Do Women Want to be Responsible Individuals?

I have a question, what with all the wars on women and rape cultures and Jackiegates and all. Do women want to be responsible individuals and live in the culture of responsible individualism that occupies the center ground of our modern culture?

Because if you do, dear ladies, I am here to say that it is time for you to make that absolutely clear to the world.

Let us rehearse this in the style of Karl Marx: It is high time that women should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the victimhood of womankind with a manifesto of free and responsible womanhood itself.

You ladies must tell the world that you want to be responsible individual women with all the glorious attendant risks and possibilities and you are not going to allow the liberal feminists to speak and act in your name.

Otherwise the liberals will fly you up a box canyon just like they did with the white working class.

Last week I descanted on the white working class that must finally start on the road to responsible individualism. I pointed up the poverty of the liberal idea that there are two kinds of people: “expressive” individuals, or liberals, and “utilitarian” individuals, people who just do what they are told.

I said that the liberal world view completely left out the guy in the middle, the responsible individual, which is odd because the rise of the responsible individual, in my telling, is the real story of the last three thousand years.

But responsible individualism never gets its way without ferocious opposition, because, as Theodore Dalrymple says of Islamism: “if material progress has not been rapid, which is to say, not as rapid as hoped or expected, wickedness and sin must be the explanation, so that the removal of the wicked and sinful is the logical solution.”

The feminists are just the same. Women not in heaven in 2014? It must be the wicked and sinful patriarchy and rape culture that's to blame. But think of the contradiction: On the one hand women deserve to live in expressive individualist heaven; on the other hand they are helpless victims that cannot think straight without the help of feminist minders and activists.

I'm not the only one that sees a contradiction. Harvey Mansfield has 5,000 words for you on “The Contradiction that Rules Feminism” if you are up for it.

Fortunately, Megan McArdle clears away the contradictions in a shorter piece on the UVA Jackiegate fiasco.  She writes that the current flim-flam over “affirmative consent” and “rape culture” misses the point. There is no getting around individual women doing the hard work of enforcing “no means no” wherever and whenever needed, whether in the bedroom or the boardroom or anywhere else. When feminists want to make things easier for women they are turning the clock back “by deciding what [women] wanted, and punishing anyone who wanted anything else.”

There is no free in freedom. Freedom is hard and it means responsibility; otherwise it isn't freedom.

Let's get longshoreman Eric Hoffer to help with his essay “The Readiness to Work” from The Ordeal of Change. Either the rulers set us to work, he writes, as has been the rule down the ages, or the workers ourselves take on that responsibility.  But when we take on that responsibility we take on a heavy burden. “An autonomous existence is heavily burdened and beset with fears, and can be endured only when bolstered by confidence and self-esteem.”  We humans have developed a culture to bear the burden of freedom and overcome our fears. I call it the culture of responsible individualism.

Karl Marx and his epigones had a different idea. The working class ought to be able to bounce right from rural idiocy to liberation in the city in one simple step. It was the fault of the wicked and sinful bourgeoisie if it couldn't.

Same thing with women's liberation. Women ought to be able to step immediately into liberation from the age of patriarchy and if there were any problems it had to be the fault of wicking and sinful frat boys. So government was needed to force the patriarchy to change.

But if the government gets involved telling people what to do, then we are starting back to the good old days when the workers were slaves and the rulers put the slaves to work.

Against this folly is the long line of women who set out and explored a path of genuine responsible individualism for women. And if you ask me, the patron saint of the movement is the extraordinary mid-Victorian, daughter of an estate steward, the woman we know as the writer George Eliot.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

I have a question, what with all the wars on women and rape cultures and Jackiegates and all. Do women want to be responsible individuals and live in the culture of responsible individualism that occupies the center ground of our modern culture?

Because if you do, dear ladies, I am here to say that it is time for you to make that absolutely clear to the world.

Let us rehearse this in the style of Karl Marx: It is high time that women should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the victimhood of womankind with a manifesto of free and responsible womanhood itself.

You ladies must tell the world that you want to be responsible individual women with all the glorious attendant risks and possibilities and you are not going to allow the liberal feminists to speak and act in your name.

Otherwise the liberals will fly you up a box canyon just like they did with the white working class.

Last week I descanted on the white working class that must finally start on the road to responsible individualism. I pointed up the poverty of the liberal idea that there are two kinds of people: “expressive” individuals, or liberals, and “utilitarian” individuals, people who just do what they are told.

I said that the liberal world view completely left out the guy in the middle, the responsible individual, which is odd because the rise of the responsible individual, in my telling, is the real story of the last three thousand years.

But responsible individualism never gets its way without ferocious opposition, because, as Theodore Dalrymple says of Islamism: “if material progress has not been rapid, which is to say, not as rapid as hoped or expected, wickedness and sin must be the explanation, so that the removal of the wicked and sinful is the logical solution.”

The feminists are just the same. Women not in heaven in 2014? It must be the wicked and sinful patriarchy and rape culture that's to blame. But think of the contradiction: On the one hand women deserve to live in expressive individualist heaven; on the other hand they are helpless victims that cannot think straight without the help of feminist minders and activists.

I'm not the only one that sees a contradiction. Harvey Mansfield has 5,000 words for you on “The Contradiction that Rules Feminism” if you are up for it.

Fortunately, Megan McArdle clears away the contradictions in a shorter piece on the UVA Jackiegate fiasco.  She writes that the current flim-flam over “affirmative consent” and “rape culture” misses the point. There is no getting around individual women doing the hard work of enforcing “no means no” wherever and whenever needed, whether in the bedroom or the boardroom or anywhere else. When feminists want to make things easier for women they are turning the clock back “by deciding what [women] wanted, and punishing anyone who wanted anything else.”

There is no free in freedom. Freedom is hard and it means responsibility; otherwise it isn't freedom.

Let's get longshoreman Eric Hoffer to help with his essay “The Readiness to Work” from The Ordeal of Change. Either the rulers set us to work, he writes, as has been the rule down the ages, or the workers ourselves take on that responsibility.  But when we take on that responsibility we take on a heavy burden. “An autonomous existence is heavily burdened and beset with fears, and can be endured only when bolstered by confidence and self-esteem.”  We humans have developed a culture to bear the burden of freedom and overcome our fears. I call it the culture of responsible individualism.

Karl Marx and his epigones had a different idea. The working class ought to be able to bounce right from rural idiocy to liberation in the city in one simple step. It was the fault of the wicked and sinful bourgeoisie if it couldn't.

Same thing with women's liberation. Women ought to be able to step immediately into liberation from the age of patriarchy and if there were any problems it had to be the fault of wicking and sinful frat boys. So government was needed to force the patriarchy to change.

But if the government gets involved telling people what to do, then we are starting back to the good old days when the workers were slaves and the rulers put the slaves to work.

Against this folly is the long line of women who set out and explored a path of genuine responsible individualism for women. And if you ask me, the patron saint of the movement is the extraordinary mid-Victorian, daughter of an estate steward, the woman we know as the writer George Eliot.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.