In An Even Marginally Healthy Society

by Nicholas Parker

More than some years ago I was speaking with my two nephews and my sister-in-law. The subject of feminism arose and I mentioned that I was a radical feminist. My sister-in-law seemed surprised. She distinguished between her own emphatic feminism and radical feminism which she viewed as constituted by gender reductionism at once exclusionary and dogmatic. I replied that any dogmatic, reductionist, and exclusionary position relative to anything was not a radical position. Radical feminism in my view could only obtain in the advocacy of an encompassing and—just as she said—emphatic equality, equity, and justice, thereby, countering exclusivist and fragmentary versions which were still porous to domination. Radical feminism ought not be abandoned to the exclusionists and the dogmatic. Radical liberation could only be constituted as liberation amongst each and all, not just across gender, sex, and identity but also across all aspects of distinction and difference. Furthermore, radical feminism had to be a constituent part of any aspiration for and advocacy of an emphatically egalitarian, equitable, and just social order tout court. Radical feminism’s liberation is interconnected to all other liberations not just in socio-cultural terms but in socio-political, socio-economic, and socio-existential terms as well. I also enumerated the ways this liberation and its egalitarian forms and aspects, despite the advances of the past several decades, had not yet been realized, and I spoke about how a just social order ought to look in the various aforementioned realms. My thirteen-year-old nephew looked up and exclaimed: “But that is so reasonable!”

He understood perfectly! All forms of encompassing, emphatic, and egalitarian justice certainly are the most reasonable things of all. And, as such, they always have within themselves the possibility of being understood and lived by people in just this way. Yet, there are so many deeply sedimented socio-historical, socio-economic, and socio-existential structures that keep some people from the exclamation of my nephew that day. A realized egalitarian and equitable social formation that has maximized justice and goodness to the fullest extent possible by our very imperfect species that will always be entwined with social antagonisms, would truly be the most reasonable social formation of all—civilizationally, historically, and anthropologically.

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