RECONSIDERING THE FEMALE FRANCHISE
Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist (Random Walks)
and author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and
Identity and Hear,
O Israel! (Mantua Books). His editorials appear
regularly in PJ
Media. His monograph, Global Warning: The Trials of
an Unsettled Science (Freedom Press Canada) was launched
at the National Archives in Ottawa in September, 2012. His debut
Guitar, is now available, as is his latest
on Music, Poetry and Politics.
precisely a century after women were granted the right to vote,
it is perhaps time to assess the wisdom of this epoch-making
decision. Has female suffrage strengthened or weakened Western
nations? A disinterested survey of the matter not only suggests
a preponderance of negative effects stemming from the female
franchise, but reveals that a number of women themselves have
spoken out bluntly and critically on the issue.
is impossible to deny that the so-called patriarchal class has
built the armature of the greatest civilization known to history.
Science, technology, the crafts and trades, the professions,
medicine, law, and the arts (literature, music, painting, sculpture,
architecture) are almost exclusively – though not wholly,
be it said – the product of male initiative, inventiveness,
energy and brilliance. Naturally, feminists will disagree strenuously,
along with their beta male accomplices and cultural defectors
such as the ineffable Leonard Shlain, who, writing in the New
York Times, proposes that the discovery of fire and the
invention of the alphabet worked against women's values and
power. In the present anti-male climate, such asininity might
be expected, but it is hard to imagine a civilization worthy
of the name without fire and the alphabet – that is, minus
technology and literacy, the latter the very basis of advanced
and elaborate cultures.
view the elements of civilization as the bane of women, as Shlain
does, is already a tacit admission that civilization is the
fruit of men's labour. Certainly, men could not have managed
their incontestably immense achievement without women's child-rearing,
home-making, and nurturing presence – and there has plainly
been a minority of impressive women who contributed their talents
directly to the civilizational enterprise. Ruth King, for example,
in an interesting article for American Thinker, "Shattering
the Crass Ceiling," lists a number of celebrated women
who have excelled in the contemporary political world, including
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, and Corazón
Aquino, but King also features the more problematic Angela Merkel,
Christine Fernandez de Kircher, and Dilma Rousseff. (Her neglect
of the courageous Aung San Suu Kyl is obviously an oversight).
of course, there is no need to stop there. No one can deny the
plenum of extraordinary women in all the disciplines and walks
of life, from the biblical Deborah, Hypatia of Alexandria, the
Milesian Aspasia and Saint Hildegard von Bingen to Jeane Kirkpatrick,
Bat Ye'or, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Fabiola Gianotti, and many more,
famous and not famous – the kind of women whose perceptiveness,
fortitude, and abilities have made the world a better place
and who merit unconstrained respect. But such cynosures remain
a minority – not because women have been brutalized and
oppressed, but because our evolutionary history has destined
women for a different and complementary role in human development.
extension of the franchise to women has inaugurated the period
of women's increased political participation and electoral influence.
What have been its consequences? Women's voting preferences
have tended toward collectivity: bigger government, along with
government-sponsored initiatives in health, education, child
care, social welfare, state regulation, and expansive bureaucracies
– a checkered catalogue, some good things, some not so
good. Even some of the "good things" have proven to
be mixed blessings, if not purveyors of outright mischief. Title
IX, anyone? Obamacare? The Child Protection Services nightmare
– a case forcefully laid out by Brenda Scott in Out
of Control: Who's Watching Our Child Protection Agencies?
While pushing the costly welfare agenda for better or worse,
women have, on the whole, been less concerned about the need
to protect and reinforce the turbines of technical development
and economic productivity – building, inventing, commerce,
heavy industry, manufacturing, theoretical and experimental
science. They appear to be more interested in redistributing
wealth than in creating it.
in The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Stanford medical
doctor Grant Miller makes the case for the beneficial impact
of female suffrage, arguing that "suffrage laws were followed
by immediate shifts in legislative behaviour and large, sudden
increases in local public health spending." This is consistent
with women's voting patterns generally. Miller goes so far as
to claim that suffrage rights for women were instrumental in
helping children "to benefit from the scientific breakthroughs
of the bacteriological revolution."
he fails to mention is that the bacteriological revolution was
powered mainly by men. Moreover, it is plausible to assume that
the benefits to society would have occurred irrespective of
the female franchise. Women were granted the right to vote in
the U.S. in 1920 and in 1928 in the U.K.; Alexander Fleming
discovered penicillin in 1928 at St. Mary's hospital in London,
without benefit of ostensible female magnanimity and without
government funding. There was no suffrage-inspired "immediacy"
with respect to this groundbreaking antibiotic, which did not
become effective until the 1940s, thanks to the work of Howard
Florey, Ernst Chain, and Norman Heatley, all good men and true.
In addition, the cause-and-effect conjunction assumed by Miller
is clearly untenable. If we are to praise women for advancements
in health care, must we then blame them for the present disaster
of the nationalized health care network, particularly in the
U.K.? (My own country, Canada, is not far behind).
may be reasonable to suggest that the preponderance of women,
absent the insightful exceptions to the rule, tend to vote for
collectivist benevolence over individual initiative and to manifest
a pronounced in-group preference. Consider, as a current instance
of this species of schwärmerei, the massive female
preference for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whom
women favour merely because she is herself a woman. The demonstrable
fact that she is corrupt; vindictive; and, as her various administrative
positions infallibly reveal, grossly incompetent and even dangerous
is of no account. It is no accident that feminist icon Gloria
Steinem dismisses Hillary's undeniable failures and misdemeanors,
claiming that it is her powerful womanhood alone that may provoke
disenchantment with her candidacy. That, extrapolating from
her deceitful character and dismal track record, Hillary would
make a terrible president, consolidating and amplifying the
catastrophes of her androgynous predecessor, cannot be argued
– and clearly not with the vast swath of her female apologists
King concludes the aforementioned article conceived in praise
of prominent women: "It may be high time for America to
have a female president – but not in this election, and
not Hillary Clinton." Although why it may be high time
to have a female president escapes inquiry. Why not, for that
matter, a gender-fluid president? Indeed, why not simply a good
activist Janet Bloomfield goes farther, contending that women's
voting patterns are chiefly destructive not only to men, but
to society's prosperity and security. She notes, in her provocative
blog post "#three reasons why women should not vote,"
that women take for granted the engines of economic growth and
massively favour ultimately unsustainable political policies
and projects. Thus, men, who "predominate in manufacturing
and construction," are hard hit in the present economic
crisis, while women, "a majority in recession-resistant
fields such as education and health care," seem neither
to understand nor to care about men's (and by extension the
larger society's) economic plight.
indifference to men's economic suffering has been strikingly
apparent during the recent recession. Chistina Romer, for example,
chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, argued in the context
of Obama's job stimulus program that "[w]e don't want the
stimulus package to just create jobs for burly men" –
though Romer is rather burly herself. And as Christina Hoff
Sommers writes in National Review, "Kim Gandy,
president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), attacked
the 'testosterone-laden 'shovel-ready' terminology[.] . . .
' To read Gandy's column is to understand why shovels are still
standing idle and the stimulus was such a disappointment."
Analogously, over 1,000 feminist historians signed an open letter
lobbying for the establishment of "human bridges"
while, of course, paying only lip service to bridges of concrete
and steel. There is little recognition among the sorority that
human bridges can't stay up indefinitely if their supporting
piers are unstably moored on a shifting economic bed.
an audacious argument against female suffrage, Bloomfield proposes
that there are three reasons why women should not have the franchise.
The reasons are, briefly:
regard to this third point, we should note that radical feminists
– along with the epicene platoons of White Knights and
mascupathy therapists – have succeeded in feminizing men
who would once have protected them, a fact that some women suffering
Muslim sexual assaults in Germany have awakened to. Millennials
tend to behave like eunuchs when it comes to affirming their
manhood and defending their women. Pajama Boy does not augur
well for a robust and durable society. The rabid excesses of
feminist dogma, relentlessly perverting the justice system in
rape and assault cases to exalt a woman's word over legal principle
and countervailing evidence, the desexing of language to the
point of utter farce (as in Princeton's expurgating from official
communications the word "man," even in phrasal compounds),
and the progressive estrangement between the sexes are corollaries
of women's incursion into the political realm. As a consequence,
the extinction of civil culture based on mutual gender trust
is virtually assured.
does not mince words. "Women have had the vote in the West
for almost 100 years, and all they have done is vote to destroy
and destabilize the world men built for us, while protecting
themselves from the blood consequences. They have voted selfishly,
rapaciously, irrationally and quite possibly, irrevocably."
She concludes categorically: "As long as women can vote,
the great liberal civilizations built by men are going to fall."
Her opinions, she makes clear, have nothing to do with the current
shibboleth, misogyny, but everything to do with common sense
and historical fact, however abhorrent her contestation will
be to the politically correct, the "social justice"
bullies, the denizens of Identity Studies programs, the phalanx
of decadent academics, and liberal fellow travelers who cannot
think outside the cage of popular sentiment and live in fear
of media backlash or rejection by their peers.
like Bloomfield and Straughan and Fiamengo are indifferent to
the hail of feminist denunciation and male chauvinist clucking
that comes their way. They argue that women as a bloc have done
much harm in their propensity to promote socialist policies
and utopian memes, in historical defiance of male creativity,
self-confidence, and practical accomplishment as well as of
economic reality. If they are right, the situation is irreversible.
But at least we might be man enough to admit, despite the cultural
current and the lateness of the hour, that women's suffrage
may not be the unmitigated good it has been made out to be.