The War Against Women, at Home and Abroad
John Stuart Mill called domestic violence "wife torture." That seems a much more apt phrase.
Mill believed that, in early times, strong men had used force to enslave women and the majority of their fellow men. By the nineteenth century, however, the “law of the strongest” seemed to him to have been “abandoned”—in England at least—“as the regulating principle of the world’s affairs.” Slavery had been renounced. Only in the household did it continue to be practiced, though wives were no longer openly enslaved but merely “subjected” to their husbands. This subjection, Mill said, was the last vestige of the archaic “law of the strongest,” and must inevitably fade away as reasonable men recognized its barbarity and injustice. Of his own time, he wrote that “nobody professes” the law of the strongest, and “as regards most of the relations between human beings, nobody is permitted to practice it.”
Well, even a feminist may not be right about everything. Times often change for the worse, and rarely has the law of the strongest been more popular than it is in the United States today. Routinely now we hear congressmen declare that the US is the greatest nation in the world because it is the greatest military power in history, just as presidents now regularly insist that the US military is “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.” Never mind that it rarely wins a war. Few here question that primitive standard—the law of the strongest—as the measure of this America’s dwindling “civilization.”