Friday, September 30, 2011

Sheridan's surprise

It turns out that I was not the only voice criticising the decision to allow women into combat roles in the Australian military.

A reader pointed me to a column by Greg Sheridan. It is an excellent piece and one that is highly unusual in the Australian mass media as it is intelligently and unapologetically traditionalist. I read it with surprise as Greg Sheridan is not known for traditionalist views.

It's difficult for me to post highlights as the entire column is worth reading.  It begins like this:

A nation that sends its women into front-line combat, into close infantry, hand-to-hand fighting and killing, is a nation that either doesn't take combat seriously or doesn't take respect for women seriously. This wretched decision to make all combat roles in the Australian military available to women moves Australia closer to both outcomes. It will make our military less effective, and less respected, and it will make women less respected as well.

It is a decision born of a postmodern fantasy, a kind of derangement of nature contrived by ideology against reason, common sense, military professionalism and all human experience. It is almost certainly a sign that the Gillard government has more or less stopped taking defence seriously.

Sheridan is not only attacking the left in writing this. He criticises Liberal leader Tony Abbott as well:

The fact the opposition acceded to this move indicates its political ruthlessness and its increasing hollowness when it comes to values.

Sheridan makes this important point:

If you're going to make the SAS unisex, you're either going to massively reduce physical standards, in order to get a significant number of women in, or you're going to have unisex in principle, but no women in practice. Indeed, that latter outcome, gender neutral in principle but no women present in reality, is the only semi-respectable outcome this foolish policy could produce.

If feminists really want equality in the sense of there being equal numbers of men and women serving in combat leading to equal numbers of men and women in the officer class, then physical standards are going to have to be lowered. (In reality there is bound to be the inequality of affirmative action, in which physical standards will be lowered and in which female soldiers will be promoted ahead of men in order to balance up the numbers in the officer class.)

Sheridan also makes the argument that we wouldn't throw young women into the middle of the most violent of sports, so why would we throw them into something much worse?:

Do we want women to participate in unisex, professional boxing matches with men? If not, why not? Professional boxing is much less demanding, and much less violent, than fighting the Taliban. Do we want women to play in this weekend's National Rugby League grand final and to be tackled at full strength by Brent Kite or Manu Vatuvei? If not, why not? The NRL is a stroll in the park compared with combat missions for the SAS.

I'll add to this argument. What would it say about us as a society if we really did put women into the ring to fight against Mike Tyson? Would that show that we as a society had a growing regard for women? Or a growing indifference?

Sheridan goes on to insist that there are real and significant differences between men and women:

Here we come to one of the most bitter arguments postmodern orthodoxy has with human nature: its idea that there is absolutely no spiritual or moral difference between men and women. It's like the scene in Life of Brian where one of the men demands his civic right to give birth to a baby.

This is a kind of war on all tradition and all accumulated wisdom, that while everyone accepts that men and women are equal, we must also now accept the manifest nonsense that they are exactly the same.

One of these sex differences is that men feel that they have a masculine role in physically protecting the women in their lives:

But is there a single decent husband who does not feel this way towards his wife and his daughters? If your family is assaulted will you send your wife out first to meet the assailants?

Finally, Greg Sheridan notes that Australia cannot afford to sacrifice its military for ideological reasons. We're not like Canada which is shielded by the US. We rely on military alliances which then commits us to overseas engagements:

The countries that practise the greatest gender equity, so-called, in military matters are the countries that don't take their militaries seriously because they don't face military threats.

Australia does not enjoy that luxury. This is a really profoundly stupid decision, all headline and no substance, but in so far as it has meaning, bad for our soldiers and bad for us.

I congratulate Greg Sheridan for writing this piece. He has done his best to argue on principle, which has led him to articulate a traditionalist position. It's impressive to see this happen in the mass media.


  1. If you want a traditional military then you should also call for a traditional society backed by traditional laws. You can't have it both ways. Nor should men die so women can have privilege in all other areas of society, in laws, and other advantages while feminist continually push for insane laws to punish men. You can't have for one standard on the military and another in society.

    Sorry to say but if the military suffers because of women, then that should be a wake up call to all as to how we as a whole have experienced the same outside of it. Something to think about.

  2. Greg Sheridan is getting rather conservative in his old age.

    He is usually at the forefront of right-liberalism.

  3. Sheridan is from a catholic background and he still might be a catholic so he does come up with traditionalist arguments from time to time. This is certainly a well written and brutally effective one. If Abbott has actually supported this decision then he has truly shamed himself.

    Sheridan has quite rightly used the example of male only sporting teams. I hear jerk off’s frequently say that “if women have the guts to do it, and they have the capability, then they should be allowed to serve in the front lines”. No doubt they wouldn’t want women in their elite sporting teams though and would vigorously oppose such a change. I guess war fighting should be taken less seriously than professional sports.

    On the issue of pushing women into the frontlines I’d say that manhood is not something to be taken for granted but has to be developed, and men should be pushing themselves into the frontlines in times of trouble not hiding behind women. The latter being the road to emasculation and self destruction. Its not a coincidence that men in the services all fight to get on deployments when they come up. Their troubles come when they don't feel supported in their efforts, not when they’re asked to push themselves to achieve. If women are to be put down in society to realistic and realizable levels, as opposed to living in fantasy worlds and asking us all to accommodate them, then men have to consistently step up to show they’re stronger.

  4. This is an interesting critique of the decision taken from a feminist perspective. The argument is that turning women into men, ie front line soldiers, is not a victory for feminism but a defeat.

  5. Jesse, women are the ones who are going to have to step down on their own. Men dying for them under the guise of masculinity while they still live in privilege will do nothing to change the current climate. If anything it'll foster even more hate. Women have to unfortunately bleed and hurt in order to realize the predicament they are in. Only then will the voices of reason stop being ignored.

    Do not prevent women from serving and if they die, that's what the end result is of trying to live up to something they never should've been pushed to be in the first place.

  6. You raise the serious question Anonymous of what is to be done next? I'm not sure that letting women taste the thunder will really sober them up. Regardless of the theory women are not up to this kind of work and rather than altering themselves to meet the requirements, the requirements will be altered to meet them. So in effect by having women in combat positions it will be us and the nation which is hurt and not them.

    What can we do as men? Well we can start by stopping the support of these kinds of rubbish proposals. Unfortunately far too many men support such moves, perhaps more so in number than women. This is because many women know they don't actually want to go to the front, and many men think that backing such positions will win them pc brownie points.

    You can't win by seeking the support of feminists. You open the door with arguments such as "men are pigs, but of course I'm not" and then the next second you yourself are called a pig, over some trivial offense, and then not only do you have no leg to stand on but there's noone left to support you. Men have to stand up and say this is crap, shut up, and who cares what you think. Of course to do that in the national realm you have to look at the entirety and not just at what’s convenient for you in the short term.

  7. If the police force can be used as an indicator of what will happen, women will, with lowered standards to gain entry, gravitate to desk jobs, especially after maternity leave. Let men do the heavy lifting while they get the higher-paying perk jobs.

    Thus, we will be able to maintain the fantasy-fiction of equality a while longer just so long as the women get the plum jobs and don't get their uniforms dirty.

    Don't get me wrong, men *should* do the heavy lifting but then women *should* be at home raising the kids (that is to say, being real women)and not out stealing men's jobs while the men are getting killed for a society that despises them.

  8. You make a good argument, however, in the front line positions in the army there are no desk jobs. Women can already do all the staff work right now.

    I'll say it again many men in the military will support this change, especially at the reserve level. This is because once women get in it becomes a sort of college camp dating environment. I've been overseas with the reserve kiwi army which had women in it, some of them very attractive whilst others not. The guys just hung around the girls all day chatting them up. I know in the engineering corps which is mixed at the reserve level fraternisation is rife. When we go into battle we call on the spirits of organised strife, total commitment, intolerance and clinical brutality. We are not calling on the spirits of inclusive teamwork, fairness of opportunity and fun/happiness. Women have no place there and if they are there the spirit will disastrously change. To be honest very many men currently in combat corps shouldn't be there either.

  9. When we go into battle we call on the spirits of organised strife, total commitment, intolerance and clinical brutality. We are not calling on the spirits of inclusive teamwork, fairness of opportunity and fun/happiness. Women have no place there and if they are there the spirit will disastrously change. To be honest very many men currently in combat corps shouldn't be there either.

    Jesse, terrific comment.

    If you want a traditional military then you should also call for a traditional society backed by traditional laws. You can't have it both ways. Nor should men die so women can have privilege in all other areas of society, in laws, and other advantages while feminist continually push for insane laws to punish men.

    Anonymous, you're right. In the past Australia was able to raise large, effective, volunteer armies because men had a respected, masculine role in society and because men were able to identify with their own tradition and want to defend it.

    Liberal society is breaking down the conditions under which Australian men were once such good soldiers.

    Even so, we have to push back against liberal policies, and that includes the decision to place women in combat roles.

    We should not just be spectators of decline. There is nothing stopping us from criticising this policy of women in combat roles, as well as the other policies by which the role of men in society is reduced to a support act for female autonomy.

  10. Greg Sheridan is getting rather conservative in his old age.

    He is usually at the forefront of right-liberalism.

    Exactly. The first sign was a column he wrote a few months ago in which he expressed doubts about the effects of multiculturalism.

  11. ""I'm not sure that letting women taste the thunder will really sober them up.""

    Women have already come back in body bags, people don't care.

    Once a culture begins to decline it is very hard to stop it. People in Australia care a hell of a lot less about each other than they used to. Thanks to liberalism we have no communities left.

  12. @james.
    This is very true. I visited some Northern European communities that are still very traditional and closely knit one death in that local community causes mass grieving throughout the community and turnout of mourners, strangers and friends like i have not seen in Australia.
    I explained that in Australia this wouldn't happen, people just do not care if another Australian dies anymore. I think mainly because people do not feel any sort of connection to one another and their is a lot of mistrust.

  13. continued(excuse my grammar and errors in the previous post)
    however distubingly in northern european communities gang rapes by africans for example are hushed up by the community. So they seem to be not liberalised enough that they have lost their traditional sense of community they are just being oppressed by socialism to not talk about multicultural crimes.
    In Australia we have both a loss of community and the censorship/self-censorship.
    So yes Australia is worse than Sweden....

  14. Re: The idea that "unisex in principle, no women in practice" is a reasonable outcome

    Actually, it's a dreadful outcome. War isn't unisex (as, indeed, most things aren't). Burdening the military with the need to live a "unisex" lie will:

    a.) Introduce inefficiencies that will kill troops
    b.) Remove almost all the appeal of military service

    "Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea."

    This will not be true when the army and navy have become as feminized as your average English department. Who will do the dirty work of war then? Not women, I assure you. Our enemies, I suppose.

  15. What about Israel?

    Savvas Tzionis

  16. What about Israel?

    Israel faces a peculiar situation. On one hand they have the anti-Western Left in their ranks just like the rest of the Western world but they're continually surrended and threatened by the Islamic threat whom seeks Israel's destruction at most and its removal at least. Unlike other parts of the world they get a dose of reality against political correctness from time to time. Israel also has a divide between secular Jews and devout orthodox Jews.

  17. Not relevant to this thread (sorry) but certainly relevant to this blog, Laura Wood has a short post entitled "The Endless Feminist Hypocrisy".

    Here is an excerpt:
    How else does she expect the woman of average or below average ability to express her equality, by becoming prime minister?

    The professional feminist plunders society and then chastises the lower classes for the resulting chaos in the streets.

    She demeans marriage, howls at the mere mention of financial dependence in women, and then, in this case, wonders why women in their twenties, women who would have been married mothers in the pre-feminist era, are now vomiting outside the pub. She insists on sexual freedom and then expresses surprise and revulsion that women are now dressed like tarts. She claims everything men do women must do too, and then wonders why feminine reticence has disappeared.

    There is more at:
    Laura Wood

  18. It is a fantasy that women getting bloodied in combat will wake women up to what nonsense feminism is. Women in the U.S. military have been killed, lost limbs, been captured and raped, etc. What response has that brought from feminists? Lesson #1 when evaluating how liberals will react to something is to remember that the ideologue is completely unimpressed by empirical evidence.

  19. ""What about Israel?""

    Israel has tried women in combat positions, it has had mixed results.

    Currently the only female combat battalion that I know of is this one:

    AFAIK it has yet to see serious combat.

    Women serve in 68% of IDF roles, mostly avoiding combat but quite a few have gained distinction as pilots.

    I think it is fair to say women traditionally have and continue to perform valuable military support roles in most western militaries.

    I think it is also fair to say that putting women on the front line has consequences for the social dynamics of combat units, and may not make them better at performing their roles.

    To say the least.

  20. wasn't one of the pilots that was tasked with taking down the 9/11 planes female or both.
    A male judgement call would of been to take the planes out. A female judgement call...
    Well we all know how that 9/11 ended.

  21. An article in the Guardian from August 2009 repeats the propaganda that I've been hearing my whole life: not only are women equal to men, but they are far, far better than men in any given category, even, apparently, in situations involving violence.

    "But there is now, based largely on extensive US research, a mounting body of evidence indicating that women officers do indeed behave differently on the ground to their male colleagues, especially in potentially difficult situations. "Women police officers rely on a style of policing that uses less physical force, are better at defusing and de-escalating potentially violent confrontations, and are less likely to become involved in problems with use of excessive force," write, unambiguously, the authors of one report. "In addition, women officers tend to possess better communications skills than their male counterparts, and are better able to facilitate the co-operation and trust required to implement a community policing model."

    Brown confirms that "for the most part, men are more likely to get themselves into trouble through the use of force. The number of complaints against men is proportionately higher. Women are less likely to resort to batons, pepper spray or quick cuffs to get out of trouble, and more likely to use negotiative skills to talk someone down."


    That argument presents a convincing case for putting many more women officers on the streets. There are others: studies in the US and elsewhere – summarised in a report, Hiring and Retaining More Women: the Advantages to Law Enforcement Agencies – show that in terms of overall competence, effectiveness and productivity on patrol, there are no meaningful differences between male and female officers, and (a tough chestnut, this one) that physical strength and aggression are not determining factors in either general police effectiveness, or the ability to successfully handle a dangerous situation.

  22. Atrocities caused by feminist policies will only be a "wake-up call" if there are media outlets or cultural/political movements primed to exploit them.

    However, a feminist military generally happens after all other major institutions have been captured by feminism.

    Even if the connection between feminism and massive failure X is clearly established, there will be too many powerful people blaming the failure on *insufficient* feminism or demonizing critics as sexist.

  23. I distinctly remember reading an article about Israeli military which said that women were generally not used in combat roles at all, outside of street patrolling and that when there was a move to open real combat positions for them, there was much commotion and newspapers ran articles asking whether Israeli really want future mothers to fight.

    There is also a young Israeli woman who runs a blog promoting traditional family and she wrote in discussion on another antifeminist blog that most girls filled secretarial positions and sat in the office filing their nails the whole day. There was little work for them to do because due to the abundance of women every senior officer has 3 secretaries on average.

    All the articles about fierce Israeli female warriors seems to come from American newspapers which I noticed are quite ignorant about the facts of life outside USA. Also I noticed that a lot of American men seem to have this unhealthy fantasy about women soldiers. IT is some kind of a fetish, girls with rifles.

    I wouldn't mind if they kept it to themselves but please dear Americans reading this: stop spreading those perversions outside your country.