Saturday, December 1, 2007

Another reason women should not be in the military

Our weekly liberalism seminar provides plenty of fodder for a blog, perhaps too much. The more I discuss specific goings-on at my school, the more I fear revealing which school I attend, a dangerous possibility in the era of thoughtcrime. Still, for the time being I can't help it; these things are just too interesting to write about. Last week, the topic was intimate partner violence. (Did you know that "domestic violence" has been rechristened "intimate partner violence?" I suppose those concerned with this phenomenon decided that the word "domestic" wrongly excludes violence that occurs outside of the home or between, uh, partners who do not live together.)

The session began with a group interview, in front of the whole class, of three women, all of whom had suffered child abuse, not "intimate partner violence." Go figure. Two of them had served in the military, where both had experienced sexual harassment and one had been the victim of rape. One, the sole white woman, had been in the Marines, where, she complained, the sense of camaraderie they claim to want to instill in recruits isn't really honored because of the sexual harassment that takes place. The other military woman, who had served in the now-defunct Women's Army Corps, said that women who joined the military were assumed to be "loose," there was a sense that as the few females present they had an obligation to provide the men with sexual favors, and that men who attempted to protect them were subject to blanket parties.

Later, when we had convened in our small groups, one of our facilitators, a social worker, remarked that what we had heard was a sad commentary on how the military treats women. Since I still have not had the courage to reveal myself as someone who would surely be considered a racist, sexist, homophobic bigot, an enemy of all that is good and right, an oppressor who wants to throw humanity back into the dark ages, I did not say what I was thinking, which was that this is one of the many reasons women don't belong in the military. Think about that for a minute: that the military, and indeed not just the military but every institution within our society, must spend hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, erect vast social structures, agencies, and bureaucracies, and devote untold numbers of man-hours to the Sisyphean task of fighting human nature, is taken for granted by everyone and assumed to be the solution to problems such as these. The simple, obvious solution, which should occur to anyone thinking rationally and objectively--don't have women in the military--is not only considered offensive and beyond the pale, but doesn't occur to people.

I could be wrong about that last assertion. I can't read people's minds, and its possible that many more people have common sense than are willing to speak up. But from what I have observed of liberal thinking--and most people in our society, certainly most in the upper echelons, one of which is medical school, are liberals--commonsensical non-liberal ideas really don't occur to them at all. That, more so than their being considered offensive, is what I find so interesting. One of the most striking things that happens when one leaves mainstream conservatism and becomes a traditionalist is that one begins frequently noticing this vast gulf between sane, rational thought and the prevailing thought of our society. Ideas that present themselves to the mind immediately and effortlessly--like the idea that in military training we are trying to teach young, rowdy, mostly aggressive men how to fight, and we keep such men in extremely close quarters, and these experiences create a strong sense of male camaraderie among the trainees, and therefore it would be best for the men, for the women, and for our country not to throw women into the mix--are utterly foreign to large numbers of people.

Curiously, although moving from mainstream conservatism to traditionalism makes it easier to debate liberals honestly, it also makes doing so much less convenient, since one could face sanctions from one's employer, school, or what have you. When I was a mainstream-con I might have objected to the statement about how the military treats women, saying that yes, while there is room for improvement and the military should do all it can to reduce and eliminate rape and sexual harassment of female recruits, we shouldn't let our judgment on this issue overshadow the progress we've made, how much good the military has done for our country, how much better off women in the military are today than they used to be, how such behavior is considered unconscionable by ever-larger numbers of people, how the vast majority of women in the military do not experience such problems, and so on. But now, I would be lying if I talked that way. As a traditionalist, one often must hold one's tongue and be extremely careful about opening one's mouth, because truth and common sense are so foreign and horrifying to the regnant liberal thinking of our time. This makes it difficult to get the word out when one is under the authority of liberals.


Mark Richardson said...

But from what I have observed of liberal thinking ... commonsensical non-liberal ideas really don't occur to them at all.

I think you're right that many people are like this. I think, perhaps, it shows the capacity people have for mental filtering. People are told that society is supposed to operate a certain way, and that it's morally right to believe it should operate that way, and so they think within the terms of society given to them.

It means that there is a facile group think applied when "controversial" issues are touched on.

It's one reason why I believe things would change if we could get even a minor percentage of the political class (i.e. politically minded people) onside. It would disrupt the conditions in which mental filtering takes place so successfully.

Vanishing American said...

Hermes, good points.
I've blogged about the women in the military issue, and I am often surprised, even now, by how often people who are otherwise fairly conservative resist any criticism of women in combat or co-ed military units, etc. It's become, unfortunately, an accepted part of normal American thought now, and is seen as one of the things 'conservatives' should defend.
Sometimes people will indignantly respond that women are just as patriotic and eager to defend their country as men, or that many women are tougher and better soldiers than some men, the latter of which sounds like the typical liberal argument based on exceptions to the rule.
The fact that rapes are apparently not uncommon in the co-ed military environment is seen as just another issue which calls for more 'awareness' or education (read: indoctrination) rather than an indication that maybe the whole policy of throwing the sexes together in close quarters is not a good idea.
The fact that ''commonsensical non-liberal ideas don't really occur" to many people is a sad indication that many people, even those who are old enough to remember the pre-PC era, seem to have forgotten that there was a traditional order of things not so long ago, and that in that era most people would have been shocked or appalled at what we now take for granted as the only normal way of doing things.

Anonymous said...

We are living today like in a communist country, where only close friends and trusted loved ones can know your real thoughts on matters, thoughts that happen to be true or at least reasonable, but which will have you labeled as an "enemy of the people." No shame in earning a living and being discrete, but the ulimate goal must be communities of the like-minded, independent wealth, and commitment to at least living in accordance with correct values.

Mark Richardson said...

No shame in earning a living and being discrete, but the ulimate goal must be communities of the like-minded, independent wealth, and commitment to at least living in accordance with correct values.

Anonymous, well put.

Anonymous said...

Uh...maybe the military is just using all the capable personell it can lay hands on? You yanked women out, you'd gut the army's infrastructure. Women are a big part of the military and removing them would leave the army severely understaffed. Besides, if the men that we're training to fight don't have the discipline to keep their desires in check, that's a problem that needs to be corrected on their end. Unless you think that having those hotheads around a bunch of enemy civilians is a good idea.