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Red Ceiling

Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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It's an article of faith among bien pensant liberals that all institutions in society must achieve perfect gender parity. Consider, for example, the left’s outrage at the dearth of women employed at Google and other tech firms (despite the fact that far fewer women study computer science than men) or its efforts to lower physical standards so that more women become firefighters (despite the fact that most people in burning buildings would rather their lives be saved than politically correct mandates be met). 

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The demand for gender equality apparently extends to less savory lines of work as well. Last week, columnist Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post lamented the fact that “Chinese politics may be the ultimate old boys’ club.”

“Of the 25 members of the Politburo, only two are women,” Marcus fretted. “Female membership on the larger Central Committee has actually fallen, from 7.6 percent in 1969 to 4.9 percent today. Just one of 31 provincial governors is a woman.”

Left out of the lament was the fact that “Chinese politics” consists of murderous, one-party rule. (She didn’t even note this in a column whose publication coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.) Marcus also wrote, “Meanwhile, the notion of a Hillary Clinton-like figure poised to lead the country—indeed, even to serve as its chief diplomat—seems remote,” as if the installation of a military dictator is the equivalent of the democratic election of a president.

There were a couple of ways that Marcus could have dealt with the unpleasant realities of the Chinese regime and still left her basic argument intact. She could have made the—admittedly tendentious—argument that if the Chinese government had more female members, it might be a less brutal regime. Or at the very least, she could have added a weaselly “to be sure” caveat, noting, say, that of course she would rather a democratic China than a dictatorial one that happened to have a few more women in positions of power.

But Marcus didn’t even manage that—no, hers was a simple demand that more women sit atop tyrannical regimes. In that vein, The Scrapbook awaits future Marcus columns in which she bemoans the lack of women in the American Nazi party, or argues that the real crime of the Khmer Rouge was not having equal numbers of males and females leading its execution squads.

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