Sunday, May 02, 2010

The archbishop vs the professor

The Catholic Archbishop of St Paul and Minneapolis, John Nienstedt, has written a newspaper column defending the traditional family. He wants state legislators to pass a marriage amendment which would define marriage by law as a union between one man and one woman. This would rule out same sex marriages.

The column has been criticised by P.Z. Myers, an associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota. He describes himself on his website as a godless liberal.

So which man made the best arguments? I'm happy for readers to make their own judgement in the comments, but it seems clear to me that Professor Myer's rebuttal of the archbishop was a weak one. In fact, Myers makes a couple of extraordinary arguments which illustrate some of the worst tendencies within modern liberalism.

Here's round one. The archbishop wrote:

We might learn caution from experience. Back in the early 1970s, the experts told us that no-fault divorce would liberate women from bad marriages without affecting anyone else. We now know that as many as one-third of women fall into poverty with their children as a result of divorce. Social science caught up late with the common-sense wisdom that children need a mom and a dad working together to protect them.

The professor replies:

Why do women fall into poverty after a divorce? Because they are discriminated against in the workplace, because they get the bulk of the financial obligation in caring for any children, and because many men (and, I suspect, especially the men women want to divorce) fail to meet their responsibilities in contributing to child care. The problem isn't divorce, the problem is a patriarchal culture, which the church does nothing to reverse and actually promotes, and the male privilege that allows fathers to escape with diminished responsibility.

Proponents of same sex marriage often argue that it won't affect anyone else. The archbishop replies that the same claim was made about no-fault divorce in the early 1970s. But no-fault divorce did end up having wider consequences, including leaving up to a third of women in conditions of poverty. This, argues the archbishop, is a result of families no longer having both a father and a mother working together to protect the children.

Not so, replies the professor. If single mother families are less well off it's because of a patriarchal culture which discriminates against women and which privileges men.

The professor seems to think that a man who finds himself kicked out of the family by his wife for no good reason will be as keen a provider as a man who keeps a secure and respected place within it. It's an unreasonable position to take.

It could, in fact, be argued that the professor has things the wrong way around. It is not a patriarchal culture which leads to men having "diminished responsibility" in the family. Think back even to the 1950s. Whatever the faults of that period, men worked hard to support their families.

It is the more recent shift to a kind of matriarchal culture within certain social classes which is leaving women vulnerable to poverty. Matriarchal cultures give women sexual autonomy but they fail to bring men into a stable and productive role within the family. (There's a lengthy but interesting work on this here).

OK, here is the archbishop's next argument:

it has long been acknowledged that marriage is not just about the happiness of adults but concerns the well-being of society -- that is, the common good. Marriage exists in civil law primarily in order to provide communal support for bringing mothers and fathers together to care for their children.

The professor's response? He concedes that marriage is one method for sharing the task of child-rearing. But it's not a method that impresses him:

so does this priest support the idea of communes? That's even more efficient, and I can tell you that just two people, separated from other family support by the demands of their jobs, really have to struggle to keep their sanity. This is hard work, not that a celibate bureaucrat would know.

And I think that if you look back over history, most cultures have seen it as the responsibility of a whole tribe to help raise children, not just two people. This convention of assigning all responsibility to just two and only two, who are necessarily in a heterosexual relationship, is new and weird.

We are supposed to believe that two biological parents being the primary caregivers is a "new and weird" idea. It's not. The father and the mother have been central throughout the Western tradition. From wikipedia:

The organization of the pre-industrial family is now believed to be similar to modern types of family ...

Family types of pre-industrial Europe belonged to two basic groups, the simple household system (the nuclear family) and the joint family system (the extended family).

I doubt if too many women today would want to opt for the extended family system. It meant living under your father-in-law's roof. Most women, I expect, would prefer their own separate house, and to have their mothers visit them for support, i.e. the simple household system, which has existed for a long time in the West.

As for communes, they might be more efficient in some kind of abstract theoretical way, but they have never proven to be a realistic or desirable option in practice. It's a castles in the sky kind of argument. The archbishop sounds more grounded in comparison.

Finally, there's this argument from the archbishop:

What will happen to children growing up in a world where the law teaches them that moms and dads are interchangeable and therefore unnecessary, and that marriage has nothing intrinsically to do with the bearing and raising of children? Do we really want first-graders to be taught that gay marriage is OK, or that the influence of a mother and a father on the development of a child somehow doesn't matter?

Which drew this reply from the professor:

I think a world where moms and dads are interchangeable in their roles and responsibilities in child-raising would be a fine place to live. Aside from nursing (and again, biologists will fix that someday, too), men and women can change diapers, attend PTA meetings, play ball, give hugs, cook, and read bedtime stories equally well, with individual variation. Interchangeability does not imply that they are unnecessary. I grew up with a mom and dad who could both read to me; that did not imply to my mind that they were therefore both superfluous ...

Well, you can see from this that the professor takes his liberalism seriously. He looks forward to the day when gender is made not to matter. He even wants biologists to one day "fix" things so that men are able to breastfeed. He can accept individual variation but not sex variation and so he welcomes the idea of the interchangeability of men and women and of a unisex parental role.

But the professor doesn't understand the point that the archbishop is making. The archbishop writes later in his column that, "gay marriage would certainly be a declaration by the government that we have officially abandoned the ideal that children need both a mom and dad."

And this is certainly the case. If the state gives its approval to gay marriage, then it is making official the idea that children do not need both a mother and a father. This then reinforces the message that men are unnecessary to family life. Men who accepted this would not be as strongly committed to their role within the family. Women who accepted this would not be as strongly committed to keeping their husband within the family.

It's an important point as few marriages are idyllic the whole way through. Most married couples would admit to having gone through "rough patches". If a woman believes that fathers are dispensable within family life, then there won't be the same active effort to hold things together. Family stability will take another blow. So there's a reason for society to insist that the paternal role has unique value.

You cannot at the same time hold that the paternal role has unique value and then give official sanction to same sex marriage. That would be a mixed message.

I'm not suggesting that the archbishop has made the best case possible - I thought he could have developed his key points further. But the professor's arguments sound crude in comparison. As for the professor's suggestion that men be "fixed" so that they can breastfeed and be truly interchangeable, that suggests a mind made unhealthy by ideology.

So I award the points in this bout to the archbishop.


  1. The basic bankruptcy of the professor's position, as well as its simple radicalism, is belied by his "slip up" in mentioning his hope that the "disparity" in breastfeeding will be eliminated by science such that men may also breastfeed. This is, of course, a radical position. Your typical Ameican liberal democratic couple does not dream of a day when men have scientifically-augmented breasts to feed their children, and I daresay most of the liberals I know would be aghast at such a thing (the radicals among them excepted). One wonders why science would stop there? Why not simply give women penises and testicles and call it a day, eliminating "men" as a distinct sex altogether? That kind of talk is of the extreme radical variety, in any country, and it was a poor slip, really.

    On the underlying merits, I think the Archbishop basically gets it right in that we cannot realistically expect that changing the marriage laws will not have an impact on family formation and stability. The no-fault laws have largely been used by women to terminate marriages -- this was to be expected, as it was the women's groups who demanded the change. We're supposed to believe that all of these divorces are from abusive men -- but of course most of us who actually know these situations, or who have lived through them ourselves, know otherwise. Many of the divorces result from the marriage having gone through a difficult period, and the wife basically opting for what is behind Door B instead of trying to fix the marriage. That decision is "subsidized" by the state by virtue of having made divorce easy to obtain and, in practice, in most cases on terms very favorable to women. A quite well-known study in the US determined that there was a high correlation between who anticipated winning child custody and who filed for divorce -- with the authors suggesting that this was a strong motivator for women and why women are normally the divorcers in the US (we still do not have shared parenting as the norm here in virtually all states). The state created this regime at the request of the women's groups, and now we are seeing the result -- greater family instability, less involvement of fathers (even "involved" divorced dads typically see their kids twice a month under the most common arrangement in the US ... something that can't reasonably be defined as "fatherhood" by any sane definition).

  2. AS for the economic impact of divorce, these statistics are generally quite skewed. Where you were economically before the divorce matters a lot. Generally poorer women tend to suffer economically more in divorce because the ex-husbands don't really have much money to provide to them -- the support amounts are low, in absolute terms, because you can't really squeeze much water from a stone. And there are more of such people divorcing as well (there are more of such people, and their divorce rate is higher, than of the solid middle and upper middle). When you get to the solid middle and upper middle, it simply isn't the case that women are worse off financially after a divorce. Often in construing such an "analysis", the writers will ignore things like asset distribution (and the still common trend for ex-wives who are awarded child custody to retain the marital residence, the main marital asset generally), and fail to take into account the impact of tax-free child-support payments (either as income for the ex-wife, or as a deduction from income for the ex-husband). So the situation is often quite substantially understated for this group, where the transfer payments from ex-h to ex-w are high and generally paid, and the assets distributed are also significant. What is often looked at, instead, is that the ex-w, who demanded sole custody, has less time to work than the ex-h (d'oh) so her own "independent" income is often lower than ex-h. Never mind that ex-h typically pays ~20% of his pre-tax income to ex-w, which, taking taxes into account, can be something approaching 40% of his net income after taxes -- something which incents him to earn more money so that he as more left over after paying ex-w. My point here is not to sidetrack into the details, but in order to understand why there is so much divorce, one needs to understand the incentives that the system creates for women to divorce rather than work on marriages -- they get sole control over the kids, often sole ownership of the house, and get a substantial tax-free payment from ex-w every month. Those are powerful incentives indeed, and make Door B look much more interesting in many cases than working on the marriage in a rough spot.

    Of course, gay marriage will accelerate the decline of marriage as a core institution for family stability, and keep it on its current track of being a personal self-actualization badge -- a kind of government stamp saying "yes, I am in a committed relationship that has government benefits", which in the US is still a sign that one has ones act together to a greater degree than it is in, say, most Western European countries today. The idea that it is fundamentally about a heterosexual couple having and raising children long ago went by the wayside (our current legal regime simply does not support this view) and the addition of gays to the institution will continue to push it away from the obvious core goal of the institution towards being yet another self-actualization tool.

  3. The trouble with all of this for the culture in the medium to long term, of course, is the impact on generations of children, and the impact on the behavior of men. Studies piled as high as the Washington Monument testify to the reality that children from intact mother/father households generally fare better across the board in virtually every way than children who do not. There are exceptions, of course, but the general trend is unmistakable. Yet this is not even capable of being discussed publicly to any meaningful degree because to do so would imply criticism of people who have permitted their marriages to disintegrate and who saw the same as being personally liberating and fulfilling (men and women alike, although women are generally more likely than men to do so). So we trundle on, with large numbers of our next generations being raised effectively without significant exposure to their biological fathers. The bill for that will come due in the coming decades.

    The other impact, of course, is on the behavior of men -- something we see already happening as well. There is much talk here in the US about the "decline" of men and so on, based on how women are dominating in most universities and post-universities now (outside of STEM, which they seem bent on "fixing" through some kind of quota system which will discriminate against men just like our title IX did for male athletes), how women are now the majority of the workforce, how women are now taking control of larger and larger amounts of the national wealth and so on. The reality underlying these alarmist claims is that there are many, many men who are slacking today. They are slacking because they *can* slack under the current system, and because it actually incents them to slack. As the Archbishop points out well enough, marriage is the main vehicle we have as a society for engaging men productively in the lives of the next generation of people -- which generally incents men to contribute to the broader society as well in productive, engaged ways. When you take away stable, monogamous marriage, you take away that incentive as well, and the result if a larger number of less engaged, less ambitious, less productive men. Of course, there will always be ambitious people, male and female. But the main schtick of marriage was to take the average guy and make him more ambitious, by giving him a real stake in something bigger than himself. When you take that away, Joe Average has less incentive to be as engaged and ambitious, and instead starts to lag and slack. This kind of behavior was also observed by the anthropologists who came across the various isolated and primitive "matriarchal" communities ... the men didn't really seem to be working very hard, spent a lot of time behaving in an itinerant way and so on while the women did much of the work. The men "contributed" to the cost of raising children of the sisters and cousins in their matriarchal group (no-one knew who the fathers were anyway), but that's a very lessened incentive than doing the same for one's own child. The magic of marriage, in social terms, is that it increases the focus, engagement, ambition and productivity of men a LOT -- such that without it, you tend to see a lot of men slacking, underachieving, and so on. This happens, as we can see, even in a situation where we officially retain marriage, but, by legal means, gut it, effectively making it an unenforceable contract. That kind of regime, which doesn't provide men with a stable marriage base, seems to result in similar levels of increased slacking. While the women's groups are all gloating about this now, they won't be in 20-30 years if the trend continues, because if most men are underperforming as a group, the impact of this on the society as a whole will be large, obvious, and negative, and the main place where the impact hits will be women themselves.

  4. So, in all, I thought that the Archbishop touched upon the main points, while the response from the professor was both predictable and lacking in realism (ironic coming from a scientist, but that's the way it goes these days).

  5. I doubt if too many women today would want to opt for the extended family system. It meant living under your father-in-law's roof. Most women, I expect, would prefer their own separate house, and to have their mothers visit them for support, i.e. the simple household system, which has existed for a long time in the West.

    The extended family system does not mean living under a father in law’s roof except in the case of low net worth families where separate housing cannot be afforded. It essentially means a family organisation which links the generations in a system and culture dedicated to preserving the family and increasing its human, financial and intellectual capital. The Governance of an extended family is similar to that of a company and forms the basic model of corporate and political governance in a society. In wealthy extended families the family is like a multinational corporation with residences and members in several countries but all linked by strong family ties.

    Indeed the model of the extended family practised by Jews and Asians is the best form for preserving financial assets and preventing divorce. And for low net worth families, living in a joint family setting for several years is an effective way of controlling the social problems frequently found in these families such as child abuse, solvent abuse and gambling. It also reduces the demands for social housing.

  6. The Catholic Church is facing some rough times right now, with declining attendance, a dearth of priests, and a scary percentage of the people willing to become priests being clearly socially and sexually dysfunctional, so you'd expect him to write something about the real problems the Catholics are grappling with right now, doing something to bolster the flagging reputation of the priesthood.

    I just wanted to comment that what he wrote above isn't actually true. The Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Pentecostal churches (i.e. the most conservative) are the only major Christian faiths that are currently growing in number (Islam is also growing quickly, of course), seminaries are growing, the quality of priests is going up -- not down, and we have the youngest congregations (high birth rate) precisely because of our strict teachings about the procreative and unitive aspects of marital intimacy.

    And, as I learned at mass this morning, our conservative parish has 3 new seminarians this year, all of them most excellent candidates. That's from one parish. We had 34 RCIA candidates welcomed into the Church this year alone.

    Conservatives have the most kids. Liberalism is what leads to a declining Church. So where does he get this stuff? I bet he just pulled it out of his you-know-what.

  7. Some proof for my statements:

    There are parts of the US -- or even the world (such as Europe) where the Church is shrinking, but those are places where the general population is also shrinking. And even in those places, the most devout Catholics have a high birth rate.

  8. I think the "fixed" male would look like this:

  9. Novaseeker - are you sure that a) women will be harmed in the LR and b) that this will prompt change in the rabid feminist movement?

    It seems more likely to me that these deluded liberal addicts will then use the 'failure of men' as a gender to push ahead with even more corrosive policies like adoptions and IVF for single women, and actually make the radical agenda of making men utterly redundant more appealling.

  10. The radicals will press on, no doubt. However, at some point if women have few viable male mates, there will be a backlash against that from rank and file women. Not out generation of women, but at some point in the next 50 or so years, again barring game-changing technological or other factors coming into play.

  11. The concept of extended family does not negate the concept of the nuclear family. Within extended family units, their are sub-units if you will. Patriarchal extended families have clear boundaries within as to whose children and spouses are whose. This is really not a liberal arrangement but rather a traditional one. It is not unheard of in the West and some of us still live this way, nearby relatives, with some shared property (whehter legally shared or simply in practice amoung the family.)

    The liberal version of a "communal family" involves people who may or may not be related coming and going as they please. It is based on how one feels a particular day about being a part of a group, contributing or playing a particular role in the group. If one feels like playing the parent(the idea of discreet father/mother role is ananthema to them,) then they do. If no one feels like playing the parent then their will be no parent. If one changes their mind aobut their role or involvment, they can simply walk away and find another situation the prefer.

  12. Matriarchal cultures give women sexual autonomy

    Was this actually true in pre-20th century cultures that did not have safe, reliable, cheap, and effective birth control and abortion? What did "sexual autonomy" for women mean back then? How can she be sexually autonomous if she's going to get knocked up and stuck with a kid she needs to feed, and doesn't have a man who cares about her and the child?

  13. Matriarchal cultures give women sexual autonomy.

    Was this actually true in pre-20th century cultures?

    That's a good question. Daniel Amneus, who wrote an influential booklet called "The Garbage Generation," asserts that is is true.

    His argument is that in prehistoric times societies were generally matriarchal, meaning that women could be more promiscuous and men could not be certain of their paternity. There was therefore less reason for men to invest their energies in family and society.

    The achievement of patriarchy was therefore to regulate women's sexuality through marriage so that men could make the high level investments in family and society on which civilisation depends.

    The problem with judging how true this might be is that prehistoric cultures did not leave records. However, Amneus is able to cite evidence from various primitive African tribes in more modern times in which there is little concept of fatherhood.

    There's also a tribe in remote China in which the peasant class is matrifocal, in which women do not live in the same house as the men they sleep with, in which the tie of fatherhood is weak, and in which the men have a more idle lifestyle than elsewhere.

    The argument does also fit more modern developments, say in the black American family, in which women might have children with a variety of men and be supported by the state, whilst the men, lacking an invested role, tend to engage in antisocial behaviour.

    So I'm not entirely sure. I think we have to be careful when it comes to anthropology. It's a politically loaded field of studies.

    There's one other potential problem with Amneus's argument. Some of the earliest patriarchal family types were polygamous. And these too are associated with more primitive conditions of life. Many men in polygamous societies do not have a reason to invest their energies in family and society.

    Civilisation seems to be associated, in practice, with the monogamous family, in which most men at a young age have an opportunity to marry.

  14. The concept of extended family does not negate the concept of the nuclear family.

    Liesel, you're right. I could have written that part of the post better.

  15. "If single mother families are less well off it's because of a patriarchal culture which discriminates against women and which privileges men."

    Even if we gave single mothers free child-minding and free job training most of them would still be relatively poor. High-paying jobs require experience, a high level of education, or the ability to work long hours in dangerous conditions. Most women (or men for that matter) do not have the ability, temperament or the practical opportunity to do such work. And even if they could find high paying work, this would result in higher rates of female mortality, work-related illness and children not being able to see their mothers.

    This professor is basically advocating extreme communism under the guise of the more fashionable idea of gender equality and is totally ignorant of human biological limitations.

  16. "Civilisation seems to be associated, in practice, with the monogamous family, in which most men at a young age have an opportunity to marry."

    Civilistion is not dependent merely on having an opportunity to marry. Opportunity does not guarantee the motivation to marry or the committment to sustain marriage. There must also be social pressure to marry and stay married and formal arrangements which govern the selection of suitable partners and marriage procedures.

  17. Opportunity does not guarantee the motivation to marry or the commitment to sustain marriage.

    Agreed. From the point of view of young men, for instance, marriage is more likely to be embarked on if:

    a) the role of husband and father is a respected one in society
    b) there is legal protection for young men within marriage
    c) there is a culture of stable commitment to marriage
    d) the average man is more likely to have access to a regular source or sexual fulfilment within marriage rather than outside of it
    e) married men are favoured in terms of tax and employment policies etc
    f) men feel as if they are reproducing their own distinct tradition, both of family and nation, by committing to marriage and fatherhood
    g) women are brought up to be feminine and cultured and to win the respect of men

    And this is not an exhaustive list.

  18. Interesting that the progressive biology perfessor's defence doesn't seem to rely on evidence so much as belief in a set of idealistic fantasies.

    Classic left-wing fallacy: when practical evidence obscures or contradicts your arguments, attempt to draw attention away from that evidence by talking about unrealised future utopias.

  19. “Agreed. From the point of view of young men, for instance, marriage is more likely to be embarked on if:”

    Throughout the world, the only cultures which have a stable institution of marriage and family life at this present time are those in which the culture of the country is dedicated to the preservation of the family, culture and tradition. This means that marriage has to be viewed as a social and religious obligation and not just a legal union which is entered into on the basis of favourable tax regimes and employment policies and the other items on the list which you mentioned, all of which are relevant but peripheral issues which essentially reduce marriage to sex and economics. None of these will provide the framework which is required for social and family stability let alone cultural preservation.

    There are many people of different cultural backgrounds living in the West who have managed to preserve their family life, culture and tradition despite living in a degraded and liberal society. Most particularly these are the Asians and Jews who are benefiting from the decline of the whites within their own society. It can therefore be concluded that there is a profound disorder within the white Western concept of marriage which has lead to its collapse. This goes far deeper than the list you mention. The reason Western marriage has failed is because the whole concept of marriage has changed from being a social contract arranged to ensure a sound basis for the rearing of the next generation and preserving culture and tradition as well as the wealth and status of a family and nation to a voluntary and less formalised arrangement entered into for reasons of personal choice and fulfilment. The latter is not a viable model for social stability.

    The items you list are contributory factors and not the prime aetiological agents of marital collapse.

    1. “The role of husband and father is a respected one in society”. Men have to earn respect by taking their responsibilities seriously and committing themselves to family life.

    2. “there is legal protection for young men within marriage”. Whilst no fault divorce is a factor in the West, there are many countries which have even easier divorce laws than the West (eg Islamic countries – Sharia Law started the concept of no fault divorce). Despite the ease of divorce in Sharia Law and the much more onerous financial obligations of men under Sharia, the incidence of divorce is low. With regard to financial matters, Western men should do as all others do and marry women of equal financial status.

    3. “there is a culture of stable commitment to marriage”. That can be achieved only by placing formal obligations on people.

    4. “the average man is more likely to have access to a regular source or sexual fulfilment within marriage rather than outside of it”. This can never be guaranteed and many men will always find more satisfaction outside of marriage hence the Geishas of Japan, the mistresses and growing numbers of prostitutes in the West.

    5. “married men are favoured in terms of tax and employment policies etc” You don’t hear of many of the Asian or Jewish men demanding this in the West and alone it will not ensure family stability.

    6. “men feel as if they are reproducing their own distinct tradition, both of family and nation, by committing to marriage and fatherhood” That is an obvious point but many men are not interested in reproducing their tradition and seem to be more intent on destroying their traditions by marrying across social, cultural, religious or racial barriers.

    7. “women are brought up to be feminine and cultured and to win the respect of men”. This has to come from family background. Whilst femininity can be achieved by most, culture can generally be achieved only by the elite sections of society.

  20. Bravo Anonymous!

    Looking around at the young men of Australia, it is clearly not enough to provide "incentives for men" to marry and stay married. With the way young white men are behaving, I don't blame women (even the good ones with realistic standards) for not marrying them. The way that MRA's are going about this gender war is just a war of attrition, wherein they simply wait for women to "stop being sluts and stop taking our children and houses." No, both women and men have to grow up. Too many young (up to the age of 30 and even beyond) white men are just anti-intellectual buffoons with the maturity level they had at high school. Many are alcoholic, arse-licking (especially at work), pack-oriented and manipulative, who sort out problems (people they don't like) by concealed bullying, threats and leverage instead of dialogue rooted in logic, morality and compassion. I believe that this is because religion is dead for Western white men.

    Mark, I am sure this is nothing you aren't aware of, but I think it should be fleshed out here. It is true that the role of husband and father needs to be respected, but more importantly, anti-intellectualism has to be eradicated. Reason and tenacious morality has to be brought back in. Most men need to believe they are accountable for their actions by God or Karma before they are mature enough to lead a household, especially white men who are so passionate and easily angered (compared to Asians for example).

    Women don't deserve to be married to buffoons who have no moral compass (or are too stupid to apply it properly), nor do their children deserve to be abused by them. It is unacceptable that even a few men would be able to get away with abusing their wife and children behind closed doors without adequate external checks and balances.

  21. But mid 20's male having no manners isn't childlike immaturity, its being cutting edge and admirably unrestrained. Why play around with word games when its far more efficient just to punch your opponent between the eyes and get on with it. Creative destruction is the motto. We'll destroy manners and that will lead to more efficient outcomes.

    Well that's the theory isn't it. It doesn't just apply to marriage of course but to all traditional notions and institutions which are under attack.

    On Anonymous's point I agre,e I would have thought that economic incentives are hardly the way to approach marriage obligations. Our society has had more than its fill of promoting economic self interest.

  22. The Prof writes that "The problem isn't divorce, the problem is a patriarchal culture" and he is correct only insofar as (and this is not what he means) the social pathologies of today stem from the deterioration of Patriarchal culture. If you remove men from their traditional positions as protectors (of their individual woman, and society at large) then you have rampant chaos. Opening society to female whim will open it up to insatiable sensualism. The rest is, as they say, history.

    Mr. Richardson writes: "It is the more recent shift to a kind of matriarchal culture within certain social classes which is leaving women vulnerable to poverty. Matriarchal cultures give women sexual autonomy but they fail to bring men into a stable and productive role within the family."

    Yes, but the irony is, and this has been raised here on prior occasions, that women will necessarily have to lean on Big Daddy anyway: the State, which men fund through higher rates of taxation than women (you won't hear about a tax gap from the poor harpies!).

  23. Mr. Richardson writes: "If the state gives its approval to gay marriage, then it is making official the idea that children do not need both a mother and a father. This then reinforces the message that men are unnecessary to family life."

    Actually, it reinforces the idea that women are equally not needed. What is it about liberal feminists that endeavour to erase the essence of what it means to be woman. I am astounded that these people call themselves feminists - they are, by definition, nihilists, and women should realise that nihilists won't liberate them "as people" because the nihilist is inherently ahuman.