Tuesday, August 24, 2010

-On the Eve of the Vote

"Women have been set free to be Bucchantes. They have been set tree to be virgin martyrs; they have been set free to be witches. Do not ask them now to sink so low as the higher culture." -All Things Considered

"When society is in rather a futile fuss about the subjection of women, will no one say how much every man owes to the tyranny and privilege of women, to the fact that they alone rule education until education becomes futile? For a boy is only sent to be taught at school when it is too late to teach him anything. The real thing has been done already, and thank God it is nearly always done by women. Every man is womanized, merely by being born. They talk of the masculine woman; but every man is a feminized man. And if ever man walk to Westminster to protest against this female privilege, I shall not join their procession."

I've been listening to GK Chesterton stuff for about 2 years. While he is often quotable for snippets or some great and wise word play he is tremendously sound in building upto it. That is one of the most striking things about his work. The quick quotes are capstones upon a well built wall. Rationale defined and assembled brick by brick, and tough to tear down.

After a getting through a few works with "huh, I never thought of that" or "that's a neat point" one concept caught my interest, he was generally opposed to the suffrage movement. He did not like the women's vote or much of the movement.
"Women shouldn't vote."

This seemed a VERY antiquated view. It's hard to believe anybody ever thought like that. Nobody thinks like that anymore.

I find Chesterton to actually be a liberal thinker bounded by the confines of logic and a general following of common sense. I at first tried to solve the maze of how he got to this without seeing the twisted path he took to such an odd conclusion. Odd by todays standards. He was many things but a good critic is one, if he didn't like an idea or culture; there was a reason. It was not from a disregard of women that he opposed the movement.

Chesterton starts by breaking down the role of the vote. Voting is to put a voice to the mob.
Mobs are generally 20 people deciding the guilty person needs punishment. Mobs are beneath women, and so is voting. It wasn't that women were incapable of pulling a lever or filling out a form. Or that that were not smart enough to make a good choice. He'd argue they'd make a better choice. But women hold such an esteemed role and position in society it should not be sullied with voting. Mobs are dirty work, voting is dirty work.

Not that women couldn't think or talk as political leaders either. Women in politics were putting themselves in the only stance where men were not afraid of them; a fighting stance.

Chesterton held women as a beautiful creation of the creator that was worthy of a high seat. Of a throne in society.

"To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area - deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area - providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle with a certain area - teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene: I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it." -What's Wrong with the World

It wasn't a matter of making women beneath men, it was a matter of still holding them above men.

Yup. Nobody thinks like that anymore.

1 comment:

  1. While I am glad I get to vote, I am saddened by the state of politics and sometimes wish I didn't have to worry about it.