Cleavage in the cabinet: another ridiculous female in government

For anyone who thinks I’m wrongheaded and hateful to say that the increase in the number of females in leading government positions is a negative development for Western society, check out the Daily Mail’s photo of Caroline Flint, Great Britain’s Employment Minister:


To an infinitely greater extent than men, women, especially contemporary women, are focused on their bodies and their looks and their vanity. In many cases (Condolezza Rice comes to mind) they make it all too clear that they don’t take their jobs seriously, and that their jobs are a vehicle for the expression of their vanity; or, as in Flint’s case, for the display of their breasts. Can you imagine a male cabinet officer going around in a shirt open to his mid-chest? The presence of women such as Caroline Flint in high office is an unfunny, nihilistic joke, a symbol of a civilization that doesn’t respect itself and doesn’t want to survive.

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Here is the amazing and, from the husband’s point of view, heart-rending story of Caroline Flint’s first marriage, to a Tunisian man in the late 1980s, which was published in the Daily Mail this past February. It shows the disastrous consequences of sexual and romantic relationships between men and women of incompatible cultures. Of course, in most cases in which a Western woman has married a Muslim man, it is the woman who end up being abused and traumatized, and often separated from her children. But in this case, at least as the husband tells the story, the injured party was the man, who gave up his good job and socially prominent position in Tunisia to be with his wife and two children in Britain, went downhill in Britain, and was finally ignominiously kicked out of the country and separated forever from his children.

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James P. writes:

You wrote: “In many cases (Condoleezza Rice comes to mind) they make it all too clear that they don’t take their jobs seriously, and that their jobs are a vehicle for the expression of their vanity”

Well now, let’s be fair. Let us compare Condi to her predecessor. Colin Powell was a serious man who dressed seriously, but he was no more effective than she is. Unfortunately, they both were attempting to implement a fundamentally flawed strategy, one that was bound to fail no matter how well dressed they were. None of the sartorially resplendent and serious-minded men who have run this country in the past couple of decades has been any more able to contrive an effective strategy for dealing with our internal and external problems than even the most flighty of females. The problem is not appearance or even gender, it is bad strategy that comes from a seemingly congenital inability among the political elites to think clearly about the issues and reach appropriate conclusions.

LA replies:

In criticizing the vanity of public women and its deleterious effect on politics and public attitudes, was I suggesting that this vanity is the cause of all the inadequacies of modern politics?

This is a problem with blogging. The blogger makes a point about society or politics. It is obviously not meant to be comprehensive. It’s just one angle on the total picture of things. But people will say, “You left out this!” and “You left out that!” But of course those things were left out. It’s a blog entry, not a book.

However, since you mentioned Rice, there are two aspects of her all-too evident vanity that I think are of public significance. First, her vanity is a vast cushion that protects her from reality and the disaster of her policies. Nothing touches her. I first became aware of this about her when she testified before the 9/11 Commission and showed the most careless, complacent, unserious, self-loving attitude about the disaster that her carelessless had allowed to happen. (“Commissioner, if I had known that at 8:46 a.m. on September 11 a plane was going to crash into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, I would have done everything I could to stop it.”) That same cushioning effect continues today, with regard to the disasters of the Iraq occupation and democratization. Second, wherever she goes, the main thing she conveys is her consciousness of her own stardom. This is utterly inappropriate for the Secretary of State of the U.S. She’s there to represent America, not to bask in her celebrity. Or, to the extent that she represents America, her message about America is, “America is terrific, because it has raised up ME to be Secretary of State.” This is the mentality that she, a female ruled by vanity, brings to the highest level of American public life. Which means that the harm she does consists of far more than bad ideology and bad policies.

A reader writes:

The incessant smiling and insufferable condescension toward the Commissioners was unbelievable. She is protected by being female and black, and by her belief that only the far left and clueless America-hating Democrats could criticize her. In this she has been supported by most of the conservative establishment, which firmly upholds her in her vanity and self-regard.

Andrew Sarris, a film critic who is thereby someone who studies and assesses public personae, called her “the consummately complacent Condoleezza Rice.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 17, 2007 10:06 AM | Send

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