Monday, January 20, 2003

The Intimate Journal of Henri Amiel: March 24, 1878

March 24, 1878

A sex that prefers favour to justice, supersti-tion to wisdom, opinion to knowledge, error to truth, must be kept out of the great historic questions and decisions. It has only a tenant's faculties, not a general's. It is invalid, and would be dread- ful as judge, as legislator, as revolutionary, as institutor, as inventor. It is proper that the sex should be employed in everything, but it should not be given the supreme direction in anything. To grant it complete equality with the other sex in functions and in rights would be to check the advance of humanity and civilization. The manifest exceptions prove nothing. A few extraordinary women do not prevent the average from being the sentimental, passionate, retard- ing element of society, passive and committed to routine. Progress does not come from them, but in spite of them. Progress is es- sentially progress in truth, and it is man who invents, finds, dis- covers, innovates, undertakes, attempts, man who creates and con- quers. Cuique suum [to each his own]. The male has many weaknesses and makes many mistakes; but everything would be worse if he ceased to the master. The age of gynæcocracy must have been a sad age, and a return of if is not to be desired. The effemination of a race alone means that the race is decedent ... It will be a singular thing if the democratic era ends in the com- plete emancipation of women, which will put an end to democratic customs. All women have the aristocratic weakness, they detest vul- garity and equality; their taste is for distinction, for arbitrary fa- vour, for the inequality of merits. Their first care will be to arrange a good tyranny after their own heart, the dictatorship of the priest and the artist. The reaction will be amusing. Liberalism in politics and religion is the last thing that women will like or practise. Respect for science if the opposite pole from their inclination.

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