And if he is a philanthropical director of a great business he does not, when a pathetic case of poverty among his staff is brought to his notice, imperil the fortunes of his undertaking by giving to his workmen shares and a vote in the management.
Moreover, he would perhaps regard it as a little suspect if a group of those who were claiming this as a right came and told him that “it was very selfish of him” not to grant their request.
Precious above rubies to the suffragist and every other woman who wants to apply the screw to man is that word selfish. It furnishes her with the petitio principii that man is under an ethical obligation to give anything she chooses to ask.
We come next—and this is the last of all the arguments we have to consider—to the argument that the suffrage ought to be given to woman for instructional purposes.
Now it would be futile to attempt to deny that we have ready to hand in the politics of the British Empire—that Empire which is swept along in “the too vast orb of her fate”—an ideal political training-ground in which we might put woman to school. The woman voter would there be able to make any experiment she liked.
But one wonders why it has not been proposed to carry woman’s instruction further, and for instructional purposes to make of a woman let us say a judge, or an ambassador, or a Prime Minister.
There would—if only it were legitimate to sacrifice vital national interests—be not a little to say in favour of such a course. One might at any rate hope by these means once for all to bring home to man the limitations of woman.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CONCESSION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SUFFRAGE TO WOMAN
WOMAN’S DISABILITY IN THE MATTER OF PHYSICAL FORCE
International Position of State would be Imperilled by Woman’s Suffrage—Internal Equilibrium of State would be Imperilled.
The woman suffrage movement has now gone too far to be disposed of by the overthrow of its arguments, and by a mere indication of those which could be advanced on the other side. The situation demands the bringing forward of the case against woman’s suffrage; and it must be the full and quite unexpurgated case.
I shall endeavour to do this in the fewest possible words, and to be more especially brief where I have to pass again over ground which I have previously traversed in dealing with the arguments of the suffragists.
I may begin with what is fundamental. It is an axiom that we should in legislating guide ourselves directly by considerations of utility and expediency. For abstract principles—I have in view here rights, justice, egalitarian equity, equality, liberty, chivalry, logicality, and such like—are not all of them guides to utility; and each of these is, as we have seen, open to all manner of private misinterpretation.