Stacy and Joy are still at it, reinforced by Cynthia, Darleen, Gerard, and a host of others. I haven’t kept up closely with the hoo-raw, largely because I was saddened at the beginning by clear evidence that the Alinsky method of “debate” has taken over, even on supposedly “rightist” or “conservative” arguments.[1] Lost in the verbiage is what I take to be Stacy’s original point.

Let’s take an analogy, as a way of backing off a bit: We on the Right are fond of pointing out to Leftoids that the founders of Progressivism, particularly Margaret Sanger, were vicious racists, eugenicists, and advocates of State power, so much so that when Adolf wanted to establish a regime along those lines he adopted their philosophy wholesale. This, we say, taints the whole Progressive movement; any self-declared Progressive cause should at minimum be examined closely for Sangerite influence before being publicly proposed, let alone adopted.

In exactly the same way, modern feminism was founded and defined by some of the most rabid Socialists and Communists to be found anywhere. If a conservative or Rightist wants to adopt “feminist” as a label, she must at minimum check the details of her proposals against the doctrines of the Marxist International. Failure to do so, and to modify the proposals, results in advocating Progressivism whether or not that is what was intended.

Joy and others wish to adopt the “feminist” label in part as a political ploy. Women overwhelmingly vote for those who advocate women’s rights, and in large part that rôle is taken by those who declare themselves feminist. A person who wants to advocate women’s rights from a conservative perspective therefore wishes to attach the “feminist” label to herself, to attract those voters. It is, to my mind, a policy doomed to failure for many reasons, but it’s definitely a game worth the candle if it can be made to work, even partially. Trouble is, separating the “women’s rights” components from the general psuedo-Marxist garbage is a process more nearly resembling isotopic separation than mere sorting, and to date I haven’t seen anything like a systematic approach to the effort.

The big thing to watch out for is egalism, the assumption of interchangeability. An egalitarian society would allow anyone to try out for the part, but apply the same rules to all who make the attempt. At the moment, the very Planck interval, at which you start thinking of and defining the trivial tweaks, minor modifications, and insignificant accommodations necessary to insure “fair competition”, you have abandoned egalitarianism entirely and shifted over to seeking political advantage in support of an egalist ideal. If modifications are necessary and possible, they should and will be made by those who gained admittance and demonstrated performance under the original criteria. Some changes may not be possible without damaging or destroying the functionality of the group, and if those are made by decree from outside they will inevitably fail to take into account conditions not immediately apparent (or whose existence is denied). That cannot fail to be destructive.

I don’t participate in rodeo, being too lily-livered, but I enjoy watching it, especially bronco-riding. The rules are trivially, even brutally, simple: get on the horse while it’s trapped and unable to object; when it is freed, stay on its back for eight seconds. If you can do that, you can then proceed to technique that gains points, most of which is things designed to irritate the animal even further and therefore make staying on more problematic.

There are no female bronc riders at the professional level. This is not because of some cynical, Patriarchal scheme to exclude Teh Womyn — a woman who could succeed in the sport would be (if nothing else) an enormous draw for crowds seeking novelty, and the organizers and promoters would fall all over themselves to get her out there and publicized; if she was reasonably pretty (for which read, did not cause dogs to howl at twenty paces) she could essentially write her own ticket. There have, in fact, been a few attempts along those lines, but all of them foundered on one point: the promoters don’t decide, the horse does, and the horse doesn’t give a damn for politics, promotion, or egalistic ideals. A person who can stay on for eight seconds, at least sometimes, is a bronc rider; a person who cannot isn’t; genital polarity is irrelevant, but ends up important as a byproduct of the conditions.

So, modify the sport, right? Surely the animals can be trained… well, of course they can, and are. The rodeo business long ago ran out of native talent; bucking horses are trained, and the training regime is just as intensive as that for a well-mannered riding horse (though more dangerous for the trainer). Some of the trainers and many of their assistants are women, who ride the horses as they are being trained to dislodge their riders and take their falls like anybody else. If women were to compete in the arena, we have a ready-made population of females who know the technical ins and outs as well as any man does. It still doesn’t happen — because the horse decides. Stay on him for eight seconds, and you’re a bronc rider; stay on him for eight seconds while continually pissing him off to the extent possible, and you’re a winning bronc rider; the judges issue the grade, but the horse makes the decision.

Change the training? Already been done. It’s called dressage — demonstrating skill at horse-riding and training by doing all manner of improbable tricks. Women compete, and win, in dressage on a regular basis, almost to the point of taking over the sport. But it ain’t bronc riding, and it ain’t rodeo. Changing the rules didn’t change the sport or the conditions of entry and success; it generated a new sport, leaving the terms and conditions of the original intact.

If you’re a conservative who wishes to adopt the “feminist” label, watch out for analogies to the bucking bronco. There are activities which are exclusively or predominately male for sound physiological and psychological reasons, and if you demand that women be accommodated in them — and especially if you advocate changes to the activity to accommodate female participation — you belong on the Progressive Left with Sonntag and Friedan, regardless of whatever else comes out of your mouth or off your keyboard.

[1] I am anyway suspicious of “debate”[2], which depends on cherrypicking, hair-splitting, and verbal gymnastics to “win”; adding personal attacks, continual changes of subject, and “drilling down” to overcome minor points by force majeure and pretending that settles something just adds to my contempt.

[2] Possibly because I’m not quick-witted enough to do well at it.