It's a question that liberals instantly dismiss -- after all, we're all supposed to be absolutely equal. And conservative men shrink from serious discussion of the issue, preferring to seek refuge in their chivalrous instincts.
But let's ask the question anyway: Do we need to down-size the pedestal?
I'm more than happy to hold the door open for a lady or tote a doddering grandma's bag. And last I checked, no one is talking about dispatching a squadron of rosy-cheeked G.I. Janes to root out the Iraqi insurgents. So let's take that off the table.
Some will recall that back in October 1971, the House of Representatives approved the Equal Rights Amendment, which passed by an overwhelming 354-24 margin. Everyone knew it was just a matter of months until the necessary 38 states came on board.
But four months later, Phyllis Schlafly penned her history-altering essay, "What's Wrong with Equal Rights for Women?" Schlafly pointed out that American women are the most privileged of all classes of people that ever lived: "We have the most rights and rewards, and the fewest duties."
Abundant rights and rewards, with fewer duties - that's the pedestal.
Schlafly then posed the question, "Why should we lower ourselves to 'equal rights' when we already have the status of special privilege?" That one sentence spelled the demise of the ERA. In the end, it was wrath of millions of American women who, fearing the loss of that special privilege, brought down the Equal Rights Amendment.
After the ERA heaved its last breath in 1979, feminists bitterly accused Mrs. Schlafly of "hating" women. But in truth the bra-burners took their next cue from the conservative icon.
This was their ploy: Instead of striving for mere equality, why not seek to expand women's special privileges - all the while claiming to be working for equality? And that proved to be the winning formula.
Over the next 25 years, the fems engineered the passage of a series of laws and programs that afforded ever-expanding legal rights and services to women. Those laws included the Violence Against Women Act, the Women's Educational Equity Act, women's health programs, the 1996 welfare reform, and many more.
How did the Girls of Guile get away with their equality ruse, when in fact they were duplicitously scheming behind the scenes to foist a hierarchical society on the rest of us?
First, they relentlessly shaded the truth - consider Hillary Clinton's laughable canards that women suffer from wage discrimination, were routinely excluded from medical research, are more likely to be the victims of war, and so on.
Before long the liberal media, beholden to the mantra of victim-journalism, became a shill for feminist ideology. And the conservative media, reflexively bound to the chivalrous ideal and emasculated by the ideological assault, never arose to challenge the falsehoods.
The real target of this blitz, though, was the traditional family. Women were hectored into thinking motherhood is unfulfilling and were rooted out of their homes to ascend the corporate ladder. Babes still in diapers were shunted off to day care.
Fathers were told they were superfluous and made to feel guilty for wanting to protect and provide for their families.
Then a stunning series of legal developments steadily eroded men's roles in their families. In 1992 the U.S. Supreme Court decreed in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that a wife didn't need to inform her husband of an impending abortion. Domestic violence laws allowed women to send men packing without any proof of abuse. And divorced dads were reduced to mere visitors in their children's lives.
No surprise, word soon leaked out and young men began to lose interest. Three years ago Rutgers University conducted a national survey of our nation's most eligible bachelors -- single, heterosexual men ages 24-35. The researchers were in for a shock: 53% of men said they were not interested in getting married anytime soon, and 22% declared they had no intention of ever tying the knot.
Marriage rates began to plummet. For the first time in our nation's history, single-adult households now outnumber traditional dad-and-mom families.
So let's revisit our modest proposal -- is it time to scale back the formidable pedestal that the rad-fems have foisted on us in recent years?
Chivalry certainly has its place, and yes, women sometimes need special protections. But taken too far, chivalry can weaken the bedrock institutions of free societies and leave supposedly "liberated" women dependent on the neo-paternalism of the Nanny State.
Men and women need to band together in common defense of the family. Time is running short.
[Editor's note: Everyone, men and women, must take personal responsibility for themselves and their choices. Then this "pedestal" will crumble on its own. We can't legislate morality, integrity, intelligence or self reliance. We can only practice it, and stop supporting anything that undermines our liberty - and responsibility - to control our own lives and property.]
Carey Roberts probes and lampoons political correctness. His work has been published frequently in the Washington Times, Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com, ifeminists.net, Intellectual Conservative, and elsewhere. He is a staff reporter for the New Media Network.