Ideas have consequences. They also have a way of taking on a life of their own and carrying us to places that we never intended or could have expected to go — or would rather not go.
This is especially true of bad ideas or misunderstandings or misapplications of good ideas.
Like, for example, equality.
Equality is one of the foundational principles of our society. Most of us never question it, or even have the capacity to question it, since it’s virtually an ingredient in our mothers’ milk.
It also formed the central element of the tripartite battle cry of the French Revolution: Liberté, egalité, fraternité! Liberty, equality, brotherhood!
Such lofty and, seemingly, noble ideals. But few could have guessed in 1789 that the “equality” of the French Revolution would in a short while lead to the judicial murder of the king and queen at the hands of a kangaroo court, the appalling atheistic genocidal atrocities in the Vendee, the demonic slaughter of the Reign of Terror, and the imperial ambitions and ravings of Napoleon.
But it was a perversely consistent logic that led from “equality” to the blood-drenched guillotine. As Solomon once wrote, “All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked” — the event known as death, the great leveler, the ultimate equalizer.
Obviously that’s not what most of us mean by “equality,” but, as I said, ideas can sometimes take us to places we didn’t mean to go, or places where no one should ever go.
And that’s how it has come about that the U.S. military recently decided to include (or at least attempt to include) women in combat units. It’s the end result of a misunderstanding and misapplication of the fundamental principle of the natural law known as equal justice under the law.
Most of us understand and accept the moral obligation to dispense justice equitably, without regard for a person’s sex or race or religion or social status. But at some point along the line, many people began to blur the distinction between treating people equitably and treating people as if they were identical.
We are obliged to shun all improper discrimination on the basis of sex, but we have no obligation to pretend that men and women are identical, to ignore human biology. Quite the contrary, in fact: it is impossible to have equal justice under the law when we ignore the fundamental facts of human sexuality. Among those facts are that most men are bigger and stronger than most women, men are more aggressive than women, women menstruate and men can’t, and women get pregnant while men cannot.
I don’t know about you, but I want our nation’s military to strive for excellence. That’s how missions are accomplished and wars are won. Excellence must never be slighted due to some well-intentioned but blinkered ideological commitment to equality. Let’s never forget that military service is a privilege, not a right.
Sadly, the Department of Defense is controlled by those who apparently would rather our military “provide a level, gender-neutral playing field” (as if training to kill America’s enemies were a harmless sport) than seek to become and remain an excellent fighting force.
Our military leaders should be concerned with providing an effective and ready force, and shouldn’t even toy with unscientific, counterfactual ideologies such as feminism. For a decent overview of these practical considerations, see Dr. Walter E.Williams’ recent essay “Women in Combat.”
But besides those concerns, we also should ask ourselves what it does to us when we decide to be the kind of nation that sends our daughters, sisters and mothers into the thick of battle.
Succinctly put, this policy change is of no benefit to the military or to the nation and does women no favors either. There are plenty of vital roles for women in the military. Combat is not one of them.
Jared Olar may be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the newspaper.