If you’re a modern liberal or a progressivist thinker, or if you’re an ordinary westerner who has not given “political equality” careful thought, the topic of this blogpost might seem repugnant to you. That’s understandable. I was once like that, too. I once thought it was obvious that women should be treated as equal and the same as men, period. But my conviction was pre-philosophical and socially conditioned: I was largely encultured to believe this through the endless mantras of the public education system and the media. Vague notions of equality and anti-discrimination were drummed into my head until they became a part of my reality. I am not here saying that these ideas are unjust or false. I am just accounting for how I once came to believe them: I was moulded that way. No one ever justified these beliefs to me–I was just told that they were true and that their contraries were false and immoral. I was thus somewhat indoctrinated toward modern liberal beliefs.
But things changed as I grew up. I became increasingly aware of the world and started thinking beyond the peripheral of my immediate life. I began to question why the western world changed so much since the 60s and 70s, particularly with the dynamics of the family. For example, there are now far greater rates of divorce, fatherless children and single moms; there is also much more crime, pornography, STDs, and teen pregnancy. I wanted to know the cause of these social ills, because they have a devastating impact on the family, which is the basis of a good and well-functioning society (I uphold a largely functionalist view of the family).
So what caused these social ills? The answer to that question is multi-faceted, but whatever answer, if it is true and complete, it must include the transition in thought concerning the political function of society as well as the role and nature of both men and women. A glance at some political philosophies during the time of the suffrage movement can help make my point. Here’s one author who accurately describes some competing philosophies:
Humour was frequently used to ridicule and minimise the demands of suffrage activists; they were depicted as mannish, hysterical, unhinged, the polar opposite of the domesticated woman in the home who was central to the correct ordering of society on gender lines.
Anti-suffragists upheld the ideology of separate spheres and the notion of complementarity rather than equality. Men and women had different roles in the world and different traits to enable them to fulfil these. Men operated in the public sphere of work and politics; women’s role was as wife and mother within the domestic sphere, although even there male authority was pre-eminent.
Society, Rev Gregg said in 1856 in a sermon in Trinity Church in Dublin, “does best when each sex performs the duties for which it is especially ordained”. Opponents of female suffrage emphasised women’s role as guardians of moral values and transmitters of these values to the next generation as wives and mothers. Every mother, The Nun of Kenmare wrote in 1874, “is forming the future generation”. Mothers were the “regenerators of the world”. She feared this vital role would be damaged by exposure to the political world, and the circulating “liberal opinions”, a reference to the suffrage campaign.
One idea to understand here is that there was once a prominent understanding that men and women, by their objective nature and difference, had different functions and areas of appropriate concern. It was thought that women were, by their very nature, directed and suited toward the roles appropriate to the home and child rearing, and that men, by their nature, were largely directed to domains outside, securing goods and income for the family and regulating broader public policies. This was not understood as an oppression toward women, but a complementary relationship between men and women for the domestic and common good, a relationship that is grounded in the natural differences and natural function of men and women. In other words, men and women are doing what they should be doing, not just as a political norm, but as a natural norm. That’s one reason why, on this system, we can’t properly refer to this relationship as “oppressive” toward women, for women were understood to be fulfilling their natural function, which is exactly what men and women should be doing (the normative is built into nature) and what is required in a well-functioning society.
But modern liberal society sees things differently. It venerates a far-reaching sense of autonomy, one that treats any institutional emphasis on the woman’s nature and function as if it were a chain to the women’s good rather than a recognition of it. Instead, in today’s liberalism, the individual is free and encouraged to decide his or her own good apart from nature and the natural role of men and women, which thus depicts the relationship between men and women as more atomistic than complementary and more socially constructivist than natural. Ideas and institutions affirming that women objectively don’t belong in this or that profession, or that they should have children, or be a housewife, or learn Home Economics are attacked as sexist. They’re attacked as sexist because liberal thinkers see these ideas as a source of attitudinal and institutional barriers to women’s autonomy and equality. In fact, some liberal legislators are so revolted by these “sexist” ideas and institutions that they impose quotas on employers ensuring that women are not excluded from some jobs. These legislators are the same sort of legislators who also ensure wide access to things we all once believed to be evil: abortion, divorce and contraception, for example. And each of these things were justified in terms of greater freedom and autonomy, too.
So why do these social ills exist in such great rates only after the 60s and the 70s? Here’s my partial answer. A growing liberalism and feminism changed the relationship between men and women, creating a political philosophy that is much more atomistic and depicts individuals as significantly more autonomous. Autonomy ursurped nature. Women understood and expressed this autonomy as though they had to be like men and function like men to be equal to men, which is where women saw power and liberty. Yet, the family can’t function properly with that dynamic. Families need the full presence and engagement of the man acting as just the father/husband and the woman acting as just the mother/wife. One provides, the other nurtures. They both work together and from within their natural roles for the end of their own good, the family’s good and society’s good. In the absence of that, family life suffers. And because the family is the foundation of a good and well-functioning society, the large dissolution of a proper family life helped cause those social ills (this is a helpful read). You could also put my point this way: These social ills are the consequence of the drastic changes in gender relations that occurred within the 20th century, though most notably from the 60s onward. In this way, my point is similar to some of the arguments found in Francis Fukuyama’s provocative and widely discussed book The Great Distruption: Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order.
Let’s be a little more concrete. Consider abortion. During a height of second-wave feminism, abortion issue was framed in liberal and feminist terms, depicting it as a matter of autonomy and privacy. Their success gave women in America license to kill their own children. From that time, there has almost been 50 million abortions. In terms of the loss of life and destruction of families, this feminist and liberal legacy is more evil and damaging than the Transatlantic Slave Trade. That might sound surprising, but I’m not exaggerating. The numbers of abortions since Roe drawfs the number of blacks captured and enslaved throughout several centuries. Hence, American slavery doesn’t hold a light to abortion. Moreover, I should also add that the most frequent human killer of blacks today is neither whitey nor the police (not even remotely close), but black mothers. After them, it’s black men. Blacks are thus killing themselves and their own families more than any other race, which gives reason to think that modern liberalism and feminism has been particularly detrimental to black people and black families. As one Washington Times reporter put it: “According to the CDC, between 2007 and 2010, innocent black babies were victimized in nearly 36 percent of the abortion deaths in the United States, though blacks represent only 12.8 percent of the population.”
For people concerned with an excessive reliance on immigration and a loss of nation, understand that the number of babies aborted by women is millions and millions more than the number of every living immigrant in America today. Hence, it seems that there’s such a strong reliance on immigrants today partially because American women keep killing their children while they’re in the womb. It should thus be clear: The prevalent me-first liberalism and feminism of our day heavily favours the individual and her desires over the good and perpetuation of the family and nation, allowing for her national duty to procreate to be deferred onto foreigners.
We can say similar things about contraceptive sex. In my own country, Canada, 1971 was the first year when we began to reproduce below the rate of replacement. As a result, we slowly turned from a country of youthfulness and expansion to one of age and decline. Consequently, we now rely on immigration to sustain the country. Here’s one government source on this issue:
This demographic shift over the last 150 years has resulted in a transition from a country with a relatively young and growing population to one with an aging population, which is increasingly reliant on immigration for population growth.
In explaining why this shift occurred, the document says that by the end of the 1960s, many social variables changed. Here are some of the changes it cites:
The influence of religion on daily life was in decline, contraception was now more effective and readily available than ever and the participation of women in higher education and in the paid labour force was on the rise. Fertility levels fell rapidly.
Changes to divorce legislation in 1968, and again in 1986, allowed for easier access to divorce and a subsequent increase in the number of divorces, likely affecting both the number and timing of births for couples.
What it is talking about here is the achievements of second-wave feminism and the strengthening of modern liberalism. Many people look at this and say “progress” (I’d beg to differ), but what should be pointed out is that we are able to “progress” and sustain ourselves only if foreigners make babies for us – we depend on them for the continuation of the country and nation so that we can focus on ourselves. That’s selfish. It’s also a snub to the nation, for we are not doing our part to sustain it despite all of the good things our country and nation has given us and for the goods it can give our countrymen in the future.
But the problems don’t stop there. A lot of the times, if we do have children, it’s in two-income families, because women have left the home and entered the workforce in droves. Hence, both mom and dad are working, leaving children far less attended to by their parents than in pre-1960 generation, which has detrimental effects on their children. Matters are even worse for single-parent families, which are usually the product of divorce or absentee fathers.
Divorce is also common today. It was liberalized in the 60s and 70s by liberals and feminists (surprised?). Divorce rates are now about 40% to 50%. This, too, has a negative impact on children, as you can imagine. Sex was also liberalized then. Liberals and Progressivists balk at this complaint, seeing sex as liberated and conservatives as prudish, but just look at the impact that followed the liberalization of sex. The rates of STDs skyrocketed and so did unmarried teen pregnancies. That’s bad. Pornography went through the roof. That’s also bad (see here, here,and here). In addition, the liberalization of sex led to a far greater rate of fatherless children, because the men were not committed to the women with whom they had sex. This, too, has negative effects for children. Yes, men need to take care of their children, and so we need to hold fathers accountable for them, but the fact that fatherlessness is only now a national concern can’t be simply explained with “more men are choosing to act irresponsibly”. We need to also look at the transitions of social thought and philosophy such as those that dissolved the bond and sanctity of marriage, and even those that loosened the association between marriage, procreation and sex. These transitions are partially anchored in the philosophies of modern liberalism and feminism. A conservatism about sex thus need not rooted in prudish and unnecessary sentiments, but in an understanding and appreciation that a liberalization of sex has bad consequences for society.
So feminists and their ilk might have attained their autonomy, which is a win for modern liberalism, but it’s society and children who bear a large consequence for it. Why? Because women largely have their natural and societal function elsewhere. Human sexuality has its proper function elsewhere, too. When you pervert these functions, bad shit happens. Families become dysfunctional. So does society.
Women: We need a more traditional family. If you have children (and you should have children), you largely belong in the home for a long while. Let men do the rest. It’s not a power thing. It’s not about “oppression”. These are just the domains of our respective natural strengths and powers, those that better support the family, society and nation. If you don’t accept that, then, at a minimum, understand this: Human beings didn’t evolve in accordance to the precepts of feminism and modern liberalism; hence, you can claim that we are politically equal as much as you want, but the family and society, and their objective needs, these are all things that concern natural institutions and natural facts about human beings. The natural always precedes the political. Modern liberalism and feminism are horrible and evil for society because they deny that fact.
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- Part 2: Responding to Transgender Philosophers: “Talia Mae Bettcher” - January 15, 2018
- Part 1: Responding to Transgender Philosophers – “Talia Mae Bettcher” - January 14, 2018
- On Half Men: A Rant Againt Feminism and the Neglect of Virility - January 8, 2018
- “Philosopher” Robin Dembroff Writes About Roy Moore - January 5, 2018
- Don Lemon and Ryan Anderson Debate Homo “Marriage” Stuff - January 4, 2018
- What We Can Learn from the Nativity Story - December 25, 2017
- What is natural law? - December 23, 2017
- In Defence of Philosopher Tully Borland - December 7, 2017
- On the Black Family, Absentee Parents and Progressivism - November 24, 2017