Sunday, February 20, 2005

Sending cheerleaders to war

There's a country town in Illinois called Paris which has suffered the highest American casualty rates in the Iraq war.

Five residents of Paris have died in the war. What's especially striking, though, is that two of the dead were young women. It seems that not only did many members of the local football team sign up for duty - so too did the cheerleaders.

A local reporter comments that most of the unit from the town signed up after 9/11 and that,

They joined in that kind of environment, but the town did not expect those 19-year-old footballers and 20-year-old cheerleaders to be putting on fatigues and going to war.

There's pictures in the newspaper report of the two dead women. They were both strikingly beautiful and feminine looking. Exactly the kind of women you would think men would instinctively want to protect from violent harm.

Yet we are now supposed to accept the idea of women signing up for and being killed in wars. This is an idea we should stubbornly resist. It might be a cliche, but it's nonetheless true, that men are made to be protectors and providers. We give up this basic truth about ourselves if we send women into the battle zone.

Our problem is that our liberal political leaders believe in the idea that we should be self-created by our own individual will and reason. Our gender is not something that we choose for ourselves. So, as a matter of principle for a liberal, it must be made not to count.

Therefore, liberals won't be swayed by arguments about the nature of men and women, as they want to overturn any such inherited nature. What we have to do instead is to attack the most basic idea of liberalism, that we have to be self-authored in order to be fully human.

We have to try to liberate the Western mind from this misguided, arbitrary and ultimately destructive principle. Only then will our political class think it legitimate to consider the distinctive natures of men and women when formulating public policy.

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