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Christopher Hitchens versus a Feminist

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Here:[embedded content]Christopher Hitchens says that, if his wife or married women in general want to work, this is fine and dandy, but, if they don’t, then he believes in supporting his wife, so that she does not have to work. How and why such an obviously reasonable statement causes this feminist to act as if Hitchens has called for genocide is beyond me.Just think about what this feminist is implying: she’s implying that women should go out and work, even if they don’t want to, and that their husbands shouldn’t have a moral responsibility to support them.And how and why women wish to spend their lives thrown involuntarily into a capitalist labour market and increasingly deprived of the opportunities to have children and be mothers is, once again, beyond me.All this is strongly related to the paradox of middle class post-1960s feminism, which can be stated as follows:(1) 19th century industrial capitalism drew in women and children into exploitative and cruel working conditions, which helped to shatter family life and undercut the wages and employment prospects of men;(2) 19th century and early 20th century trade unions, socialist movements and labour-based political parties fought to ban child labour and improve real wages for men so that men could be breadwinners for their wives and children, without throwing women and children onto the labour force.

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Christopher Hitchens says that, if his wife or married women in general want to work, this is fine and dandy, but, if they don’t, then he believes in supporting his wife, so that she does not have to work.

How and why such an obviously reasonable statement causes this feminist to act as if Hitchens has called for genocide is beyond me.

Just think about what this feminist is implying: she’s implying that women should go out and work, even if they don’t want to, and that their husbands shouldn’t have a moral responsibility to support them.

And how and why women wish to spend their lives thrown involuntarily into a capitalist labour market and increasingly deprived of the opportunities to have children and be mothers is, once again, beyond me.

All this is strongly related to the paradox of middle class post-1960s feminism, which can be stated as follows:

(1) 19th century industrial capitalism drew in women and children into exploitative and cruel working conditions, which helped to shatter family life and undercut the wages and employment prospects of men;

(2) 19th century and early 20th century trade unions, socialist movements and labour-based political parties fought to ban child labour and improve real wages for men so that men could be breadwinners for their wives and children, without throwing women and children onto the labour force. This largely succeeded by the mid-20th century;

(3) modern feminism emphasises the ideal of women being able to work and be independent (which in and of itself is fine, don’t get me wrong), but an actual major cause of women entering the labour force from the 1970s onwards has been the neoliberal assault on real wages and the need for women to contribute to real household income to maintain living standards (the trend can be seen here).

If anything, an Old Socialist or Old Left perspective on this issue would be that our economic and social system should be designed for men to have high-wage jobs in a full employment economy, so that women do not have to work *if they do not want to*, and be free to have children and look after them with the husband as breadwinner.

If some women want to work or concentrate on a career, then they should be free to do this too.

In other words, Christopher Hitchens has it precisely right, despite Third Wave Feminist hysteria.








Lord Keynes
Realist Left social democrat, left wing, blogger, Post Keynesian in economics, but against the regressive left, against Postmodernism, against Marxism

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