Shift to the Right: (Part 3 of 3): The Ordinary Citizen, Popular Culture, and the Enforcement of the Law/Outro

(PDF of full article here)

 

The Ordinary Citizen, Popular Culture, and the Enforcement of the Law

More than mere words on a paper, does a law on the books do any good if it lays dormant? As the nation turns its eyes to the highest tribunal, both sides hoping to garner just that one vote to tip the scales in their parties’ favor, perhaps history can shed some light on the realities of life. Before the Civil War, the entire nation, ripped apart and split in two on the issue of slavery, turned its eyes to the Supreme Court to settle the pressing issue of the day once and for all. Still reeling from Worcester v Georgia[xxxiv], after which incident president Andrew Jackson is reported to have said, “The decision of the supreme court has fell still born, and they find that it cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate,”[xxxv] the Supreme Court adopted what was known as Judicial Restraint for many years to come.

Yet when the pressure mounted on the Supreme Court to decide the decisive vote on the hot issue of slavery, the Court finally decided the infamous case of Dred Scott v Sandford[xxxvi], causing an uproar throughout the nation, further splitting apart an already divided nation and ultimately leading to civil war. Much as today’s politicians talk about Court decisions being “settled law,” even Abraham Lincoln, months before Dred Scott was handed down, had stated that “the Supreme Court [is] the body charged with deciding the issue of slavery in the territories and that ‘we will submit to its decisions; and if you do also, there will be an end to the matter.’”[xxxvii] In reality, however, this was not to be as even Lincoln himself soon changed his tune on the matter.

After the Civil War, Radical Republicans took control over Congress, passing the Reconstruction Amendments (Amendments that president Andrew Johnson waged a massive campaign against), Enforcement Acts and various Civil Rights Acts. Yet, ultimately, the presidential administrations of the era refused to enforce the legislation, refusing to intervene to stop the corruption and violence that ran rampant; the states and their judges (voted in by the people) refused to comply, and the Amendments and subsequent legislation by Congress quickly lay dormant and unenforceable. Since abortion is the hot-button issue of the day that is tearing this nation apart, it is worthwhile to look into the hearts of the nation’s citizens and learn from human history as to how this story will play out. Is abortion about the regulation of morality- sexual or religious? But even setting aside the blatant Unconstitutionality of the latter, can a state use its police powers to effectively govern morality when the overall culture is vulgar and promiscuous and where “anything goes?” Absent widespread social change (possibly even revolution), the short answer to this question is likely to be a resounding “no.”

If the Civil War represented an appeal from law to the sword, that was true because the opposing extremes no longer accepted the underlying premises of the legal order. Americans too often forget that the rule of law draws only limited strength from judicial guaranties; it must have roots far deeper than a formal fundamental document and decisions of the judges enforcing it. Our public law depends for its efficacy on popular acceptance of its basic presuppositions. Acceptance, rather than formal legal machinery, is the decisive force in the law’s implementation, with Learned Hand in a famous passage we may ‘wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes, believe me, these are false hopes.’[xxxviii]

No act of the legislature nor decision by the Supreme Court is likely to ever lay the issue of abortion to rest any more than the issues of slavery or racism were ever laid to rest by words on a piece of paper. Only getting straight to the heart of the real issues at play and a true reconsideration of the role of women in society and the family is ever likely to lay such an issue to rest, much the same as the issue of racism and segregation (though still not entirely eliminated among ordinary citizens in society at large) could never be laid to rest without a thorough re-examination of the status of African-Americans as citizens and an acknowledgement by the people of the nation of their position in society and the law as equals to the heretofore dominant Caucasian race. Couched as pro-choice activism is in society’s belief in women’s equality, society can never even begin to move past this issue without a thorough re-examining and reconsideration of the entire premise of feminism from its very roots.

And it must be remembered that what controls women will also control men. All too often it is the male who pressures the woman he has been sleeping with/having an affair with into obtaining an abortion (often offering up the funds to pay for it as well) because the male does not wish any responsibility for the products of an unwanted pregnancy after a night or two of fun. Those who would term themselves as “men’s rights activists” have no case, no cause, no purpose nor any legislative agenda outside of the realm of feminism and egalitarianism. If feminism and its egalitarian legislative progeny die out in their entirety in society, their cause will go down right along with it. The males of society will then have to come face to face with what is termed “responsibility,” having to face the reality that actions have consequences- and they cannot continue to run their pick-up artist “game” if there are consequences attached to the sex act that the society will then ultimately hold them accountable for.

Trickling down from the highest tribunal to the lowliest officer of the law, many forces push and pull against each other in the adversarial system of American criminal justice. Many legal processes must first be traversed before an individual may actually be prosecuted, convicted, and punished for any crime. Fairness in the rule of law and criminal justice procedure is, after all, the very premise upon which the American criminal justice system was founded upon. Ethics play such an important role in law enforcement on account of the discretion that officers on all levels are given in the carrying out of their duties, and the power of the ordinary citizen in the enforcement of the rule of law has been greater than many realize throughout history. What is the alternative to discretion but tyranny? The short answer is that there is none.

Even for actions officially recognized as illegal under the law, an officer retains discretion whether or not to arrest an individual. Ethically, it is an officer’s duty to uphold the law even when off-duty, but all the way from a simple traffic citation to violent crimes, the decision ultimately rests with individual officers to choose whether or not to arrest. It is also prosecutors who decide whether or not to pursue a case and, if so, specifically what crimes to charge the individual with.

The Second Amendment retains for the states the right to a “well-regulated militia,”[xxxix] and in the days of old this gave power into the hands of ordinary men to challenge an unjust cause much the same as ordinary citizens today retain the power, when called upon to try their fellow citizens for crimes in a court of law, to acquit and effectively nullify the law at issue. “That every man be armed:”[xl] Not only the right to bear arms, but historically the obligation to do so fell upon adult male citizens, and when called upon to act, local militias could exercise a form of passive resistance by simply refusing to muster and heed the call to bear arms,[xli] much as modern juries still to this day retain the extraordinary power of jury nullification, whereby ordinary citizens can simply fail to convict a defendant even in the light of overwhelming evidence of guilt when they believe the case or law at issue to be unjust. Due to the prohibition of double jeopardy in the United States Constitution, the defendant then walks free, as the government cannot retry the defendant again upon the same charges after an acquittal.[xlii]

Nowhere today can this issue be seen more clearly than with modern juries refusing to convict in drug cases, even as society struggles with a serious drug problem. The push to legalize specific varieties of formerly illegal recreational drugs is strong. The laws don’t work, because the people are simply unwilling to believe in or comply with the laws. Could abortion also fall in with this issue? Is- was- legalization not responding to a serious problem that society faces on both accounts? Are there not less arbitrary measures to affect the same goals? But can any change ever happen without an extreme makeover in the overall structure of society? Were not “Too many wealthy women… flouting the law to get abortions from respected physicians…[and] too many poor women being injured by inadequately trained mass purveyors of illegal abortions”[xliii] at a time when “free love” and the sexual revolution were rocking society, much the same as the opioid epidemic has plagued and ravaged the nation today, causing lawmakers to look to alternatives- including the legalization of the “softer” drugs such as marijuana- to attempt to address a serious problem in society and prevent further death and hardship of the nation’s citizens?

As opposing and competing forces push and pull society in two different directions, we as a nation must stop and ask what it is we are doing, where we are going, and what, precisely, is hoped to be achieved? Is it a reinstatement of law and order and a returning of America to a supposedly more prosperous time? And how can that ever be achieved without addressing, but yet instead choosing, to turn a blind eye to the underlying forces that have caused the problems in the first place? Tyranny by the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government can never hope to turn America into the great nation that it once was in a civilization that simply no longer believes in the rule of law.

Outro to the Posting

What I have set forth here is a proposal: A deep and serious consideration that I do so sincerely hope can reach the hearts and minds of many. And with this humble piece of scholarly literature I do now so contribute it to that prayerfully ever free and prosperous marketplace of ideas.

————————————————-

[xxxiv] 6 Pet. 515 (U.S. 1832).

[xxxv] A History of the Supreme Court, supra, p. 94. Quoted from Letter from Andrew Jackson to John Coffee, Apr. 7, 1832.

[xxxvi] 60 U.S. 393 (1857).

[xxxvii] See Peter Irons, A People’s History of the Supreme Court, p. 179 (5th ed. 2006). Quoted from Lincoln, “we will submit”: Phillip van Doren Stern, ed., The Life and Writings of Abraham Lincoln, 399.

[xxxviii] A History of the Supreme Courtsupra, pp. 126-127. Quote by Learned Hand, The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses of Learned Hand 189-190 (3rd ed. 1960)

[xxxix] “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” U.S. Const. amend. II. For a thorough discussion of the Second Amendment see generally A Well-Regulated Militia, supraSee also United States Supreme Court cases of McDonald v City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010); District of Columbia v Heller, 554 U.S._ (2008). (Incorporating the Second Amendment against the States as an “individual right”).

[xl] The cry of Anti-Federalist Patrick Henry at the Virginia ratification debates. See A Well-Regulated Militia, supra, p. 53.

[xli] Termed sometimes as “militia nullification.” According to Saul Cornell in A Well-Regulated Militia, supra, “Implicit in the idea of the militia was the idea that citizen soldiers were not passive tools of government, but retained a right to refuse to muster and thereby exercise a form of passive veto on government policy…This type of passive resistance was akin to the right of juries to refuse to convict a citizen under an unjust law, effectively nullifying the law at issue.” (p.81).

[xlii] Due to the dual sovereignty doctrine, however, a defendant may be tried both at the state and Federal level for the same offence, and also if the defendant crossed state lines in the commission of the crime, may be tried by each State that the crime was committed in. See, eg., Heath v Alabama, 474 U.S. 82 (1985).

[xliii] A History of the Supreme Court, supra, p.333.

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Shift to the Right (Part 2 of 3): The Dangers of Excess “Conservatism”/The Common Law and the Constitution

(PDF of full article here)

 

The Dangers of Excess “Conservatism”

For all the good that might become of a Supreme Court that leans more to the Right, there are also many inherent dangers that accompany too much “conservatism.” A few months ago I had said to my husband- only half-jokingly- that I often wondered if our grandparents didn’t all pass away just so they wouldn’t have to live to see what America has become. For all the good that less governmental intervention in the economy might do, many forget all that history has to teach about the often extreme abuses against the common and ordinary citizen that naturally accompany unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism. According to Peter Irons in his 2006 book A People’s History of the Supreme Court: The Men and Women Whose Cases and Decisions Have Shaped Our Constitution, during the last two decades of the 19th century (speaking of the expansions of the railroads), “…railroads had their caste system and brakemen took home only $212 that year for the most dangerous job on the trains. More than two thousand railroad workers died in accidents each year, and thirty thousand suffered injuries.” (p.245)

According to Bernard Schwartz,

To return to the Peckham conception of law is to return to a time when ‘it was unconstitutional to intrude upon the inalienable right of employees to make contracts containing terms unfavorable to themselves, in bargains with their employers.’ In those days, ‘[a]n ordinary worker was told, if he sought to avoid harsh contracts made with his employer…that he had acted with his eyes open, had only himself to blame, must stand on his own feet, must take the consequences of his own folly.’ And if, as in Lochner, a law sought to equalize the situation, it was ruled an invalid interference with freedom of contract. To return to Lochner is to return to the abuses that inevitably accompany unrestricted laissez faire.”[xii]

After all, there is a reason why many of our grandparents were Democrats. “Democrats are for the blue-collar worker” is what we often have heard, and history bears this out to a large extent. In the days of laissez-faire, the common, average, and impoverished citizen was often told:

Rights of property which have been created by the common law cannot be taken away without due process; but the law itself, as a rule of conduct, may be changed at the will, or even at the whim, of the legislature, unless prevented by constitutional limitations. We know that this is a power which may be abused, but that is no argument against its existence. For protection against abuses by legislatures, the people must resort to the polls, not to the courts.[xiii]

 By and large the Republicans often favor the rich/elite and the big corporations, often stating today something similar to the above quoted passage as regards the democratic process. But to quote Schwartz once again: “A supreme tribunal that molds its law only to fit immediate demands of public sentiment is hardly fulfilling its proper role. As Justice Frankfurter once put it, ‘The Court has no reason for existence if it merely reflects the pressures of the day.’”[xiv] What is needed, in reality, is to maintain moderation as danger lurks whenever courts and legislatures swing too extreme either to the Left or the Right. Mostly “moderates” in the center on the Supreme Court were responsible for most of the legal revolution of the mid-20th century, ruling according to the “felt necessities of the time.”[xv] Perhaps today the “felt necessities” could be that the “welfare state” has simply gone too far.

But as everyone hopes that the highest tribunal shifts to the Right so that Roe might be “overturned,” there are many more consequences of such a shift that many never give any heed nor regard to, but which will become even more apparent as time goes on. Part of this disregard simply stems from an ignorance of the history of American legal and Constitutional jurisprudence. Or perhaps Americans truly believe by and large that some rights and freedoms now enjoyed by the criminal defendant, the indigent, and the political dissenter have simply always existed as they do now. Sadly, this is not the case. Many rights and freedoms Americans enjoy today actually come from the “liberal” excesses of the mid-20th century- excesses “conservatives” on the Supreme Court and elsewhere have consistently been trying to chip away at for the past few decades.

The right to jury trial of one’s peers at the state level in cases where the possibility of incarceration exists, the right to be read one’s rights at the time of arrest/detainment in the custody of police,[xvi] the right of an indigent criminal defendant to a lawyer,[xvii] the right to petition for habeas corpus,[xviii] the right to a lawyer upon appeal, the prohibition of police use of the “silver platter doctrine,”[xix] the prohibition of the use of illegally obtained evidence by Federal or state officers in criminal trials,[xx] the right to burn an American flag in political protest,[xxi] the right of one’s children to refuse to salute the flag and against compelled prayer in public schools,[xxii] etc…

Only due to the “liberal” and “moderate” forces upon the Supreme Court in the 20th century do these rights even exist at all. The president’s War Powers have also been largely kept in check on account of “liberal” and “moderate” forces on the Supreme Court. It can’t be taken for granted that Republicans such as those of the current administration have little respect for the rights of the accused or suspected enemy combatants to habeas corpus. The “conservative” forces must balance out the liberal forces, of necessity, in order to protect the welfare of the public, but “conservative” excesses have a long and dated history of giving carte blanche to the president, legislatures and other executive officials- especially since 9/11.[xxiii] This isn’t a set “rule,” of course, but there is enough of a history to make anyone mindful of the law and criminal justice system wary of the consequences of too much “conservatism.”

 

The Common Law and the Constitution

Perhaps I would like to bring the abortion issue back into the equation for the moment. There doesn’t seem to be much common sense floating around where this issue is concerned, just back and forth ranting. I’m not here to rant about these issues, but only to reason rationally and deeply- and realistically- about them. My main fear where this issue is concerned is that it simply reeks of “police state” with a side order of religious tyranny.

It isn’t really enough to look through history or the common law of England where this issue is concerned, though it could shed light on history and the nation’s founding, as the common law was adapted over time to the unique scenarios and circumstances of the American way of life.

The first issue is how prosecutions would proceed. There have already been instances in recent years of individuals (of both sexes- not just women) being charged for giving abortifacients for the purpose of illegally inducing abortion. Obviously if a woman enters the emergency room with complications from an illegal abortion, the law does allow (in some instances it requires) that the crime be reported to police. But if a woman chooses not to receive emergency care after an illegally-induced abortion (or simply does not need care if she has no adverse side effects), how then would charges be brought and whom would they be brought against? Being “pro-life” might sound good on paper- much the same as “drug-free”- but reality must be given greater weight than sentiment where issues of law are concerned.

 The nature of abortion has changed since misoprostol began being used to induce abortions non-surgically in the 1980s. The drug is widely available in some Latin American countries where abortion has been outlawed (usually due to the influence of the Catholic Church) without a prescription, but in recent years it has shown signs of becoming a major “black-market” drug in the United States. Obviously, the dealers of such drugs could be caught in the normal legal manner, but danger of governmental tyranny and Unconstitutional search and seizure lurks in the murky waters where the woman who takes the drugs is concerned.

This question must be proposed, now that I have also in-depth asked the questions above of how a more “conservative” majority in our Federal courts and in the Supreme Court would deal with the rights of criminal defendants. Justice Harry Blackmun (who wrote the opinion of the Court in Roe v Wade), in sharp contrast to today’s justices who generally have their law clerks do most of the research and write up rough drafts of opinions for them, spent months doing research and writing up drafts (whom Justices Douglas and Brennan consistently gave him feedback on) in the Roe case[xxiv]. In the final Roe opinion, he went over historical abortion laws in good depth and concluded that most of the early anti-abortion laws in early American history (which laid the full legal penalty upon the one providing the abortion, not the pregnant woman) were generally thought to be designed to protect the woman from submitting herself to a procedure that in many cases would threaten her life.[xxv]

When most criminal abortion laws were first enacted, the procedure was a hazardous one for the woman. This was particularly true prior to the development of antisepsis…Abortion mortality was high. Even after 1900, and perhaps until as late as the development of antibiotics in the 1940s, standard modern techniques such as dilation and curettage were not nearly so safe as they are today. Thus, it has been argued that a State’s real concern in enacting a criminal abortion law was to protect the pregnant woman, that is, to restrain her from submitting to a procedure that placed her life in serious jeopardy.[xxvi]

One of the major grievances the American colonists originally had against the Crown before the Declaration of Independence was the general writs of assistance that were used to arbitrarily carry out searches of a person’s home, person and belongings. These were equivalent to general and vague search warrants, allowing agents of the Crown to basically rummage through all of a subject’s possessions, without having to specify exactly what was being searched for. The question must be proposed: Could a search warrant be executed against a woman who is suspected of being pregnant if an officer has probable cause to believe that she might be pregnant and might be doing something that might put the life or health of the fetus in danger? Might she then be physically restrained and subjected to an intrusive search of her body to see if she is pregnant and then her body be searched for evidence of the crime of endangering the life of the unborn in some way? Or evidence of pregnancy or attempted/completed abortion in a woman suspected of being pregnant even where medical help or attention has not been sought and consented to? Might she, or even the father of the child or others close to her, be arrested and interrogated or subpoenaed as witnesses in a court of law against the woman or anyone else charged as being connected with the “crime?”

If a fetus is legally considered to be a “person” under the Fourteenth Amendment, then this is not a ridiculous question, but a realistic one. From Alabama’s “fetus lawyers” to Texas’ TRAP laws (which the Supreme Court struck down in its 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision[xxvii]) mandating the proper burial of fetal remains, it is hardly unreasonable that the States, if allowed, would resort to nearly any arbitrary measures in order to bypass the civil rights of their residents and oppress them. An officer of the law need only have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe that criminal activity might be afoot or that an individual is about to commit, is in the process of committing, or has just committed, a crime in order to stop and question an individual or give a quick pat-down or search of their outer garments.[xxviii] If probable cause exists, the officer may then make a lawful arrest. Could this discretionary power of officers of the law be used in an arbitrary manner against a woman and/or her partner/husband regarding pregnancy and abortion?

Today’s society is overly concerned about an individual being allowed to point the finger and accuse an individual, without trial or evidence, of wrong-doing and ruin their lives (think sexual harassment allegations) even while all the while being overly concerned with “victim’s rights.” But as the English jurist Sir William Blackstone had so famously stated, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.” Most of the Bill of Rights is concerned with the protections of the accused. Living in a time where advances in science and technology have advanced to such extremes (and are only likely to advance more in the future) that the government has an increasing ability to spy on its citizens and control their every move even when they are unaware of it, upholding the Bill of Rights becomes even more paramount. Ratification of a Bill of Rights was a prerequisite to many who termed themselves “anti-federalists” (or those who were against too strong of a national government). It was a prerequisite due to the fear that lack of a Federal Bill of Rights would lead to Congress enacting laws abridging the rights of the people.

On the other hand, there is clear and convincing evidence that the Bill of Rights does not contain all of the rights due to citizens, and the Federalist fear was that if a Bill of Rights was ratified it would lead to the belief that only those rights specifically enumerated and specifically mentioned in the Constitution would be accounted for. The Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”[xxix] Similarly the Fourth Amendment was adopted to redress the grievances caused by the issuance of general writs of assistance that caused widespread discontent among the colonists and were denounced by such historically famous men as James Otis.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.[xxx]

To address another question- are we a civilized society? There are many things that modern Americans simply do not seem to understand. In our fights over abortion, the right to die, the barbaric nature of the death penalty, gun control legislation and the waging of war, what is lost in the discussion is the very real and often brutal reality that some legally justified killings are necessary for the freedom, welfare, prosperity, and safety of a nation and its citizens. Included among the legally justified killings that civilized society recognizes is the necessity of waging war to protect the people of a nation and secure their peace and freedom, the right to use deadly force against one’s attacker in personal self-defense by the individual or by law enforcement for self-defense and public safety, the right to pre-viability abortion, and the right of a State to execute individuals who are convicted of certain classes of dangerous and heinous crimes. The taking of human life for any reason is brutal and barbaric, no matter the circumstances that surround it. But one must ask the question: How humane is a civilization, in reality, that never allows for the taking of life under any circumstances?

Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court in the gut-wrenching 2008 case of Kennedy v Louisiana, stating, among other things, “Evolving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person, and the punishment of criminals must conform to that rule…When the law punishes by death, it risks its own sudden descent into brutality, transgressing the constitutional commitment to decency and restraint…”[xxxi]

But again a question begs to be answered: Is this an example of a “civilized society?” More directly to this point: Most American freedoms today, including the right to self-defense,[xxxii] can be traced back to the laws of England, which granted to “freemen” many rights and freedoms, though these rights and freedoms were greatly expanded upon in America. Looking back to what was in another culture long gone or in other cultures around the world holds no legal or social weight in America even if we can never wisely cast aside history’s lessons. As Justice Alito stated in his majority opinion in McDonald et al v. City of Chicago, Illinois, et al, “…we must decide whether the right…is fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty.”[xxxiii]


[xii] A History of the Supreme Courtsupra, pp.201-202. “Peckham conception of law” refers to the legal jurisprudence of former associate justice of the United States Supreme Court Rufus Peckham, who was famous for utilizing “substantive due process” to invalidate state attempts at regulating the economy in favor of laissez-faire capitalism.

[xiii] Munn v Illinois, 94 U.S. 113, 134. (1876)

[xiv] A History of the Supreme Court, supra, p.258. Frankfurter quote from West Virginia Board of Education v Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 665 (1943)

[xv] Ante, at 224.

[xvi] Miranda v Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966); Dickerson v United States 530 U.S. 428 (2000) (Some “conservatives” such as O’Connor and Rehnquist in the majority, but this case was largely a battle between the Supreme Court and Congress)

[xvii] Gideon v Wainright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963). During the Warren Court era, decision was unanimous. Earl Warren, though never claiming to be a great legal scholar, had a way of uniting the Court to deciding major landmark decisions unanimously, such as in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka (1) 347 U.S. 483 (1954) and Brown V Board of Education of Topeka (2) 349 U.S. 294 (1955), cases outlawing segregation of the races in public schools.

[xviii] Herrera v Collins, 506 U.S. 390 (1993); Lockyer v Andrade 538 U.S. 63 (2003)

[xix] Elkins v United States 364 U.S. 206 (1960) (Another Warren Court case ruling for the rights of criminal defendants.); Weeks v United States 232 U.S. 383 (1914).

[xx] Hudson v Michigan 547 U.S. 586 (2006). (“Conservatives” on the Roberts Court vote against rights of criminal defendants, though perhaps not unjustifiably in this particular case.); Wolf v Colorado 338 U.S. 25 (1949) (Overturned by the Warren Court in Mapp v Ohio 367 U.S. 643 (1961))

[xxi] Texas v Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989); United States v Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990); R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 (1992). (the latter decision of R.A.V. was unanimous in favor of R.A.V., while the prior cited decisions were a bit mixed, but largely with “conservative” justices voting in the minority against flag burning as protected speech.)

[xxii] Minersville School District v Gobitis 310 U.S. 586 (1940); West Virginia Board of Education v Barnette 319 U.S. 624 (1943). (Within three years the Supreme Court had reversed itself on this issue)

[xxiii] Important post-9/11 cases include Hamdi v Rumsfeld 542 U.S. 507 (2004); Rasul v Bush 542 U.S. 466 (2004); Boumediene v Bush 553 U.S. 723 (2008). (“Conservative” forces on the Supreme Court have swung wildly in these cases revolving around habeas corpus petitions by detainees in Guantanamo Bay. It is a necessity for public safety that the rights of enemy combatants and criminal defendants are not granted in excessive and unreasonable amounts, yet at the same time the rights of those accused and detained to prove their innocence and challenge illegal detentions must be upheld where reasonable.)

[xxiv] See A History of the Supreme Court, supra, Chapter 15 Watershed Cases: Roe v. Wade, 1973. Writing in the early 1990s, Schwartz had the opportunity to do interviews with the justices from the Warren and Burger court eras, as well as interviews with their law clerks, and takes readers behind the scenes on some of the most important cases from these eras.

[xxv] 410 U.S. 113 at 129-41

[xxvi] Id. at 148-49 (footnote omitted)

[xxvii] 579 U.S._

[xxviii] Terry v Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968); Michigan v Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983); Alabama v White, 496 U.S. 325 (1990); United States v Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1 (1989). Under the “Plain Feel” or “Plain Touch” doctrine, evidence may also be seized in specific circumstances pursuant to a pat-down of the suspect’s outer garments. See Minnesota v Dickerson, 508 U.S. 366 (1993).

[xxix] U.S. Const. amend. IX.

[xxx] U.S. Const. amend. IV.

[xxxi] 544 U.S. _

[xxxii] According to Blackstone, common law required the citizen to first “retreat to the wall” before using deadly force against one’s fellow citizen, but in the early 19th century America, a new standard of having a “reasonable fear” for one’s life became the new standard after the murder trial where a jury acquitted Thomas Selfridge of the charge of the murder of Charles Austin, accepting the defense’s self-defense claim. For an overview, see Saul Cornell, A Well-Regulated Militia: The Founding Fathers and the Origins of Gun Control in America (1st. ed. 2006).

[xxxiii] 561 U.S. 742 at 767 (2010). (Citation omitted, emphasis in original).

Shift to the Right (Part 1 of 3): Introduction/The Anti-Feminist Possibilities of Laissez-Faire

(PDF of full article here)

 

Introduction to the Article

Sometimes I have long said that I don’t want to do this. I’m just a simple girl. No matter what I may feel in my heart, my writings are but a drop in the ocean compared to all the writings by those who are “somebody” in this world. A mere drop of water, barely even enough to so much as affect a wave, what could I ever possibly do? And I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve been depending on a husband since I was nineteen years old. I don’t even so much as have a single credible job reference to my name. I had asked fate, asked of God himself (yes, I use the masculine form here) why do I even exist in these times? I don’t belong in this world. My heart, my mind, it just can’t keep pace with the crude, vulgar, egalitarian ways of modern society. I was born in the wrong century. I don’t read blogs I used to read. I don’t talk to people I used to talk to. I have removed and isolated myself from the world I once belonged to, feeling as though that world no longer held my heart. My heart is pure and cannot compromise. I’m old-fashioned, gentle, feminine. I don’t look, think, nor act like the modern female. People have looked at me- women mostly- like I’m crazy in some form. Shocked is what they are because they’ve isolated themselves from their femininity to adhere to modernity and what the society says a woman should be.

But I never wanted to be a man. I couldn’t live up to that drive to achieve or compete. That’s not what’s written on my heart. I never wanted to get rid of the blood, the pain, the weakness, softness, gentleness. But knowing what was written on my heart when I was so young and innocent, then God had given me a husband to protect me. Have I ever regretted this? No. I find myself terrified sometimes at my own dependence and helplessness it’s true. I can’t deny that. But there is nothing better. I spent the most vulnerable years of my life not on some college campus having drunken hookups but rather with one man, my husband. Having no independent income, I was bound to him, often in frustration and sometimes even anger, but I was always taken care of and lived with such love and passion. Experiencing the full force of feminine passion, I can say that both my body and spirit are more sensitive than what a man’s is. There is no better life than that love.

I guess I have found myself more than once constantly asking why I’m even here. Why me? was the backbone of all my memoirs. I don’t want to write, yet fate dropped Constitutional law and history books in my lap over and over and said “read.”

I said, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m disgusted with the ways of the world. I want nothing more than to wash my hands of all of it.”

Yet fate said, “Press on.”

 My chest and back constrict with fiery pain, my head throbs, I haven’t slept in days before I began writing this; aches and pains intermittently ravage my upper body. Months ago, I said, “I don’t know if I’ll get up in the morning.”

Yet fate said, “You’ll get up.”

Finally, I said, “I never want to write again. It’s pointless and hopeless.”

Maybe fate would leave me alone this time, yet that didn’t happen. Never in my life has this happened to me. Never has such agitation lasted for more than a day, two at most. Yet, on day fifteen living on three to four hours of sleep I finally said, “OK. I’m listening.” I don’t suppose fate cares what one feels or what one wants. It only cares about its own goals, recruiting and using who it wills. I didn’t know what I could possibly say or write, but in the middle of the night I knew there was something. As is usually the case, the outline eventually forms in my mind.

What is it I feel in my heart? What is written within? Despite the overwhelming feminist indoctrination of society- with “conservatives” leading the way in female empowerment and gender-blending ideology just as much as the Left- if the United States Senate (and yes, it is the Senate, not the president, who gets the final say in placing judges on the Federal courts[i]) hands to the people another “conservative” Supreme Court justice, it might in actuality hold the key to the entire undoing of feminism. So, while everyone is focused on the “abortion debate” as regards the nomination of Federal judges (of which I would like to briefly return to in the end here as it all ties in, despite having written extensively on the subject already)- with “conservative” women leading the way- as is usually the way in life as in law, actions often have completely unintended consequences that are not always apparent at the outset.

So, fate pushed and prodded me, what I must say and what I must write. So now for truth in history, for freedom, and for the deepest feelings of my heart, maybe fate has its purpose. Whispering in my ear, fate has guided me to what I know that I must say and write.

The Anti-Feminist Possibilities of Laissez-Faire

Perhaps first and foremost of all possibilities could be the ability for traditionalists to use the “conservative” belief in so-called limited government and free market ideals to advantage. During the Supreme Court’s laissez-faire era of the late 19th to early 20th century (up to the New Deal legislation), the Court struck down state laws left and right that attempted in any way to regulate the economy or infringe upon the “liberty of contract” as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Of course, some legislation was upheld where women as a group were concerned, deeming that women were still in need of protections in some way, such as in the United States Supreme Court case of Muller v State of Oregon[ii] in 1908. From the beginning with cases such as Allgeyer v. Louisiana in 1897[iii] and Lochner v New York[iv] in 1905, the Court had invalidated countless attempts of Congress and the states to regulate working hours, wages and other aspects of the economy. Holding that corporations were “persons” under the Fourteenth Amendment, any violations on the right of workers or employees to contract with one another were struck down as infringements upon personal liberty and private property rights.

With the emergence of the welfare state in the late 1930s the “Lochner Era” or “Laissez-Faire Era” officially ended, though many libertarians and “conservatives” still believe in free enterprise and are firmly against the redistribution of wealth. Obviously, it is necessary for the “liberal” wing of the Supreme Court to begin to die out for all of the changes of the mid-20th century to die out along with it. With a Supreme Court majority in favor of Liberty of Contract, employers would be allowed to legally discriminate in hiring and pay once again. What this could essentially mean, of course, is that ultimately traditional gender roles would be given the chance to return to society as social custom, as well as supply and demand, could then dictate market forces as opposed to affirmative action and Federal anti-discrimination legislation.

In the mid-1990s, the Rehnquist court had begun, for the first time since The New Deal era, to rule against Federal power in favor of state’s rights or limited government, beginning with such cases as United States v Morrison[v]and United States v Lopez[vi]. If such a trend were to continue, and the “liberal” wing of the Supreme Court dies out, it could also pave the way for the striking down of other Federal legislation as Unconstitutional if a majority of the justices were to rule that Congress lacked the authority under the Commerce Clause or the enforcement provision[vii] of Amendment Fourteen of the United States Constitution to enact such statutes. A more “conservative” majority on the Supreme Court would also be more prone to overturn such cases as Roe v Wade[viii] and Obergefell v. Hodges,[ix] and, with a continuing shift away from Federal power and the welfare state in favor of free enterprise, state’s rights, and limited government, Federal legislation such as The Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX (Public Law 92-318), the various revisions of the Violence Against Women Acts, and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act might also begin to be called into question.

Disgusted I am, of course, with the “conservatives” of today’s era, who turn as much of a blind eye towards the differences between the sexes. However, this might be the one true chance in history to take advantage of current events and the public’s blind fixation on the abortion and immigration debates to take advantage of what else could be done here. All but a few cases that come up to the Supreme Court begin as lawsuits in the lower state and Federal courts, and it would undoubtedly take a society believing in traditional gender roles again to challenge women’s lib-era politics, and for a case to eventually wind up before the Court, and feminist legislation could begin to be struck down left and right, affecting a sort of revolution. There’s only so far the agenda of homosexuality and working mothers and overall “gender equality” can truly be pushed before things begin to fall apart. If Title VII and other Federal legislation aimed to outlaw discrimination against women, mothers, and pregnant women is deemed to be an Unconstitutional infringement of the Liberty of Contract and unreasonable usurpation of power by the Federal Government, and society has begun to shift away from feminism and its social agenda (which has run its course to be nearly complete by now), it could open the chance for private and public employers to be allowed to legally do such things as refuse to hire a married woman or a mother with young children.

 Employers would be free to legally favor males in hiring and pay, if such employers (and ultimately the beliefs of society overall) began to shift to view males as more reliable and better suited to specific jobs. Without abortion or the welfare state to fall back on, the connection between sex and childbearing and the necessity of marriage would begin to reconnect and the responsibility would ultimately have to, of necessity, shift to fathers to provide for women and children. With arbitrary Federal anti-sex discrimination knocked down as Unconstitutional and employers free to refuse to hire married women or mothers without fear of penalty or social ostracism, the laws themselves could also be changed one by one at the state level to reinforce traditional rights and responsibilities between the sexes within marriage (especially if the Court overturns its 2015 decision in Obergefell). Without a welfare state, without abortion, without affirmative action or subsidized daycare, there would be little choice but for women (in particular mothers) to turn to husbands to provide. It would also mean that society, state legislatures, and the courts would begin to take the legitimacy of children seriously as well, as there would be no buffer but marriage to protect a woman who bears an illegitimate child (and there would be even greater stigma attached to the fathers who abandon them). Especially if “gay marriage” is called into question it would mean that society overall still believes that the law should make at least some distinctions based upon sex.

While Republican women are undoubtedly the most feminist, they don’t seem to connect real well that their policies could actually be the complete undoing of their “empowerment.” There seems to be some evidence that the power of women in the Republican party is declining as well, so perhaps society will see less of these annoying women in the future. Perhaps even to my own mind it did not seem to be the way at first, but even though today’s “conservatives” are hardly traditional in any sense of the word, a more “conservative” shift in society could nonetheless pave the way for traditional gender roles and traditional marriage (true traditional marriage, with male responsibility as providers attached to it) to return once again to society.

The general public generally forgets, or perhaps simply doesn’t understand, just how many cases were brought and heard before the Supreme Court within such a short period of time striking down nearly all state and Federal laws that would treat the sexes differently.[x] The legacy of the Warren and Burger Court eras upholding the legal equality of the races and sexes and expanding the rights of criminal defendants was, in the words of former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, “…the most profound and pervasive revolution ever achieved by substantially peaceful means.”[xi] Even if there is no “conservative takeover” to truly happen in the near future, extreme liberalism will probably die a natural death in time anyway as it is simply not sustainable. Sometimes social revolutions sweep in quickly in society due to the current needs and demands of society and the pressing social issues of the times. There is no reason why such a thing could not still happen today, only this time reversing feminist- era politics nearly in their entirety over the coming years and decades.

As well, society should also expect that shifts of this magnitude in the overall social fabric of society will come with backlash- possibly severe backlash. Severe, bloody civilian rioting (which has already been seen in recent years) and even a form of civil war cannot be ruled out. With the concurrent experimentation of society of placing females in military combat and other traditional positions that require the strengths and abilities that males overwhelmingly possess (that females generally do not), females would also be more likely to be seen as a liability in these fields, thus perhaps being booted out of them entirely once again. With no abortion- possibly even restrictions on birth control- no affirmative action, no welfare state and no watered-down standards in the military or the police forces, the social and legal fabric would quickly shift as males would naturally rise ahead of females in these fields. In such a hypothetical- though by no means implausible- scenario, the (mostly good) social consequences would be enormous.

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[i] “…He [the president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” U.S. Const. art. II, § 2.

[ii] 208 U.S. 412

[iii] 165 U.S. 578

[iv] 198 U.S. 45

[v] 529 U.S. 598 (2000). (The Supreme Court in this case struck down specific provisions of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 as exceeding Congress’ Constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause).

[vi] 514 U.S. 549 (1995). (Supreme Court case striking down the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act as exceeding Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.)

[vii] “The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 5.

[viii] 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

[ix] 576 U.S. _ (2015). (Supreme Court case mandating that all U.S. states recognize same-sex marriage as a “Constitutional right.”)

[x] See Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718 (1982); Weinberger v. Weisenfeld, 420 U.S. 636 (1975); Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609 (1984); Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268 (1979); Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971); Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 U.S. 522 (1975); Sugarman v. Dougall, 413 U.S. 634 (1973); Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365 (1971); Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762 (1977); Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190 (1976)

[xi] Bernard Schwartz, A History of the Supreme Court, p.334 (4th ed. 1993). Quoted from Fortas, in The Fourteenth Amendment Centennial Volume 34 (Schwartz ed. 1970).

The Wake-Up Call

Sometimes in my spare time I like to watch old classic and vintage movies and TV shows. A while back I was watching a show called The Real McCoys. In one of the episodes, Grandpa and all of the guys were sitting around talking and one of the men starts chiming in about how he “runs his house” while all the men praise him as some sort of hero for it and it seems, at least on the outside, that what he’s saying might be true as it appears that his wife is doing what he’s telling her to do. Then one evening, however, the men are sitting around at his house (the guy who was doing all the talking about how he “ran his house” and “ran” his wife) drinking beer and playing cards when his wife comes home and they go in the bedroom and start arguing, with the wife complaining about the men being there and the husband then apologizing to her and everything. Meanwhile, all of the guys have their ears pressed up against the door listening to the whole conversation and hearing the wife berate the husband for having the guys there so late at night in the house. The guys then back off when they hear the couple coming out of the bedroom, look at each other kind of disappointed-like and say they better be getting home. Later on in the episode when they’re all alone, Grandpa tells his grandson, Luke, that all that talk about him “running” his grandmother was a load of hogwash. He then confesses that it was only true half of the time, and the other half of the time she “ran” him. Not only that, but he also confesses to his grandson that “…The truth is, I guess I just kinda miss it.” He says all this to his grandson and tells his grandson that he has a good and sweet wife, and he just didn’t want to see him go and ruin his relationship with her.

The truth of the matter is, a man’s authority is never 100%. A man is only given authority to fulfill his responsibilities to provide for and protect his wife and children or anyone else that is depending on him. A man also must have standing in order to assert authority; meaning, a man must be operating in his rightful role and fulfilling his responsibilities in order to be able to claim any kind of genuine authority over a woman (or anyone else).

To put it another way, consider how the courts consider if a person’s “rights” have been violated. A person must first have some sort of standing to be able to make a claim to some sort of rights or violation of rights. Take the instance of, say, a claim of an “unreasonable search or seizure.” An example would be when law enforcement come and search you or any property you have in your possession or a place where you are staying. An individual would first have to make a showing to the court that they not only had a right to be in the place that they were at, but also that they had a legitimate interest in or right of ownership to the property. If the individual doesn’t own the property, live there and maintain it, isn’t lawfully occupying it (long-term or temporarily), or has simply disposed of the property and shown no further interest in it, then the individual has no standing in regards to the property and thus there has been no violation of rights- because the individual had no right to the property in the first place or was only using or occupying it for unlawful and illegitimate purposes.

A woman is under no obligation to obey her husband if he is in the wrong. Also, sometimes a man may not realize the consequences of his actions and sometimes he falters, as well. In such a case it is up to his wife (or in some cases perhaps even his children) to tell him that he’s in the wrong and that he’s hurting them or depriving them of some legitimate need that they have a right to (a “legitimate need” being any physical need that is his responsibility to provide- food, shelter, clothing- or, in some instances, a true psychological need such as affection or love). As well, sometimes a man simply doesn’t realize that his actions are harming his family, harming his wife, or even that there’s a problem in the first place. In this case, if a woman never stands up for herself then nothing is ever going to change. No matter what men like to say, the truth of the matter is that most women have to make men grow up and take responsibility or else they never really will.

I think there was a true wake-up call for my husband yesterday. I didn’t go out and take on paid employment or anything like that, but I have been doing a lot of work to help my husband with activities and responsibilities that rightfully fall within his domain. Last night, however, the stress of it all was just getting to me too badly and my husband sat there at the table and watched me cry my eyes out. I was stressed, I was hurting, I was deprived of rest, angry towards him, and simply couldn’t take any more. Not only that, I’m a woman and deal with female issues too that were hitting me pretty hard. It was at that point that things changed, especially after a text message that was taken the wrong way. I was telling him how stressed I was and then the next thing I know I had a message come across with him telling me how he was going to come home and pop the cork on a bottle of wine and have a drink.

I began to get belligerently angry at that point and told him he was an idiot (YES I said those exact words), slammed down the phone, dropped everything I had been doing to help him and went right back to what I should have been doing all along- my duties as a wife and as a mother.

When he came home he said that it was taken out of context and that he just intended for us to relax together that evening, but nonetheless, I took it as him saying he was going to come home and start drinking while I sat there doing work that he rightfully should have been doing. I told him, plain and simple, that I had duties to fulfill as a wife and mother and those duties did not include fulfilling his responsibilities while he came home and sat around drinking! Though that was never his intention to do and it only came out wrong, it nonetheless got me thinking that there are a lot of women who deal with this exact same thing (as well as many other issues with their men). And guess what? Things will never change unless a woman makes it clear to a man that his behavior is not acceptable and refuses to go along with it. After I went off on him and refused to touch his responsibilities, guess who stopped watching television and started doing what he should have been doing in the first place?

Inside of marriage or outside, men just simply aren’t going to grow up if women are not making them do so. They aren’t going to marry, they aren’t going to be responsible husbands or fathers or ANYTHING unless women start demanding it of them. And it doesn’t matter one bit what men say. There’s such a thing called “talking shit”- and men- all men- do a lot of it. But in the end, women DO have the power to make men act better and change their ways. A woman does this with her love, a woman does this by being chaste and being a dutiful wife and mother and clearly communicating her needs to a man. Most of all, a woman does this by refusing to participate in activities that harm her, that go against what is right, and by refusing to submit to a man who is not operating within his rightful role or assuming his rightful responsibilities.

Also, a wife and mother has authority over her children as well as certain aspects of the household, which also means she has certain responsibilities therein. If she must do the man’s duties, then she must neglect her own responsibilities or else do both while her health and well-being suffers and the man is given free rein to act immature and irresponsible. I put down what I was doing for him, refused to touch it again as it had been consuming too much of my time and putting unnecessary stress on me and went to do my own duties. Ultimately, most men would probably much prefer it this way anyway, as it means the feminine things are taken care of.

I relaxed this morning. Even though I didn’t get all that much sleep, I still oddly felt like I had rested enough (probably because a lot of the strain was gone) and I laid in bed a bit longer while my daughter was up getting ready for school until it was time for her to leave. If nothing else, I was psychologically more at peace. It’s unreasonable, especially when I already deal with feminine issues that really hit me hard to also deal with male responsibilities. (My husband used to think things like “PMS” and the like were just women exaggerating- until he got married. Now he sees first hand, EVERY MONTH in symptoms that last for at least one to two weeks, how hard those things really do hit women and how much of a stress it is and what women actually go through- including a lot of physical pain and emotional strain- on account of our biology.)

I spent the morning doing all the girly things I do and taking care of the home. Nothing is neglected in the home now as it’s all pretty and clean and smells nice. He bought me a pretty shaded up-lamp yesterday and I put it in the kitchen for decoration and to give some soft lighting and I like to light up candles, spray freshener in the room and keep some flowers on the counter-top to make things all pretty, as well as make sure the floors are freshly swept and mopped. I like to take my time in making my own home in my own soft and feminine ways and always smiling while I do so.  As a wife and mother, even after many years, I’ve still kept my beautiful figure, pretty long hair, still stay freshly showered and wear makeup and pretty clothes, still act feminine and girly, and keep the house fresh and clean and everything organized. I like all the girly feminine things. He keeps me, loves me, protects me and has sheltered me for all these years so I get to remain all soft and fragile-like and feminine. It’s also the best anti-aging regimen one could ask for.

There’s nothing more wonderful than keeping a beautiful (even if only a simple) home and having a loving family. So always pass such wisdom on to your daughters and teach them the ways to be feminine, chaste, and keep a good home and love their husbands and family with all their hearts.

Female Economic Independence and Failed Marriages

I am going to share a few personal details of my life and past in this post. Normally I keep my personal life more private but sometimes I write about my life in the hopes that it can be a help to others and to the cause of bringing back traditional gender roles.

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When both parties are independent, it’s easier to walk away. It’s easier to start a new life somewhere else. I’ve never been independent in my marriage and really not even before then. I know that it has made a huge impact not only on my marriage but also on the quality of it. My husband hasn’t always been the ideal husband. In fact, he has even technically been abusive before. We were very young when we first married and things were certainly not ideal at first. We had a lot of problems. A few months later I began to suffer from hormonal and emotional problems from just having had a baby and because I tried hormonal birth control which really messed me up worse (I will never take birth control like that again as I know it is harmful and I can’t conceive anymore anyways. Actually, I don’t even remember having any problems until I started taking the birth control). It didn’t help matters any that my husband wouldn’t protect me. Not only would he hurt me but he would let others hurt me as well. In a few instances he even allowed others to come into our home and hurt me and he wasn’t man enough to stop it. I didn’t know what else to do so I went to visit my mother for a while. I was only there three days when I asked my husband to come for me. However, he wouldn’t. Instead he abandoned me. Since he wouldn’t come for me and bring me home I waited until my mother could get me home as my husband had given me no money to make it back. I think it was about a week and a half before I could get home. I came back to our home because I had nowhere else to go. I really loved my husband despite whatever he had done to me and, besides, I had nowhere else to go. I had no money and no way to make it on my own. Getting into another relationship with another man was also out of the question. Being out of the workforce there was certainly not ample opportunity to go around flirting with other men or run around without my husband knowing it (not that I would anyways).

Well, my husband did come back to me a couple of days later (much to the chagrin of some of his relatives). I had no options but to stay and I’m sure that somewhere in his mind he knew that. I’m also sure my need for him kept him from really ever leaving and staying gone. I was willing to do what he said in regards to our child (I did as he told me and left her at the house with him while I went to my mother’s) but I knew as well as he did that he did not want to take care of a young child full-time. Our house was a wreck, of course, and he left our child with his relatives to care for while I was away.

I think maybe if I would have had a paying job or career that things might have turned out different for us. There is every probability that we wouldn’t be together today if I was independent from my husband. If I had had paid employment I could have just gone and stayed somewhere else. I could have just said “fine you can talk to my lawyer you jack***.” If I didn’t believe in the husband being in charge then I probably would have fought him until it destroyed both of us and our family. We probably would have been divorced today and it’s possible we might be on marriage number two or three each by now and our child torn between two warring families and having several different “mommies” and “daddies.”

I know there have been times I have been so angry and upset that I have wanted to leave, but where would I go? How could I go? Even going on a weekend vacation is out of the question for me. As well, my husband has matured over the years. Although I did obey what he told me in most areas, I absolutely refused to go get a job even though in the first few months of marriage he did pressure me to. I told him no. I told him I would not carry his responsibilities and that we had a young child and that he needed to support us. He wanted to insist that it took two incomes and it was “so hard” for him to support the family alone but still I refused. We are still here years later. We’ve never lived under a bridge and two incomes have never been necessary.

I think it weighs on a man’s conscience more if he knows his wife is completely dependent on him. For the dependent wife leaving an unhappy marriage is harder because she literally doesn’t have that option, unless she wishes to enter the workforce and make her own way. If she has been dependent upon her husband for years her options for money-making will be limited and the very prospect of going out and working is undoubtedly a scary thing. I know for me it is. I think a husband feels a greater weight of responsibility (that also makes him grow up and mature) when he knows his wife is depending on him and needs him. I think that makes leaving harder for him as well.

I think it’s no coincidence that divorce rates went up at about the same rate as married women working did and divorce rates have gone down slightly since women have been leaving the workforce. Some couples will make it a lifetime having egalitarian marriages, but for the culture overall it just isn’t working that way. I think a wife depending on her husband can breed love even where before there wasn’t much love at all, or the love was dying.

I’m not a complete saint and my husband can be cruel to me sometimes. I know I provoke him to anger sometimes and I am guilty for that. But, overall, the marriage still “works” because it has to. There is no other option. Even if I am unhappy at times and really just hate him I can’t leave. I need him even if I am unhappy or angry so I still stay close by and do what he tells me to do. Besides, he’s not the way he was years ago. I made him accept responsibility as a man and he grew into that role. If I ever tried to leave today I have no doubts that he would come after me, or, more precisely, wouldn’t let me go to begin with. Me being dependent upon him also changes the way he views me. I know he sees me as being his responsibility so he won’t let anyone hurt me or confront me about anything. Not only does he not pressure me to ever go to work, he won’t allow me to. There has never been any more trouble with others coming into our home attempting to interfere because my husband has long made it clear that nobody is going to intrude into his household and if somebody has a problem they can take it up with him, not me.

I think female economic independence gives both men and women an easy way out of marriage and out of their duties within the family. If both spouses are “equal” to each other then both can go their own way at any time and aren’t as concerned about each other. The man doesn’t assume control of the family nor responsibility so whatever his wife does is her own business and he feels no shame or guilt for leaving her on her own because she never depended on him in the first place. If she is his “equal” then he sees nothing wrong in treating her just like he would another man and he doesn’t see any need to treat her with more consideration or treat her more gently or lay down his own life for hers or be concerned with her support or protection. It gives men a free pass out of responsibility and allows women to run wild and marriages to fall apart (or never form in the first place).

Also, when the husband is not the head of the family it allows other relatives and outsiders to interfere and help break apart the family. If a woman is not submitting to her husband then she might believe her friends or relatives and listen to what they say instead of submitting to her husband and trusting him. If he is responsible for her, she can trust him because he’s already proven that he’s looking out for her best interests by providing for her and protecting her so whatever anyone else has to say about the marriage, her husband or what she *should* do will not be taken seriously in most cases. I can testify to this personally. Although I love my relatives and care for them I won’t go against what my husband says even if it means never talking to them. The tradition of our culture is for the bride to be “given away” by her father (or sometimes another man close to her will give her away) and given to her husband. In today’s world this means very little. It’s just one of those traditions we still cling to in ceremonies but it has no real meaning to our culture or our personal lives anymore because females have overall become independent of men both socially and economically. However, the giving away of the bride has a real symbolic meaning. Where once it was the obligation of her father or other male relatives to support her and protect her, at marriage she is now given to her husband and he is to assume responsibility for her. The man is not given away because men are supposed to protect and support themselves. There is a difference in hierarchy with the husband expected to “be a man” and assume a greater level of responsibility. I saw someone decrying the giving away of a bride at marriage as a “sexist” tradition a couple of weeks ago. Indeed, it is. But that is the intended purpose and the way marriage and society functions best.