Part 8 of
Allan C. Carlson's
"The Natural Family
Where It Belongs"
(a book review)

16 February 2014

I am reviewing Allan C. Carlson’s new book, The Natural Family Where It Belongs: New Agrarian Essays (Click Here if you would like to begin with Part 1 of this series). 

Chapter 9 of this book is titled "Patriarchs Triumphant?" It is an academic defense of patriarchy. There are a lot of people (men and women alike) who practically recoil in horror when patriarchy is discussed in a positive way. If you are one of those people, you won’t like this chapter.

One definition of patriarchy is  “a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family.”  Modern feminist ideology tells us that patriarchy is a system by which men dominate, control, and oppress women. 

Carlson points out that patriarchy is on the ropes these days, citing the now-defunct Patriarch magazine, which ceased publication back in 2004. Patriarch magazine sought “nothing less than a return to patriarchy, a society led by strong, godly men.”  Without Partiarch magazine, Carlson opines,...“Today’s would-be patriarch now has nowhere to turn for advice and inspiration.”

Well, I happen to be a former reader of Patriarch magazine. In fact, I was introduced to the whole idea of Christian agrarianism reading Patriarch magazine. It was an excellent publication. Any man who wants sound biblical advice and inspiration on the subject of patriarchy (as God designed it) should get a copy of the book Family Man, Family Leader, by Phil Lancaster. Mr Lancaster was the editor of Patriarch magazine.

Besides that, you can read this chapter of Allan Carlson’s book. Mr. Carlson seems to be in his best form when taking on modern feminism (not to be confused with more traditional feminism), and modern feminism is the primary force allied against anything of a patriarchal nature.

An interesting quote from this chapter...

Women are no longer restricted to the domestic hearth, but have the whole society in which to roam and be exploited.

Allan Carlson provides facts and figures to support his contention that the patriarchal order is part of a “rightly ordered world, where the natural complementarity of man and woman finds fulfillment; and where women are most likely to find health, wealth, happiness, and fulfillment.”

Comments like that are guaranteed to drive equity feminists wild. I envision some growling and gnashing of teeth. Here's more...

Women cannot successfully raise children on their own. When they try to do so in large numbers, the results are poverty, violence, and misery (for proof, simply visit the average American urban ghetto). Women need some entity that will help them secure property, gain food and clothing, and control the boys. There are only two practical options: either the private patriarch (who is, in the end, simply a contemporary form of the husbandman found in the agrarian past), a figure who is adept at breadwinning and taming the lads; or the public patriarch (i.e., the welfare state), which provides food stamps, public housing, and day-care subsidies and eventually jails a large share of the lads. The first choice is compatible with health, happiness, wealth creation, and political liberty. The second choice is a sure path to the servile state. Women of the world, there is no third way here: which patriarchy do you choose?

Mr. Carlson does not bring the Bible into this book, and he does not distinguish between different kinds of patriarchy. That being the case, I would like to say that patriarchy as God designed it is not selfish, cruel, overbearing, or oppressive to women. On the contrary, a biblical patriarch loves, protects and sacrifices for the good of his wife and family. 

Furthermore, just as women cannot successfully raise children on their own, I dare say that men cannot successfully raise children on their own either. This "family thing," with one man and one woman, husband and wife, working together to raise their children, is ordained by God. He designed it to work a certain way, and it can be a beautiful thing. That's what I believe. End of sermon.


Click Here to read the conclusion of this book review.

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