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[68] It was failure to solve this problem which destroyed the Orient. There woman is an object of hi, a childbearer and nurse. every progressive movement which began with the development of personality was prematurely frustrated by the women, who dragged men down again into the miasma of the harem. Nothing separates East and West more decisively today than the position of women and the attitude towards woman. People often maintain that the wisdom of the Orientals has understood the ultimate questions of existence more profoundly than all the philosophy of Europe. At any rate



the fact that they have never been able to hi themselves in hiual matters has sealed the fate of their culture. Midway between Orient and Occident the unique culture of the Greeks grew up. But antiquity also failed to raise woman to the level on which it had placed man. Greek culture excluded the married woman. The wife remained in thewoman’s quarters, apart from the world, nothing more than the mother of the man’s heirs and the steward ofhis house. His love was for the hetaera alone. eventually he was not satisfied even here, and turned to homohiual love. Plato sees the love of boys transfigured by the spiritual union of the lovers and by joyfulsurrender to the beauty of soul and body. To himthe love of woman was merely gross sensual satisfaction.



To Western man woman is the companion, to the Oriental she is the bedfellow. European woman has not always occupied the position she occupies today. She has won it in the course of evolution from the principle of violence to the principle of contract. And now man and woman are equal beforethe law. The small differences that still exist in private law are of no practical significance. Whether, for example,the law obliges the wife to obey her husband is not particularly important; as long as marriage survives one party will have to follow the other and whether husband or wife is stronger is certainly not a matter which paragraphs of the legal code can decide. Nor is it any longer of great significance that the political rights of women are restricted, that women are denied the vote and the right to hold public office. For by granting the vote to women the proportional political strength of thepolitical parties is not on the whole muchaltered; the women of those parties which must suffer from the changes to be expected (not in any case important ones) ought in their own interests to become opponents of women’s suffrage rather than supporters. The right to occupy public office is denied women less by the legal limitations of their rights than by the peculiarities of their hiual character. Without underestimating the value of the feminists’ fight to extend woman’s civil rights, one can safely risk the hiertion that neither women nor the community are deeply injured by the slights to women’s legal position which still remain in the legislation of civilized states.


The misconception to which the principle of equality before the law is exposed in the field of general social relationships is to be found in the special field of the relations between those hies. just as the pseudo-democratic movement endeavours by decrees to efface natural and socially conditioned inequalities, just as it wants to makethe strong equal to the weak, the talented to the untalented, and the healthy to the sick, so the radical wing of the women’s movement seeks to make women the equal of men.78 Though they cannot go so far as to shift half the burden of .






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