While I used to quip before the millennium’s turn that “I’m a real man of the ’90s — the 1890s,” the truth is that I’m more like Mayberry Meets the Middle Ages.

It’s not so much that I hate new ideas (insofar as such things exist) or love old ideas, but that I yearn for eternal ideas. I thus very well could turn back the clock to the days of chivalry, when virtue was exalted and “values” (the term) unknown, faith was fact and “atheism” (the term) unheard, and “equality” was applied only to weights and measures. But while I could, I can’t. This brings me to the matter of women and the draft.

At a gathering a couple of years ago, a young man, about age 20, registered surprise when I told him women didn’t have to sign up for Selective Service. His reaction was no surprise: Marinated in Equality Dogma growing up, he probably couldn’t imagine that the greatest sacrifice one could be required to make — to possibly have to shed blood for his country — is demanded of only one sex.

This could possibly change, as there has been a recent effort to require draft registration of women as well. Conservatives have generally opposed this, unsurprisingly, with the very good congressman Chip Roy (R-Tex.) becoming especially incensed at the notion. My medieval self sympathizes, too; I very much believe that shedding blood, whether your own or others’, is man’s work.

But there’s a problem with this: Equality™.

In its name we’ve denuded our civilization of traditions and moral standards. All-male clubs and even military academies, such as the Citadel and VMI, were compelled to become coed. Women had to be allowed in police and fire departments, with physical standards dumbed down (equality?) to facilitate this. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was made more “girl friendly” because boys scored higher on it, and women were offered affirmative action to equalize their numbers in various endeavors.

All this was done to indignant, self-righteous cries of “equality!” with those defending tradition called sexist, misogynist and discriminatory. Yet this selective preference, which some sloppily call a principle, has been used cynically.

There’s much talk about the intersex pay gap (whose “injustice” has been debunked), but little about the intersex death gap (men constitute 92 percent of workplace fatalities). When female soccer players complained and litigated because they didn’t earn as much the men, they ended up getting half the latter’s World Cup money (even after losing to unpaid 14-year-old boys). Yet no one ever talks about equalizing fashion industry pay, even though female models earn substantially more.

Title IX was used to mandate proportionality in college sports; meaning, if a student body is 60 percent female (not unheard of now), 60 percent of its athletes must also be. The result was that men’s teams were eliminated to facilitate women’s teams’ creation. Yet if “proportionality” is such an imperative, why isn’t it applied to college admissions in the first place so that the student-body sex ratio is approximately 50-50? Isn’t academics more important than athletics?

We hear endless complaints about how there aren’t enough female scientists, engineers, politicians, upper-end managers and CEOs, but none about the dearth of female oil rig workers, garbage collectors, masons, landscapers and pipe fitters. If a young girl wants to be on a boys’ sports team, all that’s asked is if she’s good enough, with “Equality!” used to cow those who object. Yet no boy, even the young lad she may be displacing, can try out for a girls’ team even if he’s more than good enough.

The conclusion is plain: Equality appeals are ploy, not principle. The tactic is used by feminists (and others) to get what they want when they want it. It’s trotted out when what can be had are benefits, not burdens; authority, not responsibility; rewards, not risks. This means that it’s not about equality at all, but power, prestige, position and pocketbook.

So now we return to the draft. Back when society truly was patriarchal (at least somewhat), there was a congruence: Men’s greater authority was attended by greater responsibility. They were the only ones who could vote prior to women’s suffrage but, if the politicians they elected got them into a war, they were also the ones who had to fight that war. They had skin in the game.

Men still have that skin in the game. They now have no greater authority, however, as the equality ploy has been used selectively to further a politically correct brand of inequality. It’s a perversion of chivalry: Men are disadvantaged by an unlevel domestic playing field but are still expected to, when necessary, do the bleeding on the battlefield.

The point here should be obvious. To twist a famous saying, the best way to get a bad professed social standard eliminated is to apply it strictly. If people really believe in “equality,” they should strenuously seek its application across the board. But if they find such a prospect unworkable, it discredits the pseudo-principle — and they should then scrap it altogether.

And, ironically, it’s mainly conservatives who require this soul-searching. Many leftists have already dispensed with the equality pretense and moved on to “equity,” a more overt, aggressive iteration of the equality-ploy-enabled woke discrimination. This, though, is actually par for the course. As G.K. Chesterton observed in 1924:

The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types — the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. …Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob.

The good news is that “equality” could be replaced with that infinitely superior, timeless model: the virtues (e.g., Justice, Charity, Prudence). The bad news is that civilizational collapse is likely necessary for this to happen. The norm today is to be wed to Equality Dogma, and what society calls fairness is too often just a species of agreed-upon illusions. In our relativistic, emotion-driven time, people will continue enforcing woke double standards and men’s second-class status, and often not even notice, while professing equality all the way — because it feels right. The girls get what the girls want.

As for me, whether it’s the draft, men claiming female status (“trans”) taking women’s sporting titles or something else, I won’t play the white knight riding to the rescue. I’ll save that for a time and place where knights are, once again, revered.

Addendum: Earlier this year, the Babylon Bee satirized the equality ruse brilliantly with the apropos video below.

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