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.
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.)