.. under control of the tyrant neccessary because of the need to organize the production and distribution of resources. The patriarchial tyrant was the perfect organizer to make it all happen. And so it began. With the development of the army, societies now began to have an investment in male dominated governments that quickly became so deeply ingrained in culture, that most people assume they are genetic in origin. This was reflected in new religions that revolutionized human spirituality.
Gone were the benign fertility goddesses (or at least they were sublimated), and they were replaced by fierce, warlike gods intended to intimidate. These gods not only were intended not just to intimidate enemies, but to strike fear into the hearts of the tyrant’s subjects. That way it isn’t neccessary to station a platoon of soldiers in every village. The king can simply rely on the fear of the gods, of which he was usually pretended to be one (or at least a descendent). It is from this period that the Old Testament arises.
And it is why the Old Testament begins with the laying down of the law — this is what the new religion demanded: obedience to God (and by implication, His representative on earth, the tyrant and his government). So therefore men became dominant in our society not because of any inherent biology, but because of thousands of years of cultural conditioning. The curtain falls. Millenia pass. The curtain rises. It’s the twentieth century, and women, who have been subjugated by a myth for centuries and complaining about it all along, all of a sudden can be heard, because of the forum provided by new forms of technology, cheap mass transportation and communications.
Not only are they being heard, but what they are saying makes sense. And the old patriarchial order isn’t having any of it. For one thing, it undermines the old power base. For another, it undermines the old male claim to status. It’s not just the women.
It is repressed minorities as well. Why? Because now, for the first time, they can complain and be heard. And when the complaints make sense, they offend the old order based on the status quo and subservience to the king and his government. Often called liberals or secular humanists, these people along with defectors from the patriarchial camp want nothing to do with the order that has oppressed them, and have asked for a new arrangement, based on genuine equality. It is even becoming apparent that the tyrant and his ways of doing things are obsolete.
For one thing, the tyrant’s army can not only destroy the enemy in hours or minutes, but the enemy’s army can destroy his with similar dispatch. Armies have become so destructive that the most powerful are no longer deployed against each other — too much destruction would result. For another, the king can’t do anything without all his subjects — and his enemies — knowing it almost immediately. It is no accident that slavery did not end nor did democracy take root in the world until cheap movable type made printed material and early forms of mass transportation made the wide dissemination of knowlege possible. For a third, cheap mass transportation has made international borders porous and increasingly difficult to control, even to the point of irrelevance in many cases, especially in the third world. Now, with television, the impact of mass communications has become much more dramatic. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and now television brings thirty of them from around the world right into the home every second. The results couldn’t have been more dramatic.
Now, for the first time, one can watch the governing process in another country as closely as if one were in that country. And all the arguments and ideas are heard and understood, even when they reflect poorly on that tired old patriarchial tyrant and his minions. But the old order is having none of it. Among the conservatives, there is a firm belief in the rightness of the old patriarchy. One hears the slogans: My country right or wrong, my country, a woman’s place is in the home, keep ’em at home, barefoot and pregnant! And for God’s sake keep ’em out of the military! There are serious proposals being floated to control the content of television, even though as satellite technology progresses, the ability to control that content erodes.
This erosion played no small part in the collapse of the thoroughly patriarchial Soviet empire. The patriarchy isn’t giving up easily. It uses all the old justifications, whether they are relevant or not, whether they are true or not. And often, the principal justification is an old one indeed – religion. We even see the spectacle of serious proposals for the American army being increased in size and influence when no credible threat to America remains, and for the American nation, founded on secular democracy, to be turned into a theocracy, with an old-style patriarchial religion in charge! The more the old patriarchists feel threatened, the more they retreat into the old time religion.
It justifies their fears and their prejudices. It makes repression acceptable, because it is for God (often Jesus) and king (America was founded on Christian principles!). Thus, that which was originally invented to support the patriarchial order becomes its principal justification! So here is the basis of the culture war. The millenia-old patriarchial order says its this way because it is natural and God ordained it this way and women and minorities saying we are oppressed and we demand to be heard and our rights honored. Neither side is willing to concede to the other. But neither side has all the answers to the problems that Western civilization faces.
The rebelling minorities certainly do not have the answers to the inevitable conflicts that will and are arising between themselves. The patriarchialists ideas were founded on a myth and can’t survive the intense scrutiny of the new media of idea exchange. So the war begins. On its outcome, hang the fate of Western societies. Get it right, and we will have a more honorable and just society, based on genuine equality in which the concept of self determination is truly honored.
Get it wrong, and we will enter a new dark age, based on ruthless repression and rejection of technologies and ideas that have unquestionably been liberating. Which side are you on?.