I’ve always been suspicious of arguments about institutional equality, that is to say, the idea that if gays can get married and women can kill foreigners, we will have achieved some sort of a just and equitable society. Expanding access to the institutions of inequality doesn’t engender equality. Approbation isn’t equity. Belonging isn’t justice.
Now, the human intellect is a remarkable and supple thing. Although I happen to believe that most of our anthrocentrism is pride and vanity, that the capacities for thought and sentiment, happiness and sadness, memory and culture are shared by our animal sisters, I do think we exceed them all in one way: we are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded.
So, a human thought the thought that produced this sentence:
Hopefully the greater inclusion of women into the military will help us all see that violence and war is learned behavior—it’s not inevitable.
Professionalized equality has escaped from the lab and threatens to overthrow its creators. The military is a machine for killing; its purpose is to wage war. Inevitability and inherency are not paired concepts. Nature vs. nurture isn’t germane here.
What’s really sad is that this argument actually recapitulates almost exactly the most inane conservative case against the inclusion of women in so-called combat roles: that it will “feminize” the military and make it less inclined to the psycho violence so necessary to, well, whatever it’s necessary for. The only difference is that Amanda Marcotte believes this is a good thing. The presumption is identical: women will decrease the army’s efficacy as a dealer of death.
Believing, as I do, that women are pound-for-pound, neuron-for-neuron just as capable physically and intellectually as men, this argument seems to me to be completely crackpot. Just as women are very good at flying helicopters, they will be very good at shooting guns. Their presence in the ranks will have not the slightest disincentive effect on the use of force as a first resort of American statecraft.