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Friday, 30 November 2007
Larry's circular argument

Condoleezza Rice has been pretty useless as a Secretary of State, no doubt about it. So it was only a matter of time before Lawrence Auster said that she was useless because she's a woman. Plenty of useless Secretaries of State have been men, but that doesn't matter. Jack Straw was a useless - and disgustingly anti-Israel - Foreign Secretary. Last I looked, he was a man. Doesn't matter.

Useless things Rice has been saying include:

"I know what it is like to hear to that you cannot go on a road or through a checkpoint because you are Palestinian," she said. "I understand the feeling of humiliation and powerlessness."

"There is pain on both sides. This has gone on too long."

A reader then points out that the first person to say "I feel your pain" was Bill Clinton. Yep, he's a man. Ah, says Auster, but that's because he's a man acting like a woman. You see, since women got all uppity and got the vote and went into politics, men have got all feminised.

And leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir? They were not women as such, at least not politically - they were acting like men, that's why they were so good. Stands to reason. And you can't generalise from two women. Well you can if they're useless, but not if they're good.

Ironically, radical feminists used to say that Margaret Thatcher wasn't really a woman. Auster is in good company.

So let's sum up: a woman can't be as good as a man in politics because if she is she's like a man, so it doesn't count.  And a man can't be as bad as a woman in politics, because if he is he's like a woman so it doesn't count.

With his circular argument, Larry has made me all dizzy. But then I'm only a girly, so what do you expect?

Cue Henry Higgins:

Posted on 11/30/2007 4:50 AM by Mary Jackson
30 Nov 2007
Send an emailMary Jackson

My objection to the generalising is not that it is unfair or illiberal, but that it is circular and illogical.

There?have been?very few women in positions of such power as Rice. Let's name some: Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Queen Elizabeth I. Now it is as (il)logical to generalise from those three to all women as it is to generalise from Rice. But no. Their strengh is not generalised. It is instead interpreted to mean that they are "like men".

Clinton, as one of your readers pointed out, was the first to say "I feel your pain." But no general conclusions about men are drawn from this. Instead, his words are seen as (a) the exception that proves the rule, (b) like a woman would say.

George Bush spouted sentimental tosh after September 11 about Muslim "moms and dads". No concusions are drawn from this sentimental, personalising of a policy matter about men's suitablity for positions of leadership.

My problem is that the same actions and words are interpreted differently when they come from a man and from a woman. A bad male leader is only a bad leader. A bad female leader proves that all women are bad leaders. A good female leader doesn't really exist - she's a man.

This is, as it happens, unfair. But it is also irrational, illogical and plain silly.

30 Nov 2007
Send an emailLawrence Auster
Mary Jackson, always thinking like a liberal in terms of individuals and of the imperative to avoid unfair generalizations, remains uncomprehending of my point. I did not say that Rice as an individual is silly because she's a woman. I said (1) that there are differences between men and women that matter, (2) that the specific kind of silliness Rice exhibits is something that is characteristic of women, not men, and (3) that this kind of silliness would not have been seen in politics prior to the entry and ever-increasing influence of women in politics. Does this mean that men are politically wise? No. It means that the female influence in politics adds an additional layer of silliness that was not there before. And the more influential females are, meaning the more free women feel to manifest their female nature in political life and political office, the worse this silliness will become.