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Doing Justice to the Classics

Feminism blamed for fall of Rome

The blog Château Heartiste, which in a recent post on “How to Solve Feminism” argues that “The solution to feminism… is to Make Men Dominant Again” because “Weak men create a sexual polarity void which is filled with spiteful hags and bitter careerist shrikes who subconsciously resent their empowerment,” cites with approval a long Reddit post on how feminism was responsible for the fall of Rome and attempts to find parallels in American history. In addition, the blog post injects xenophobia into the narrative presented in the reddit post. Both posts were originally written in response to an article in the New York Times arguing that legislative and policy advances for women have required advocacy from men and will continue to do so.

The original reddit post’s claims include the following:

  • That thanks to its history of “strong patriarchy,” Rome of the 1st century BCE enjoyed so much prosperity that “citizens (i.e. non slaves) [did] not need to work.”
  • That in Rome of the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, by contrast, “Children are growing up without fathers, Roman women show little interest in raising their own children and frequently use nannies” and that “Prostitution and homosexuality become widespread.”
  • That following the 5th century CE, “humanity falls back into the Bronze Age (think: eating squirrel meat and living in a cave).”

The analysis of this post on Château Heartiste asserts the following parallels in American history:

  • Rome of the 5th – 1st centuries BCE is like “1700–1920 America” where “slutting around by women is considered the height of shameful behavior.”
  • The turning point in America comes when “the suffrage movement achieves its main goal, and the dark shroud of the equalist era is about to descend. In academic halls and classrooms, lessers are pedestalized, while betters are denigrated.”
  • As in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE in Rome, from 1970–2000 “The scourge of single momhood, free and easy divorce, child support laws, majority female colleges, DADT repealed, gay marriage, game, etc etc ad infinitum….Lessers ignore their betters, who in turn renege on their traditional responsibility to act as examples for the lessers.”

The analysis on the blog also amplifies significantly the nationalist and xenophobic elements implicit in the reddit post:

  • The reddit post argues for decline in Rome of the 3rd and 4th centuries CE and attributes it to the fact that “Vice and massive corruption are rampant, while the new-born Catholic Religion is gaining power.” The blog , in turn, claims to find a parallel for this in America of 2000–2010 where “A reborn religion called Islam threatens to co-opt the sympathies of Western societies’ rootless rejects and masculinized women.”
  • The reddit post claims that the increasing use of mercenaries instead of citizens in the 5th century CE led to those mercenaries “overrunn[ing] and pillag[ing] the empire.” The blog in turn claims that contemporary America’s “army is less and less filled with the demographic slice of American citizens that used to make up its ranks. …America is in the process of slow-motion selling off of the Southwest to appease the millions of peasant illegals it cavalierly allowed to invade and settle in the country.”

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