The Feminist Reaction (to the pro-family world)

The Feminist Reaction

“Feminist theory…is passionate and salvationist in a similar way to Marxism, new religious movements, and occult enthusiasms: all of them know in advance not only the conclusions they will arrive at but the appropriate attitude toward those conclusions. Academically, it is mostly unsophisticated. A little light generalizing work is followed by polysyllabic decoration and some spray-on indignation.”

~ Kenneth Minogue, Times Literary Supplement, June 7, 1991

The modern feminist reaction to the pro-family arrangement outlined in my last post gathered steam throughout the early part of the 20th century, accelerated by the experience of two World Wars in which so many women were put to work out of the home. It was also reinforced by a growing world-wide egalitarianism expressed in various Statist movements – fascism and communism – themselves the contributory causes of those wars. Along with this came the vastly-increased wealth of all free Western nations, which meant in turn the possibility of historically unprecedented tax harvesting, and therefore the possibility of … ever larger governments, huge, as never before seen. This in turn meant that more and more government services for “the people” could be dreamed up and actually delivered on a massive scale as never before imagined – in the hope of votes to be gained. For such states – all now less-free “democratic” States – the greatest competitor for citizen loyalty was, (and remains) voluntary civil society and its mainspring, the private natural family. This in turn meant that governments vying for votes had what has turned out to be a socially-destructive motive to compete for citizen allegiance, against the inward pull of civil society and the family. New tax-funded “free” services were the State’s weapon of choice and became widely offered as replacements for those things families and their communities had always voluntarily arranged to provide for themselves. Soon local clubs, associations and art guilds and the like, faded in importance, to be replaced by government-subsidized recreational, cultural, and social equivalents.

Citizens were initially offered the big programs such as social security and unemployment protection, but before long they were offered everything from kiddie soccer to flower arranging, to courses in personal and business finance, to beginner guitar and dance courses. All free, state-funded or subsidized. In order to provide such things “equally” the State had to begin an “atomization” of society by changing the historical focus on the family unit, to a new focus on autonomous individuals. In this manner, without regard for any private or economic or circumstantial family differences, the State was re-engineering the former State/society relationship, into a new State/individual one. For this to succeed, civil society and the natural family as its foundation had to be weakened in influence, and when it came to the rising ideological imperative of “equality” this meant that biological gender as the deciding factor in family formation and sex-role differentiation had to be neutralized. The public schools and education Ministries of the State would do that job. Enter modern feminism as an arm of the autonomizing State. That is the general background for the corrosive forces worming away at all modern societies.

More specifically, the rise of feminism in the 20th century was directly linked to the Marxist anti-capitalist movement through Simone de Beauvoir’s influential book The Second Sex – basically a treatment of the condition of women. There was much of originality in it, but she herself volunteered that its underlying philosophy was derived largely from the work of her philandering companion, Jean-Paul Sartre. In it, de Beauvoir was militantly anti-capitalist, anti-property, anti-marriage, and anti-family. She admired the Soviet model of society, of all things: “Marriage was to be based on a free agreement that the spouses could break at will; maternity was to be voluntary; pregnancy leaves were to be paid for by the State, which would assume charge of the children . . . .”[1] Much of that has indeed come to pass. She was talking about Soviet society as her ideal, but it might as well have been about Canada, 2017, because that is still our radical feminist song! De Beauvoir was succeeded by serious North American feminist writers like Millet, Friedan, and Steinem, most of whom shared her admiration for socialism under one name or another, which “can be considered virtually a further distinguishing mark of feminism.”[2] These first-line modern feminists were in turn succeeded by a virtual army of post-modern feminists whose turgid works are still visible on any bookstore shelf devoted to their ever more creative forms of envy-and-oppression theory. But it doesn’t matter. When it comes to putting a finger on just what feminism’s basic beliefs are, we can encapsulate the philosopher Michael Levin’s four points (his words in quotes) as follows. Feminists believe:

1. That “men and women are the same”—anatomical differences apart. [This is a version of the Equality Illusion at work, and a lot of recent science on sex differences blows that argument right out of the water – see “Brain-Sex,” below].

2. That “men unfairly occupy positions of dominance” because they have been raised in the myth that boys are more aggressive than girls, and have been taught mastery, while girls have been taught people skills instead [a version of the Determinist Illusion]. Without this stereotyping, all “leadership would be equally divided between the sexes.”

3. “Traditional femininity is a suffocating and pathological response” to women’s restricted lives and must be abandoned. Everyone must reject the idea that sex has any significant effect on one’s nature.

4. All the above changes “will require the complete transformation of society.” [The principal tool here is the Rights Illusion. See the quote by Dulude at the head of this chapter].

Do The Feminist Assumptions Hold Up?

In order to do their work of attacking a traditional, biologically-based natural society, radical feminists have had to argue “there are no innate differences” between men and women. Accordingly, and on this – as I shall show, false – assumption, they have pushed for (and won) various “pay equity” statutes, state-funded abortion-on-demand laws, and continue to argue that state-funded daycare is a right. All these claims and the programs linked to them are seriously flawed. In what follows, I will show why.

A major shot across the bow attacking the “no biological differences” claim – the foundation stone of all feminist theory – was an early report on the assumption of male-female sameness by Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jacklin, two feminist psychologists from prestigious Stanford University, published in their exhaustive two-volume work, The Psychology of Sex Differences.[3] These two social scientists set out to survey the entire field of studies on psychological sex differences, under the assumption there were none. But what they learned was that clear and important differences exist between boys and girls even before birth. There are wide, and universal differences across whole ranges of physical sensitivity, illness, perception, learning, tactility, language, spatial abilities, pain threshold, and on and on. Of course, there are great similarities, too. But significant differences are detected in all areas studied, through the various stages of development. This would not surprise most parents, for as Levin humorously reminds us, “Any veteran of adolescence and parenthood still able to believe that boys and girls are born alike has already withstood more evidence than any laboratory can provide.” The best known difference is the general superior female ability with language, and general superior male ability with mathematics and spatial relations—both noticed early and continuously throughout life. (My own case is quite the opposite.) But the most important difference, one I am sure Maccoby and Jacklin hoped they would not find, but certainly did, was in “aggression.” In their chapter on “power relationships,” here is what they report: “It is time to consider whether the sex difference in aggression has a biological foundation. We contend that it does”:

1. “Males are more aggressive than females in all human societies for which evidence is available.”

2. The sex differences are found early in life, at a time when there is no evidence that differential socialization pressures have been brought to bear by adults to “shape” aggression differently in the two sexes.

3. Similar sex differences are found in man and subhuman primates.

4. Aggression is related to levels of sex hormones, and can be changed by experimental administrations of these hormones.

For anyone who seriously considers the whole subject of male-female sex differences, this early and sweeping survey must be conclusive, especially because these authors were working hard to discount male/female differences in the scientific literature. Quite clearly, there are no grounds whatsoever for the pivotal feminist claim that males and females are fundamentally the same, and “the accessibility of the immense volume of material on sex difference makes the continued respectability of feminism no less than a scandal.”[4]

~

Even though most sensible people can see that boys and girls, and men and women have always behaved differently, and normally desire different kinds of lives, many modern social scientists and ideologues caught up in the feminist egalitarian myth have resisted this truth. So strong was this resistance that by the 1960s radical feminists actually set out to change biology, mostly by ignoring it entirely, disputing its findings, or attempting to reverse male and female behaviours through social conditioning. As biologist Glenn Wilson emphasizes, they were interested not in what is but in what they felt ought to be. If boys are too aggressive, let’s punish aggression. If girls are not aggressive enough, let’s reward aggression. My own high school, formerly a boys-only school, is now co-ed and boasts of teaching boys and girls “against the grain.” In a recent school brochure teachers and parents were urged to make sure that boys and girls “spend time in activities that they may not be ‘hardwired’ to choose of their own accord.” I think that “make sure,” means “force them.” The underlying faith of such teachers is – has to be – the strange belief that boys and girls start life exactly the same and that all human differences are therefore “socially constructed.” Most honest social scientists thinking in this strange way end up discovering that their egalitarian ideals have biased their research results.

In the past twenty years, however, much more, and more in-depth scientific work has been done on sex differences of all sorts, much of it with the help of modern technology, and I have summarized many of these studies in The Book of Absolutes under the rubric “Brain Sex.”[5] The scientific evidence in support of innate, natural and universal male-female differences must now be considered overwhelming and conclusive. However, because many of these differences are matters of degree it helps to think of overlapping circles when imagining such things. In other words, science has found that although a large number of skills and behaviours are shared between the sexes, the averages for each sex are distinctly non-aligned. This means we can never say all men or all women do so and so or behave in such and such a way. But we may say that ‘on average,” they do. Suffice it to say for now, however, and merely to whet the appetite, that such brain-sex differences – most of them universal and cross-cultural (in all societies studied to date) – are presumed to have a biological basis, whether hormonal or brain-based, but usually both. Patterns found show clear differences in such things as: levels of sense awareness, verbal abilities, math abilities, spatial abilities (both imagined and actual), throwing and targeting skills, fine-motor skills, rotational and directional skills, skills in games like chess (spatial emphasis) and scrabble (verbal emphasis), problem-solving psychology, and more.

My next post will be about “Brain Sex,” as it has been called – which is to say, about the basic biologically-determined differences between boys and girls, who, as some truth-telling observer once noted, “Are as different above the neck, as they are below.”

[1] Levin, Feminism and Freedom, p.26.

[2] Levin, Feminism and Freedom, p.20.

[3] Eleanor Maccoby and Carol Jenkins, The Psychology of Sex Differences (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1974), vol. 1. This volume was at the time a thorough survey of the entire field of sex-differences research. Despite their expressed hypothesis that there would be no inherent differences between males and females, scholarly objectivity won out: both scholars conclude that there are indeed inherent, genetically and hormonally produced differences.

[4] Levin, Feminism and Freedom, p. 70

[5] William D. Gairdner, The Book of Absolutes: A Critique of Relativism and a Defence of Universals (Montreal-Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008), pp.

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