If you’re reading Chalcedon, you probably already know that feminism is a very bad idea that has done real harm to civilization.
Attorney Kate O’Beirne, Washington editor of National Review and a regular on CNN’s The Capital Gang, does a thorough job of trying and convicting feminism for crimes against common sense and sanity. If you have any doubts about that, her book will remove them.
What are feminism’s crimes? O’Beirne devotes a chapter to each count of the indictment: undermining the family; weakening the parent-child bond and putting children at risk; creating dishonest legal theories that ruin people’s lives and hurt the body politic; wrecking our educational system; demolishing college sports; weakening our armed forces; poisoning our political system; and establishing abortion as a kind of feminist sacrament, to the tune of more than 40 million unborn babies killed.
“All these women who make the world worse by waging a destructive war between the sexes are at war with Mother Nature,” she concludes (p. 199).
The Role of the Federal Government
The most revealing insight of the book, not necessarily what the author intended, has to do with the role of the federal government, which empowers and enables feminism by feeding it with uncounted billions of tax dollars. Without your tax dollars, doled out to them by bureaucrats in Washington, feminists would be just another gaggle of loopy malcontents.
What does feminism cost America, just in terms of tax dollars paid out to subsidize it? On every other page of this book, the government steps in to enact new laws, set up new bureaucracies, fund new studies, empanel new commissions — on and on, no end to it, hemorrhaging millions of dollars with every fitful twitch.
Has anyone counted this money? Just from the information given in this book, the total must run into the tens of billions.
And what do we, the people, get out of this? Not much, says O’Beirne. Mostly the money funds programs that function as feminist job banks.
But the money does enable feminists to be powerful, and they’ve wreaked havoc with their power. O’Beirne cites dozens of examples. The whole enterprise, she says, is “an agenda that demands radical social engineering to eliminate any differences between the sexes” (p. xviiii).
As for concrete results:
- Parents today spend 50% less time with their children than they did 40 years ago (p. xx).
- The American Psychological Association holds that fathers are not necessary for the successful upbringing of children (p. 10).
- One third of all American children are born out of wedlock, up from 9% in 1960 (p. 14).
- Our basic civil rights have been abridged. Says UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh, “Without much fanfare, the law of ‘workplace harassment’ has turned into a national speech code” (p. 61).
- In our public schools, thousands of boys have been medicated with Ritalin to make them as tractable as girls (p. 74).
- More than 700 “women’s studies” programs have been set up in our universities, where they do little more than turn students into “relentless grievance collectors … too suspicious to function in the workaday world” (p. 86).
- To placate feminists, we have weakened our military — even to the point of putting into harm’s way female soldiers who are too small to use war-fighting equipment safely or efficiently (pp. 130–131).
- Abortion has become the preferred method of birth control, defended by political geniuses like Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), who once said, “I have to march [in a pro-abortion demonstration] because my mother could not have an abortion” (p. 176).
Every jot and tittle of this — and so much more — has been subsidized by the federal government. Given the harm wrought by feminism, we are tempted to accuse the government of funding the slow destruction of America.
If there ever was an argument for drastically reducing the size and scope of government and hamstringing its power to take and waste our money, this is it.
Down with Mom!
If you still think feminism is about “equal pay for equal work,” read O’Beirne’s book. What it’s really about is having a badly deranged vision of reality.
Feminism displays its true colors in its never-ending quest to denigrate and someday abolish motherhood.
This is not a passing fad, but something that has been with modern feminism from the beginning and still animates it today. We go from feminist icon Betty Friedan in 1963, “It was easier for me to start the women’s movement … than to change my own personal life” (p. 1), to Kate Millet in 1969, “[D]estroy marriage” (p. 2), to Barbara Ehrenreich in 1981 describing the family as “a nest of pathology and a cradle of gruesome violence” (p. 4). Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in 2003, “Motherly love … [is] a myth that men have created” to keep women down (p. 24).
Joan Peters in 1997 declared it’s a bad thing for mothers to be home with their children (p. 26) and was echoed by Professor Gretchen Ritter of the University of Texas in 2004: “Full-time mothering is bad for children” (p. 32). Finally, feminist psychologist Dr. Sandra Scarr has inspired many fellow feminists by describing the mother-child bond as a disease! “New treatments will be developed for children in exclusive maternal attachments (EMA),” she predicted (p. 40). Dr. Scarr is a past president of the American Psychological Association.
Here we leave loopiness behind and enter into the realm of abomination. Godlessness has warped these women’s minds, and government funding has given them the power to influence law and policy. Without the money, they’d just be funny. With the money, the joke is on us.
O’Beirne Off Target
If you want to read hundreds of bizarre feminist quotes and gnash your teeth every time the state lays another boxcar-load of money on them, read O’Beirne’s book. For the time being, let’s jump ahead to her concluding chapter, entitled, “Mother Nature Is a Bitch.”
“Feminists have squared off against Mother Nature, and she’s no feminist,” O’Beirne says (p. 180). Whether they’re railing against “compulsory heterosexuality” (p. 181) or trying to stop scientific research into the differences between the sexes (p. 182), they are always, in the author’s view, kicking against the goads of nature.
But by nature she means just that: blind, insensate nature, governed by laws of natural selection. Mrs. O’Beirne — who has successfully maintained her long-term marriage, and raised two sons, and had the courage and the integrity to yank them out of public school early on and educate them in Catholic schools — disappoints us in the end by opting for a naturalistic explanation of why feminism is wrong.
“The drive for reproductive success dictated the sexes’ behavior,” she writes (p. 184). “If a feminist cave-dweller subscribed to Ms. magazine and bought into being sexually liberated, evolution would have seen to it that her feminist genes would have perished along with her abandoned offspring” (p. 185). Mothering skills, she concludes, are the “result of natural selection” (p. 190), while “Men needed spatial skills to hit moving targets and to make tools” (p. 194), and so on, for a whole chapter.
Well, what’s wrong with making that argument?
First, it simply isn’t true. The Bible tells us that men and women are different because that’s how God created them: “male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27). God also created the family as our basic social institution, pre-dating tribes, cities, nations, states, etc. All of these more complicated institutions rest on the foundation of the family, and have so rested for the entirety of human history.
By arguing from a standpoint of evolution, O’Beirne puts herself in the same presuppositional ballpark as the feminists. Feminists are naturalists; they believe fervently in evolution. And upon this framework may be erected any just-so story that meets the rhetorical needs of the moment. So we find alleged scientists publishing scientific papers about the evolution of homosexuality as a boon to human survival during some vague, totally conjectural interlude in prehistory.
Evolution is a harlot who’ll go to bed with anyone who pays her. Feminists can certainly find any number of naturalistic, “evolutionary” arguments to justify their program.
We got into this socio-political mess in the first place by turning our backs on God, disregarding His Word, and substituting our own inventions for it. Feminism is one of those inventions. We will not escape from our predicament by coming up with more inventions. Godlessness is the bus that brought us here, and it’s a one-way trip. Mrs. O’Beirne would be well advised to get off.
Only when we stand on God’s Word do we have any firm place to stand at all. Otherwise, moral issues fall into perpetual debate — a debate whose outcome is influenced by outside factors like money, access to the media, political maneuvering, demagoguery, intimidation, and sometimes even violence.
So although O’Beirne has given feminism a black eye, she has by no means won the fight. For that we must put on the full armor of God and wage spiritual warfare.