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It’s Time to Consider Keeping Women Out Of Government

It’s Time to Consider Keeping Women Out Of Government

How’s that for a controversial headline?

To be totally honest, keeping women out of politics — because they are women — is not the sort of thing I would have considered even a month ago. I’d heard the idea floated in certain circles, but I never really took it seriously until now. Government always seemed primarily to be a function of national management, and as a rule, women make as good managers as men — if not better.

And then came this Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez livestream.

Cortez essentially recounts the riot of January 6th, and describes hiding in her office from protesters who she fears might very well kill her. In the end, a man does enter her office, and she is momentarily convinced that this is the end. Fortunately for her, it turns out the man is a police officer, trying to find her in order to protect her from potential violence, though she still describes this protector in fearful language:

It didn’t feel right. Because he was looking at me with a tremendous amount of anger and hostility. Things weren’t adding up.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

She also alluded to previous sexual violence in her own past.

Watching this video — and, especially, watching the response to it — now has me convinced that we should start weighing the benefits and costs of permitting women to run for political office.

The problem is not that women are incapable — almost the opposite. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is probably among the most talented politicians in America today. She has all of Obama’s pop-culture knowledge and internet marketing skills, combined with Trump’s knack for toeing the line of public acceptability, with an apparent budding tendency toward triangulation that would make Bill Clinton proud.

But what makes her so especially competent — and dangerous — is simply that she is a woman.

Women have a super-power over men, which is that men — as a group — feel a kind of instinct to protect women. This is in addition to their sexuality, which Christopher Hitchens observed in Margaret Thatcher:

In her livestream, Ocasio-Cortez presents herself smiling and casual, complete with a sweater and austere background… like a girlfriend skyping you from her hostel room across the state. It’s a strangely intimate medium. She even accidentally knocks the camera over at one point.

Presented on a national scale, this combination of sexuality and vulnerability short-circuits rational decision-making, and overpowers whatever theoretical ideals men may have about leaders leading from the front and sharing the risk they impose upon their subjects. Historically, kings and other leaders derived their legitimacy from this kind of risk-taking and risk-sharing. Interestingly enough, one of the best examples of this kind of sentiment came from a woman — specifically, Queen Elizabeth:

My loving people, we have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety to take heed how we commit ourself to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but I assure you, I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear. I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safe guard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects, and therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all, to lay down my life for my God and for my kingdom and for my people, my honour, and my blood, even in the dust.

Queen Elizabeth, 1588

But how could a woman — especially a woman who holds such a patriotic sentiment! — truly share that risk? What man in that army wouldn’t have given his own life, or even the life of his fellow soldiers, to preserve such a woman in the face of danger?

Government is the monopoly of violence, and politicians wield this violence. Political legitimacy is the right to wield this weighty weapon through legitimacy, which is traditionally earned by sharing in the risks that they impose upon others.

This is why war-mongering sounds more compelling from Dan Crenshaw than it does from Ben Shapiro.

I’d fight for Dan Crenshaw. Maybe even in a war we didn’t need to be in.

I couldn’t say the same for Ben.

It is the blessing of women that they receive a unique degree of protection from society at large. Men hate seeing women in danger. Perhaps this is why the vast majority of the homeless, the incarcerated, and those who die at work are men. But this blessing comes at a cost, which is that women cannot realistically take on their share in risk which would justify legitimate political power.

The subject of Ocasio-Cortez’ livestream was the January 6 riot, and the last month of political debate has been whether or not then-president Trump “incited” this riot. Yet as Rand Paul observed, Democrats have been inciting violence for the past year. Alongside Bernie Sanders, Maxine Waters, and Kamala Harris, Ocasio-Cortez has been among the leading democratic congressmen to incite Antifa and BLM riots all through 2020, resulting in millions of dollars in property damage and dozens of deaths.

Because Ocasio-Cortez is a young and relatively attractive woman, she gets a pass, compared to Trump.

President Trump crossed the DMZ in Korea, alone. This was treated with a casual nod: “yep, that’s what a leader does–next story.”

What kind of adulation would AOC have received if she had done merely what was expected of a male leader?

Would she have even been allowed?

Would she have even known that that kind of action is expected of a national leader?

Given that she hid in a closet and took running shoes from her intern, my guess is no. She didn’t know that that is what is expected of a leader. She didn’t know that that is what is required of a legitimate political leader, armed with the violent power of the state. And she would never be willing to take on that responsibility.

Worse, the public would never let her take on that risk.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knows that.

That’s what this livestream was all about.

Interestingly, a woman did die on January 6th. But it was a protester, not a politician. Scott Adams has speculated that perhaps the decision to shoot a woman was intentional: a man dying is just war, and might even fire up the crowd. But a woman dying causes everyone around her bleeding corpse to question their entire life. It’s an energy siphon — a woman died.

The influence that AOC wields is incredible. Maybe even she doesn’t realize how powerful she is — but she will. And if “our democracy” continues on its current trajectory, there will be more like her. Perhaps Sarah Palin the “MILF” was the prototype in America, just as Hitchens observed that Thatcher had an element of this power in Britain. Lauren Boebert is a potential candidate for this archetype as well.

But none of them are as skillful as AOC.

The attractive female-politican short-circuits the sort of rational thinking that is assumed as a prerequisite for democracy to work. It hijacks the male protective instinct in a way that necessarily and inevitably leads to more centralized protection of the state and its attractive and vulnerable leaders. White knights will fall over themselves to die in defense of “m’lady.” If political legitimacy has to do with shared risk, then female politicians — in their appearance of vulnerability — seem to undermine the very grounds for political legitimacy of our leaders.

And no one can stop them.

If she can mobilize this, there’s no stopping her.

Christopher Hitchens

I can imagine a feminist retorting that men should just stop treating women differently, should simply be okay with women risking death in battle or political assassination. But that just isn’t going to happen. You can’t philosophize away the evolutionary pressure of the reproductive value of women. That’s an instinct that overpowers reason every single time.

No one knows that better than Ocasio-Cortez.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Now that is one provocatively interesting article that punches right at the heart of the felt inequality between men and women! I am a woman and to read this was an internal struggle but I must say – I enjoyed it. Perhaps I can say that I challenged my rationality to overcome my immediate emotional response. So, at least during peaceful times, this is possible (I presume both for men and women). But I agree with you on the point that we cannot philosophize away the deeply ingrained instincts. There was a reason, for instance, why historically women were not called to (or allowed in) armed conflicts, wars. The bare truth being that if enough women are killed, the community (or species at large) will die out. Then we dress this truth in various clothes, depending on the prioritized values of the time and place. Of course, we could argue for a potential all-women form of government where men are not allowed exactly because of their instinct to protect women that in this scenario would be perceived as the weakness of men. But for me, personally, it seems that the optimal solution is a mix. When a group consists of only men or only women there is a lack of this natural tension that exists when a group is mixed. The natural tension is not the simple competition of who is better, but rather it’s about efforts to impress pushing against the cooling of passions. Sure, this too can go wrong. But mistakes are not inherent to men or women, they are inherent to humans as such. Thanks again for your article!

    1. //The bare truth being that if enough women are killed, the community (or species at large) will die out.//

      Exactly. At root, the idea is that women are biologically more valuable than men. And in a free republic, being in office should be — at least potentially — dangerous, as with say construction. Cowards should not be in office, period, and some women are brave (Tulsi Gabbard comes to mind). But a woman in danger does something to men that erodes the necessary dynamic for democracy to work. Voters have to be okay with their elected officials taking on some personal risk. On a large scale, I’m not sure that’s possible for men if the elected official is a woman. They say that “freedom” is when leaders are afraid of their citizens, rather than vice-versa, and this requires the citizens wanting their leaders to be at least a little bit afraid. But what man could willfully impose that on someone who is (or claims to be) a rape survivor?

      1. Being in office us potentially dangerous in a free republic and very really dangerous in a less free one. However, I think that there are several things to take into account. First, if indeed men struggle so very much to “allow” women be in danger, then why should the logic be that it is women who should step away and free men of their uncomfortable feelings. This has been the underlying logic for a long time and has kept women from pursuing all sorts of activities, not just politics. The expectation of men being that women should behave in a way that makes it as easy as possible for men to keep the women safe. And if we follow this logic through to the end, then why stop at political careers? After all, what can be a better place to keep a woman as safe as possible than at home, with kids, preferably not stepping out of the house too much? Therefore, I think there is a risk in following this logic. And humanity has experience with that risk already. But another thing that I believe is important to keep in mind is that relationship between men and women are more complicated and nuanced than just this one instinctive drive. Furthermore, while instincts are an undeniably strong force, human beings are astonishingly culturally creative and adaptive creatures. This means that also our social order, how we select and what we expect from our leaders changes with time, these things are not static. And finally, one of the most powerful instincts is a survival instinct, survival of self. So if a man is ready to potentially sacrifice his life for a woman, this can be seen as him overcoming his own survival instinct and committing to something beyond himself. Some countries have used this, I believe, by arousing patriotism in their men in that they refer to their country as a “she”, a woman or a mother.

      2. Haha, all very good points.

        I think the only thing you say I want to address is the “men sacrificing themselves for women is overcoming the survival instinct” argument. A problem very like this one (suicide) inspired one of my other books — Letter to Anwei — where I argue that “we” are not best understood as individuals, but as expressions of a continuum, a genetic and cultural lineage, and that our instincts are not designed to favor us as individuals, but to favor the well-being of this line. People who live only for themselves are less healthy and less happy than those who love in an intergenerationally connected community. The “survival instinct” only prohibits self-sacrifice if one presupposes that the one seeking to survive is the individual, and not the line on whose behalf the individual acts, and for who the individual is merely an expression in the context of the time. In that broader context, sacrificing oneself for a woman might be as simple as a mathematical calculation for the broader group and the family.

  2. I found the specific idea that political legitimacy is tantamount to shared risk very interesting. Have you written about this elsewhere? Or do you know of anywhere I could read more on this idea? While this article was interesting, the question I’m left asking is what led to our current conceptions (however implicit they may be) of political legitimacy – which I would assume amounts to Locke’s consent of the governed – as a deviation from the more perennial conception of legitimacy as shared risk.

    1. I haven’t written about it before. Best explanation from a current writer probably comes from Nassim Taleb’s “Skin In The Game” (first chapter, if I remember correctly).

      If I were to guess the cause of our current situation, as it relates to concepts of political legitimacy, I think our separation from the visceral experience of war and violence might be to blame. We get our meat in foam trays, never seeing the cost: the execution of the cow. Same thing with laws maybe: easy for soccer moms to forget that every law they push through is enforced at gun-point, and to forget the violence inherent in government, and to become entitled to the absence of this violence. It’s still there, it’s just better hidden. Maybe the media is to blame too?

      1. Starship Troopers is deeper than it gets credit for. The book and film have a government system of earning your vote. Everyone had their liberty, but only a few got to vote on the government monopoly. Of course, in the movie they had women on the front lines and in politics, but also as running backs, etc. The physical and emotional differences seemed to be mitigated by science/culture in this particular fiction. I’d be interested in a weighted voting republic. Everyone gets 1 vote, but it can be augmented by certain things like Employed? +1, Employer? + 2, Kids? + 1, Military Service? +2, Land Owner?+2, Paid Taxes +1, etc

  3. My view on this has evolved (credits to Curt Doolittle and the Propertarians), to a point that will certainly piss off a lot of people, but here it is for what it’s worth.

    Homo Sapiens evolved as a sexually dimorphic species. Women specialized in consumption in order to reproduce increasingly neotenous offspring, who mature later in life and therefore require more resources to reach maturity. Men specialized in production to fuel the consumption by women and children in order to pass down their genes, and the physical violence required to protect those properties. Examining history, we can find ample evidence of male dominance in the domain of physical violence.

    However, physical violence comes at high cost, especially in the form of retaliation cycle, so men invented political institutions as a less expensive alternative to constant violence. Whether it’s ancient Athenian democracy, or the modern United States political system, are all political institutions designed as a marketplace for men to exercise power without resorting to the underlying foundation, namely physical violence, i.e. war. In other words, men secured their entry into the political marketplace by underwriting it with violence, and the understanding that should the marketplace fail, they can always resort to war to settle disputes. Clausewitz almost got it right, except instead of war as an extension of politics, politics is built on the foundation of war.

    Women’s (and for that matter propertyless men, i.e. universal suffrage) entrance into politics disrupted the marketplace in fundamental ways. Now we have market participants who can make “purchases” without any underwriting or payment in return. A simple mental exercise illustrates the point. Imagine politicians in a country is voting on a law that confiscate all guns in order to make it “a safer place.” Regardless how she votes, a woman politician may rest assured she will never be asked to physically enforce this law, because there are plenty of men with guns who she can rely on to do her bidding, i.e., no skin in the game. A male politician who’s also a police or army officer will think twice about the vote, because he may very well have to carry out the enforcement get shot at by angry gun owners. In other words, he has skin in the game. And now things get interesting: another group of men, upon seeing how people with no skin in the game can exercise power, choose to emulate that strategy. Overtime you end up with a system where more and more people with no skin in the game participate as equals to those who do, which results in the system’s collapse, and that’s the state we find ourselves in.

    A property right is only a right when the owner can defend it, and violence is the ultimate guarantor of all rights. By allowing those with no ability to defend their rights to participate in the system, we’ve doomed the system to eventual decay and collapse. And when the political marketplace collapses, we are left with its naked foundation – war.

    1. No serious disagreement here. Women can be skillful in indirect violence (ex. AOC), but the more indirect, the more divorced from the reality of government, and the more distorted everything becomes as a result.

  4. Women that love men, love the child, and understand the order of biological reality, have a place in government. There’s a place for proportionality and workable ratios in regards to this. Women are more averse to high risk decisions, which in proper context is beneficial. Well balanced women naturally bring this to the table. Whatever offers the maximum potential for resilience is what evolves. Unfortunately, social engineering has spun and exalted the most corruptible propensities in women, leaving us with Jezebels and Praying Mantis offenders at the helm…Spiders… . These kinds of women indeed have no place in government. They aren’t Real women. They aren’t mature souls. They aren’t fair. Females(for she isn’t a woman)like AOC, are a disgrace to women, and a danger to weak men and society. Men like Chuck Schumer and Adam Schiff are also a danger. There’s crazy people, devoid of principle, in positions of power in both sexes… Both men and women with character deficits and moral insufficiency quickly become petty tyrants. Cuomo, Newsom, and Gretchen come to mind. As long as lobbies buy governments, and the highly adaptive trait of cheating exists, high level corruption is inevitable, regardless of sex. I am not a feminist. I am human. I have been blessed to be a mother. I fight for the preservation of the Human Idea, the force of character, and the gathering and exchange of perspectives. Expansion.

    1. I definitely get your argument, and the “real” distinction would also apply to men (perhaps only men who have served a combat role in the military get to be president/senator — likewise, perhaps only women who have given birth to 2+ kids can be judges/state representatives). The aversion to high-risk decisions does seem to be exactly the kind of good psychological health-indicator of more feminine woman, but unfortunately it is exactly that which generally precludes them from a.) wanting to run in the first place and b.) making the hard decisions in government position, which will always necessarily feel high-risk, and will feel even more high-risk should the governor or legislator opt for the position of more freedom on any given subject.

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