Next Up: Make Marriage Great Again
There’s a chin-stroker piece up at American Greatness by John Fonte asking whether conservatives should be a nice well-behaved opposition, as proposed by Yuval Levin, or a revolutionary vanguard, as proposed by Victor Davis Hanson. Fonte reminds us that back in the day it was William F. Buckley, Jr. proposing the radical option with his manifesto of “standing athwart history, shouting ‘Stop!’”
Well, I thought that Donald Trump had decided for us all, that we were not going to be nice any more, but get in liberal faces.
But if we are a revolutionary vanguard, what comes next? The answer is obvious: we go for the women’s vote.
Now according to my theory of male and female culture, gotten from James Bowman’s Honor, A History, men have a Culture of Insult, which derives from the male honor code of bravery, and women have a Culture of Complaint, which derives from the female honor code of chastity.
Brilliantly, Trump herded the white working-class males into the GOP column with his 2016 Campaign of Insult. So obviously the next step is to herd in the ordinary straight middle-class women with a Campaign of Complaint.
Okay, I’m a guy. I don’t have a clue how a Campaign of Complaint would work. I think that is a job for our magnificent conservative wives and mothers.
But here is what this campaign would amount to: Make Marriage Great Again.
A hundred years after women getting the vote, 50 years after the sexual revolution, 40 years after abortion on demand, what do women want? Perfectly simple. They want two things. The first is safety, as in safe spaces. And the second is fidelity, as in the complaint of Mattress Girl that you don’t get to dump me, pal, after a couple romps in the hay, not if you know what is good for you.
So nothing has changed.
It seems to me that there is an astonishing human institution that we are all familiar with, that tries and usually succeeds in accommodating the human female’s deep-seated desire for safety and a committed relationship. We call that institution Marriage.
Forget “I am woman; hear me roar.” Girls just want to be safe, like Salma Hayek who wants to be safe from Weinstein The Monster. Forget the sexual free-for-all. Matt Lauer’s one-time production assistant was still heartbroken when Matt called it off and she realized that she was not the love of his life, but just a nice bit of crackling, as they used to say in Britland in my youth, a Ruby Ruggles to Sir Felix Carbury.
You tell me: what institution protects women that want to be safe in long-term relationships?
Speaking of Carbury, the problem is not just villainous cads like him and Lauer. The whole point of Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, available on DVD, is the utter unreliability of young men where women are concerned. It’s not just the wastrel Carbury but the book’s hero Paul Montague. Even good guy Paul gets himself tied up in knots with too many women to suit the pure and matchless heroine Hetta Carbury.
Here we are after the sexual revolution, the divorce revolution, the abortion revolution and I have a question for you ladies: How does it make you feel? Not good? I thought so.
It’s not hard to see why. The sexual revolution makes it hard to women to test the fidelity of men since it removes her argument for chastity; the divorce revolution makes it hard for women because single women of a certain age are not much in demand; the abortion revolution makes it hard for women to say no when the “partner” in your bed wants to get rid of it.
I was talking with a good liberal woman the other evening and she seemed to think that now we were finally dishing the patriarchy and making it shameful for men to use their power over women.
Well, maybe so, but did men really have their wicked way with women more in the old days, or right now? The testimony of 19th-century authors like Austen, Eliot, Trollope, and Hardy suggests that, contra the feministas, respectable women were usually pretty safe, unlike today, and were usually protected from two-timing cads and bounders, unlike today. Working class women were often characterized in these books as maniacs for “respectability.”
So now that, ding, dong, the wicked Bill is dead, liberal women have discovered that they want the same thing that deplorable women do. But there is one problem. The minds of liberal women are so bollixed up with the 150 years of left-wing dialectics that it will take them a generation to realize that what they want after all is Marriage.
So look for some political genius to gen up a new politics that will, expressed with a proper feminine sensibility, Make Marriage Great Again.