Thoughts on Women and the Draft, Freedom Edition

Per her usual fine form, Judgybitch has a real humdinger of a rant this morning, in which she launches the following hypothesis as her daily salvo in the Mommy Wars:

Men have an obligation to die for the State.  If women are to truly be equal, they also have an obligation to the State

  1. the continuation of humanity dictates that women’s responsibility is to bear children…
  2. and those who don’t, but who call for equality can satisfy Duty by being forcibly registered for the Draft, just as men are.

 That’s a fine turnabout contra the sort of woman who engages in Women’s Lib, Heinlein Style:

“Whenever women have insisted on absolute equality with men, they have invariably wound up with the dirty end of the stick. What they are and what they can do makes them superior to men, and their proper tactic is to demand special privileges, all the traffic will bear. They should never settle merely for equality. For women, “equality” is a disaster.” — Robert Heinlein

….which is to say, the vast majority of modern feminists.  Which is weird, b/c most feminists are pro-female-sexuality, and Heinlein was, too, so that apparently made him a dinosaur of The Patriarchy.

For a sexy secret agent type she’s surprisingly into children and puppies.

For some background, in my history classes I used to cover liberty and equality issues in the rise of the New Left extensively, and when I did so, I often contrasted the founding documents of the National Organization for Women with those of the Redstockings.  Now, over time, NOW became largely indistinguishable, but any literate perusal of these documents demonstrates that they had very, VERY different societies in mind.  Of course, that didn’t last —

NOTICE: This is a historic document, which was adopted at NOW’s first National Conference in Washington, D.C. on October 29, 1966. The words are those of the 1960s, and do not reflect current language or NOW’s current priorities.

But that was inevitable.  If you tried to make this argument from NOW’s founding today, you’d be laughed out of divorce court:

WE REJECT the current assumptions that a man must carry the sole burden of supporting himself, his wife, and family, and that a woman is automatically entitled to lifelong support by a man upon her marriage, or that marriage, home and family are primarily woman’s world and responsibility — hers, to dominate — his to support.

Try that on Home & Garden TV and see how far that gets you.  At the end of the day, the interests of those pursuing equality inevitably wind up being unequal.  Unequal between urban and rural, unequal between upper-middle-class and working-class, unequal between different kinds of women.  We’re not even branching out to the sausage-and-cherries crowd yet (but hold on, that’s coming).  Actual legal equality died, not because it was squished by The Patriarchy, but because, to feminists’ horror, it was opposed by other women.

And one of the reasons it went down in flames was that women didn’t want to be subject to the draft.  As Schlafly said, “foxholes are awful places,” and so are armored troop transports; the realities of war often fall far short of its glorious stereotypes. 

I served in the 2003 invasion of Iraq as a Marine infantry squad leader. We rode into war crammed in the back of amphibious assault vehicles. They are designed to hold roughly 15 Marines snugly; due to maintenance issues, by the end of the invasion we had as many as 25 men stuffed into the back. Marines were forced to sit, in full gear, on each other’s laps and in contorted positions for hours on end. That was the least of our problems.

The invasion was a blitzkrieg. The goal was to move as fast to Baghdad as possible. The column would not stop for a lance corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, or even a company commander to go to the restroom. Sometimes we spent over 48 hours on the move without exiting the vehicles. We were forced to urinate in empty water bottles inches from our comrades.

Many Marines developed dysentery from the complete lack of sanitary conditions. When an uncontrollable urge hit a Marine, he would be forced to stand, as best he could, hold an MRE bag up to his rear, and defecate inches from his seated comrade’s face.

During the invasion, we wore chemical protective suits because of the fear of chemical or biological weapon attack. These are equivalent to a ski jumpsuit and hold in the heat. We also had to wear black rubber boots over our desert boots. On the occasions the column did stop, we would quickly peel off our rubber boots, desert boots and socks to let our feet air out.

Due to the heat and sweat, layers of our skin would peel off our feet. However, we rarely had time to remove our suits or perform even the most basic hygiene. We quickly developed sores on our bodies.

When we did reach Baghdad, we were in shambles. We had not showered in well over a month and our chemical protective suits were covered in a mixture of filth and dried blood. We were told to strip and place our suits in pits to be burned immediately. My unit stood there in a walled-in compound in Baghdad, naked, sores dotted all over our bodies, feet peeling, watching our suits burn. Later, they lined us up naked and washed us off with pressure washers.

Now, I don’t know a lot of folks who think that sounds like a great time on the job, but I’m more sanguine about how women would handle that; our brothers-in-arms are more than capable of looking out for their sisters-in-arms.  Ooorah is a wonderful thing. 

Ready and willing to demonstrate what “hits like a girl” REALLY means.

But having been in a classroom, I’m not surprised by that this was an issue.  My classes were discussion-based, and I used to take a survey about the ERA:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification

Full legal equality would mean absolutely no special priveleges for any sex.   And what happened, time after time after time, is that when the votes came in, most of the men voted for full legal equality.  Most of the women, almost-invariably including those who’d been most gung-ho in approving of the feminist documents we read in class, would vote against.

Equality was great, but being subject to the draft, losing the presumption of custody in divorce, suffering equal prosecution for equivalent crimes (aka, the presumption that woman-on-man violence should be more tolerated than the reverse), etc etc etc, all examples raised by the women voting no, were too precious to give up.

In a nutcase, the problem with being equal is that once you’re equal, you’re no longer special.

In forty-some years of pushing air between my teeth, I’ve yet to meet a single woman who doesn’t want to be special.

That one on the left is a lion tamer! Cool!

And that’s cool.

Where I have to part ways, and part ways HARD with Judgybitch, though, is where she takes this.  Because while her rant  is a lot of fun and has some good nuggets in it, it’s a little bit too close to this for my comfort:

Yeah.  The “etacratic” or statist gender model:  sons must die for the State.  Mothers must provide sons to die for the State (or, be awesome with tractors).  And that comes with problems.

First off, I don’t like the idea that people exist for the state.  I like the idea that people exist for themselves, and that their responsibilities are to each other, not to a government.  But second… what about when the State needs, not Mothers, but Factory Workers?  Well, then it’s not sterility that gets demonized, but living and working in the home.  As a staunch advocate of women having and pursuing choices, Judgybitch isn’t going to like where this leads.  In Russia, it lead to catastrophic population decline.  While the Russians have turned that around lately, it hasn’t been by harping on “duty,” but by providing material incentives and supports for having children.

Meanwhile, we have Selective Service, but the Draft, aka “military slavery,” and it’s not coming back.  Here, again, not surprisingly, I tend to agree with Heinlein:

I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!

One of the reasons it’s not coming back is that volunteer militaries kick ass.  Even the Russians have finally had to admit this, and are slowly and gradually fumbling towards a way of achieving this (though it’ll go better once they stop hazing their recruits to death).  If there’s one way to watch a birthrate go straight into the toilet, build a society in which people are culturally and intellectually subservient to the State.

Also, they have toilet monsters.

We don’t owe our lives to the State (or to citizenship, its shorthand); our duties as free people are too each other, and those who fail to have children already pay a high price:  extinction. 

If you don’t have kids, you don’t get to shape the mores of the people who come after you.  There’s already a term for this in US social politics:  the Roe Effect.  Pace Levine’s rebuttal and a lot of electoral silliness in 2012, you can already see the effects.  The two dominant issues that indicate “solidly socially liberal” are being pro-abortion, and pro-gay-marriage.  And guess what?  The US has drifted slowly towards societal acceptance of gay marriage, with significant increases in public support as GenX and GenY has reached adulthood.  Abortion?  Not so much:  fullbore support for abortion has trended up since the mid-70s, but during the same period as gay marriage has gradually become much more accepting of homosexual and lesbian marriage, the number of people identifying as “pro-choice” has dropped significantly — while support for repealing Roe vs. Wade is quite low, the same social shift has not occurred.

And the Roe Effect suggests, quite simply, that it’s because if your kid’s dead, that’s a kid who’s not going on to describe the pro-dead-kid position to society.  Whereas it’s now publicly acceptable to say “hey, my Dad found out I was gay and threw me out on the street with a five-dollar bill because he was afraid I’d ‘infect my family.’ ” Heard this one on the radio this morning, and wanted to throw up.  In the face of horror stories like that, society’s said “hey, you know, maybe this isn’t the bugbear of an issue we collectively thought it was.”  People will, naturally, disagree on the issue, but even the hard-core opponents will admit that Daddy Dearest there was wayyyy beyond the pale.

I know a lot of people who are choosing not to have kids.  That strikes me as functionally insane, but it’s not my choice to make; the payoff is apparently worth the cost for these folks.  That doesn’t mean that society will end; it means that humanity will gradually select for people who will have kids even if abortion is the “practical” choice because the economy sucks — lots and lots of single mothers are going that way, in spite of Margaret Sanger’s love-affair with racist, tyrannical eugenics.

So we don’t really need a societal yardstick which says “you must do X, or else do Y,” even as a rant.  At the end of the day, we’re already going to be “punished” for whatever we did or didn’t do — the inevitable consequences of our actions are inescapable.  And in that, man or woman, soldier or civilian, we all very much equal.

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