Saturday, March 12, 2005

A flood of reputable nonsense

Liberals don't like traditional gender roles. This is an ideological thing: liberals believe we have to decide for ourselves who and what we are, rather than accept the influence of inherited things like gender.

And so we get the following flood of nonsense, all from reputable authorities, seeking to overthrow traditional forms of gender.

First there was a declaration from Jens Orback, a Swedish minister, that "The government considers female and male as social constructions." Not an opinion which would seem sensible to anyone who has ever been in a serious relationship, but nonetheless the stated policy of the Swedish government.

Not to be outdone, the Norwegians have gone one step further, by bringing their Prime Minister into the issue. Kjell Magne Bondevik is upset that the little figures in IKEA furniture assembly instructions aren't depicted as female. He has called this situation "untenable" and secured the support of the opposition parties.

It seems that to the Norwegian political class, any potential remnant of a traditional gender role (men doing carpentry), is considered an issue of national importance, to be handled directly by the PM.

The Norwegian unions, as you might expect, are no more sensible than the government. They want maternity leave time to be taken away from women and given instead to men. This is part of a drive toward a unisex style of parenting.

The plan, though, brought criticism from breastfeeding activists, who rightly perceived that dad might not be as successful at breastfeeding little Lars or Inge as mum.

So, the breastfeeding activists have been won over with a second idea, which is to give all Norwegian working women the right to take two hours off every day, at any time, to breastfeed, and to be paid for it.

Of course, the trade off is incoherent. If dad is home on leave with the baby, mum is not going to be able to use her two hours breastfeeding time anyway. It also contravenes in a spectacular way the idea of "equal pay", since it means a woman would be paid the same amount for 6 hours of work as a man would for 8 hours work.

The move to abolish gender is not restricted to Scandinavia. At New College in California restrooms for men and women have been replaced with "de-gendered" ones. Signs on the doors of the unisex toilets proclaim "Lots of people don't fit neatly into our culture's rigid two-gender system".

The writer of this sign might like to journey outside of California. He/She/It would find that it is not just American culture which has a two gender system. He/She/It would be astonished to find that all cultures do.

I know that a lot of people will dismiss the above as "political correctness gone too far", but remember that it is all being advanced by higher level authorities in society: a government minister, a Prime Minister, a council of trade unions and an academic college.

An official liberalism has reached a radical phase in which a basic fact of life, the distinction between male and female, is being denied and acted against.

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