Lecture Given At 'Mankind' Conference, Friends Meeting House. Euston, October 28, 2000 by Lynette Burrows

© 2000 Lynette Burrows

Reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.


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Ladies & Gentlemen,

On the subject of grandiose titles, I have a book on my shelves at home called The Last Two Million Years. I've often mused about that title, why the author was so ambitious; and whether he thought the people buying it would be stupid enough to think he might actually zap through the aeons in a couple of hundred pages plus photos. Well I was, and I must say it is a useful reference book. So, when I was casting around in my mind for a title to focus my talk today, I decided to go for the broad, offensively simplistic title and I've called this talk, "What is wrong with women."

This title is rather pleasingly ambiguous in that it can be either a simple question i.e., "what is wrong with women?" Or it could be a foreshortened statement, "what is wrong with women" is the following...and that is indeed what I'm going to talk about.

I pick up the thread of my argument from something G. K.Chesterton said way back at the beginning of the last century. He was a very prophetic writer though often considered frivolous because of his brimming good humour. Both Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells were considered more serious writers than G.K. in their day although almost everything they said turned out to be wrong and most of what Chesterton said was right.

I was researching his novels The Napoleon of Notting Hill and The Man who was Thursday, and I came across The Flying Inn, which is about the last pub in England. All the rest have been banned by law in order to conform to the Islamic beliefs of the people who govern us. How did he work that out in 1913, or was it just a shot in the dark? No it wasn't. As an opponent of imperialism, and a believer in the strong impulse of people to live according to their own culture, he saw that it was inevitable that sooner or later we should be told to pack up and go home from the colonies. He also knew that the largely commercial interests which were the driving force of imperialism would not abandon the effort to harness cheap labour in the interest of trade simply because they had been thrown out of the colonies. They would take steps to attract those they could no longer rule in their own countries to come and settle where they might be similarly employed to maintain profit margins on the world market.

The destiny of Empire in the eyes of the governing class, says the hero, Dalroy, is in four Acts:

1. Victory over barbarians.

2. Employment of barbarians.

3. Alliance with barbarians.

4. Conquest by barbarians.

The story of the Flying Inn takes place at the point at which the fourth Act is about to be undertaken. By this time, the British have been stripped of almost every sign of their traditions and their national identity. Everything Eastern is praised and accommodated and everything the British believe is trashed. Divorce has been made very easy, the better to accommodate polygamy. Sexual morality has been declared completely irrelevant, the better to lose the citizen in a welter of "new ways of living." The army has been all but abolished, but a foreign army is on stand-by in case it is needed; the police wear fezzes to demonstrate our admiration of all things foreign.

Into this scenario fits the question of votes for women. Chesterton was scathing about the franchise in any case. Only men who could fulfill a property requirement had it anyway and it was almost entirely, a sham. The reality was that laws were made at the behest of powerful people, without the slightest consideration of what the mass of people wanted. It was obvious in 1914 that women would be given the vote sooner or later and this showy gesture was considered much more pressing than that all men should receive it. However, as Chesterton said, the franchise was always widened when the governing class were up to no good or were in trouble. It was because they knew it gave people no power that they gave them a vote. As a character says, "...for whom would you cast your vote if you are against the changing of Britain into something else?"

Very prescient, if one considers that the last time they widened the franchise — to 18 was at precisely the time they were laying furtive plans to absorb us into a federal Europe.

Incidentally, another little snippet I found whilst doing my research, that brought a smile to my normally granite features, was Chesterton being asked, at a lecture in Oxford, "What would you do if you were made Prime Minister?"

"I would do what all Prime Ministers do," said Chesterton, "I would telephone round all the millionaires of my acquaintance and ask them what they wanted me to do."

But this was only one aspect of why Chesterton was against women having the vote. The other reason is more important and I am laying it out — not because I think women should not have the vote today — what is done is done! But because I think it throws some light on a lot of things we do not like.

Chesterton's main objection to women having the vote was the entirely complimentary one, that he thought women's instincts were despotic.

He thought the natural despotism of women manifested itself chiefly in the home — where the woman was invariably the boss, whatever the social position of the man of the house. It also manifested itself in the control and education of children — which had been managed throughout time without benefit of laws or regulations saying how it should be done. They had kept the family going, along recognizably similar lines, fulfilling the needs of husband and family, come hell or high water; in war, pestilence, and famine. They had been the rock and guide of what was arguably the most important, and certainly the oldest, institution on earth and they had protected its autonomy and their right to rule it, by instinct, common sense, and strength of character.

Beyond the home, women also controlled social behaviour and had not needed the blundering interference of "sexual harassment" laws to ensure that men treated them with positively exaggerated deference, nor took liberties with them in public.

This they did by possessing an authority that they cultivated, and which was all the stronger for being real rather than the feeble fiction of power that the vote gave them. It was, quintessentially their means of getting what they wanted.

It goes without saying, at this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, that I reject as a foolish insult, the idea that women were oppressed by the men they bore, reared, and married, until the second half of the 20 th Century. If that were indeed true, then there is no way that anyone could argue for equality between the sexes. At the very best, women would be late starters! The truth, however, is that men and women with power have always oppressed men and women without power.

Women were the biggest employers of labour until the First World War, because they employed servants, and they showed themselves, throughout time, to be just as capable as the meanest man of oppressing their workers. Indeed, domestic service still carries a seemingly ineradicable aura of servitude and humiliation, as a monument to the many women who treated their servants — both men and women, abysmally.

Now Chesterton thought that this natural authority of women would be exercised quite differently if it were translated into political power. The instinctive despotism would translate itself into two effects of which — I think we have ample evidence today. One was that they would treat everybody as if they were children — and create a "nanny state." "They would turn society itself into a great nursery," Chesterton actually said.

The second effect would be that essentially tyrannical laws would be enacted to uphold this re-creation of "mother knows best"! Hence, despite the vision of restraint and gentleness conjured up by devotees of female power in the early days, the chief effect of women's influence on social policy are laws that oppress parental authority. Parents no longer have the right to discipline children as they think fit, nor to require other people such as teachers and policemen, to give them the discipline they need to reach adult life without a criminal record.

Moral education is undertaken by the State and children can be introduced to gross sexual provocation in the classroom and then supplied with the means to be promiscuous without their parents even being told. The results of this have been howlingly counter-productive in terms of achieving the expressed goals; lower illegitimacy, fewer abortions, less disease. But, never mind, "mother is always right" if she works for the Family Planning Association or Brooks Clinics, and nothing will deflect them from their purpose.

Nor is it coincidence that bullying authoritarianism has made social workers almost uniquely feared and loathed amongst the common people.

Chesterton thought that the big battalions of government, commerce, and bureaucracies would welcome this natural prescriptive tendency of women in public policy, the better to further their own manipulative ends, whilst seeming to be impeccably "pro-women." And, indeed, it is remarkable how many "dirty jobs" are given to women in making public policy; the latest being Lady Gavron's plans to turn us into a "community of communities" rather than a nation. The "cover" is that women are being "empowered" by such jobs. The truth, I suspect, is that they are the fall guys.

Finally, an effect that Chesterton foresaw but not to its full extent, the rest of society would lose its bottle at the same time as women outside the closed ranks of the sisterhood lost their confidence. Men and women are in an inseparable union because they both come from families and go on to make families themselves. But the translocation of a feminine way of doing things outside the family and community has narrowed, and therefore concentrated their effect into more tyrannical government and a diminution of liberty for everyone.

They cannot get decent housing unless both of them work because of the pressure on housing produced by the government maintaining its cheap labour force by importing millions of new households into the country. Criticism of such a policy is silenced by the new commandment that it is "racism" to say that people have a right to be consulted about who is settled in their country.

They are silenced over such things because the very idea of traditional right and wrong has been dispensed with by the new morality of liberalism. We have a unique and shameless collection of perverts, ratters on their marriage vows, and takers of money from the highest bidder — and the media turns a more or less blind eye because they too are afraid to break ranks.

Well, it's a mess I'll grant you. But, if it's any comfort, I'll tell you how it was solved in The Flying Inn. The clever plan to turn Britain into something else failed because, clever as it was, it had in it the seeds of its own destruction. If "liberalism" means that people have lost the ability to put a case for what is right and wrong — they have no choice but to resort to other means. When endurance becomes worse than danger, the hero says, then people will get not just what they want; but everything they want.

The collapse of communism is the perfect model for what Chesterton was talking about. Because the most organized opposition to communism came from Poland, it came via the Christian church — which has a concrete dogma that the individual personality has a sanctity, dignity and responsibility beyond anything politics or economics can demand. They won the argument so, in the end, they didn't need to fight.

We must, ladies and gentlemen, learn to be more brave and to articulate arguments for what we believe without fear of condemnation. We must not allow ourselves to be silenced by the pipsqueaks of power. Another aphorism of Chesterton with which I shall end, is that when a people have lost their courage, they cannot rely on keeping any other virtue.

Thank you, ladies and gents. Thank you.

Lynette Burrows


Lynette Burrows is a well known journalist and broadcaster in the United Kingdom and has authored several books on families and children.



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| Chapter 6 — Fathers And Mothers Today |

| Next — Female Life Cycle —PMS, Perimenopause, and Menopause by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. |

| Back — Fathers Into Felons by Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D. |


Added January 30, 2006

Last modified 4/11/15