Notes on the Intelligence of Woman

She refuses to face the fact that if nobody offered any resistance nobody would be killed; she completely confuses the defense of self against a burglar with that of a nation against an invader. Finally she assumes that the defense of one's country is legitimate yet insists on maintaining with the Bible that one may not kill!

Case 33

Case 33: 'Why didn't America interfere with regard to German atrocities in Belgium?'

I: 'Why should she?'

Case 33: 'America did protest when her trade was menaced.'

I: 'Yes. America wanted to protect other interests, but does it follow that she should protest against atrocities which do not menace her interests?'

Case 33: 'But her interests are menaced. Look at the trade complications; they've all come out of that.'

Case 33 has confused trade interests with moral duty; she has confused two issues: atrocities against neutrals and destruction of American property. When I tell her this, she states that 'there is a connection: that if America had protested against atrocities the war would have proceeded on better lines because the Germans would have been frightened.

I: 'How would this have affected the trade question?'

Case 33 does not explain but draws me into a morass of moral indignation because America protested against trade interference and not against atrocities. She finally says America had no right to do the one without the other, which logically is chaos. She also demands to be told what was the use of America's signing the Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention. She ignores the fact that these conventions do not bind anybody to fight in their defense but merely to observe their provisions. I would add that Case 33 is a well-educated woman, independent in views, and with a bias toward social questions.

Naturally, where there is a question of love, feminine logic reaches the zenith of topsy-turvydom. Here is a dialogue which took place in my presence.

Case 8

Case 8, who was about to be married, attacked a man who had had a pronounced flirtation with her because he suddenly announced that he was engaged.

Case 8: 'How can you be so mean?'

The man: 'But I don't understand. You're going to be married. What objection can you have to my getting engaged?'

Case 8: 'It's quite different.'

Nothing could move Case 8 from that point of view. [note: Probably owing to woman's having for centuries been taught to regard the vain aspirations of the male as her perquisites.--The Author.]

I do not contend that bad logic is the monopoly of woman, for man is also disposed to believe what he chooses in matters such as politics, wars, and so forth, and then to try to prove it. Englishmen as well as Englishwomen find victory in the capture of a German trench, insignificance in the loss of a British trench; man, as well as woman, is quite capable of saying that it always rains when the Republicans are in power, should he happen to be a Democrat; man also is capable of tracing to a dinner with twelve guests the breaking of a leg, while forgetting the scores of occasions on which he dined in a restaurant with twelve other people and suffered no harm. Man is capable of every unreasonable deduction, but he is more inclined to justify himself by close reasoning. In matters of argument man is like the Italian brigand who robs the friar, then confesses and asks him for absolution; woman is the burglar unrepentant. This may be due to woman as a rule having few guiding principles or intellectual criteria. She often holds so many moral principles that intellectual argument with her irritates the crisper male mind. But she finds it difficult to retain a grasp upon a central idea, to clear away the side issues which obscure it. She can seldom carry an idea to its logical conclusion, passing from term to term; somewhere there is a solution of continuity. For this reason arguments with women, which have begun with the latest musical play, easily pass on, from its alleged artistic merit, to its costumes, their scantiness, their undesirable scantiness, the need for inspection, inspectors of theatres, and, little by little, other inspectors, until one gets to mining inspectors and possibly to mining in general. The reader will observe that these ideas are fairly well linked. All that happens is that the woman, tiring of the central argument, has pursued each side issue as it offered itself. This comes from a lack of concentration which indisposes a woman to penetrate deeply into a subject; she is not used to concentration, she does not like it. It might lead her to disagreeable discoveries.

It is for this reason--because she needs to defend purely emotional positions against man, who uses intellectual weapons--that woman is so much more easily than man attracted by new religions and new philosophies,--by Christian Science, by Higher Thought, by Theosophy, by Eucken, by Bergson. Those religions are no longer spiritual; they have an intellectual basis; they are not ideal religions like Christianity and Mohammedanism and the like, which frankly ask you to make an act of faith; what they do is to attempt to seduce the alleged soul through the intellect. That is exactly what the aspiring woman demands: emotional satisfaction and intellectual concession. Particularly in America, one discovers her intellectual fog in the continual use of such words as mental, elemental, cosmic, universality, social harmony, essential cosmos, and other similar ornaments of the modern logomachy.

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