Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category
Writer, NY Post Burb Appeal Columnist
Posted: September 24, 2009 12:30 PM
I wish I could say I don’t understand what drives a man to stab his ex-wife, but I do. It’s not justified or sane but it’s not incomprehensible if you have seen how ugly divorce can be, as I have.
Last Friday I got an automated call from my school district. A Valley Cottage elementary school (not my daughter’s) was in lock-down due to “some kind of domestic abuse situation.” When I told my husband what I’d heard he half-joked “maybe an ex-husband lost his mind.” I turned on the local news channel. A woman had been viciously stabbed and run over with an SUV shortly after 8 a.m. in the parking lot of the Sheraton Crossroads in Mahwah, New Jersey.
Re: I’m just a girl.
Post by Nick on Mar 29, 2006, 12:11am
“Wow, I was lucky, I got the one good one, I can actually say I was lucky to get married”.
Before you all start with the bashing, let me tell you a little about my wife. We met when we were seventeen and both in highschool. We fell in love and quickly became best friends. That is the secret to our relationship. She is my best friend. We married when we were nineteen, and we were both working jobs making a little over six dollars an hour. What could have moved me to marry? I loved how alive she was/ is. She knows how to have fun. She is, I swear, a borderline nympho. But there are other things that she likes to do. She loves sports and working on cars as much as she likes to sew or cook. She has never in all of the years we have been together asked me to do something that she won”t do. If I can’t get around to it because of work, she will mow the grass or change the oil on the weekends, telling me the whole time that marriage is a partnership.
“Married Men – Post Here If You Hate Your Life”
Post by happyghost
Some of you may recall a few months back, either on the now-defunct DGM2 board or here, perhaps both, a plea was made for anyone who had archived the classic, huge thread from years ago that was entitled “Married Men – Post Here If You Hate Your Life”, from a forum on the old website f***edcompany.com. Apparently the thread is now “lost”, and seems to exist nowhere on the web anymore.
You may also recall that I said, at the time, that I had spent many hours reading portions of this thread out of the Google cache of it (the thread was gone from the website itself). That Google cache is now long gone, as well. I may have mentioned that, although at the time I read it the Google cache was missing a good amount of the enormous number of pages in the thread, I had read through all the available pages and had cut and pasted the best posts into a text file as I went. This eliminated all the crappy posts, and all the pointless bickering (some feminists really got into attack mode), and preserved only the BEST posts for posterity.
Gentlemen, it is now obvious that the much ballyhooed “battle of the sexes” was over even before it had begun, and our side never fired a shot. It is incumbent on men to raise the white flag of surrender, but we mustn’t feel bad because we never had a chance — we are far too chivalrous, and our opponents fight dirty. To use a baseball analogy, their tactics are akin to moving the outfield wall in 100 feet every time they come to bat, then moving it back when our team comes up. You see, women won the battle with an amazingly simple, yet frighteningly ingenious, strategy: they merely declared their superiority to men in every facet of life, and that was enough to send our side into retreat. The facts speak for themselves:
- No-Fault Divorce (i.e. unilateral divorce, with no recourse for other spouse)
- No-Fault Alimony (i..e she cheats, he pays; the party breaking/violating the contract gets paid)
- 66-75% of all divorces are filed by the wife (CDC data; Google it) – cha ching!
- Presumed mother-custody in most state’s family courts (goodbye Daddy, hello ATM)
- Presumed guilty until proven innocent DV laws (now widely used as the “opening chess move” of divorce – once the husband is removed from the primary residence he never comes back, and she gets the primary residence in the asset split; you have 27 minutes to leave the house after the initial phone call. Also known as the Federal VAWA Legislation).
- Decriminalization of Adultery (you can run a brothel and still get primary custody of the kids, plus alimony!)
- Lobbying by the National Organization for Women against Shared Parenting bills in many states. (NOW is no longer about equality, it’s now about a zero sum game for resources. Children are cash-cows, and NOW will be damned if they allow Shared Parenting to stop the cash-flow. Divorcees of the world unite! :-)
- Lifetime Alimony (One NJ Appellate Court recently upheld a lifetime alimony sentenced rendered for barely an 8-year marriage. Their argument was that now in these days of short-term marriages being the norm, 8 years was pretty long, and as such probably deserved to be treated as a long-term marriage. Brilliant!)
- Fathers Are Optional Parents (States are enforcing payment-obligations by non-custodial parents with an iron fist, however they are completely ignoring the visitation-rights of NCP parents. If you are going to police one parents obligation to pay, why not police the other parents obligation to allow the Dad to see his kids?)
- One Sided Alimony: Ok so ex-spouse B got used to a certain standard of living, so we will make ex-spouse A pay alimony. Fine. But how about the things ex-spouse A got used to? Shouldn’t we have some sort of reverse payment by ex-spouse B in the form of weekly cleaning, a hot meal 7 nights a week, and “romantic companionship” services? How come one spouse is on the hook to provide something that the other was used to during the marriage, and not vice versa?
- Paternity Fraud (If you missed the 2 year window to catch that your kids aren’t really your kids, you are SOL in most states. What’s worse if your cheating wife divorces you, and you can bring the DNA tests to court, and you will still be forced to pay 18-23 years of child support for these kids who are some other guy’s spawn). In most fraud crimes, once the crime is proven, the guitly party gets punished. However in the topsy-turvey world of Family Courts, it is the innocent party that gets punished. No one to this date has ever been legally punished of perpetrating Paternity Fraud to this date. If you are going to be a fraudster, this is the best kind of fraud to pull off.
Why Marriage is Bad for Men
By Mac Mcmann
Did you ever see a truly happily married man under the age of say sixty? I mean a real man, one that could help you move a couch, or run a software company. A real man has direction in his life, goals, ambitions; a real man takes the life given to him, and creates something that is a reflection of him. He uses all his abilities everyday, every way he can think of, and when he is done with his current task he moves on to another one. These men are rarely married, and even rarer happily married, they are the snow leopard compared to the house cat. And the reason these men are not married, is because marriage is confining, defining, and boring.
The biggest enemy to a life fulfilled is routine and boredom, ala marriage. Marriage is a trap laid early by society, misery loves company. The miserable peddle this lifestyle. Women lay the trap with lots of sex, good food, a clean bathroom, all can be yours, if you just get married, never again will you go without the gifts a woman can bring. The life seeking man recognizes those traps ahead of time. They are not the lions at the bottom of the pit with the slab of meat dangling precariously over it. They see the trap of marriage ahead of time, the trap of being snared and held up for public viewing with four walls around you.
Married men are on display, a zoo animal that does what he is told, eats when told, works when told, hell they even copulate when they are told. They try to make their little display the best of anyone they know. Look at me in my suburbia American dream, look at my house, look at my boat, and look at how my kid can pitch. Aren’t I doing great? Aren’t I?
And then there are men who do what they want, when they want. These are the men usually loathed by the domesticated men, loathed by the society at large, most of whom dwell in their cages. And then these men are later featured on 60 Minutes for what they have become when they re-write the rules of their particular endeavor. And they did it all without being bored, without being told what to do, and without being married to a woman who thinks it is her job to tame the beast, and churn out a carbon copy of the man in the next cul-de-sac.
Man can survive all sorts of tragedies and set backs in their time on Earth. But accepting boredom is accepting death. It is not greed, violence, jealousy, desire or any other trait but boredom that is the ultimate downfall of man. An unwillingness to fight boredom with the ferocity of a mother bear is acceptance of a life not worth living.
Marriage is the cradle of mediocrity and is beaten into our heads as the thing to do all our childhood. Grow up, fall in love, get a job, and then have kids. In our society marriage is the stage for child rearing. Boys don’t have real men in their home as role models. That is why boys idolize celebrities. They are starving for role models of success, of individualism, of vision and achievement, not someone who spends all day playing yes man, and then can’t even remember the hot sauce at the take out.
Unfortunately for many men they recognize the trappings, after the life of domesticity has firmly gripped their soul. Breaking away is not easy, but it is done on a frequent basis. The saddest thing to see is these men given their freedom at a huge financial cost, and then what do they do with their freedom? They go right back into another zoo, another cage, thinking it will be better with a different zoo keeper. But entrapment is entrapment, no better the quality of the trap.
Then these twice fooled creatures are seen lying to the world and to themselves saying that they are happily married. Like a trained poodle they jump through all the hoops their wife and boss put before him, after completing each trick they pant their little tongue, wag their little tail, and await the kibble for their little reward. Good doggie, good doggie, you play your cards right for the next six days, you might get some Saturday night. Or kiss up for the next seven years and you just might be Junior Executive. And all the while he holds his wife up like a trophy, his quality of entrapment defines him, as he trades up for the biggest cage.
He plays life like it is a monopoly game, go around and around and avoid landing on anything painful. He seeks comfort, safety, and sameness. And you can see it in his eyes, the boredom of a meaningless game, playing by rules he didn’t invent.
The choice is each of ours, on the one hand you have certain boredom until death, and on the other you have the unknown. Not monopoly but a pirate’s adventure, things can go wrong, there can be pain, there can be real fear, but there will never be boredom.
Unfortunately most men choose the boredom without really knowing the alternative was so obvious. Does the snow leopard want the one sure meal at the cost of his freedom, or would he rather starve in a blizzard seeking the last rabbit in his territory. The choice is yours.
What Women Want
By Val MacQueen : 17 Sep 2004
A high-ranking British woman doctor, Professor Carol Black, president of the Royal College of Physicians, has warned that the British medical profession is shedding the prestige in which it was once held. She ascribes the diminution of respect to the high percentage of women who have entered the profession over the past 20 years.
Indeed, she is right to be concerned. Consider teaching. Fifty years ago, when most teachers were male, teaching was accorded the status of “profession.” Now, with the great majority of teachers in Britain and Europe being women, teaching has seen its prestige plummet to the point where it is regarded as just another unionized job with pay and holiday issues.
An outline of the effects of matrimonial law on men and fathers, with advice for young men, including a description of the lack of protection, persecution and human rights violations to which men are subjected, as well as the personal and social outcomes.
Marriage and Fatherhood: Important Information for Young Men
by The Cheltenham Group
“We’re from the Government, and We’re Here to End Your Marriage.”
by Stephen Baskerville
The decline of the family has now reached critical and truly dangerous proportions. Family breakdown touches virtually every family and every American. It is not only the major source of social instability in the Western world today but also seriously threatens civic freedom and constitutional government.
G. K. Chesterton once observed that the family serves as the principal check on government power, and he suggested that someday the family and the state would confront one another. That day has arrived.
The Nature of Male and Female Relationships
Paul S. Szymanski
You are about to embark on a strange but wonderful journey. Some paths will be familiar, others will amaze you, some may inspire you to think, and a few will probably make you angry. This journey begins with an alien. His name is Captain Azor, recently from the undiscovered planet Zargon. He has accidentally become stranded on earth, and has decided to observe the nature of humans so he can fit in unnoticed. Since Azor is not human, he is an unbiased observer of human behavior, and does not have the baggage of hormonal influences, or cultural dogmas. Azor tells it like it is. It is very difficult for humans to see reality, without it being colored by culture and chemicals in their brain. Most people think with their primitive, reptilian brain, and believe if it “feels good,” then it must be reality. Azor requests that you step out of your reptilian brain for a few moments, and face logic and reality, as only he truly can.
Azor has kept a journal of his observations of human interpersonal sexual relationships. There are a number of distinct realities that are easily discernible by only a few weeks of alien observation, but because of human culture and hormonal imperatives, have become quite obscure to both men and women:
1. Men Were Designed To Serve Female Needs, and Women Designed To Serve Children’s Needs
Advice to young men: Do not marry, do not have children
By Stephen Baskerville
Marriage is a foundation of civilized life. No advanced civilization has ever existed without the married, two-parent family. Those who argue that our civilization needs healthy marriages to survive are not exaggerating.
And yet I cannot, in good conscience, urge young men to marry today. For many men (and some women), marriage has become nothing less than a one-way ticket to jail. Even the New York Times has reported on how easily “the divorce court leads to a jail cell,” mostly for men. In fact, if I have one urgent piece of practical advice for young men today it is this: Do not marry and do not have children.
Spreading this message may also, in the long run, be the most effective method of saving marriage as an institution. For until we understand that the principal threat to marriage today is not cultural but political, and that it comes not from homosexuals but from heterosexuals, we will never reverse the decline of marriage. The main destroyer of marriage, it should be obvious, is divorce. Michael McManus of Marriage Savers points out that “divorce is a far more grievous blow to marriage than today’s challenge by gays.” The central problem is the divorce laws.
It is well known that half of all marriages end in divorce. But widespread misconceptions lead many to believe it cannot happen to them. Many conscientious people think they will never be divorced because they do not believe in it. In fact, it is likely to happen to you whether you wish it or not.
First, you do not have to agree to the divorce or commit any legal transgression. Under “no-fault” divorce laws, your spouse can divorce you unilaterally without giving any reasons. The judge will then grant the divorce automatically without any questions.
But further, not only does your spouse incur no penalty for breaking faith; she can actually profit enormously. Simply by filing for divorce, your spouse can take everything you have, also without giving any reasons. First, she will almost certainly get automatic and sole custody of your children and exclude you from them, without having to show that you have done anything wrong. Then any unauthorized contact with your children is a crime. Yes, for seeing your own children you will be subject to arrest.
There is no burden of proof on the court to justify why they are seizing control of your children and allowing your spouse to forcibly keep you from them. The burden of proof (and the financial burden) is on you to show why you should be allowed to see your children.
The divorce industry thus makes it very attractive for your spouse to divorce you and take your children. (All this earns money for lawyers whose bar associations control the careers of judges.) While property divisions and spousal support certainly favor women, the largest windfall comes through the children. With custody, she can then demand “child support” that may amount to half, two-thirds, or more of your income. (The amount is set by committees consisting of feminists, lawyers, and enforcement agents – all of whom have a vested interest in setting the payments as high as possible.) She may spend it however she wishes. You pay the taxes on it, but she gets the tax deduction.
You could easily be left with monthly income of a few hundreds dollars and be forced to move in with relatives or sleep in your car. Once you have sold everything you own, borrowed from relatives, and maximized your credit cards, they then call you a “deadbeat dad” and take you away in handcuffs. You are told you have “abandoned” your children and incarcerated without trial.
Evidence indicates that, as men discover all this, they have already begun an impromptu marriage “strike”: refusing to marry or start families, knowing they can be criminalized if their wife files for divorce. “Have anti-father family court policies led to a men’s marriage strike?” ask Glenn Sacks and Dianna Thompson in the Philadelphia Enquirer. In Britain, fathers tour university campuses warning young men not to start families. In his book, From Courtship to Courtroom, Attorney Jed Abraham concludes that the only protection for men to avoid losing their children and everything else is not to start families in the first place.
Is it wise to disseminate such advice? If people stop marrying, what will become of the family and our civilization?
Marriage is already all but dead, legally speaking, and divorce is the principal reason. The fall in the Western birth rate is directly connected with divorce law.
It is also likely that same-sex marriage is being demanded only because of how heterosexuals have already debased marriage through divorce law. “The world of no-strings heterosexual hookups and 50% divorce rates preceded gay marriage,” advocate Andrew Sullivan points out. “All homosexuals are saying…is that, under the current definition, there’s no reason to exclude us. If you want to return straight marriage to the 1950s, go ahead. But until you do, the exclusion of gays is simply an anomaly – and a denial of basic civil equality.”
We will not restore marriage by burying our heads in the sand; nor simply by preaching to young people to marry, as the Bush administration’s government therapy programs now do. The way to restore marriage as an institution in which young people can place their trust, their children, and their lives is to make it an enforceable contract. We urgently need a national debate about divorce, child custody, and the terms under which the government can forcibly sunder the bonds between parents and their children. We owe it to future generations, if there are to be any. ESR
Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D., is assistant professor of government at Patrick Henry College and President of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. His book, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family, has just been published by Cumberland House Publishing.
The Dangerous Rise of Sexual Politics
Islamic radicalism may be creating a “clash of civilizations,”
but sexual radicalism is undermining the social foundation of all civilization.
By Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D.*
*Stephen Baskerville teaches political science at Patrick Henry College. He is the author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Cumberland Books).
“All politics is on one level sexual politics.” — George Gilder, 1986
Four decades into the boldest social experiment ever undertaken in the Western democracies, the full impact of what was once quaintly known as “women’s liberation” is at last becoming clear. The political class of both the Left and Right have colluded to limit the debate to a series of innocuous controversies: job discrimination, equal pay, affirmative action. Only abortion has any depth, and that debate has been mired in stalemate.
Meanwhile, beneath the political radar screen, the real consequences are finally emerging: a massive restructuring of the social order, demographic trends that threaten the very survival of Western civilization, and perhaps least noticed, an exponential growth in the size and power of the state — the state at its most bureaucratic and tyrannical.
Feminism has now positioned itself as the vanguard of the Left, shifting the political discourse from the economic and racial to the social and increasingly the sexual. What was once a socialistic assault on property and enterprise has become a social and sexual attack on the family, marriage, and masculinity. This marks a truly new kind of politics, the most personal and thus potentially the most total politics ever devised: the politics of private life and sexual relations.
Sexual politics is both feminist and homosexual, with no distinct line separating them. Feminism has been the more overtly political doctrine. Until recently, gays asked mostly to be left alone and as such gained widespread sympathy.
Many homosexuals, especially males, probably do not consciously think about their sexuality in expressly political terms. Yet homosexuality in itself can be a political statement, especially lesbianism, which for many constitutes the personal dimension of feminist ideology. “Feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice,” in words attributed to Ti-Grace Atkinson. “For many of today’s feminists, lesbianism is far more than a sexual orientation or even a preference. It is, as students in many colleges learn, ‘an ideological, political, and philosophical means of liberation of all women from heterosexual tyranny.’” For sexual activists, sex itself is not a private but a political act. Recalling Henry Adams’ definition of politics as the “systematic organization of hatreds,” it requires little imagination to see that this rebellion against sexual “tyranny” has politicized and transformed sex, an act associated at its most sublime with love, into what may yet prove history’s purest distillation of hate.
No sexual ideology has ever appeared before, and its unprecedented power is at once obvious and disguised. Obvious, because it is not difficult to see that politicizing sex and sexual relations potentially penetrates far deeper into the human psyche, unleashes energies and emotions, and disrupts relationships and institutions far more fundamental than those attacked by radical ideologies of the past. The capacity for intrusion into the private sphere of life is unrivalled since the bureaucratic dictatorships of the last century and potentially surpasses even them. “Radical feminism is the most destructive and fanatical movement to come down to us from the Sixties,” writes Robert Bork. “This is a revolutionary, not a reformist, movement, and it is meeting with considerable success. Totalitarian in spirit, it is deeply antagonistic to traditional Western culture and proposes the complete restructuring of society, morality, and human nature.”
Yet how precisely the scenario is playing out is far less clear and, indeed, has escaped most observers. The grip that sexual politics already commands over our political culture is so profound that its most destabilizing features are often undetected even by its harshest critics. Apart from its advocates, few have even singled out sexual politics for focused critical attention. It is bemoaned as simply another facet of leftist politics, like socialism and racial nationalism. But it is much more.
Sexual politics is the most complex and subtle political ideology today. On the one hand, the excesses of organized feminism’s formal agenda no longer command serious respect. Many assume it is spent as a political force, that “feminism is dead” and we live in a “post-feminist” age. At the same time, unspoken feminist assumptions no longer hover in the political margins; they have permeated the mainstream and thrive unchallenged and unchallengeable on the Left, the Center, and even the Right. The danger is not the absurdities of its extremists, whom few now regard, but the steady erosion of social cohesion, civic freedom, and above all privacy, as well as the politicization of personal life by a sexual ideology that has so mesmerized us all that we are largely immune from realizing it. Perhaps the greatest danger is the absence of coherent opposition. For more than any other political movement, feminism neuters, literally emasculates its opposition.
Many have discerned a similarity between feminism and Marxism, but few appreciate how feminism extends the socialist logic and may actually exceed its intrusive potential. “Women’s liberation, if not the most extreme then certainly the most influential neo-Marxist movement in America, has done to the American home what communism did to the Russian economy, and most of the ruin is irreversible,” writes Ruth Wisse of Harvard. “By defining relations between men and women in terms of power and competition instead of reciprocity and cooperation, the movement tore apart the most basic and fragile contract in human society, the unit from which all other social institutions draw their strength.”
Politicizing sex takes the logic of class conflict a great leap forward. The charge of “oppression” is leveled not at broad, impersonal social classes but at the most intimate personal relationships. The oppressor is not the entrepreneurial class or entrepreneur but the husband (or “intimate partner”), the father, even the son. To relieve the oppressed, the all-powerful state nationalizes not only the private firm but the private family. Human intimacy — the individual’s last refuge from state power — is not only a collateral casualty but a targeted enemy.
The danger therefore comes not so much from the assault on freedom generally (which traditional tyrannies also threaten) but specifically from the attack on private life, especially family life (which traditional dictatorships usually left alone). “Radical feminism is totalitarian because it denies the individual a private space; every private thought and action is public and, therefore, political,” writes Bork. “The party or the movement claims the right to control every aspect of life.” Daphne Patai also perceives this hostility to privacy. “Feminism today, in its erasure of the boundaries between public and private, is writing a new chapter in the dystopian tradition of surveillance and unfreedom,” she observes, “…whereby one’s every gesture, every thought, is exposed to the judgement of one’s fellow citizens.”
This attack on privacy is especially dangerous, because today many conservatives — those otherwise most likely to challenge feminism — themselves do not value privacy and civil liberties. By a destructive irony, feminists have already appropriated “privacy” as a rationale for abortion in legal cases like Roe v. Wade, leading conservatives (who at one time extolled the virtues of private life) to abandon the concept itself. Many conservatives also dismiss civil liberties as a pretext for acquitting criminals. This leaves the Left with a monopoly as guardians of the Bill of Rights. The guilty do indeed go unpunished, but partly because the innocent are convicted in their place. As we will see, the principal political force driving incarceration today — of both the innocent and the guilty — is politicized sexuality.
“Revolutions are very hard indeed on privacy,” observes our leading sociologist of revolution. That the totalitarian governments of the twentieth century intruded themselves into the most intimate corners of personal life, politicized the private, and destroyed much of family life is well known. But even they did not usually make the destruction of private life their explicit aim.
Modern sexual politics, by contrast, specifically targets privacy, and especially family privacy. Political theorist Carol Pateman insists that denying “the dichotomy between the public and the private…is, ultimately, what the feminist movement is about,” and two prominent feminists sneer at “the ideology of the family as a bastion of privacy.” Feminism’s fundamental principle — that “the personal is political” — is so obviously totalitarian that historian Eugene Genovese (himself a former Marxist) has termed it “Stalinist.” Again, this potential is obvious theoretical. What is seldom appreciated is how far the potential has been realized. “Radical feminists must regard it as unfortunate that they lack the power and mechanisms of the state to enforce their control over thoughts as well as behavior,” muses Bork. “However, the movement is gradually gaining that coercive power in both private and public institutions.” Actually, they have it now.
Feminism’s triumph has not come through its most extreme ideologues. Much as Stalinism inherited the methods and practices of czarist absolutism and Russian nationalism, the triumphal phase of the new feminist and gay politics comes by commandeering and politicizing the very institutions they once renounced: motherhood, marriage, the family, the church, the state.
The early feminist attack on marriage and the family is now largely forgotten or dismissed. “We can’t destroy the inequities between men and women until we destroy marriage,” Ms. magazine editor Robin Morgan wrote in her 1970 book, Sisterhood is Powerful. Sheila Cronin, head of the National Organization for Women, said that “Freedom for women cannot be won without the abolition of marriage.” Linda Gordon elaborated in a famous 1969 article in WOMEN: A Journal of Liberation. “The nuclear family must be destroyed,” she declared:
The break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.… Families have supported oppression by separating people into small, isolated units, unable to join together to fight for common interests.… Families make possible the super-exploitation of women by training them to look upon their work outside the home as peripheral to their “true” role.… No woman should have to deny herself any opportunities because of her special responsibilities to her children.… Families will be finally destroyed only when a revolutionary social and economic organization permits people’s needs for love and security to be met in ways that do not impose divisions of labor, or any external roles, at all.
While such statements are often dismissed as the ranting of extremists, a glance at the state of marriage and the family today reveals that this is precisely what feminists have achieved. But they achieved it in ways much more subtle than these screeds indicate. While Germaine Greer famously urged women to refuse to marry, that strategy could achieve nothing. It was by participating in marriage that feminists destroyed it.
Homosexual activists are now simply following the feminists’ lead. The most extreme homosexual activists renounce marriage altogether and leave it in peace; it is the “moderates” who hope to transform marriage in their image and thereby undermine it. Yet precisely because it is obvious, homosexual marriage is not the most dangerous threat to marriage today; it has provoked vocal opposition.
The really dangerous trends are more subtle and arouse little opposition; some have even been enabled and abetted by conservatives. While feminism in its earliest, ideologically pure stage demanded “equality” and “rights,” today, even as the ideological purists are relegated to the margins, it is nonetheless wheedling its way into the mainstream and conservative culture by appropriating traditional morality, including the very feminine “stereotypes” against which it initially rebelled.
Feminism’s current campaign to appropriate motherhood, for example, cynically but superficially exploits the pieties of traditional morality and the sentimentalities of uninformed conservative people. Feminists like Ann Crittenden have learned to extol motherhood, enabling them to pose as victims and gain sympathy from the general public and even from conservatives. Waving the banner of motherhood, feminists leave the patriarchy little defense.
But feminists are not defending motherhood; they are politicizing it. “The feminists…want to thoroughly politicize the last bastion of personal life in our society: families,” writes Wendy McElroy. “They want to wrest motherhood from its traditional right-wing associations and make it a left/liberal issue, with ‘Mothers Are Victims’ writ-large on its banner.” The deception is subtle but profound. Motherhood is no longer a private relationship but a claim to political power and to marshal the coercive state apparatus against those depicted as the oppressors of mothers. The feminization of a wide range of issues having no obvious connection with sexuality is now culminating in what one newspaper calls “the radicalization of America’s mothers”: “Some commentators argue that the whole agenda in the US is shifting towards ‘the politics of maternity’.” Not only Code Pink, mobilized in opposition to the Iraq war, but more subtle are the Million Mom March (criminalizing gun ownership), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (criminalizing private, nonviolent acts), and more recently the militant Moms Rising, are variations on the theme. “These ‘pro-family’ women wish to ‘harness’ what [Naomi] Wolf calls the ‘pissed-offedness’ of mothers in order to play ‘hardball politics,’” says McElroy. Many are deceived into believing that feminists have become the champions of traditional motherhood and families, when their actual agenda is to make them dependants of the state. “Crittenden indicts not feminism, but capitalism, and argues for government to ‘economically recognize’ motherhood so that women will not be dependent upon husbands.”
The deception succeeds because motherhood is an easy claim to privilege and always has been. Crittenden’s 2002 book title, The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued, is itself a revealing sleight-of-hand. If anyone has devalued motherhood, of course, it is feminists. Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels demonstrate with their own book title, registering precisely the opposite gripe: The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women. Apparently opposites, these authors all share the conviction that mothers are oppressed by something. The two titles succinctly convey feminism’s determination to depict everything pertaining specifically to women as “oppression” and highlight feminist complaints as a strategy to, as they say, “have it all” without regard for consistency or logic. This points to a trait feminism shares with all radical ideologies but carries much further: the capacity to expand its own power and that of the state by creating the very problems about which it complains. “Mothers do not receive sufficient respect from society,” McElroy paraphrases Crittenden, “as if feminism weren’t largely to blame.”
This is potent because it politicizes the private and cynically exploits society’s natural sympathy for women. The older battle cries of liberal feminism, opposing traditional gender roles or promoting equal pay, have given way to “victim feminism” which insists that women are by definition victims. The shift was almost imperceptible but profound, for the victim posture exploits, rather than renounces, women’s traditional weaknesses, which are also and always have been claims to privilege: motherhood, children, domesticity, sex. Feminists have turned these into claims to state intervention by posing as victims of not just an impersonal “society” but newly invented or redefined “crimes” of which only women can be victims and that only men can commit: rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, child abuse, nonpayment of child support (plus lesser, more vague offenses like “aggressive driving”). These new crimes politicize precisely the spheres of life that normally we are at pains to protect from politics and the competition for power: home, family, children — and the criminal justice system. They succeed because they exploit the natural desire of both men and women to protect and provide for women. (Though here too, homosexuals are following the feminists’ lead with demands for “hate crimes” laws that likewise politicize criminal justice.)
These are all appeals to female fear. Ironically, they are also appeals to male chivalry, to rescue damsels in distress, to display masculinity (an emergent theme in conservative literature) by creating occasions for combat with other men. But in contrast to traditional chivalry, this gallantry does not proceed from personal duty and requires no risk, courage, or self-sacrifice. The chivalry feminists demand is bureaucratic, exercised by officials with a professional or pecuniary interest. It is politicized chivalry, displayed not by individual men but by cadres wielding state power such as police and plainclothes quasi-police functionaries.
This is evident in the campaign for “victims’ rights.” This began as an effort by conservatives to provide more effective recourse to crime victims, largely in response to liberal moves to weaken punishments. President Reagan’s 1982 Task Force on Victims of Crime led to the creation of US Justice Department’s Office of Victims of Crime. A glance at that agency’s website reveals that the campaign has been hijacked by feminists, and most of the “crimes” have been redefined in feminist terms: the “victims” are mostly women, the “perpetrators” are mostly men, and the “crimes” are mostly political.
The politicization of criminal justice is seen in the redefinition of rape and explosion of false rape accusations. Legal theorists like Catherine MacKinnon, who asks “whether consent is a meaningful concept” and who has repeatedly suggested that virtually all heterosexual intercourse amounts to rape, have been highly influential at law schools throughout the United States and with the governments of individual states and Canada. “Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes,” says Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for his zealous pursuit of alleged rapists. Purdue University sociologist Eugene Kanin found that “41% of the total disposed rape cases were officially declared false” during a 9-year period, “that is, by the complainant’s admission that no rape had occurred and the charge, therefore, was false.” Unrecanted accusations mean the actual percentage of false allegations is almost certainly higher. Kanin concluded that “these false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention.” The Center for Military Readiness provides additional motivations: “False rape accusations also have been filed to extort money from celebrities, to gain sole custody of children in divorce cases, and even to escape military deployments to war zones.”
Almost daily we see men released after decades in prison because DNA testing proves they were wrongly convicted. And they are the fortunate ones. While DNA testing has righted some wrongs, the corruption of the rape industry is so systemic that, as last year’s Duke University case shows, hard evidence of innocence is no barrier to prosecution and conviction. It is well documented that feminist crime lab technicians fabricate and doctor evidence to frame men they know to be innocent. Yet there has been no systematic investigation by the media or civil libertarians as to why so many innocent citizens are regularly incarcerated on fabricated allegations and evidence. The exoneration of the Duke lacrosse players on an obviously trumped-up charge has resulted in few attempts to determine how widespread such rigged justice is against those not wealthy or fortunate enough to garner media attention. Even conservative critics studiously avoided acknowledging feminism’s role in the accusations at Duke but instead emphasized race — a minor feature of the case but a much safer one to criticize.
There is little indication that white people are being systematically incarcerated on fabricated accusations of non-existent crimes against blacks. This is precisely what is happening to men (and even some women), both white and black, accused of the kind of “gender” crimes that feminists have turned into a political agenda.
Oppression and Superiority
“Power is the alpha and the omega of contemporary Communism,” wrote Milovan Djilas during the repression of the 1950s. “Ideas, philosophical principles, and moral considerations…— all can be changed and sacrificed. But not power.” Something similar can be said about today’s feminism, an ideology with no fixed principles, as evidenced by its capacity to spawn interminable discussions about its “true nature”: At times all gender differences are social constructions; at other times women have special “needs.” Women are oppressed by gender roles, but those same roles confer a claim to moral superiority because they make women more “caring” and “compassionate.” Men and women must compete on equal terms, except when men must be excluded from certain competitions so that women can win. Fathers should share equally in rearing children, but custody (and the power and money that accompany it) must always go to mothers. Alison Jaggar, author of Living with Contradictions, proclaims unashamedly that feminists should insist on “having it both ways”: “Feminists should embrace both horns of this dilemma,” she writes. “They should use the rhetoric of equality in situations where women’s interests clearly are being damaged by being treated either differently from or identically with men.” Her words are revealing. This “rhetoric of equality” is just that: rhetoric. As with Humpty Dumpty, words like “equality” change meanings when convenient; “interests” alone endure. As Jaggar admits, it proceeds from no principles other than power: to increase the power not so much of women, as of those who claim to speak on behalf of the rest. This is revealed by the fashionable euphemism used to disguise it: “empowerment.”
The shift from liberal demands for unisex “equality” to claims of a positively superior politics characterized by greater “caring” and “sensitivity” than traditional masculine power politics carried far-reaching implications. What might appear as a moderating compromise with traditional gender roles was in reality a modest sacrifice of ideological purity in exchange for power.
Political theorist Kathy Ferguson envisions a world where male-dominated power politics would be supplanted with this feminine politics of empowerment. Male power brokers would be replaced by quasi-Platonic female “caretakers” whose claim to leadership would be their compassion. In this feminist utopia the only remaining problem would be who would minister to the needs of these saintly souls. “For a feminist community, then, Plato’s question ‘Who will guard the guardians?’ might be rephrased as, ‘Who will care for the caretakers?’”
Professor Ferguson would have been less visionary but more perspicacious if she had asked, “Who will guard the caretakers?” For her dream of a syndicalist rule by caretakers is now the reality, and the caretakers have run amok. “Caretakers routinely drug foster children” runs a headline in the Los Angeles Times. “Children under state protection in California group and foster homes are being drugged with potent, dangerous psychiatric medications, at times just to keep them obedient and docile for their overburdened caretakers.”
This points to feminism’s most institutionalized and destructive legacy: not eliminating gender roles, which it has not done and can never do, but politicizing the feminine. While some among feminism’s elites moved into traditional male occupations, many more women entered the workforce at functions that extended the domestic roles with which they were comfortable. Thus rather than caring for their own children within the family, women began working in new professions where they care for other people’s children as part of the public economy: daycare, early education, and “social services.” This transformed child-rearing from a private familial into a public communal and taxable activity, expanding the tax base and with it the size and power of the state, while also driving down male wages. Soon, a political class paid from those taxes began to take command position in control of vastly expanded public education and social services bureaucracies, where they supervise other women who look after other people’s children, further expanding the size and scope of the state into what had been private life.
This trend renders the dream of a more caring public sphere through feminism not only naïve but dangerously utopian. For as feminists correctly pointed out, the feminine functions were traditionally private. Politicizing the feminine has therefore meant politicizing and bureaucratizing private life. This is how the “totalitarian” potential which Bork and others perceive is already being realized in ways even they may have yet to grasp.
Though many overuse this term, one danger of loose usage is to immunize us from recognizing the real thing. For long recognized as a defining feature of totalitarianism is that it is specifically bureaucratic dictatorship, which is precisely what the ideological politics of Marxism-feminism have produced. Controversies over equal pay and affirmative action have diverted attention from the massive feminist breakthrough in the hidden realm of bureaucratic politics, where it encountered virtually no opposition or even notice. With striking resemblance to Djilas’ “new class” of apparatchiks, what the institutional Left generally and feminism in particular are constructing today is not simply tyranny but bureaucratic tyranny, tyranny no individual consciously planned and no individual can stop.
Far from softening the hard edges of power politics, feminism has merely inserted calculations of power into the most private corners of life. It has subjected family life to increasing political and bureaucratic control. It has decimated families through twin processes whose direct connection with feminism have not been fully appreciated: the weakening of parents and the politicization of children.
The most obvious example, as Bork and others point out — and where, again, some opposition has arisen — is in the politics of schooling. Public schools were the earliest triumph of socialism and of the state’s gradual usurpation of parental roles within the liberal democracies. The ideological foundation of public education in weakening parental authority and transferring it to the state emerges in the words of a political scientist:
Children are owed as a matter of justice the capacity to choose to lead lives — adopt values and beliefs, pursue an occupation, endorse new traditions — that are different from those of their parents. Because the child cannot him or herself ensure the acquisition of such capacities and the parents may be opposed to such acquisition, the state must ensure it for them. The state must guarantee that children are educated for minimal autonomy.
What has not been appreciated — again, even by critics such as private school and homeschool advocates — is that the schools were the first triumph of not simply the welfare state but the welfare state matriarchy.
Connected to this matriarchy is another that has become even more powerful and authoritarian because it has grown up upon less resistant low-income communities and, until recently, was largely hidden from the middle class: the massive and constantly expanding political underworld of the “social services” bureaucracies.
Ironically, two leftist authors have perceived the danger more readily than most conservatives. They even adopt Djilas’ term, describing “a new class of professionals — social workers, therapists, foster care providers, family court lawyers — who have a vested interest in taking over parental function.” “If children are the clients, parents can quite easily become the adversaries,” write Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornel West, “— the people who threaten to take business away.” What Hewlett and West do not tell us is that this new class is driven — in addition to self-interest and bureaucratic aggrandizement — largely by feminist ideology.
The power of this bureaucratic underworld derives almost entirely from children. It is the world of social work, child psychology, child and family counseling, child care, child protection, child support enforcement, and juvenile and family courts. Overwhelmingly, it is feminist-dominated. This is not always obvious, because its matriarchs are not necessarily Vassar women’s studies majors indulging in tedious dorm-room debates about whether feminists may wear lipstick. But what it lacks in ideological purity it more than makes up for in coercive power. Its operatives are quasi-police functionaries with an agenda, and they are concerned less with ideological consistency than with political power.
These feminists created and now control the vast and impenetrable social services industries that most journalists and scholars find too dreary to scrutinize. They dominate the $47 billion federal Administration for Children and Families, itself part of the gargantuan $700 billion Department of Health and Human Services. They are both dispensers and recipients of its $200 billion grant program (“larger than all other federal agencies combined,” according to HHS) among local “human services” or “social services” bureaucracies — probably the largest patronage machine ever created in the Western world, reaching virtually into every household in the land and one that makes the former Soviet nomenklatura look ramshackle. They created and control the “family law sections” of the bar associations and the family courts, which they modified into their image from an earlier incarnation as juvenile courts (themselves created from “compassion”). And they dominate the forensic psychotherapy industry, with its close ties to the courts, social work agencies, and public schools. By no means are they all doctrinaire devotées of The Feminine Mystique or The Female Eunuch. But when push comes to shove, they know their power comes from being female. And again, their most potent source of power is children.
The growing political power of this bureaucratic underworld is manifested today in the rise of what amounts to a plainclothes feminist police force: the dreaded, federally funded “Child Protective Services,” who seldom see a child that is not abused.
During the 1980s and 1990s, waves of child abuse hysteria swept America and other countries, resulting in torn-apart families, hideous injustices, and ruined lives. Parents were unjustly separated from their children and incarcerated by setting aside constitutional safeguards while the media and civil libertarians looked the other way. Feminist prosecutors like Nancy Lamb in North Carolina whipped up public invective against parents they had jailed yet knew to be innocent. “The press was transfixed” by Lamb, writes William Anderson, “with her flashing eyes and bobbed hair. Lamb was speaking ‘for the children,’ you see, and the press adored her. That she was making preposterous claims and attempting to destroy the lives of seven people despite all good evidence to the contrary was not even discussed.”
As with false rape accusations, the politicization of child abuse reached its apogee in the Clinton administration Justice Department. “From Janet Reno’s infamous prosecutions of Grant Snowden in Florida…to the McMartin case in Los Angeles, to Wenatchee, Washington,” writes Anderson, “the Edenton case was part of a line of what only can be called witch hunts in which state social workers badgered very young children until they came up with lurid tales — after having denied that those things occurred.”
It was also during the Clinton years that child protection was elevated to a paramilitary operation, when Attorney General Reno used unsubstantiated child abuse rumors to justify a violent assault against American citizens in Waco, Texas, resulting in the deaths of 24 children whom she was ostensibly protecting. This militarization of child protection was seen more recently in the largest seizure of children in American history, also in Texas, when almost five hundred children were seized from their polygamous mothers in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also without any evidence of abuse. “A night-time raid with tanks, riot police, SWAT teams, snipers, and cars full of Texas Rangers and sheriff’s deputies — that is the new face of state child protection,” writes attorney Gregory Hession, “social workers backed up with automatic weapons.” The role of feminist ideology was downplayed by the media but revealed by a spokeswoman for the state agency, who justified seizing the children because of “a mindset that even the young girls report that they will marry at whatever age, and that it’s the highest blessing they can have to have children.” As Hession comments, encouraging respect for motherhood is “abuse.”
The witch hunts were carried into adulthood through “recovered memory therapy,” another feminist innovation whereby wild tales of childhood sex crimes were manufactured from a psychological theory. In Victims of Memory, Mark Pendergrast shows how the recovered memory hoax destroyed families, ruined lives, and sent innocent parents to prison, though as the price of getting published Pendergrast bends over backward to insist, defensively and contrary to his own evidence, that this was not driven by feminism.
Sexual Politics and the Welfare State
Though child abuse officials now target middle-class families, bureaucratic child protection originated in welfare. And indeed, the earliest institution of sexual politics was the welfare state.
The welfare state has traditionally been regarded as the landmark triumph of class politics within the liberal democracies — the one successful achievement of “social democracy” that has grown and survived even in countries, like the United States, which avoided such terms. Yet from today’s perspective, the welfare state stands as the first salvo of gender politics, the first social experiment of government growth following the enfranchisement of feminists.
Each stage of welfare state expansion has been justified not simply for the poor but specifically for poor children. The interests of these children could also be gradually divorced from their parents, though in practice they tended to be identified with the mothers who claimed to be the guardians of those interests: increasingly, single mothers. The proliferation of single-mother homes lent plausibility to the feminists’ new rallying cry, the “feminization of poverty,” that shifted poor relief from a socialist to a feminist crusade.
But the feminization of poverty was a deception from the start — a creation of ideology rather than of any objective social phenomena and another example of ideology creating its own grievance. Originally justified to provide for the families of men who had been laid off during economic downturns or killed in war, the welfare state quickly became a subsidy of single-mother homes and fatherless children. It had immediately set in, that is, to expand precisely the problem it claimed to be alleviating.
To justify this sleight-of-hand, the architects of welfare state expansion needed a rationale, and they found it in one of the most potent and destructive falsehoods ever foisted on a well-meaning but gullible public, a falsehood that has served, directly or indirectly, to justify the exponential expansion of not only the welfare state but the scope and power of government in many other spheres. This is the falsehood that government must provide for massive numbers of women and children whose men have abandoned them. With the abrupt reversal of an airbrushed Kremlin photograph, the welfare state’s rationalizing figure was demoted from a hero to a villain. The same working men who had been valiantly dying in imperialism’s wars or laid off as innocent victims of heartless capitalism were suddenly and ignominiously absconding from the bastards they had sired.
The destructive force of this untruth is incalculable. Accept it, and virtually every expansion of both social welfare spending and law-enforcement authority is readily justified and indeed, unanswerable. Women and children are being abandoned by irresponsible men: What politician could resist that appeal?
But the truth was very different. No evidence indicates that the ongoing crisis of fatherless children is caused primarily by fathers abandoning their children. It is now very clear that it has been driven throughout by feminist policies and programs. Single mothers were not being thrown into poverty by absconding men; they were choosing it because it offered precisely the “sexual freedom” that was feminism’s seminal urge, regardless of the consequences for their children. Single motherhood is feminism’s most potent and most destructive accomplishment, and before the right audience feminists not only concede but boast about it. Single Mothers By Choice expresses this boast organizationally, and when pressed, most single mothers will insist that that is precisely what they are. While feminists readily pose as the champions of children when it comes to perpetuating welfare dependency, it is clear that, beneath the rhetorical fluff, the exhilarating power accruing to single mothers is more than adequate compensation for pulling their children into poverty. In fact, the very feminist intellectuals who popularized the term “feminization of poverty” have acknowledged as much: “Independence, even in straitened and penurious forms,” write Barbara Ehrenreich and her colleagues, “still offers more sexual freedom than affluence gained through marriage and dependence on one man.”
The myth of the absconding father provided a means to leverage a massive expansion of state power through emotional blackmail. It was also a declaration of bureaucratic war against what is after all the first and foremost feminist enemy, the literal embodiment of the hated “patriarchy”: fathers.
So long as the principal engine for creating single-mother homes was welfare, the abandonment myth was only implied. Everyone knew that welfare was subsidizing and proliferating single-mother homes in the inner cities, but until money became contentious no one was greatly bothered with assigning blame. Most welfare mothers producing fatherless children were never married, so no documentation attested to who was breaking up a “family” that had seldom really existed in intact form.
As the phenomenon spread to the middle class (today the fastest-growing sector of unwed childbearing), the engine driving single-mother homes was not so much welfare as divorce. Here the implicit became explicit with an open assault on two closely connected institutions that had quietly ceased to exist in the welfare underclass but which were still thriving in the middle class: fatherhood and marriage.
The matriarchal logic of the welfare state became apparent as it expanded, perhaps inexorably, into the middle class. This was effected through what is by far the most subtle and potent weapon ever devised in the arsenal of sexual warfare, the one which brought underclass problems (and the state welfare machinery that had grown up to address them) to the middle class: divorce.
Divorce has never been analyzed politically. Not generally perceived as a political issue or a gender battleground, and never one they wished to advertise (largely because they triumphed without opposition), divorce became the most devastating weapon in the arsenal of gender warriors, because it brought the gender war into every household in the Western world. What media accounts facetiously laugh off as an amusing “battle of the sexes” is in reality an intrusive, lethal political apparat whose fallout is hate, poverty, violence, and incarceration.
Conservatives have seriously misunderstood the divorce revolution. While they bemoan mass divorce, they also refuse to confront its political causes. Maggie Gallagher once attributed this silence to “political cowardice”: “Opposing gay marriage or gays in the military is for Republicans an easy, juicy, risk -free issue,” she complained. “The message [is] that at all costs we should keep divorce off the political agenda.” The first and foremost assault on marriage came not from gays but from feminists. Michael McManus of Marriage Savers writes that “divorce is a far more grievous blow to marriage than today’s challenge by gays.”
No American politician of national stature has seriously challenged involuntary divorce. “Democrats did not want to anger their large constituency among women who saw easy divorce as a hard-won freedom and prerogative,” writes Barbara Dafoe Whitehead. “Republicans did not want to alienate their upscale constituents or their libertarian wing, both of whom tended to favor easy divorce, nor did they want to call attention to the divorces among their own leadership.” In his famous denunciation of single parenthood, Vice President Dan Quayle was careful to make clear, “I am not talking about a situation where there is a divorce.” The exception proves the rule. When the late Pope John Paul II spoke out against divorce in January 2002, he was attacked from the right as well as the left. To the extent that conservatives have addressed divorce at all, they tend to parrot the feminist line that divorce is perpetrated by philandering men who inflict hardship on “women and children.”
Yet feminists long ago recognized its political power. As early as the American Revolution, divorce has represented female rebellion: “The association of divorce with women’s freedom and prerogatives, established in those early days, remained an enduring and important feature of American divorce,” writes Whitehead. Into the nineteenth century, “divorce became an increasingly important measure of women’s political freedom as well as an expression of feminine initiative and independence.”
But it was in the twentieth century that feminists teamed up with trial lawyers and other legal entrepreneurs to institutionalize “no-fault” divorce — a measure that subtly but decisively amounted, no less, to “the abolition of marriage” as a legally enforceable contract, in Gallagher’s phrase. The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) claims credit for pioneering no-fault divorce as early as 1943, which it describes as “the greatest project NAWL has ever undertaken.” By 1977, “the ideal of no-fault divorce became the guiding principle for reform of divorce laws in the majority of states.”
Today, divorce stands as the proudest celebration of feminine power. “Exactly the thing that people tear their hair out about is exactly the thing I am very proud of,” says Germaine Greer. Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of divorces are filed by women. Few involve grounds, such as desertion, adultery, or violence. Nebulous justifications suffice: “growing apart,” “not feeling loved or appreciated.” This includes divorces involving children.
Divorce demonstrates how the hoax of paternal abandonment is an optical illusion, for today it is not fathers who are abandoning both their marriages and their children en masse. A glance at our social infrastructure reveals that, under feminist influence, it is mothers. We have created a panoply of mechanisms and institutions allowing divorcing mothers to rid themselves, temporarily or permanently, of inconvenient children: “safe havens” have legalized child abandonment by mothers; daycare is tailored to the needs of mothers, not children; foster care relieves single mothers who cannot provide basic care and protection; “CHINS” petitions allow single mothers to turn over unruly adolescents to the care and custody of social workers; “SIDS” and in some countries infanticide laws have even made the murder of children semi-legal. And then of course there is abortion.
When one adds the extension and proliferation of institutions not normally associated with divorce but whose purpose is to relieve parents in general and mothers in particular of childrearing duties — public schools, organized after-school activities, convenience and fast food, psychotropic drugs to control unruly boys — we can begin to see how massively our society and economy have been gearing up for decades to cater to divorce, facilitate single motherhood, marginalize fathers, and generally render parents and families redundant.
Divorce and “Same Sex” Marriage
Divorce also demonstrates how sexual radicalism reproduces itself in new forms. It has almost certainly led to same-sex marriage, which would not be an issue today if marriage had not already been devalued by divorce. “Commentators miss the point when they oppose homosexual marriage on the grounds that it would undermine traditional understandings of marriage,” writes Bryce Christensen. “It is only because traditional understandings of marriage have already been severely undermined that homosexuals are now laying claim to it.” Though gay activists cite their very desire to marry as evidence that their lifestyle is not inherently promiscuous, they also acknowledge that that desire arises only by the promiscuity permitted in modern marriage. Stephanie Coontz notes that gays are attracted to marriage only in the form debased by heterosexual divorce: “Gays and lesbians simply looked at the revolution heterosexuals had wrought and noticed that, with its new norms, marriage could work for them, too.”
Same-sex marriage is therefore only a symptom of the larger politicization of private and sexual life. Further, just as the divorce revolution led to same-sex marriage, so through the child abuse industry it has extended this to parenting by same-sex couples.
Most critiques of homosexual parenting have focused on the therapeutic question of whether it is developmentally healthy for children to be raised by two homosexuals. Few have stopped to ask the more momentous political question of where homosexual “parents” get children in the first place. Here the discussion does not require esoteric child-development theory or psychological jargon from academic “experts.” It can readily be understood by any parent who has been interrogated by Child Protective Services. The answer is that homosexuals get other people’s children, and they get them from the same courts and social service bureaucracies that are operated by their feminist allies. While attention has been focused on sperm donors and surrogate mothers, most of the children sought by potential homosexual parents are existing children whose ties to one or both of their natural parents have been severed. Most often, this has happened through divorce.
The question then arises whether the original parent or parents ever agreed to part with their children or did something to warrant losing them. Current law governing divorce and child custody renders this question open. The explosion of foster care and the assumed but unexamined need to find permanent homes for allegedly abused children provides perhaps the strongest argument in favor of gay marriage and gay parenting. Yet the politics of child abuse and divorce indicate that this assumption is not necessarily valid.
The government-generated child abuse epidemic, and the mushrooming foster care business which it feeds, have allowed government agencies to operate what amounts to a traffic in children. The San Diego Grand Jury reports “a widely held perception within the community and even within some areas of the Department [of Social Services] that the Department is in the ‘baby brokering’ business.” Introducing same-sex marriage and adoption into this political dynamic could dramatically increase the demand for children to adopt, thus intensifying pressure on social service agencies and biological parents to supply such children. While sperm donors and surrogate mothers supply some children for gay parents, in practice most are already taken from their natural parents because of divorce, unwed parenting, child abuse accusations, or connected reasons. Massachusetts Senator Therese Murray, claiming that 40% of adoptions have gone to gay and lesbian couples, urges sympathy for “children who have been neglected, abandoned, abused by their own families.” But false and exaggerated abuse accusations against not only fathers but mothers too make it far from self-evident that these children are in fact victims of their own parents. What seems inescapable is that the very issue of gay parenting has arisen as the direct and perhaps inevitable consequence once government officials got into the business — which began largely with divorce — of distributing other people’s children.
The Personal and the Political
The divorce machinery intertwines the personal and the political as nothing before, and its personal dimension is precisely what disguises the intrusiveness of its political power. Divorce injects state power — including the penal apparatus with its police and prisons — directly into private households and private lives. “The personal is political” is no longer a theoretical slogan but a codified reality institutionally enforced by new and correspondingly feminist tribunals: the “family” courts. These bureaucratic pseudo-courts permit politicized wives to subject their husbands to criminal penalties for their personal conduct, without having to charge the men with any actionable offense for which they can be tried in a criminal court. To enforce this, divorce vastly expanded the cadres of feminist police — child protective services plus domestic violence and child support enforcement agents — that target men almost exclusively and operate outside due process protections.
To justify its growth and funding, this government machinery in turn generated a series of hysterias against men and fathers so inflammatory and hideous that no one, left or right, dared question them or defend those accused: pedophilia, wife-beating, and nonpayment of “child support.” While family law is ostensibly the province of state government, Congress heavily subsidizes family dissolution through child abuse, domestic violence, and child support enforcement programs. It invariably approves these by near-unanimous majorities, fearing feminist accusations of being soft on “pedophiles,” “batterers,” and “deadbeat dads.” Each of these hysterias originated in welfare, each is propagated largely by feminist social workers and feminist lawyers who receive the federal funding, and each is closely connected with divorce.
Child abuse hysteria targets both men and women, as we have seen. Yet most accusations are leveled against fathers in divorce cases. The irony is that it is easily demonstrable that child abuse is almost entirely a product of feminism itself and its welfare bureaucracies.
The growth of child abuse coincides directly with the rise of single-mother homes which are the setting for almost all of it. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) figures demonstrate that children in single-parent households are at much higher risk for physical violence and sexual molestation than those living in two-parent homes. A British study found that children are up to thirty-three times more likely to be abused in single-mother homes than in intact families.
The principal impediment to child abuse is thus precisely the first person the feminist bureaucracies remove: the father. “The presence of the father…placed the child at lesser risk for child sexual abuse,” concludes one study, defensively. “The protective effect from the father’s presence in most households was sufficiently strong to offset the risk incurred by the few paternal perpetrators.” In fact, the risk of “paternal perpetrators” is miniscule, since it is well established that not married fathers but single mothers are most likely to injure and kill their children. Sexual abuse, much less common than severe physical abuse, is perpetrated mostly by boyfriends and stepfathers, though government figures often include them as “fathers” to disguise the fact that biological fathers are the least likely child abusers. A 2005 PBS documentary asserts without evidence that “Children are most often in danger from the father.”
Feminist child protection agents implement this propaganda as policy. A San Diego grand jury found that false accusations during divorce were not only tolerated but encouraged. “The system appears to reward a parent who initiates such a complaint,” it states, describing “allegations which are so incredible that authorities should have been deeply concerned for the protection of the child.”
Seldom does public policy stand in such direct defiance of undisputed truths, to the point where the cause of the problem is presented as the solution, and vice-versa. Judges are not unaware that the most dangerous environment for children is precisely the single-parent homes they create when they remove fathers in custody proceedings. Yet they seldom hesitate to remove them, knowing they will never be held accountable for harm to the children. On the contrary, if they do not they may be punished by feminist-dominated bar associations and social work bureaucracies whose business and funding depend on a constant supply of abused children. Bureaucracies often expand by creating the very problem they exist to solve. Appalling as it sounds, the conclusion is inescapable that we have created an army of officials with a vested interest in child abuse.
Child abuse is not the only “family violence” to be exacerbated and politicized by feminists. The mammoth “domestic violence” industry arose largely as a means of evicting divorced fathers from their homes. “It’s an easy way to kick somebody out,” says one family law specialist.
Like child abuse, “domestic violence” has no precise definition. It is adjudicated not as violent assault but as conflict among “intimate partners.” It therefore obliterates the distinction between crime and disagreement and need not be violent or even physical. Definitions from the US Justice Department include “jealousy and possessiveness,” “name calling and constant criticizing,” and “ignoring, dismissing, or ridiculing the victim’s needs.” For such “crimes” men are jailed without trial.
Such definitions circumvent due process protections. “With child abuse and spouse abuse you don’t have to prove anything,” a seminar leader instructs divorcing mothers. “You just have to accuse.” One scholar calls it “an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice” and “a due process fiasco.”
Feminists portray domestic violence as a political crime to perpetuate male power. Yet the scholarly literature has long established that men and women commit domestic violence in comparable numbers. More important than achieving gender balance, however, is to understand how the explosion in accusations is connected almost entirely with family dissolution.
Practitioners and scholars now readily report that patently trumped-up accusations are routinely used, without punishment, in custody proceedings to separate children from fathers who have committed no actionable offense. Open perjury is readily acknowledged, and bar associations and even courts actively counsel mothers on how to fabricate accusations. Domestic violence is “a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory,” write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo. “No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.”
Feminists acknowledge that most cases arise during custody battles. Yet they strenuously oppose divorce and custody reform, and their literature is dominated by complaints not that violent convicts are walking the streets but that fathers convicted of no infraction retain access to their children after their wives divorce them.
Restraining orders separating fathers from their children are routinely issued during divorce proceedings without any evidence. Due process procedures are so routinely ignored that one judge told his colleagues “not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating…. We don’t have to worry about the rights.”
Specialized “domestic violence courts” are mandated not to dispense impartial justice but, says New York’s openly feminist chief judge, to “make batterers and abusers take responsibility for their actions.” These courts may seize property, including homes, without the accused being convicted or even formally charged or present to defend themselves. “This bill is classic police-state legislation,” one scholar concludes. Toronto lawyer Walter Fox calls them “pre-fascist”: “Domestic violence courts…are designed to get around the protections of the criminal code. The burden of proof is reduced or removed, and there’s no presumption of innocence.”
Forced confessions are also routine. Fathers are summarily incarcerated unless they sign confessions stating, “I have physically and emotionally battered my partner.” The father must then describe the violence, even if he insists he committed none. “I am responsible for the violence I used,” reads one form. “My behavior was not provoked.”
The “deadbeat dad” is another figure largely manufactured by the divorce machinery. He is far less likely to have voluntarily abandoned the offspring he callously sired than to be an involuntarily divorced father who has been “forced to finance the filching of his own children.”
Child support was originally rationalized (and federalized) as a means of recovering welfare costs from allegedly absconding low-income fathers. Feminists transformed it into a huge subsidy on middle-class divorce. A child support schedule will tell a mother exactly how large a tax-free windfall she can force her husband to pay her simply by divorcing, regardless of any fault on her part (or absence of fault on his). The amount is set by enforcement agents and collected at gunpoint if necessary.
Mothers are not the only ones who profit by creating fatherless children. Governments also generate revenue from child support and therefore from breaking up families. State governments receive federal funds for every child support dollar collected, incentivizing them to create as many single-mother households as possible. Mothers are encouraged to divorce and governments simultaneously maximize revenue by setting support at levels that are generous for mothers and onerous for fathers. While little government revenue is generated from the impecunious young unmarried fathers who hold most child support debt (and for whom the system was ostensibly created), middle-class divorced fathers offer deeper pockets to loot. By including middle-class divorcees, the welfare machinery became a means not of distributing money but of collecting it, and governments began raising revenue — which they can add to their general funds and use to expand their overall operations — by promoting single motherhood among the affluent.
This marked a new stage in the expansion and redefinition of the welfare state: from distributing largesse to collecting it. The result is a self-financing machine, generating government profits through expanded police actions by proliferating single-parent homes and fatherless children. The welfare state has become a self-financing perpetual growth machine for destroying families, bribing mothers, rendering children fatherless, plundering family wealth, eroding due process, and criminalizing fathers.
The True Dysfunctional Homes
More crimes than these may be attributable to sexualized public life. It is well documented that virtually every social pathology today — including violent crime and the drug abuse driving much of it — is attributable to single-parent homes and fatherless children more than any other factor, far surpassing race and poverty. That toxic environment is usually and resignedly attributed to paternal abandonment, with the only available response being ever-more repressive but ineffective child-support “crackdowns.” If instead we see single parenthood as the deliberate product of the feminist revolution, then the explosion of crime, addiction, and truancy — and with them the massive expansion of the penal system and state apparatus generally — takes on new significance. It is then far from fanciful to suggest that sexual militancy also lies behind larger trends in actual violent crime and incarceration. “Solid research links the nightmarish increases in crime and violence among young people between 1960 to 1990 to the entry of large numbers of mothers into the work force [and] the rise in single-parent households,” Bryce Christensen points out. Feminism may be driving not only the criminalization of the innocent but also the criminality of the guilty.
We are thus fighting a losing battle against crime, incarceration, and expanding state power generally until we confront the role of sexual ideology in family breakdown and the social anomie that ensues. While increased police and penal measures are usually associated with right-wing politics, it is becoming clear that the long-term force is sexual radicalism. Marie Gottschalk describes how “women’s organizations played a central role” in the dramatic rise of the “carceral” state. Gottschalk laments that her fellow feminists who demand more incarceration of men have “entered into some unsavory coalitions” with conservative “law-and-order groups.” But conservatives might ask if their own legitimate concern about crime has led them to serve inadvertently as the unwitting instruments of a repressive ideology. For ever-more-draconian police measures will only create a fortress state. No free or civilized society can survive the mass criminalization of its male population.
Indeed, the fortress state may be developing externally as well as internally. Indications exist that recent Islamic militancy is fueled in large part from perceptions of Western sexual decadence. Conversely, while many feminists identify with the antiwar Left, the future may belong to hawks like Phyllis Chesler and Hillary Clinton, who push war as an instrument of worldwide women’s liberation and pressure governments to justify military policies in feminist terms. Sexuality transforms military life in complex ways. Bork criticizes feminism for weakening our military readiness, emphasizing the dangers of women in combat roles. Yet a more far-reaching consequence may be how divorce debilitates military men. Men are increasingly aware how easily they can be divorced unilaterally while serving their country, lose their children and everything else they possess, and even return home to face criminal penalties if they cannot pay child support imposed in their absence.
Immigration pressure may also be traced to sexualized government institutions. Immigrant “families” attracted to welfare are increasingly single mothers or become single mothers soon after arriving. In Europe, immigration is now creating a welfare underclass similar to that familiar in the United States, which is itself expanding through immigration. The principal rationalization for relaxing immigration standards — low birth rates and the perceived need for younger workers and taxpayers — is another consequence of the sexual revolution, one threatening Western civilization itself. The welfare state itself, with its offer of a universal retirement pension, certainly reduced the need for large families as an insurance policy for old age. Yet even more direct is sexual liberation, including contraception and abortion — which shifted reproductive decisions from the family unit to the individual woman. Here too divorce may be the decisive factor (and again the most neglected) — not only breaking up families early but also generating fear of marriage and procreation among men.
The latest manifestation may be the credit crisis. As Star Parker points out, the housing bubble was the result of welfare-state agencies pushing home ownership as an entitlement on low-income “families.” We do not know how many of these were single parents subsisting not on productive labor but on other entitlements, but for intact, two-parent families home ownership is not usually an impossibility at some point in life. “As the institution of government grows, we sadly watch the collapse of the institutions that really sustain growth of home ownership: American marriage and families,” writes Parker, citing Census Bureau figures that homeownership overwhelmingly (86.3%) occurs among married-couple families.
Decades before the family crisis became obvious, sociologist Carle Zimmerman demonstrated that family atomization preceded civilizational collapse. Zimmerman showed how Greek and Roman decline was preceded by a renunciation of family life, first by educated elites and then others, and argued that our own civilization is on a similar trajectory.
Zimmerman was writing during the post-war baby boom — before “second wave” feminism, no-fault divorce, same-sex marriage, and “demographic winter” — when the family was generally assumed to be stable. Yet he predicted these developments based on long-range trends — mostly elite intellectual fashions — whose significance few others grasped. Indeed, Zimmerman emphasized how difficult the decline is to perceive while it is taking place: “These changes came about slowly, over centuries, and almost imperceptibly.” Today, even as the family crisis becomes undeniable, there is still little awareness of its full ramifications and how close we are to the point of no return.
Modern sexual ideologies are much more militant than anything in Greece or Rome and more self-consciously hostile to the family. The bureaucratic machinery they have constructed around the family is also much more vast and entrenched than any in those civilizations. Indeed, it is the most intrusive and repressive government apparatus ever created in the United States. Yet today’s most outspoken family advocates show little awareness of it, and few seem disposed to confront it or organizationally prepared to resist it.
The sexualization of public life stands behind every major threat to our civilization. Unless we summon the courage to confront it directly, Western society will become increasingly emasculated and will not survive. This is what Zimmerman warned in the halcyon days of 1947, and since then his warnings have only been vindicated.
1 Rene Denfeld, The New Victorians (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), p.45.
2 Robert Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (New York: ReganBooks, 1996), p. 193.
3 Quoted in Arnold Beichman, “Undercurrents in the Conservative Tide,” Washington Times, 11 February 1997, p. A17.
4 Bork, Slouching, p. 201.
5 Daphne Patai, Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998), p. 199.
6 Crane Brinton, Anatomy of Revolution (New York: Vintage, 1965), p. 181.
7 Allan Carlson, “Standing For Liberty: Marriage, Virtue, and the Political State,” lecture delivered at the Family Research Council, Washington, DC, 16 June 2004. I am grateful to Dr. Carlson for a copy of this lecture.
8 Carol Pateman, “Feminist Critiques of the Public/Private Dichotomy,” in Stanley Benn and Gerald Gaus (eds.), Private and Public in Social Life (London: Croom Helm, 1983); Chow and Berheide, Women, the Family, and Policy, p. 18.
9 Interview in National Review, 24 February 1997, pp. 55(3).
10 Bork, Slouching, p. 201.
11 New York: Random House, 1970, p. 537.
12 Quoted in Patrick Buchanan, The Death of the West (New York: St. Martin’s Press), p. 41
13 “Functions of the Family,” WOMEN: A Journal of Liberation (Fall 1969).
14 The Female Eunuch (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971), p. 317.
15 Viv Groskop, “The Mother of All Battles,” The Guardian, 7 March 2007.
16 Wendy McElroy, “Feminists Claim Motherhood as Liberal Cause“, Foxnews.com, 21 May 2002.
17 A progressive scholar confirms this. Marie Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America (Cambridge, 2006), chs. 5-6.
18 Quoted in Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson, Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shames Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case (New York: Thomas Dunne, 2007), p. 375.
19 Eugene J. Kanin, “False Rape Allegations,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 23, no. 1 (1994), pp. 1-2.
20 “Sex, Lies, and Rapes“, internet site of the Center for Military Readiness.
21 The Innocent Project website, includes rape cases but does not focus on them
22 An exception is Taylor and Johnson, Until Proven Innocent.
23 Milovan Djilas, The New Class (New York: Praeger, 1958), p. 170.
24 Alison Jaggar, “Sexual Difference and Sexual Equality,” in Theoretical Perspectives on Sexual Difference,” ed. Deborah L. Rhode (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990), pp. 239-254.
25 Kathy E. Ferguson, “Male-Ordered Politics: Feminism and Political Science,” in Terrence Ball, ed., Idioms of Inquiry (Albany: SUNY, 1987), p. 222.
26 Los Angeles Times, 17 May 1998.
27 Rob Reich, “Testing the Boundaries of Parental Authority over Education: The Case of Homeschooling,” paper prepared for delivery at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, 30 August – 2 September 2001, p. 33.
28 Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornel West, The War Against Parents: What We Can Do for America’s Beleaguered Moms and Dads (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1998), p. 109 (emphasis added).
29 When Child Protection Investigations Harm Children: The Wenatchee Sexual Abuse Cases, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (October 1997). See also Dorothy Rabinowitz, No Crueler Tyrannies: Accusation, False Witness, and other Terrors of our Times (New York: Wall Street Journal Books, 2003).
30 William Anderson, “The Earl of Dook, or the Continuing State of State Justice in North Carolina,” LewRockwell.com, 1 June 2006.
32 Hinesburg, Vermont: Upper Access Books, 1995.
33 John Lott and Larry Kenny, “How Dramatically Did Women’s Suffrage Change the Size and Scope of Government?” University of Chicago Law School, John M. Olin Law and Economics Working Paper No. 60, pp. 5-6 (emphasis added).
34 Barbara Ehrenreich and Frances Fox Piven, “The Persistence of Poverty. 1: The Feminization of Poverty When the ‘Family-Wage System’ Breaks Down,” Dissent, vol. 31, no. 2 (1984), pp. 162-170.
35 David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America (New York: Basic Books, 1995), pp. 1, 22-23.
36 Stephen Baskerville, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House, 2007), ch. 1.
37 Barbara Ehrenreich, Elizabeth Hess, and Gloria Jacobs, Re-Making Love: The Feminization of Sex (Garden City and New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1986), p. 197.
38 Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, The Divorce Culture (New York: Vintage, 1998), p. 7.
39 Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage (Washington: Regnery, 1996), p. 245.
40 Tunku Varadarajan, “Clash With the Titans,” Wall Street Journal online edition, 30 January 2002.
41 Whitehead, Divorce Culture, pp. 15-16, 26.
42 National Association of Women Lawyers, accessed 6 November 2004. I am grateful to Judy Parejko for this reference.
43 Amanda Banks, “Greer Cheers Divorcing Women,” The Australian, 8 September 2004.
44 Sanford Braver with Diane O’Connell, Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1998), ch. 7.
45 Carle Zimmerman noticed this trend decades ago. Family and Civilization, ed. James Kurth (Wilmington, Delaware: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2008), p. 192.
46 “Why Homosexuals Want What Marriage Has Now Become,” The Family in America, vol. 18, no. 4 (April 2004).
47 “The Heterosexual Revolution,” New York Times, 5 July 2005 (emphasis added).
48 Eric Zorn and Allan Carlson, “A Primer on the ‘Gay Marriage’ Debate,” The Family in America, vol. 17, no. 8 (August 2003).
49 Stephen Baskerville, “The Real Danger of Same-Sex Marriage,” The Family in America, vol. 20, nos. 5-6 (May-June 2006).
50 Lethimstay.com, ACLU Lesbian & Gay Rights Project, accessed 27 October 2005).
51 Families in Crisis, report by the 1991-92 San Diego County Grand Jury, p. 9.
52 “The Debate on Gay Marriage, Pro and Con,” Boston Globe online edition, 12 March 2004.
53 Andrea Sedlak and Diane Broadhurst, Executive Summary of the Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, September 1996), p. 8.
54 Robert Whelan, Broken Homes and Battered Children: A Study of the Relationship between Child Abuse and Family Type (London: Family Education Trust, 1993), p. 29.
55 David Rowland, Laurie Zabin, and Mark Emerson, “Household Risk and Child Sexual Abuse in a Low Income, Urban Sample of Women,” Adolescent and Family Health, vol. 1, no. 1 (Winter 2000), pp. 29-39.
56 Patrick Fagan and Dorothy Hanks, The Child Abuse Crisis: The Disintegration of Marriage, Family, and the American Community (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation “Backgrounder,” 3 June 1997), p. 16; Murder in Families (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, July 1994; Bureau of Justice Statistics Publications Catalog 1994-95, NCJ 143498), pp. 5-6.
57 Child Maltreatment in the United Kingdom: A Study of the Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect (London, 2000); Leslie Margolin and John L. Craft, “Child Sexual Abuse by Caretakers,” Family Relations 38 (1989); Martin Daly and Margo Wilson, “Child Abuse and Other Risks of Not Living with Both Parents,” Journal of Ethnology and Sociobiology 6 (1985).
58 “Families in Crisis,” p. 10.
59 Donna Laframboise, “Oh Dad, Poor Dad,” Toronto Globe and Mail, 12 April 1997, D1-2.
60 Grace Coleman, et al., (eds.), 1999 National Victim Assistance Academy, chap. 8, “Domestic Violence.” (“last updated on Sunday, January 16, 2000.”).
61 Eric Zorn, “A Seminar in Divorce, Down-And-Dirty Style,” Chicago Tribune, 4 November 1988, p. 1.
62 David Heleniak, “The New Star Chamber,” Rutgers Law Review, vol. 57, no. 3 (Spring 2005), p. 1009, 1036-1037, 1042.
63 Philip W. Cook, Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1997); John Archer, “Sex Differences in Aggression Between Heterosexual Partners: A Meta-Analytic Review,” Psychological Bulletin, vol. 26, no. 5 (September 2000), 651-680; Murray A. Straus, “The Controversy over Domestic Violence by Women: A Methodological, Theoretical, and Sociology of Science Analysis, in X. B. Arriaga, and S. Oskamp, Violence in Intimate Relationships (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, forthcoming), accessed 24 October 2004 at http://www.vix.com/menmag/ straus21.htm. See also Martin S. Fiebert, “References Examining Assaults by Women on Their Spouses or Male Partners: An Annotated Bibliography,” Sexuality and Culture, vol. 8, no. 3-4 (2004), 140-177.
64 Anne McMurray, “Violence Against Ex-Wives: Anger and Advocacy,” Health Care for Women International, vol. 18, no. 6 (November-December 1997); Callie Marie Rennison and Sarah Welchans, Intimate Partner Violence (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2000, NCJ 178247), p. 5.
65 Thomas Kasper, “Obtaining and Defending Against an Order of Protection,” Illinois Bar Journal, vol. 93, no. 6 (June 2005); Elaine Epstein, “Speaking the Unspeakable,” Massachusetts Bar Association Newsletter, vol. 33, no. 7 (June-July 1993), p. 1; David Dunlap, “The Adult Abuse Act: Theory vs. Practice,” UMKC Law Review, vol. 64 (1996), p. 686; Jeannie Suk, “Criminal Law Comes Home,” Yale Law Review, vol. 116, no. 2 (2006), p. 10.
66 Dave Brown, “Gender-Bias Issue Raises ‘Optics’ Problem in Domestic Court,” Ottawa Citizen, 21 February 2002.
67 New Jersey Law Journal, 21 April 1988, letters to the editor section, p. 6.
68 “Transforming A Flawed Policy: A Call To Revive Psychology and Science in Domestic Violence Research and Practice,” Aggression and Violent Behavior 11 (2006), p. 478.
69 Callie Marie Rennison and Sarah Welchans, Intimate Partner Violence (Washington: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2000, NCJ 178247), p. 5.
70 “Leave No-Fault Divorce Alone,” Daily Herald, 26 December 2004.
71 Sara Catania, “Taking Away Battered Women’s Kids,” Mother Jones, 1 July 2005.
72 Epstein, “Speaking the Unspeakable,” p. 1.
73 Russ Bleemer, “N.J. Judges Told to Ignore Rights in Abuse TROs,” New Jersey Law Journal 140, 24 April 1995.
74 Frank Donnelly, “Domestic Violence Court to Debut,” Staten Island Advance, 14 December 2003.
75 Robert Martin, “Train AGs in Rudimentary Law,” Law Times (13 November 2001), p. 8.
76 Quoted in Dave Brown, “Skirmish Fails to Scratch the Formidable Feminist War Machine,” Ottawa Citizen, 9 April 2002.
77 Documents in the author’s possession.
78 Jed Abraham, From Courtship to Courtroom (New York: Bloch, 1999), p. 151.
79 Stephen Baskerville, “From Welfare State to Police State,” The Independent Review, vol. 12, no 3 (Winter 2008).
80 Attempts to attribute these behaviors to poverty or racial discrimination have been refuted by studies that control for these variables: Urie Bronfenbrenner, “Discovering What Families Do,” in David Blankenhorn, et al. (eds.), Rebuilding the Nest: A New Commitment to the American Family (Milwaukee: Family Service America, 1990), p. 34; Ronald Angel and Jacqueline Angel, Painful Inheritance: Health and the New Generation of Fatherless Children (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993), p. 188.
81 Bryce Christensen, “Hearth or Hangman? The Family Politics of Lethal Force,” The Family in America vol. 21, no 11/12 (November/December 2007), pp. 6-7.
82 Marie Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America (Cambridge: 2006), p. 11.
83 Christensen, “Hearth or Hangman?” p. 6.
84 Dinesh D’Sousa, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 (New York: Doubleday, 2007), ch. 6.
85 Bork, Slouching, pp. 218-223.
86 Stephen Baskerville, “The Fathers’ War,” The American Conservative, vol. 4, no. 20 (24 October 2005).
87 Lionel Tiger, The Decline of Males (New York: Golden Books, 1999).
88 Glenn Sacks and Dianna Thompson, “Have Anti-Father Family Court Policies Led to a Men’s Marriage Strike?” Philadelphia Inquirer, 5 July 2002.
89 “Welfare-State Policies Caused the Financial Crisis,” WorldNetDaily, 4 October 2008.
90 Zimmerman, Family and Civilization, p. 146.
Feminism’s Terrible Blunder, or
Want to “Have It All”? Then Don’t Do It Backwards
By John Ross
There’s been a fair amount of discussion on “career women,” and the value of educating our daughters so that they can succeed in the fields that were once populated only by men. I don’t fall into the “Women should just stay home and have babies” camp, because a woman shouldn’t do that if she doesn’t want to. I have no problem at all with women who want to climb the corporate ladder, pursue careers in traditionally male fields, etc.
I also agree with something a woman friend said in a discussion of men and women, that an intelligent and educated woman is a better choice for a wife, both for the genes that she splits with her husband and passes along to their children, as well as being a more interesting mate to talk to and be with.
What I see as the fundamental problem with women pursuing careers is the near-universal assumption these women make: That they will be able to “pencil in” a suitable husband at whatever point that they decide it’s time to marry and have kids. That is a very dangerous assumption, because it’s seldom true, and I’ll explain why.
Some time ago (15 years?) the Wall Street Journal had one of those human interest stories they run regularly. I wish I could dig it up to get the details exactly right, but I well remember the salient points:
The story was about a woman, never married, who had risen to the top of some fairly big company. As I recall, it wasn’t Fortune 500 size, but it was big and she had done a great job at directing the company’s growth and making it successful. In the process, she herself had amassed a seven-figure net worth, with an annual income of a half-million or so.
She was 46, as I recall, and couldn’t find a suitable man to date and marry. The article chronicled her attempts to rectify this situation, including her hiring an expensive service in NYC that specialized in matching up busy executives with suitable mates.
The service matched her up with some men, but none were much interested. This woman seemed amazed (and despondent) that the male executives the service fixed her up with (and that she was attracted to) weren’t much interested in seeing her a second time. There had been a couple of men that wanted to see her again, but their incomes were a small fraction of hers and she didn’t want much to do with them as she viewed them as not being successful.
The lady theorized that the men who weren’t interested were “intimidated by a strong woman,” and lamented that male executives had fragile egos, and needed doormats for mates, etc. It was a fairly detailed article.
Shortly thereafter, the letters section printed reader’s responses to this article, and one guy nailed the situation dead-center.
He said the woman was failing to see the basic economic principle of comparative advantage, on which all successful trade, commerce, and business is based. He wrote that he was surprised such a financially savvy person was apparently oblivious to what was so obvious to him.
Comparative advantage means you are most valuable to someone who needs what you have, because without you, they can’t have it. Florida can sell oranges and orange juice at a profit to people here in Missouri, even after paying shipping costs, because orange trees won’t grow here, and so if we want orange juice with breakfast, we have to get it from them.
Comparative advantage also says that you should concentrate your time and energy on that which rewards you the most highly, to the point of hiring others to do work that you may even be better at than they are.
Example: A neurosurgeon who happens to be a world-record typist that can type 200 words per minute is still better off hiring a 60 wpm stenographer to transcribe his notes, because there are lots of stenographers who’ll work for less than $20 an hour, and his time is better spent doing more neurosurgeries which pay hundreds of times that rate.
The letter-writer’s point was that the woman executive in the article was failing to grasp this economic fact. The male executives weren’t “afraid of strong women,” they weren’t interested because this woman didn’t offer them anything they didn’t already have. They already had lots of money. They already had financial and business success.
The letter-writer pointed out that the men who had shown interest were the ones that were younger and hadn’t had the business success that she had. They were attracted to her because she offered what they didn’t have. Unfortunately, the woman executive didn’t grasp this, and for some reason didn’t see that her situation made her much more attractive to pool boys than to Lee Iacocca.
This is the great tragedy of feminism: The so-called women’s movement has encouraged women to get specialized education and pursue careers right out of school. Feminists have said over and over that women can succeed at any business endeavor a man can. THIS IS TRUE. But what makes this message so damaging: Saying it over and over to young women has distracted them from remembering (or realizing) that they have a tremendous comparative advantage over men. This comparative advantage is their ability to have children, and it exists for only part of their lives.
If a woman doesn’t particularly want to bear children, fine. But almost all of the young women I meet do have a strong maternal instinct and say they definitely want kids. Why don’t they realize that their youth and ability to bear children are expiring assets? Why are they doing what you can do at any time (work in a business) during the only time they possess those valuable assets?
What if a recent college graduate who was the star pitcher for his college baseball team told you that he intended to play Major League professional baseball, but not until after he’d gotten his law degree and had established a successful law practice? You’d think he was crazy, yet women do the equivalent every day.
Here’s a radical idea for the women who want to “have it all”: Do it in the logical order, which is the reverse of what you’ve been doing.
Whether or not a woman’s youth and fertility are her most valuable assets, they are inarguably expiring assets. They are like a $200 voucher for a private eating establishment that declines by $10 every month you don’t use it. If you don’t ever want to eat at that place, fine, let the voucher expire.
But if one of your life’s goals is to fully experience that eating establishment, use your voucher early.
There are women I know personally who do “have it all,” in both my and their opinion. In all cases, these women married and had their children early, i.e. youngest child born when the mother was 25 or younger. Once all the children were in school, these women entered the work force, at least part-time. When the kids were old enough to start looking out for themselves, i.e. in college or at least driving, the mothers became serious about a career.
In one case, the woman went to law school and is now a successful lawyer. Because she had her kids early, her body recovered easily, and at age 49 she has two grandchildren and looks like one of those hot 30-year-old woman lawyers on a TV series. Getting her law degree at a later age didn’t hurt her skill level or ability to find work: she was my lawyer in my divorce and she couldn’t have been better. I think her husband is one of the luckiest men alive.
Another woman had her first child at age 19 and then twins two or three years later. When the kids were all in school, she started working part-time. At one point she worked in a consignment shop, and felt the owner was making some bad business decisions. At around age 45, with the kids out of college, she opened her own consignment shop. Now, a little over a decade later, she’s making almost $200,000 a year and looks great.
A third had two children by age 24. After they were in high school, when she was 38 or so, she got her real estate agent’s license. Now she’s about 55 or so and making well over $100,000 a year. Do I need to tell you she is great-looking?
Which of the career paths listed below makes more sense?:
1. Focus on career right out of school, have recreational sex with pleasant male companions your own age, be on the success track for 10-15 years, then panic when you realize you want children but you don’t want to derail your career, your looks are starting to fade compared to the twentysomethings, there aren’t any men that seem interested in marrying you, and in any event, you’re running out of time,
2. After high school or during college, focus on finding a man about 10 years older who has established himself in the last decade and who wants a family. Use your youth, looks, and fertility to find the best possible man for the role of Husband and Father. Have children at a young age, soon after you finish your schooling, while you have lots of energy and your body will recover quickly. Be there for the kids when they need you, and let your husband do the financial lifting. Be good to both the kids and your husband, and be thinking about what your career dreams are while caring for your family. Talk to your husband about these dreams. Tell him you don’t want to just sit around the house at age 40-45. Then go after your dream, once the kids are of majority age. You’ve still got a few good decades left, plenty of time for career success.
Many women who pursue careers find they don’t like it nearly as much as they expected. Far fewer women have children and then wish they hadn’t. Why not do the kid thing first, while your body is primed for it, and start a career later in life?
You can start a new business at any age. I started a new venture at age 46–I set up a shooting school. Now, two years later, it’s very successful and continues to grow, showing every indication of becoming the major force in my regional market.
Think a shooting school doesn’t count, because it’s not going to be big enough to be a real “career”? Then try this one: A 65-year-old man living on Social Security with a used car and a love of cooking drove around the Southeast in the 1950s, cooking samples of food to persuade restaurant owners to buy his special blend of seasonings. When he made enough money from spice sales and found a financial backer, he opened his own little restaurant, selling one kind of food made with his blend of seasonings. It was successful, so he licensed others to open similar establishments. When he died 25 years later at age 90, Colonel Harlan Sanders left behind his legacy: Kentucky Fried Chicken, now KFC.
A man who wants a family can’t have it without a woman. He would prefer a young, fertile one. She will have the energy to keep up with kids, and her body will recover quickly from pregnancy and childbirth. Men know that a woman’s sex drive and looks decline. We’d like to start with one where the decline hasn’t already gone on for a couple decades.
A woman who wants both a career and children faces a number of problems if she gets on the career track first, and intends to marry and have kids later. First, since men are good at earning money, we don’t much care about your income level–that old comparative advantage thing. We want your youth, looks, and fertility–we’ve already got the money thing covered. Get to be 35 and still single and you’ll find that the men who want to get married want to do so because they want to have kids. Thus, they want someone in the peak of her reproductive years, not the end of them. Second, if you do find a husband, becoming a mother around age 40 means being an old woman for most of your children’s adult life. When your kids grow up, wouldn’t it be nice to be young enough to still do active things with them for a decade or two? And what if after 12-15 years of the career track, you realize you’re burnt out? Now what? Quit work to get married? What sane man wants a 35-year-old woman who has decided she doesn’t like working?
Last of all, if you marry a man 10-15 years older, and start your career after the kids are grown or at least able to drive, your husband is likely to be very supportive of your dreams. Men are very loyal to those who are good to us. If you’ve been a great wife and mother, we are going to applaud your wanting to get out of the house and bring in some income. We’re going to be thrilled if you replace some or all of the family savings that were drained when the tuition bills came due. We’re going to be proud of you making a financial success of yourself, so that you now truly “have it all.” We’d love to retire and play golf or whatever, and admire your success.
And if you decide the career track isn’t for you after a few years (or a decade), we won’t be upset. You can quit at age 45 or 50 and do something part-time and your husband will never have any complaints. You let him have a wonderful family, were a great wife, and a wonderful mother to his children.
But going the career track first is very dangerous in that it completely wastes much or all of a woman’s major asset of fertility and youth.
Angela Fiori put it succinctly in her excellent piece Feminism’s Third Wave:
Feminism proclaimed that for women to be fulfilled, they had to adopt the career ambitions of workaholic men, the sexual promiscuity of John F. Kennedy, and the cynicism of Gloria Steinem (the pre-married one, that is).
Can you think of any demographic group other than women who would have bought into this prescription for complete disaster and then cried “victim” when the Bunker Buster of Inevitable Biology crashed through the roof and blew up in their faces? Think Wile E. Coyote. No, think of someone much dumber.
It’s obviously too late for any childless career women out there in their 30s. The people that need to understand are today’s high school- and college-age women who want a career and a family.
If you have multiple goals, and achieving one of them requires that you do it before a certain expiration date, work on that one first. Duh.
John Ross 8/30/2005
One question: what advice would you give to your high-school aged daughter (if you have or had one) regarding this issue in terms of career selection?
Good question. She’s 12 now and obviously doesn’t know what area interests her most.
My advice is usually generic. For example, make life choices that DON’T close important doors. Make choices that create future opportunities.
The more specialized one’s knowledge, the more limited one’s earning opportunities. A man who is good with his hands and has a good set of tools can get work anywhere. A lawyer who specializes in a particular area of the tax code may have a much higher income, but I guarantee that he has massively higher overhead, or his employer does, and that means he either is trapped being a wage slave, or in danger of being replaced by a harder worker.
I would urge my daughter to do things that will create opportunities and safety nets for her. One such example might be to get a teaching credential along with her college education. Public schools in Missouri pay well and have GREAT retirement benefits, but you need the piece of paper.
I will encourage her to think like a small business owner: How can I keep my overhead down and maximize my ability to take advantage of opportunities? How can I use my talents?
I personally have always been uncomfortable having all my income come from a single source. What if it goes away? Wouldn’t it be better if only some of it could stop at any given moment? Wouldn’t it be nice if one venture marketed the others? Students who like my shooting school and readers who like my writing often decide they like the way my mind works and thus want to do business with my investment firm.
I won’t specifically advise my daughter to marry and have kids early, I will instead get her thinking about the issue and understand the logical implications and consequences of whatever choices she makes.
Another man asked:
Outside of sex and being a mother for the kids, what would an older man have in common with a 20 year old? I would have to believe that a large part of a successful relationship, (i.e. “an interesting mate to talk and be with”) relies on common interests, intellect, and respect. Without those, the marriage will also likely fail. Another thought, if you marry her when she’s 20, and you’re 35, when she’s 35, you will be 50. Women are sexually shallow too, it’s a bad match, and she will probably cheat on you for something younger.
I think you’re falling into what I call the “soul mate myth” thinking trap. We imagine a woman that shares all our interests, knowledge areas, and dreams.
That generally doesn’t exist.
A more productive path would be to focus on finding a young woman with similar values, i.e. saver vs spender. Core values are usually instilled in childhood, and don’t change.
Perhaps it is men that should start thinking of women as raw material. We know they’re going to change, so get a young one and help her intellect and worldview change for the better.
Would I marry a 20-year-old? Not now, at 48. I’m done having kids, and kids are the only reason for a successful man to get married. But 15 years ago, at 33? If she had a decent IQ, was a saver and not a spender, and was a voracious reader, I’d likely still be happily married. Now she’d be 35. Cheat on me at age 35 because I was too old, at 48? Where have you been living? 35-year-old single women are desperate. A 35-year-old married one with a 48-year-old husband and kids in high school, thinking about what her career was going to be in a few years, would be smiling at me every day.
This whole thing of women waiting longer to have kids has been an overall downer for them and a big part of the problem. They wake up in their 30s childless, and they see their options disappearing. No wonder they’re so unpleasant.
I know a few women who married VERY young, 14 and 15. The 14-year-old married the owner of a local Dog ‘n’ Suds where she had a part-time job. The 15-year-old married a 23-year-old man who owns a gun store and is a talented gunsmith. Both marriages have lasted over 35 years. The women are both over 50, and both have income-producing businesses they run out of their houses. When I see these women with their husbands, both genders are always smiling.
I think both these women may have woken up one morning in their late 30s and thought something like, “Hey, the kids are going to be out of the house soon, and I’m not even 40 yet! I’ve got a lot of good years left, and I don’t want to just watch soaps and get fat. I think I’ll talk to my husband about that catering business I’ve always dreamed of starting.”
I have carried on recent conversations with college girls, and if they’re well-read, they’re much more interesting to talk to than women my age who don’t like to read. Easier on the eyes, too…
And a woman asked:
What’s to prevent the man from “trading up,” and leaving you a single mom? In the marry-young-and-pop-‘em-out scenario, now the woman is left with less work experience, less education=less opportunities to take care of herself.
Also, how are these young girls going to find the older men? They wouldn’t really travel in the same circles, or have the same interests.
A successful 30-year-old man probably became successful by sticking to his word. Women don’t understand what breaking our word feels like to most men.
Yes, him dumping her for a “better model” could happen, but it’s not likely. Why? She IS the better model–she’s young, and she’s the mother of his children! Since men initiate divorce only a third as often as women, this fear is misplaced. More likely, she would use the divorce laws to cash out, and he should be worried about that. And I don’t advocate cutting the young woman’s education short, education is very important for her.
And lastly, men will meet younger women where we’ve always met them: Everywhere. And if more high school and college women read this article, decided it made sense, and started thinking this way, they’d start putting themselves in positions to meet men about ten years older. They’d tell their older brothers, cousins, and other family members that they wanted a career path that would give them a family first, when their bodies and energy levels were best able to take it, and careers starting when the kids were almost old enough to vote. Boys their own age may not be ready to shoulder the responsibilities of heading a family, but men a decade older who have never married and have established themselves, have.
Copyright 2005 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given
Thoughts on the Marriage III, or
The Marriage Strike: It’s Going to Get Worse Before It Gets Better
By John Ross
I have recently become aware of the works of Dr. Daniel Amneus, who wrote the book Garbage Generation in 1990. Dr. Amneus died in 2003. Garbage Generation is available online, as is one of his essays, The War Against Patriarchy, written in 1997. Amneus makes several major points and backs them up with plenty of documentation.
I’ll give you the Cliff’s Notes version:
First, the default condition in the mammalian world is matriarchy, where the female is the head of the family. In this condition, the male has the role of sperm donor, but little else. Matriarchy defines the animal kingdom. Matriarchy existed for humans and our ancestors for hundreds of thousands of years during the Stone Age, and still exists in primitive cultures. (It’s why they’re primitive.)
Patriarchy, where the father heads the household, is only a few thousand years old, a comparative eyeblink. Yet in this few thousand years, civilization has sprung up, accomplishing things that people in matriarchal cultures would insist were magic.
The existence of civilization and the attendant building of wealth is the result of the enforcement of the Marriage Contract, which powerfully motivates men to achieve. A marriage contract makes a man provide for and protect his family. In return, he gets to have a family, and to be involved with the socialization of his children. A requirement of the marriage contract is that the wife cannot deny sex to her husband, and cannot have sex with other men. This sexual regulation of women is an absolute requirement, so that the man entering into the marriage contract can be assured of having children, and having them be his.
Dr. Amneus contends that allowing men to have families and participate in the socialization of their children has motivated them to achieve tremendous things for all of society, and nothing short of being allowed to head a family will motivate them as strongly to do this. He points out that all existing matriarchal societies (inner-city ghettoes, Indian reservations, existing Stone Age cultures around the world) are societies in which you wouldn’t want to live.
In 1963, Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, where she scolded women for depending on men and expecting so little of themselves, such as the trifling amount of housework wives did. She urged them to cast off the “Sleeping Beauty waiting for Prince Charming” role model, and urged them to “stand on their own two feet” and work and compete in traditionally male occupations.
Dr. Amneus points out that when Friedan wrote this, she didn’t understand that husbands were not supporting their wives in exchange for housework, they were supporting their wives in exchange for having a family. Having a family required that the wife give her body freely to her husband and only her husband, and that was the sacrifice women were making, not housework.
By the 1970s, women who bought into Friedan’s way of thinking had discovered it wasn’t so easy to be independent, what with all those motivated men to compete with. By then, “Sleeping Beauty” feminism had been replaced by “Slaughtered Saints” feminism. Under Sleeping Beauty feminism, women were capable of competing on an even footing. They didn’t need alimony, they were perfectly capable of making it on their own.
Under Slaughtered Saints feminism, women were now victims, always repressed, downtrodden, held back, etc., and in need of reparations and artificial props in the workplace. Slaughtered Saints feminists bristled at the term “alimony,” but they still wanted the money, and lots of it. Just call it “maintenance.”
Dr. Amneus points out that patriarchy is NOT the natural order. Neither is civilization, technology, heavy industry, central air, microwave ovens, etc. Patriarchy is an artificial construct that makes all these other desirable artificial constructs possible. And as an artificial construct, it is fragile. Leave a computer outside and see how long it lasts. Leave a building untended, and see what happens. If you want civilization, you need to have patriarchy, because that is what motivates men to direct their energy in productive ways, rather than violence. Patriarchy requires that men be able to enter into marriage contracts that are binding. The current no-fault divorce laws which allow a woman to eject her husband from the family yet retain his income are an ongoing disaster. Boys raised by single mothers have a much greater tendency towards violent criminal behavior. Girls raised by single mothers tend to become single mothers themselves, perpetuating the problem.
If we want a better, safer, healthier society, we need to provide incentives for having two-parent households, and provide disincentives for single mothers raising children. Dr. Amneus explains that since the bond between mother and child is so strong, it is the one thing that doesn’t need additional help from the courts. The link that is so important (and so fragile) is the one between father and child, particularly if that child is a boy. The current social programs, laws, and judges’ rulings encourage families to split up, or discourage men from ever marrying in the first place.
The chapter which most enrages current feminists is “Our Paychecks, Our Selves–Why Fathers Must Demand Custody.” Here are some excerpts:
What men must do to salvage [the situation] is to safeguard the male paycheck–to prevent anyone, ex-wife, house-male judge or house-male lawmaker, from telling him what he may or may not do with that paycheck, and that if he enters into a contract of marriage to share that paycheck with a wife in exchange for her sharing her reproductive life with him, this contract shall not be abrogated for the purpose of depriving him of his children and his paycheck.
Betty Friedan’s 1963 book The Feminine Mystique told American housewives that the “considerable rights” they obtained through marriage were an overpayment for the trifling services they performed: “Society asks so little of women….It was not that too much was asked of them but too little.” Ms. Friedan had no understanding of the pivotal fact that the “little” asked of women was primarily not housework but acceptance of sexual regulation. The male’s reproductive marginality forced him to offer the female the extremely one-sided bargain upon which Ms. Friedan poured her scorn. The benefits of this bargain are being lost to men because women will not keep the marriage contract and the courts will not enforce it. They are being largely lost to women by their insistence on sexual autonomy and their consequent withdrawal of sexual loyalty from the nuclear family, which then ceases to provide what Ms. Friedan deemed a free ride for women. With that withdrawal women can no longer offer men what men must have if they are to participate responsibly in reproduction.
From the feminists’ point of view, subsidization by an ex- husband is as good as subsidization by a husband; but from the man’s point of view the difference is total. …. Betty Friedan has suggested that the feminist movement is a new biological breakthrough, “the next step in human evolution.” The feminist/sexual revolution is not a breakthrough but a throwback. The breakthrough was the creation of patriarchy a few thousand years ago…
Feminists protest against the double standard required by the regulation of female sexuality. The double standard is an essential part of the patriarchal system. Male sexuality requires less regulation because it is less important. Male unchastity sets a bad example and demoralizes wives who find out about it, but otherwise damages society little. Female unchastity destroys the marriage contract, the family, the legitimacy of children, their patriarchal socialization, the security of property and the motivation of work–it destroys civilized society. Men accept a double work standard, requiring them to be more dependable, more committed to their jobs, willing to accept more arduous and dangerous labor and to exercise more self-discipline– the things which account for their earning more than women in the job market.
A man who wants a woman to marry him would get nowhere by telling her, “If you will marry me, I will guarantee that you will be the mother of your children.” He is offering her nothing, since it is impossible that she should not be the mother of her own children. A woman who wants a man to marry her would be talking sense if she said to him, “If you will marry me, I will guarantee that you will be the father of my children.” [She would be] talking sense, though her personal guarantee is insufficient, because women notoriously change their minds,…women [claim] the right to renege on their promise of sexual loyalty, and because the legal system supports this right.
In the words of Mary Ann Glendon, the duty of an exiled ex-husband “to provide for the needs of [his] minor children [in Mom's custody]…is so important that it cannot be excluded by contract.” In other words, the woman’s promise is worthless and the law will grant the man no rights under the contract of marriage. … The only salvation is to get the legal system to understand that it must support the man’s right to have a family and deny the woman’s right to wreck it at her pleasure. In other words, it must regulate female sexuality–or rather allow the father to regulate it by allowing him control over his own paycheck, a control not subject to revocation by a divorce court.
This hated double standard places a burden on women but rewards them lavishly for accepting it. It gives them the bargaining power which makes men willing to raise their standard of living by an estimated 73 percent. Female sexual autonomy forfeits this bargaining power; legal regulation of women (enforced by a guarantee of father-custody in divorce) maintains it. Feminist books are written about the unwillingness of men to “make a commitment” to support women and about the unmarriageability of educated and economically independent women, those with the highest divorce rate. These women would be beneficiaries of sexual regulation, which would make them non-threatening to men and therefore marriageable. Their superior education and talents– often combined with superior personal attractiveness–would become assets to themselves, to their families and to society if there existed an assurance that these assets did not act, as they now commonly do, as incentives to divorce.
Would it not be fairer to regulate both male and female sexuality with equal strictness? No; male sexuality isn’t important enough. If ninety percent of male sexuality were regulated, the unregulated ten percent would create as much sexual confusion and illegitimacy as the ninety percent–if females were unregulated. The regulation of ninety percent of female sexuality would, on the contrary, prevent ninety percent of sexual confusion and illegitimacy, and that is why society must insist on the double standard, which both stabilizes society and gives women greater bargaining power because it makes them more valuable to their families and to society. The woman’s chastity gives the man assurance of a family; the man’s motivation, created by his assurance of a secure role within this family, gives the woman a higher standard of living. This is the complementariness which makes patriarchal civilization possible. The arrangement is now being destroyed by the removal of the man’s assurance of a secure role within his family.
Before I continue, let me interject that Dr. Amneus’ idea of the proper “sexual regulation” of women may differ somewhat from my own. In this era of easy birth control, a single woman does not have to stay a virgin to avoid having illegitimate children. I, for one, am not nearly as concerned with a woman’s past sexual history before she met me as I am about the one she has with me. Most men these days would agree with this, I think. Dr. Amneus might, as well, were he still alive.
Dr. Amneus makes a strong case for the decline of the two-parent family as being at the root of a long list of America’s current ills. He reserves his strongest contempt for male judges that perpetuate single-mother households:
The failure of the judges and policymakers responsible for most of these female-headed families to understand their responsibility for them and for the disruption, crime, demoralization and illegitimacy they produce derives from the disastrous but natural mistake of supposing that because the female-headed family form is biologically based, whereas the father-headed family form is merely a social creation, society ought to support the biologically based form by choosing Mom for custodian of the children in case of divorce. They cannot grasp the idea that the reproductive pattern found among lower animals is unsuitable for humans.
From The War Against Patriarchy (1997):
The judge replaced [the] father-headed family with one headed by the mother because he supposed it was natural to do so. Also the easy thing, the thing that all judges do and have done for a century. Patriarchy, like the internal combustion engine, is artificial. But it works. The judge knows that patriarchal families, families headed by fathers, produce better behaved, higher achieving children, but he can’t see his way through to the conclusion that he ought to keep the father as family head rather than contribute to the expansion of matriarchy.
A Georgia judge named Robert Noland invariably places children of divorce in the custody of mothers and justifies what he does with this: “I ain’t never seen a calf following a bull. They always follow the cow. So I always give custody to the mamas.” The reason Judge Noland never saw a calf following a bull is that cattle don’t live in two parent households. If we want to live like cattle, Judge Noland has the right idea–it’s natural. But mother-headed households generate three-quarters of society’s crime and a disproportionate amount of illegitimacy, educational failure and demoralization and drug abuse and the rest of our social pathology.
Anyway, the result of all this (and the thing that has a lot of sociologists clucking) is that every year, fewer men are willing to marry. Now that more men realize that wives can take their children away from them at their whim, and the ex-husband will still be on the hook financially, more men are saying “No thanks” every year. The marriage rate has dropped in half in the last three decades. This article by Matt Weeks about the “Marriage Strike” gives more detail.
Many men I know whose wives have bolted and cashed out are looking forward to the reaction when women realize what’s happened. Here’s what one friend I was discussing this with had to say:
“Many of us (I confess, I’m one) relish the idea of women seeing the other shoe drop. Many of us want to see a panicked look on your average feminist’s face when she realizes she’s priced herself out of the marriage market. We want to see the tables turned; we get a nice jolt of schadenfreude when we think of it.”
While it may be appealing for divorced men to imagine an America where no single woman can find a decent man willing to risk marrying her, it’s not going to happen any time soon. Here’s why:
People of different ages have different ideas of cultural norms, and thus different expectations, based on what they experienced during the critical years when lifelong opinions were formed. For example, people who first flew on airplanes as children are almost never afraid of flying in adulthood.
With the advent of cheap VCRs in the late 1980s-early 1990s, anyone with even the slightest curiosity about XXX movies could easily rent or borrow one and watch it at home.
Let’s use 1988 as the approximate year VCRs became common.
That means if a girl was born around 1973 or later, there was a VCR in her house when she started going through adolescence and becoming curious about sexual matters, and therefore she probably viewed one or more hardcore adult films at that time. As a result, she got an impression of what men and women expected in the bedroom.
My observation is that women born after the mid-1970s are considerably more likely to do anything you want in bed, whenever you want it. This, I think, is not due just to their being young. Women in their 20s fifteen years ago weren’t as game as twentysomethings are now. I think it’s because those women weren’t exposed to the kind of spirited, athletic sex exhibited in XXX movies when they were teenagers, as the women under 32 today were. That’s why Paris Hilton’s amateur sex video had ZERO negative effect on her TV career and overall marketability, why Jenna Jameson is on the cover of mainstream magazines, and other porn stars are regularly featured in music videos.
Some of you will likely exclaim that this is a deplorable state of affairs. I’ll just say that I prefer to try to take what pleasures I can in life, and when a big wave is approaching, I’ll stop building sand castles and take up surfing, instead of trying to turn back the tide.
There is a point to all this. The Marriage Strike won’t reach critical mass any time soon because almost every person I know has a living memory of having a mother and father that were married to each other, at least for a while. I can count on the fingers of one hand the people whose mothers were never married to their fathers, or whose parents divorced before the child was old enough to remember. And all these examples are children born in the last few years–they won’t be of marrying age for two decades.
Despite the terrible risk/reward ratio for a man to marry, for almost all people outside the ghetto, getting married is the expected norm–expected not by just other people, but by the MEN THEMSELVES.
Bestselling novelist Michael Chrichton has been married and divorced FIVE TIMES! That has to have cost him a fortune. Nicole Kidman shook Tom Cruise down for a pile, even though she makes millions on her own, because she could. And now he’s going to do it all over again. Why? I think it’s because marriage is still the default expectation in men’s minds, despite the obvious assumption of massive risk with little chance of reward.
The men who have sworn off marriage are growing, yes, but they are still very small in number. For all of the talk of “the chickens are coming home to roost,” and all the eagerly anticipated wholesale rejection of marriage to American women, I think it’s going to be at least one more generation (a generation being 25-ish years) before we see significant numbers.
Of all the American men you know, how many have never been married and have vowed never to do so? Of all the American men you know, how many have a foreign wife? To both questions, I’d guess less than 1%.
Just like our country’s reluctance to do anything to prevent the eventual Social Security crisis, I don’t think we’ll see a big difference in general male behavior towards marriage for quite a while.
And that’s why the rules are unlikely to change–the coming problem (and obviously, not everyone will agree there even IS a coming problem) is too far off to bother with.
I worry that my daughter will have a hard time finding a decent husband in 12-15 years. And I worry that if she should be fortunate enough to do so, she’ll bolt and cash out, because she can.
John Ross 8/24/2005
Copyright 2005 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given
A Men’s And Father’s Manifesto
Post by A Man on Sept 25, 2005, 4:03pm
by Pete Jensen (Gonzokid)
As I read the salvos firing back and forth in the front lines of the gender war, one thing that strikes me is how the Men’s Movement, for all it’s passion, has failed to articulate its aims and purposes. It is essential that we do so, not only for ourselves, but to cease giving the misandrists beyond the lace curtain ammunition to attack us with. And attack us they have been, and will continue to do so.
Long have I stated that a movement needs to state what it is about, and what it is against, to be credible as a movement. As you look about now you will find such incoherency in feminism – faced with the man-hating that is their legacy, they do everything to deny them believing it, while still failing to denounce it. This contributes in no small part to the infamy that feminism finds itself saddled with. At the same time by failing to define ourselves, we lose our opportunity to begin putting nails into its coffin.
So be it. Hence, what is presented here is a manifesto of our movement.
Homosexual Activists’ War Against Christianity
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Mar 3, 2006, 6:18am
Church Seen as Main Obstacle Hindering Wholesale Acceptance of Homosexual Agenda
By Ed Vitagliano
February 21, 2006
(AgapePress) – “All churches who condemn us will be closed.” That was what Michael Swift, a “gay revolutionary,” declared in a February 1987 issue of the Gay Community News.
“Michael Swift” was a pseudonym, and the first line of the now-infamous homosexual rant — which was even reprinted in the Congressional Record — claimed that the entire piece was a “cruel fantasy” that explained “how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor.”
The “dream” was filled with a nightmare scenario that seemed like something out of a fascist coup d’etat: “All laws banning homosexual activity will be revoked …. [W]e shall make films about the love between heroic men …. The family unit — spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence — will be abolished …. All churches who condemn us will be closed.”
As the article found its way into Christian publications, believers were horrified, and homosexual activists tried to make light of its contents, claiming that it was intended merely as a satire.
New male contraceptive clears hurdle
Post by nigol on Mar 31, 2006, 1:55pm
Tyler Dunlap, a 27-year-old newlywed in San Francisco, is just one of the many American men eagerly awaiting the results of a large clinical trial in India.
The trial is studying a new male contraceptive, RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance): a reversible, nonhormonal contraceptive that provides 10 or more years of protection after a 10-15 minute procedure. Researchers received approval this week to begin enrolling additional study volunteers, after a delay of nearly four years.
“RISUG would be exciting because it would mean that, finally, I could take control of my own future, instead of leaving it to someone else,” says Dunlap. “Being in a committed long-term relationship means that I don’t want to rely on condoms for birth control. I’m not ready for a vasectomy, though. This new procedure could be the answer that gives men the decisive control we lack with current contraceptives.”
Teen nation has parents on the edge
Post by khankrumthebulgar on Feb 20, 2006, 11:51am
- C.W. Nevius
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Carole Dean got a shock when she drove up to her house in upscale Moraga on New Year’s Eve. She estimates there were about 120 teenagers swarming the place, “drinking, making out and smoking pot.”
“I had to push them to get in the house,” she says. “I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I yelled at them to ‘Get out,’ and they just disappeared, ran away or drove off.”
They left her to walk through her home in amazement. Someone had punched holes in the wall. Two doors were destroyed. The back deck was torn up. The floor was littered with bottles, some she couldn’t help but notice from the expensive Opus One winery in Napa Valley, where a bottle can set you back more than $100.