I saw a skit or commercial where the female characters from the television show Mad Men – secretaries and office girls from the 1960s – were confronted by the time traveler Ellen DeGeneres, a celebrity of some sort but known to me only because of her widely publicized sexual degeneracy. In the little skit, DeGeneres exclaims to the benighted damsels of the allegedly remote past that women in the future have full equal rights. She includes “the right to get married” as the crown in the list of such civil rights enjoyed by the future women. The writers of the skit intended this to be a triumphant rather than a ridiculous statement, and intended it to mean that women of the future have the civil right to get married to each other, that is, to have an unnatural lesbian liaison with one of their own sex called marriage, and treated with solemnity and legal recognition.
As I watched in awe at the perfection of tone-deaf parochialism involved in retrofitting modern Lefty echo-chamber sentiments to the generations of our mothers and grandmothers, I could not help but wonder: by what means have we come to this?
Whether the time traveling ambassadrix of female emancipation also mentioned the woman’s right to alter their bodies with carcinogenic chemicals to produce temporary sterility, or to kill their own beloved offspring in the womb, and to compel the public coffers to pay for both abominations, that I do not happen to recall, and I am unwilling, due to my delicacy of digestion, to move my finger the half-inch it would require to look the matter up on the worldwide computer system we enjoy here in the future.
I felt a moment of vertigo as I contemplated the immensity of the gulf that stretched between the rational creatures of the universe and the creatures that had, in all seriousness, conceived and wrote and produced this skit and aired it to the public.
The writers were not writing a parody, and there was a certain charming innocence and fecklessness about the ham-handed approach. As best I can tell, the writers actually expected the characters from the 1960s to regard their lives as intolerable thralldom akin to the slaves of the antebellum south toiling under the lash, or the Hebrew under the taskmasters in Egypt, and moreover to regard the indulgence in a sexual perversion so disgusting that it could not be mentioned in public during the era in question as the culmination of the Lincolnesque or Mosaic manumission the Year 2000 promised.
The writers expected the ladies of our mothers’ generation to greet the advent of sexual promiscuity, culminating in infanticide and abomination, by an ovation of incredulous joy, as if that was what all feminists and suffragettes and lovers of liberty had indeed been yearning and dreaming and sacrificing and struggling forever to achieve. The lack of proportion is disoriented, like meeting a man who soberly intones that the whole of World War Two was fought only in order to cure the Great Depression.
Furthermore, the writers apparently expected the modern audience bovinely to accept the idea that the women of that era would indeed regard these matters in this light, to frame their opinions in this frame.
By “this frame” I mean specifically the philosophical axiom (or rhetorical conceit) that the male-female dynamic, the institution of marriage, the role of women in society, should be analyzed in Marxist terms of an oppressive possessing class and an oppressed laboring class; and that the male-female question was the same as the race question and was nothing but that.
Lest any think I exaggerate, allow me in this context to quote from Shulamith Firestone in her landmark 1970 book, The Dialectic of Sex.
“So that just as to assure elimination of economic classes requires the revolt of the underclass (the proletariat) and, in a temporary dictatorship, their seizure of the means of production, so to assure the elimination of sexual classes requires the revolt of the underclass (women) and the seizure of control of reproduction: not only the full restoration to women of ownership of their own bodies, but also their (temporary) seizure of control of human fertility – the new population biology as well as all the social institutions of child-bearing and child-rearing.
“And just as the end goal of socialist revolution was not only the elimination of the economic class privilege but of the economic class distinction itself, so the end goal of feminist revolution must be, unlike that of the first feminist movement, not just the elimination of male privilege but of the sex distinction itself: genital differences between human beings would no longer matter culturally. (A reversion to an unobstructed pansexuality Freud’s ‘polymorphous perversity’ – would probably supersede hetero/homo/bi-sexuality.) The reproduction of the species by one sex for the benefit of both would be replaced by (at least the option of) artificial reproduction: children would born to both sexes equally, or independently of. either, however one chooses to look at it; the dependence of the child on the mother (and vice versa) would give way to a greatly shortened dependence on a small group of others in general, and any remaining inferiority to adults in physical strength would be compensated for culturally. The division of labour would be ended by the elimination of labour altogether (through cybernetics). The tyranny of the biological family would be broken.”
If you are like me, a safety valve in your brain is preventing you from noticing the true depth of depravity and insanity this passage embraces. Reread it. Savor it. In this passage, Miss (or so I assume, for none would marry such a termagant) Firestone explicitly says she is expanding the analysis of Marxism to declare war both on the cultural institutions of the family and on biological reality of sex.
She proposes to liberate women from womanhood, to achieve freedom for her sex by eliminating sex.
To call this barking-mad moonbat lunacy would be a mild understatement. When King Canute waved his sword at the sea to drive back the tide, he did it to silence the flattery of his courtiers by reminding them of the limitations of royal power. No man’s sword can turn the tide. Nor more can any social revolution, even one armed with the considerable power to denude humans of the adjuncts of their human nature, eliminate humanness without eliminating the humans. Far more foolish than this ancient king is the dame who waves her sword in daintier hand in earnest at a sea which rages larger and is pulled by deeper tides.
Reading this passage by Miss Firestone is like overhearing the raving apocalyptic visions of flat-earthers who declare war on the dome of the sky, and who then, with a battlecry and brave flourish of lance and saber, charge boldly for the spot on their horizon where their theory says the sky-dome surely touches the ground.
I cannot help but wonder: by what means have we come to this?
The argument is too large and long to fit into one essay, or even a series of essays. In the next few columns, I hope only to cover the basic points: not to make the argument, but merely to lay out where the argument should go.
John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program“). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.
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