Who Killed Feminism (and other noble movements)?
October 27, 2002
by Bruce Walker
Christina Hoff Sommers wrote a book several years ago entitled Who Stole Feminism? in which a former 1960’s feminist explores just happened to a movement that had general public support through the early 1970’s. In this book, she explores the errors and the outright lies of modern feminists. Although a wonderful book, the premise that feminism was “stolen” is not quite right. It was murdered, and the crime took place several decades earlier.
That movement that we call feminism began in the 1840s and it was intimately intertwined with several other movements, all of which were good than and all of which began nightmarish monstrosities. The core movement was not feminism, but abolitionism - the crusade to end the vile and universal practice of people owning other people.
Abolitionism began in Britain although its roots in America were very old. The earliest anti-slavery movement in the America in 1688 with the Germantown Protest and in 1652, the colony of Rhode Island had outlawed slavery. What would in the 1800s be called “feminism” also had very early roots in America. In 1656, at least a few women voted in some elections in America and in 1665 Maryland had an all female jury.
Abolition and women’s rights or feminism almost always went hand in hand with several other movements. Cruelty to animals began institutionalized with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the 19th Century, but the first American statute preventing cruelty to animals was passed in 1641 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Directly from the movements on both sides of the Atlantic to outlaw cruelty to animals came efforts to outlaw and stop cruelty to children. In fact, Henry Bergh, who largely founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in America, also pioneered the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. If the linkage of these various movements is still not obvious, consider that Henry Bergh was also a pioneer the fight against what was then called “wife beating.”
Another movement that arose in the 1800s and which was closely tied to abolition and feminism was temperance. The natural interests of all these diverse attempts at improving mankind - abolition, feminism, compassion for animals, concern for children, and temperance in consumption of alcohol - were considered so natural that Susan B. Anthony was first famous as an abolitionist, Frederick Douglass spoke about equal rights for women before blacks were freed of slavery, Reverend Arthur Broome in England was supported in his crusade to effectively end cruelty to animals by the leading voice in the world for ending slavery, William Wilberforce.
All these men and women embodied what modern leftists would immediately pounce upon as “liberalism” or even “radical” although, in fact, these heroic people were nothing of the kind. The life of Frederick Douglass is the antithesis of the life of Jesse Jackson; the life of Susan B. Anthony is the antithesis of the life of Hillary Rodham.
There is one salient fact in all of these good and noble people of those past centuries who sought to bring real justice and genuine humanity into the world: Christianity. All, without exception, belonged to at least one denomination of Christianity, but more important, they based their arguments largely on the Christian idea of love and justice.
Perhaps nowhere was this more evident than in the anti-slavery and animal rights efforts. Frederick Douglass was a preacher at Zion Methodist Church. Reverend Arthur Broome was an Anglican priest who actually went to debtors prison because of his beliefs. Henry Bergh, as he fought through ridicule and scorn to prevent vicious brutality toward those helpless creatures of God - animals, children and wives - explicitly explained that he was driven by his faith and the SPCC was founded by Quakers in 1875, with Bergh as its president.
This was perhaps no more true than in the movement called feminism. The garbling of American history by leftists blithely ignores the strongest companion organization to the feminists: the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which exists to this day. That organization is the first mass, voluntary and morally driven organization created and run by women in human history. Believing in suffrage and believing in temperance were so closely related in the 19th Century, that it is almost impossible for us today to comprehend how logically the two once seemed connected.
Christianity inspired those women and men who agitated and got a whole series of constitutional amendments ending slavery, granting blacks equal rights, granting blacks the vote, outlawing the liquor industry, and granting women the right to vote. The leading players in one campaign were supporters or leaders of the other campaigns. Moreover, these people tended to be evangelical Christians, that very group that spearheaded the anti-slavery movement in England and that insured the reelection of Lincoln in the crucial election of 1864.
Womenists do not take Christianity seriously, except to hate it. Many Womenists worship the lifeless and phony “goddess” Gaea; most Womenists consider religion a patriarchal conspiracy; and large numbers of Womenists have a special animus towards Christianity, which they claim subordinate women to men.
This attitude is both ignorant and insane. The oppression of women in the ancient world was ended by men and by women who accepted Christianity, and the very triumphant of Christianity amid a Roman holocaust that lasted three centuries was largely due to the overwhelmingly positive response of women to this religion compared to all the other belief systems which the most cosmopolitan empire in world history had offered them.
The malice and bigotry of Womenism betrays its descent into paganism and tribalism. Christianity does not permit hatred of others as “oppressors” or the classification of human beings into groups of “good people” or “bad people” based upon accidents of birth. Most of all, Christianity requires compassion as the overriding principle, and this compassion must be for all men and all women.
There was something else that connected abolitionists, feminists, and similar movements in America: the leaders were passionately committed to the Republican Party. Frederick Douglass campaigned for Grant in 1868, and the black vote helped Grant win the election. He campaigned again for Grant in 1872. Douglass and many other blacks noted the unrelenting hostility of Democrats towards blacks, and considered that political party a great danger to America. Republican presidents appointed Frederick Douglass to a variety of federal offices, including United States Marshal for the District of Columbia.
Perhaps more interesting is the fact that feminists were Republicans and were never Democrats. This is not a fact that Womenists, who are overwhelmingly pagan Democrats, like to mention. The Republican Party, then as now, held views based upon principles and not power. When the Republican Party was founded, it was to support a group that could not vote and had no power: blacks in America.
States with Republican governments granted women the vote long before it became a federal constitutional right. Women held offices within the Republican Party long before they did in the Democrat Party. Perhaps the most interesting example of this is the famous “vote” cast by Susan B. Anthony in the 1872 election, which led to her prosecution for illegal voting. Womenists love to quote the passionate speech she made at the trial, but how often do Womenists relate Anthony’s joy in telling her friends that she voted a “strait Republican ticket”? They ignore that just as they ignore th efact that Anthony believed that abortion was both a crime and a sin.
So who killed feminism? Who killed the dream of Frederick Douglass? Who turned Henry Bergh’s idea of compassion for dogs, cats and children into the asinine spectacle of PETA? What happened in the early and middle of the Twentieth Century to turn these good intentions by noble people into lies and moral slop?
Thank Lenin and the Soviet Union. Betty Friedan was a member of the Communist Party USA (a trivial fact, never important enough to mention in accolades to her) and W.E.B. DuBois was a Marxist as well. Communism deliberately tried to spread as much acrimony as possible in America. There are always people willing to hate and eager to find a reason to hate.
And Marxists are always willing to lie. So a movement begun by evangelical Republicans to advance universal principles of compassion, equality and dignity, became the stifling and murderous doctrines of hate which Communism, Fascism, Socialism, Nazism and other forms of liberalism always eventually become.
What would Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass be doing today? They would be going to church and working every spare minute to elect as many Republicans as possible to positions of power. And they would not feel welcome at a NOW or an NAACP convention. No one likes smelling a decomposing cadaver.
Bruce Walker has been a dyed in the wool conservative since, as a sixth grader, he campaigned door to door for Barry Goldwater. Bruce has had almost two hundred published articles have appeared in the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Law & Order, Legal Secretary Today, The Single Parent, Enter Stage Right, Citizen's View, The American Partisan, Port of Call, and several other professional and political periodicals.
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