Many years ago, when I was still in college, I was taking some class or other and a debate arose in class, and in that discussion I was maintaining a biblical position about whatever it was. In response, a young woman wheeled on me and said, “You Christians are just like the Nazis. You are so cock sure you are right about everything, and you fill the earth with your wars.” Or words to that effect. In the discussion that followed I responded to her by saying that the only way you could get me to go fight Nazis would be if I was sure they were wrong. But I could not be sure they were wrong without knowing that I was right. Thus far the classroom discussion.
But the real action was in my follow-up conversation with her after class. Her name was Betsy—she was a feminist, an ethical relativist, and really intelligent. I asked her what was wrong with abusing women. Why was that wrong? She saw right where I was going and replied that she was opposed to the mistreatment of women as a matter of personal preference.
And so I replied that this was really curious. I was someone who believed in the Scriptures and that therefore I accepted everything the apostle Paul taught about headship and submission in marriage. I gladly accepted every last word of that stuff. And yet I could also say that to mistreat a woman was evil, that it was evil every day of the week, in all centuries, and in all cultures. I could say that God hated it and that He was going to judge it, together with all other evils, on the Last Day. And “you are a feminist,” and you can only say that you find it distasteful on a personal level. You like GrapeNuts, and he doesn’t. You don’t like rape, and he does. And he’s bigger.
The conversation ended around that time, with Betsy standing there, her eyes welling with tears. She knew exactly what the issue was. She really wanted to defend all women everywhere, but her shield was made out of tissue paper strung between some flimsy strands of balsa wood.
The alternative title to this pensive little exercise of a blog post was:
Harvey Weinstein Was Just Following His Heart
But I changed my mind. I need to learn how to prophesy smooth things (Is. 30:10). Then people will finally like me.
Speaking once of Saruman, Tolkien had it dialed in.
“Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell” (The Two Towers).
I understand another big march on Washington is coming up next month, and it will no doubt be a great big thing. We will hear all about it. The reason for this is that there are the requisite number of hard secularist true believers ensconced—isn’t ensconced a great word?—in our establishment media. They will insist that we hear all about it, and so we will. We will hear non-stop praise of it for the appointed number of days because they will ladle ranch-hand portions of such praise over the tops of our heads.
Philosophers make a distinction between a necessary condition and sufficient condition. A necessary condition for something happening is a “without which not” sort of affair. If the necessary condition is missing, then the thing will not happen. For example, a necessary condition for a big march on Washington is to actually have a big march. But this is not a sufficient condition for big thingness. A sufficient condition is an “if this, then that” sort of condition. For this example, if you have a big march, and if the media are hell-bent on us drawing the appropriate conclusions from it, then the sufficient condition has been met.
Pro-lifers have been marching on Washington for decades, for a generation, year after year, in the hundreds of thousands, and it has never managed to become a big thing. They consistently failed to meet the sufficient condition, which is to attract the approving and adoring attention of a pro-abortion establishment media. That was not going to happen, and so it didn’t. The event stands for innocent life, and so it is therefore not an Approved Event. But let a similar number of women in pussyhats show up, and all of a sudden we are dealing with the Voice of Radical Democracy. Just like that.
And because they will soon be escorted to the center of the national stage, the national spotlight will settle on them, the national mic will be given to them, and the rest of us will be shushed, I thought it might be good to say a few things about it now. Somebody might hear it before all the noise starts.
Are You Kidding Me?
But we need to get something important out of the way first. I am arguing that feminism is a sick joke, but this certainly does not mean that there are no outrages perpetrated by men upon women, and which feminism technically has every right to point to. Let us never throw any shade whatever on all genuine victims of molestation, harassment and rape. That number is not a small number. When the allegations are true, they ought to be treated as though they were the truth. In fact, a central part of the reason for being so concerned about ideologically-driven false allegations is that the liars are those who actually throw shade on the true victims.
I said that feminism technically has the right to point to such things. The reason they don’t actually have the right to do so is because the dogmas of feminism have been a major player in how we got ourselves registered for this National Grope Fest. A young actress, well-trained and quite professional, goes to Hollywood to make her mark. She is hard-working, diligent, street-smart, and ambitious. She finally gets an audition with a power producer, which turns out to be up in his hotel room. This is something which her naïve great-grandmother, not really woke at all, would have told her was “not a good idea.” But after her tale of woe finally comes out, she will be flattered as “a real survivor.”
There are two kinds of false allegations. The first has to do with the made-up story simpliciter, and a system that is biased in favor of believing such lies. This would include, for example, those tribunals run by colleges that have not the earthliest idea what might constitute due process.
The second kind is where the remembered facts start to “smudge a bit” after the circumstances change. Recollections start to blur, like people were trying to clean up a watercolor painting with a wet sponge. After the moral panic sets in, the people who leapt to their feet to give an ovation to Roman Polanski start clearing their censorious throats like they were the townspeople in The Scarlet Letter. Once the black spot was officially delivered to Matt Lauer, the elites all pulled their skirts away from him, disclaiming any knowledge of his monkeyshines WHATSOEVER. But in 2008 there was a Friars Club Roast of Lauer, attended by all the relevant bigwigs, which showed that virtually everyone knew all about it.
Look. The casting couch is a thundering cliché. Everybody knows about it, and everybody in that industry with any sense knows exactly the kind of game they are in. The Eagles included King of Hollywood on their album The Long Run, which released in 1979. Remember that?
There is a real problem, but the problem does not lie where feminism claims it does. The whole war on the patriarchy is an example of a botched diagnosis.
Man Is the Problem, Not Men
Sin is at the heart of all our difficulties. When Eve was deceived, that was certainly wrong, that was a sin. But Eve didn’t fall until Adam ate the prohibited fruit (Rom. 5:15). The human race fell into a condition of spiritual death when Adam rebelled against God. This rebellion entailed all the children of Adam, men and women both. Man is God’s term for the whole human race. So men aren’t the problem, man is. Women aren’t the problem, man is. Because man is by nature an object of wrath, the men and women who together make up that larger reality naturally share in it.
Because of their corruption in man, men sin in accordance with their nature and capacities, and because of their shared corruption in man, women do the same. Because men and women are strikingly different, their sins are strikingly different. They are not different with regard to the fact of sin, but they are different in how the sin manifests itself.
What this does is give all women something of a “shared perspective” on a masculine sin, and all men generally share a perspective of feminine sins. But this is a superficial solidarity. The real line of antithesis does not run between men and women. It runs between men and women in Christ, on the one hand, and men and women outside of Christ on the other. The demarcation is between men and women who resist their respective temptations together, and men and women who do not—and who thereby prey on one another, hating and being hated (Tit. 3:3).
Feminism Misplaces the Antithesis:
Feminism denies all this, root and branch, and so feminism is a radical part of the problem. Feminism is not a partial solution, or a well-intentioned reaction to the sinfulness of men. Feminism is rebellion against God’s creational design for mankind, pure and simple, and if we may reapply the words of the prophet Samuel, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Sam.15:23). And there you have feminism in a nutshell—rebellion, witchery, stubbornness, iniquity, and idolatry.
To have “smashing the patriarchy” as your central goal is to declare that the patriarchy is the kingdom of the feminist’s particular Satan. But for Christians, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is causing all things in Heaven and on earth to converge upon the Father. To denounce the patriarchy is therefore to call evil good and good evil (Is. 5:20). It is to reject praying the way the Lord Jesus taught us (Matt. 6:9ff). Jesus is the way to the Father (John 14:6), and to call all of this evil is to place your soul in grave jeopardy (Luke 12:10).
Now I said feminism is the problem, not that women are. Women are not the problem, and men are not the problem. Sin is the problem, and both men and women have that same problem—because they together make up sinful mankind. But, as mentioned above, that same problem manifests differently in men and women.
In response to this challenge, there are those who confront the problem with the only efficacious means that is available, which is to say the grace of Christ, and there are those who embrace the problem as their precious, knit it into a fetching pink gynecology cap, and who then, in response to any biblical declaration of sexual design, choose rather to invite the God of Heaven to try and make them.
From the onset of second wave feminism, the right to abortion has been demanded. This means that all the “gains” that feminism might boast of are actually erected on a pile of skulls, all of them pretty tiny. Praising modern feminism while overlooking the abortion thing is like praising Tamerlane for the opulence of his palace and the manners of his servants while neglecting to mention his pyramids of skulls thing. Not only that, but Tamerlane at least knew he was supposed to be slaughtering his enemies. Feminists have declared unrelenting war on their own children—and thereby as a consequence have declared war on their own bodies, their own wombs and breasts, and their own most gracious bent toward biological hospitality. They have declared war on their own femininity. And then they have the unvarnished gall to call it feminism.
Abortion is for them the non-negotiable. They want every fertile woman to have the legal and “constitutional” right to scrape herself sterile, to reduce herself to a travesty-of-a-woman, but struggling with the resultant bloodguilt. Whatever else you do, they insist, you must allow this anti-feminization of women that abortion represents to remain codified as the law of the land. And this anti-feminization crusade will be called feminism.
Although she was willing to acknowledge what this did to her womanhood, Lady Macbeth is the patron saint of this bloody nonsense:
Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall . . .
Smash the Patriarchy?
What plausibility the movement might have comes from various men acting like pigs, which means that people have the opportunity to point the finger and say, “See! The problem is the patriarchy.”
But what has happened is actually quite different. Men are necessarily dominant. That is just the way it is going to be, for the same reason that a bowling ball will crush your foot if dropped on it, and a golf ball won’t. That reason is the non-negotiable fact of the way God made the world. So the choice we have is not men running things v. equality for all. Rather we have a choice between men running things destructively into the ground and men running things constructively into a thriving civilization. And guess what? For the last generation or so, we have been experimenting with outlawing men dominating in constructive ways. And so what did we get? We got what we are currently getting. We are getting destruction, by men, at the insistence of women. It turns out to be a lot uglier than what was promised on the brochures.
I used the word plausibility a moment ago, but it is a word that only holds up for thirty seconds or so. The great ethical division is not between men and women, but between men and women on the one side who want to honor and serve God, and men and women on the other who want to Rube Goldberg their very own new ways of being human. The events of the last few months have not demonstrated that the patriarchy is insidious, reaching even the upper echelons of Hollywood. Rather the unfolding Sexual Fiasco has shown that conservative Christians have been right about sex all along.
Starting with the cornerstone of abortion, the sexual revolution severed the sexual act from the responsibilities of being parents, an important subset of that category that used to be called being adults. Conservative believers warned our generation before the fact, Cassandra-like, about free love, about no-fault divorce, about abortion, about promiscuity, about pornography, about crudity in mainstream entertainment, about godless rappers, about sex ed in godless schools, about sex, drugs and rock and roll, and so on, down the street and around the corner. And what was their reward for this prescient insight? Remember, I was there, as also were a number of you. If you recall, we were endlessly, ruthlessly, patronizingly mocked.
In sum, Dan Quayle was right about Murphy Brown. Quayle was more insightful than a bus full of Harvard grads.
Can’t You See That You’re Blind?
This is a lost generation. They have no basis for condemning anything, and are firmly relativistic, and yet they have a deep internal need to be considered righteous. Their theology is nicely summed up in Lennon’s little song, what might be called the Anthem Fatuous.
Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. But that cute little tush is right there. No hell below us. Above us only sky. The tush is still there. No religion too. Thought experiment! You tell me what might happen under these circumstances.
Now of course if there is no God, there also is nothing wrong with a periodic moral panic either. There is no difference between perversion and posturing, between being immoral, pretending to be moral, and being moral. It is all just a cavalcade of stupid senseless atoms, wending their way to the eventual heat death of the universe. And at that point, with each little atom bobbing meaninglessly at an equidistant remove from the next atom, nobody will care.
Above us only sky, and it looks down without any condemnation on all sorts of activity, whether real or hypothetical—the Spanish Inquisition, the religious right, Trump’s tweets, a little grope and grab at the studios of NBC, rapey movies, creepy producers, moralistic warp spasms spanning an entire continent, or a bill before the legislature that would make all women concubines.
Common Sense Can’t Save Us:
We are in the midst of a moral panic, which is in turn a reaction to a decades-long debauch. Extremes beget extreme reactions. Calmer heads try to intervene and they often say very reasonable things. But common sense cannot save us.
Claire Berlinsky wrote a really insightful piece here, and Denise McAllister wrote another really good one over at The Federalist. And in keeping with our Crazy Town theme, a top aide to the Texas Attorney General had to resign after he posted the McAllister article on Facebook.
But here is a money quote from Berlinsky:
“We are on a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity. The punishment for sexual harassment is so grave that clearly this crime—like any other serious crime—requires an unambiguous definition. We have nothing of the sort.”
We have nothing of the sort.
But in fact, the reason we have nothing of the sort is that we actually have nothing. In a world without any transcendent reality, common sense is just one more thing in an infinite row of stupid things.
Christ or More Chaos:
Back in the seventies it was common for Christians to tell unbelievers that Christ was the answer to their questions. Back in the seventies, people had questions. What is truth? How can I know?
But now we need to tell the nation that Christ is the answer to their impotent rages, their intellectual grand mal seizures, and their insufferable and pretentious inability to follow an argument. If you refuse to follow Christ, it will be just a matter of time before you have an utter inability to follow anything else, including an argument.
The choice is therefore before us now. Either abandon the futility of secularism, and return to Jesus Christ, or descend further into the chaos. It is back to Christ or forward into the Abyss. It is Jesus or nothing. It is—like the two sexes—binary.
I said earlier that mankind was fallen. This rebellion of ours against the Most High is how the Scriptures define insanity—we are like Nebuchadnezzar the quadruped (Dan. 4:28ff). But when we recognize the God of Heaven, we are returned to our rightful place, and God does this in part by returning us to our senses.
So here it is, men and women. Hear the gospel, ladies and gentlemen. I address you as ladies and gentlemen because your madness has even reached phrases like that, your indignation at faux hate crimes knowing no limits or bounds. I speak to you, men and women, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
You are trapped in your sins and sinfulness. You are entirely enclosed by stupidity and folly, and the bars on the doors of your dungeon are immovable. You were born this way, born into this cell, and there is no way of escape that any man can devise. Every purported plan of escape just digs a tunnel down to a deeper dungeon. You can dig down but you can never climb up. The blackness is entire, and the blackness outside you matches the blackness of your heart and imagination. There is absolutely nothing you can do.
Into this pit, Jesus Christ was born among the prisoners. He alone could see down here. He alone did not deserve to be living here. He alone lived in such a way as to prevent the walls of the prison from having any rightful claim on Him. He alone did not deserve to be dragged down the hallway to the room where all the executions happened. He alone suffered execution on behalf of other prisoners.
And He alone stood up three days after His death, filling the room where He was raised with light. He alone spoke a word to all the other prisoners, as He was walking out through the doors that had crumbled to a very fine dust—the dust of death. He looked over His shoulder and said, “Come. Follow me.”
And so, like those who dream, we did. You may come also.