Chapter 14, Feminism
Reason: It is wrong to mistreat women.
Proposed Action: Fight people who mistreat women.
From the SF Chronicle:
"A slender, black-haired girl is dragged in a headlock through a braying mob of men. Within seconds, she is on the ground in a fetal position, covering her head in her arms in a futile attempt to fend off a shower of stones. Someone slams a concrete block onto the back of her head. A river of blood oozes from beneath her long, tangled hair. The girl stops moving, but the kicks and the rocks keep coming, as do the victorious shouts of the men delivering them."
Some dive bar in Alabama? A shopping mall in Montana? Not quite. It's in Iraq.
So how is the West responding?
"Well, I heard the seventeen-year old chick's uncle wanted her killed and he was a Yazidi which is a type of Kurd and I'm not saying this is right or anything, but if Sadam Hussein were still in power, he'd be gassing off the Kurds and maybe this wouldn't have happened. . .so you gotta ask yourself, isn't this really America's fault in a lot of ways?"
Not quite. If Sadam Hussein were still in power, she would have been killed anyway for being a Kurd. This is the diseased babble that can only flourish in an Age Without Reason, which is where you and I live.
Reason has told us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But in this day and age, it's not the smartest, deepest, sexiest distance with the greatest chance of getting on TV, winning an academy award, or even receiving a diploma. Instead of going from A to B, the Age Without Reason goes from A to Z to D to 14 to P to pl to 007 to 1984 and THEN to B.
Dinosaurs like myself who enjoy the convenience of simply going from A to B arrive at the same conclusion as these acrobats of mental gymnastics. We both arrive at B. That is, we can both at least utter the following truth: "It is NOT a good thing when a seventeen-year old girl is beaten to death publicly." Regardless, they still have mentally travelled a good deal further than you or I have. Like one of those Family Circus footprint maps, they've been under the swingset, into and out of the school, up the flagpole, and around and around the basketball court.
We might say, "Gosh, what took you so long to get here?" Perhaps we laugh politely at their folly and explain for future reference that there's a nice little shortcut via common sense. And then we shake hands and laugh at the craziness of it all and finally get a little bit of that long sought-after world peace once Logic and Reason impose themselves again on the misguided minds of our present age.
This would be nice, but it's difficult to accomplish for two reasons:
1) The misguided minds are often assholes. They go through this whole slippery, winding, pointless path of trying to figure out who owned the company that purchased the steel that went to make the weapons that were used by America and then later sold to another corporation which had ties with big oil in Iraq which had a population of Kurds like the ones that stoned this girl to death. And then they stick their noses in the air and, with a haughty huff, utter the most inane of modern refrains, "So who's really doing the killing?"
This doesn't provide us with much of a psychological impetus to patiently explain to them the values of possessing good, strong common sense.
2) Not to mention that the subject matter these days is graver than ever. This isn't a disagreement over the concept of "art for art's sake" or whether or not the canon of classical literature is exclusionary in its selection. It's a simple question: "How do you personally feel about a culture that would sanction the public stoning of a girl who wouldn't even be old enough to vote in America just because she married outside of her religion/sect?" The answer should be clear. Unfortunately, it's not for many people.
I used to think multiculturalism just wanted to make us stupid. I never dreamed it wanted to murder us, too.
For those of us who haven't travelled as far in arriving at point B from point A, our heads aren't necessarily cluttered with the mundane rhetoric of past American atrocities and really important essays on the relationship of big oil to US foreign policy when it comes to the question of what to do with the motherfucking scumbag cocksuckers that would publicly beat to death a seventeen year old girl.
You kill them.
You kill all of them you can. And you do not apologize for killing. And you do not form "human rights commissions" to examine the statistics. And you definitely do not look for root causes in the larger geopolitical sphere for why these backwards people are so goddamn murderous. You do not pin the blame on Christians from the 1100s, Americans from the 1800s, or Jews from the 1890s to the present.
You pin it on the slimy cocksuckers with the cinderblocks; you pin it on the drooling pigs shouting with glee as a young girl's life slips away; you pin it on the psychotic dark-ages imams who sanction it from the mosques; and you may even have to pin it on any religion that has yet to go through a), a reformation, b) a renaissance, and c) an enlightenment.
If you really believe in helping the poor, backwards, ignorant and "exploited" people of Iraq, why not start by offering them the individuality and the freedom essential to helping themselves? Primarily, the concept of choice. If America and Israel and the West and Christianity and Big Oil and, lest we forget, George W. Bush, are truly to blame for everything wrong in the Middle East--then there is no choice. As impossible as it sounds, we have now "understood" the motivations of the murderous mob.
They become the EFFECT. We become the CAUSE. This is the crux of modern morality--which cleverly calls itself "ethics" so as not to piss anyone off.
On the other hand, using common sense, we travel very quickly from A to B and arrive at moral decision. In this case, A) We don't believe in mistreatment of women, therefore B) We will fight with whatever means--INCLUDING VIOLENCE--to prevent women from being mistreated. We regard this as a moral obligation, an objective moral truth, a moral universal, a moral absolute.
(You don't hear the word "moral" too much in my circles. It's considered an "unethical" word.)
Ethics are different. Postmodern ethics, to be specific. In the classical sense, ethics and morality were not the mutually exclusive terms they are in the Age Without Reason. Postmodern ethics involves beginning at point A and then embarking on a circuitous road of cherry-picked history, cultural relativism, political appeasement, and bumper stickers. By the time postmodern ethics arrive at point B, it's employed cherry-picked history to equate the Crusades (1095 a.d.-1291 a.d.) with fundamentalist Islamic-sanctioned honor killings (652 a.d.-present); it's used cultural relativism to both chastise America's involvement in Iraq and excuse cracking a young girl's skull open on the streets; and because of these, they are now physically, mentally, and morally weakened enough to accept the possibility of NEVER fighting for ANY cause whatsoever and therefore engage in the penultimate act of political appeasement--a heavily stigmatized term (especially following the years 1939-1945) which now goes under the slightly more appealing labels of "multiculturalism", "interfaith dialogue", and "bipartisan efforts".
Following this is the quintessential ethical statement of our times. What do you get for going over the river and through the woods mentally when it would be so much easier to--at the very least--simply HATE the people that would smash a cinderblock over a 17-year old girl's head? After the cherry-picked history, the cultural relativism, and the political appeasement, how can you make a difference in the lives of young Iraqi women who might want to shed their cultural shackles once and for all? What can we, as the freest nation on earth do to improve the quality of life the world over? We make an ETHICAL STATEMENT!
We put a bumper sticker on our car. Things like: "9-11 Was An Inside Job", "Buck Fush", "Mean People Suck"
Or, if we're brave, "There Is No Excuse For Domestic Violence".
Or, braver than that, "There Is No Excuse For Honor Killings."
Or, braver still, "There Is No Excuse For Islamic-Sanctioned Honor Killings"
"Nah, I don't want to upset anybody's ethnic sensitivities or anything like that. I think I'll stick with 'Hatred Is NOT A Family Value'. That's not so specific. Anyway, people might think I'm talking about Christian America. It's a win-win situation. Where's my iPod, by the way. . .I gotta get down to Victoria's Secret to boycott their Israeli-made bras."
But when you just go from point A to point B, your head and heart are clear. Clear enough to utterly despise one way of life as opposed to another. Clear enough to recognize your own way of life as superior over another. Clear enough to choose one instead of another. Discriminating thought--(a term even more troubling to some than "morality")--is, after all, the basis of Western Civilization, for it is the bedrock of human(e) reason.
For the misguided minds, it is the length of their journey, the prodigious acrobatics they have performed in order to arrive at point B from point A. The extent of their convolution is directly proportional to their own sense of ethics. For example, if they believe that a missile was fired at the Pentagon and the passengers from United 93 actually survived and were ushered away by government agents simply because a 22-year old kid who made a movie on a laptop said so--they can then regard themselves as more "ethical" than somebody who might suggest that radical Islam might have played a bigger factor on that day.
They do this because theirs are the misguided minds that shape the colorless blob that is the Age Without Reason. An entire population no longer possessing the basic human attributes of Rational Thought.
Reason dictates our morality. Our morality, shaped by our reason, says we should hate people who would religiously sanction the stoning of a young girl. We should fight people who would religiously sanction the stoning of a young girl. And if we have to, we will also kill people who would religiously sanction the stoning of a young girl.
And while you're at it, smile as you're killing. You're doing a good thing--not just for the cause of feminism, but for freedom from religious tyranny, for freedom itself, for justice, and--ultimately--for peace.
It's no big mystery, if anyone would like to take a quick excursion from point A to point B right now: Any culture in 2007 that would sanction the public stoning of a teenage girl for the crime of apostasy, would probably not respond effectively to Logic and Reason anyway.
And that is one of the great perks of living in an Age of Reason: Knowing at what point reason can accomplish no more. If you cannot reach this point, you can never be a person of reason. No matter how many platitudes of "let's just try reasoning with these people" you may utter. It doesn't matter how many historical connections you establish, it doesn't matter what ethnic and religious sensitivities you're trying to respect, none of this matters. If you cannot envision the truth that your reasoning powers must encompass the possibility that certain peoples at certain points in time cannot be reasoned with, you are utterly insane.
And therefore cannot be reasoned with.