The Cult of the Male

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sat Oct 14 01:26:14 MDT 1995


Perhaps some of you  remember George Gilder, the author the manifesto for
the Reagan Revolution Wealth and Poverty.  Here is his interpretation of
underclass pathology and his support for the Nation of Islam. I quote from
the chapter 'Ghetto Liberation' from his book Man and Marriage (Gretna, LA:
Pelican Publications, 1986). To the letter, Gilder had articulated  the
major themes of the Million Man  a decade ago.   

He calls for the formation of what he calls "The Cult of the Male",
modelled after the Depression era fascist Father Divine!    

It should be emphasized that it is not Gilder's theoretical depth which
makes him interesting; it is the influence he has in certain power circles.


"It is chiefly in the ghetto that the black family is disintegrating.  As
early as 1965 Moynihan, then an assistant labor secretary in the Johnson
administration, explained why in a report so glaringly true that it all but
blinded most analysts who read it: The black family was breaking down
because female jobs and welfare payments usurped the man's role as
provider, leaving fatherless families that tended to repeat themselves from
generation to generation.  

"This is the source of the tangle of pathology in the ghetto: the
dissolution of the ties that bind men to their children.  It is sexual
revolution--agains the usual sources of child support, the expected roles
of men and women, and the sanctity of marriage.

"The breakdown of monogamy produces unproductive and disruptive men. 
Lacking the masculine assurance to submit to female patterns of sexuality,
they try to impose male patterns on the women.  In the ghetto, with few
socialized men available, the women often give in, beginning families
without responsible fathers....

"One of the few successful movements for the socialization of truly
indigent young black males is the Black Muslims.  The Muslims have learned
the key lesson well: that the first step in restoring a poor community is
to reinforce moral codes by religious observances and to rectify the sexual
imbalance bred by poverty.  Because the males are clearly dominant in a
Black Muslim group, they can afford to submit to long-term patterns of
female sexuality.  They identify with their children and hence with the
community and its future.

"The result is that like the Depression-era followers of the similarly
patriarchal cult of Father Divine, the Muslims created a network of small
businesses, comparable on a lesser scale to the entpreneurial
accomplishments of Jews and Chinese (who also use patriarchal religions to
affirm their males).  Also like the Jews, Chinese, and Catholics, the
Muslims succeeded in establishing schools that actually teach poor black
children to read and write at the white grade level.  In addition, like the
patriarchal cults and fundamentalist religions now conspicuous among poor
whites, the Muslims managed to overcome addiction and make ex-convicts into
law-abiding citizens.  It is unfortunate that it is a movement of racial
extremism that hit on this clear imperative of social regeneration.  But as
long as the rest of society fails to recognize the need to reestablish the
male, the field will be open for the fanatics."

Who could be more fanatical than Gilder and Farrakhan?  To force women into
submission  to men in a patriachal household and then to demand of un- and
under-employed and exploited men that they become good, god-fearing
bourgeois--this is, I dare say, a very reactionary agenda. And then to hold
Nation of Islam schools as an alternative to a decaying public education
system! 

Only in Gilder's fantasies will the Nation of Islam be able to prevent one,
two, three and more LA rebellions.  

Rakesh Bhandari
UC Berkeley 

 



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