Tuesday, February 04, 2014

France resists

The French state is attacking the traditional family, but there is a continuing resistance from thousands of ordinary Frenchmen and women.

The attack is not exactly a subtle one. I reported a debate in the French Senate in which the Minister for the Family admitted that he was attempting to bring about "a silent revolution." One senator then stated that the aim was "to lead the family out of the fantasy of one mother, one father and one child" and to tackle the problem of the "idealized hetero-patriarchal-white family." Another senator then chimed in with this:
The child needs a father and a mother? Pure ideology, just like the concept of a traditional family, the pattern of "daddy-mommy-child" is a broken model

Well, look at the photo below. It was taken at a demonstration against the French Government's family policy that took place in Paris on Sunday. Organisers estimate the crowed at 500,000, police gave a lower but still substantial figure of 80,000.

That's a great, iconic photo. The flag of the traditional family is being raised aloft, alongside the colours of France. It represents a determination to uphold a culture of family life, in which the roles of both father and mother are considered vital, rather than dispensable.

The demonstration was also against the imposition of gender theory in French schools. The banner below simply reads "No to gender theory".

What is gender theory? Marguerite Peeters explains it well:
According to the social engineers who have been fabricating the gender theory since the 1950s, the feminine and masculine identity, the ontological structure of the woman as spouse, mother and educator, the anthropological complementarity of man and woman, fatherhood, heterosexuality (“heteronormativity”, dominant in all cultures), marriage and the traditional family would not exist per se, would not be good in themselves, but would be social constructs: sociological phenomena, social functions constructed over time, stereotypes to deconstruct by way of education and culture as they are deemed discriminatory and contrary to equality.

The French Government has begun to implement a policy (The ABCD of Equality) to push along the process of deconstructing gender. This has led to an effective protest in which parents have withdrawn their children from schools for one day a month. At some schools, about one third of students have been withdrawn.
Thousands of French parents kept their children at home on Monday following warnings that schools were introducing "gender theory" classes that would teach pupils they could choose their own sexual identity.

The government was forced to deny what it called "totally false" rumours that children would be told sexuality was a mere "social construct", after a nationwide boycott of classes.

Well, it's difficult to accept that the claims are totally false when the ABCD of Equality is explained this way:
The program provides detailed advice online for teachers about how they can challenge young children's views about what is typically seen as "girlish" or "boyish." In acting out fairy tales, for instance, boys should be encouraged to play the part of Little Red Riding Hood, and girls the part of the wolf.

The program also urges teachers to encourage reflection on gender issues in other areas such as physical education, art, and history. They might examine the Renoir painting Madame Charpentier et ses enfants, the government suggests, and note that poor Mrs. Charpentier is forced by convention to wear a suffocative corset, and that little boys, as well as little girls, used to wear dresses.

In history lessons, the ABCD of Equality suggests teachers point out that Louis XIV wore high heels and ribbons.

And there's this:
There was anger last June when a primary school-teachers' union suggested pupils should be read a book called Daddy wears a dress about a boxer who becomes a ballet dancer.

And a report by the IGAS (General Inspectorate of Social Affairs) recommends:
"replacing the terms 'boys' and 'girls' by the neutral terms 'friends' or 'children', telling stories in which the children have two dads or mums, etc." According to the report, the aim is to "prevent sexual differentiation and the interiorisation by the children of their sexual identity"

It is an agenda that ought to be resisted and that is what thousands of French people are now doing.


  1. This isn't directly relevant to your post about events in France, but it speaks to your general theme of depreciating fathers. Yesterday evening my daughter, who is eight, told me about a story her teacher had read in school. It was about a mouse who lived with his friend the crab, but pined away for his father. He went in search of his father, but could not find him. Returning home, the crab pointed out to the mouse "that fathers aren't important, so long as you have someone who loves you." I asked my daughter if she thought that we entirely true, and she said no, which I found reassuring. I understand that there are plenty of children in her class who don't have fathers, and I don't think we should go out of our way to make their lives even worse by making this a mark of shame, but is it really necessary to depreciate those of us who get and stay married, stay out of jail, work like dogs so that Mom can be at home when they get out of school . . .

  2. Are there any larger versions of that first photo?

    1. I understand why you ask, but I'm not aware that there are. It's a very clear photo, so perhaps could be enlarged with photoshop.

    2. @Mark
      I've upscaled that image by 50% and sent it to your hotmail account.

  3. I know you are going to say this phenomenon is related to Liberalism's view of individuals as atomized, autonomous, and self-actualizing, but it can also be explained as a push for extreme egalitarianism. The members of a normal family are "privileged" over individuals from non-functioning families and therefore the family must be destroyed. How do you unweave these two explanations?

    1. You're right. I do believe it is linked to the liberal idea that to be free we should be autonomous individuals, with no impediments to a self-determining life, which then means an attack on whatever is thought to be predetermined, such as nation, ethnicity, family, sex/gender etc.

      The French Education Minister, Vincent Peillon, has explained the Government's policy in terms of "the possibility of building your own autonomy" which he sees as a freedom of the individual from "determinisms" (i.e. predetermined aspects of life):

      "The purpose of secular morality is to allow each student to be free, because the starting point of secularism is the absolute respect for freedom of conscience. To give freedom of choice, we must be able to remove the student from all determinisms, family, ethnic, social, intellectual..."

      Xavier Breton, an opponent of Peillon in the National Assembly, gave the right response to Peillon's argument:

      "The environment, especially a family one, is not a determinism to fight absolutely, but unavoidable and possibly a place of fulfilment. For us, being part of a group, an ethnic community, or perhaps a social, intellectual or family one, may be a factor in development..."

      You are right, though, that equality is also invoked as a justification for attacks on the traditional family and on sex/gender.

      The sex/gender bit is easier to explain. The idea of liberalism is that our sex, i.e. being male or female, is not supposed to matter when it comes to self-determining a life. Liberals have reached a point at which they see career (and the status and money derived from career) as the primary goods in life. Therefore, they are very touchy when it comes to the idea that sex distinctions still matter in terms of career choices and earnings. It is considered an intolerable "inequality" if a husband ends up earning more money than the wife, even if that's an arrangement satisfactory to both husband and wife. So one aim of the "ABCD of Equality" is to break down "stereotypes" by which boys grow up wanting to be good providers and to work in masculine fields, whilst young girls grow up wanting to care for children. It leads to a "sexual differentiation" unacceptable to liberals.

      In terms of family life, I'm not sure that the traditional family is being targeted because it is thought to give a privilege over those from non-functioning families. I think there are a number of reasons why it is targeted:

      a) For the more feminist types, it is associated (correctly) with a patriarchal system, in which men are encouraged to be highly invested in families, work and society by being given a significant role as fathers (patriarchs) within the family and society. That system has had great benefits in terms of furthering civilisation, but it's unacceptable to feminists as it's connected to masculine leadership/authority.

      b) The traditional family wields a significant influence in people's lives: it is an alternative centre of life to that of the state, but one which is "opaque", i.e., it isn't run on formal, technocratic principles and so appears as an irrationalism to those building a machine like system for regulating human interaction.

      c) If the aim is to self-determine our life, then we are supposed to be able to choose our living arrangements for ourselves, which then implies that different family arrangements should have equal legitimacy. The traditional family therefore cannot be allowed, in a liberal system, to assert itself as the better choice.

      d) I suspect another motivation is that some liberals do not want sexuality confined to a marital union, as is the norm within the traditional family. As the French Minister for the Family boasted "Sexuality is henceforth disassociated from conjugal life and from procreation."

    2. Thank you Mark. So are you saying that people have both these justifications or are you subordinating egalitarianism to liberalism? Are you saying the reason the egalitarians hold their position is because the non-equal positions (as they see it) of man and woman in a marriage prevents liberalism from developing unencumbered?

    3. It's a matter of fact, that men and women have different physical characteristics, different anatomy of their brains, hormones levels, emotional reactions. In other words our anatomy and brain structure determines what is pleasant for us, what kind of activities/emotions we're looking for and ultimately what life choices we make. It sounds a little bit naive that there is no any difference between men and women beyond "socially constructed stereotypes".

  4. This is not a biologically stable strategy. Natural selection will wipe out such ideologies.

  5. Seriously, that banner is a piece of culture war genius. It just needs two more things to make it perfect.

    One: a catchy name.

    Two: an image that everyone can add to their blogs to show that they are proud friends of the traditional family. (Like those "proud friend of Israel" images.)

  6. The ABCD gender programme is a gross characterisation of gender; no one forces girls to play with Barbie dolls or boys with racing cars, do they? Are they trying to disprove an Israeli Kibbutz experiment into gender neutrality carried out in the 1950s?

  7. here's my favourite


  8. I like banner, but I would add 3 kids to stand with the two parents.

    For obvious enough reasons.

  9. "The child needs a father and a mother? Pure ideology, just like the concept of a traditional family, the pattern of "daddy-mommy-child" is a broken model"

    Bring on the human clone farms !

  10. Mark you heard of Julius Evola?