The Cult of Masculinity ~ Part 4: Family Values

This is part 4 of a review of the chapter titled, “The Cult of Masculinity” from Chris Hedges’ book, American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. Click here for part 1, here for part 2, and here for part 3.

by Vyckie

Yikes ~ I’ve kind of been wearing myself out working on the website redesign and today I’m super tired ~ so not much energy for posting.  This segment of my review of chapter 4, “The Cult of Masculinity” from  American Fascists by Chris Hedges will be a quickie ~ but to me it’s critical and very personally distressing considering that I spent over 16 years promoting “family values” through our family newspaper.  Throughout those years, I had the vague feeling of being used by the pro-family organizations like Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, Family Research Council, etc.  I could never quite put my finger on the dissatisfaction I was having with the program ~but reading this portion of Hedges’ book has really clarified what had been bugging me for all those years.

From page 91: “The goal of the movement is to create a theocracy, but they must dominate women first to keep the system in place. … They have found a niche to be heard, to provide something. They run home Bible studies.  They offer people a sense of belonging and connection.  They know the family’s falling apart.  The divorce rate is high.  Families are in flux. Roles are in flux.  Men and women are trying to figure out what we’re doing together.  And the church is filling the niche, providing the extended family.  There is no extended family, so the church is providing for these people.  Their ticket to power is family values.  That’s the hook.  People are hungry for that.  But with this church family comes the imposition of an extreme male power structure.  First, they use this power structure to control the family, then the church, then the nation.”

There is no extended family.  That was certainly true in my own life.  For many years, my family consisted of me, my mother, my sister and brother.  That was it.  Once in a while, my grandmother or ex-step-grandfather would show up.  But for the most part, there was a real lack of the support community of extended family.  The church was wonderful for providing fellowship and a sense of belonging … but then we started homeschooling and I heard about the “200 year plan” ~ the vision of multigenerational faithfullness which captured my imagination and inspired me to grow our own clan ~ starting with our own children, with the hopes of adding in plenty of grandchildren and great-grandchildren ~ and years down the road, I could imagine my descendants having no lack of extended family support.

Really ~ it sounded like a very lovely idea at the time …

K ~ typing just that much has worn me out.  Think I’ll take a break now for the weekend.  :)

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum.  Comments are open here too.

  • Sargassosea

    One word comes to mind – insideous.

    On a happier note, have a fantabulous holiday weekend Vyckie and everylady else, too!

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Throughout those years, I had the vague feeling of being used by the pro-family organizations like Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, Family Research Council, etc…

    I remember listening to them on the radio back in the Seventies, and back then they didn’t sound anywhere as crazy as the anecdotes about them from here and other blogs.

    Could someone compare, say, Dobson broadcasts & books now with those of 30 years ago? Is it possible he’s been becoming more and more extreme over time? In the manner of an aging woman becoming more and more bitter over the years because reality has not cooperated with expectations? (Re the latter example, I’m speaking from personal observation of my family — both my grandmother and stepmother became more and more bitter as they aged.)

    I heard about the “200 year plan” ~ the vision of multigenerational faithfullness which captured my imagination and inspired me to grow our own clan ~ starting with our own children, with the hopes of adding in plenty of grandchildren and great-grandchildren ~ and years down the road, I could imagine my descendants having no lack of extended family support.

    Really ~ it sounded like a very lovely idea at the time …

    Because it was a good idea — your family growing with each generation, your legacy continuing into the future. But apparently this good idea was to be achieved by some fairly destructive means. Wouldn’t be the first time achieving a righteous cause/goal was used to justify evil. Like the French Revolution’s Republique of Perfect Virtue, always beckoning from the other side of the “regrettable but necessary” Reign of Terror.


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