July Fourth

Women have always played (pace the feminists) a vital role in Western civilization. While women don’t build it themselves (look at any matriarchal society), civilization cannot be maintained without women playing their proper part.

Thomas Jefferson – the man of the hour today – was well aware of the things that women once did for the maintenance of culture, even in matters as small as their personal dress. He would have been disgusted at modern women wearing flip flops and sweatpants. As he wrote to his daughters

A lady who has been seen as a sloven or slut in the morning will never efface the impression she has made, with all dress and pageantry she can afterwards involve herself in…I hope therefore, the moment you rise from bed, your first work will be to dress yourself in such style as that you may be seen by any gentleman without his being able to discover a pin amiss.

Jefferson added that “nothing is so disgusting to our sex as want of cleanliness and delicacy in yours.”

Modern marriage would not have impressed Jefferson either. Two fully autonomous individuals occupied with individual desire fulfilment cannot form a meaningful union. As he told his oldest daughter at her wedding, “the happiness of your life now depends on the continuing to please a single person. To this all other objects must be secondary, even your love for me.” (A modern feminist bride would probably think he meant she needed to focus on pleasing herself.) He further advised her that “nothing can preserve affections uninterrupted but a firm resolution never to differ in will.”

Disgusted at the libertinism he saw in France, Jefferson realized that the sad state of relations between the sexes in decadent Europe were caused by an role of women in society that did not match either their natural gifts or their telos. In the long run, he knew that women hurting themselves as well as society:

The tender breasts of ladies were not formed for political convulsions and the French ladies miscalculate much their own happiness when they wander the true field of their influence into that of politicks.

He praises American women as superior to French women in that they remain in their proper domestic sphere, and

have the good sense to value domestic happiness above all other…Our good ladies, I trust, have been too wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics. They are contented to soothe and calm the minds of their husbands returning from political debate…It is a comparison of Amazons to Angels.

They are now, alas, very much fallen angels.

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About Pechorin

A Hero of Our Time
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