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

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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).

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He Was My Choice: The Male Duty to Provide (The Ethos of Civilization, Part II)

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II. He Was My Choice: The Male Duty to Provide

 

I see nothing but devastation around me. I don’t see anything even remotely resembling family no matter where I look. Me and my husband went to my daughter’s choir performance a few months back and I noted when I looked around me that I couldn’t find any male-female couples in attendance. There was a group of three women sitting in front of us, a bunch of elderly people and otherwise just a bunch of scattered out single individuals of both sexes scattered around the auditorium. There was nothing that even remotely resembled family or close relationships between men and women, and it’s doubtful that anyone in attendance was actually married. My perception was that the environment seemed very cold and very lonely.

Society has tried so hard to push gender-role reversal and obliteration of traditional marriage. Increasingly, social programs and legislative policies designed to get fathers to become more “involved” are pushed along with their counterparts of promoting women as being hard-lined independent money-makers. Mothers are not just pushed out of their children’s lives; increasingly, every effort is directed to completely locking mothers out of their lives, barring women from being the primary nurturers and caretakers of their young children.

While plunging into tub after tub of books looking for that one book that is (naturally) impossible to find right when it is needed, I came across the original album of my wedding pictures instead. They had been stored away for so long I’d nearly forgotten about their existence. But right in time they aligned themselves with my current thoughts. They bring to mind old memories- both pleasant and troubling on the verge of painful. And I have often wondered this: Am I so well-adjusted (in contrast to many modern women), because of his love? Because of his protection and provision and guardianship over me and our family? I would say in many ways, yes, I am. I rejected with all my might my mother’s hostile attempts to get me to put a career first. I put my husband and child first. And isn’t this something that modern society should be promoting? Wouldn’t children and families and the lives of men and women do better, wouldn’t society prosper better overall, with a civilization of women who surrendered to their feminine instincts? It is not my purpose to talk about life’s exceptions and hardships here. I only speak in generalities: My belief in my own heart, in his love, in his power to watch over and guard our family, and the ways in which society was better off whenever mothers and wives made it their first priority to carefully and tenderly nurture their homes, children, and love their husbands.

The main problem with fatherhood in modern society is that the notion of paternal involvement in children’s lives and “father’s rights” revolves wholly around egalitarian theories and modern notions of “equality,” when it should rest upon a notion of male responsibility and authority. When I placed our child in his arms and surrendered authority to him, I did not do so because I believed in “equality” or because I believed that he was so wonderful at changing diapers (I didn’t) or that we were co-equals sharing rights and responsibility (I didn’t). On the contrary, I did everything I did because I believed that we were not equals, believing that he should be our provider and protector, and as such my actions were one of placing my trust in him to assume those responsibilities; and, likewise, that those same responsibilities would not fall upon my shoulders. On the contrary, I established a close and intimate relationship with him (more intimate and closer than all others except for perhaps the initial months of mother and child bonding) where I made myself one with him. I saw it as his duty to provide for us. I had no desire to be in the workforce or be independent. I loved him more than anything in this world and my willingness to depend on him and trust him and give my whole self to him (both body and heart) showed that love in the strongest way that I could show it. It is upon this notion of oneness of man and wife that any notion of the rights of fatherhood should rest, and there is much precedent (now wholly ignored by legislators, judges and society alike) for this viewpoint:

A Massachusetts lawyer published and anonymous pamphlet in protest [of recent judicial decisions giving custody of young children to mothers]…[attacking] the contention that a wife could be granted custody without proving her husband had violated his spousal or fatherly duties. The unity of the husband and wife, he claimed, blocked such an outcome. Married women had no separate custody rights, just as they had none to sue or make a contract. Questioning the judiciary’s growing authority over child placement, the attorney charged that the Pennsylvania decision represented “nothing less than an assumption of power by a court…to determine the domestic arrangements of a man’s family.” Michael Grossberg, Governing the Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth-Century America 241-42 (1985).

But when a man doesn’t understand a woman and fails to protect her; when a man won’t listen and fails to understand, most women become angry and frustrated, wishing instead that, if he just doesn’t get it, that he’d just simply leave. But of course, when women hurt and suffer it is easy for a man to walk away; it is easy for him to ignore the things she is genuinely trying to tell him. It is easy for him not to listen, but it takes a different kind of strength altogether for a man to stay, to understand, and to console her when feminine hormones, emotion, and feeling overwhelm her and spin out of control. And as for our children, in the modern world, they are all too often utilized by men as a last-ditch effort to gain control over a woman, especially if she has left him (and especially if he has NPD). In particular where the unwed father or otherwise irresponsible man is concerned, this is damaging, destructive, and obviously runs contrary to any policy goals purporting to support the formation of stable marriages, stable family units, and well-adjusted offspring. But when it comes to a husband, what cannot be lost in the conversation is that marriage is a choice- and a woman’s consent has always been necessary for a valid marriage under our laws since the earliest times:

But, where the offence is directly against the person of the wife, this rule [that husband and wife may not be witness against each other] has been usually dispensed with: and therefore, by statute 3 Hen. VII. C.2. in case a woman be forcibly taken away, and married, she may be a witness against such her husband, in order to convict him of felony. For in this case she can with no propriety be reckoned his wife; because a main ingredient, her consent, was wanting to the contract: and also there is another maxim of law, that no man shall take advantage of his own wrong: which the ravisher here would do, if by forcibly marrying a woman, he could prevent her from being a witness, who is perhaps the only witness, to that very fact. William Blackstone 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 443-44 (11thed.1791).

Indeed, consent itself is at the very heart of contract law; that is, that by their mutual consent, individuals are bound to legally enforceable promises. The woman who enters into marriage with a man (as opposed to the unwed mother, who may or may not fully and intelligently consent to the father’s involvement in her and the child’s life) historically consented that she would come under his power and control, be supported and protected by him, and that the husband would share in the joys of having legitimate offspring. The initial idea at the heart of paternal authority was to advance the stability of marriages and give greater incentive for fathers to provide. In Nickerson’s Case (1837), the court stated: “In this country, the hopes of the child in respect to its education and future advancement, is mainly dependent upon the father; for this he struggles and toils through life; the desire of its accomplishment operating as one of the most powerful incentives to industry and thrift.” Quoted in Melvin I. Urofsky & Paul Finkelman Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History, Vol I: From the Founding Through the Age of Industrialization 293-94 (2d ed. 2002). Chief Justice Nelson in the case cited instances where the courts would intervene if a man abused his authority (they always could) and placed emphasis upon cases and circumstances where a woman had “withdrawn herself from the protection of her husband” without authorization, the entire point being that the husband’s role of providing and protecting was central to his authority (the wife being entitled to protection and provision from him and expected to accept it). Three years later, in Mercein v. People Ex. Rel. Barry (1840), it was held that “…The father’s right to his child is not absolute and inalienable. In those American cases which uphold to the greatest extent the right of the father, it is conceded that it may be lost by his ill usage, immoral principles or habits, or by his inability to provide for his children.” Quoted in Urofsky & Finkelman, Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History, Vol I at 298-99 (cited supra) (emphasis added).

Similarly, in an 1848 decision from the Cincinnati Superior Court “Judge William Johnston argued that the right to custody flowed from the parental responsibility to provide, feed, and educate a child. ‘Separate from the duty of providing,’ he sternly lectured, ‘the right to custody does not exist.’”  Grossberg, Governing the Hearth, at 256 (cited supra). The concept of husbands and fathers being primarily responsible for the financial support and protection of their wives and children is abundant in the historical records. As a backlash against these standards, early feminists- contrary to the post-1970s feminists- routinely championed women’s nurturing abilities and agitated for greater maternal custody rights to break free of the chains of patriarchy. Initially, these demands were met with hostility for threatening the security of the family:

Demands for formal custody rights secured by statute often met a far cooler public response, as was evident in an 1854 New York Tribune account of a women’s rights rally. When a woman demanded statutory custody and guardianship rights, male hecklers greeted her with cries of “Oh dry up!,” “Bow-wow!,” “Hiss-s-s-s!,” “Get out!” a more reasoned expression of the same sentiments appeared in lawyer-historian James Schouler’s 1870 treatise on domestic relations. Discussing legislative changes in married women’s legal status, he argued: “The danger to be apprehended from all legislation of this sort is that it will weaken the ties of marriage by forcing both sexes into an unnatural antagonism; teaching them to be independent of one another, and to earn their own living apart; whereas God’s law points to the family and the mutual intercourse of man and woman as among the strongest safeguards of human happiness.” Schouler declared that the law should provide “honorably, faithfully, and generously against all possible misfortune,” and teach a wife to “lean upon the stronger arm of her husband, and to look to man for guidance.” Grossberg, Governing the Hearth, at 245-46 (cited supra).

Now the hostility is towards anyone who would speak in favor of tradition and the mother’s irreplaceable role as nurturer and caregiver. Today the hostility is towards any thoughts or policies that would promote the security of the marital unit and stability of families. Not a soul would dare to tell a woman today to lean “on the strong arm of her husband,” and otherwise thoughts of a woman being soft and nurturing are met with outcry and backlash. But surely a society that cared about the state of the nation’s families and the welfare of its youth would be concerned primarily with keeping the monogamous, traditional, patriarchal family intact, not breaking it up.

Those Popular Myths: Mainstream Belief and the Founding Fathers’ Fear of Popular Sovereignty (The Ethos of Civilization, Part I)

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I. Those Popular Myths: Mainstream Belief and the Founding Fathers’ Fear of Popular Sovereignty

 

How many times have I heard this remark from a man, that he broke up with a woman or had a relationship end because she just “went crazy?” If there is one thing readily observable to even the most uninformed layman- which needs no official “statistics” for its confirmation- it is that the prevalence of psychiatric problems, drug use/abuse and use of antidepressants and other psychiatric medications is on the rise. (see, eg., By the numbers: Antidepressant use on the risehttps://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/11/numbers ( Last Visited February 15, 2019); Astounding increase in antidepressant use by Americans https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/astounding-increase-in-antidepressant-use-by-americans-201110203624 (Last Visited February 15, 2019); Antidepressant use in U.S. soars by 65 percent in 15 years https://www.cbsnews.com/news/antidepressant-use-soars-65-percent-in-15-years/ (Last Visited February 15, 2019))  Attempts to explain away this phenomenon are always met with comments somewhere within the vicinity of the increase in the use of these meds as a good thing: As in, it is a good thing because society has become so “progressive” that individuals no longer need to fear the “stigma” of seeking treatment. But what cannot ever be said is that perhaps there is something much more fundamental involved here that cannot be talked about because it would violate egalitarian policies and beliefs.

Practically every man has a story about a woman going “crazy,” and in my own experience I hardly have ever known a woman one that hasn’t been on antidepressants or suffered psychological problems of some sort. And even I am no exception to this. There is something deeper that is going on here, in that modern men simply do not understand women nor know how to deal with women. They are taught to treat and see women as “equals” and have been raised wholly on egalitarian principles. But women are not men. Psychologically, physically, there is a world of difference. It is a world of difference that modern society simply refuses to acknowledge- no matter the consequences.

Contrary to the myths still prevalent in the mainstream, modern society goes to any lengths to actively push women out of the home and lock them out of their children’s lives. No legislative or judicial bias exists against fathers- quite the contrary, actually, as courts and relevant statutes are hostile against mothers (see, eg., Sessions v. Morales-Santana 582 U.S._ (2017) (“Relying on this Court’s post-1970 construction of the equal protection principle as it bears on gender-based classifications, the court held unconstitutional the differential treatment of unwed mothers and fathers…Sections 1401 and 1409 date from an era when the Nation’s lawbooks were rife with overbroad generalizations about the way men and women are…At the time § 1409 was enacted…In marriage husband is dominant, wife subordinate; unwed mother is the sole guardian of a non-marital child…For close to a half century, this Court has viewed with suspicion laws that rely on ‘overbroad generalizations about the different talents, capacities, or preferences of males and females’…(Justice Ruth Ginsburg herself wrote the opinion for the majority in this last line of cases on the trail end of the ACLU’s “Women’s Rights Project.” Those interested can see for themselves the truth of women’s lib, borne out in the ACLU’s Timeline of Major Supreme Court Decisions on Women’s Rights https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/101917a-wrptimeline_0.pdf Though there were more legal issues involved, and the Court largely deferred to the power of the legislature, the decision revolved wholly around the “now-untenable assumption that an unwed mother is the ‘natural and sole guardian of non-marital children.” The obvious idea is that feminist goals have been 100% achieved up to the highest level, traversing through all ideological and partisan-party lines. Indeed, dare anyone dissent?) If bias does still exist anywhere in favor of women, then it is only because a sense of it still lingers on in the hearts and minds of the citizenry at large, not because of any institutionalized “discrimination.”

This point is an important one to make on two accounts. On the outset, it is important to emphasize this one point, that point being that “patriarchal” societies are not male supremacist societies; rather, patriarchal societies are male dominate societies (as all societies have been) in the way that men hold primary political and social power. Yet, in a true patriarchal society male dominance revolves around the welfare of women and children. True patriarchal societies are “gynocentric” at their core. The primary hallmarks of patriarchal societies are patrilineal descent, differentiation between legitimate and illegitimate born offspring, the financial support of and guardianship of women and children by father/husbands. Patriarchal societies are also- contrary to popular myth- nearly exclusively monogamous. Looking at the above timeline of “women’s rights” it becomes obvious that the goal of “equality” and ultimate aims of all “waves” of the feminist movement has been to obliterate all of the above (monogamy, legitimacy, and family stability with males as central providers).

The second point I would like to make is that popular beliefs in the mainstream oftentimes run counter to reality and fact- as can be seen in the differences between the common perceptions and beliefs about feminism and the real facts and truth about its history, legislative agenda, and continued prevalence in society. This also has implications for the political system as a whole- which hopefully will become obvious later in this article- and exemplifies the very real fears and concerns of the founding fathers, who- contrary to popular beliefs about the United States Constitution- distrusted democracy and popular sovereignty. Though holding to the principles that government exists to serve the people, the Constitution itself was meant to limit popular sovereignty- even though many of the protections the Founding Fathers embedded in the Constitution have already been washed away (eg., the election of Senators and electors during presidential elections were not originally subject to the popular vote; see U.S. Const. art. I,§3 (subsequently repealed by Amendment XVII in 1913); and see U.S. Const. art. II,§1, cl. 2: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress…” (emphasis added) No subsequent amendments have repealed the right of the state legislatures to appoint electors in contravention of popular vote).