Friday, December 12, 2008

Feminism did not give us free speech; free speech made feminism possible

Feminism has been a running theme as of late on my blog, as you can tell.

I have lots of issues with feminism.

One of the issues I have is how feminists interpret history to their advantage, regardless of the facts.

To be fair, this is not a critique of feminist historians, although that could be the subject of another post.

It's about how feminists envision the past, as opposed to how feminist historians study the past.

In the mind of the average supporter of feminism, the period before the 1960's was a dark era in the history of the world, where women could do nothing of any significance. It was La grande noirceur.

Okay, I'm exaggerating, but feminists give that impression.

The message they want to project is: if it hadn't been for feminism, women couldn't do anything whatsoever.

And while it is true that women experienced many disadvantages, to say that women had no rights,or were not treated well, as an across-the-board generalization is simply not true.

I'll give you an example of the kind of comment you encounter when you talk about history with a feminist (or a feminist supporter).

In a conversation, I wrote:

"My right to free speech is the product of common law and a western tradition of being able to speak one's mind."

To which Gorgon replied:

And where do you think that common law and western tradition came from? It didn't just suddenly appear as from thin air, it came as a result of feminists, both men and women, who all came to an agreement over time that women were as much human beings as men and therefore had the same rights as men and helped get the tradition and the law implimented.

Actually, no.

The notion of free speech preceeded the feminist movement. Women were able to write and publish without any kind of legal penalty. Women were recognized as human beings. They had rights. Those rights were recognized in what might generally be termed a natural rights regime. It was based on the notion that people were born with these rights, and that they were inalienable.

Feminists did not invent the western tradition. They applied the western tradition to critique the social and political status of women.

And that's a legitimate thing to do.

It's once feminists began to abandon that natural rights framework, and started to adopt marxism, socialism and post-modernism that it began to go off the rails.

Because they began to redefine what rights are; what the problems are in society, and what the solutions should be.

All this was possible because feminism is an outgrowth of the western tradition. I am not going to say that feminists made no contribution to this western tradition. However, I will say that the feminists of today are destroying it by trying to "subvert it" and rejecting its principles left, right, and centre.