Conclusion: I Stand By My Cause (The Ethos of Civilization, Part VII)

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VII: Conclusion: I Stand By My Cause


When Anthony Comstock was sent to Washington in 1872, he succeeded “beyond his wildest expectations” in getting his initial obscenity law passed:

 The bill passed with little debate and became law on 1 March 1873. Its swift enactment may indicate the difficulties of defending practices so at odds with popular values. Resistance would come in the law’s implementation, not its passage…The passage of the Comstock legislation with little debate reflects the delicacy of the subject as well as a broad acquiescence in, if not approval of, banning obscenities of all sorts. Grossberg, Governing the Hearth at 176, 188 (cited supra).

It was easy to ban obscenity of all sorts as well as abortion and birth control in an era whenever Americans were basically “on the same page” where family values and morality were concerned. But Americans are not all on the same page today where family values or issues of morality are concerned, with “conservatives” oftentimes being the biggest offenders of all when it comes to obscenity and standards of decency. Before the 1960s there was only one predominate family pattern, and that was the two-parent family consisting of a married mother and father with their legitimate children. But there is no such stability in families today, and in the last fifteen years in particular virtually all restraints on obscenity have been washed away in the media and elsewhere in society. Restraints upon the bearing of illegitimate children (we’re not supposed to notice such things anymore) and wives/mothers in the workforce are non-existent and there are no longer any laws against engaging in homosexual acts (they are now deemed “unconstitutional” see Lawrence v. Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003) (holding unconstitutional state laws criminalizing consensual homosexual sodomy)) and pornography and degeneracy of all sorts proliferate through society. One would be hard-pressed today to find a true “traditional” patriarchal family in an era where “anything goes” and family can mean “anything” and marriage is an all but obsolete institution that is generally entered into only by the upper classes.

How can “conservatives” reconcile their anti-abortion and anti-homosexual biases with their own acceptance of feminism and modern lifestyles where even “conservatives” are militant about careers for their daughters, accept illegitimacy and otherwise themselves have little respect for conventional mores?

It is hard to completely explain my meaning here, especially to readers who may not be well versed in law and history or having studied these subjects in any depth, but perhaps all I am trying to say here is that “conservatives” can’t have it both ways. They can’t pretend to be “anti-feminist” when they themselves have internalized and accepted all of its basic concepts and absorbed its teachings. “Conservative” women, in particular, can’t claim to be “anti-feminist” while at the same time taking multiple husbands, having multiple sex partners, joining the workforce full time, and being OK with women in military combat (and shame on the “conservative,” “pro-life” males who would endorse such a thing). “Conservatives”, in particular, can’t pay lip service to the “unborn child” without also acknowledging (and making it part of their official policy goals to acknowledge) the preciousness and inherent weakness of women. The rejection of patriarchy meant the entire rending asunder of the social fabric to split society into two opposing and warring camps. And how can this be resolved? Before the 1970s, political disputes at the federal level mainly concentrated around the allocation of power between the federal government and the states, centering largely on purely economic issues. But now Americans are fighting wide-scale nearly to the death over the private and personal in the federal arena; fighting in the mainstream over private issues that wouldn’t have even been spoken aloud sixty years ago. The personal has become political even amongst those who fail to fully understand the “issues” that they are screaming about. Americans are not united anymore where issues of family, religion or morality are concerned. Even if the Supreme Court were to strike down Roe or Obergefell tomorrow, it is not likely to bring about any significant changes, and the states will only continue to be ongoing battlegrounds for abortion and gender politics.

In conclusion, this article is not meant to be an entire examination of the foregoing “issues” or to examine the entire subject of the modern political scene or gender relations in depth. Such a feat would be a massive undertaking far beyond the scope of even the most lengthy article. But I do not write this without offering a solution or pleading a legitimate cause. In my last article, The Guardianship of a Woman, I pleaded the cause for family, patriarchy, and the protection of women and children and I do continue to stand by that cause.

Patriarchy in Antiquity: Putting It All in Perspective (The Ethos of Civilization, Part VI)

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VI. Patriarchy in Antiquity: Putting It All in Perspective


It is a very common thing for modern society to look at third-world countries that oppress women, call them “patriarchies,” and then assume somehow that women in the West have ever lived under such conditions pre-feminism. But the fact still remains that these countries aren’t so much “patriarchal” as they are male “supremacist” (and this latter observation could certainly be disputed, but it is not my intention to dwell upon it at present). Contrary to the conditions in true patriarchal societies, male “supremacist” societies are generally characterized by a third-world existence, replete with widespread poverty, political and religious intolerance, and few- if any- civil rights for all citizens (male or female). They are also typically quite subject to lawlessness, rendering them dangerous places for foreigners to even visit and oftentimes making it dangerous for even native females to go many places alone.

Patriarchal societies in the West have never resembled their uncivilized counterparts in the East. Western men may dream of harems and other visions common in the stereotypical male fantasy whenever the word “patriarchy” crops up and mainstream society at large probably has in mind such horrors as female genital mutilation (FGM), “honor killings” and young brides being murdered for their dowries. But such “patriarchal” visions run counter to the true history of patriarchal societies as are found in such civilizations as Ancient Greece, Rome, and traditional English and Anglo-Saxon law.

As far as polygamy is concerned, it was frowned upon by the Romans and the Greeks alike- and the laws of England never allowed it. Among the Romans it was held that a man who held himself out as unmarried in order to take a second wife could be charged with criminal debauchery (stuprum) and that, “Official disgrace (infamia) undoubtedly attends a man who has two wives.” Bruce W. Frier & Thomas A.J. McGinn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law 38 (2004) (Translating the emperors Valerian and Gallienus in 258 A.D.). And despite the general acceptance of a sexual “double standard” among the Greeks, marriage was still considered (with a brief exception- debatable among scholars- arising during the hardships of the Peloponnesian War) to be a monogamous institution:

…Sophocles’ striking use of marriage terminology in reference to Deianeira and Iole may in fact show that despite the relative sexual freedom of Greek men (and especially Herakles), marriage was quite clearly and unambiguously understood in Athens to be properly a singular relation which linked (or yoked) two people, one husband and one wife. The relation was not symmetrical, nor did it have the same impact on its two parties, male and female, but it was nonetheless a recognized and, in the Athenian context, highly valued relationship, whose violation could bring on even Herakles’ destruction… Sarah B. Pomeroy, Women’s History & Ancient History: Chapter 2: Cynthia B. Patterson, Marriage in Athenian Law 57 (1991).

Though Rome is often cited as a prime example of patriarchy for its infamous instances of paternal authority, paternal authority was limited only to some fathers, who only had control over some children- and even then Rome did have laws curtailing paternal power (see, eg., Frier & McGinn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law, at 199 (cited supra), for the case of a father who was exiled and lost his citizenship for killing his son- who was committing adultery with his stepmother at the time- and the discussion of the jurists that “…a father’s power (patria potestas) ought to be founded upon pietas not cruelty (Marcian)). For instance, fathers only had control over legitimate children that were the product of a legally valid marriage (see Frier & Mcginn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law, 299 (cited supra): “…but even when a child is illegitimate, he [the father] will not (be able to) summon his mother into court…it is a legitimate marriage that shows who the father is.” See also James Kent 2 Commentaries on American Law 215, n.a (3d ed. 1827): “…The power of the putative father over the illegitimate child, was denied in the Roman law, and it is equally so in the Spanish law.”). And in some instances perhaps the father did not even have control over his legitimate children, for if a father was himself a “son-in-power” then his children might actually come under the power of his ownpaterfamilias– even if the father himself was later emancipated.

The perpetual tutelage of women in Roman law (like manus marriage) seems to have faded quite early, being reduced generally to no more than a formality by the classical period. But even when it did exist, it seems to have been greatly surpassed in its intensity by the guardianship of women under ancient Athenian law, where “…an Athenian woman seems never to have been independent, with no kyrios.” Douglas M. MacDowell, The Law in Classical Athens (Aspects of Greek and Roman Life) 84 (1986).

…[I]t was realized that children and women could not be expected to act independently, but were generally protected and controlled by men; and so the law recognized the position of a man who was kyrios (‘lord,’ ‘controller’) of another person. The kyrios of a child or woman had authority over, and responsibility for, the dependent. He was expected to see that his dependent was housed and fed, and the dependent was expected to obey him. He had charge of any property which belonged to the dependent; and if the dependent was involved in legal proceedings, he had to speak for the dependent in court…A woman’s kyrios was normally her father until she was married, her husband thereafter…An Athenian woman seems never to have been independent. MacDowell, The Law in Classical Athens, at 84 (cited supra).

Again, the law ties authority with responsibility. A woman might bring a dowry into the marriage, but this was by no means required. It seems the Romans placed more emphasis on dowries, linking them to the financial support of the wife, as in later times marriages were based solely upon mutual affection (“maritalis affectio” see Frier & McGinn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law at 49-50 (quoting Gaius Inst. 3.151.): “Partnership lasts as long as they (the partners) persist in the same agreement (consensus). But when one renounces the partnership, it is dissolved.”), divorces were common, and husbands didn’t appear to be bound to support their wives even if the husband continued to bear the “common burdens” of marriage. And among the Greeks, the dowry was an important part of marriage custom, but it was still not required, as a woman could still enter into legitimate marriage without a dowry (marriage was not limited to the privileged elite):

Whether or not we choose to call them citizens, Athenian women were clearly part of the privileged “insider” community of the Athenian polis. When Sealey argues…that “many Athenians were very poor” and so gave their daughters as concubines without dowries rather than by enguē with a dowry, he misrepresents the significance of the dowry and of the relationship between the dowry and the enguē. The dowry was the daughter’s share of her family estate and contribution to the new joint conjugal estate created by her marriage and inherited by the children of that marriage. If her family had nothing, she could bring nothing; but we should not suppose that dowries were given only by the rich. And finally, if a man gave his daughter as a concubine to another Athenian, he would have thereby jeopardized the citizen status of her children and so his own grandchildren. Citizenship may arguably have been of slight importance to some at the lower edges of Athenian society, but nonetheless it was not a privilege to be dispensed with casually. Pomeroy, Women’s History & Ancient History at 71, n.61 (cited supra) (emphasis added).

And could a man kill his wife over the dowry (or perhaps even an adulterous affair)? The answer to this is a simple no. “Although the lex Iulia may not have specifically stated this, it granted no right [under Roman law] to kill a wife. Thus, Papinian(Coll. 4.10.1) remarks: ‘In no section of the statute is a husband allowed to kill his wife; so it is clearly and unambiguously against the law for him to have done this [apparently referring to the case of a husband who had killed his adulterous wife in a fit of rage].’” Frier & McGinn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law, at 114 (cited supra). The Roman statutes also extended to non-wives as well.

Though the Roman law cases above are all from the “classical” period of Roman law (about 31 B.C. to 235 A.D.) after the fall of the Republic, and though perhaps it is not well known what manus marriage would have truly been like for women in its entirety, the laws of Ancient Greece, as discussed above, also came from Greece’s classical period which date to around the same time as manus marriage (and the Roman Republic) would have existed. Undoubtedly the two cultures profoundly influenced each other.

Not So “Matriarchal” After All: Mother and Child as the Foundation of Civilization (The Ethos of Civilization, Part V)

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V. Not So “Matriarchal” After All: Mother and Child as the Foundation of Civilization



The same treatment of the sexes and the idea that the roles of men and women and that of father and mother are interchangeable largely has its roots in 19th and early 20th century communist/socialist ideology. Only in these types of totalitarian regimes is complete “equality” promoted or realized to any extent. Indeed, even most of the societies that are cited by feminists and others championing the cause of female empowerment still uphold and uplift the distinctive role of the mother. Among the modern Mosuo “…women are treated as equal, if not superior, to men; both have as many, or as few, sexual partners as they like, free from judgment; and extended families bring up the children and care for the elderly…” Yet, “With life centered on the maternal family, motherhood is, unsurprisingly, revered.” The Kingdom of women: the society where a man is never the boss (Last Visited February 18, 2019).

Even matrilineal civilizations (nearly wholly extinct in the modern world) did not denigrate the role of a mother in the caretaking and nurturing of her young children, nor has any matrilineal society expected that men would fill in for mothers and be nurturing. The Native American tribes in existence up to the time period of the American Revolution give familiar examples of a matrilineal society:

…the Seneca was the largest and the most powerful of the six tribes that made up the Iroquois Confederacy. Seneca men ranged over a territory that extended from the Mississippi River east to the Atlantic Ocean and from Hudson Bay south to the Carolinas. They traveled to hunt and to conduct warfare and diplomacy, and often were gone from their villages for weeks or months at a time. In fact, Iroquois men were away from home for such extended periods that women came to control much of the day-to-day affairs of village life.

Among the Iroquois, women were the farmers…

Women usually farmed communally…They had little incentive to farm alone, however. Even if a farmer could produce extra food for later use, such hoarding would be frowned upon if other families in the village were in need…

The Iroquois had no concept of private land ownership. A woman might work a particular piece of land, and as long as she used the plot, it was considered hers. But when the village moved to another location, as it did from time to time, she no longer held a claim to her old fields. Near the new village she simply etched out another plot for her family. Economic security came primarily from contributing to the good of the village as a whole, rather than from individually owning and working a farm plot.

In addition to being the primary food producers for their villages, Iroquois women also maintained social stability through tightly knit female relationships. The mother-daughter bond was particularly strong. The Iroquois considered it more important than any other relationship, including that between a wife and husband. In times of trouble, women turned to each other for food, medical care, and advice on love and childrearing. The reason was simple: women were always there, whereas husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons were often away.

The close mother-daughter bond helped dictate where family members lived. Traditionally, large Iroquois dwellings, known as longhouses, sheltered as many as 50 or 60 people, all descendants of one elderly woman. They often lodged only a single family or a mother and one daughter with her family. Unmarried sons as well as daughters lived with their mothers. The houses, then, and the fields that surrounded them, were controlled by the women of Iroquois villages.

Children also came under the control of women more than men. Infants and toddlers spent all of their time with their mothers because weaning did not occur until children were three or four years old…Fathers came and went, providing essentials such as meat and trade goods for their families and offering instruction or advice as necessary. Although their contributions were important, they represented only distant figures compared to mothers…

The close and enduring ties of women complemented the loose and often short-term relationships between women and men. Men’s frequent and lengthy absences placed a great strain on some marriages, and divorces and subsequent remarriages were common…Because women were primarily responsible for the day-to-day care and feeding of young children and because land was held in common, questions of paternity and inheritance did not disrupt this system of remarriage…men’s absences made easy divorce and remarriage a social necessity. Marylynn Salmon, The Limits of Independence, American Women 1760-1800 13-16 (1994).

It also appears that such matrilineal customs lingered on even in the case of “assimilated” Native Americans, who seemed to have preferred their own native customs even though adapting to the presence and laws/ways of the European colonists:

Assimilated Indians, or those living within the borders of Anglo-European towns, began using the colonial court system almost exclusively by the 1730s. Indian use of the Anglo-European courts to settle disputes began earlier…but it was not the only forum for settling differences in the seventeenth century. By the eighteenth century, however, Indians who had managed to survive among colonists adopted many of their legal practices- though not without leaving an Indian imprint.

In the Chesapeake, Indian heritage contributed to the retention of certain practices involving property. Despite the preference for primogeniture in Anglo-Virginia, at least one Anglo-Indian man, who had a large estate, made his daughter the executrix of his will and left her his land, making gifts of money and chattel to his sons. Whether this was a legacy of Algonquian matrilineal customs or simply a preference for his daughter over his sons is not certain, but there is other evidence that Indian heritage played a role in their use of the colonial law. Michael Grossberg & Christopher Tomlins, The Cambridge History of Law in America, Volume I: Early America (1580-1815), Chapter 2: Katherine A. Hermes, The Law of Native Americans, to 1815 49 (2008).

The disconnect in today’s post-feminist society is in attempting to yet maintain centuries of patriarchal culture and inheritance from our ancestors while at the same time promoting vigorously female empowerment. Roaming, Hunting, and conducting warfare is what the men of the Seneca (and other) native cultures around the world spent their time doing. To return to Seneca culture, boys, “[a]fter reaching eight or nine…began to imitate adult male behavior by forming hunting gangs that roamed the woods in search of small game. Until they reached manhood, these gangs maintained independence from both parents to a great extent.” Salmon, The Limits of Independence, at 15.

How can such male behavior be reconciled with the “civilized” ways of post-industrial society where roving gangs of young men routinely rape, murder, damage and destroy private and public property and otherwise terrorize communities? The answer is that it can’t be, so female empowerment and independence cannot be achieved in the traditional means that are seen in these matrilineal societies. Instead, men must be relegated to the role of domesticated and dependent child-nurturers, readily willing to shamelessly delegate their traditional roles as primary providers for their families and defenders of the nation to women and who are routinely encouraged to act more feminine and get in touch with their “softer,” more emotional side (and society’s ultimate acquiescence in accepting homosexuality, in particular, is the final achievement of this male feminization (see above, pp. 12-13)).

In contrast to male feminization, women must act more aggressive like men, pursuing casual sex and careers- which are often incompatible with a mother’s keeping of a young infant suckling at her breast or toddling by her side all day. (And does this not psychologically damage mothers as well as their offspring when their children are ripped from their arms and from their care at such a tender age in life?) The result is a schizophrenic society where men and women no longer even know how to relate to one another (and increasingly no longer even want anything to do with one another) and the very foundations of civilization are rapidly crumbling away.

We have inherited the good that our ancestors have done thus far. Yet the apple-pie baking grandmothers who devoted their life and time to home and family are all passing away. Now what does civilization have left? Today’s grandparents are a product of the hippie generation and the youth of today will never get the opportunity to grow up knowing the same warmth and love and stability of families that our grandparents and great-grandparents once provided for us where the mother was the center of home and family life. We cannot continue to reap the good of the legacies our ancestors had once bequeathed to us for much longer.

The Centralization of Power and Civil Liberties: The Founders’ Very Fears Come True (The Ethos of Civilization, Part IV)

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IV. The Centralization of Power and Civil Liberties: The Founders’ Very Fears Come True


The fear for our freedoms and our Constitution are not unfounded since there is every sign that the American Republic is falling into decline, repeating the darker hours of human history of the great civilizations that came before it. We seem to be repeating the history of the once great Roman empire, which, by the time of its classical period, had already been in a long decline towards ignorance, economic collapse and totalitarianism. Given that the founders of the American Republic took inspiration from the Roman republic (which can be seen in the use of words such as “senate” and “president”), its history may yet offer a valuable lesson. It is surely a bit premature to praise the recent “conservative” tilt of our federal courts. Modern conservatives are by no means “conservative” in the classical sense of the word. Though some may perceive some kind of social good in more “conservative” polices and a return of some sense of religion or “family values,” this is, in reality, no more than mere conjecture. History may here again teach a most dark lesson for those willing to listen to it (and it should also be kept in mind the pattern that Roman marriages and gender relations had taken by this point in Rome’s history as well):

The death of Commodus, who was murdered, plunged the empire into confusion and civil war. Septimius Severus (A.D. 193-211), after years of fighting, succeeded in establishing his authority. He represented a new type of emperor…His ruthless but good rule was founded on the army, now exclusively composed of provincials…His reforms wiped out the last vestiges of senatorial participation in the government and marked the decisive step toward imperial absolutism, although the outward forms of republican institutions which characterized the Principate were preserved.

Septimius Severus founded a new dynasty which lasted till A.D. 235. After this date the Empire suffered a complete collapse. Fifty years followed which were an almost constant period of civil and foreign war, interrupted only at times by capable emperors who for brief periods brought internal peace by ruling with an iron hand. Deterioration of the coinage, began as early as under Septimius Severus, and ever increasing taxes with their consequences of inflation and decline in economic activity, were among the causes of catastrophe.

But the ultimate cause of all evils was the dominant position of the soldiery, a soldiery that included no longer any Roman elements and had long lost its sense of patriotism and duty. A practice which had made itself felt occasionally in earlier times, especially after the death of Nero and after the death of Commodus, became the order of the day. The army, or sometimes individual armies stationed in different parts of the Empire, became accustomed to raising popular generals to emperorship. The unavoidable effects were anarchy and an ever deepening economic depression…

This terrible period came to an end when a general-emperor, Diocletian (A.D. 284-304), succeeded in establishing his rule firmly and in reorganizing the Empire which, surprisingly enough, had survived the storm with its main structure intact. With his rule, the final period of Roman history began. It is called the Dominate because the emperor now in law as well as in fact was absolute, the master (dominus) of his subjects. Under the new order as established by Diocletian, all governmental functions were concentrated in the hands of the emperor, who was recognized as a god; the last vestiges of authority of the Senate were gone.

 However, in view of the political situation during the last century of the Principate, this was a change in form rather than in fact. Actually, Diocletian’s reorganization of the Empire was more a consolidation than it was a new departure. He even tried to return to old Roman concepts by adapting these to the conditions of the times. But the ancient world emerged from the period of anarchy entirely changed. Rome had lost its pre-eminent status and had become just one city among others…

Declining productivity and heavy taxes had brought loss of incentive and deterioration of civic responsibility. The intolerable taxes had in fact induced the upper classes in the cities to seek escape by every means possible; later emperors actually had to make membership in the curiae…compulsory for families of the required standing…

Culture, too, had suffered. Education had deteriorated. Instead of the highly intellectual spirit of the stoic philosophy which had permeated the upper and middle classes during the first centuries of the imperial period, more emotional movements, expressing themselves in new religions, had made steady progress since the beginning of the Principate. But one of these religions attained world-historic importance. At the time of the accession of Diocletian, the most successful of them, Christianity, was on the verge of triumph. It underwent a great persecution under Diocletian, but his successor, Constantine, through the famous Edict of Tolerance issued at Milan in 313, gave it equality with the other religions of the Empire…by the end of the fourth century…Christianity [was] the official religion of the state.

On the whole the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine brought improvement. The fourth century compares favorably with both its predecessor and successor. Internal peace was better secured. Economic conditions improved. A tremendous inflation, comparable to that in Europe after the first World War, was arrested. Education and culture reached a higher level. But all these improvements were paid for with a general loss of individual freedom and with a rising spirit of religious and political intolerance.

New dangers arose soon in the form of invasions by the Huns and Germanic tribes…The Western Empire, left with its own insufficient resources and torn by intrigue and strife at the top, could not stand the impact of the invasions…In 476, the last West Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by Odoacer, the leader of a mixed group of barbarians which took Rome…[T]he accession to power of Odoacer marked the end of the Roman Empire in the West…The Eastern Empire, richer, more civilized, and better organized, succeeded in fighting off the invaders… Hans Julius Wolff, Roman Law: An Historic Introduction 18-21 (1951).

Wolff goes on to explain the bleaker picture:

…the new relationship between emperor and law reflected the changed status of the law itself. A tendency long apparent and gradually gaining momentum through centuries of slowly growing absolutism had finally achieved victory. The law had lost its quality of being an integral part of the life of the nation and had become a mere tool in the hands of authoritarian government. Under the constitutional conception of the Dominate, the government no longer administered the law of the Roman people: it now dictated the law. The old law- as well as new institutions- had become completely dependent on the absolute will of the ruler. Wolff, Roman Law: An Historic Introduction, at 90 (cited supra).

And how did the people respond to this absolutism and the ruler himself?

The senates were aristocratic assemblies which at times were able to secure privileges for their class but as a whole had very little influence on matters of high policy. The government was exclusively in the hands of the emperors and their bureaucracy.

The government in each half of the Empire centered in the emperor, whose status as a divine ruler- or, in Christian times, as a ruler by divine grace- was emphasized by a strict court ceremonial, borrowed from earlier oriental monarchies, which symbolized the complete subjection of the people to him. He wore special garments and a diadem and those who approached him had to prostrate themselves. As regards the direction of the state, the emperor was aided by a state council (consistorium) composed of high military, civil, and ecclesiastical dignitaries. Wolff, Roman Law: An Historic Introduction, at 47 (cited supra).

It seems increasingly that this sort of situation is happening to America today. The ever-increasing tendency is toward lawlessness and complete intolerance, to the point that the schools even in small towns are continuously locked up like high-security prisons and the people have begun to look up to and hail a demagogue who believes it to be his divine right to subvert the Constitution and rule of law to affect his own political aims. The people no longer respect the public lands. They no longer respect each other. Increasingly, they no longer even respect themselves. All sense of community and family has been obliterated. It also comes to my understanding that the traditional wife and mother, such as myself, must be looked upon with hostility as the domesticated wife and mother from an earlier era would have been more involved, most likely not only in her children’s day-to-day lives but also in school and community affairs, offering a necessary buffer and safeguard against the bureaucratic state and absolutism by staying informed and active in affairs of community and family. In the current state of social and political polarization, where the nation is split apart on ideological and partisan party lines, will Congress become a mere advisory body while the high courts lose their respect and influence as part of a co-equal- yet independent- branch of government? In times of exigency, war, strife and peril, will the incumbent president submit his actions to the “better judgment of Congress,” as did Lincoln? See Abraham Lincoln, Message to Congress 1861 Handwritten Draft If the Court should rule against him, will he obey its orders and comply, as did Truman (see Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co., et al., v. Sawyer 343 U.S. 579 (1952))?

But American society no longer has an Abraham Lincoln, an Earl Warren, a William Rehnquist, a Sandra Day O’Connor or a Harry Truman. One’s political affiliation today (are you a Republican or a Democrat?)- unlike what would have been the case as little as a generation ago- can generally tell all about a person’s life and beliefs down to the favorite shows they like to watch on Netflix. The men of the nation, no longer the primary providers and protectors of women and children, have largely turned to extremism and perpetual adolescent behavior while both sexes- males and females- increasingly indulge in (sometimes vulgar) displays of hyper-femininity and hyper-masculinity to achieve sexual identity. I cannot really say that the current state of affairs can be remedied. Only the passage of time and the fading away of the older generations and their ways and the coming of a new generation (whom it must be our duty- especially as mothers- to nurture and train our children- the future lawmakers, judges, mothers and fathers- towards a better way of life) can remedy the current state of despair. And despair is what it is. Can we not acknowledge that all of the aforementioned events might potentially be one of the primary (though certainly not the only) causes of all the mental health and drug issues that society is facing today? Women, in particular, cannot cope with feminism’s mandates when they are forced to deny- and society will not acknowledge- their own preciousness.

Most political antagonism revolving around presidential elections concerns their Constitutional privilege of appointing justices to the Supreme Court and lower Federal courts. In the last generation, the fight has almost exclusively revolved around one issue alone: getting “conservative” justices on the highest Court who will “overturn” that one pesky case that gave to American women the right to legally obtain a pre-viability abortion. For this, they (“conservatives”) would sacrifice all else. But as the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (who himself had gained such a reputation as a conservative during his years on the bench that he was once given the nickname “Mr. Right”) cautioned:

Perhaps the lesson to be drawn from these examples [Lincoln’s “packing” of the Court, without the foresight of the major Constitutional crises encountered later] is that judges may think very much alike on one issue but quite differently from one another on others. And while both presidents and judicial nominees may know the current constitutional issues of importance, no one can claim the foresight to see what the great issues of ten or fifteen years hence will be…

The well-known checks and balances provided by the framers of the Constitution have supplied the necessary centrifugal force to make the Court independent of Congress and the president…

James Madison, in his prepresidential days when he was authoring political tracts, said in The Federalist, No. 51:

But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.

Madison, of course, was talking about the principles necessary to secure independence of one branch of the government from another…Here again, this remarkable group of fifty-some men who met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 seems to have created the separate branches of the federal government with consummate skill. The Supreme Court is to be independent of the legislative and executive branch of the government, yet by reason of vacancies occurring on that Court, it is to be subjected to indirect infusions of the popular will in terms of the president’s use of his appointment power. But the institution is so structured that a brand-new presidential appointee, perhaps feeling himself strongly loyal to the executive who appointed him, and looking for colleagues of a similar mind on the Court, is immediately beset with the institutional pressures I have described. He identifies more and more strongly with the new institution of which he has become a member, and he learns how much store is set by his behaving independently of his colleagues. I think it is these institutional effects as much as anything that have prevented even strong presidents from being any more than partially successful when they sought to pack the Supreme Court. William H. Rehnquist, The Supreme Court 215, 222-23 (First Vintage Books ed., 2002).

When King John met his barons at Runnymede where they forced him to sign the Magna Carta (originally called the “Articles of Barons”) in the year 1215- though they couldn’t possibly have foreseen it at the time- the concept of the rule of law (the idea that those who make, interpret and enforce the laws should themselves be bound by those very same laws)- would become the principle that would ultimately guide successive generations of Englishmen, and become a primary factor for why England would be governed under a constitutional monarchy and why all American judges, governors, presidents and lawmakers would themselves be citizens bound by the rule of law. Indeed, the colonies already had their “Body of Liberties” long before the American Revolution and the original Bill of Rights (itself the product of the Glorious Revolution and James II’s unsuccessful fights with Parliament) predates the United States Constitution by a century. As Urofsky & Finkelman put it so simply, “…At the time of the Revolution, Americans returned again and again to the ideas found in Magna Carta to shape the U.S. Constitution and the state constitutions.” Urofsky & Finkelman, Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History Vol I, at 1.

When Abraham Lincoln convened Congress together at the dawn of the American Civil War (something a president may only do in exceptional circumstances, see U.S. Const. art. II, §3), Congress readily granted him the funds that he sought and ultimately ratified his decision to suspend habeas corpus (see Habeas Corpus Act 1863 (Last Visited February 19, 2019). The current president has already asked Congress for the funds he desires to fight the current “crisis”- and Congress has already responded with an emphatic “no.” A president may take immediate unilateral action during times of actual invasion or rebellion without first obtaining Congressional approval, but Congress alone was given the power under the Constitution to declare war (U.S. Const. art. I,§8: “The Congress shall have the power to…declare war, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water…To provide and maintain a Navy…To make Rules for the government and Regulation of the Land and Naval Forces…To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions…”) and it is Congress alone who gets the final say, for the Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress. (U.S. Const. art.I §1 “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”) If Congress deems that there is no “crisis” or legitimate cause for emergency action or war, then the president may not unilaterally act against their will. It is Congress whom the Founding Fathers deemed to be the true representatives of the people, not the president. If Congress is not faithfully and diligently (yet wisely) representing the people and their values, then the people may elect new representatives who will listen to the people. For the president to continue his actions after Congress has already disapproved puts him in direct dereliction of his Constitutional duty to faithfully uphold and enforce the Constitution and laws.

The only question remaining now is this: Should the rule of law and Constitution be surpassed for the purpose of securing short-term political goals when it will ultimately put the rights and freedoms of all citizens in jeopardy and potentially subject America to an absolutist form of monarchial/imperial government where power is concentrated all in one single branch (the Founding Fathers’ very fear- and also the primary reason for their distrust in democracy and popular sovereignty)?

“A Patriarchy of the State:” “Conservatives vs “Liberals” as Two Sides of the Same Antipatriarchal Coin (The Ethos of Civilization, Part III)

[The Ethos of Civilization PDF VERSION full article]


III. “A Patriarchy of the State:” “Conservatives” vs “Liberals” as Two Sides of the Same Antipatriarchal Coin


So does this all matter? Does it make any difference whatsoever? Is it even relevant anymore? Does it matter that our society devalues motherhood and traditional sexual values? Does it matter that original feminist ideology has traversed across all partisan party lines so that nobody ever even thinks to consider it anymore nor considers that it has any impact whatsoever on their lives or even sees it as relevant anymore? Does it matter that even “conservative” Christians have completely internalized its teachings? Does it matter that the bureaucratic state has overtaken all and that our civilization has been, for at least the last twenty to thirty years, inclining towards totalitarianism and complete polarization of political parties? It is surely no coincidence either that the acknowledgement of homosexuality as normal, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the cultural acquiescence in vulgarity, BDSM sexual relationships being perceived as the new norm, the astounding increase in female breadwinners and the strong emergence of a “men’s movement” out in the mainstream that persistently depicts men as the helpless and innocent victims of aggressive and manipulative females are all occurring simultaneously. And as for theorizing that we slide towards absolutism, this is not entirely without merit, nor is it unknown to our history. It appears that every anti-patriarchal movement has always been historically counteracted by extremist “conservative” backlash, whether in the form of absolutist prohibitions on abortion, birth control and “obscene” material (such as the Comstock and “little Comstock” laws in the late 19th and early 20th century as a backlash against early feminism) or the “red scares” that would routinely crop up during the early decades of the 20th century, leading to mass paranoia and the clamping down on freedom of speech and association, only to be tempered back down in the 1950s.

Michael Grossberg in his book Governing the Hearth, Law and the Family in Nineteenth Century America, details a drastic portrayal of what early “first-wave” feminism created in the form of increased state activism and the establishment of bureaucratic institutions that were supposed to “save” the family and promote the “best-interests” of children. He also documents the extremism in the way of the prohibitions on abortion, birth control and the eugenic movements for “racial purity” and “marital fitness.” At the end of the book he describes what he calls “a judicial patriarchy” that was the by-product of the early feminist movement:

Perhaps the most enduring product of the distinctive domestic-relations law hammered out in nineteenth-century America was the legal concept of the family as a collection of separate legal individuals rather than an organic part of the body politic. This occurred at the expense of traditional notions of paternal sovereignty and household legal unity. The older concept of the family, evident in the legal maxim ‘the husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband,” gradually declined as the distinct legal personalities of married women and their children developed. In an analysis of family governance in France, sociologist Jacques Donzelot has persuasively argued that ‘[f]amily patriarchalism was destroyed only at the cost of a patriarchy of the State.’ In republican America, the state’s new paternal authority was delegated to the bench; judges used their patriarchal powers to forge direct relationships between each family member and the state. These legal identities breached the home’s protective walls and vitiated its role as a buffer between the state and each occupant of the household. Grossberg, Governing the Hearth, at 304.

Carolyn Graglia in her book Domestic Tranquility, A Brief Against Feminism, describes the reality of the bureaucratic state (without which complete “equality” can neither be achieved nor sustained) which feminism and male-female fungibility/androgyny fostered by its devaluation of traditional femininity, masculinity, and its devaluation of the economically dependent housewife as a “childish parasite:”

A free market economy requires the energy and initiative of an individualist who is an entrepreneur who takes responsibility for his actions, is wiling to take charge and take chances, and has the courage to make his own decisions, acting if necessary, without the security of peer group approval. We once fearlessly described this person as a ‘real man’ (being aware, of course, that a woman can also fill the entrepreneurial role)… It is male individuality, exuberance, and aggressiveness that must be most stringently curbed and disciplined to meet the requirements of bureaucratic success…But for those of us who do not share this goal of equivalence [of the sexes], nothing is gained to compensate for the resulting erosion and distress of the family. The damage to our families, moreover, has weakened a major bulwark against totalitarianism and undermined the agency that is best able to produce children who will grow up to be independent and willing to take the risks required for entrepreneurial success within a free market economy. The products of communal child-rearing will more easily fit within the mold of tomorrow’s bureaucrats: risk-averse, conforming, non-individualists, well-suited to perform in a welfare-state bureaucracy. F. Carolyn Graglia, Domestic Tranquility, A Brief Against Feminism 280 (1998).

Though Domestic Tranquility may be the most heartfelt work of literature that is truly anti-feminist at its core, Graglia does still seem- in some respects at least- to disassociate post-1970s feminism from the feminism (dating back to early feminist campaigns for female suffrage) that came before. Every “wave” plays its role in totalitarianism and the bureaucratic state. Today’s “conservatives” champion so-called limited government and a free market economy but yet fail to bring the state of this nation’s families nor the demise of patriarchal authority into the conversation anywhere. Indeed, even members of the GOP know better than to “go there” where the issue of a woman’s paycheck or right to vote is concerned and even outspoken “anti-feminist” commentators are, in reality, mostly feminist-minded career women. They may decry its more extremist aspects- as well as they do pay lip service to the demise of the American family- but they never argue against its core tenants and principles or attack the foundations of the problem at its core.

“Conservatives” are against homosexuality but are they as well against “stay-at-home dads” (an unknown term only a generation ago), breadwinner mothers and the overall feminization of the nation’s men? I doubt it highly, even if they do pay lip-service to it. Both the acceptance of homosexuality (which “conservatives” reject) and the push to outlaw abortion (which “liberals” reject) are in reality two sides of the same anti-patriarchal coin.  The acceptance of same-sex marriage falls in line with the overall gender-role reversal and feminizing of the nation’s men- which is at the heart of why our families are falling apart. We could also look here to the ancient world for precedent to put it all in perspective. While it is true that among the Greeks and the Romans, homosexuality itself was not illegal, any act of sodomy- consensual or otherwise- among two adult men was frowned upon as it ran counter to notions of mature masculinity. As Geoffrey R. Stone explains it in his book Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century:

Same-sex conduct between adult males was generally frowned upon because it placed an adult man (rather than a youth) in a submissive role. To most Greeks, that seemed unnatural. It was the act of being penetrated, rather than the fact of same-sex sex, that troubled the Greeks. Moreover, the Greeks had little tolerance for effeminacy, which they ridiculed as incompatible with a man’s role as defender of the state. Geoffrey R. Sone, Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America’s Origins to the Twenty-First Century 8 (2017).

He goes on to explain the view of the Romans:

Neither Roman religion nor Roman law paid much attention to same-sex sex. As in classical Greece, however, there was a strong prejudice against submissive sexual behavior by adult males. The key distinction in Roman sexual culture was between those who penetrated and those who were penetrated, without regard to gender. An adult man who allowed himself to be penetrated endured muliebria pati, “a woman’s experience,” and was no longer considered a real man. The Latin word mollis (“soft”) was used to ridicule such men. The mollisincluded not only men who allowed themselves to be penetrated, but also those who curled their hair or used depilatories, lavish oils, and perfumes. But while effeminacy opened a man up to scorn, the general understanding was that it was neither unnatural nor inappropriate for a “real” man to penetrate boys and men, as well as girls and women. Stone, Sex and the Constitution, at 10 (cited supra).

Judges over the past two decades have consistently cited “gender-neutral laws,” the interchangeability of mother and father and the obsolescence of the two-parent traditional patriarchal (“nuclear”) family when striking down bans on same-sex marriage, culminating with the ultimate victory for “gender equality” at the Supreme Court in Obergefell v Hodges 576 U. S. ____ (2015). Unless the problem of our society’s consistent efforts to feminize men and masculinize women is attacked at its core (starting with our acceptance of male/female sameness and fungibility and our acceptance of the reversal of male and female roles) any efforts to fight homosexuality or restore family values will be futile. Similarly, the “pro-life” movement is based nearly exclusively around emotion, sentimentality and religious views about “life” without ever truly addressing what started the current fights and drama in the first place- feminism (ie., “gender equality” and male female fungibility, which “conservatives” acquiesce in as much as “liberals” do in all areas of life).