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Tuesday
Apr202010

What exactly is “the wrong side of history”? (Part 3)

I am not done with the subject of my last two posts.  Allow me to rant irrationally and randomly one more time.

I have gotten a little bit of grief from people for my last two posts, and I want to address it.  I acknowledge that people of the male sex and people of the female sex are not the same.  I’ve known it since I was about one, actually.  Okay, seriously though…I’ve known it in the sense of what people in the social sciences mean when they point it out, since early high school at the latest, and probably middle school.  You typically do not have to tell me, of all people, how or why any one group is “not the same” as any one other group.  My longtime readers can appreciate this I’m sure, as I am always pointing out how various belief systems based on the falsehood that “we’re all the same,” are wrong.  I am going to target another one of those in this very post as a matter of fact.

Ultimately, it is the same falsehood that I focused on last time, and the time before that.  But this time I will tell you about the social and economic aspect of it instead of the historical aspect of it.  I am no political scientist, but I believe that political scientists are entitled to the same snobbish attitude over their own discipline that historians sometimes exercise over theirs, should political scientists wish to exercise it.  Therefore, on matters of fact that I allege here, I will defer to political scientists in cases where I might be wrong.  This is not terribly complicated stuff, and though you might disagree with some conclusions I draw, I don’t believe I have any facts wrong.  But a historian’s primary province is the past, so I am a little out of my element here.  Just keep that in mind as we go along.

Two more things…  My longtime readers know about my willingness to let a group name itself within reason.  Here, I will somewhat liberally use the words feminism and feminist to include various individuals and groups that might wish to deny each other use of the term, and to exclude each other from the scope of the term.  I am not concerned about this if you are not.  Actually, even if you are, I’m still not.  This is simply a continuation of my long tradition of letting people label themselves within reason.

And lastly, I suppose my analysis assumes life in an industrialized, secular country or society, the only type of country or society I have ever personally known.  Now finally…  Onward…

If people who are nominally feminist are bound and determined to view the past, the present, and the future as some kind of deterministic progression towards some inevitable end, as it appears many are, then let us hope that the specifically Marxist view of history is wrong.  I can hardly imagine how an inevitable progression towards the demise of capitalism and the nation-state, and redistribution of wealth and power to a dictatorial group called the proletariat (whose primary group identity is economic in nature), would be beneficial to feminism in any way.  Indeed, Marxists were suspicious of early feminism as just another bourgeoisie movement that would get in the way, and delay the inevitable proletarian revolution.

And observant, open-minded feminists in the 21st century can see that the reverse is the truth today.  They tend to view women as causally, morally, and financially responsible for their own choices, and as creators of their own futures, even if it is as part of a public society constructed primarily by men.  Unfortunately, some however, still lean on teleological views of the past, the present, and the future that are detrimental to women.  They are detrimental because they accept as part of this inevitable progression they believe in, goals that have only ever been actively worked for (when actually achieved), in human history.

But if feminists do insist on viewing the past, the present, and the future generally deterministically (something I wouldn’t suggest), then let us hope that the specific view of history termed “Whig history” is correct.  (I don’t believe it is, but that’s not the point.)  After all, the inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment posited by the Whig historians would seem to bode much more fortunately for feminism than anything characteristic of Marxist economy, or of Marxist philosophy in general.

Moreover, an explicitly Protestant Christian determinist view of the past, the present, and the future also has nothing in particular to offer feminism that I can see.  That’s the theological view (of Luther, and Calvin even more so, I suppose) that original sin means that free will is either a negative trait (rather than a neutral one or a positive one) or is non-existent, and that any human progress (and ultimately salvation) is the work of God alone.  Historically speaking, it is (I would imagine), simply the gradual and inevitable unfolding over time, of divine providence, controlled completely by an omnipotent (and quite emotionally distant, it seems) God.

Ho hum…  Such a view of the past, the present, and the future has nothing at all to offer 21st century feminism…nothing that I can see, anyway.  Adoption of such a view of the past, the present, and the future is probably detrimental to feminism, in fact.

There is another way, though.  I’d like to suggest that feminists adopt a more free will-oriented view of the past, present, and future.  Would people who are nominally feminist rather stand back and wait for the future to just “happen to them”?  Or would they rather act to create a closer-to-equal society and future for women?  Would they rather be active or passive about this?  Instead of waiting for some glorious future to just “happen to them” through some deterministic progression towards some inevitable end, they might take a proactive approach instead.  Although I believe it is false, the ultimate truth of the Whig proposition of an “inevitable progression towards ever greater liberty and enlightenment” is feminism’s best hope if they absolutely must be deterministic about it…not Marxism for sure, which I also believe is false.

A pure feminist philosophy centered entirely on total public societal equality for women, as opposed to a philosophy only seemingly centered on women but in fact focused primarily on one or more other things, is something I can get behind.  But my mental detector of “other things,” I must say in full disclosure, is very perceptive and is never wrong.  Irrational and extreme hatred of men, disguised as “feminism,” for example, is something I cannot support, for obvious reasons.  Sundry other social, economic, and political issues often latch on to the cachet of feminism and try to ride along.  Usually, they try to hide, and disguise themselves as some kind of closely-related derivative of pure feminism.

But sometimes they don’t try to hide.

There is indeed such a theory, out in the open, called “Marxist feminism,” if you can imagine such a thing.  This seems flatly contradictory to me, and this is going exactly nowhere for true feminists, for a number of reasons…a fact that those people who are in it just for the Marxism hope the people who are in it primarily for the feminism never find out, by the way.  Marxist feminists are just Marxists whose numbers are dwindling.  Feminists who join this particular sub-group have been duped because ultimately this group’s non-negotiable priority is Marxism, not feminism.  A stated goal of Marxism in general, and of Marxist feminism in particular, is the dismantling of (or the inevitable disintegration of?) capitalism and all of its hierarchies, as a way to supposedly liberate women.

But how, precisely, would the dismantling of capitalism do that, in the 21st century?  In the 21st century, that would seem to hinder more than help, if I may say so.  Is not a stated goal of feminism to break through the “glass ceiling” in various areas?  I may misunderstand, but does not the “glass ceiling” include the assumption of a capitalist economy, and capitalist hierarchies?  I thought so…  Speaking of hierarchies, I am a graduate of a fourth-tier state-funded university founded in 1967, the English translation of whose motto is, “learning is good.”  And as such I may misunderstand this and therefore simplify this in a dysfunctional manner.  If so, I apologize.  (I am always learning.)  But the conclusion seems rather easily arrived at, to me at least.  Because of the stated goals of each, Marxism and feminism are rather obviously incompatible with each other.

Am I missing something?

Marxism makes an assumption, totally incompatible with feminism, that women will never be members of what Marxism specifically terms “the ruling class.”  At the Marxist “end of History” so to speak, there will be no “ruling class,” and the “glass ceiling” (not a Marxist term anyway) will be meaningless as a concept, because at the Marxist “end of History” there will be no hierarchy to speak of.  (There will be no United States of America to speak of either, by the way.  We will all pray toward Brussels and Frankfurt.)  Is that the society you want your daughters and granddaughters, if you ever have them, to inherit from you?

If it is, then there is nothing I can say to you.  You can finish reading this post out of curiosity if you wish.  But I am finished trying to convert you away from the lunacy of straight Marxism, and the self-contradictory bill of goods misleadingly called Marxist feminism.  And I think it is sad you are devoted to tearing down the very type of economy most beneficial to women in the 21st century.

In my view, feminists, to achieve their stated goals, need all the capitalism they can handle, especially now that girls are enrolling in college and university at higher rates than ever, and women are graduating from it at higher rates than ever.  In such an environment, not remotely contemplated by Marx, or even the early feminists, the more capitalism there is, the higher and higher talented women can rise.  And I can think of no faster way to take the hot air out of the balloon than to follow the precepts of Marxism.  So ladies, resolve a contradiction in a way that will actually be beneficial to you, and steer clear of Marxism and Marxist feminism.

If feminism is willing to ditch determinism, that of the Marxist variety specifically, embrace free will, and realize that economic Marxism and Marxist teleology need feminists more than feminists need them, I believe women will realize something very close to full social and political equality, or at least, something much closer to social and political equality more quickly.

Enough.  I only give you this advice because I care about you and want to see you do well as full-grown adults and have fulfilling lives, no matter what you consider to be a “fulfilling life.”  You are very intelligent, or else you would have dumped me to the curb after the first paragraph of this. And I am totally sure you will make wise choices as to what constitutes a fulfilling life.  I have a little more to write on this subject, but it can wait.

We’re not all the same.  Drop Marxism like a rock.  Free will-oriented feminism is my Hegelian synthesis for the day.  What’s yours?  Thanks for reading.  Comments are welcome.

Jared

Being on 'right side of history' won't help case (Nick Baldock, a former opinion writer for the Yale Daily News)

The wrong side of history? (Jay Ambrose at www.sitnews.us)

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