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Monday, February 22, 2016

Drafting Egalitarians

There is dissension these days over the suggestion of requiring young women to register for Selective Service in America. It was a question asked of some of the candidates in a recent GOP debate. All three said they should register. Cruz wasn't asked, but later told an interviewer that he was opposed to it. Providence, A Journal of Christianity and American Foreign Policy (how those two things are stuck together I'm not sure), has an article about Women at War & the GOP and the (wrong) answers from the three who answered. The ERLC, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, calls it "Experimental barbarism". Joe Carter at the Gospel Coalition (TGC) has a brief overview of the situation. Many (most?) are up in arms about the notion of drafting women into combat.

I find it confusing, myself. Oh, mind you, I'm opposed to drafting women into combat. No question. But I'm opposed to putting women into combat. So if I was a candidate for president (I know, ridiculous ... thus, the "if") and was asked the question of whether women should be registered for Selective Service, my answer would have been a firm, "No ... nor should they be put in combat at all." And therein you find the confusion. Because, you see, saying that women should not be drafted is kind and caring, but saying that they should not be in combat is sexist. Thus, from a perspective of equality (meaning "same" or "fair"), if you're going to demand equal opportunity for women to go out and get killed in combat, you must also require equal opportunity for women to get drafted.

This, of course, is "too equal". Using a less contentious example, I was taught to open doors for ladies. Radical feminism made some women complain that I did so. On the other hand, they would also complain if I didn't. What was desired was "what I want when I want it", not actual equality. Equally so in this situation. They want to require that women be allowed to serve in combat positions if they desire because that would be "equality". But for the most part men don't get that option. They must serve in combat positions if they enlist or are drafted. Women want equality if it means voluntarily serving in these roles, but they don't want equality if it means being coerced (as men are) into these roles. And this isn't new. The military has always had different standards for men and for women. Men had to carry more, run farther, do dirtier work and so on. It was expected. Demand equal standards of men and women, and women would be up in arms. (Surely you could snicker at that pun, right?)

So, is it egalitarianism that is being sought, or is it "What I want when I want it"? Is equality in view or are some "more equal than others"1? I'm appalled that women are being admitted into combat roles because I have a higher view of women than that, but my view (stated like that) is now "sexist". On the other hand, it is equally offensive to argue that if men are drafted against their will, equality includes drafting women as well. On what grounds do the egalitarians argue otherwise? And "Oh, I know a gal who could certainly do the job" is not an answer. That's an aberration. We don't make policy based on the aberration. I don't see how it makes sense to put the best of humanity into the worst task that humanity has -- war. Conversely, I don't see how, having decided to do so, it can be argued that they shouldn't have the same standards and mandates that their male counterparts have. In this cry for equality, double standards seem to abound.
1 In George Orwell's Animal Farm, a satire of Communism where animals take over the farm and seek to bring about a utopian community, the animals discover that while "all animals are equal" supposedly, they're not all being treated equally, to which the leaders respond, "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."


David said...

The schizophrenia of our society strikes again. Forget what logic says, feelings matter most.

Stan said...

Would it confuse things if I said I feel you're right?

David said...

Probably, but that's the English language for you.

Craig said...

Well said. I guess if I was asked the question I'd have to say that if we are going to open up all roles in the military to women, then of course they should register for the draft.

But, I share your view that the question should be "Should women be in combat roles.". My answer to that would be an unqualified no. But I also believe that people bear responsibility for their choices and that if the choice is made to open up all combat roles to women then one logical result of that choice is that there is no reason to exclude women from selective service.

Of course you are right, what is being asked for is not equality, but the chance to express selfishness.