A few words of criticism at the outset will accent my commendations of Mr. Doyle's remarkable polemic. The subtitle is wrong on two counts. Mr. Doyle does not treat us with common sense as he claims. For if his words were common sense, our family courts would not have become a bane of society as they have lamentably become. I would call Mr. Doyle's message, not common sense, but deeper wisdom from a hard life-long fight in a time of social upheaval. His book is an event which future historians will have to study in understanding the generation which lived in the second half of the 20th century in the United States.
The other fault I find is that Mr. Doyle's subtitle falls into the trap of feminist newspeak, misusing gender as if the term were a polite reference to sex. Gender, together with number and case, determines the inflections of various parts of speech. "Der Tisch" in German is masculine in gender, but corresponds in French to "la table" which is feminine in gender, yet a table has no sex at all. Interestingly enough, feminist newspeak also attempts to intimidate us into speaking of a biological father instead of a natural father, as if siring a child were merely a biological act like taking care of morning duties in the toilet. Having reduced it to as a dirty biological act, feminists dare not speak of sex, so they pervert grammar, which is only the beginning of their assault against our civilization.
Mr. Doyle has provided us with a remarkable commentary on the grave injuries which feminism has caused society in Europe and North America. It is important not to be misled by the multiple meanings associated with a word. For there are different kinds of feminism, which on its face seems to mean simply the philosophy of promoting the well being of women. In this broad sense, Pope John Paul II and Saint Edith Stein have written profound discourses which can be considered splendid illustrations of feminism. But the feminism to which Mr. Doyle draws attention is the view of such characters as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, -- a species of secular humanism which, at bottom, teaches that there is nothing beyond physical reality, hence that there are no moral absolutes, no higher dimensions, and no afterlife, and that the meaning of life is making the most of here and now. Feminism in this sense adapts secular humanism to women in particular, and, as such, it is the philosophy of enabling women to dominate and exploit men.
When I was a law professor in the 1970s, I wrote about the impact of the 19th Amendment upon the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, naively believing that I was living at the dawn of a new era in which women generally would become intellectual, responsible, truthful, brave, and strong as has been traditionally expected of men, -- no longer protected, fairer, idealized, and gentler creatures of the hearth and home, etc. I thought that I was helping to pave the way to a better future sketched out in the visionary passages of the 5th book of Plato's Republic. But I failed to appreciate that the driving force of the feminism then emerging was not based on Aristotle's view of human nature as a spiritual reality, but a low-grade materialistic, atheistic humanism which is deceptively cloaked behind the trappings of a noble cause. Any such force can only lead to the deterioration of civilization in general, because civilization in any setting is nothing other than the social manifestation of man's spiritual awareness, and secular humanism denies any spiritual reality of which we might become aware.
My expectations of those blissful days of academic folly were, of course, totally unrealistic. I admit it. My consolation is that so too were the expectations of most men who then welcomed the rise of women with high hopes of a better world. The maturation of women was fine, and important truth was discovered in scholarship, but our surreal hopes were irresponsible. And hard experience taught us the truth, which was eventually articulated by Mr. Doyle's mentor, the late Professor Daniel Amneus. The driving force behind the popular Friedan-Steinem brand of feminism, as Professor Amneus taught, is nothing other than the desire for unlimited female sexual hedonism, which, in a way, is making the most of here and now, and doing so in a manner designed to assure the capacity of women to dominate and exploit men. And to achieve this objective, radical changes were necessary: first, marriage had to be made meaningless, then destroyed; and, second, every woman had to have the option either to terminate any pregnancy on demand, or to keep her child and turn it into a cash cow.
And lo! Marriage, which has traditionally been considered a contract of great importance to and solemn obligations of both husband and wife, capable of dissolution only for grave cause, including either serious breach or real impossibility, has in recent decades become an arrangement which a woman may terminate on whim often procured by alienation of affections once unlawful but now freely allowed. The process begins by a court order, issued upon affidavit which may be freely perjured without penalty, enforced without notice and hearing, and throwing the man out of his home and on the street. The female is then allowed her freedom and she takes most assets on grounds contrived, all without cause as a practical matter. Abortion has always been a delicate question, and the common law recognized limits on criminalization, although before our time it was never encouraged as it is today. But today we have abortion on demand at practically any stage of pregnancy as a monument deemed more sacred than Magna Carta. And if the female wants to keep the child, she has freely at her disposal the right to demand tribute from her prostrated mate under the guise of child support, but unrelated to the cost of raising children and amounting to tax-free alimony and transfer of wealth, collected in her behalf by huge armies of government bureaucrats virtually unrestrained in their powers and efficiency.
I should add here that, while much bad legislation has been enacted, the real culprits in the final analysis are family court judges with unbridled discretion. And because their power is virtually unchecked in law and practice, family court judges are typically neurotic, cruel, dangerous, predatory, lawless, and tyrannical. The reason was explained by Edmund Burke when he said that "power gradually extirpates from the mind every humane and gentle virtue." No branch of the American judiciary has brought so much disgrace to the bench and generated so much hatred for authority, as our family courts, the lawyers who practice before them, and the judges who preside.
As Mr. Doyle points out effectively and clinically, a husband and a father has become a guest in his own home in the United States. He is a beast of prey who may be hunted without license at any time. The unhappy truth is that, unless a man links his destiny with a woman of extraordinary wisdom and virtue, marriage is unsafe and unwise. Many are responsible for this menace to Western civilization, but the most important culprits are divorce racket lawyers and family court judges. I have no apology to offer for my profession. We lawyers are guilty.
My consolation is that I am near the end of my career, having seen practice over almost forty years in sixteen jurisdictions, and I remain hopeful that we shall eventually move in the direction of necessary reforms. For human beings are surviving creatures, and such reforms are absolutely indispensable to our civilized survival as a species. Without a shift in the social pendulum, we shall sink into a jungle-like existence, nor will our technology save us. And because we must change direction, we shall. It will take time for enough people to understand that the likes of Mr. Doyle are right, and unspeakable casualties will still be suffered in great number, but eventually the time will come.
John Remington Graham
of the Minnesota Bar (#3664X)