Friday, May 16, 2014

Ten Commandments not for women, said 1920s politician

The man's a prominent American political figure.
He must be right.
I've been burrowing into newspaper archives researching a topic I hope to write about soon. On one page, I was surprised to see the headline,
Col. Harvey Says Decalogue Does Not Apply to Women
But it's okay, he's got you covered. The subhead is:
New Ten Commandments Should be Devised to Save Their Souls, He Tells Author's Club in London
He gave this talk in October, 1922, since which I am not aware of a second set of commandments created for women. Any women reading this might take that in mind while planning out their weekend.

Mr. Harvey was in London because it was part of his job to be there. He was the Ambassador to the Court of St. James, the formal title of ambassadors to Great Britain. The Ambassador was worried that women might just discover that they are not actually forbidden from doing certain things.
Either the commandments should be revised to meet the requirement of modern conditions or a specific decalogue, wholly distinct from that which now commands observances only by men should be constructed. This should be for the exclusive guidance of women.
What might be in there? He does point out something that might be considered an oversight:
The deliberate failure to forbid coveting thy neighbor's husband implies a positive permission to do so. This creates a distinction which is unfair.
Do you hear that? The Ten Commandments are unfair! And it's okay for for women to covet the guy next door.

"Party on ladies!"
I had a surprise when I checked up further information on George Harvey. "Funny," I thought, "I've seen this picture before." The I re-read the Wikipedia entry (because I had been there before). Prior to becoming an ambassador, Mr. Harvey was the owner of the North American Review and of Harper's Weekly. I had stumbled on the North American Review a while ago when looking up references to Esperanto in old publications. Mr. Harvey used his position as the publisher of the North American Review to promote Esperanto. Mr. Harvey was subsequently the President of the Esperanto-Asocio de Norda Ameriko, the initial national Esperanto group in the United States.

It's sort of an odd coincidence that the former president of EANA would be mentioned in an article on the same page as the one I was looking for, because the story I'm researching also involves Esperanto.

Update: Esperanto Wikipedia notes that he left the Esperanto movement and became a proponent of Ido, an attempt to "improve" Esperanto.
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