William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MADNESS – AT 9:40 A.M. ET:  I'm all for equal rights for women.  Why not?  But there is now a major international movement aimed not at equality for women, but at wiping out all gender distinctions.  In other words, males and females should not only be equal, but should be the same.

Sorry, that's where I get off the train.  And I think most rational, mature people feel the same way.  What a boring world it would be if men and women were the same.  We would have the gray, dull society that the leftists dream about.

Naturally, this international movement is being pushed in Sweden, a country that's on its way to collapse, but wants to go down in full sameness.  Christina Hoff Sommers, one of my favorite writers, tells the story, and it is grim:

Egalia, a new state-sponsored pre-school in Stockholm, is dedicated to the total obliteration of the male and female distinction. There are no boys and girls at Egalia—just "friends" and "buddies." Classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White have been replaced by tales of two male giraffes who parent abandoned crocodile eggs. The Swedish Green Party would like Egalia to be the norm: It has suggested placing gender watchdogs in all of the nation's preschools. "Egalia gives [children] a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be," says one excited teacher. (It is probably necessary to add that this is not an Orwellian satire or a right-wing fantasy: This school actually exists.)

The problem with Egalia and gender-neutral toy catalogs is that boys and girls, on average, do not have identical interests, propensities, or needs. Twenty years ago, Hasbro, a major American toy manufacturing company, tested a playhouse it hoped to market to both boys and girls. It soon emerged that girls and boys did not interact with the structure in the same way. The girls dressed the dolls, kissed them, and played house. The boys catapulted the toy baby carriage from the roof. A Hasbro manager came up with a novel explanation: "Boys and girls are different."

They are different, and nothing short of radical and sustained behavior modification could significantly change their elemental play preferences. Children, with few exceptions, are powerfully drawn to sex-stereotyped play. David Geary, a developmental psychologist at the University of Missouri, told me in an email this week, "One of the largest and most persistent differences between the sexes are children's play preferences." The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally and even cross-species (with a few exceptions—female spotted hyenas seem to be at least as aggressive as males). Among our close relatives such as vervet and rhesus monkeys, researchers have found that females play with dolls far more than their brothers, who prefer balls and toy cars. It seems unlikely that the monkeys were indoctrinated by stereotypes in a Top-Toy catalog. Something else is going on.

COMMENT:  We must be on guard against those who merge "equality" with "sameness."  We are not the same.  Not only are there gender differences, to be celebrated, not condemned, but there are differences among individuals and groups.  In America we elevate the individual.  In leftist societies they don't.

One of my fears about the age of Obama, egged on and supported by its amen corner in the media and the universities, is that the individual will be crushed in favor of the gray society.  We see it happening already.  We saw it happen when Obama, during his recent campaign, said of entrepreneurs:  "You didn't build this yourself."  Technically, that may be true, in that we all use roads, courts, and services.  But it is the wrong message.  He should have said, "Without the dreams of individuals, where would we be?"  But Obama is left-wing, and the left doesn't think that way.  Which is why leftist societies, in the end, never achieve much.

December 12, 2012