A progressive friend of mine who is a computer programmer once remarked that he sometimes felt like cultural mores were like pieces of code created by another programmer that he stumbled across while performing edits. They sometimes appeared useless, but he was hesitant to delete them for fear that they were performing some essential function in the program. I love this analogy, and I think it is apt.
I bring this analogy up in this space, again, as it pertains to a topic that is on my mind a lot lately: women's suffrage. Believe it or not, there was a day and age in which the idea of women voting was thought ludicrous by both men and women. And it wasn't that long ago. A personal hero of mine, G.K. Chesterton, was distinctly opposed to women's suffrage. Of course, expressing this view now is enough to get you locked up in a sanitorium, or at least enough to get you ruefully ignored. Come to think of it, if you promoted the idea that women should not have the vote in a place like Northampton, MA, then I think you would have a very long day.
Here's what I'm noticing: women are naturally more sympathetic than men, and tend towards leftist politics. They desire security above all else, and are naturally unwilling to be hard on those in naturally difficult circumstances. I suspect, and this is not a comprehensive analysis of the situation, that our drift to the left politically is directly aligned with women's suffrage. And I also highly doubt that abortion will ever be illegal in a republic with women's suffrage.
Chesterton's difficulty with women's suffrage was that it created a division within the household. In the operation of the household, it was necessary to have a unity of action and sentiment. Men and women were forced to work together to a common end, and this was a good thing. Hopefully, a man's decisions were tempered by his wife's feelings and sympathy, and vice versa, her sentiments were tempered by his practicality and desire for action.
What we have now is a society where the sympathetic sentiment and practicality are sundered. There is no longer unity of action.
I think that this is the root of the 'politically correct' culture that we now currently live and breathe. There is this air of division, and in some places being 'masculine' is an exercise in cultural revolution. A witness to this is the Dodge Charger advertisement during the Super Bowl which trumpeted the car as "Man's Last Stand". Men feel cornered, but they also feel that acting like 'themselves' is somehow an act of violence. Men are not allowed to be men.
I believe this has a larger effect on the culture, and its impact is especially felt in the collapse of Fatherhood in the United States.
The solution? That's a subject for another post.