Fatherhood is Potent
By Rod Van Mechelen
1992 Bellevue, Wash. - Popular wisdom holds that fathers are excess baggage, something mothers can do without. Others decry how poorly children raised in families without fathers fare, and advocate legislation to protect fatherhood. Both views are based on two false assumptions:
- Men are less moral than women
- Motherhood is somehow more visceral, with an enduring biological bond fatherhood lacks.
Throughout history, because women often died giving birth, men lived longer than women. Thus, it was common for men to sire children by different women as their wives died young. Yet, despite the loss of mothers, families endured and civilization progressed. Why? Because, where governments do not afford women special protections, fathers generally provide the framework upon which the safety of the community and the solidarity of the family depend.
This is obscured by a mistake men made more than a century ago.
The Victorian Myth
During the 19th century, the West bought into the Victorian myth that women are more moral than men. Even today, most believe this is true. But after much research, feminist scholar Carol Gilligan concluded that women and men are equally moral, but with a difference - whether as the result of socialization or in the service of a biological imperative, men practice an ethic of rights, and women, an ethic of caring.
The "ethic of rights" is just what it sounds like - a universal code governing all social conduct; an "ethic of caring," on the other hand, emphasizes love over the law. This is essential to communal life, but of and by itself, an ethic of caring can sustain little beyond the boundaries of the wandering band. In its simplest form, it is practiced by every communal creature, from the insect hive to the Orca pod.
The ethic of rights is what makes civilization possible by providing a basis for many communities to interact in relative harmony - each community may care most deeply for its own, but every member of the several communities or nations know that, by virtue of the "rights" men negotiate and maintain, no matter where they go, they can generally expect some minimum level of respect for their safety and property. Consequently, while the morality pop feminists attribute to women can scarcely lift humanity beyond the stone age, the ethic of rights they attribute to men is utterly essential to the safety and security ... the take back the night safe streets ... New Rage women demand.
As this "male" morality is the essential difference between civilized life and the stone age, it is clear men are not less moral than women. By agreeing otherwise, however, Victorian society broke the ideological wind that set the Anglo-American world on course for the turbulent tides of androphobia that now flood the media and legislative bodies with the notion mothers are more important than fathers. As George Gilder predicted so many years ago, we now find the government acting as substitute husband and father.
Fatherhood and the Dawn of Civilization
Think about that: the institution of fatherhood marked the dawn of civilization. For thousands of years, fatherhood was potent. What changed? The only force powerful enough to overwhelm such an enduring institution is a government armed with an androphobic agenda. Compared to this, fathers appear weak, and that is why it is presently so easy for some to assume the role of the father needs special political protection when all we really need to do is to stop subsidizing motherhood. In other words, enforce equal rights and responsibilities for all, regardless of gender.
In The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell emphasizes this because a balance of rights and responsibilities is essential to our civic health. Moral balance -- understanding, acknowledging and cultivating men's moral equality with women -- is also imperative, as when male morality is repudiated (as it so often is, now), social decay is inevitable: cultural integrity depends upon male moral intransigence. Breach that intransigence with uncertainty and doubt, and men replace their own sense of "and justice for all" with an ethic of caring governed by a need creed that places need and weakness above everything else. That is the basis of the growing victim power prevalent throughout the U.S. and Canada.
"Need is not a license to steal"
The ideology of victim power elevates need to the moral equivalent of a right to consume. Ayn Rand reminded us that "need is not a license to steal," yet that is precisely what the New Rage women and their pop feminist paramours are doing - under the guise of caring for children and female need, stealing life from men and the women who care about them: they have loudly repeated their men-bad/women-good lies for so long that even women and men with the best intentions are sucked in by their pernicious prattle -- accidental accomplices of an androphobic agenda.
If we do not respond with resounding rejection, tomorrow's children will forever despise those men who do not fight right now for their responsibility by right: to be fathers to their children.
In Why Women Shouldn't Marry: Being Single by Choice, Cynthia S. Smith says men are only good for three things: fertilization, fathering, and financial support. She then says women don't need men for fathering anymore. She's wrong. The facts prove it, and all men, married or not, need to join together to demand that our government enforce equal rights and responsibilities for all, because fatherhood is potent.
Rod Van Mechelen
Rod Van Mechelen is the author of What Everyone Should Know about Feminist Issues: The Male-Positive Perspective (the page now includes several articles by other authors), and the publisher of The Backlash! @ Backlash.com. He is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and served for 9-1/2 years on the Cowlitz Indian Tribal Council.