THE PATHOLOGY OF THE FEMALE-HEADED FAMILY
THE PATHOLOGY OF THE FEMALE-HEADED FAMILY
"Women," wrote Ramsey Clark in l970, in his celebrated book Crime in America, "are not a threat to the public." But he also wrote, in discussing the male juvenile criminals who are a threat to the public, that "three-fourths came from broken homes." That means mostly female-headed homes. That means that while the single mothers of these criminals do not themselves commit crimes and go to prison, the socialization they give their children has an extraordinarily high correlation with the male crime of the next generation. This socialization, in fact, is the "root cause of crime" which Clark wrote his book to explore. He had found the explanation he sought and he didn't know it. It was concealed by the generation-long time-lag between cause and effect and by the sex-switch between generations: like hemophilia, crime is manifested in males but carried and transmitted by females--or rather by single females. Instead of seeing the true connection, Clark gave his readers this:
If we are to deal meaningfully with crime, what must be seen is the dehumanizing effect on the individual of slums, racism, ignorance and violence, of corruption and impotence to fulfill rights, of poverty and unemployment and idleness, of generations of malnutrition, of congenital brain damage and prenatal neglect, of sickness and disease, of pollution, of decrepit, dirty, ugly, unsafe, overcrowded housing, of alcoholism and narcotics addiction, of avarice, anxiety, fear, hatred, hopelessness and injustice. These are the fountainheads of crime.
Not so. If we are to deal meaningfully with crime, what must be seen is its relationship with the female-headed family. Most criminals come from female-headed families. Most gang members come from female-headed families. Most addicts come from female-headed families. Most rapists come from female-headed families. Most educational failures come from female-headed families. Every presidential assassin before Hinckley came from a female-headed family or one in which he had an impossibly bad relationship with his father. Most illegitimate births occur to females who themselves grew up in female-headed families.
If we are to deal meaningfully with crime, what we must do is reduce the number of female-headed families; what we must do is prevent the divorce courts from expelling half of society's fathers from their homes; what we must do is terminate a welfare system which displaces millions of men from the principal male role, that of family-provider. What we must do is make the father the head of the family.
The female role, says Margaret Mead, is a biological fact; the male role is a social creation. This is the primary reality concerning human society. Motherhood has been the dominant feature of mammalian life since its beginning some two hundred million years ago, most conspicuously since the great reptiles became extinct and the Age of Mammals began sixty-five million years ago. Fatherhood in the sense of major male participation in reproduction is only a few million years old. Fatherhood in the sense of male headship of families is only a few thousand years old.
What is happening to our society is that it is discarding patriarchal sexual regulation and reverting to the primeval mammalian pattern of a reproductive unit consisting of the mother and her offspring, the male putting in an appearance to perform his minuscule sexual function and then disappearing or being hauled away to the sausage factory or being reduced to the role of stud who can be discarded when his female tires of him. "Men and women," rejoices feminist-anthropologist Helen Fisher, "are moving toward the kind of roles they had on the grasslands of Africa millions of years ago....Human society is now discovering its ancient roots....The recent trend toward divorce and remarriage is another example of a throwback to earlier times....[T]he so-called new extended family [read: broken family] may actually have evolved millennia ago....At long last, society is moving in a direction that should be highly compatible with our ancient human spirit....The 'traditional' role of women is a recent invention."
Biologically speaking, it is indeed a recent invention, scarcely older than the civilization which it made possible and which emerged coevally with it and created the wealth which reconciled women to accepting it. But women's new economic independence is leading them to yearn for a return to the prehistoric mammalian arrangement. "[W]herever women are economically powerful," says Fisher, "divorce rates are high. You see it in the Kung and you see it in the United States." Let's say, wherever women are economically powerful and there are no social guarantees to ensure male headship of families, divorce rates are high--such being the case among the Kung and the Americans. The Kung have no social guarantees to ensure male headship of families because the Kung never emerged from the Stone Age. The Americans have no social guarantees to ensure male headship of families because there exists an elementary confusion in the heads of policy makers, lawmakers and judges, who imagine that the obvious strength of the biological tie between the mother and the infant (the "biological fact" Margaret Mead refers to) means that it requires their assistance. A biological fact does not require the services of the legal system. What does require these services is the weakest biological link in the family, the role of the father. It was the creation of this role--only a few thousand years ago--which made patriarchal civilization possible. Prior to that, mankind had to muddle through the million years of the Stone Age with the female-headed reproductive arrangements of the ghetto, the barnyard and the rain forest.