The Root of Cultural Decay is Feminism
Excerpt from Chapter 25, “The Root of Cultural Decay Is Feminism,” Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left, Timothy J. Gordon, David R. Gordon, TAN Books, 2020 (used with permission).
The family is the building block of society. It is the wellspring and training ground of future generations. It is the natural setting where the virtues are learned: piety, morality, prudence, frugality, decency, etiquette and every good thing for our youth. As the family goes, so goes society. It is precisely for this reason that the family has found itself under full-fledged radical assault in the past half-century.
If radicals succeed in rending asunder the family, in re-educating our kids, they will have won the culture. This is why Vladimir Lenin boasted, “Give me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.” The primary vehicle that radicals have used to undermine the family is feminism. It is a bald-faced lie that the purpose of feminism is to achieve “equal rights” for women. That’s merely the party line fed to the ignorant and the bitter. The animating purpose for feminism has always been the overthrow of the “patriarchy,” the headship of men in society and, particularly, in the family.
It is a little-known fact that, even as far back as the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention (the coming-out party for “first-wave” feminism), the attendant bluestockings declared, “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpation on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her,” and that “In the covenant of marriage, [the wife] is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master.” Empowering women legally and politically is, for feminists, but a mere means to end patriarchy.
Once the rightful leaders of the family, fathers, are deposed, radicals know that they will be free to remake the family into an arm of their apparatus, or at the very least to dismantle it as a bastion of the old order. Like Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, radicals fear nothing as much as the righteous, broad-shouldered man.
However, patriarchy will not lightly be cast off. It has been willed by God from the beginning of creation. This is the reason why Adam had authority over Eve (as evidenced by him naming her), even prior to the Fall, in the state of original justice. It’s why God empowered Abraham, Noah, Moses, Aaron, and Joseph to guide his people. It’s why Christ selected twelve men to be the princes of his Church. It’s why there continues to be, as a matter of Christian doctrine, an all-male priesthood. It’s the reason why, throughout human history, “There is not, nor has there ever been, any society that even remotely failed to associate authority and leadership in suprafamilial areas with the male” [Steven Goldberg, Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance (Chicago: Open Court, 1993), 15].
A rebellion against patriarchy is a rebellion against God himself — it’s a rebellion against the order and intelligibility of the universe. As with other failed systems like Marxism, when man attempts to set aside human nature, the consequences are dire. For years, feminists have been attempting to subvert marriage and family life in an attempt to disrupt patriarchy. They have tasted a great deal of success in their endeavor. No-fault divorce has become the law of the land, yielding a marital attrition rate of about 50%. Abortion, which “frees” women from maternal duties, is legal and rampant, producing 57 million human casualties in the United States alone since 1973.
Contraception, another insulator against the chief gift of marriage, children, is virtually ubiquitous, with 98% of sexually active women having used a contraceptive method at some point. Feminists have also taken to attacking motherhood, shaming housewives for being “lazy” and “unambitious” and pressuring them to take up needless glamor-careers for the sake of “empowerment.” Currently, 70% of women have abandoned minor-age children in exchange for careers outside the home, delegating mothering duties to disinterested nannies and sterile day-care centers.
As Pope Pius XII once lamented, when the mother is absent from the home, it becomes “desolate for lack of care,” with members “working separately at different hours in different parts of the city and hardly ever meeting one another, not even for the principal meal or for the rest at the end of the day’s work, much less for family prayers.” Even in many otherwise-functional, traditional marriages, the wife (contrary to scripture — e.g., Titus 2:5, 1 Peter 3:1–7 — and reason) has usurped her husband’s authority and headship over the family, resulting in a de facto leadership vacuum. Hen-pecked, uxorious men are now the rule.
The foregoing feminist machinations have produced wages of the most fetid sort. The culture has quickly become crass and despondent. Drug-addiction, pornography, violence and crudity abound. Mass shootings, which are almost always perpetrated by young men from broken homes, are now routine. Of a recent sample of 56 school shooters, a scant 10 were raised in a home with both biological parents. Studies show that “a father’s absence increases antisocial behavior, such as aggression, rule-breaking, delinquency and illegal drug use — especially among boys” [John C. Goodman, “Are Liberals at Fault for the Breakup of the Family?” Forbes, March 16, 2015.
Since 1999, the general suicide rate has increased by 33% in the United States. However, the female suicide rate has increased by 53% to the male’s 26%. For people between the ages of 10 and 24 years old, the suicide rate increased by 56% in the 10-year span between 2007 and 2017. What’s more, kids raised in a single-parent home are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as their peers raised in traditional homes. Even without poring over facts and figures, one can palpably sense that we’re living in a time of general Western malaise — an unseen specter has long haunted us, sending a frisson down the spine of society.
Feminism has failed to deliver even on its empty promises to women. In their paper “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers analyzed women’s happiness trends between 1970 and 2005. To the surprise of many, they discovered that despite women’s newfound “liberation” and “progress,” female contentment scores decreased every decade from the time the survey was administered. In other words, despite a spate of new legal rights and protections, women are less happy than they were in the “dark days” of widespread housewifery. In 1960, women’s self-reported happiness was greater than that of men. By 2005, men were the happier sex. It’s clear that we’ve been sold a defective product.
Central as it is to the health of the culture at large, the family simply cannot be overlooked as the primary locus of the battle for the soul of society. Thus, if the retrograde is to rescue society from the clutches of radicals, he will have to do so by purifying and reinvigorating the family, the most noble and ancient of institutions. This necessitates that we discredit and decisively reject the saccharine hemlock of feminism and its contumacious rebellion against patriarchy.
Men, rise up and grasp firmly the mantle of leadership in your homes. Insisting on wielding your God-given scepter of authority isn’t bullying — it’s your sacred duty. Hold fast to your wedding vows; love your wives; teach your kids diligently; but flee from any temptation to cede your rightful authority, giving way to a practical matriarchy. If we diligently attend to our families, providing for them, educating them, loving them, guiding them and growing them, in one generation we will have taken back control of the culture from the deviants who have long plotted its demise.
David Gordon holds university degrees in political science, law and theology. He is co-author of Rules for Retrogrades: Forty Tactics to Defeat the Radical Left. Gordon is an associate copy editor at Church Militant and a co-host of the Resistance Podcast with Joe Gallagher.
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