Wednesday, July 21, 2004


You’ll have to pardon this little deviation from the main theme, but I just read something fascinating in Stephen Jay Gould’s “The Mismeasure of Man”. It’s a quote from the 19th century Anthropologist Gustave Le Bon:

A desire to give them [women] the same education, and, as a consequence, to propose the same goals for them, is a dangerous chimera…. The day when, misunderstanding the inferiour occupations which nature has given her, women leave the home and take part in our battles; on this day a social revolution will begin, and everything that maintains the sacred ties of the family will disappear (1879, p. 62).

While this is the same old dribble we’ve read from misogynists throughout the last 2 centuries, the part that is truly shocking to me, at least, is the fact that Le Bon’s horror - the unthinkable travesty that will befall humanity if women are educated - is that “the sacred ties of the family will disappear”! Let’s be clear: Le Bon’s argument is an argument from slippery slope: “If we do this, absurdity will follow!” And the absurditythat Le Bon so fears is that the ”scared ties of the family” will be undone.

Supporters of bans on gay marriage should perhaps look back to these idiots for camaraderie.

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