The Anti-Suffragette: War-Mongering Women’s Place Is Not in Power

I would never have been a suffragette, and have rather been disappointed with women choosing to engage in the fundamentally anti-liberal realm of politics. I would have preferred seeing women holding and pursuing the more principled path of securing equal rights for everyone, protected against every infringement by the State.

For I am thoroughly committed to the proposition that each and every human being has been equally endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights, and it is a fact of history that one government after another has violated those rights, only varying in degree.

The so-called Women’s Movement has to me been a deeply disturbing exercise in increasing the role of the State, impoverishing not only women but everyone. I had hoped that women would demonstrate superior judgment in pursuing change rooted in adherence to the principles of rights. They have instead been broadly co-opted, joining the ranks of the oppressors, in politics and the military, pursuing political action to garner special favors at the expense of the less politically savvy.

And the result has been an incredibly disappointing stream of women endowed with the political power to inflict varying degrees of harm on not only their fellow citizens, but, increasingly, on people globally.

I haven’t read it, nor will I, but I understand that Donald Rumsfeld, in his memoir Known and Unknown, lays much of the blame for the errors in Iraq at Condoleezza Rice’s door, calling the decision to give her an operational role on Iraq a “grievous mistake.” Secretary Rice was clearly not alone in pushing bad policy, but it would have been refreshing to have had a woman in a position of power fighting against war and torture.

Unfortunately, War-Mongering Women cross party lines, and according to numerous press accounts, Hillary Clinton followed the new normal for female Secretaries of State and was the key to “convincing” President Obama to move from strong words to military action in Libya:

The change became possible, though, only after Mrs. Clinton joined Samantha Power, a senior aide at the National Security Council, and Susan Rice, Mr. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, who had been pressing the case for military action, according to senior administration officials speaking only on condition of anonymity.

The women went beyond merely advising, however, and were active in making possible the arrangements necessary for unleashing American military might beyond a “no-fly zone.” Mrs. Clinton was reportedly key in lining up the Arab nations’ agreement to be involved militarily, while Ambassador Rice told President Obama she could help get a tougher U.N. resolution that would “authorize a fuller range of options, including the ability to bomb Libyan government tanks…”

How much better were all women to heed the message of, for example, the Independent Institute book, Freedom, Feminism, and the State: that government is the enemy of freedom and equal rights—historically, especially, for women, but, truly, for all. How tragic that women have instead been corrupted in joining the ranks of those visiting death and violence at home and abroad.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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