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Feminists demand gender quotas for bodies buried in Panthéon

A 2006 article about the feminist totalitarianism attracted hundreds of Slovak visitors today because it was linked to in a discussion under a remarkable Slovak newspaper article about some incredible demands by the French feminists.



The story sounded like a hoax but Reuters was among the many well-known news agencies that ran the story which made me believe that in spite of its nearly comical content, the information is legitimate.

Panthéon, Paris was built sometime in the middle of the 18th century (I've been there once but that's enough). Between 1791 and 2011, 74 French figures were buried there. There are two women among them: the double Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie and Sophie Berthelot. The latter is there only because she joined her chemist spouse Marcellin Berthelot; I don't know either of the couple.




So there will be an online poll. To make things even more brutal, it won't be a poll about whether this preposterous idea is tolerable. It will be directly a poll about the women who will be relocated there. President Hollande apparently supports this breathtaking rubbish. They will probably start with something like five new female tenants.




To make things even more absurd, the monument bears the inscription "To its great men, a grateful fatherland" ("Aux grands hommes, la patrie reconnaissante"). I wonder whether the word "hommes" will eventually be rewritten to match the new composition. Incidentally, because of the "hommes" description, even Marie Curie – who may be argued to have surpassed her husband – is there primarily as a wife.

You could find some OK enough women who are missing there – but many more great men are missing, too. This list of omissions includes Balzac, Stendhal, Michelet, Proust, Exupéry, Sartre, Camus. I could add tons of top mathematicians such as Cauchy, Laplace, Galois. They're missing, too.

The shameless feminist group "Osez le féminisme" (Dare to be feminist) and its painful apologists want nothing less than to rewrite the history. It's just a historical fact that the great people of France who died in the aforementioned period (and it was an enlightened period from all sensible points of view you may think of) were predominantly men. Before you dare to be feminist and disagree, you should tell me who were the real female counterparts of Voltaire, Russeau, Dumas, Hugo, and (except for Marie Curie) Lagrange, Carnot, Pierre Curie, Langevin.

Let me help you: there have been no (other) true counterparts who would be in the same league.

To impose the quotas really means to bury some women who will belong to a demonstrably lower category than the average men who are already buried there. Where does it stop? A group of Algerians in France may also demand to bury a dozen of dark-skinned French citizens. Homosexualist NGOs will demand a higher fraction of gays. And so on and so on. Soon or later, the facility runs out of space and people like Lagrange will have to be thrown somewhere to the Seine river – because of women and Arabs you have never heard of who were pushed there by despicable political groups for which their own petty, egotist group interests are vastly more important than the greatest mankind's achievements.

Similar proposals open many inequivalent questions. One of them is whether the process of burying has been meritocratic in character since 1791. Well, it could have been imperfect but it was surely free of outrageous interventions by NGOs who would openly insist on burying (or not burying) people from a group for purely ideological reasons.

Another question is whether the burying should be meritocratic at all. It should – it's what gives the actual weight and importance to Panthéon and many other facilities and institutions. An institution deciding non-meritocratically will inevitably lose credibility. The feminist movement may benefit but the Panthéon and all of France will lose greatly.

A third question is whether the overwhelming dominance of men in Panthéon was just a special feature of the period (1791-2013) or whether the gender composition will change in the future (well, "would" change in the future because we're now told that the era of meritocracy is over). Well, I would personally bet it won't (wouldn't...) change much. But if it will change, it will be thanks to the work by great women who will do things comparable to Voltaire, Lagrange, and Curie and not due to the work by whining feminists who want to enjoy advantages with no work or achievements, just by organizing guerilla groups and by screaming that they're entitled to enjoy the same accolades as the greatest men in the French history.

I urge the husbands or fathers of the women in the feminist NGOs to spank them really vigorously because that's what they actually should be entitled to.

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reader lucretius said...

"except for Marie Curie" - you forgot her daughter Irene ;-)

The partly Polish Curie family accounts for about 90% scientific achievement of French womanhood.

As for these French feminists - I wonder how long it will take before they demand equal representation in "Les Invalides"?


reader Luboš Motl said...

Right, apologies for the omission. She was great, artificial radioactivity is great, and so is her Nobel prize but I am not sure whether Irene Curie would be in the top 74 Frenchmen in some objective enough criteria.


LOL, Les Invalides should also become balanced. I often make this joke while talking about various mass murderers etc. as "he or she" to fight against the women's underrepresentation in that class.


reader Gordon said...

The same sort of feminist mind-set is infesting universities as well. I just read an issue of Nature (which always has an extended portion highlighting science and job opportunities in different countries.
This issue had about 10 pages on Singapore. The content could have been written by a feminist coven---female mentoring, hiring policies favoring females etc)....looked at another one--similar stuff concerning Switzerland, the ETH etc.
I am all for appointments based on merit and talent, for equal opportunity not based on gender----do we really want to make academic appointments' primary qualification an X or Y chromosome? That may not make a huge difference in various humanities, but I would like the most qualified candidates in the sciences because, as Feynman said, "Nature cannot be fooled."


reader Eugene S said...

And what about the intersex people? I demand at least one representative each from the hermaphroditic and the surgically-enhanced demographics.


reader lucretius said...

I am not sure if they would really like to have all these Curies in one place - it might induce in people heretical thought about scientific talent and genetics.
About two weeks ago at some social event I nearly made an American sociologist faint by mentioning the obvious and uncontroversial fact that mathematical abilities were hereditary. He was even more shocked by the fact that my outrageous statement was backed by every one of the several mathematicians who were present (including a female one). It seemed like it was the first time he heard anyone say this sort of thing.


reader Rehbock said...

Balzac said something like: equality maybe is right but no power can turn it into a fact.


reader Shannon said...

I don't think these types of requests from these French feminists will help the raped women in India.


reader lucretius said...

Indeed, one may invent all kinds "aggrieved" groups but they all must have one thing in common: they must be perceived as being in some sense "unsuccessful" (this is the "war on meritocracy" you mention). So probably for the first time in history we live in an age in which in the most successful societies in the world a person or more often a group will be upset at being called "successful".

An typical example of that could be seen when last year the Pew Research Center issued a report which hailed the American Asians as the most successful ethnic group in the US the response of many Asian American organisations was... well you guesses it, angry protest. "We are deeply concerned about how findings from a recent study by the Pew Research Center have been used to portray Asian Americans,” was the response of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.

http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/06/pew_asian_american_study.html

These days in certain countries there is nothing worse for a group than to be "stereotyped" as "successful". Today "success" is a handicap, it means (as the Jews have known for a long time) official and unofficial quota, envy and suspicion. Since everyone is supposed to be equal, "success" is always undeserved and if you belong to a group that has been slandered in this way you have every right to feel aggrieved (and if you can try to become a member of a less successful group, e.g. 1/32 Native Americans ;-))


reader Paolo said...

Charles Murray made a list of main contributions to human progress and the contribution of women is only 2%. This is why man-hating feminists must pretend that women are victim


reader Sage Basil said...

feminism is about envy of male privilege. They don't care why the male privilege exists, they just demand that it be handed over to them forthwith.


Too many conservatives hear progressives talk about privilege and reflexively reject it, saying that it doesn't exist (false), or that privilege goes both ways (true) or that it's not as big a deal as they say (true).


Meanwhile, someone, somewhere, is advocating for a government program to pick up the garbage in cities where people don't yell at each other for littering. But demanding the accolades that go to the greatest individuals? This is progressivism's reductio ad absurdum.


reader Shannon said...

Sure and let's not forget that there is a great majority of men who haven't and will never contribute to human progress either ;-)


reader Peter Shor said...

When you realize that the most recent burial in the Pantheon was 2002, the demand doesn't seem quite so outrageous. Surely there must have been more than two great female Frenchmen. I can't believe France doesn't have an equivalent of George Eliot and Jane Austen.


reader Gordon said...

Hmmm, the process is sort of reverse evolution, isn't it. I just finished reading an issue of Nature crammed with job ads "encouraging" women applicants to fulfill quotas, a 5 page insert about science ops in Singapore showing women appointees and talking about women mentoring etc. I guess in the humanities, it isn't a tragedy if lesser qualified women are favored, but in science and engineering, unless selection is gender neutral and based on merit, things are going to deteriorate rather quickly, for, as Feynman said: "Nature cannot be fooled." (At least not for very long.)


reader Gordon said...

"lucretius"--great John Doe---

De Rerum Natura-On the Nature of Things--is a great poem promoting atomism, against superstition, and a pre-cursor to the scientific method---
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/08/08/110808fa_fact_greenblatt?currentPage=2


reader anna v said...

I agree with you about meritocracy. Feminists ( and other advocate groups) do a disservice to their members by these demands,because worthy successful women get characterized by these quota systems.

As humanity progresses, ( if it does not fall back to stone age by a world war) it will become more and more possible that a member from a minority group will be able to fulfill his/her potential regardless of the group identity. If all children have equal access to education and choice this will be inevitable.

Already, at least in the west, women can get educated to the highest levels without strident feminism :), and often have better performance in university entrance then the men. I do not believe there is a genetic difference between men and women in intelligence, but there is one in preferences and orientation, which last is enhanced culturally. As long as the reproductive process is based on women giving birth to the next generation it is an inevitable fact. If the bulk of women did not prefer to have babies to success in society there would be no next generation. And the preference is due to a strong biological programming. This removes most women from the pool from which great science/mathematics can evolve.

I think the number though should be about 10% not 2%, but it can only be corrected by evolution of society, not by laws.

I base this estimate on a historical perspective of ancient greek "mathematicians"
http://users.otenet.gr/~avayaki/math.htm


reader Luboš Motl said...

George Eliot and Jane Austen were English writers, not French.


reader lucretius said...

Well, George Sand could be one candidate. Not only for her writing (which was praised by Flaubert and Balzac although disliked be de Tocqueville as being "too masculine") but also because being a mistress of Chopin, Merimee, Mussnet and several others...

She was also a grand-daughter of Maurice de Saxe, one of the three greatest French military commanders (along with Napoleon and Turenne) and thus a great grand daughter of Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland.

Sand was also a leftist (for her time, she would be considered a centrist today.) De Tocqueville describes a meeting with her just before the June uprising in Paris in 1848. They were politically on the opposite side but she told him a lot about the preparations for the revolution - and he was very impressed with her intelligence.

As far as I can tell she is the best candidate the feminists have. Madame de Staël (Germaine de Staël) could also be a fair candidate.

Great French women, even very intellectual ones like these, were always more accomplished in their love affairs than in their other written works which I actually consider a point in their favour. On that basis Madame de Pompadour could also make it but she was no feminist...


reader lucretius said...

The issue of the difference in IQ between men and women is a very well studied subject and is quite uncontroversial among researchers even if it is politically incorrect to talk about it. Briefly: the mean is the same but men have a considerably larger standard deviation. If you understand the normal distribution and elementary statistics you can draw the obvious conclusion, which fully supports what has been written by many in this thread.


reader Shannon said...

"Osez le feminisme" should have their own mausoleum built. (Moving George Sand from her home cemetery in the countryside would be a shame. The Pantheon is located in the middle of Paris with a very busy road all around the building and no windows... who would want to be buried in such a horrible place ??).


reader anna v said...

"Well studied" as in this quoted study I suppose ? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beautiful-minds/201207/men-women-and-iq-setting-the-record-straight :

"Setting the male score at 100, Flynn found that women scored the
lowest in Australia (99.5), but in the other 4 nations Raven's scores
varied from 100.5 to 101.5" . Of course somebody who knows statistics knows all these number are equivalent.


reader lucretius said...

Your link does not work but it does not matter. This has been tested lots of times and the result say the same thing. The means seem to change but where extreme IQ is concerned (which is the only kind related to this topic) the results always agree: http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/sexdifferences.aspx


reader John Archer said...

Warning: a sweeping generalisation followed by a fully off-topic peculiarity :)

Of course talking up wimmin™ is only one the many manifestations of the fashionable trend among leftards and other no-hopers since the 1960s in the compulsory talking up anything and everything just so long as it's 'the other', namely anything that isn't white, male, heterosexual or Western civilisational, which again of course, and as part of the same package, must be talked down. If they can slip such words as hegemony and privileged into their brainless diatribe they score extra points from their doting fcukwit pomo coterie. Rah rah rah!

An example (more up Luboš's street?) is the talking up of the of the invention (or discovery if you prefer) of the decimal place-value system and the number zero. This seems to be hailed as a great achievement. I have never understood why. The thing seemed obvious to me even in early childhood. By the way, that's no immodest claim — I'd be very surprised most others don't see it this way too, because:

Both ideas are inherent in the abacus — I had a toy one as an infant. It seems to me that all it would take is for some lowly merchant to be in search of an efficient method of recording his transactions and hey presto out it pops. The next easy step is to dump the abacus and work directly with the symbolic representation — if need be by flicking notional beads in one's mind until the necessary mental habits set in. Zero's subsequent ungreat progression from mere digitcy on to general numeralcy and thence to full-blown numberhood is another no-brainer.

No mystery. No big deal. All very prosaic.

The only mystery as far as I'm concerned is why it took so long. I imagine that it must have been discovered independently many times too. Perhaps these discoverers each mostly kept quiet about it as it may have given them a commercial edge on their rivals in terms of efficiency in business practice, but that's pure speculation on my part.

I'm still a little surprised the Greeks didn't catch on to it though. I understand they had a somewhat understandable aesthetic or cultural revulsion for numbers after their early discovery of the irrationality of the square root of two and so preferred to stick to their unsullied geometry. I can partly sympathise with that but not fully as it seems rather closed-minded and uncharacteristic of them. But then I'm no scholar of Greek history.

I'd be interested in Luboš's take on this, and in anyone else's for that matter. Actually, I'd be VERY interested. Why's that? Because, as far as I know, I am the only person to express the arguments/opinion above. I am not saying others haven't done so, only that I've never heard them do it (another surprise to me). I have no horse in this race so I'd be quite happy to see it shot down.

PS. The algebraic achievements of muslime Arabs — discuss. :)