Sunday, June 28, 2015

Matt 24 watch, 265b: F/N . . . The Communist Manifesto (1848) on the Family and linked, Neo-Marxist Critical Theory driven thought

Last time, we cited a discussion by Kengor on the longstanding  hostility of the radical left to the family. 
(Let me add, Jun 29: I am not trying to paint all on the "left" -- whatever that is these days -- with a tarred brush, I am providing documentation on troubling roots and how such has explicitly played out in examples of radical thought up to current times, examples that come up early and easily in Google searches so can be taken as indicating a real phenomenon. If the result is unpalatable, yes it is, but it is part of the reality we must now face as we look at some pretty radical and likely ruthless social engineering of marriage, family, education, media, policy, law and more that "are already in progress." In short, I am saying we all need to pause and think again in light of what has now been put on the table and where it so dangerously -- even, menacingly -- points. Or, in the form of a question: Do we really, really want to go down this road as a civilisation? Do we know where it is likely to end? Are we really, really, really sure we want to go there?)
As a key step of documentation, here is a clip from the Communist Manifesto, 1848, on what Marx and Engels derided as the bourgeois family (and on linked childhood education):
Abolition [Aufhebung] of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.
On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.
The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.
But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.
And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.
The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.
But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the bourgeoisie in chorus.
The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.
He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production.
For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial.
Our bourgeois, not content with having wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other’s wives.
Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private. 
 This is a capital example of irresponsibly setting up and burning a toxically laced strawman caricature to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere. A wife and mother simply is not a "private prostitute," likewise, it is patently false that the family in the industrial era or any other would simply be founded on "capital, on private gain." Nor is "community of women," either the general rule or a reasonable answer to challenges with the family. And, that some men may be adulterous does not address the natural bonds of husband and wife, mothers, fathers and children, or the underlying governing moral principles long since classically stated by Jesus of Nazareth, in reply to a challenge about divorce:
Matt 19:He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” [ESV]
What God joins, Marx and Engels would obviously separate, and they would seize upon public education to twist it into a means of indoctrination, forgetting the similar grim warning about he who would cause a child to stumble.

We may go a bit further, by citing University of Michigan philosophy professor Daniel Little's summary on links to Frankfurt-style critical theory and feminism (with implications for lesbianism etc), as one illustrative sample:
Neither Marx nor Engels offered a coherent statement of socialist feminism, and neither offered specific commentary or criticism of the political, social, and economic disadvantages experienced by women in nineteenth-century Europe. 
However, the fundamental themes of social criticism that Marx puts forward—alienation, domination, inequality, and exploitation, and a critique of the social relations that give rise to these conditions—have clear implications for a theory of gender equality and emancipation.  First, Marx’s theory of alienation is premised on assumptions about the nature of the human being, involving the ideas of freedom, self-expression, creativity, and sociality (Marx 1964 [1844]) .  The situations of everyday life in which patriarchy and sexism obtain—the situations in which existing social relations of power, authority, and dominance are assigned on the basis of gender and sex, including marriage, the family, and the workplace—create a situation of alienation and domination for women.  Second, Marx’s theory of exploitation (expressed primarily in Capital (Marx 1977 [1867]) ) extends very naturally to the social relations of patriarchy.  Patriarchy and the bourgeois family system embody exploitation of women, within the household and within the workplace. Finally, Marx’s strong moral commitment to the overriding importance of social equality is directly relevant to a socialist feminist critique of contemporary society. The unequal status and treatment of women is an affront to the value of human equality.  Thus Marx’s principles lay the ground for a formulation of a socialist feminism.
Likewise illustratively as an example, Stephanie Coontz of Solidarity ("a socialist, feminist anti-racist organization") writes:
Engels correctly recognized that the subordination of wives and the growing independence of the nuclear family from larger kin networks were associated with the development of private property, but he had an idealist interpretation of the reason for this "world historical defeat of the female sex"--men's desire to pass wealth onto their own biological sons. As Plekhanov later pointed out in The Role of the Individual in History, an economic interpretation of history is not the same as a materialist interpretation of history, because analysis remains at the level of people's motive and ideas, merely substituting a cynical assessment of intentions for a utopian one . . . . 

Marx and Engels accepted the Victorian assumption that most sexual and gender interactions were part of nature, and that nature was of a lower order than culture. They correctly noted that the first social division of labor was between men and women, but wrongly equated this with sexual intercourse, suggesting that the division of labor in the family was "natural." Accordingly, they concluded that the division of labor became "truly" significant only when a split between mental and manual labor appeared. They thus failed to incorporate gender relations and sexual systems into their theory of productive forces and social conflict . . . . 

Under capitalism, Marx and Engels argued, only labor that is exchanged against capital is productive labor and produces value. If the good is not sold, however, its value cannot be realized, or even be said to exist. The social labor that went into making the good becomes trapped in the unsold commodity. In consequence, human cooperative endeavors are disguised and controlled by the exchange of things.

Meanwhile, the most important kinds of work that humans do--nurturing, for example, and many other "family"-type activities--produce no value under capitalism and are therefore marginalized and denigrated. The implications of this theoretical breakthrough for family analysis are profound.
The second contribution of Marx and Engels to the study of families was their dialectical insistence that social relationships, not just technological forces, lie at the heart of class analysis. In The German Ideology Marx suggests that "a certain mode of production, or industrial stage, is always combined with a certain mode of co-operation, or social stage, and this mode of co-operation is itself a `productive force.'"

Modes of cooperation--or coercion--are critical in defining class and understanding social change. And families, along with other socially constructed relationships such as race and gender, are central mechanisms for organizing cooperation and coercion. They are also sites of contradiction in the Marxist sense--places where inherent oppositions occur that are necessary to perpetuate a particular process or social system, and yet also undermine that process or social system.

These insights point the way toward a deeper and richer understanding of families and their meaning in the lives of working people today. Male privilege within the family is real, for example, but men support women and children at a level beyond which the latter could reproduce themselves in this society (as post-divorce statistics on poverty show) at the same time as they appropriate work and deference from them.
All of this, of course reflects neo-marxist style critical theory, with its focus on identifying centres of exploitation and pretensions to provide a liberating critique and superior socialised, state-backed "solution."

Yes, there are tensions in marriages and families, and men too often have been abusive or oppressive. On the other hand, the history of the past 100 years has shown that the state out of control has been far more destructive, as the ghosts of over 100 million murdered by the state tell us. The sin problem -- that which seemingly must not be named -- is an ever-present problem. And in any decision-making situation that cannot tolerate deadlock, decisions have to be made, pointing to the role of leadership balanced by the need for partnership and mutual respect. Where, the dismissiveness to the biology of reproduction and the patent need for committed nurturing, disciplining and protective stability speak volumes.

It is worth a pause to reflect on some thoughts by Larrey Anderson at American Thinker:
. . . work for the male is a biological, psychological, and even philosophical necessity for the preservation of the family.

Once his participation in coitus is over, the man plays no biological part in the creation of his offspring. Unlike the woman, who carries her baby to term and then nourishes the newborn infant at her breast, the man's role in the family is necessarily ideal. He is biologically and psychologically separated from the procreative process. The man needs a reason to stay with his wife and family. If he is to remain with his family, his role (at least initially) can only be that of provider and protector [ii].

The surest and quickest way to eliminate the family is to make certain that a young man (who might wish to marry and start a family) does not have access to a job. This ensures that the young man has no reason to remain with an impregnated female.

It is not by accident that over 70% of black children in America are born out of wedlock. Almost 50% of young black men in America are unemployed. And without a job, a man has no incentive to start or remain with his family.
F/N: [ii] This does not mean that a man cannot eventually become the caretaker of his children and his wife become the provider -- or that the tasks of provider and caretaker cannot be shared. But the man's initial role in the family, during and shortly after the procreative process, can only be that of provider and protector. Otherwise, there is no reason for a man to stay with his family. Men cannot give birth.
In short, the creation-order family based on the covenantal, one flesh union of husband and wife leading to childbearing and upbringing, is a reasonable answer to our biological, social and cultural challenges. One that is as imperfect in actual cases as any institution based on finite, fallible, sinful and morally struggling human beings in need of redemption and godly transformation will inevitably be.

Which of course invites cynical critique, but we have no good reason to imagine that the radical alternatives being offered are any reasonable improvement. Homosexualism, transgenderism, the divorce and remarriage game, or having children out of wedlock all fail the test.

So, in the end, we are back to Jesus' warning: what God has joined, let not man put asunder. END