciates both femininity and masculinity. It respects neither, because they are different, and the “Culture of Equality” cannot abide by differences, regardless of how real the differences are.
Chivalry, on the other hand, was the ultimate expression of a healthy appreciation for the sexes. It acknowledged that gender differences are not things which separate, but things which bring us together. There is a beautiful symmetry in the sexes, which fosters reciprocal awe and attraction. To attempt to level gender is to destroy that natural symmetry. Far from bringing men and women together, it drives them apart. For example, what else has skyrocketed side-by-side with our “progressive” leveling of the sexes? Divorce, that’s what. It seems that in destroying the distinctions between men and women, we destroyed their ability to tolerate each other.
Moving on to Democracy… Actually, I’ll just let James Madison speak for me on this one. Take it away Jim: “In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger always have been the instruments of tyranny at home.” I think it is important for all conservatives who supported aggressive foreign policy to remember Madison’s words next time Obama throws his bloated executive weight around. In a way, my Republican friends, “you built that” by supporting “constant apprehension of war.”
Today, if we look strictly at the power wielded by the executive branch, then the American presidency is more Monarchic than the English Monarchy. It is no wonder President Obama is perfectly happy to continue Bush’s military policies, despite rhetoric to the contrary.
A second take-away from the words of Madison could be of great help in the whole 2nd amendment debate: the founders did not like the idea of a standing army. As Jefferson said, “the spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.” I’m not saying that we don’t have the right to bear arms; I am saying that the debate about that right no longer has any real grounding in the context of the Constitution. It was rendered pointless and ineffective when we institutionalized a massive military — a military which is now wielded not by popular approval but by executive whim.
Third, and last, a quick reflection in abstract philosophy. The attentive reader will notice that not once did I suggest that women are not, as persons, capable of performing in military service. Rather than engage in that convoluted debate, I would like instead to pose a question: Just because we “can” do something, does it always follow that we should? Obviously the answer is “no.” Despite how obvious that answer is, we seem frequently blind to it. We “can” make an atomic bomb, and therefore we should — and we should promptly demonstrate its power. We “can” fly to the moon, and therefore we should—and we should do it as fast as possible, so we can be a “world leader” in purely novel endeavors.
My point is that, with all our freedom, it is extremely important to decide on our priorities before we start exercising this great power. Even though women CAN perform in the military, does their doing so line up with our social values?
To put the question into perspective, do you want your daughters drafted for the next world war, along with your sons? Mothers as well as Fathers? I’d like to think we’d never do that, but if the “Culture of Equality” wins out, it will undermine the very logic, which has thus far prevented such things. If all healthy distinctions are destroyed, there will be no argument to be made about the matter. Chivalry’s epitaph will be complete.
The opinions in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the The McPherson Sentinel or GateHouse Media. If you have any related questions or suggestions that you would like to see explored here, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.