Homer Edward Price left a comment at my early The Atheist Case for Patriarchy post where he makes the argument that a return to patriarchy is neither possible nor desirable. My position is completely the opposite; that a return to patriarchy is both inevitable and vitally necessary.
The purpose of patriarchy is ultimately emotional well being and in the extreme survival in that if family breakdown and the destruction of family relationships goes far enough then the actual maintenance of civilization and ability of human beings to perpetuate themselves will fail. It is very interesting that feminism seems to lead to below replacement fertility universally. True the fertility decline below replacement level in many many countries is a form of population control that provides benefits to the environment; the carrying capacity of planet earth is finite; but feminism leading to below replacement fertility just proves that feminism is totally unsustainable as a social system or means of organizing society.
In the modern world where physical survival is easy to maintain in the rich Western countries it needs to be seen that patriarchy is about emotional well being and sustaining relationships between men and women and between parents and their children. Patriarchy is both emotional and practical but it is the emotional necessity of patriarchy that is the most pressing concern in the rich countries where feminism is running rampant and where physical survival is not a problem due to high income levels and social welfare. Patriarchy is the means by which men love women in a practical way. A man can love women emotionally under feminism as the love emotion is hardwired in men in reaction to attraction indicators in women but under feminism a man’s love for women has no direction or purpose and so cannot “do anything” or serve the woman in a practical concrete way. Patriarchy allows for men’s romantic feelings towards women to be put to practical use to benefit the woman concretely and materially. This material support of the woman then allows for the woman to care for her children effectively since the woman is not being burdened with having to take care of herself. In this way patriarchy is necessary both for good relations between men and women and also for good relations between parents and their children.
Patriarchy is the means by which resources are transferred from men to women. Under feminism the transfer of resources from men to women stops because “empowering” women makes it dangerous for a man to provide for a woman as the man will not be able to control how his investment in the woman will be used. The stopping of the resource transfer from the man to the woman is effectively theft from the woman or abandonment of the woman. The woman then responds to this abandonment inflicted on her by the feminist man by in turn withdrawing resources and investment from her children so that the woman then effectively steals from the child to make up for the loss inflicted on her by the man stealing from her. In this way feminism ultimately is based on adults stealing from children and this is why children under feminism always end up being worse off than their parents in terms of their ability to form relationships and family units as adults. The ever worsening social indicators that characterize feminism are the result of this process of intergenerational deterioration.
So patriarchy is about the family and the maintenance of social skills and human relationships from generation to generation. Feminism is not at all stable over time and is always accompanied by deterioration and decline.
It is this never ending deterioration in human relationships and psychological well being that makes returning to patriarchy vitally necessary. It is also this intrinsic quality of feminism where feminism is always stealing from the future to satisfy its needs today that will lead to the death of feminism and the inevitable return of the natural order in human affairs that we call patriarchy. Feminism is not fun, it leads to much heart ache and suffering among those trapped in its grasp. This harm caused by feminism then leads eventually to revolt and a searching for a better way. This revolt against feminism can be seen concretely in the rise of conservative forms of religion that emphasize traditional gender roles. It is the Christian Complementarian and Christian Patriarchy churches that are growing the fastest right now. Christianity overall is in decline but Christian Patriarchy is rising fast; there is a hunger for alternative communities where gender roles are taught and encouraged. Such conservative forms of Christianity are particularly popular among the young; often college aged men and women.
What is happening among the Jews is particularly fascinating as far as cultural revival and the return of patriarchy is concerned. Historically Jews have often been atheist and liberal but it is precisely among this atheist and liberal population that the strongest patriarchal revival of them all took off. I am referring to the rise of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism here. The patriarchal revival among Jews got started around 1955 when the fertility rate of Ultra-Orthodox Jews started to rise. Before 1955 there was not much difference between the lifestyles of Ultra-Orthodox Jews and other Jews; after 1955 however fertility started increasing specifically within the Ultra-Orthodox population and other changes occurred to such as the age of marriage decreasing and the number of men dedicating themselves to full-time religious study increasing. Now conservative religious practice among Jews is so widespread that 74% of Jewish children in New York City in 2011 lived in Orthodox homes. The indicators of social disorder in Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods is amazingly low, similar to what the United States overall was like 100 years ago.
It is true that atheism is fast on the rise in the United States but judging from the Jewish experience mass atheism may simply be a prelude to mass religious revival. Atheism as a community has shown no evidence of being able to put together a sensible social system or ethical rules of behavior; particularly regarding the role and purpose of men and women; that work within a community context. Atheism will probably become more patriarchal over time just like religious communities are in the process of becoming more patriarchal in their teachings over time but usually in practice the return of traditional gender roles is something that develops within a religious context. God is a very important and useful concept for organizing community life into a sensible overall plan. In terms of the fundamental foundation of family life; the man and woman together in a romantic union; God is essential as the overall idealistic purpose that both the man and the woman are meant to serve and obey.
To address some of the specific arguments brought up by Homer Edward Price as he was making the argument that a return to patriarchy is neither possible nor desirable; his first assertion was:
“The problem is that patriarchy is impossible in the contemporary American capitalist economy. The median real wages of men have been declining for the last 40 years, and women have had to join the labor market to support their children, with or without husbands to share the burden.”
I have always found the claim that women need to be in the workforce because men don’t make enough money to support a family by themselves very strange. The participation of women in the workforce increased precisely during the time overall material prosperity increased. As wages for men went up that is when women started working more; increased women working is therefore definitely a cultural phenomenon rather than something that was driven by economic necessity. The contemporary American economy can support women not working much more easily than was the case 100 years ago and 100 years ago very few women, particularly married women, worked compared to today. Also men’s median wages have not been falling for the past 40 years; they have remained flat for the past 40 years. The huge wage gains for men from 1870 to 1970 however are still in place even for the ordinary man. It is also entirely possible that feminism itself is the cause of the sudden end in wage increases for the ordinary man and that a return to patriarchy would reestablish the prior existing trend of ever higher earning power for men.
Homer then said:
“Prior to that, patriarchy was undermined by the admission of women to higher education, which left them totally unsatisfied with the full-time mother-housewife role.”
I know early on many women did get a college degree in teaching or some other female friendly field but usually these were women who intended on pursuing a career and not getting married or having children. In other words their college education and future career was meant as an alternative life path, it was not meant as something that would be combined with home life. The rule was married women do not work so it would not make much sense for a woman who planned to get married to also prepare for a career since a career would be in conflict with her role as a wife. As far as educated women not desiring the full-time mother / housewife role; it is interesting to note that there is actually a resurgence of stay-at-home motherhood among college educated women today so I am not sure that education by itself extinguishes the maternal drive or the desire for domesticity in women.
Homer also threw in:
“To add to the perfect storm which swept away patriarchy, the invention of The Pill enabled women to minimize the number of children they bore and free themselves from that traditional role. Evolution never gave them such a choice.”
Ah yes, “The Pill” as the death knell of patriarchy! One thing that is not so well understood is that having large numbers of children was not universal among women in the past. Among white women born in the United States in 1870 the Total Fertility Rate was 3.803 but 20.3% of the women in this birth cohort never had children at all, 10.7% had exactly 1 child, 12.3% had exactly 2 children, and 11.1% had exactly 3 children (45.6% of the women in this birth cohort having 4 or more children in their lifetimes). So fully 40% of women even in a patriarchal traditional culture had 2 or fewer children historically. It is not true that “all women” had lots of children in the past. The traditional role of the wife as being provided for by her husband and being under the authority of her husband was always maintained regardless of whether the woman had any children or whether the children were young or had already grown into adults. The role of the woman under patriarchy is not dependent upon her having children first, it is simply an attribute of her characteristics and role as a woman; motherhood being just one of the many ways a woman could contribute her feminine strengths as a woman to others.
The last point Homer brought up that I would like to address is the issue of overpopulation. As Homer said:
“Would it be possible to restore patriarchy? Would it be desirable? I will defer answering the first question since I am certain that the answer to the second one is no. The goal of patriarchs, as correctly explained in the essay, is to maximize their number of living offspring. But the human population has already exceeded the carrying capacity of the earth and is stripping away its resources and destabilizing its climate in the race to maximize human material consumption. The earth cannot bear many more human consumers.”
From the point of view of evolution the purpose of patriarchy is to maximize the number of living offspring; this being the basis for success in any animal species. However patriarchy is necessary simply to make family life work and be sustainable regardless of whether lots of children are being produced or not. In the past before the arrival of the great economic expansion of the past 500 years or so humans had a very difficult time sustaining their population and population growth was very slow. In such harsh environmental circumstances patriarchy was indeed necessary just to maintain the population. Now today population growth is very easy and has been very fast the past 100 years or so; now a couple can be a reproductive success simply as a matter of will, simply based on the choice of having more than two children who will all almost certainly survive to adulthood simply because of the material abundance of the wider environment. Feminism by destroying the family unit and creating insecurity for women and in general devaluing children does indeed lead to falling fertility and therefore serves as a means of population control. This however is population control through means of a kind of disease that kills off the desire for children and not only leads to less children being born but also leads to the children who are born being treated less well with poorer family prospects for themselves as adults in the future. I don’t deny that population control will likely be a serious concern at some point in the future after patriarchy has become widespread again in the Western World but I would much prefer a rational government imposed solution such as incentives or laws to limit the average family size to two children rather than just letting the disease of feminism run amok as the means of limiting the population.
Source of Statistics: