The left is poisoning the minds of America’s children. Dr. Gina Loudon interviews Dr. Judith Reisman on her debunking of Alfred Kinsey’s research, sex education in America, and the sexualizing of a culture.
The left is poisoning the minds of America’s children. Dr. Gina Loudon interviews Dr. Judith Reisman on her debunking of Alfred Kinsey’s research, sex education in America, and the sexualizing of a culture.
US News Director Robert O’Hara interviews IAI’S fellow and professor from Patrick Henry College, Stephen Baskerville on the topic of fathers’ rights and the crisis in the American family courts.
In the context of the crisis in Ukraine, Jeffrey R. Nyquist, author of the book, Origins of the Fourth World War, and fellow of the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought (IAI) explains why German Chancellor Minister Angela Merkel was being monitored by NSA. Nyquist was interviewed by Cliff Kincaid from America’s Survival.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” – Matthew 10:16
Ira Reiss, a sociologist and professor emeritus at Minnesota University, was a charter member of Alfred Kinsey’s Sex Cult. His papers, articles, and audio and video recordings already are housed at the Kinsey Institute, 57 years of his work so far. Reiss, like other Kinsey disciples, advocated the production of pornography and its display for “training” purposes to prepare students entering the new sexuality fields spawned by Kinsey’s supposed revelations on sex. Kinsey gleefully promoted this type of material, which during the late ’60s started to be called Sexuality Attitude Restructuring (later renamed Reassessment), or SAR, sessions.
These training sessions are promoted as sexual desensitization seminars, pornographic extravaganzas of all manner of enthusiastic sexual activities presented to groups of men and women as training to become certified therapists, counselors, educators or researchers. In addition to desensitizing sexologists to the images of heterosexual activities, sado-masochism, group sex, sodomy, the use of sex “toys” and homosexual behavior, the sex leaders also hold small group discussions to explore the participants’ attitudes and biases in order to neutralize any “negative” views.
But the stated purpose of these sessions is not the whole story, or even the real story.
Early on, these sessions were not used to merely desensitize and encourage acceptance of all sex acts but as indoctrination into a “sex positive” mindset. (Such training has been a requirement for certification by the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists, or AASECT, from the beginning.) SAR leaders also often pressured participants into sexual experimentation with each other.
Reiss revealed this in his book, “An Insider’s View of Sexual Science since Kinsey,” recounting his experience at an eight-day SAR session in San Francisco in 1972. At the time, Reiss already was a professor at the University of Minnesota where its medical school was one the first in the country to offer SAR training to medical students. But it was a new, untested program.
The director of U of M’s SAR program had secured a grant from the Playboy Foundation to send 25 couples from the University, all expenses paid, to San Francisco to receive training from the group that had followed on Kinsey’s practices, the National Sex Forum (aka the National Sex and Drug Forum). The purpose was to improve the programming at Minnesota. Reiss and wife were among the volunteers for the Playboy-sponsored training of future national sex educators. Reiss reports:
“The view presented by many of the staff was supportive of people trying out the full variety of sexual acts that exist (S and M, gay, extramarital, group sex, etc.). The supposed purpose was to allow people to break through their old restrictive sexual attitudes. I had no objection to offering such options. However, as they elaborated, it became clear that this support of broad experimentation was more than just permission giving – it was presented as a demand to experiment.”
When Reiss resisted, the SAR leaders ridiculed him, one of them saying, “Are you hostile to group sex or gay sex, and is that why [you are] so cautious about trying something new? Are you biased?”
Reiss did not object to the activity. Rather, he objected to demanding it. It should be promoted, not required, according to Reiss. Such promoting, demanding and encouraging of freewheeling sexual libertinism SAR trainers have been doing for over 40 years now.
While AASECT requires SAR training as an element in their certification standards, the Kinsey Institute is still involved, and Planned Parenthood has joined in. SAR trainings are regularly available now.
Mentally and emotionally corrupted graduates of the SAR training become the “experts” who design sex-ed courses and teach our children. Thus, they have “determined” that the anus is a “genital” as it is described in the currently used sex education program in Hawaii, that orgies are natural entertainment, that sex addiction is a myth, that addiction to pornography is not possible, that it’s normal for children of any age to have sex and that they have the right to choose whatever sexual activity they may think to try with whomever they want, and that sodomy (legalized by the Supreme Court in 2003) is a healthy sexual practice for all sexual orientations.
The whole purpose of these “sex positive” programs is not to liberate adults from their Victorian moral prisons but to indoctrinate children into an unrestrained, sexually available lifestyle. Even if such “programs” are not being taught in all schools yet, this material has been made available on multiple websites and are widely promoted to all, regardless of age. The Kinsey Institute, SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, AASECT and others all provide, or recommend, sites that extoll the virtues of unrestrained sexual experimentation.
Is it any wonder that youthful STDs, pregnancies, abortions and abuse are pandemic?
Which brings us to one of the big lies spread by these organizations: safe/safer sex.
Typical of schools throughout the country, the Minnesota AIDS Project experts (SAR graduates) tell youngsters they can cut and use plastic wrap as a “barrier” when a child has oral/anal contact.
To make matters worse, many of these groups have for years been spreading the false advertising that condoms and dental dams are FDA approved for such bizarre and damaging use. They are not. (See my recent column, “Condoms never FDA-approved for sodomy.”)
Do “condoms” and homemade barriers give the protection Planned Parenthood and other groups claim? Or do these groups promote their use merely as cover for the real purpose – to hypersexualize younger and younger children, groom them and leave them increasingly vulnerable to disease, death and sexual abuse by peers and adults?
Isn’t it time we start holding these groups legally accountable for knowingly spreading their junk science? Let us hear from you if you are among the millions who have been harmed by their “grooming” lies.
Dr. Judith Reisman is a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Study of Social Trends, Human Rights, and Media Forensics.
The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published on WorldNetDaily on March 28, 2014. You can buy Dr. Reisman’s book Sexual Sabotage on her website.
The astounding fact is that, with the exception of convicted criminals, no one today has fewer rights than fathers.Someday Hollywood make a movie of this, A father is sentenced to prison for wanting to take his son to a ballgame. Up against him are his ex-wife, the legal system, and various women’s groups, all declaring him a deadbeat and a batterer, all of it untrue. But as a result, he’s in a cell while his ex and her new boyfriend take little Johnny to a Mets game.
Improbable? Only in the sense that Hollywood would ever make such a movie. Unfortunately it’s an all too real scenario that is taking place everyday across the country.
The case of a man we’ll call Alan is fairly typical. Without warning Alan came home one day to find his apartment cleaned out. His wife and two-year-old girl were gone. Shortly afterwards Alan was summoned to court and as a “defendant,” was ordered to stay away from his daughter most of the time and to begin making child support payments. His two-hour, thrice-weekly visits with his daughter were supervised and she was not allowed to stay with him overnight, since his wife alleged that he was dangerous and would kidnap her. The accusations eventually proved groundless, and the supervision terminated. After a year Alan was permitted one overnight visit with his daughter per week. His wife, meanwhile, was never charged with making false accusations nor has the fabrication counted against her in the custody proceedings. Various experts testified that Alan is no danger whatever to his daughter and that he is a devoted and loving father. All these findings were ignored by the courts. More than four years after his wife left, the child remains with her. He has spent a $160,000 inheritance on legal fees, not counting about 40 percent of his income for child support, and now lives hand-to-mouth.
Then there’s Bruce, who was a truck driver in Boston and who came home one day to find his things on the street, the locks on his doors changed, and his wife’s new boyfriend already moved in. Angry and bewildered, Bruce kicked in the door and began shouting. (He did not strike anyone.) His wife called the police, who arrived and took Bruce away in handcuffs. She got a restraining order preventing any contact with his three children. When his son was hospitalized with an illness, he was not allowed to visit.
Eventually Bruce was allowed to see his children at a supervised visitation center with his wife and her boyfriend present in the next room. Another man, Tom, tells of how he was living with his wife in California, where they were raising their three children as vegetarians like themselves. He thought she was content until one day, when she told him she wanted to move back to her native Virginia. He agreed to the move. After establishing residency in Virginia, however, she left with the children, and he was hauled into court.
Then, after an injury left him without an adequate income he found himself in jail for failure to pay child support. Eventually he relocated in the Washington area to find work. Tom now drives three hours each way to get his children from his wife’s place in Virginia, twice every other weekend. His ex-wife subsequently gave up her vegetarianism and obtained a court order preventing him from discussing diet with his children. His children are used as informers to monitor his compliance, and their relationship is now strained.
Tom now belongs to a father’s group that meets in Arlington, Virginia. Almost every member has a similarly painful story. Some have not seen their children in years. The children of a few will no longer speak to them.
Others regularly drive hundreds of miles to visit their children in hotels or visitation centers. Several with no previous criminal records have spent time in jail. The group is currently involved with the case of Michael Mahoney, a father in an Arlington jail awaiting sentencing for criminal contempt. Mahoney has already lost his job, his home, his savings, his freedom, and most recently his health (he has developed congestive heart failure, severe stomach ulcers, sleep apnea, and has undergone brain surgery for subdural hematoma). His private life has also been exposed to public view and he himself vilified on “Geraldo” and at least one other nationally televised talk show.
And these fathers are angry. Alan describes the system as a legal “child-kidnapping and extortion racket.” Even more though, they are in shock. Like virtually all men in their position, none realized that such a thing could happen until it did. Worse still, these men-and millions more like them-have suddenly found that the assumptions they had made about wife beaters, child molesters, “deadbeat dads,” and O.J. Simpson are now being made about them. Many see themselves as having been abandoned not only by their wives but by friends and family members, who assume they “must have done something” to deserve losing their children. What their children “must have done” to deserve losing the care of even an imperfect father is seldom asked.
Fathers who attempt to contact their confiscated children or separated spouses can be arrested for “harassment” or “stalking,” an offense that can be defined as “unwelcome conversation.” “Stories of violations for minor infractions are legion,” the Boston Globe reported in May. “In one case, a father was arrested for violating an order when he put a note in his son’s suitcase telling the mother the boy had been sick over a weekend visit.
In another, a father was arrested for sending his son a birthday card.” The practice of arresting fathers for attending public events such as their children’s musical recitals or sports activities–events any stranger may attend–is one many find difficult to believe, but it is common. Last year National Public Radio broadcast a story on restraining order abuse centering on a father who was arrested in church for attending his daughter’s first communion. During the segment, an eight-year-old girl wails and begs to know when her father will be able to see her or call her on the phone. The answer, because of a “lifetime” restraining order, is “never.”
At once the most extensive and well-concealed denial of civil rights in America today, the plight of fathers and children is all-but-ignored by the media and virtually unknown beyond the rapidly increasing circle of its victims. Few people realize how easily and frequently children are now taken from fathers who have committed no actionable offense and for reasons that have nothing to do with the children’s wishes, safety, health, or welfare.
Contrary to common assumption, the prevalence of mother-custody is not a matter of simple sex-bias against fathers in mutually agreed to divorces. As American family courts now operate, a mother can have the father summoned to court and, without producing any evidence of wrongdoing, request that he be stripped of custody of his children and effectively ejected from his family, and in almost every case the judge will duly oblige.
Despite formal legal equality between parents, some 85 to 90 percent of custody awards go to mothers. One study in Arlington found that over a recent eighteen-month period, maternal custody was awarded in a hundred percent of decisions. This includes divorces in which the father has given neither grounds nor agreement. Most people probably accept some bias against fathers in custody cases when divorce is mutual. What is happening in family courts, however, is very different. It is one thing to say that young children need their mother; it is quite another to say a mother should have the arbitrary power to keep their father away.
Yet current judicial practice throughout most of the United States allows her to do just that. In fact, a mother can have had a half-dozen previous divorces, she can have deserted the marital home, she can abscond with the children, she can have committed adultery, she can level false charges, she can have assaulted the father, and none of these can be introduced as evidence against her in a custody decision. For a father, the simple fact of his being a father will be used to keep him away from his children six days out of seven, deprive him of any decision-making role, and dissolve his marriage over his objections.
Part of the problem originates in the advent of no-fault divorce in the early 1970s, which is often blamed by conservatives for leaving wives vulnerable to abandonment,. Yet it has also left fathers with no protection against the confiscation of their children. No-fault divorce laws did not stop at removing the requirement that there be grounds for a divorce, so as to allow for divorce by mutual consent; they also provided for what writer Maggie Gallagher calls “unilateral” divorce and removed any consideration of grounds from custody decisions.
Though changes in the divorce laws were legislative, it is the practitioners of family law who have benefited both in terms of power and profit, and they have not hesitated to exploit the opportunities to the full. Dickens’ observation “the one great principle of the…law is to make business for itself” could hardly be more strikingly (or destructively) validated.
There is nothing in the no-fault laws that require a judge to honor a mother’s initial request to remove the children from the father’s care and protection. A judge could simply decide that, prima facie, neither the father nor the children have committed any infraction that justifies their being forcibly separated, that they have a fundamental human and constitutional right not to be forcibly separated, and that neither the mother nor the court has any grounds to separate them.
Unfortunately, not only is the legal machinery an accomplice; in some ways it is the principal instigator. A mother who consults a divorce attorney will be advised that her best chance of gaining custody is simply to take the children and all their effects and leave without warning. If she has no place to go, she will be told that by accusing the father of sexual or physical abuse, however vaguely (often simply stating that she is “in fear”), she can easily obtain a restraining order immediately forcing him out of the family home. She will also learn that even if her claims are false, there are no legal consequences she will face for making them; her trumped- up accusations cannot even be used against her in a custody decision. In fact, they work so strongly in her favor that failure to advise a female client of these options may constitute legal malpractice.
Far from being punished for child-snatching and false accusations, then, she is almost certain to be rewarded. Mothers who abduct children and keep them from their fathers, with or without abuse charges, are routinely given immediate “temporary” custody. But it is almost never “temporary.” Once a mother has custody, it cannot be changed without a lengthy (and, for the lawyers involved, lucrative) court battle. The sooner and the longer she can establish herself as the sole caretaker, the more difficult and costly it is to dislodge her. Further, the more she cuts the children off and alienates them from the father, slings false charges, delays the proceedings, and obstructs his efforts to see his children, the better her chance for obtaining sole custody. She can then claim child support and perhaps her own legal fees from the father.
In the absence of paternal wrongdoing, the Kafkaesque logic of family courts readily supplies a rationale for summarily stripping the father of custody.
Usually it is said that the parents “can’t agree,” so naturally the parent who is trying to exclude the other should get the children and make the decisions, even if the only thing the left-behind parent can’t agree to is the taking of his children. Or the father is alleged to be planning to “kidnap” his children back–usually with no evidence other than his opposition to the initial abduction by the mother.
As for the father, any restraint he shows throughout all this is certain to cost him dearly, as most discover too late. On the other hand, reciprocal belligerence and aggressive litigation on his part may carry enough hope of reward to keep him interested in the game. But the vast majority (about 90 percent who cannot pay the five-and six-figure sums required to fight a full-scale custody battle are branded as having “abandoned” their children and simply pushed out of the family.
Some fathers’ rights activists are now determined to fight fire with fire, and imitate the techniques of mothers: If you think she is about to snatch, snatch first. Then conceal, obstruct, delay, accuse, and so forth. “If you do not take action,” writes Robert Seidenberg, author of The Father’s Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, “your wife will.” Thus we now have the nightmare scenario of a race to the trigger: Whomever snatches first survives.
For the left-behind parent, the loss of his children is only the beginning of his troubles. It may also be the beginning of ours as well, for the legal and political implications of these decisions extend well beyond the family. Other violations of basic civil rights and liberties logically follow when courts successfully asserted the power to invade a family remove children from the care of parents who have done no wrong.
Despite the protection of the First Amendment, family courts may decide what religious worship parents may take their children to: The 1997 ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court preventing a fundamental Christian father from taking his children to services against the opposition of the Orthodox Jewish mother was unusual only in that it made the papers. A judge in Virginia sparked a protest, but little news coverage, last year when he enjoined a father from taking his son to synagogue on Passover.
Parents’ discussions with their children about matters such as religion and politics may also be controlled by family court judges. Tom’s court order preventing him from discussing a vegetarian diet with his children is not unusual. Another father in the group had weekend visits with his children reduced when a judge decided that soccer was a more important Sunday activity than church.
The Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” similarly seems to mean little to family court judges. Parents who are accused of no crime and who have given no grounds or agreement for divorce are routinely required to surrender personal diaries, notebooks, correspondence, financial records, and other documents–all ostensibly to determine their fitness as parents, even when it has never been questioned.
They are regularly interrogated behind closed doors about intimate family matters that most parents would not normally discuss with strangers. If the strains of losing their children or undergoing this legal nightmare are too great, they are wise to conceal any contact with therapists, family counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists, since these otherwise privileged consultations and records can be subpoenaed and used to separate them from their children. Parents swept into this litigation are terrified to discuss anything with their children or spouses for fear that what they say will be used against them in court. The use of children as informers is common.
As well, a custody trial will likely be held behind closed doors and without any record of what is said, free of scrutiny by press and public. Delays of months and years are common, as the parent with “temporary” custody tries to stall. Since custody cases are not criminal prosecutions, they do not fall under the protections of the Sixth Amendment, but given other abuses they often amount to the same thing, being the first stage in the criminalization and incarceration of fathers.
Indeed, while the same article stipulates a right to counsel in criminal cases, fathers can be jailed without a lawyer. One of the most notorious and common abuses in family courts is the incarceration of fathers for extended periods without charge and without trial. The guarantee of “due process” does not prevent family courts from jailing parents on civil contempt for weeks, months, or even years without trial.
The notorious Elizabeth Morgan case in which a mother abducted her child and, for refusing to reveal her whereabouts, spent two years in prison for civil contempt, was publicized only because it involved a mother. Much more common instances of fathers languishing in prison for years seldom receive any publicity. Buried as a filler in the Washington Post last January was an Associated Press report that Odell Sheppard, a father in Chicago who also would not or could not reveal the whereabouts of his 2-year-old daughter, was released after serving ten years for civil contempt. Despite what “may have been the longest jail term for civil contempt ever in the United States,” the case seems to have prompted no comment in either the local or national press or among civil libertarians.
Courts routinely order fathers whose children have been taken from them involuntarily and with no grounds to support those children financially. They can and do summon fathers to court so frequently that they lose their jobs and then incarcerate them for failure to pay child support. Courts these days will even order men to support children whom are acknowledged not to be theirs. In 1994 Maryland court of appeals refused to rescind a child support order against a man who, according to DNA tests, could not possibly have been the father of the child he was ordered to support. This was despite the fact that the mother and the true father joined the falsely accused man in requesting the order be changed. An October series in the Los Angeles Times reported that in Los Angeles alone there are 350 new cases each month of men required to support children who are established by DNA testing not to be theirs. Yet the Los Angeles County District Attorney has insisted that he had no intention of seeking to overturn support orders based on false identifications.
The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” does not stop family courts from summarily depriving fathers of professional licenses, drivers’ licenses, and passports that bear no connection with their alleged offence. Fathers who are alleged (but again not formally charged and never proven) to be delinquent in child support payments have had their cars booted and confiscated and their names published in the newspapers.
Fathers are also ordered by courts into employment, the wages from which are then confiscated. Last February the California Supreme Court overturned 100 years of precedent when it ruled in the case of Moss v. Superior Court that this is not contrary to the Thirteenth Amendment prohibition on involuntary servitude. In the past the Supreme Court has recognized that “Congress has put it beyond debate that no indebtedness warrants a suspension of the right to be free from compulsory service. This congressional policy means that no state can make the quitting of work any component of a crime, or make criminal sanctions available for holding unwilling persons to labor.” Yet states now routinely do precisely this.
In April 1998, a custodial father in Illinois who stayed at home to care for his three children and who received no child support from the mother was arrested under “a little known state law that makes it a felony for a man to be ‘deliberately unemployed.'” “Men in Illinois have become the target of a witch hunt,” the man’s attorney told Reuters. “Men are hounded if they owe child support and Mom is on welfare. Now Mom is the deadbeat parent, and the man is hounded because he is on welfare.”
As for the children, courts that piously proclaim their commitment to “the best interest of the child” seldom hesitate to employ heavy-handed methods against them as well. To take only a recent, documented example, in April the Los Angeles Times reported that “three children, whose only crime was their reluctance to testify against their father, were jailed for 12 days in Los Angeles County’s overcrowded Central Juvenile Hall and brought to court in handcuffs and leg chains.”
For their part, a few fathers’ groups have countered by filing federal class action suits claiming abrogation of civil rights “under color of law”, including denial of due process and equal protection. Violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Amendments are also alleged, and some go so far as to invoke anti-racketeering statutes. There is a substantial body of federal case law recognizing parenting as a basic constitutional right and requiring its protection under the Fourteenth Amendment: “The liberty interest and the integrity of the family encompass an interest in retaining custody of one’s children, and thus a state may not interfere with a parent’s custodial right absent due process protections,” according to the 1981 decision, Langton v. Maloney. Justice Thurgood Marshall also held for the majority in the 1978 case Quilloin v. Walcott that a divorced father could not be treated differently from a father who is married and still living with his child. Yet such apparently unequivocal constitutional principles are almost never applied by state courts, and the federal courts steadfastly resist becoming involved.
As it is, some twenty-three million American children now live in fatherless households, virtually half a generation. Nearly 2.5 million will join their ranks this year, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative. The crisis of fatherless children has been called “the most destructive trend of our generation” by David Blankenhorn, author of Fatherless America. Even Bill Clinton acknowledges that “the single biggest social problem in our society may be the growing absence of fathers from their children’s homes,” and AlGore has declared in more accusatory terms that “absent fathers are behind most social woes.” This opinion is shared by almost 80 percent of respondents to a 1996 Gallup poll.
Indeed, nothing else accounts for as many major social problems. Recent figures from the Department of Health and Human Services confirm that violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, emotional and behavioral disorders, teen suicide, poor school performance and truancy all correlate more strongly to fatherless homes than to any other single factor, surpassing both poverty and race. The overwhelming majority of prisoners, juvenile detention inmates, high school dropouts, pregnant teenagers, adolescent murderers, and rapists all come from fatherless homes.
The Washington Post, New York Times, and other major media bent over backwards to avoid mentioning that Mitchell Johnson, instigator of the shootings in Jonesboro, Arkansas, had been taken from his father, whom he was said to be close to, and moved to another state. Even as the crisis of fatherhood gains selective recognition by policymakers and the media, however, attention is confined almost entirely to “the prodigal father” who has “abandoned” his children. Fathers now get it from both sides, since the conservative campaign for “responsible fatherhood” may unwittingly reinforce the vilification of fathers in the media and by politicians and feminists.
The resulting message is that until proven otherwise, fathers are presumed to be irresponsible louts whose eagerness to desert their families accounts for all our social failures. Yet Sanford L. Braver, in his recently published book, Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, shows that far from abandoning their children, most divorced fathers make heroic efforts against enormous obstacles to stay in touch with them.
Scapegoating fathers has predictably done little to alleviate any of the problems associated with father absence. Indeed, it cannot even solve the one problem in terms of which politicians most often proclaim their commitment to father “involvement”: the collection of child support. With a massive army of some 59,000 enforcement agents (the Drug Enforcement Administration has about 7,500), the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement perseveres in its losing battle to squeeze money out of ejected fathers who more often than not are either unemployed, impoverished, imprisoned, disabled, or dead. The General Accounting Office found in 1992 that as many as 14 percent of fathers who owe child support are dead, and 66 percent “cannot afford to pay the amount ordered.” Some 52 percent earn less than $6,200 a year, according to the Poverty Studies Institute at the University of Wisconsin.
Far more useful than trying to shake down fathers with no money would be to reform a legal system that forces so many fathers out of their children’s lives in the first place. But in addition to wives and the judiciary, fathers must also contend with feminist groups, who loom as the most formidable opponents of joint custody laws and are now promoting legislation that would openly legitimate the current epidemic of maternal child snatching. The purported justification is domestic violence. An article posted on the NOW web site asserts that preserving fathers’ rights to the care and protection of their children “is dangerous for women and their children who are trying to leave or have left violent husbands/fathers.”
This of course begs the question of why children can be taken virtually at whim from the vast majority of fathers by whom no violence is ever demonstrated or even alleged, nor why it should be any more dangerous trying to leave truly abusive spouses who can be prosecuted under existing laws and who are precluded from custody under presumptive joint custody statutes. Yet in the present climate such obvious questions are seldom asked.
So successful is anti-father propaganda now that even mainstream feminist organizations regularly use the term “batterer” as essentially synonymous with “father.” In political terms, a NOW resolution asserts that the political activities of fathers’ groups constitute “using the abuse of power in order to control in the same fashion as do batterers.”
Both domestic violence and child abuse are serious problems, but they are by no means sex-specific. Moreover, accusations of child or spousal abuse are a widespread method of winning sole custody. NOW claims that “false accusations by women are in fact rare” (and opposes penalties for making them), but saying this does not make it so. Statistically they are not rare at all. Overall, more than two-thirds of child abuse reports are unsubstantiated, according to the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, and the proportion becomes overwhelming when custody is an issue. But more tellingly, NOW itself would seem to be proving just how false they are with its own legislative agenda. By legitimizing child stealing under the guise of protecting victims of domestic violence, NOW is openly practicing on the political level precisely what it claims is not happening in the family courts: the use of “battering” as a red flag to separate children from fathers who are guilty of no such thing.
There is no evidence that fathers commit any more spousal or child abuse than mothers; in fact fathers in intact families are about the least frequent perpetrators of either. The National Family Violence Survey, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and developed by Murray Straus and Richard Gelles, estimates that men are slightly more likely than women to be victims of severe domestic violence. Nor can “the high rate of attacks by wives” be explained “largely as a response to or as a defense against assault by the partner,” according to one of the survey’s authors, Murray Straus, in a contribution to the 1996 book Domestic Violence.
More to the point, mothers–especially single mothers–are much more likely than fathers to abuse children. According to a major 1996 study by the Department of Health and Human Services, women aged twenty to forty-nine areal most twice as likely as men to be perpetrators of child maltreatment. “It is estimated that…almost two-thirds [of child abusers] were females,” the report states. Given that “male” perpetrators are not necessarily fathers but much more likely to be boyfriends and stepfathers, fathers emerge as the least likely child abusers.
In fact, about the most dangerous place for a child then is the home of a single mother. The HHS study reiterates the already well-established fact that children in single-parent homes are at much higher risk for physical and sexual abuse than those living in two-parent homes (up to thirty-three times higher when a live-in boyfriend or stepfather is present). As Maggie Gallagher sums it up in her 1996 book The Abolition of Marriage: “The person most likely to abuse a child physically is a single mother. The person most likely to abuse a child sexually is the mother’s boyfriend or second husband…. Divorce, though usually portrayed as a protection against domestic violence, is far more frequently a contributing cause.”
At one time this may have been considered common sense, since two parents check one another’s excesses and the father was seen as the children’s natural protector. Not only has this role now become politically incorrect; the current system has managed to pervert it into a fault. What “male violence” does occur may well be the result of custody disputes more often than it is the cause, after all, since common sense would again suggest that fathers with no previous proclivity to violence could very well erupt when their children are arbitrarily taken from them. One is tempted to say this is what fathers are for: to become violent when someone interferes with their offspring. A 1997 study by Anne McMurray of the Griffith University School of Nursing in Australia that began with the express purpose to “provide definitive explanations for the violent behaviors of certain males,” concluded that “regardless of the male’s propensity toward violence” the circumstances most conducive to it arose “during the process of marital separation and divorce, particularly in relation to disputes over child custody, support, and access.”
“These men,” McMurray continues, “from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and age groups, freely discussed episodes in which they had either planned, executed, or fantasized about violence against their spouses in retaliation for real or perceived injustices related to child custody, support, and/or access.”
Interestingly, while violence against wives is well publicized, the huge increase in violent attacks by fathers against judges and lawyers has gone completely unreported in the mainstream press. According to an article in the National Law Journal the year 1992 was “one of the bloodiest in divorce court history–a time when angry and bitter divorce litigants declared an open season on judges, lawyers, and the spouses who brought them to court.”
NOW and others further attempt to defend the power to take children from their fathers by invoking popular but facile cliches about marital harmony, saying that “most studies report that joint custody works best when both parents want it and agree to work together” but that it “is unworkable for uncooperative parents.” This tautological reasoning is of course simply an extension of assumptions that have long been invoked by parents of both sexes as self-justification for their wish to divorce. As such, fathers who have acquiesced in this casuistry have only themselves to blame now that it is being taken to its logical next step to justify rewarding the most belligerent of the “warring parents” and throwing the other out of the family altogether. After all, if an intact family or joint custody requires “agreement” and “cooperation” between parents, the most effective method for the parent who expects sole custody to sabotage either is to be as belligerent and uncooperative as possible.
In fact joint custody has repeatedly been demonstrated to reduce parental conflict for precisely this reason. A study by Judith Seltzer of the University of Wisconsin based on data from the National Survey of Families and Households concluded that joint custody, even when imposed over the objection of one parent, reduces post-divorce conflict. Similarly, a study team headed by Braver found that “both child support compliance and paternal visitation were highest in those cases where joint custody was awarded against the mothers’ wishes but in conformity with the fathers’ wishes.” The author concludes that these results demonstrate “the value of joint legal custody even when the couple does not initially agree to it. Joint custody appears to enhance paternal involvement, child support compliance, and child adjustment.” Perhaps most important, it takes away much of the incentive to snatch the children in the first place. (Giving sole custody to the left-behind parent, as some have proposed, would naturally create a stronger deterrent.) For similar reasons, states with presumptive joint custody laws report significantly fewer divorces.
As for the connected tautology that that parental conflict in itself justifies divorce, this is seldom justified as far as children are concerned, as any child will tell you. Children…can be quite content even when their parents’ marriage is profoundly unhappy for one or both partners,” write Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee in their 1996 book, Second Chances. “Only one in ten children in our study experienced relief when their parents divorced. These were mostly older children in families where there had been open violence and where the children had lived with the fear that the violence would hurt a parent or themselves.”
Specious justifications for a system that spawns massive corruption, violates basic constitutional rights, destroys the homes and lives of innocent children, and leads to serious social ills thus carry the day because of our willingness to buy into cliches that disguise the reality and extent of what is taking place. We have sanitized a breathtaking injustice with buzzwords such as “divorce” and “custody battle” that imply mutual consent, when in most cases no such thing exists. Yet however palatable we try to render this abuse, there is no escaping the central fact that it has very little to do with the needs of children and everything to do with the power of certain groups of adults. But we either maintain a distinction between what is actionable in a court of law and what is not, or we simply haul people into court because we don’t like their methods of child-rearing or, for that matter, because of our wish for a new boyfriend. Frightening as it may seem, using the courts and police to punish spouses for what may be nothing more than ordinary family disagreements now seems to be accepted without question, and the bottom line is that any father may now find himself pursued by federal agents because he protests the way his children have been taken from him.
Stephen Baskerville is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Political Science and Human Rights. He is Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and at the Independent Institute.
This article was originally published at theamericanconservative.com on September 25, 2009.
The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.
Olavo de Carvalho, President of the Inter-American Institute was interviewed by the editors of the Polish website Wydawnictwo Podziemme on Communism, Philosophy, and Brazil.
Wydawnictwo Podziemme: We would like to start with asking about the development of your political stance. It appears that as a very young man you flirted with communism (forgive this odd English spelling but we refuse to bestow the honour of capital letters on names as odious as bolshevik, soviet or communist). Then, disillusioned with politics, you immersed yourself in study of Philosophy and Art; and then again, in the early Nineties you turned to political subjects and thus found yourself threatened by lefties, which resulted in your leaving Brazil. Could you elaborate on circumstances and reasons for these changes?
Olavo: Even though my experience as a leftist militant was quite brief, the story of my change of position has extended over many decades. At the beginning, what made me withdraw myself from among the communists was not any objection of a political, ideological, or even philosophical order. It was a simple moral reaction against the mean and ugly behavior that I saw disseminated among them as a general rule. Those people seemed to arrogate to themselves the right to commit all villainies, provided that they were not committed against the Communist Party. When I imagined Brazil being governed by those individuals, I realized that my country would be far worse off than it was under the military dictatorship. As far as it was possible to infer a collective political conduct from the individual behavior of leaders and activists, I realized that Brazil under the communists would be up to its neck in ignominy and all sorts of crime committed under “nice” pretexts. Forty years later, all this turned out to be widely confirmed: the Lula administration got to be the most corrupt ever seen in Brazilian history at a time when Brazil was bleeding with 50 thousand murders per year without federal authorities paying any attention to that issue: they are busy sucking up tax-money and siphoning off federal funds for their personal and party interests. As I was saying, at that point in my life, I withdrew myself from among the communists because their conduct made me feel shame for them, but I did not attempt to develop any theoretical explanation either for what they were doing or for what I was feeling. I simply turned my attention to subject-matters that seemed to me to be healthier and more promising, especially Greek philosophy, high literature, and the study of religions.
Many decades later, my old companions of militancy had managed to take over the whole cultural establishment and to conquer political power. The outcome of this had been the thorough destruction of high culture, the reduction of universities to centers for communist propaganda, and the country’s descent to levels of moral degradation which would have seemed unthinkable before. Since among writers and journalists nobody seemed to even take notice of this alarming state of affairs, I began to take notes on the intellectual and moral decay of the country and to read them to my pupils in the courses that I taught and at conferences that I spoke at several institutions. When I put together all these notes in a book published as The Collective Imbecile, the whole thing had a bomb-like effect: for the first time, reputations that had been so far taken as sacrosanct were treated in my book with all the sarcastic contempt that they really deserved. The reactions that followed the publication of my book widely confirmed what I had been saying of the whole situation. I had some oral and written debates with outraged critics, who came out of the discussions even more discredited than they already were. When my book Aristotle in a New Perspective was published, some academic intellectuals decided to make a show of knowledge which they really never had and to make themselves look good by having a public discussion with me about a philosopher whose work they were completely ignorant about. They did pretty bad in the debate, and thanks to this succès de scandale, I ended up being hired as a columnist by a number of major Brazilian newspapers and magazines that were then looking for a right-wing voice, simply because they wanted to somewhat camouflage the leftist monopoly over their pages. I was not properly a right-winger but, in trying to clarify my points-of-view, I ended up drawing a kind of conservative political philosophy from my general philosophical opinions.
Wydawnictwo Podziemme: You stated in one of your interviews that the communist movement had never been, and never really wanted to be, monolithic. It is hard to disagree with this view; after all, Lenin spoke about different countries finding their own individual way to revolution. But let’s focus on the dynamic relationship between our perceptions and the reality of communist operations. For instance, it could be argued that during the momentous events of 1989-1991, the reverse was true. Individual com-parties, although acting independently, appeared to act in unison in a highly coordinated manner. At the same time, communism raised its ugly head in Latin America; whilst in Europe communists resurfaced as “democratic left”. Does this not imply an almost monolithic unity of purpose?
Olavo: The communist movement has never had much of an ideological unity, at least in the West. The movement’s chief characteristic was precisely that of being able to organize people and groups of the most diverse orientations into well-coordinated strategic actions—the movement has managed to manipulate even the social-democratic left, which is avowedly anti-communist. This is partly explained by the strength of the historical continuity of the Communist Party, the only organization capable of pressing into its service all minor and more fragmented movements. However, this is also explained by a factor that I designate as the formal unity of the revolutionary movement since the eighteenth or even the seventeenth century. Behind all variety of currents that compose it, the world revolutionary movement is unified by a kind of shared logic, a set of formal principles that internally shape the revolutionary speech in all of its versions. In innumerable articles and lectures, I believe I have sufficiently explained this formal unity and the strength of the more or less unconscious automatism through which it imposes itself upon generation after generation of revolutionaries, even when they disagree with one another. I believe I have also made evident that this set of rules makes the revolutionary mentality, as a whole, into a phenomenon of intellectual pathology which is very similar to that which the French psychiatrist Paul Sérieux described in his 1910 book Les Folies Raisonnantes (The Reasoning Madnesses).
Wydawnictwo Podziemme:You often mention the name of Antonio Gramsci, undoubtedly, one of the most important communist theoreticians, who perhaps deserves the name of father of contemporary Bolshevism. It might be difficult to make a direct link between Gramsci and the perestroika planners (apparently, Raisa Gorbacheva was a keen student of his writing, although it could be an apocryphal tale designed to boost her standing amongst the faithful). Nevertheless, it seems that his ideals are present in the minds of European commissars as well as amongst American politicians. Is it not the case though, that Gramsci’s thoughts found the most fertile ground in Latin America?
Olavo: You are right. Latin America was the only place where Antonio Gramsci’s strategy had been put into effect in a comprehensive and systematic manner for several decades until the expected results were achieved. In Brazil, for example, as early as the 1980’s, i.e. during the military dictatorship itself, the communists had already achieved complete cultural hegemony, a phenomenon to which the military did not pay much attention because they were exclusively obsessed with the “violent left.” When the military dictatorship came to an end, practically the whole country was already pro-communist without noticing it. That is to say, at that time, a group of communist and similar parties that gravitated around the Workers’ Party had already dominated the people’s imagination and the established cultural values in such a way that it would be no exaggeration to say that the strategic command of the revolution had already accomplished the Gramscian ideal of transforming itself into “an omnipresent and invisible authority of a categorical imperative, of a divine commandment.” When in the 2002 presidential election there was nothing but a simple contest for offices between four equally leftist candidates, and nobody in the media seemed to find anything odd about such phenomenon, this showed to what extent the hegemonic domination of people’s consciousness had rendered the public opinion docile to the leftist strategy.
Wydawnictwo Podziemme: From afar, Brazil looks like a model achievement of “demo-bolshevism”, the version of bolshevism, which conquers and holds on to power through the use of democratic institutions (Gramscian “march through institutions” springs to mind again). Strengthened by the stagecraft of democracy, this new bolshevism appears far more dangerous than the classic totalitarian version. Thanks to some extraordinary spinning and brilliant propaganda techniques, the modern embodiment of bolshevism is hard to recognize even for seasoned political observers. The world media described the Brazilian election as a runoff between the neoliberals (Dilma Rousseff) and the right wing (José Serra) when to our eyes these two look like dye-in-the-wool red party apparatchiks. How do you see the current situation in Brazil?
Olavo: Substantive democracy requires much more than the mere existence of parties and free elections. Above all, it requires free circulation of information, which is impossible under Gramscian conditions of cultural hegemony. Just for you to be able to assess the difference between one thing and the other, suffice it to notice that in 2000, when I was hired to write for O Globo newspaper, one of the most prestigious of Brazil, my presence on the pages of that publication was regarded as something of an oddity because I was the only right-wing voice among hundreds of left-wing columnists. When I say “the only,” I am not speaking figuratively: “the only” has a merely arithmetic meaning in this sentence. “The only” really means “the single one”. And not only were my opinions in sharp contrast to those of all the other columnists, but, likewise, they were in contrast to the general tenor of the news, which emphasized facts that were most convenient to the left, and completely concealed everything that was of no interest to the leftist parties. For example, during 16 years, not only O Globo, but the whole of the Brazilian mainstream media, concealed from the public the existence of the São Paulo Forum, the strategic command of the Latin American communist revolution and the largest political organization that has ever existed in the continent. I, of course, spoke about it in my columns, but since no factual confirmation ever appeared on the news pages, it was easy for interested leftist leaders to deny even the mere existence of the Forum, which thus could grow up in silence until it managed to take over twelve countries. Then, sure of itself, the Forum publicly admitted its own existence, confirming everything that I had been saying about it, but doing so in such a tardy manner that it was no longer possible to attempt any reaction against the growing of that monster. The expression that you employ, “demo-bolshevism,” is perfect, for the prevailing communist forces managed to dominate the flux of information so efficiently that they even permitted themselves the luxury of having free elections, since voters were completely ignorant about the real political situation and, for this same reason, became perfectly harmless.
Wydawnictwo Podziemme: In your Weapons of Freedom essay, you discuss two interesting and somehow correlated phenomena. On the one hand, we constantly have to deal with old-fashioned, often inadequate concepts such as “national state”, “international relations”, “free trade”, “democracy”, “imperialism” or “class struggle”; on the other, we come across scientific methods of control and manipulation of human beings. However, whilst the remnants of the free world struggle with outdated notions, they fall victim to the latest methods of social sciences; at the same time, the representatives of the new totalitarianism are very astute in dealing with both areas. They tend to use both the obsolete concepts and most recent psychological discoveries with aplomb – to their own ends. Is it possible that the traditionalist world of simple human dignity and decency is doomed when confronted by the bolshevik plague?
Olavo: If supporters of democracy and human dignity do not get urgently updated on opinion control and social engineering methods that are being used by totalitarian movements, the whole mankind will be at risk of falling under the dominion of a fierce and broad-grinned tyranny that will easily be taken as democracy. Both the social sciences and psychology have placed in the hands of the most cynical and ambitious men all the instruments they need to impose totalitarian power without the masses having the slightest inkling of what is really going on. Among the most important books for understanding this phenomenon are Pascal Bernardin’s Machiavel Pédagogue (Machiavel The Educator), Alexander Zinoviev’s The Reality of Communism, and Lee Penn’s False Dawn. There are many other equally good books, but the reading of these three is more than enough for you to grasp the range and the efficacy of the instruments to which I refer.
Wydawnictwo Podziemme: One of the commentators under your interview published on The New American site wrote in March this year: “Thank you Olavo for your clear vision and for state it outside our country (Brasil). I have a question though: how to build a new right from scratch? It will need not only knowledge but also an incredible strategic effort… […] I mean, I’m a father and a honest hard working citizen that want to do something at least to give my children some hope for the future. What would be a play for ordinary people like me on this matter?” Let us expand your compatriot’s question: what is to be done?
Olavo: Though many millennia-old, Sun Tzu’s formula is still valid: know your enemy better than he knows himself. Attack him at his blind spots. Bewilder him, intimidate him, and put him to flight. It is important to remember that I am not talking about fighting a battle of ideas, of doctrines, but about fighting a battle against concrete groups and individuals, a battle for power. And power, in the first place, does not mean holding elective offices. It means having dominion over people’s imagination and feelings. By discussing ideas with agents of totalitarianism, we do nothing but give them a dignity that they do not really have, and even if we defeat them in the realm of argumentation, we end up reinforcing the power they enjoy. What we need to do is to render visible all their inner ugliness, their intrinsically criminal mentality. As long as revolutionary mentality is accepted as one respectable opinion among others, we will make crime a normal, acceptable, and even prestigious behavior.
Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.
The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. The original answers for the interview were translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota in November 2010.