Family = dependency

If I had to sum up my Defense of Patriarchy in one sentence, it would be this:  “The essence of the patriarchal family is embodied personal dependency.”  Dependency means people rely on each other for basic needs.  Personal means that the dependence is ultimately on a specific person for one’s needs, rather than a large organization.  Embodied means that one’s specific duties are “read off” from biological facts, particularly sex differences, and these facts are then given meaning by one’s role in the family. 

Thanks to the research of Oz Conservative, I can now be sure that I wasn’t the first to emphasise some of these points.  Mr. Richardson brings to our attention a 1914 essay by Mrs. John Martin, in which he reads

The family is a closely organized, coherent, interdependent group. The basic principle upon which it rests is the mutual dependence of its members. It is founded on the needs of its members for one another. Were it not for these mutual needs the family would not have been formed.

It is the plant which we tend and water that interests us; it is the canary bird we feed ourselves; it is the baby we nurse and fondle and care for; it is the husband whom we watch over, appreciate, sympathize with, are grateful to, enliven, comfort and cheer; it is the wife whom we toil for, protect, guide, defend, serve and cherish – these are the persons whom we love.

It is apparent that the unity of the family arises out of its common needs and mutual services. But when woman has no need of man as breadwinner and he has no need for her as home-maker, and the child has no further need for either of them as nurse, teacher, guide, friend, but finds most of its needs supplied elsewhere by paid experts … – then the cohesive force of the family dissolves.

Mrs. Martin saw and explained everything clearly, decades before it happened.  But who’s ever heard of her?  Who has ever heard these arguments?  I had to figure it out mostly by myself.  The longer I live, the more I think that arguments don’t make any difference.  When an idea comes up, like feminism or easy divorce, that gives people an excuse to be selfish, they’re going to accept it no matter how good the counter-arguments are.  It’s a very depressing thought, especially given the hobby that I’ve chosen for myself.

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