The Marxist Dialectic of the Family: Part I – Marriage 1.0 versus The Tender Years Doctrine
(Sorry for the changing font sizes and whatnot in this article. I usually blog with Blogger and am not the most familiar with WordPress. Aargh, I’ve gone in and re-edited this post several times, and everytime I do, it causes another thing to go screwy.)
“What is the present family based on? On capitalism, the acquisition of private property… The bourgeois sees in his wife nothing but production.” — The Communist Manifesto
Point five is obviously not so much a point in itself, but rather a lead-in to explain her anti-thesis for the next three points.
Point six is claimed to be an abuse which men have perpetrated against women, yet the laws she is talking about were designed specifically for women’s benefit in the marriage contract. It was not possible for spouses to own property independently from eachother. As soon as a marriage occured, all titles went into the husband’s name. It was arranged this way because women hypergamously tend to marry men with more resources than they have. The vast majority of women “move up” when they marry. Very, very, very few women move down when they choose a long term mate, even today. What this law really did was combine the male’s greater financial wealth (in 99% of cases) with that of the lesser wealth of almost all women who got married. You see, if women are allowed to keep property titles outside of marriage, then so would the men be allowed as well. And if that were the case, the majority of wives would not be able to fully benefit from their husband’s productivity and wealth creation. It’s a blatant lie to describe this as an act of tyranny and oppression against women. However, it does start the dialectic, and it does end up that these laws are scrapped – leading to the undermining of marriage considered as “one flesh.”
Point seven can hardly be made into a case for the oppression of women at the hands of men. Let me get this straight. You breaking the law and me doing the time in jail for it is me oppressing you? Have a look at how this man oppressed his wife:
Mrs. Mark Wilks, whose husband is in jail because she refuses to pay her taxes, is credited with discovering a new and formidable weapon for the suffragettes. The suffragettes are generally women of property and they will follow Mrs. Wilkes example immediately, it is said.
The plan will work only in cases of husbands whose wives have independent incomes. Nor will it work in cases where the husbands pay taxes on their wives’ incomes. Some husbands, like Wilks, haven’t enough money to pay their wives taxes. Suffragette husbands who can pay are counted on to refuse to do so. Thus will a large portion of the Englishmen with suffragette wives be in jail shortly.
Under the married women property act a husband has no jurisdiction over his wife’s property and income. Under the income tax he is responsible for her taxes. If the taxes are not paid, the husband, not the wife, is imprisoned. Mrs. Wilks refused to pay her income tax – $185 – and her husband was locked up. He will spend the rest of his life in prison unless his wife pays or the law is changed. When at liberty he is a teacher in Clapton.
The eighth point is the one which undermines the ancient contract of marriage entirely. The ancient contract of marriage is not about romantic love. Those notions are relatively recent. No, it was an economic contract between a man and a woman, whereby the man trades his lifetime’s work of generating “excess resources” – which he is far better suited to procure than women – for children that are his own. In other words, he would have 100% presumed custody of any children produced from the woman’s sexuality for the duration of their time together. It was about the concept of property rights, or in this case, of custody rights. The products of his wife’s sexuality (children) became “his” and the products of his life’s work became “hers.”
“I would die before I will give up the child to its father.” — Susan B. Anthony, Quoted in Phyllis Chesler, Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994), p. 38.
Also, Elizabeth Cady Stanton claims this practice of father-custody was built on the presumption of the supremacy of man. This is another lie. The reason why ancient marriage was structured that way is because there is a hierarchy of how “love” works. It kind of goes like this:
Men love women –> Women love children –> Children love puppies.
Men’s love for women is greater than women’s love for men, just like parental love for children is greater than children’s love for their parents. The Bible indicates this principle when it commands men to love their wives, but commands wives to honour their husbands in return, just as children are commanded to honour their parents, not love them.
When children are placed in the position of 100% presumed custody of the father, it strengthens the weakest bond in the family – that between father and children. Fatherhood mostly doesn’t exist in the animal world, while motherhood is positively everywhere. By attaching fathers and children directly to one another, the mother now equates her children with the father. If she divorces the father, she knows she will lose access to her children. Therefore, in order to maintain her love with her children she must also maintain her love with their father.
If one believed that men and women were the same, one might project the female behaviours of today in modern family court as how men abused such rights in the past. However, this is not the case. Men’s greater love for women than women have for men made it that the vast majority of men never tried to remove their wives from the children. However, after presumed custody was shifted from father to mother by around the 1870’s, divorce rates began rising… and kept rising right up until the present day.
There were only a few thousand divorces annually in the mid-nineteenth century when divorce cost wives their children and Dad’s paycheck. This family stability began eroding as later nineteenth century divorce courts, under pressure from the rising feminist movement, began awarding child custody to mothers. — Daniel Amneus, The Case for Father Custody, p360
“Between 1870 and 1920 the divorce rate rose fifteenfold, and by 1924 one marriage out of seven ended in divorce” — James H. Jones, Alfred Kinsey: A Public/Private Life (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997), p.292.
The ultimate problem of marriage and divorce today stems from the dialectical arguments the suffragettes introduced a century and a half ago, wherein they undermined the ancient contract of marriage which had held marriages strong and divorce rates low constantly throughout the West’s long history. This was far more significant than anything the second wave feminists did with no-fault divorce.
How did the suffragettes dialectically change custody? Well, it didn’t happen all at once, but rather in small incremental “concessions” made by society to appease the shrieks of the suffragettes. Eventually it developed into the Tender Years Doctrine. This is the beginning of the “Best Interests of the Child Doctrine,” (something which is purely relative, whereas custody laws are exact and absolute) and we have been dealing with it ever since. The (British) Custody of Infants Act of 1839 already gave judges some power to over-ride a father’s custody rights in certain instances, particularly in establishing mother-custody for children under seven years old. By 1873, Parliament extended the age of mother-custody to sixteen years, effectively undermining father-custody altogether. (In some states, the age was thirteen). This is known as the Tender Years Doctrine, and although it was first established in Britain, it spread around the world fast as the British Empire was at its peak in the late 19th Century. The Tender Years Doctrine was similarly used in the USA as a principle in the courts to establish the arguments of parental custody.
Because the rest of the points of the Declaration of Sentiments are not directly addressing the points I am making in this article (they are about property tax, the workplace, education and religion/morality), I will not go into an in depth explanation of them here except briefly to point out that consistently these arguments are fabrications or half-truths that are not so much meant to be truthful, but rather to start dialectal manipulations.