Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Women's Rights

The world is a little poorer now. Last week, after putting up a good fight against cancer, one of my neighbor's took her last breath. Petite. Gracious. Soft spoken, but very determined. Always with a twinkle in her eye. She was a gentle but persistent advocate of education for girls and women. A 50-year member of the American Association of University Women, she convinced me to attend a few lectures sponsored by the local chapter. The lectures were given by independent accomplished women. Interesting. Informative. Enjoyable.

Mickey had warned me that many in the group support political ideas she did not. (Both she and her husband are staunch believers in limited government.) The national office of AAUW promotes the use of government force to implement their platforms: lobbying for funding and the passage of special interest laws. The local chapter, however, raises money through voluntary donations to provide scholarships for girls. The Local Scholarship program was my neighbor's favorite project and the day before she died, I learned part of the reason why. Visiting with her husband while he kept vigil in the Comfort Care section of the hospital, he told me how Mickey had put herself through college. Her parents had refused to help because they wanted her to simply marry and have children. This was not her vision for herself, so she worked and paid her own way. Quite an accomplishment for anyone, but even more remarkable for a single woman over 60 years ago.

When I read today's TIA Daily, I thought of her. She appreciated the fact that, in this country, she was free to work for giving girls a better chance through higher education because we have already respect and protect women's rights as individuals.

Women's rights and the treatment of women are a profound measure of the progress of a civilization, for a reason that modern feminists will not necessarily acknowledge: because women are the weaker sex. I mean that women are physically weak relative to men, who are on average much larger and stronger, with a far more developed musculature. Thus, the treatment of women in a society is a revealing measure of that society's attitude toward physical force.

In a society where might makes right, where the rule of brute force has been thoroughly unleashed, women are always the first victims. Even the poorest and meanest man, the guy on the lowest rung who is oppressed by others above him who are bigger and stronger—even he can find one person he is still able to dominate and oppress: a woman, whether it is his mother, his wife, or his daughter. And he will oppress her—if the oppression of others by force is the accepted norm of the society he lives in. For examples, look to the Muslim world with its "honor" killings, arranged marriages, sexual segregation, and special restrictions on the travel and attire of women.

This is a complete contrast to the kind of society in which force is subordinated to morality. A society in which a woman can do whatever she wants without fear is a society in which the physically weak can rely on being protected from the physically strong. In fact, in a civilized society the physically weak feel safe because of the physically strong. The mark of such a society is a sense of chivalry—the idea that a man's superior physical strength is properly used to protect rather than to dominate, to serve the cause of justice and freedom rather than to assert arbitrary power over others. -Robert Trasinski, TIA Daily 04-07-09 "Women's Rights as a Measure of Civilization"

Life. Liberty. Property and the pursuit of happiness--for all. Men and women. Weak and strong.
Establish these, and we all can flourish and pursue our dreams.
Thank you, Mickey, for a life well lived. For your spark of light which brightened the world with its determined benevolence. You will be missed.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great tribute - thanks for sharing Beth!

- cfc