This post is about a candid feminist. Most people never examine their worldview … until they bump into reality. When you hit your head against God’s objective world, you tend to make a note of it. As Irving Kristol, the American writer and journalist, famously said: “A conservative is a liberal mugged by reality.”
Which brings me to a writer I particularly appreciate: Camille Paglia. Ms. Paglia is a university professor and a social critic. Her articles on politics, culture, and feminism are fun to read and always challenging. She’s a free spirit who thinks outside the box and speaks her mind. You could say she is not always “nice” in her critique. Calling things as she sees them, she’s not afraid to challenge her antagonists or disturb her allies. No one would accuse her of political correctness.
Sometimes I suspect Ms. Paglia has been mugged by reality. That could explain her freedom to challenge her allies on the left. She can see that modernism and post-modernism often fail to fit the real world.
Paglia professes atheism and identifies as a lesbian. Yet you might call her an unusual atheist and lesbian. She’s a lesbian who often opposes the LGBT and feminist agendas. And in contrast to modern fundamentalist atheists, Ms. Paglia respects religion. She welcomes dialogue. She invites opponents (including Christians) to bring their ideas to the table. She does the same, and may the best ideas win! She does not affirm the Judeo-Christian worldview but she does endorse a level playing field.
As a woman made in the image of the God whom she has denied (but not refuted), Ms. Paglia brings value to the public square as she challenges believers and unbelievers alike. From such a narrator, truth sometimes gets a hearing it otherwise would never receive.
Like all of us, she has an inner world—the world of the mind, and an outer world—the world of reality. These two worlds relate with one another. Our inner world, influenced as it is by our upbringing and environment, affects how we see the outer world. That is, our worldview is formed by our enculturation. The inner world is always trying to make sense of the outer world. And our worldview determines the kinds of societies we build.
The latest Paglia item to catch my attention is an interview by Bari Weiss in the 12/28/2013 edition of the Online Wall Street Journal. Weiss opens her piece:
“What you’re seeing is how a civilization commits suicide,” says Camille Paglia. This self-described “notorious Amazon feminist” isn’t telling anyone to Lean In or asking Why Women Still Can’t Have It All. No, her indictment may be as surprising as it is wide-ranging: The military is out of fashion, Americans undervalue manual labor, schools neuter male students, opinion makers deny the biological differences between men and women, and sexiness is dead. And that’s just 20 minutes of our three-hour conversation.
Paglia exposes a truth: the collapse of sexual distinctions (“deny[ing] the biological differences between men and women”) is at the core of the disintegration of the West (“a civilization commit[ing] suicide.”) Modern man wants to annihilate the Western sense of moral order, including such basic human conventions as marriage and family.
Western elites no longer think in terms of moral evil; they see man as intrinsically good. Accordingly they see little value in institutions that stand for justice and social peace. Paglia reasons: “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”
Ms. Paglia argues that the deconstruction of sexuality begins in grammar school and continues through university.
Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It’s oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys … They’re making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters.” …
This PC gender politics thing—the way gender is being taught in the universities—in a very anti-male way, it’s all about neutralization of maleness.
Gender confusion has neutered Western men and masculinized Western women. Paglia lays this at the feet of feminists as the natural fruit of feminist ideology. Modern feminists regard gender as a social construct and want to make abortion the defining issue of female life.
Bari Weiss closes her piece:
More important, Ms. Paglia says, if the women’s movement wants to be taken seriously again, it should tackle serious matters, like rape in India and honor killings in the Muslim world, that are “more of an outrage than some woman going on a date on the Brown University campus.”
Go here to read the article.
– Darrow Miller