Thursday, August 3, 2017

What You May And May Not Say: The "Respect" Gambit

     According to some folks, anyway:

     So let me drop the sarcasm and explain it in terms you might understand better. Respecting women isn't a left or right issue....

     But look at this issue from the perspective of a parent instead of an ideologue. I have two daughters. I want them to be healthy and fit and happy. I want them to eat well and treat their bodies with respect. But what if one or both of them struggle with their weight? Will berating them and shaming them for their body shape or size get me the result that I want? Or will it damage them and make the problem worse?

     Megan Fox – no, not that Megan Fox – strains to square the circle by contending that men “have a right” to their preferences in female appearance, but that to talk about those preferences is verboten as it “disrespects” women. This is the totalitarian’s version of freedom:

You can have your own opinions,
But don’t you dare express them.

     That was enough to get my boilers lit at 5:43 AM EDT.

     Let’s talk about this seemingly omnipresent notion of mandatory “respect.” We’re told we have to “respect” damned near everything these days. Don’t want black thugs playing pain-threshold “music” outside your apartment windows at 1:30 AM? You’re a bad person for not “respecting” their culture (which is designed to offend you). Don’t want drag queens disturbing traffic with public parades for “gay pride?” You’re a bad person for not “respecting” their sexual orientation (which they all claim is inborn). Don’t want Muslims blocking the streets with twice-daily public “prayer” gatherings? You’re a bad person for not “respecting” their faith (which holds that you must be converted, enslaved, or killed). Don’t want your little girl to share a rest room with a bearded, pinafore-wearing degenerate with liquor on his breath? You’re a bad person for not “respecting” his choice of gender identity (which he chose to allow him unsupervised proximity to your little girl).

     Let’s halt right there and ask a stupid question:

What is respect?

     Here are the definitions from the 1913 Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary:

  1. To take notice of; to regard with special attention; to regard as worthy of special consideration; hence, to care for; to heed.
  2. To consider worthy of esteem; to regard with honor.
  3. To look toward; to front upon or toward.
  4. To regard; to consider; to deem.
  5. To have regard to; to have reference to; to relate to; as, the treaty particularly respects our commerce.

     Feel free to choose among them. None of them says to me that thou mayest not criticize nor oppose. And quite frankly, when it comes to the abominations I listed above, my preferred form of criticism is with my Remington 870 Express 20-gauge shotgun.

     But really, the root of the malady lies in the loss of what it once meant to be deemed respectable.

     Time was, a man was considered respectable if he met the social criteria of his place and time. In Anglo-American societies, it meant that his word was good; that he honored his debts and contrived to discharge them without public assistance; and – here’s the Ace kicker, so pay attention – that he was known to conform to the norms of deportment his society deemed proper, especially in public.

     To be sure, there were some “gotchas!” in there. For example, a man of Victorian England would not be considered “respectable” if he were caught patronizing prostitutes. One who was caught at it was expected to exhibit contrition and perform penance to his wife (if he had one). It would take such a man quite a while to regain “respectability.” He might need to relocate, perhaps even change his name.

     Thus, a necessary condition for respectability in Victorian England was not to be known as one who patronized prostitutes. However, historical data suggest quite strongly that the prostitutes of Victorian London received customers at the rate of approximately 2,000,000 per week. Thus, the essence of the requirement wasn’t to avoid prostitutes; it was not to get caught with one.

     There’s a powerful message in there, one that it takes more than a single swift glance to discern.

     Respectability was about the maintenance of public order. Public order, of course, is a matter of rules about what one must, may, and must not do. Typically, some of those rules had the force of law behind them: blue laws and noise-curfew laws, for example. Some were “enforced” solely by social mechanisms, which could range from opprobrium to coffee and pistols at dawn. What mattered above all else was the maintenance of the order: the standard of behavior expected of every member of society.

     Consider especially this: Even a man generally thought “not respectable” was expected to impress the rules and the desirability of being respectable upon his children, particularly his sons. Ponder that along with the “don’t get caught” codicil to patronizing prostitutes.

     In our place and time – for those new to Liberty’s Torch, that’s Twenty-First Century America – the absurd notion of obligatory “respect” for any and every deviation from what the great majority of us prefer and expect has been used to destroy public order. It is no longer possible, in the strict sense, to have a public order when any miscreant is licensed to do whatever he damned well pleases no matter whom it injures, disturbs, or offends.

     What we have under a regime of mandatory “respect” for everything is public chaos, including a terrible diminution of safety, especially the safety of the more vulnerable. The matter is exacerbated by the loss of the social mechanism that was once critical to maintaining order: discrimination.

  • Merchants cannot refuse to sell to anyone;
  • Employers cannot refuse to hire anyone for various reasons;
  • Property owners cannot refuse to sell or rent to anyone for the same reasons.

     Those aspects of discrimination were the teeth behind the public order or earlier times: completely nonviolent exclusions from the webs of intercourse that make life tolerable for those not excluded.

     You may think I’ve wandered rather far afield from Megan Fox’s notions about “respecting” women. Actually, that’s been on my mind throughout this tirade. A “respectable” woman should logically be expected to show respect for the sensibilities of the rest of us. That a fair proportion of women do not, and thereafter compound their crimes by shrieking about how we should respect them, is one of the principal drivers of social disharmony in our time, particularly relations between the sexes.

     So, to women who want “respect:”

Get your weight down.

     Get it down at least to the point where you don’t look as if you’ve swallowed a fully inflated beach ball. Get medical supervision if you need it. Use corsets or waist trainers – moderately and judiciously; there’s no good to be had in tightening down to the point of asphyxiation – to assist in finding your actual, God-given waist and, after you’ve found it, maintaining it. If you do these things with resolve and perseverance – in other words, if you show respect, not merely for esthetic principles but for your own body — you’ll be respected. You might not appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, but then, the swimsuits being vended today aren’t terribly flattering anyway.

     And don’t expect me to be bashful about glaring or snickering should you choose to disregard the above. I’m much harder to embarrass than that. (Rodney Dangerfield and I are tight.)

1 comment:

libraryguy said...

All so painfully true. Respect my butt....