We only need recall a few more recent examples—the infamous McMartin (in California) and Edenton (in North Carolina) day care “child abuse” cases of a few years back, when the constant coaxing and continued suggestion by so-called professional “child counselors” convinced not only some children—some as young as four or five—but also their gullible parents that their offspring had been, for instance, taken up in spaceships where they were sexually abused by day school faculty. And those accusations, firmly asserted as true by those same “counselors” at the time, made it to the courts where, initially, guilty verdicts were handed down…only to discover years later, after dozens of lives had been destroyed and ruined…that the tales of abuse and the accusations were fabrications, made up—largely due to the insinuations of counselors who wanted the charges to be true.
Another mass hysteria, mainly coming from the politically-driven Democrats and frenzied #MeToo movement feminists but also including some Republicans, has been evidently in full force in the imbroglio over the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Even Senator Lindsey Graham knows this is a witchhunt…
For the Left, the feminists, and the increasingly radicalized Democratic leadership, the present bitter, unleashed, and no-holds-barred opposition to the nomination is one more example of the growing extremism and lunacy of the Left in America. And, yes, too many Republicans—most of its leadership—are scared to death of the “R” word (“racist”) and, in this case, the “S” word (“sexist”).
This present situation did not just occur; its deeper and more profound roots stretch back into our history and society, and it can be traced linearly back to the early feminist movement in America, to women’s rights proponents, and to suffragettes in the nineteenth century—to zealots like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucrecia Mott—whose own religious and ethical formation owes much to the same intellectual framework that had produced the favorable environment for the Salem trials 150 years earlier: except that this time it was the fanatical “witches,” many possessed of equal religious fervor, who led the campaign for radical action.
It was the same ideological inheritance and social fanaticism from which issued other “reformist” movements, including Prohibitionism and Abolitionism—movements that sprung as bastard but entirely logical offspring of those seventeenth century Puritans, as both historian Paul Conkin (in Puritans & Pragmatists) and Perry Miller (The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century) have thoroughly documented in their impressive studies.
And in the twentieth century the virtual triumph of the so-called “women’s movement” gained almost irrepressible power, as influential and governing members of the opposite sex, brow-beaten and progressively convinced that the “god of equality”—the imperative to “make everyone equal,” supposedly contained in the Declaration of Independence and then proclaimed by that secular saint Abe Lincoln as a “new Founding” of the American republic—simply caved and gave way to the demands of feminism.
The present #MeToo movement has been viewed in various ways: most visibly it has gained substantial momentum since the election of that gate-crasher iconoclast Donald Trump who is seen by feminists as highly unsympathetic and contrary to their cause—that is, a type of man who cannot be manipulated or controlled by their siren song against “male supremacy” and of their having suffered from historic “male oppression.”
But, of course, President Trump is just the latest and most significant target and symbol who must be exposed, crushed, and expelled from any authority.
What is unfortunately lost and largely forgotten in the present hysteria is the undoubted fact that there are genuine cases of abuse committed against women, and, indeed, the Harvey Weinstein scandals serve as a poignant example. But there have always been such serial abusers in our midst, yet the frenzy surrounding the current situation betrays something missed by many observers and sorely lacking in the present discussion…and it demeans real instances of abuse.
Ironically, it has been the very progressivist demands—and the successes—by the feminist movement for the destruction of our inherited Christian standards of ethics and morality, the repeal of laws on the books, and the end of the kind of moral instruction once provided to our children, which have assisted tremendously in creating the fetid stew that we now find ourselves in.
How is it possible to educate a pubescent thirteen-year-old suffering through the public schools if that young man (or young women) is brow-beaten with an inflexible and ironclad normative view that traditional manliness is bad, that old-fashioned moral standards are passé—that sex is fine if it “feels good” and your partner agrees—or that transgenderism, same sex marriage, and “gender fluidity” are perfectly acceptable (and you’d better not be caught criticizing or making fun of such folks, lest you be suspended from school and ostracized by society).
Of course, sexual dalliances have always existed, as long as men and women have existed…but the difference between the past and present is that then we knew we were going against the moral law (even when we did), but now we are told there is no law, other than something elusively called “informed consent.”
I am put in mind of the English poet, the late Sir John Betjeman and his prophetic poem, “The Planster’s Vision,” written many decades ago (Collected Poems, 1958), but accurately predicting what we now behold before us and around us, and which threatens to drown us in its putrefaction:
I have a Vision of The Future, chum,
The worker's flats in fields of soya beans
Tower up like silver pencils, score on score:
And Surging Millions hear the Challenge come
From microphones in communal canteens
"No Right! No wrong! All's perfect, evermore."
In reality, it is not some egalitarian Utopia we strive for and approach in the United States circa 2018—not some afterbirth of that “shining city on a hill” of Puritan dreams which were but nightmares that have infected our politics, our culture, and have rotted our educational system at its core. But, rather, that vision was and is one of fanaticism, and it is a secularist fanaticism that fuels the feminist and #MeToo movement (and scares the Hell out of pusillanimous politicians), and which is in open rebellion not only against 2,000 years of Western and Christian civilization, but against both the Natural Law—the laws of nature, itself—and the wise teachings of traditional Christianity and Divine Positive Law.
What is feminism and, in fact, virtually every “reform movement” which posits across-the-board equality, an abnormal and unnatural condition for humanity, as its objective? What are such examples of mass hysteria other than radical attempts to violate and undo those God-given laws, and blur and destroy those differences ingrained in and between each of us?
Recall the teaching of St. Paul in various epistles of the New Testament:
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. [Colossians 3: 18-20]
Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your husbands, so that even if they refuse to believe the word, they will be won over without words by the behavior of their wives when they see your pure and reverent demeanor. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair or gold jewelry or fine clothes, but from the inner disposition of your heart, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in God’s sight. Husbands, in the same way, treat your wives with consideration as a delicate vessel, and with honor as fellow heirs of the gracious gift of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. [I Peter 3: 1-4, 7]
And, lastly, most tellingly, from the First Book of Corinthians:
As in all the congregations of the saints, women are to be silent in the churches. They are not permitted to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they wish to inquire about something, they are to ask their own husbands at home; for it is dishonorable for a woman to speak in the church. [I Corinthian 14: 33-35]
It is not my point to enter into Biblical exegesis here, nor to advocate that the solution to our contemporary malady is to lock women away or imprison them necessarily in what the older German Lutherans called “kinder, kuche, und kirche”— “children, kitchen, and church”: a return to complete and subservient roles of domesticity. I don’t believe that is the essential message of St. Paul.
But what nature demands, and the Church and our civilization have wisely understood, is this: women and men are not only physiologically different, but functionally so, as well. And there is a definite psychological differentiation between the sexes which exists in the entirety of our human species. That differentiation does not signify is that men are “better” than women, but rather that there is a special difference in historic roles and duties, all of which are estimable and honorable. This is not only completely natural but affirmed and held up and glorified by historic Christianity.
This article appears in the September 30th Print Edition of The Remnant Newspaper. Preview the issue HERE.
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Indeed, in the history of Christendom it has been the Blessed Virgin, that unique example of spotless purity and holiness, of obedience to the Will of God and of incredible power both symbolically and actually as Mediatrix, who, because of the Incarnation and as Mother of Our Lord, must serve as our model and the model for women.
The incapacity of—the fear by—the so-called “conservative movement” to manfully meet head on the outrageous demands and unhinged assaults of feminism have much to do, certainly, with the triumphant and largely unopposed advance of cultural Marxism in our culture. That present-day triumph began its march through our institutions more than a century ago—a slow but constant march which has never veered from its objectives and its utilization of race and gender as the Hydra-headed Trojan Horse in subverting our civilization.
On several occasions I have quoted the Southern Post-War Between the States critic Robert Lewis Dabney’s superb characterization from 130 years past of the kind of weak-kneed and cowardly “conservative” opposition to feminism back then, and it is even more applicable today:
"It may be inferred again that the present movement for women's rights, will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent, Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it he salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious, for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always—when about to enter a protest—very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its "bark is worse than its bite," and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent rôle of resistance. The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it "in wind," and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women's suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position." [Secular Discussion, vol. IV, pp. 491-493]
I don’t know if Dabney believed in witches or not. But like most traditional Christians he understood the concept and historic reality of a society where Christianity was in disastrous retreat. And he understood that ideology abhors a vacuum, and that evil quickly enters when good departs.
T. S. Eliot’s much quoted aphorism never ceases currency: “If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.”
I am certain that neither Eliot nor Dabney would have accused the fanatics involved in smearing Judge Kavanaugh of anything approaching demonic possession. But there is indeed a lesser state, a condition where the Good and Ethical have been driven out…and there is only room for malevolent ideology, for Evil, and for its dominance and its frenetic ravaging of the souls who exhibit it.
As I saw being interviewed on air Debra Katz, the attorney for Judge Kavanaugh’s feminist accuser, the first thing I noticed were her eyes. Forgive me if I make a personal observation: they were beady and striking, fierce and gleaming, seeming to hide behind them a ferocious passion and uncontrolled anger. There, it seemed to me, was an apt metaphor of the #MeToo movement, a movement that G. K. Chesterton would have most assuredly identified as trafficking in lunacy, cut off from rationality and nature, and, most critically, in rebellion against the Creator Himself.
The witches of Salem have indeed returned, but this time they are very real and they are calling the shots and dominating our culture. Will they be opposed courageously by what remains of the guardians of our traditional civilization?