I predicted yesterday that Jonah Goldberg’s column on feminism would provoke a strong reaction. Well, was I ever a prophet!

As you may recall, Jonah said in a basically friendly column on feminism that the movement in the U.S. had accomplished its goals but there are women abroad who could use a little help-you know, women living under the sway of Islam.

The response was fast and furious. Jonah comments:

Many on the left simply think I have no standing to speak about feminism. There’s an interesting mix of identity politics and guild mentality in their arguments. Since I am a bad person who doesn’t agree with the professional feminist agenda, I can’t say anything about feminism with any credibility. Tellingly, nobody making such claims has offered anything like facts or counterarguments. They just say it is so.

Meanwhile, some readers on the right claim that little to nothing good has ever come from feminism. I am more than open to the idea that many bad things have come from feminism. I know it in my bones. I am on the same page as Kathryn, Kate O’Beirne, et al. on most of these issues. But it strikes me as lunacy to talk of feminism in the broadest sweep of things as monolithically negative if by feminism you mean the generic movement for female equality. Yes, the guild of professional feminists has done many bad things and at times have seemed at war with everything that is lovely and lovable about the fairer sex. But if we are to take the position that “feminist” is simply and in every regard an anathematizing word, then how on earth can we celebrate women like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, or for that matter Margaret Thatcher? 

Can a conservative be a feminist? Is feminism a force for good or bad? If you want to have a debate about such matters, this is a great place to begin.