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State religion is feminism: The men's movement must respect the law, no matter what provocation.

(article published in The Dominion Post 22 May 2006)

© Peter Zohrab 2006

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The New Zealand legal system seems to many Men's Rights activists to have been deeply influenced by one-sided Feminist ideology. This is part of the background to recent demonstrations outside lawyers' and judges' houses -- no matter how much we might deplore that as a tactic.

The legal system is supposed to be the arbiter of what is just, fair, and true. Judges are even routinely expected to decide what a "reasonable person" would think, say, and do in particular circumstances. But if the legal system has become politicised -- if it has substantially taken sides on a political issue -- then it has brought itself into disrepute in that section of society against which it has taken sides.

New Zealand today is not a self-conscious society -- we don't know what we are about. We know that we are a secular society, i.e. we are not very religious, but we have a substitute for a state religion -- a state ideology which we do not even officially acknowledge: feminism. When I said something like this at a Parliamentary committee meeting some years back, Gerry Brownlee interjected "Bullshit!" (for which he later apologised). I then pointed out that my taxes went to support a Ministry of Women's Affairs and various other feminist projects. If that doesn't make feminism a state ideology, I don't know what would.

The education system and the media teach feminism, and our young people have for generations been taking the feminism that they have learned and applying it to their workplaces and in their personal relationships. "The personal is political," as the Feminist slogan went. These workplaces include Parliament, law firms, government departments and law courts. There is an organisation "Women in Law" and a women's section in the Law Society, but no men's equivalents, which is not a balanced situation.

Can't we just assume that lawyers and judges are fair and reasonable people ? Well, in that case, were they born that way, or did they become fair and reasonable as a result of their training ? I don't think anyone would seriously argue that law schools or the High Court apply any process for making sure that only fair and reasonable people can become law students or lawyers in the first place. So are lawyers trained to become fair and reasonable ? There is no evidence of that -- in fact, there is plenty of evidence that law schools and the legal profession are full of bias.

There are two types of bias: random bias and organised bias. We have always had random bias in our legal system -- individual practitioners are bound to have, or to lack, their own religious or moral beliefs on a fairly random basis (within the range of views that exist in a particular society). Organised bias is when people of a particular persuasion act in a concerted way to bias the legal system in a particular direction -- and that is what feminism has been doing to our legal system for some time.

The Victoria University Law Faculty, when I was there, had "Feminist Legal Theory"* as an optional course, and Feminist approaches to domestic violence and rape were the only approaches to those topics that were taught in the compulsory "Criminal Law" course. Feminist law students assaulted me and shouted me down when I said things they disagreed with. Does that sound like an atmosphere conducive to producing fair and reasonable lawyers and judges ?

If that is the problem, is the solution to harass selected lawyers and judges in their homes ? "The personal is political," you might say, so why not sheet it home to those who are abusing the system from the inside ?

That line of thinking leads to anarchy. True, the body that trains judges, the Institute of Judicial Studies, itself teaches Feminism (in the guise of so-called "gender equity") to judges, so you could argue that the system has been corrupted from the very top. It would not let me teach judges gender equity from a male perspective. And true, after I had told my classmates at the College of Law that I had once complained about this to the UN's Human Rights Committee, participants in an Institute of Judicail Studies function on the same floor stared at me in unison at the lifts, which is arguably a form of harassment.

But the Men's Movement must have higher standards than law students and judges ! Our democratic system of government depends on respect for the Law, as well as on an absence of systematic bias in the legal system. Two wrongs do not make a right.

One Wellington men's activist** has referred to those protesting outside lawyers' and judges' houses as "monkeys jumping up and down." He refers to their alleged lack of any coherent theoretical perspective. Mind you, he has not been particularly keen on any form of demonstration at all in the past.

I believe that Men's Rights activism should observe certain limits. Whether it actually will is anyone's guess.


* I first thought that the course was called "Feminist Jurisprudence". I tried to check on the Web, but it doesn't seem to be taught at present.

**Craig Jackson




Peter Douglas Zohrab

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