Are feminism and acceptance of homosexuality leading to disaster?


My answer is of course “certainly not”, but my comments to this effect in response to a post on The Thinking Housewife website produced a quick response there, as was pointed out to me in the comments to my post.

In a new post, Jesse Powell writes about the kind of society that he would like to see.

Speaking as an atheist myself, feminism and the secondary and related issue of the acceptance of homosexuality are terrible things that do indeed make it seem sometimes that the world is “closing in on us” or that the world is falling apart, that the social order is collapsing; however you want to put it.

[P]atriarchy combined with chivalry is the natural order of how a society should be organized. Rebellion against this natural order can only lead to disaster as is manifestly obvious when looking at the results of the current experiment against the natural order that is currently under way in America and in the Western World in general.

The site host Laura Wood adds, “Some people are unable to cope with reality. They insist the world is not closing in on them when it is.”

Actually the title of that post (An Atheist Unable to Cope with Reality) is a little misleading. Powell, Wood, and I all seem to agree on the reality, which is that the drive towards full acceptance of equal rights for women and the LGBTQ community is irreversible. Where we differ is in our reactions to those developments. I see these developments as unequivocally positive so it is I who can cope with this reality and even welcome it, while they see it as unequivocally negative and something to be feared. What I think Wood means by ‘reality’ is really her judgment about whether this emerging reality is good or bad. The ‘world closing in’ is, after all, a metaphor, not reality.

The statement by Powell that “patriarchy combined with chivalry is the natural order of how a society should be organized” is quite remarkable. How does one know what is a ‘natural order’ of society? When people use such a phrase, it is usually an expression of desire rather than an empirically determined result, obtained by picking out one particular time in history as emblematic. The wish for the restoration of a ‘patriarchy combined with chivalry’ is a throwback to views of not just a century or two ago but possibly even to medieval times, evoking images of knights in shining armor rescuing damsels in distress. Of course, those times were ones of extreme drudgery for most people.

But such sentiments capture what I have said many times before, that what we are seeing, especially in the context of the science-religion debate, is the struggle by some people to halt and even reverse the tide of modernity. It is a strategy that has never worked in the past and will not work now.

Comments

  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    … knights in shining armor rescuing damsels in distress.

    Then bringing them home, where they (the damsels) spend the rest of their happily-ever-after in the castle, polishing armor.

  2. jamessweet says

    when looking at the results of the current experiment against the natural order that is currently under way in America and in the Western World in general

    …we see what? Plummeting rates of violent crime, a better educated populace than at any time in history, historically low rates of malnutrition and starvation, and a near future where adequate health care is available to all?

    Yeah, fuck that shit, sounds horrible.

  3. 'Tis Himself says

    But such sentiments capture what I have said many times before, that what we are seeing, especially in the context of the science-religion debate, is the struggle by some people to halt and even reverse the tide of modernity. It is a strategy that has never worked in the past and will not work now.

    Many evangelicals yearn for pre-Enlightenment times when The Church was one of the main pillars of society. This was also the time when the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was fought in part over the issue cuius regio, eius religio (“whose realm, his religion”, meaning the religion of the ruler dictated the religion of the ruled). That war caused the deaths of about one-third of the population of what’s now Germany and the Czech Republic and held up the unification of Germany for about 100 years.

  4. Steve says

    They’re just like religious fundamentalists who think that reality can be created either yourself by just wishing something hard enough, or by group consensus.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    … the struggle by some people to halt and even reverse the tide of modernity. It is a strategy that has never worked in the past and will not work now.

    The Ayatollahs made a pretty good go of it in Iran, for about one generation. The Afghan Taliban did their part for around a decade, and seem well on their way to picking up where they left off. Closer to home, the Reaganistas gave it a real try, but had to cherrypick their retrofantasies, leading to typically muddled results.

  6. says

    …feminism and the secondary and related issue of the acceptance of homosexuality are terrible things that do indeed make it seem sometimes that the world is “closing in on us” or that the world is falling apart, that the social order is collapsing; however you want to put it.

    Gee, I thought that “closing in on us” and “falling apart” stuff was caused by right-wing fiscal, regulatory, foreign, and military policies. Of course, if this guy wants to explain how gays and feminists caused the Iraq war, the Bush-era deficits and debt, or the financial crisis, I’m sure we’d all find it very amusing.

    Oh, and is this person really an atheist? All we have is his word, and given the blithering quoted above, his word isn’t all that credible.

  7. Sunny says

    In the past, slavery and feudalism were part of a “natural order of how a society should be organized” as well. Jesse Powell if he (or she) had been a slave or a serf would not have been particularly pleased.

  8. says

    One does not have to be rational to be an atheist. He could believe in extraterrestrial intelligence manipulating our history, for all we know. There is plenty of woo out there other than gods.

  9. smrnda says

    If anything, feminism and GLBT acceptance is strongly correlated with good social outcomes.

  10. kagekiri says

    Yeah, that person’s possibly an atheist, but still a crazy conservative asshole.

    It’s sometimes hard to remember that there are people who are atheists for little or no rational reason, and even those who are atheist due to rationality and skepticism may not apply that same skepticism or rationality properly to other areas of their ideologies or worldviews.

  11. Dunc says

    Fun fact about chivalry: under the actual code of chivalry (as opposed to the Hollywood bullshit most people imagine), any women under the protection of a knight were considered spoils of war, in that anyone who challenged that knight to combat and won could do whatever he wanted with the women under his protection – rape them, sell them into slavery, anything – with no fear of any repercussions, either legal or social.

    And of course, in actuality the code of chivalry was honoured more in the breach… Oh, and it only ever applied to the nobility. Peasants were fair game.

  12. Besomyka says

    He also wrote

    …men are to provide for and protect women and women have obligations to obey men. Each individual man in turn has an obligation to obey the social rules that men as a collective decide upon for the community.

    Which is just about exactly what Christian Patriarchy would say, except they’d just add – by way of justification – that the man stands there with the authority of god rater than this ‘natural order’ line that he’s passing off.

    It’s also as horrible, and as unfounded. I haven’t read much of that site, but does anyone know if they even try to give some sort of justification for their ideas? I’m curious if and how they map to the Christian side of things that I’m more familiar with.

    I mean, if they just do a find replace for ‘Natural Order’ in place of ‘God’, well… color me unimpressed.

  13. Thorne says

    I always thought it was the job of the squire to polish the knight’s armor.

    The damsels only polished his helmet.

    Ba-da-boom!

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