Charlton Heston fears our national social policy originates with Oprah. Must we continue trotting toward our own destruction? Or will society eventually tire of crime, immorality, injustice, family instability, and female domination? After we are stoking the fires of hell, will some future female-dominated legislature pass laws guaranteeing rights and privileges of men, and the pendulum begin another swing? It’s up to us.
The entire spectrum of amelioration includes both positive and negative approaches, twin blades in the scissors, analogous to reward and punishment in child behavior. The traditional, positive field is flooded with therapists, books on the subject, demonstrations, passive resistance and other “reasonable” measures– some helpful, some nonsense. There is another blade to the scissors.
Fredric Bastiat said, “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” When law conflicts with morality, it must be defied. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery Alabama bus in 1955, she violated the law, obviously the right thing to do. Black civil rights activists sat in at ‘whites only’ lunch counters. Columnist Wendy McElroy described previous instances of non-violent protest thusly, “Anti-slavery activists flouted the law by harboring run-aways; the most famous of them, William Lloyd Garrison, called the Constitution’s sanction of slavery “an agreement with hell, a covenant with death” and urged non-violent resistance.
19th century labor advocates staged strikes that paralyzed entire regions and industries; they burned factory owners in effigy. Philosopher Ayn Rand said “Civil disobedience may be justifiable in some cases, when and if an individual disobeys a law in order to bring an issue to court as a test case.” Rand supported civil disobedience for individuals or groups “when and if the risks involved are their own.” During Vietnam, the anti-war movement barraged ‘the system’ with flamboyant tactics. Perhaps the most famous one occurred when Yippies threw dollar bills from the balcony of the New York Stock Exchange and effectively closed down trading as brokers scrambled for the money.
Though our cause is arguably, indeed patently, more just than that of war protesters, such measures in the domestic relations arena have been little more effective than my urinating on the grave of the judge who ruled against me in a custody suit (I fantasized about that for many years). The ex-wife of John Murtari, mentioned in Save the Males, moved to California with John’s son, Dom. John has difficulty seeing Dom, and is heartbroken. He has been attempting to gain an audience with Senator Hillary Clinton to publicize the plight of all parents unjustly separated from their kids by divorce, separation, or the machinations of social services. Because Clinton refuses to see him, he took to demonstrating outside her office. Federal and local police arrest and jail him so often for this activity that all are on a first name basis. John’s approach to family justice, patterned after that of Mahatmas Ghandi and Martin Luther King, is his previously-mentioned hunger strike. Officially, it hasn’t been very rewarding even with politicians less beholden to Feminists than Hillary. However, a San Diego-based producer is making a documentary on his plight, entitled “Support System Down.” It includes interviews with 38 people.
Reform must be more than a notion. Here's a quote from Frederick Douglass: “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are people who want crops without plowing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.” In another context, Logan D. Clements said “Rebellion gave birth to America. Rebellion is what we need right now… Sometimes, like our forefathers, when your adversaries are stronger than you are, you have to fight back in creative ways.” Joel 3:9 says, “Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up.”
It seems evident that appealing to reason alone (repeat, “alone”) cannot prevent the ‘rape of the male’ or the proliferation of divorce. As in other endeavors, negative approaches can be effective. For example, the militancy of Malcolm X frightened bigots and others to take Martin Luther King seriously. To ignore 50 percent of the remedies is as self-defeating in reform as it is in psychology. Appeals to reason must be supplemented by more pragmatic measures. Feet must be held to the fire.
I’m not encouraging violence, neither am I discouraging it, unless it in the end harms the prospect of reform. Unfortunately non-violence hasn’t promoted reform. The system definitely needs “a shot across the bow.”
Dante said there is a special place in hell for those who, in times of moral crisis, fail to take a stand. There is a growing element in the men’s/fathers’ movement tired of begging for justice, tired of kow-towing to the powers that be. Following St. Paul’s admonition to “fight the good fight,” they believe in more forceful responses than joining hands and singing “Kumbaya.” It puts one in mind of what H L Mencken said, probably with tongue in cheek, “Every normal person must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the Black Flag, and begin slitting throats.” These words are harsh, but how else can one adequately address harsh realities?
Advocating such measures, many formerly pacifistic reformers have embraced militancy, especially overseas. ‘Fathers 4 Justice’ (F4J) in the U.K. and Scotland, and the Blackshirts in Australia are in the vanguard of these angry men. F4J members dropped turds, figuratively speaking, into the British legal system punch bowl, climbing atop government buildings, cranes and highway overpasses, unfurling banners, and causing massive traffic tie-ups. Two members threw a condom filled with harmless purple powder on Prime Minister Tony Blair during his address to Parliament, and in January of 2006 threats were made in their name, but not by them, to kidnap Blair’s young son. To my knowledge, there has been no stalking of judges – yet. After the kidnap threat, the group announced its disbandment; but reportedly a movie is in the works.
Matthew O’Connor, Chairman of F4J, had this to say after the condom-throwing incident: “If you had seen what we have seen with our eyes, if you had heard what we have heard with our ears, if you had carried the crushing weight of human suffering on your shoulders, you would understand why we must break the law. And if that means prison, so be it.” It is easy for those who haven’t suffered such devastation to criticize those who have, and are threatening desperate measures. There is a Sioux proverb "Do not judge your neighbor until you walk two moons in his moccasins."
Politicians and the media are taking favorable note of F4J. One of their representatives had an audience lasting nearly a half hour with Prime Minister Blair, and was well received. Their efforts motivated government to take seriously the more pacifist British organization, Mankind. The entire men’s movement could learn a lot from them. Godspeed to them. Offshoots of the British F4J units are forming in the USA, Canada and elsewhere, emulating the parent organization’s tactics.
The present situation in the U.S. is equally unacceptable. When Shay’s Rebellion of farmers broke out in Massachusetts in 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” Officials beware – there are many justifiably angry divorced men out here, enough to make Shay’s Rebellion look like a picnic; I have met them and looked into their eyes. You would be well advised to restore justice. The clenched fist crowd is formidable, and should be.
We must engage in whatever civil disobedience it takes. I
hope the culprits responsible for it will clean up their own houses, so that
this burden does not devolve upon victims. But if it does, so be it. I
empathize with them.