Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The paradox of "liberation"

I'm just going to post something short here -- something I've been mulling over for a few days now and will likely mull some more (I've got spices for that, you know!). Religious feminism (in one incarnation aka Egalitarianism) seeks liberation from the norms of sexual orthodoxy. Now, I know that is a new term for some, but it is really only what the Church has always and everywhere taught regarding how the sexes are to relate. The funny thing about that is, it often turns out to be not so liberating after all. Chesterton said that when you get rid of the big laws, they are replaced with small laws. Roger Kimball had something similar to say in the New Criterion (/1/26/05):

The demand for excessive freedom is a curious thing. Born in wholesale rebellion against restraint, it grows up erecting its own restraints -- often harsher and more irrational than those it intended to replace.

The curious thing about Christian sexual orthodoxy is not its restraint, but the liberty you have once you choose to live within its bounds. For more on this:



alaiyo said...

Mary Wollstonecraft, in _A Vindication of the Rights of Woman_ (later 19th century), notes that the education of women at that time, based on rules of conduct instead of principles of living, left women superficial and incapable of thinking for themselves to know how to act in any situation not covered directly by the plethora of rules.

Michael said...

I agree that people who will not govern themselves with self-restraint will end up having restraint forced upon them by government.

I also think that feminism exists due to artificial government sanction, in some sense keeping men cowed/off balance so women can advance and exert more power.

But I think when society itself sees anarchy and license as virtues, then little restraint is ever imposed. [Frankly, I think much of the catastrophic economic failures we've been seeing lately reflects something of our lax morality: unwise choices --due to no self-restraint-- at all levels of society from individual homebuyers to gigantic insurance companies, but that is a different subject.]

There used to be endless rules of proper conduct between the sexes, as Beth has referred to. We've come so far beyond that that I'd just be overjoyed if we could have an occasional woman charged with indecent exposure once in awhile. Instead of that happening, though, the men would be charged with sexual harassment for saying anything negative.

> The curious thing about Christian sexual orthodoxy is not its restraint, but the liberty you have once you choose to live within its bounds.

Agreed. Modesty, for example, many [even Chritian] women see as an intolerable restraint, but it is a liberation. The immodest ones are the slaves.