Is Hillary Clinton Ready for the Real Story of the Patriarchy?

Back when Barack Obama was first elected President of the United States a liberal woman friend told me how excited she was to have elected the First Black President. I should have replied: Oh really? Isn't the idea of a First Black President straight up racism?

Likewise with Hillary Clinton. Isn't the idea of a Time for a Woman President just straight-up sexism?

I'd say that the reality of this mindless identity politics that it really doesn't matter who is the First Bureaucrat of the nation's civil and military bureaucracies. The state apparatus goes on, although not so well these days.

And don't give me your feminist rubbish about the patriarchy. If we had a patriarchy in the bad old days, it's because women needed the protection of a powerful male warrior figure: otherwise they were fair game for any aggressive male on the planet.

A good way to look at the patriarchy in action is to read Homer's Iliad. The story revolves around an argument between Agamemnon and Achilles over who gets to keep a high-born woman, Briseis, captured in the sack of a city. For a modern like me, properly indoctrinated in the true modern faith, it is jarring to read about Achilles offering as a first prize to the winner of a chariot race, a “woman skilled in all useful arts.” Second prize was “a six year-old mare, unbroken, and in foal to a he-ass,” which just shows the relative value of things. It is shocking to read about the women of Troy bemoaning their fate in captivity if Troy were to fall to the Greeks.

Here's another window into the Homeric culture: old King Priam of Troy bemoaning the death of his sons, including the hero Hector.

I had fifty sons when the [Greeks] came here; nineteen of them were from a single womb, and the others were born to me from the women of my household.

Notice what he doesn't bother to mention -- girls. His daughters.

This Homeric depiction of ancient human life isn't that different from the life of chimpanzees depicted in Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn. Female chimpanzees rear the young and the males protect the troop's territory in constant border wars. All males are higher in the pecking order than all females. Wade doesn't make clear whether male chimpanzees prize females “skilled in all useful arts.” More research is needed.

Let's talk about slavery a thousand years ago and more. In the old days a typical large farm “household” included relatives, servants, and slaves. In the Roman Empire the slaves were housed in barracks and, according to Pieter Spierenburg in The Broken Spell, “large landowners tried to prevent them from reproducing.” But when the supply of slaves dried up, then the tables turned, and the landowners started to let the slaves live in separate dwellings. Get this:

[T]he scarcity of labor power resulted in a stronger position for the slaves; as a consequence lords became obliged to recognize the slaves' sexual bonds.  A patron's recognition of such a bond primarily implied that other male slaves had to refrain from sexual activity with the woman in the new relationship.

How did we get from the old patriarchal culture to the modern individualist culture? It wasn't heroic marching and demonstrations by Social Justice Warriors. It was first of all the King's Peace provided by the growth of the state. That meant that people need not seek protection in the household of a great lord; they could make it on their own. The other thing was that the rise of commerce in the last millennium has meant that

the importance of inheritance has declined considerably. In most cases, a person's wealth stems from the proceeds of his or her own labor rather than what he or she inherits.

We are talking about the rise of the bourgeoisie and its cult of responsible individualism, where ancestors and inheritance don't matter as much as what you can do for other people right now. We are talking about the rise of privacy, of companionate marriage, and the democratic idea of one man, one woman, one vote.  We are talking about the replacement of the patriarchal “household” with the little house in the suburbs.

It is, of course an irony that Hillary Clinton and her minions, claiming to make war on the patriarchy and making the sexist argument for a woman president, are in fact campaigning for a neo-patriarchy, where special-snowflake Julias will be protected from the big bad world in the liberal “household” by magnificent bureaucratic administrators providing microaggression-free “safe spaces.”

Hold that. We are really talking about a nulliarchy, the rule of the nothings. President Obama is a nothing president; Hillary Clinton is a nothing candidate, and the SJWs are nothing activists.

I dream of something better.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

Back when Barack Obama was first elected President of the United States a liberal woman friend told me how excited she was to have elected the First Black President. I should have replied: Oh really? Isn't the idea of a First Black President straight up racism?

Likewise with Hillary Clinton. Isn't the idea of a Time for a Woman President just straight-up sexism?

I'd say that the reality of this mindless identity politics that it really doesn't matter who is the First Bureaucrat of the nation's civil and military bureaucracies. The state apparatus goes on, although not so well these days.

And don't give me your feminist rubbish about the patriarchy. If we had a patriarchy in the bad old days, it's because women needed the protection of a powerful male warrior figure: otherwise they were fair game for any aggressive male on the planet.

A good way to look at the patriarchy in action is to read Homer's Iliad. The story revolves around an argument between Agamemnon and Achilles over who gets to keep a high-born woman, Briseis, captured in the sack of a city. For a modern like me, properly indoctrinated in the true modern faith, it is jarring to read about Achilles offering as a first prize to the winner of a chariot race, a “woman skilled in all useful arts.” Second prize was “a six year-old mare, unbroken, and in foal to a he-ass,” which just shows the relative value of things. It is shocking to read about the women of Troy bemoaning their fate in captivity if Troy were to fall to the Greeks.

Here's another window into the Homeric culture: old King Priam of Troy bemoaning the death of his sons, including the hero Hector.

I had fifty sons when the [Greeks] came here; nineteen of them were from a single womb, and the others were born to me from the women of my household.

Notice what he doesn't bother to mention -- girls. His daughters.

This Homeric depiction of ancient human life isn't that different from the life of chimpanzees depicted in Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn. Female chimpanzees rear the young and the males protect the troop's territory in constant border wars. All males are higher in the pecking order than all females. Wade doesn't make clear whether male chimpanzees prize females “skilled in all useful arts.” More research is needed.

Let's talk about slavery a thousand years ago and more. In the old days a typical large farm “household” included relatives, servants, and slaves. In the Roman Empire the slaves were housed in barracks and, according to Pieter Spierenburg in The Broken Spell, “large landowners tried to prevent them from reproducing.” But when the supply of slaves dried up, then the tables turned, and the landowners started to let the slaves live in separate dwellings. Get this:

[T]he scarcity of labor power resulted in a stronger position for the slaves; as a consequence lords became obliged to recognize the slaves' sexual bonds.  A patron's recognition of such a bond primarily implied that other male slaves had to refrain from sexual activity with the woman in the new relationship.

How did we get from the old patriarchal culture to the modern individualist culture? It wasn't heroic marching and demonstrations by Social Justice Warriors. It was first of all the King's Peace provided by the growth of the state. That meant that people need not seek protection in the household of a great lord; they could make it on their own. The other thing was that the rise of commerce in the last millennium has meant that

the importance of inheritance has declined considerably. In most cases, a person's wealth stems from the proceeds of his or her own labor rather than what he or she inherits.

We are talking about the rise of the bourgeoisie and its cult of responsible individualism, where ancestors and inheritance don't matter as much as what you can do for other people right now. We are talking about the rise of privacy, of companionate marriage, and the democratic idea of one man, one woman, one vote.  We are talking about the replacement of the patriarchal “household” with the little house in the suburbs.

It is, of course an irony that Hillary Clinton and her minions, claiming to make war on the patriarchy and making the sexist argument for a woman president, are in fact campaigning for a neo-patriarchy, where special-snowflake Julias will be protected from the big bad world in the liberal “household” by magnificent bureaucratic administrators providing microaggression-free “safe spaces.”

Hold that. We are really talking about a nulliarchy, the rule of the nothings. President Obama is a nothing president; Hillary Clinton is a nothing candidate, and the SJWs are nothing activists.

I dream of something better.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.