Conservatism starts with the recognition of realism. This philosophy of realism and common sense goes back to Aristotle’s Ethics. I cannot simply wish away realities of the natural world. The paradigm of modern-day liberalism however dictates that reality must bend to ideology. In fact, ideology defines reality. That construct was the primary modus operandi of Orwell’s Big Brother in 1984. Two plus two does not necessarily equal four. Water is not necessarily wet. Crazy as it may sound, we’re inching toward the same paradigm today, where reality is what you say it is, not what it actually is. The most glaring and recent example of science and reality crumbling before raw ideology is the transgender movement, which says that one can will himself into the opposite sex simply by stating that he “identifies” as such. Gender theory was roundly criticized by Pope Benedict XVI.
The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will.
In case you missed it, the Pentagon is set to lift its ban on transgender service members in the upcoming year. Another example of the “ideology first, reality second” maxim is the now fairly settled issue of women serving in military combat roles. The line distinguishing the sexes is, once again, blurred to the point of nonexistence. Women, we are told, must be allowed to serve in combat roles in every branch of the military. To raise any objection to the rationale for this decision opens the door to charges of sexism, misogyny, etc. The debate is killed off by loaded labels before it is able to take off. Dismissal of previous restrictions within the military has become so prevalent that women, at least on paper, can even become elite Navy SEALs , that is, if they can pass the fitness and training requirements. (Don’t hold your breath.) It’s ludicrous, of course, but here’s what Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said about full integration of women in combat roles:
They’ll be allowed to drive tanks, fire mortars and lead infantry soldiers into combat. They’ll be able to serve as Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALs, Marine Corps infantry, Air Force parajumpers and everything else that was previously open only to men.
So has the United States, and Western civilization in general been wrong all these years on the subject? Was the former policy yet another example of our unenlightened forebears who just couldn’t see the light? The hubris is astonishing. In the name of egalitarianism, we’re asked to ignore biology and hard facts when it comes to the obvious physical differences between men and women. What are some of those facts? In an excellent National Review article, Mike Fredenburg lists some of the big ones:
Men’s blood carries 10 to 12 percent more oxygen per liter than does a women’s; and men’s VO2 max, a measure of the top rate of oxygen consumption, is 40 to 60 percent greater than that of women. An average fit man will weigh about 23 percent more, have 50 percent more muscle mass, and carry 10 percent less body fat than an average fit woman. Pound for pound, men have thicker skulls, bigger, stronger necks, hearts that are 17 percent larger, and bones that are both bigger and denser. Despite being much heavier, men’s vertical leap is nearly 50 percent greater than that of women.
How does ideology overcome scientific facts like the ones just mentioned? To speak of “equality” in this context is manifestly absurd. “Water is not wet.” The facts cannot be refuted, but they can be ignored. It would help clarify this issue by asking an Aristotelian-rooted question about telos, or in other words, the end for which a thing exists. What is the goal or end of combat positions in the military? Is it to make a point about how we’ve overcome sexism in the 21st century? Or is it to defeat/kill an enemy in a physical battle? It is obvious that the goal of military combat positions is to defeat the enemy in battle. So what is the best way to reach this end? The best way to reach this end is to ensure that those who fill these roles are the strongest and most physically fit. As science demonstrates, the male physiology is naturally better-suited for this task than the female.
At least one high-profile woman disagreed with the push for including women in combat roles. In her final book, Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World, Margaret Thatcher had some strong words for those who tinker with traditional institutions (the military in particular) in the name of social engineering.
The feminist military militants are perhaps the most pernicious of these “reformers”. … When it was recognized that women cannot throw ordinary grenades far enough to avoid being caught in the explosion, the answer was not to let men take over but rather to make lighter (and less lethal) grenades. When it was discovered that women on board warships require facilities that men do not, the US Navy had to “reconfigure” their ships to provide them – on the US Eisenhower alone that cost $1 million. And when most women (rightly in my view) choose not to take combat roles, the answer, according to one professor at Duke University, is for the military to get rid of traits like “dominance, assertiveness, aggressiveness, independence, self-sufficiency, and willingness to take risks” . . . . Generally we are better at wielding the handbag than the bayonet.
Facts, like those listed by Fredenburg and Thatcher, don’t matter to the gender ideologue. What matters is equality at any and all cost, even when the obvious results are disastrous or, at best, embarrassing. Read this excerpt from a recent report on women and military training standards.
In the last five months, 6 out of 7 female recruits — and 40 out of about 1,500 male recruits — failed to pass the new regimen of pull-ups, ammunition-can lifts, a 3-mile run and combat maneuvers required to move on in training for combat jobs, according to the data.
We will hear the argument that, since some women do pass the fitness tests, the policy of exclusivity should be abandoned. But rules and policies are not made based on the rare exceptions, but on what is generally the case of how things are.
Stubborn proponents of gender theory and women in combat roles are stuck in a very awkward position. (But in a culture like ours, where reason and common sense are scorned and swept under the rug of meaningless feel-good slogans, it’s not that big of a problem for them.) On the one hand, blind adherence to the dictates of equality at all cost demands that women somehow fill these combat roles. But it has been painfully demonstrated over and over again that most women (and a lot of men by the way) simply are not capable of meeting the necessary minimum requirements. Another awkward element in the mix is that by definition “equality” prohibits the lowering of training expectations and standards for women for the purpose of admittance. To do so would fly in the face of the “We can do anything the guys can do!” thesis.
So what are feminists left with, other than embarrassing results which they simply ignore? I guess they can still shout, “Equality! Equality!” Commenting on Aristotle’s Ethics, University of Fordham professor Joseph W. Koterski, S.J., Ph.D., reminds us that “the goal of truth is to conform our minds to the way things are.” Today, it’s just the opposite. Reality conforms to ideological fantasies.
Update: Check out this op-ed that recently appeared in the Telegraph. Kate Medina is a solider in the U.K.’s Armed Forces and she makes a strong, common sense case against allowing women to serve in front-line combat roles.
Are we really ready to see our daughters gang raped, tortured and decapitated live on the Internet by Isil fighters? Because that is exactly what will happen if a female front line soldier is captured in Syria. For terrorist or extremist organisations, any press is ‘good’ in their warped world view – and the more gruesome, disturbing and inhumane the better. A captured female soldier would be gold dust for their global radicalisation campaign.
And then there’s this, from Zero Hedge:
In an effort to maintain the new status quo of cutting standards everywhere in the name of equality and “progress”, the Marine Corps announced major changes over the Fourth of July holiday weekend regarding how much it will allow service members to weigh, and the biggest shift comes for women: going forward “larger” ladies will be allowed to defend the country while also standards used within the physical fitness test will also be relaxed.