Last Tuesday Democratic Senators Edward Kennedy and Barbara Boxer resurrected the long-forgotten Equal Rights Amendment and then anointed it with a new name: the Women’s Equality Amendment.
And no coincidence, the very next day presidential candidate Hillary Clinton accepted an endorsement from the National Organization for Women. Seeking to deflect criticism over the move, Mrs. Clinton explained, “If you look in the dictionary, the word feminist means someone who believes in equal rights for women.”
So in the true Clintonian spirit, let’s parse the meaning of that elusive word, “equal.”
To most Americans, “equality” means granting persons the same opportunities to prosper and succeed. But the Lefties have something entirely different in mind. It was François-Noël Babeuf, the colorful agitator from the French Revolution, who gave rise to the artful ruse.
Babeuf, who organized the famed Conspiracy of Equals, painted his vision of an egalitarian utopia that would “organize a communal regimen which will suppress private property, … require each to deposit the fruits of his labor in kind at the common store, and establish an agency for the distribution of basic necessities.”
To achieve that goal, “Society must be made to operate in such a way that it eradicates once and for all the desire of a man to become richer, or wiser, or more powerful than others,” Babeuf explained.
It was that ideal that later inspired Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. And of course that tome later provided the framework for the modern-day women’s liberation movement.
That’s why feminists think of equality in terms of identical outcomes. Case in point is Hillary’s bogus claim about the “gender wage gap.” What better way to consolidate your political base than to point the finger of blame at the patriarchy? That’s a lot easier than telling the truth that women simply prefer to work shorter hours and shoulder less hazardous jobs than men.
That obsession with the genderless society also lies behind the drive to impose a quota-driven interpretation of Title IX on America’s colleges. As a result, over 2,000 men’s sports teams have been forced to shut down.
But even the absurd has its limits, so the Gender Warriors have come up with several variations on the theme. Let’s count the ways:
1. Women’s libbers favor an a la carte concept of equality that disconnects rights from responsibilities. For example, what’s stopping Senators Kennedy, Boxer, and Clinton from introducing a bill that would require all young American women to register for the military draft? The modern-day Rosie the Riveters can be assigned to stateside and non-combatant roles—that way they can really support the troops.
2. The rad-fems often think of equality as a one-way street. Look how they changed the name from the sex-neutral Equal Rights Amendment, which implies that men might also benefit, to the boys-stay-away title, Women’s Rights Amendment. But why shouldn’t men also be beneficiaries of equality? Why not give dads a fair shake at winning shared custody of their kids?
3. Feminists turn the meaning of equality on its head. Take health care, where men have long lagged women on longevity and every other measure of health status. But feminists have conveniently ignored that fact, claiming we need to make women more “equal” than men by creating a multi-billion dollar women’s health industry.
The Marxist dream of a classless society overlooks the reality that persons differ in their abilities, skills, and motivation. Which explains why every country founded on the collectivist ideal has eventually turned into an economic disaster or totalitarian nightmare.
Remember the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror when thousands who perished under the guillotine’s blade? Think of the Soviet Union, Communist China’s Cultural Revolution, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. And now Venezuela—the list goes on and on.
Likewise, the notion of a genderless society ignores the fact that men and women are constitutionally different. My investment advisor tells me that men tend to invest in go-go stocks, while women seek out safe but under-performing bonds. The reason is not exactly earth-shattering: Men are inclined to be risk-takers, while women yearn for financial security.
The lessons of the last 30 years prove that as a society accedes to the feminist vision of gender equality, families come under siege and single-parent households become the norm. The fabric of the social order is frayed. Men become marginalized and women distraught.
So given all the hidden agendas that come with the Hillary Clinton’s notion of “equal rights,” it’s not enough to state that the Women’s Rights Amendment is simply superfluous. It’s time to declare that imposing a Marxist vision of gender equality on our society is a perilous flirtation with social hari-kari.
Carey Roberts is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance (www.thenma.org) is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.