Hiding behind women and children

As I recall, one of the things that we used to hear about our (or Israel’s) Middle Eastern enemies–like Hezbollah or Iraq under Saddam–is that they deliberately endanger their own civilians.  They would put their gunmen and weapons in places like schools, hospitals, and residential areas.  Either they thought they could gain an advantage by own (or Israel’s) reluctance to endanger women, children, and noncombatant men, or else they were hoping to draw fire on their own civilians so that they could milk the casualties for propaganda.  Either way, what a bunch of dirty rats!  The other thing we’d hear about was that nasty people in places like Uganda would use chilren as soldiers.  Here, the offense is not putting noncombatants in harm’s way, but making someone a combatant who shouldn’t be put in such a role.

If all lives are equal, what’s wrong with using children as soldiers?  Is it because they didn’t choose to fight?  That can’t be the reason, since we don’t have the same horror towards the conscription of adult men.  If all lives are equal, why is it worse to deliberately endanger your country’s civilians than to endanger your country’s fighters?  Why do we not just disapprove of such behavior but are viscerally repulsed by it?

The reason is chivalry, the ethos of the masculine protector.  The chivalrous man distinguishes three realms:  the violent forces of the outside, the inner sanctuary of women, children and elders, and the protectors like himself who defend the latter from the former.  For the enemy to violate the sancuary, for him to be unleashed on the wife and children, is the worst thing imaginable to such a man.  So we are repelled by someone who lets his wife or children, or anyone else’s wife or children, do his fighting for him.  Such a person is not a real man, it seems.  He must be missing the noble feelings that men share and that we expect even in our enemies.  His behavior is cowardly, unnatural, obscene.

Of course, it is hypocritical for Americans to criticize our enemies based on the code of chivalry.  We ourselves, to our eternal shame, send our wives, sisters, and daughters to Iraq and Afghanistan to do our fighting for us.  This is a stain on the honor of every American man; every one of us is living like a coward, hiding behind the women that we ourselves should be protecting.  However, not only do we not have the sense to be ashamed, we actually boast of this disgrace.  The television commercials for the Navy and Army are filled with pictures of women sailors and women soldiers.  Military institutions actually strive to increase the number of women in their ranks.  When we hear that a woman has fallen in battle, we should be ashamed of our country, not proud; we should be impressed by our nation’s cowardice, not its bravery.  We should acknowledge the bravery of female soldier herself, but it is a reproach on all of us that she was ever put in such a situation.

We’ve accepted the inhuman ideology of sexual equality, and look what it’s done to us.  No longer can we read off of our bodies the particular duties that men and women owe to each other and the duties both owe to children.  For men and women to be “equal”, sex must be made meaningless.  Chivalry and femininity must die, and with them goes the very idea of an inner sanctuary.

Already our squeamishness is diminishing.  Consider the fictional television program Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which the Federation’s most formidable battleship is filled, not only with women, but even with children.  How is this any different from what we accuse the Arabs of doing?  And yet, as far as I know, I’m the only one who’s pointed out the immorality of this arrangement (and I know a lot of Star Trek fans).  What’s more, the show’s creators self-consciously made the Federation what they regard as a utopia.  This is what they think we should aspire to.  (I myself found the Klingon culture far more appealing.  You’re not surprised, are you?)

3 Responses

  1. Chivalry is a great idea, but it can never be a hard and fast rule. I doubt the French were sinning in letting Joan of Arc lead them against the English (seeing as she was canonised). Chivalry should be the genral rule, but exceptions should be made in circumstances of extreme need, ability or appropriateness.

  2. That sounds sensible, as long as the exceptions are truly exceptional. Like receiving direct instructions from God, for example.

  3. National Review writes something uncharacteristically worth reading. It could practically have been Orthosphere material. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/431002/women-combat-selective-service-natural-law

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