Debasing your own culture isn’t tolerance

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moses.jpgG.K. Chesterton had the advantage of discussing antisemitism before World War II, when any criticism of the Jewish people wouldn’t automatically result in screams about genocide. He made the point (in his book about his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, The New Jerusalem) that when the criticism of a particular people seems to be not only universal in its negativity but universal in what the particular negative traits are, then you have to consider the possibility that there’s something to the critique. In the case of antisemitism, he considered the critique to be a Jewish propensity toward unfair money lending and toward a cosmopolitanism that brought into question national loyalty.

What’s interesting about his consideration is that he proceeds to defend the Jewish people from both criticisms, but not by declaring that they simply aren’t true. Instead, he explains why they might be true and why they might not even be faults. He seems to have been a Zionist well before there was a Zion.

Today, we gentiles (the European types, at least) proudly wear our distaste for antisemitism, but I think our open-mindedness might be just as bad as our forefathers’ narrow-mindedness. That’s because I think we shun antisemitism not because of any newfound respect for Jews. I think on some level we shun antisemitism because what our forefathers used to see as evils, we now see as virtues. By that I mean that modern Western society now considers unfair money lending to be sound business practice and considers cosmopolitanism and lack of loyalty to homeland to be the very definition of good citizenship. The latter explains why Europeans (I mean the European kind of European … the transplanted Muslim kind has its own reasons) has so much disdain for Israel as it asserts its identity as a Jewish state.

Similarly, I think our modern tolerance of black culture has come to have less to do with tolerance and more to do with a newfound fascination with the grandstanding, the aggression, and the baseness that white people once were supposed to ignore as we tried to overcome racism. Personally, I don’t think it’s any black person’s problem that I find black culture to tend toward the showy, the confrontational, and the crude. However, it is my place to critique my own culture’s more recent fascination with what were once considered the negative cultural traits of someone else.

If you want to say multiculturalism is the recognition that there are lots of cultures in the world, and we’re all going to react differently to them depending on what our own culture is, then I’ll agree and say multiculturalism is simply a reality. However, if you want to assert that the Western world needs to not only welcome all the world’s cultures but also make whatever faults we once found in them our own, then I would say your assertion doesn’t even make sense within your own argument. If I’m going to respect someone else’s culture in its place, then I’m also going to assert respect for my culture in my place. But of course, this isn’t what multiculturalism is really about anyway; its lack of internal logic only helps prove the point. It’s about hatred for Western civilization and a hatred for anyone who still feels a connection to Europe or North America as anything other than some sort of global headquarters for the governing classes of both the business and political sides of control.

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The unincarnation of God

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nativity.jpgWhen do you remove reminders of people you love from your home? When you’ve stopped loving them, generally. When do you stop showing respect to your best friend’s mother, or when do you talk about the good things that friend once did for you while ignoring the fact he still lives down the street? When you’ve stopped being friends. So much of Christianity today is about unincarnating God. The Eucharist is now just a symbol, even for many Catholics. Unincarnation. His mother is just another woman, especially for Protestants. Unincarnation. The angels and saints are so irrelevant you won’t find a single reminder of them in most Christian homes, and maybe not even one of Christ Himself. Unincarnation.

God has become just a theory. Or maybe a philosophy, or worse, an ideology. In fact, God has become a problem to the point that He has to be put in a closet in order for everyone to get along, and getting along has become our religion. When your idea of being Christ-like includes denying Christ, there might be a problem with your Christianity.

The idea that the Protestant Reformation originated the idea of a personal relationship with God is simply bad history. The Reformation was a movement that established state-run churches throughout northwestern Europe, from Britain to Germany to Scandinavia. Every king his own pope. A century later, Christians were rebelling against the rebellion, establishing their own churches and their own denominations. Every pastor his own pope. Today, we’ve become so convinced of our own intelligence and our own importance that our personal relationship with God is really just the placing of our own emotions on an altar. Every man his own pope.

What would it take to re-incarnate God in our lives? I think the key is what Catholics would call apostolate, or in the language of Protestants, ministry, but not in the sense  either of those words are typically used in their own religious spheres.

Apostolate is the idea of a work done for spiritual purposes, but the key to really understanding it, in my opinion, is to simultaneously consider Divine Providence, i.e., where God has actually placed you in this world. Too many people think ministry is on the other side of the world. What’s more, the vast majority of those people will never make the journey to the other side of the world to actually give it a try, or will do so only in some cursory way that is really just a retreat for the one who’s supposed to be doing the ministering. (Here’s a hint: If you get more out of your ministering than those you serve get out of it, then you might not be ministering very well.)

But the solution isn’t more travel. It’s to look around at your own life, your own skills, and your own circumstances and discover what God wants from you in those particular circumstances. If you’re really called to go somewhere else, He’ll tell you. Otherwise, He’s already put you where you need to be. You just need to humble yourself and help that person right there before you in the way that you are able to help him. It probably won’t make news and it probably won’t score you status points.

God used the word neighbor for a reason. Proximity matters. So does smallness. A mass media world has helped convince people they can only live a virtuous life by doing goodness on a celebrity-level scale. You almost certainly can’t, and the chances are that works done on a celebrity-level scale aren’t really doing all that much good anyway. Christ started the Church with twelve men he picked up along the way while preaching in one little corner of the Mediterranean world, so why would we think our apostolate is any different than his was?

We all have a calling, and it begins by contemplating our reality. Those who not only pray but are prayerful (walking around aware of spiritual reality as well as physical reality) will discover their apostolate. It’ll be right there, accessible both in terms of the need and your ability to help. This is how people reach out beyond themselves. This is how people re-incarnate God. We don’t worship an idea. We worship a personal God, and in the incarnation, we worship an actual person. There is no reason to follow Christ because we like the idea of Christ. We should only follow Christ because we believe in the reality of Him.

 

100% of statistics indicate a crisis

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image001-2.pngLiberals are smarting because of the role the individual states play in the Electoral College in 2016 and the Senate race this month, but they should take heart. American federalism means they can always have a crisis. That’s because of this one simple fact: there will always be a last place. So liberals can always line up health care stats, education scores, poverty numbers etc. and lament the fact that those poor slobs in (insert 50th state here) need help. Liberals also can find great solace in bell curves. Chart any statistic you want and you’re going to find—surprise!—someone on the bottom, some guy whose lagging behind and needs some extra help (and let’s face it, one who’s probably willing to play the victim of some sort of prejudice or persecution).

Liberal journalists, in particular, love statistics. They aren’t generally good with numbers, but they love to play with them in order to sound the alarm (and sound smarter than they really are). And sounding the alarm is Job No. 1 for journalists (just above sounding smarter than they really are). They’ve always been in the business of grabbing attention, but as news became more and more national, the attention grabbing became more and more political. Desperate to be one of the cool kids, journalists instead became that crotchety old man always declaring, “There oughta be a law!”

There was a time when a journalist was a working-class man. A high school graduate who would ride around with the cops or lurk around city hall, find a story and write about it. The amazing thing about it is that they wrote far better than modern journalists. They told stories. They looked at events through a familiar lens, seeing things like their readers would have seen them if they had been there. They’ve always been at least a little shady but they weren’t shills.

Then a terrible thing happened for journalism: two news reporters made a difference.

The Watergate scandal moved journalism—just when it was trying to become a legitimate profession with college degrees and standards and such—away from news and into advocacy. No more storytelling, no more facts, except inasmuch as those things could be used to manipulate public opinion and coerce government action. The sad thing is that the Watergate story was the product of the most basic news-gathering operation in the newsroom—the crime beat. But instead of validating the basics, Watergate ended up shifting news into the farce it has become today.

School is the new orphanage

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taking-in-foundlings-leon-augustin-lhermitte.jpgOnce upon a time, Harry Truman decided it would be a good idea to help children whose parents couldn’t afford to pay for school lunch. Twenty years later, the government began offering free breakfast, too. A couple years more and schools started feeding children free meals during the summer break. Now there’s also free after-school snacks. These programs have grown tremendously, as all government programs do. I once even heard a PTA executive talking about efforts to provide free suppers at school, since so many children are there in after-school programs waiting for their parents to pick them up any way. Now if a child needs food, he should get food, but let’s face it, by the time you’re dropping off a child at a facility for breakfast, lunch, and supper and relying on it year-round, you’re basically talking about an orphanage, not a school. All that’s missing are the beds.

Making ends meet can be hard for a family, but it’s what you do and the grade is pass/fail. If you’re not providing the basics for your children, you’ve failed as a parent (but of course, we love failure). What’s more, the nature of welfare programs is to provide something that’s needed to those who are needy only to see it expand as the needy begin to make choices based on what welfare is willing to provide.

We just don’t seem to understand some basic things about government spending. The first thing to know is that free education isn’t free. Somebody has to pay for it. The same goes for health care and for everything else government does or could do.

Here’s another thing to know: there’s no correlation between increased spending on education and improved educational outcomes. What a child achieves in school has everything to do with things like personality and intelligence and a stable home. It has almost nothing to do with how much is spent on his public education.

Back in the 1990s, two major line items seemed guaranteed to make government budgets impossible to balance. One was entitlements, which were sacrosanct to Democrats, and the other was military, which was sacrosanct to Republicans. Ends up, Newt Gingrinch and Bill Clinton somehow managed what seemed an impossibility—they passed a balanced budget. It had been decades since anyone had seen such a thing in the United States, and it’ll probably be decades more before it’s ever seen again. That’s because we’re only adding to the non-negotiable line items. In addition to entitlements and military spending, we now have a third challenge of annual interest on the national debt (more than $300 billion) courtesy of Messrs. Bush and Obama. Those calling for national health care are anxious to add a fourth non-negotiable challenge (Britain spends nearly a quarter of its government budget on the National Health Service).

The moral of the story is simple: good intentions don’t necessarily make for good public policy.

There’s nothing to talk about

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debate.jpgCalls from the left for civility only mean “stop fighting back.” Calls from the left for dialogue only mean “shut up and let me keep lecturing you.” I’m all for good manners and avoiding conflict until there’s a real need for self-defense. As far as dialogue? No way. What would be the point? I think people know exactly what the other side thinks on the issues that divide us. The problem isn’t misunderstanding. The problem is incompatibility. Some call it a culture war (and with cops killed at a Black Lives Matter protest, a Democrat attempting to assassinate the Republican congressional delegation, and a left-wing protester killed in Charlottesville, you might even call the last couple of years just a plain old war of sorts). War means the conflict doesn’t end when we understand each other, it ends when one side wins. Okay, I agree: this is a culture war. But just as important to going to war is going to work.

War is about defending something; work is about building something worth defending. When I was growing up, the state religion was careerism. If I had listened only to my public schools, I would have thought my sole purpose in life was to get a good job. No talk of family, no talk of community, no talk of heritage or posterity. I was squeezed between the last generation of segregation and the first generation of political correctness, so I grew up in that one generation that managed to be color blind without the burden of white guilt. It didn’t last, of course. Not even a decade after my escape from public education, the state religion had already devolved even further.

But why not, at that point? If all there is in life is careerism, why not embrace an ideology that promises to tear down what has become a shallow, materialistic society?

By that I don’t mean that liberals want to tear down society because it has devolved. Personally, I don’t think society has devolved enough for their tastes, for the simple reason that liberalism is nothing more than a desire to tear down ANY society it sees. But it relies on the flaws in a society to accomplish its goal so that it can operate under the pretense of justice.

So why shouldn’t a few thousand Central Americans be allowed to just stroll into the United States and make it their new home? And why shouldn’t more than a few million of them have been doing the same thing for the last forty years or so? Only if there’s already an established culture here, tied to this particular piece of land, cultivating it and making something better of it, with not only a past but a real future, is there any reason why America’s border shouldn’t be open to all comers.

I would argue that there is such a thing already in America and has been for a long time. But I would also acknowledge that it is weakened, weakened mostly by materialism, commercialism, and a lust for any kind of distraction. For that reason, I think the culture war needs to be just as much a culture work. People need families again, and community. They need something to believe in, and it needs to be something both real and something beyond reality. There is an utter chaos and more than a little greed in the Third World now, something sending Africans and Arabs and Hispanics fleeing to the West in such numbers that, armed or not, they have become nothing less than an occupying force. And the West is so weakened, so lacking in its own sense of family and community and belief, that its leaders have not only applauded it but have enabled it. Our own betters despise us. For them, loyalty is not only NOT a virtue, it is quite possibly the only sin.

A weakened culture has no better chance of winning a culture war than a weakened army has of winning a real war. So there’s no point in fighting for Western culture if there isn’t some serious work put into building back up the Western culture we’re fighting for. The good news is that it’s simple. It’s something anyone can help accomplish. That’s because it isn’t just about winning elections (as important as that is at this point). It’s about ordering your own life toward something other than yourself. It’s about reconnecting with where you come from. It’s about committing to building it up, even if in just some small way, and passing it on.

Europe Abroad: Nova Scotia

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Nova Scotia.jpgI sometimes feel a longing for the Maritime Provinces of Canada. I’m not Canadian, and I’ve never even been to the Maritime Provinces. But I am a Celt and a North American, so the fascination must have something to do with the fact that it is in one of those few corners of the New World where a British people created their own branch of their culture by simultaneously maintaining their identity and adapting to a new place. There are only a few places in the world where anything like this has happened with any real success, that I can think of. The Appalachians and (outside the New World) Australia come to mind first. But in Nova Scotia, the identity is thoroughly Celtic and the adaptation minimal. The landscape of the shared North Atlantic gives the Maritime Provinces the look of Ireland or Scotland, although the winters are far harsher without the Gulf Stream to keep temperatures mild. So if anything, it has made the people hardier and, maybe because of that, even more obstinate about remembering who they are.

Like their American neighbors in New England, the Maritime Provinces aren’t exactly thriving economically, but this seems to be one of the requirements of maintaining a traditional culture. As soon as people have more than enough, they begin to disdain all the ways their parents and grandparents once made life worth living … and they leave it to their children and their grandchildren to deal with the fallout of living life disconnected from anything other than the latest products and distractions. First generation moderns are, in this sense, similar to those first generation politically-correct academics–they have all the benefits of traditional upbringing (or classical education, in the case of the old hippy professors) but use it to make themselves that much more effective at making sure no one ever has that benefit again.

It’s from Nova Scotia that comes as fine a literary examination of traditional culture and its demise that a reader could want: No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod.

In this 1999 novel, MacLeod makes plain the difficulties of traditional life, but juxtaposes them to the gnawing emptiness of modern times. One deepens bonds, the other destroys the human spirit. It is a novel where the wrongs against Clan MacDonald in the sixteenth century are still as real as any wrong in the twentieth against clan Calum Ruadh–an extended family descended from one man who brought with him 12 descendants from Scotland to Cape Breton. That isn’t to say it’s a novel about clan feuds. Rather, it’s about one generation of the clan–the last generation really–and the different ways they fared as they departed the Maritimes for prosperity elsewhere. In the end, the sorrow is as much for the youngest son and daughter, who have the most success and start their own families, one as an orthodontist in Ontario and the other a theater grad (who seems to be a housewife) in Calgary. We never meet their children, but we don’t have to. We know they’re no longer clan Calum Ruadh in any real way; their parents, when they get together, wax about their ancient identity but show no signs of having passed it on. It is altogether past, present only in their reminiscences, and without any future.

The novel charts how traditional culture is passed on–intentionally, repeatedly, tangibly and through the movement of people as a people rather than as isolated emigres. It also charts how traditional culture is lost–through the very practical decision to tie economic well being to the modern economy rather than the land and the clan (Eek! You mean “blood and soil?”). The obvious examples of this come from the last generation of clan Calum Ruadh, whether it be migrant miners who travel not only all across Canada but all over the world for work or the white collar professionals in the suburbs of more prosperous provinces. But MacLeod relies on a subtler example as the centerpiece of his novel–the father of these miners and orthodontist and his decision to take a government job at a Cape Breton lighthouse. In this job, MacLeod finds a symbol for reaching out beyond home and family in a way that is well meaning and in every apparent way practical and beneficial, but which in reality fractures the family and ultimately helps make it impossible for them to pass on their identity, or live it out themselves as anything but a memory.

However, every generation in the novel plays a role in the decay. So we even have Grandma remembering how happy she was to be able to stop doing laundry against rocks in a stream once her husband took a salary as maintenance man for the new local hospital. But later we hear her remembering the pleasure of singing when all the women of the clan gathered to do their laundry the hard way. What MacLeod does most effectively is to make the reader experience how hardship in a traditional culture is interwoven with joy while even success in the modern world leaves us longing for something better.

Do you buy products or commodities?

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market.jpgI hate to think of having to live off the land. My family would be eating little more than green beans and tomatoes, the only thing I’ve ever had much luck growing in my vegetable garden. But the yeoman farmer remains something of an ideal because he embodies the virtues of simplicity and sustainability. Having said that, I would also say there’s real need for more complex social structures–they’re the very thing that makes civilization and culture possible. So how do you distinguish between a traditional economy and a modern one, and how do the traditionally minded who are more or less trapped in a modern world make at least some move toward our own ideal? It begins by answering this one question: Do you buy products or commodities?

Simply put, products are things you consume, commodities are things you use to produce something else. Modern society divides people into producers and consumers. It sees to it that when you’re producing, you’re producing for someone else, someone with whom you have no other relationship than that of employee. And when you’re consuming, you’re consuming what someone else has made, someone with whom you have no other relationship than that of customer. Traditional society brings the producer and the consumer closer together, ideally to the point where producer and consumer are the same. Traditional people grow their own food, build their own houses, make their own entertainment. This leaves less room for mass production than modern society demands, and more room for craftsmanship (in which a known person uses his own skill and commodities to make some useful thing that other people can’t make for themselves).

Technology isn’t the problem. Traditional societies have consistently improved technology, and a great deal of new technology has the potential to bolster traditional society. Mass production, however, might be. Historically, the enemy of the traditional community has been the selfish individual, and with industrialism, selfish individuals not only became capable of greater and greater wealth and power, they even became lauded for it. The solution, for the non-traditional, became socialism. Even today, large numbers of people actually believe socialism is about making everyone a property owner, even though socialism’s specific aim is for no one to be a property owner. Rather than mature as a political philosophy, it has devolved–in the 19th century, socialism marched under the banner of “workers of the world unite;” in the 21st century, it marches under banners such as “non-workers of the world unite” and “illegal workers of the world unite.” At least Soviet-style socialism had the virtue of actually employing its people in the manufacture of things. Western socialism makes nothing other than government bureaucracy. It’s a parasite and nothing more.

Do we already exist outside of time?

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hourglass.jpgThe present is like a point on an axis. It doesn’t occupy any space. Just as you can get infinitely closer and closer to a point on an axis without actually reaching it (if you divide the length in half each time you move closer, for example, you always move closer but you never arrive), you can get infinitely closer and closer to the present. The past doesn’t exist but it existed. What’s more, everything here in the present is ordered the way it is because of the past, and not just the near past–the present sums up everything that ever preceded it. The future doesn’t exist but it will exist. What’s more, everything in the future will further incorporate everything in the present. So if the present doesn’t actually occupy any amount of time, it seems like that means we exist outside of time. We’re always living in the present, and we know how that feels, but the present is always changing, moving across time without actually occupying any amount of time.

My wife and I both remember being a little freaked out about eternity when we were kids, and we have one son who has really gotten bothered by it at times. I’m never going to tell him what I’m thinking, but I wonder if we already exist in eternity, and that the afterlife is really just the falling away of past and future while the present remains, with everything that composes it coming from the completed past.

Even as we’ve come to believe (as a society) that there is only the physical to consider, the physical leaves us unsatisfied, or even points to the fact that it isn’t the only thing. We exist in a “time” that doesn’t occupy any amount of time, just like most of what we think of as solid objects (including ourselves) are really composed mostly of empty space.

We’re beings made mostly of empty space living in a time that doesn’t exist but is the only time any one has ever lived in. I’m a realist, but it seems to me the most realistic conclusion to draw from reality is that there’s something more than meets the eye.

Understanding authority

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christtheking.jpgIf you believe in providence, then you believe in the legitimacy of all authority (and if you don’t, worldly power is about all that’s left and all authority ends up legitimate anyway). Simply put, if someone is in charge, that means God put him there and you have an obligation to obey. A great deal of modern life is lived under the illusion of personal autonomy and liberation, but has there ever been a time before now when so much of our day-to-day lives were determined by authorities we’ve never met or even seen? Coping with the modern world means recognizing the pervasiveness of authority and understanding it, and once you understand it, you also have some idea how it should be reconfigured to make it more humane.

Christian spiritual writers are pretty much unanimous on submission to authority, even when it’s bad. St. Francis de Sales wrote that by submitting to flawed authority a Christian strengthens his ability to submit to the perfect authority of God. I would add that this is especially needed because so often His perfect authority–as we see it displayed in this world–quite often looks flawed from our limited view here in the trenches. Just about the only justified act of rebellion against authority in the Christian tradition is our obligation to disobey any command to commit sin. Christians of the first centuries offered the example for subsequent ages. Generally speaking, they made good Roman citizens, but they refused to burn incense in worship of the emperor even to the point of martyrdom. This has served as the Christian model ever since, and the eventual conquest of Constantine under the sign of the cross and his subsequent legalization of Christianity have been the proof that God will take care of things in their proper time.

(There is an interesting wrinkle that Constantine’s subsequent Christian empire brings up. The Byzantine empire seems to have been okay with revolutions to unseat emperors as they lost or corrupted power–if a usurper succeeded to take the throne, everyone seems to have acknowledged the new power as legitimate. I suppose this brings in the just war theory, but really, how many of us when we’re plotting the overthrow of our bosses can find an argument that’s up to that standard?)

The fact is, all authority is personal. Anyone who has come up against a government bureaucracy knows that the governmental units of a democracy are just monarchical courts filled with superintendents and directors and division heads. The questions to ask regarding authority are simply:

Is it valid? (Does this person really have authority over me?)

If so, what is he asking of me?

If an order comes from legitimate authority and isn’t immoral, then your obligation is to obey it. Ends up, you live in a monarchical society (because it’s the only kind of society that exists). The great difference for modern man is the anonymity and the reach of authority. Rarely did a medieval monarch dare to meddle into the affairs of his subjects like democratically-elected leaders and government bureaucrats do (no matter how much we subjects declare ourselves the sovereign). Unlike elected leaders, who declare a mandate to justify whatever actions they want to do, traditional cultures see authority as stewardship, a responsibility for which you will be judged. Do authority figures betray that view and act selfishly? Of course. But people tend to know when that happens because traditional authority is personal, which means it can’t hide behind committees and regulatory agencies. Even when it hides behind closed doors, the decisions are apparent, simply because the one responsible is known.

But the great difference between traditional authority and modern authority is that traditional authority is internalized. For all the left-wing focus on class conflict in history class (and everywhere else), the fact is traditional, hierarchical societies generally see their authority figures as legitimate and don’t live under constant misery and oppression. That’s because they live culturally, internalizing values that are shared and dispersing authority among myriad organic, personal bodies like the family. This gives traditional authority a feeling of legitimacy no government bureaucrat will ever have.

Society needs female mothers more than it needs female engineers

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madonna-and-child-the-small-cowper-madonna-by-raphael-sanzio-art-gallery-oil-painting-reproductions.jpgWhat would a society do without female engineers? Oh wait, we already know that. It would build bridges and aqueducts and even airplanes and rocket ships. What would a society do without female mothers? It would die out after one generation. This isn’t that difficult to figure out, but what traditional societies knew by logic and intuition, modern society is demonstrating through decline and failure.

I’ve been enjoying the comedy series Upstart Crow lately, a farcical take on the life of William Shakespeare, and one of the running gags is the landlord’s daughter going on and on about wanting to be an actress and knowing Latin and Greek and generally being a feminist at a time when it was illegal for women to do anything interesting. It’s one of those things a traditionalist has to learn to swallow if he’s going to enjoy much television, but the left wing writers of this particular series at least provide some realism alongside their priggery. The landlord’s daughter is an absolute nerd (in one episode she tries to befriend Shakespeare’s teenage daughter–and relive her childhood, this time with a friend–but the teenager can’t stand her).

What’s more, none of the other female characters think like her, and they’re all strong women in their own right. For me, this is just an inadvertent reminder that traditional women are stronger than feminists. There’s nothing new under the sun, so I’m sure I’m not the first to come up with this theory, but I’ll claim it anyway: I think feminism was primarily a way for women to get out of doing any real work.

I base my theory mainly on the timing as well as the professions feminists seemed to focus on, especially early on. Feminism was a late 1960s-early 1970s thing, which means it came about just as society was shifting from a predominance of blue collar labor to a glut of white collar labor. Even today, you don’t see a lot of fuss for more women in carpentry and garbage collection; few feminists have gotten around to caring about those yet. I suspect that even the push for women in the military and fire departments has more to do with the high regard we as a society have for those professions than for any great desire to fly jets or run into burning buildings.

All the talk about World War II and women taking over for men in factories as an impetus of feminism misses the fact that those same women pretty much left the factory lines as soon as they could and proceeded to become an almost ultra-traditional generation of housewives and mothers (you could even argue that they became more traditional than their mothers were–maybe even their grandmothers).

No, World War II and factory work didn’t lure women into feminism. Quite the opposite. Personally, I’ve always worked with, and even for, women, and don’t have much problem with it. I simply recognize that there’s one thing that only women can do, and if they screw up that one thing, there’s no future for our society. So I don’t much care for the feminist score-keeping on the job front, but I do care a great deal about women shirking their duty to have children and raise them properly.

The fact is, the contemporary woman’s grandmother worked harder and accomplished more. She not only bore children, but she also didn’t shy away from manual labor. Traditional women cleaned their own houses (and moved the furniture when they did it), they hoed gardens, milked cows, stitched clothes, and did any number of other things we moderns, male and female, dismiss as beneath us as we sit at desks all day except for that little bit of time when we go to the gym to get some exercise.