Politics Negates Belief

One of the advantages of not being a partisan of either the Democrats or Republicans is that I have more flexibility to actually say what I believe, without worrying that something I am saying might actually give aid and comfort to my political enemies.  I have always felt that it is really, really difficult and rare to become actively political without sacrificing consistency in your deeply held beliefs, particularly since both parties represent such an inconsistent hodge-podge of positions.  The irony of this has been, at least until the advent of blogging, that I could be smug about maintaining my philosophic virginity but I left myself no avenue to make any impact with my strongly held beliefs.

Given this, I was therefore struck by this, from Cathy Young at Reason, writing about Yale's future Taliban student:

One striking aspect of this controversy is the reaction from Yale's liberal
community. Della Sentilles, a Yale senior, recently
wrote a
piece

for the Yale Herald denouncing such manifestations of rampant
misogyny at Yale as the shortage of tenured female professors and poor
childcare options. On her blog, a reader asked Sentilles about the presence
at Yale of a former spokesman for one of the world's most misogynistic
regimes.
Her reply:
"As a white American feminist, I do not feel comfortable making statements
or judgments about other cultures, especially statements that suggest one
culture is more sexist and repressive than another. American feminism is
often linked to and manipulated by the state in order to further its own
imperialist ends."

It appears Ms. Sentilles, beyond having a lot of multi-cultural baggage, is terrified that if she actually criticizes Afghanistan in any way, she is somehow giving aid and comfort to the Bush administration, which feminists have declared enemy #1.  The politics of US presidential elections, in this case, trump criticizing a regime that treated women worse (by far) than the US has at any time in its history.  Which of course is one of the reasons* that women's groups in this country are sliding into irrelevance, putting their support of a broad range of leftish causes above speaking out on what is essentially apartheid-for-women in the Middle East  (I say essentially, because women are actually far worse off in much of the Middle East than blacks ever were in South Africa).  Whereas a decade ago the left was marching in the street to better the lot of blacks in South Africa, they are strangely mum on women in the Middle East. 

As a result, I can lament the condition of women in the Middle East, acknowledge that Saddam was a blight on humanity, but still oppose the war in Iraq as not worth the cost (when "cost" is defined broadly enough to include not must money and men but also opportunity cost).  I can adopt this position because I am not required to put on the Republican happy face or Democratic America-always-sucks face.

* Another reason is that it may be time for women to declare victory.

  • http://dfriedman.typepad.com Dave

    Sentille's statement is, to me, evidence that an Ivy League education is not all it's made out to be.

    Ivy League graduates often make poor job hires, I've noticed.

    Don't even get me started on ivy league mba grads.

    (As I recall, you graduated HBS; please don't take offense at that statement, as it is merely the truth.)

  • dearieme

    Dave, "ivy league mba grads" wouldn't be an allusion to W, would it?

  • http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com Chris Yeh

    Another example of this willingness to betray feminism's principles for political reasons is the consistent support of prominent feminists for Bill Clinton, regardless of the evidence for his practice of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.

    When you sacrifice what you're fighting for in the name of "winning," you're coming awfully close to the logic that led people to say things like "we had to destroy the village to save it."

  • http://www.donothaveone.com TC

    Out of a nation of 298,000,000 half of or more are of the female gender and oppressed beyond belief, objectified and used in every way shape and form. The organization that speaks on their (gawd I love this word,) "BEHALF", (Aint that a cute word though?)

    Well it seems their latest NATIONAL convention drew almost 120 living breathing women! Probably not the palce to go pick up chick I suppose. Imagine that 120 out of 150 million! .0000008% of the women in this country give a rats ass about the femanazies!

    The only other time I've heard the defeaning silence was when Bill clinton fucked the lady in the blue dress! Or any of the other 5-15 women that spoke up about the same kind of treatment at his hands. Or, oh gawd I almost laugh at them over this, no make that I can't hardly type it! When Condi was called names and degraded! And Condie is also a black woman too, not even her own race would stand up for her, yet in fact called her racial names and such. Again the silence was defening!

    Some people will never learn to just STFU!

  • http://mactheweb.com michael

    I remember a discussion in a philosophy class, it was years ago before electricity, when we had to watch TV by candle light, so I may mis-remember. But it seems the premise was that the moment we use labels or point to isms thought has quit. At that point we are operating on automatic. It seems that such an occurrence can come about when we label ourselves, too.

    At that level we are all the same: conservative, liberal, feminist, good old boy, whatever. Conscious creative though has stopped and we become highly emotional but hardly rational. A position can create a deep hole.