A Modest Proposal for Fixing the World: Let Women Run It

A Modest Proposal for Fixing the World: Let Women Run It

I take it most people are aware by now that women are morally superior to men. Few would argue that women actually have greater value than men—in some ontological sense (whether in the eyes of God or simply in terms of value to world). However, evidence has been piling up for a very long time that women are simply better human beings than men—overall and in general. Of course, one has to be very careful not to globalize. Some men are better human beings than some women. It’s even possible that “the best human being in the world” is a male person. The point is that, overall and in general, if it were possible to quantify “goodness” in aggregates, the scales would tip in females’ favor. At least that’s what many commentators on social science evidence and common human experience believe.

My thoughts for this blog post were sparked by an article by feminist columnist and speaker Keli Goff, special correspondent to The Root—a daily online news source oriented toward social commentary from a black perspective. Ms. Goff’s column in The Root, syndicated to numerous daily newspapers and other news outlets this month, was entitled “What male-dominated politics gets us” (in the newspaper where I read it). According to Ms. Goff, “According to studies, the leadership traits predominant in female leaders are precisely the types of qualities that prove useful in tense conflicts such as the recent [U.S. Government] shutdown.” She cites a study published “earlier this year” in the Los Angeles Times.

Keli Goff is not the first person to suggest that women are simply better than men at “cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building.” And, of course, these are the crucial practices for making any society run smoothly. Some years ago I was watching the television talk show “The View” (it was the only thing on the TV screen in front of me while I worked out on a treadmill at my gym) and the special guest was Austin, Texas-based columnist Molly Ivans—the outspoken feminist social commentator. She said (paraphrasing) that she had long thought that the world would be a better place if women ran it. She got no disagreement from the talk show’s regular panelists.

Just this week, USAToday published an article entitled “Why Women Make Better Doctors”—reporting on a social scientific study showing that, overall and in general, women make better physicians than men. The crucial qualities and skills that make a person a good physician are precisely those characteristic of women more than men.

When was the last time you read or heard a credible (i.e., something more than mere opinion) report arguing that men are better than women at anything?

Just a few years ago (2011) social commentator Dan Abrams published a book entitled Man Down: Proof beyond a Reasonable Doubt that Women are Better…. The book builds a seeimingly irrefutable case that, overall and in general, women are better at everything (except tasks that require brute physical force) than men.

There’s no point engaging in debate about why women are better than men. They just are. That’s all we need to know—at least for now.

A few years ago I had lengthy talks with a person involved professionally with an NGO relief organization that is among “first responders” to calamities in all parts of the world. This person, who is educated in international development (undergraduate and graduate degrees) and has many years experience working with several international development and relief organizations, informed me that when most NGOs go into an area hit by an earthquake, flood or other natural disaster they always give the food and other life-saving commodities to women only. The reason is that experience demonstrates that women distribute it more fairly than men.

The evidence is in; there’s little rational argument against it. Women are better human beings than men.

We’ve actually known this for a very long time. During Victorian times (eighteenth century especially) in much of the developing world, anyway, the attitude that women were morally superior to men was widely held. The problem for women, and therefore for the world, was that men put them on a pedestal, so to speak, and “protected them” from power. Everyone knows that power corrupts, so men used the excuse that withholding power from women saved them from the corruptions of power. Today, over a century later, we are less likely to think that power corrupts—especially women. The jury may be somewhat still out on that as women still do not have as much power as men. But we have observed women presidents and prime ministers all over the world and, for the most part, they seem to have done a stellar job of leading in politics and government. When was the last time you heard of a female dictator who wasn’t at least a benevolent one?

Given all the evidence available today, and given the mess our world, including the United States, is in, perhaps it is time to flip the tables of power and see what women would do if all the power were in their hands.

Very few feminists even dare to propose what I am about to propose. But I suspect many of them daydream about it. So let me go out on thin ice and, for the sake of at least provoking thought, suggest that we try the most radical social experiment the world has seen in many years: put all the power to shape social policy in women’s hands—for a limited time.

Surely this is the logical “end game” of Keli Goff’s and Molly Ivans’s and many other feminists’ views—and the practical implication and implementation of the numerous social scientific studies now being reported.

I propose (for thought and discussion, at least) that we in the United States (other countries may wish to do this as well but I am not in a position to recommend it to them) engage in a radical new social contract. Put all public leadership in the hands of women for ten years to see what happens. Of course, the details of “how” would have to be worked out carefully, but we have done that before when the need was urgent. (For example, slave emancipation was a radical social experiment and virtually nobody had all the answers to how it would work out—even for emancipated slaves and their families, but it was urgently needed and so we moved ahead with it before we had all the answers.)

Now, the crucial presupposition for getting on board this social experiment will have to be that we, the world and the U.S., are in a mess. Constant involvement in horribly expensive wars, fears of terrorism, a shaky economy, government gridlock, etc., must be seen as together constituting a crisis. At present, given our realities, we seem to have no workable solutions. Things just keep getting worse.

The second presupposition is that it’s at least worth a try to see what women could and would do if given the power to make social policy without the “drag” of male competitiveness, aggressiveness, individualism, desire for domination and control, and lack of compassion. (Which is not to say all males are like that! These are simply the characteristics typical of men, so say their detractors—both male and female.)

The new social contract would require, I suppose, a constitutional amendment with a sunset clause. (We don’t want to experience permanent reverse discrimination or reverse oppression. At some point men need to be able to come back into the public square and have power once again, but only after women show what they can do so that the electorate will be more willing to vote for women and women are more likely to be appointed to top leadership positions in government.) I suggest ten years of women only in political power. Again, of course, the details will have to be worked out, but if we have the will to do it, it can be done.

I suggest this would be good for both women and men. Of course, the result may very well be that men, in order to have power with women afterwards, will have to display more leadership characteristics typical of women to appeal to voters—assuming, of course, that the experiment works and during the decade of women leadership only the U.S. improves significantly. But this will be good for men—to at least balance their natural tendencies with ones more typical of women. Women, of course, may have to also take on some characteristics often associated with men. In order to defend the U.S. from enemies foreign and domestic they may have to use power in ways they wouldn’t normally and naturally want to. They might discover that having all the power is more corrupting than they ever thought. But during the decade men and other women will hold them accountable to performing their leadership roles in the ways people like Ivans, Goff, Abrams and others argue they naturally would and should.

Now, I can think of several objections to my proposal—besides the obvious ones (e.g., that this would be unconstitutional, lead to hordes of resentful men acting out obstructively, etc.). For example, some will no doubt object that the problems we face in U.S. public life is not men in leadership per se but the particular men both women and men have elected to lead us. I suggest we won’t know until we attempt the complete reversal and find out how we all might benefit from women having all the power. It’s worth a try—that’s all I’m sayin’. Our present situation is simply untenable. We must try something else.

Your thoughts? (Keep them civil and respectful, please. I won’t post comments that aren’t civil and respectful or that distort, misrepresent my proposal.)

  • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

    Since you are suggesting for a limited time, I’d be all for the experiment. My theory would be that in part women are currently the better people on average precisely because they aren’t as corrupted by power. Not entirely – there is something to be said for mothering instincts and the lack of aggression-promoting testosterone. But if power does corrupt regardless of gender, my hypothesis (nothing more than that) is that within 20 years or so, a lot of women would be behaving pretty much like men do now. Would be very interesting to see, though, and even 10 or 20 years of a more peaceful and just world would be completely worth it.

  • http://cramercomments.blogspot.com/ DavidCramer

    Further support for your argument: The latest issue of TIME has an article about how the 20 women Senators are getting more done right now than anyone else in Washington.

  • NorrinRadd

    Aside from the Constitutional issues, the biggest problem with that proposal is it’s pretty much identical to what Ted Turner suggested. I’d rather experiment with giving all leadership power to a giant supercomputer than follow any suggestion from Ted.

  • http://www.tillhecomes.org/ Jeremy Myers

    Oh my word, I am all in favor of this. I have said a thousand times that all you need to do to fix the world, balance the budget, and stop all wars is get women in charge… especially if they raised children and managed a home.

    As soon as someone figures out that it is not a democrat vs republican issue, but is a man vs woman issue, we will be better off. Of course, not that I put all faith in women. Even women are not the solution to all the world’s problems…. but that is getting off into theology.

  • gpf

    Tim Wright weighs in with his post today: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/searchingfortomsawyer/2013/10/the-new-gender-math-more-womenless-mena-better-world/ “The New “Gender” Math? More Women+Less Men=A Better World?”

  • Joshua

    I think your proposal is interesting and well thought-out. You’ve clearly put some time and effort crafting it. I also suppose that it is, in your words, “worth a shot.” At the very least (and perhaps at the very most?), it’s worth a try. I don’t see how things in our own country could get much worse in terms of the actual quality of our leaders. I don’t think I’m being controversial by saying that, if our country is doing well, it is in spite of, not because of, strong leadership.

    A couple of objections did come to mind, however; two of which, you mentioned yourself: it would be unconstitutional and their would be certain obstructive backlash as men feel their sex being more and more pushed into irrelevancy. It isn’t only jobs requiring brute strength that has been associated with masculinity – strong leadership is also more associated with masculinity from a historic perspective (whether or not it SHOULD be is not my point – only that it IS).

    In addition to the objections that you yourself raised, I have to disagree with the second part of your statement, when you said: “The second presupposition is that it’s at least worth a try to see what women could and would do if given the power to make social policy without the “drag” of male competitiveness, aggressiveness, individualism, desire for domination and control, and lack of compassion. (Which is not to say all males are like that! These are simply the characteristics typical of men, so say their detractors—both male and female.)”

    In a democracy, the ONLY people who win, male or female, are the most competitive, desiring domination and control. Female leaders like conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, to liberal Americans like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton – they are just as cut-throat as their male counterparts. I’m not insulting them – they have to be to win. That’s just the reality of democracy. Competition is the key. Power DOES corrupt, and whether feminists and political commentators realize this is irrelevant; we, as Christians, believe this as a fundamental point of departure in understanding anthropology, and we need to use our understanding to speak truth to a culture that doesn’t take this seriously, and often doesn’t even realize it. I’d like to believe that women would be different, but even the minority of women we have elected seem to have no real difference in approach to wielding power once they get it.

    Finally, I’m not sure I agree with the implied diagnosis of the problem. You never stated it explicitly, so I don’t know if you’d stand by this (and, it follows, that my point isn’t directly in response to you – I’m just making my own observations here), but it seems that the implied problem is that men are, well, men. The problem with our government isn’t that men dominate and women don’t – the problem is that ignorant, historically and scientifically inept, anti-intellectual men AND WOMEN, who compose a minority of our legislative branch, distract and obstruct the compromising capabilities of the larger congressional body. Let me be clear – the problem is the Tea Party. And of them, they have females that have actual power and, at least, some influence (Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman and Christine O’Donnel are at the top of the list). In fact, some have suggested that the top leadership of the Tea Party is female. Certainly the three women above are some of its most prominent faces. So, I don’t think that the issue here is men, whether that is explicitly stated or simply implied. The issue here is the ignorant. Maybe a more realistic solution (but not by much) would be to have academic litmus tests for voter registration, and a more rigorous academic litmus test for holding public office in any capacity. THAT, I think, would be a step in the right direction.

  • Jakeithus

    I do not have the studies available to me, so I may be horribly mistaken, but I seem to remember from studying politics in university that the women who do end up winning political office often demonstrate the same tendencies as men when it comes to factors such as “competitiveness, aggressiveness, individualism, desire for domination and control, and lack of compassion”. These factors lead many people to be involved in politics to begin with, so I’m not sure your proposal would reduce or eliminate these traits to the degree you predict. My day to day job is working in politics in a jurisdiction where both major party leaders are driven, competitive women, and I don’t think it makes a difference to improving the tone, leadership, and cooperation in the political arena.

    That being said, I’m all for interesting political phenomenon, so in that regard your proposal is a fantastic test that I’m all for. On the other hand, I’m tired of hearing that if only men would “act more like women” everything would be better, as it does a major disservice to men of all sorts.

  • Paul

    Works for me, they could not possibly do worse.

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    Hello Roger; this is a brilliant satyre!

    I recently pointed out on my blog that we have a very similar situation in France concerning anti-white racism. While racism FROM white is (rightly) combated, racism against white people is ignored and explained away.

    Far from serving peace, this situation has created many resentful men who now belong to far right organizations.

    Similarly, ignoring and explaining away discriminations males are victim of naturally create resentful boys who will feel very frustrated against girls.

    I am for true equality.

    But EVERY time I pointed this out to liberals, they answered me: discriminations and injustices towards men are NEGLIGABLE.

    What should we respond to this mantra?

    • Roger Olson

      It’s interesting that you interpret my blog as satire.

  • Sam

    You ask, “When was the last time you read or heard a credible (i.e., something more than mere opinion) report arguing that men are better than women at anything?”
    Just the other day from Solomon. But he was bitter right?
    “Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!”

  • Melissa

    This is satire?

  • Tim Reisdorf

    Hi Roger,
    It seems odd that you would propose such a solution. To place individuals in groups, then divide power according to membership in those groups seems like a return to practices and attitudes that we now rightly condemn. An individual should have every opportunity available to them in a free society regardless of their sex, their skin color, their ethnicity, etc.
    According to Paul, Jesus broke down such barriers to make all believers into The Church. It would be disheartening indeed to resurrect them.
    -Tim


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