by Bruce S. Thornton
The death of Margaret Thatcher will no doubt generate much deserved recognition and discussion of her historical significance. She was, after all, the most consequential British Prime Minister in the post-war period, eclipsed only by Winston Churchill as the greatest British leader of the 20th century. She reversed England’s economic and cultural decline hastened by socialist delusions, and she was instrumental in backing Ronald Reagan when he shoved the USSR into the dustbin of history. But her passing puts me in mind of another death––the ideology we call feminism.
Feminism, of course, has been dead for decades. But like most progressive ideology, it continues a zombie-like existence, stumbling around the universities, popular culture, and the media, devouring the brains of the stupid or badly educated. What passes for feminism today has nothing to do with the original aims of equity feminism, which focused on removing the remaining barriers that kept some women from taking control over their lives and enjoying the personal autonomy––and responsibility–– that is the foundation of liberal democracy. That aim was achieved pretty quickly, with the result that today as a whole women are better educated, healthier, and longer living than men.
The feminism that has burrowed into the women’s studies caves in colleges and universities is something else: a species of progressive identity politics predicated on perpetual victimhood as a means for extorting more social and political clout. As such it represents a narrow spectrum of women across the world, those privileged enough to take for granted the improvements in science and technology, the economic growth created by capitalism, and the access to education that have liberated women from the tyranny of nature and the oppression of illiberal cultures. These so-called feminists, the richest and most comfortable women who ever walked the earth, have created a new-age cult focused on wacky fads like Wicca or romantic environmentalism, issues of concern only to the well-fed who have the luxury of taking seriously such claptrap. And like most cults, it is humorless, intolerant, conformist, illiberal, and lustful for the power needed to indulge the totalitarian impulse to silence the infidels and impose orthodoxy. In their gospel, the only “choices” women have are to abort babies, hate men, despise conservative or religious women, and incessantly bite the liberal-capitalist hand that feeds them.
So what has all that to do with Margaret Thatcher? In any morally coherent and intellectually honest world, Thatcher would be a major feminist hero. She was not born to upper-class Ox-Bridge privilege, but had to make her way in a man’s world and succeed not by dint of family or school connections, or by special consideration or reserved slots based on her sex, but by brains, drive, and hard work. Compared to her, feminist hero Hillary Clinton is a rebooted version of a Mad-Men haute bourgeois housewife whose success comes not from her own achievements, but from her connection to and dependence on a politically talented man who ended up President, a man who humiliated her publicly with his juvenile, sordid philandering that reinforced every stereotype of the loyal mate who sacrifices herself on the altar of her husband’s career.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for institutional feminists to celebrate the life and achievements of one of the greatest women of the 20th century. They’d rather worship the creepy Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and its abortion mills, the racist eugenicist quite happy to sweep away millions of inferior people in order to create her vision of utopia. But Thatcher is just the latest example of truly feminist heroes ignored or vilified by the self-styled champions of women’s rights and lives. How is Sarah Palin, a self-made, independent, bear-hunting, successful-in-a-man’s world woman not a feminist hero? Because she chose to raise a Down’s syndrome child instead of killing him, thus defiling the feminist sacrament of abortion
Or what feminists have praised and defended Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the brave Somali woman who cast off the shackles of a misogynist, patriarchal Islamic faith, and put her life on the line to do so? In fact, where have the feminists been the last ten years, when the West has been battling the same illiberal oppressive religion that justifies polygamy, misogyny, and genital mutilation? By invading Afghanistan, George Bush liberated more truly suffering and oppressed women than all the Women’s Studies courses, seminars, books, speeches, sit-ins, demonstrations, and articles put together. Yet the progressive ideology and multicultural delusions that define feminism required Bush to be the villain and warmonger of cartoonish leftism, no matter how many Afghan women benefitted from his war.
The silence of feminism, with some few exceptions, on the oppressive theology of Islam is exhibit number one in the corruption of liberal equity feminism by grievance politics, cultural relativism, and illiberal progressive ideology. While feminist professors and journalists wax hysterical over trivial or even illusory slights against women — Obama complimenting a beautiful state Attorney General, or ex-Harvard president Larry Summers speculating that there just might be inherent differences in men and women when it comes to physics and math — millions of Muslim women across the globe are subject to honor killings, mutilation, polygamy, and sexual abuse by men just because they wanted some say over their lives. But drunk on multiculturalism, these feminists are silent, preferring to attack a Western culture that has made them free and independent, rather than confront the biggest, most lethal misogynist institution on the planet.
So let’s celebrate the life of the true feminist hero Margaret Thatcher, and leave the zombie poseurs to squabble over sexist pronouns and suffixes.
©2013 Bruce S. Thornton