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8  WOMAN AND DEMOCRACY.
 
8  WOMAN AND DEMOCRACY.
 
it is not necessary that he should; for most questions, so far as the voter is concerned, demand only a small amount of fairness and honesty upon his part to do all that he can do. He must insist upon public honesty and good character and as much intelligence as possible in public men, and for the rest, except in the most obvious matters, he has to leave the decisions to the legislators themselves. And even among the legislators very few are entitled to any opinion on most of the questions they decide. The work has to be distributed among committees, which are supposed to contain some experts on the matter in question, and there is where the decisions are really made. The experts instruct the committee. The committee reports accordingly, and in the very many cases the legislators accept and adopt the committee's report, with only the most general knowledge on their own part of the subject at issue. It would seem, then, that the average woman might take her place as a voter without putting upon herself any great strain. Certainly she would be fully equal to the strain endured by the average masculine voter, and it would not be difficult to equal him in character and public spirit.
 
it is not necessary that he should; for most questions, so far as the voter is concerned, demand only a small amount of fairness and honesty upon his part to do all that he can do. He must insist upon public honesty and good character and as much intelligence as possible in public men, and for the rest, except in the most obvious matters, he has to leave the decisions to the legislators themselves. And even among the legislators very few are entitled to any opinion on most of the questions they decide. The work has to be distributed among committees, which are supposed to contain some experts on the matter in question, and there is where the decisions are really made. The experts instruct the committee. The committee reports accordingly, and in the very many cases the legislators accept and adopt the committee's report, with only the most general knowledge on their own part of the subject at issue. It would seem, then, that the average woman might take her place as a voter without putting upon herself any great strain. Certainly she would be fully equal to the strain endured by the average masculine voter, and it would not be difficult to equal him in character and public spirit.
But prejudice is prolific and can conjure up reasons where none exist, and anything whatever that is called an argument passes for one. Thus the noble science of Biology is subpoenaed and appears in the person of a Distinguished Professor to say that "the process of evolution is toward the differentiation of function." After this oracular utterance the Professor concludes, one knows not how, that a woman must not be allowed to express in a vote an opinion respecting the management of schools, or in the city Government, or local taxation, and so forth. The phrase is very impressive and might well impose upon the passive and intellectually defenceless mind. One feels a sense of awe before anything so imposing as the "differentiation of function," but it is exceedingly difficult to connect the premise with the particular conclusion. Indeed, one with the same logic might get anything out of the phrase--might claim, for instance, that the working-classes should not vote, because evolution proceeds though the differentiation of function, and this differentiation would lead to the handing over of Government to a privileged few. With what impressiveness a defender of caste would appeal to the "differentiation of function"! These oracles only illustrate over again Burke's weakest arguments and strongest prejudices. They are not to be taken seriously, but brought to the humors of the discussion.
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But prejudice is prolific and can conjure up reasons where none exist, and anything whatever that is called an argument passes for one. Thus the noble science of Biology is subpoenaed and appears in the person of a Distinguished Professor to say that "the process of evolution is toward the differentiation of function." After this oracular utterance the Professor concludes, one knows not how, that a woman must not be allowed to express in a vote an opinion respecting the management of schools, or in the city Government, or local taxation, and so forth. The phrase is very impressive and might well impose upon the passive and intellectually defenceless mind. One feels a sense of awe before anything so imposing as the "differentiation of function," but it is exceedingly difficult to connect the premise with the particular conclusion. Indeed, one with the same logic might get anything out of the phrase--might claim, for instance, that the working-classes should not vote, because evolution proceeds though the differentiation of function, and this differentiation would lead to the handing over of Government to a privileged few. With what impressiveness a defender of caste would appeal to the "differentiation of function"! These oracles only illustrate over again Burke's weakest arguments and strongest prejudices. They are  
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9 Woman and Democracy
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not to be taken seriously, but brought to the humors of the discussion.
 
I have often thought that some bright woman might make a good point by considering what could be said against allowing men to vote in case the question had to be decided by the women. Thus the women might point out that the masculine sex is coarse and unaesthetic, that it is passionate, quarrelsome and given to the use of bad words. Every one knows that men are given to drink, and only recently one of their [track?] professors has declared that civilizations would be imperiled by total abstinence! Instances might also be quotes from recent history to show men's unbalanced emotionality. Both the French and Austrian legislatures have had small riots among the members within a short time; and even the English lawmakers have not always preserved the strictest decorum under emotional stress.
 
I have often thought that some bright woman might make a good point by considering what could be said against allowing men to vote in case the question had to be decided by the women. Thus the women might point out that the masculine sex is coarse and unaesthetic, that it is passionate, quarrelsome and given to the use of bad words. Every one knows that men are given to drink, and only recently one of their [track?] professors has declared that civilizations would be imperiled by total abstinence! Instances might also be quotes from recent history to show men's unbalanced emotionality. Both the French and Austrian legislatures have had small riots among the members within a short time; and even the English lawmakers have not always preserved the strictest decorum under emotional stress.
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Again, the masculine sex is plainly falling behind in intellectuality and women are fast becoming the conservators of scholarship. Since they were admitted to the colleges they have given such a good account of themselves that some men, "falsely so called," are having the gravest doubts about the higher education of women in consequence. College boys also are showing distress at the output of feminine intellect and are calling for a "woman exclusion act" to protect them from this horrible competition. The danger is so imminent that we may yet need a male zenana for our feebler brothers into which these terrible women shall not be allowed to enter. Some years ago Miss Fawcett took the examinations for the Senior Wranglership at Cambridge, England, and came out so far ahead that the report might as well have been. "Eclipse first; the rest nowhere." But as Eclipse in this case was a woman the prize when to the man, who, though next, was not adjacent. A sympathizing editor remarked that, "It was hard on a man to have a thing like that happen to him." Finally, it might be urged that the male sex is relatively irreligious. Three-fourths of the membership of the churches are said to be women. And how would it be possible to allow beings of such qualities to have a voice in lawmaking? This sex that admittedly furnishes the great majority of our drunkards, criminals, infidels and other "undesirable citizens" might easily bring down the vengeance of heaven upon us.
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So the women might argue: and it must be admitted that there

Latest revision as of 08:03, 2 September 2020

8 WOMAN AND DEMOCRACY. it is not necessary that he should; for most questions, so far as the voter is concerned, demand only a small amount of fairness and honesty upon his part to do all that he can do. He must insist upon public honesty and good character and as much intelligence as possible in public men, and for the rest, except in the most obvious matters, he has to leave the decisions to the legislators themselves. And even among the legislators very few are entitled to any opinion on most of the questions they decide. The work has to be distributed among committees, which are supposed to contain some experts on the matter in question, and there is where the decisions are really made. The experts instruct the committee. The committee reports accordingly, and in the very many cases the legislators accept and adopt the committee's report, with only the most general knowledge on their own part of the subject at issue. It would seem, then, that the average woman might take her place as a voter without putting upon herself any great strain. Certainly she would be fully equal to the strain endured by the average masculine voter, and it would not be difficult to equal him in character and public spirit. But prejudice is prolific and can conjure up reasons where none exist, and anything whatever that is called an argument passes for one. Thus the noble science of Biology is subpoenaed and appears in the person of a Distinguished Professor to say that "the process of evolution is toward the differentiation of function." After this oracular utterance the Professor concludes, one knows not how, that a woman must not be allowed to express in a vote an opinion respecting the management of schools, or in the city Government, or local taxation, and so forth. The phrase is very impressive and might well impose upon the passive and intellectually defenceless mind. One feels a sense of awe before anything so imposing as the "differentiation of function," but it is exceedingly difficult to connect the premise with the particular conclusion. Indeed, one with the same logic might get anything out of the phrase--might claim, for instance, that the working-classes should not vote, because evolution proceeds though the differentiation of function, and this differentiation would lead to the handing over of Government to a privileged few. With what impressiveness a defender of caste would appeal to the "differentiation of function"! These oracles only illustrate over again Burke's weakest arguments and strongest prejudices. They are 9 Woman and Democracy

not to be taken seriously, but brought to the humors of the discussion. I have often thought that some bright woman might make a good point by considering what could be said against allowing men to vote in case the question had to be decided by the women. Thus the women might point out that the masculine sex is coarse and unaesthetic, that it is passionate, quarrelsome and given to the use of bad words. Every one knows that men are given to drink, and only recently one of their [track?] professors has declared that civilizations would be imperiled by total abstinence! Instances might also be quotes from recent history to show men's unbalanced emotionality. Both the French and Austrian legislatures have had small riots among the members within a short time; and even the English lawmakers have not always preserved the strictest decorum under emotional stress. Again, the masculine sex is plainly falling behind in intellectuality and women are fast becoming the conservators of scholarship. Since they were admitted to the colleges they have given such a good account of themselves that some men, "falsely so called," are having the gravest doubts about the higher education of women in consequence. College boys also are showing distress at the output of feminine intellect and are calling for a "woman exclusion act" to protect them from this horrible competition. The danger is so imminent that we may yet need a male zenana for our feebler brothers into which these terrible women shall not be allowed to enter. Some years ago Miss Fawcett took the examinations for the Senior Wranglership at Cambridge, England, and came out so far ahead that the report might as well have been. "Eclipse first; the rest nowhere." But as Eclipse in this case was a woman the prize when to the man, who, though next, was not adjacent. A sympathizing editor remarked that, "It was hard on a man to have a thing like that happen to him." Finally, it might be urged that the male sex is relatively irreligious. Three-fourths of the membership of the churches are said to be women. And how would it be possible to allow beings of such qualities to have a voice in lawmaking? This sex that admittedly furnishes the great majority of our drunkards, criminals, infidels and other "undesirable citizens" might easily bring down the vengeance of heaven upon us. So the women might argue: and it must be admitted that there