It is in the nature of humankind to be kindly, as the word implies. I drove my car the other day – how stupid can an old git get? – through a fence almost into a river. The neighbours were wonderful as neighbours usually are- with the occasional exceptions of the ones from hell of course. But political reality does not reflect these pleasing aspects of humanity. Most people want to love their wives or husbands or partners or whoever their significant and much loved other is, walk their dogs and dig their gardens. But not the terminal egotists and chronic self-regarders who, while normal people are doing what normal people do, spend every hour and extend every nerve in their single-minded determination to get to the top of whatever the local political system is, dominate everybody else and re-fashion them in the philosophy of dog eats dog that has served they themselves so well. But it is a con. Dogs don’t eat dogs. On the contrary dogs are the most loyal and loving of creatures and constantly set us inspiring examples. If anybody lives by a philosophy of love for humanity it’s dogs.
So throughout their history humans have often, almost usually indeed, not behaved with the humanity of their nature, but in the despicable image of those who have led them. One of the worst and most enduring aspects of this sad story has been the oppression of women by men. It is for this reason that the feminist movement was one of the most hopeful and inspiring and important of movements that there have ever been. Men have so often used their political power to fight wars, rob other people, pursue their greed and generally make life thoroughly miserable. What a wonderful idea to give women more power, for they with their gentler and more sensitive natures, and their greater common sense and their commitment to the happiness of their children rather than the erection of empires, would surely bring about a different world of tenderness and concern and mercy. Not a world in which other women are forced to work ten hours for a dollar a day, and people are only interested in getting more money and politicians are hardly bothered about the climate change that the scientists are now virtually unanimously saying will condemn our children to an earth of unimagineable horror if we don’t deal decisively with this issue right here now.
Surely in a female political manifesto tenderness and pity and feeling and universal concern would be at the absolute centre. Well maybe I missed it but I didn’t see much of this in the account of the aims of the Womens’ Equality Party that I read. I didn’t see much outrage here that other women who make their knickers are living in dire poverty and an earnest commitment to pay more for knickers in order to address so great an unfairness and an anxiety bordering on desperation for the future of our childen lest we fail to address the climate issue. It all seemed to be about getting more money for themselves. Are they themselves adopting the mental blindnesses of the patriarchy they so vociferously condemn? I fear they are. You so easily turn into your enemy. Not a case of dog eats dog but bitch eats dog. Sad sad sad.