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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Are Women Better at Being Cruel than Men?

Richard Fernandez:

Alex Coe, writer for the Los Angeles Times, raises an age-old question without quite answering it. She reviews Wendy Lower’s book Hitler’s Furies, in which we are told to prepare ourselves for the thunderous news that many of the most brutal killers of the Holocaust were women; creatively cruel and sedulously murderous women — and most of them got away.

But to return to the question, why are women cruel? The answers offered in the review appear to be cast in the standard framework of sexual politics and male domination. “Violence, as Lower points out, was often entangled with both intimacy and recreation for women in the Nazi East. It was not uncommon to pass mass graves while taking a lover’s stroll in the forest, or picnic near a concentration camp within visible range of smoke rising from a crematorium.” It was all kinky sex control of some sort we are told.

But I have another theory. The Nazi women were so apt to cruelty because they were “good and obedient” citizens. It wasn’t that they were all sex slaves of some sort. They were just good farm girls who would go and slaughter the chicken while the men sat around and yarned. Of course it’s not that simple, but the link between what is regarded as exemplary behavior and cruelty has been known for a long time.

The people who are most apt to kill you for the greater good are intellectuals.

My first glimpse into the connection between the qualities of earnestness and cruelty was during the anti-Marcos underground years. I observed that the communist ideology took deepest root in people I had heretofore regarded as clean-living and pious people, the seminarians and religious, the properly brought up, college educated, hard-studying youth. Fanaticism seemed to have a special appeal to them. By contrast it took less of a grip on petty thieves, crooks and rogues precisely because they were incurably sly, undisciplined and weak.

I asked someone once why the hard core communists were so humorless. The answer was memorable and succinct. “They take themselves too seriously.”

For there is nothing so lethal as a young man — or woman — who is completely convinced that he or she is engaged in saving the world. It is probably no coincidence that some of the worst and most pitiless men in the world are either academics or consider themselves religious. Abimael Guzman, for example, is a great favorite of that other revolutionary academic Jose Maria Sison, and is almost mind-bogglingly cruel. Sison’s other favorite is Kim Jong-un a man who will machine-gun his girlfriend or execute his uncle if it serves the cause of the party.

Of course they are largely academics, before they become mass murderers.

There are no greater hotbeds of leftist fanaticism today that the academe. That the academe has become increasingly the province of women is not coincidental.

There may have been more cruel women than men because girls are more serious than boys. Every tyrant knows this and makes a special effort to recruit the intellectuals, the women and the earnest. The people who dot their i’s, make sure the faucet is turned off and always tie their shoelaces. Dictators don’t do very well by and large, among weepy, “unreliable” and lumpen who are irredeemably riddled with human vice.

Don’t take my word for it, taken Lenin’s.

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