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That Evil Patriarchy

Entry 1999, on 2019-09-02 at 17:11:59 (Rating 4, Politics)

We are often told today that the root of most of our modern ills is the "patriarchy". So first, what actually is it? Here's an analysis from a feminist web site: "There are so many reasons why we need an intersectional feminist analysis and practice in our daily lives, and the patriarchy (a sociopolitical and cultural system that values masculinity over femininity) is the primary culprit. Patriarchy perpetuates oppressive and limiting gender roles, the gender binary, trans phobia and cis-sexism, sexual assault, the political and economic subordination of women, and so much more. And it is of the utmost importance that we prioritize dismantling the patriarchy in our intimate lives, as well as in a larger systemic sphere."

Not surprisingly, this is an extreme and rather ideological analysis, with little balance or nuance. Of course, being from a feminist site, that's exactly what we should expect, because modern feminism really has become a bit of a joke.

Sometimes the alleged source for our perceived problems can be more specific, or show slight variations on the theme, so it might be a "white patriarchy" or a "capitalist tyranny", or something similar. Given how pervasive this idea is, especially amongst the politically correct mob (and I use that word advisedly) on the left, does it have any legitimacy?

Well sure, to some extent it does, because very few ideas have no basis at all in reality, but certainly not to the extent suggested by the PC crowd. And as well as this, the negative aspects of the patriarchy are often highlighted without a corresponding acknowledgement of the opposite side of the story: the good things the current hierarchical system (whether you call it a patriarchy or something else) has given us.

Some people would say that hierarchies are inevitable, and that they also inevitably lead to inequitable outcomes. This could be true, although there are theoretically ways to organise society which are more egalitarian. The question is: can these other systems work at all, and of they can, would we even want them?

Because think about it: a hierarchy is a system which rewards the most successful members with greater wealth and/or power. If an individual shows extraordinary skill or dedication, is that not a fair outcome? Again, in some ways the answer is yes, but in others, no.

So to get to the key point of this post: I think hierarchies (like the so-called patriarchy) can be useful, but we need to be sure of two things: first, that the measure of a person's value is fair and appropriate; and second, that the rewards for being at the top of the hierarchy aren't too excessive.

And that seems to be the problem today. The people at the top might have got there through merit - at least in most cases - but is the way that merit is measured a good one? After all, we could make a system based on intelligence, or aggression, or physical strength, or social skill, or anything else, and the outcome would be completely different.

Currently the hierarchies which affect the average person most are in two main areas: politics and business. In politics the key attribute which is rewarded seems to be the ability to talk BS, and in business that attribute seems to be single-minded greed. Now, obviously I am deliberately being a bit provocative there, but I think there is also some truth in the statement.

There are other hierarchies which do seem to be more based on genuine merit. For example, in science, intelligence and knowledge are rewarded, and in the arts it is creativity and skill. Again, I am deliberately simplifying the truth because I don't believe for an instant that it is that simple, but if it was true we should ask why those meritorious hierarchies aren't more influential.

Unfortunately, the two systems which affect us most are also the ones which assign merit on the most negative characteristics. This is probably not an accident, because those negative characteristics are the ones which make people more enthusiastic about controlling others.

But let's move on from the negativity and ask if there are any good points inherent in these hierarchies. Well sure, of course there are. For example, modern politics has obvious defects, but compared with the dictatorships, empires, and other despotic regimes of the past, it isn't that bad.

And big business has obvious negative characteristics, such as monopolistic excesses, poor environmental outcomes, and unequal distribution of wealth, but other economic systems haven't demonstrated conspicuous success. Communist and excessively socialistic states haven't just failed, they have made most of their citizens' lives a misery on the way to failure.

So the feminists are welcome to get on with their analysis of the evils of the oppressive male-dominated regime they see as the source of so many problems. But I would suggest they don't publish their commentary on the internet, because the vast majority of the technology used there came from the patriarchy they want to dismantle, and we don't want them to seem like they are hypocritical, do we?

And it might be best they don't say anything in other media either, because the relative peace and openness to ideas comes through that same patriarchy they so vociferously reject. So we wouldn't want them to risk being the victim of all that oppression, would we?

And their ability to travel and to have the time to "research" their ideas comes from an economic system built around the patriarchy they seem to want to have nothing to do with. Surely they would never want to risk becoming part of that evil system by making use of its dubious benefits.

Yeah, it would be best for them to follow their higher moral ideals and just go back to the distant past before all of the terrible things the patriarchy has done existed. They can carve their ideas on a rock and hit all the men over the head with it. That should make them happy.

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