Motherhood is the first and last line of defense against totalitarianism. If you think this statement sounds over the top, you ought to ponder why the family has always been the ultimate target of tyrannical systems of government such as communism. Advocates of cultural Marxism tend to view families as akin to subversive cells that get in the way of centralized state power.
The driving force in each of those “cells” is a devoted flesh-and-blood mother who defends, nurtures, strengthens, and teaches her children well. She magnifies this power by teaming up with the child’s father in that effort. Such a family represents, at the most elemental level, the “little platoon” philosopher Edmund Burke referred to:
To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind. The interest of that portion of social arrangement is a trust in the hands of all those who compose it; and as none but bad men would justify it in abuse, none but traitors would barter it away for their own personal advantage.
As healthy, cohesive families go forth into the world as little platoons, they are a force for goodwill and real justice in society, broadcasting by example and by good works into the culture at large. They begin with mothers who cultivate virtue and a sense of uniqueness in their children. In a very real sense, mothers are the ultimate force for de-centralizing and distributing power in society. Their influence sets virtuous communities in motion.
A mother begins this task as only a mother can: through the mysterious pull of love, by forging bonds of personal loyalty, and under cover of the hidden sphere of private life. Tyrants have openly targeted these positive forces at least since Karl Marx essentially declared them totally incompatible with socialism. Lately we see devoted mothers—particularly traditional, stay-at-home mothers—increasingly mocked and challenged as cultural throwbacks. Even President Obama has criticized them in policy speeches, including his 2015 State of the Union.
Countless examples illustrate the extraordinary impact of attentive mothers to thwart the forces of a tyrannical state. Some cases stand out. But most of the work is done quietly, through their teaching of faith, fairness, virtue, and goodwill. This groundwork mothers lay has a cumulative effect that supports wholeness over brokenness in human beings. Obviously that’s not good for any agenda propelled by resentment over understanding, or chaos over stability.
For illustration, let’s look at two examples that really stand out: the grandmother of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and the mother of President Ronald Reagan. Through the lessons they imparted to their progeny, both women were fundamentally instrumental in ending the Cold War and the collapse of Soviet communism.
Reagan’s Mother and Gorbachev’s Babushka
President Reagan’s son Michael explored the pull the Christian faith had on his father, and perhaps even on Gorbachev. Although the essay specifically explores the role of the men’s faith, it also illuminates mothers’ extraordinary influence in driving a child’s sense of purpose and mission in the world. Here’s how Michael Reagan described Gorbachev’s answer to his thrice-asked question: “Who do you look to for guidance?”
[M]y grandmother was a Christian woman. She would go to church every day. Then, after church, she would come visit me and say, ‘Mikhail, I went to church today and I prayed for the atheist. I prayed for you.’ Now, isn’t that interesting? Mikhail Gorbachev didn’t say, as he had said before, ‘I’m not a diehard atheist, but I am an atheist.’ Nor did he say, ‘I’m a believer.’ Instead, he told a story about his Christian grandmother. That was his response to the question, ‘Who do you look to for guidance?’ It was an oblique answer—but I think it was the answer.
Even if Michael Reagan ultimately meant to say Gorbachev looked to God for guidance (Gorbachev has denied this point, and publicly is more likely aligned with some sort of world pantheism), the answer here accounts for Gorbachev’s grandmother as the channel for that guidance. The loving influence of the maternal has a way of turning us to face one another, instead of away from one another.
Michael Reagan also noted that President Reagan was raised in the Christian faith by his mother, Nelle, who “planted that faith very deeply” in him. Then this:
On the day of his inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, my father placed his left hand upon the well-worn Bible of his late mother, then he raised his right hand and took the oath of office. Dad’s hand rested on the words God spoke to King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14: ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.’
In the margin next to that verse, his mother Nelle had written, ‘A most wonderful verse for the healing of the nations.’
The rest is history.
President Reagan once quipped: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Somehow I think he learned that from his mother. It is this issue of getting credit, getting recognition for one’s work, that is at the root of the modern women’s angst about family versus career, or achieving that “work-life balance.” Those who outright denigrate the calling of motherhood often do so because the task seems so thankless, such an unappreciated burden. It can seem stifling when one needs other outlets for creativity.
We don’t quite understand or accept that most of a mother’s work in forming good citizens is in many ways a covert operation. We take for granted this must be done under cover to be effective. Families need privacy and autonomy to function smoothly and for the greater good. Big Brother understands this far better than most of us do.
Little Mother’s Love Is a Lethal Weapon
As all good totalitarians know, it is mothers—specifically, devoted and self-sacrificing mothers—who gum up the works of statist control in a society. Her crime is forging bonds of love, the self-sacrificing kind that don’t mix with big government schemes. Worse, when she forges these bonds within the context of a marriage covenant with the child’s father, she is exponentially more hazardous to the centralized state.
Those bonds give the child a sense of stability and purpose. The child can see before his eyes the answer to his first existential question: “Where did I come from?” But what really makes Big Brother go ballistic is when the little mothers actually instill in their children a sense of belonging and unique purpose in the universe. Yes, religion. This develops strength of spirit. When people learn to call on a force of goodness—i.e., to pray—they are better emotionally equipped to resist Big Brother’s tactics to isolate them. A strong and healthy faith also helps the child to learn to detect and discern deceptions.
A healthy mother-child bond anchors and stabilizes children. It imbues them with a sense of security to go forth and explore the world and make friends. This is very bad for the grievance industry of central control. These bonds of loyalty produce a sense of joy. They end up unleashing innovation and industry, which the child then broadcasts into the greater community as an adult. This creates prosperity and well-being, also very bad omens for the statist.
Every mother-child bond is unique, as well. In the context of family, every child experiences different influences growing up: different ideas, a different set of relatives, different traditions, different attitudes, different perspectives. It’s all very de-centralizing to power. Good for the child. Bad for the impersonal Big Brother state.
Mothers Humanize, While the State De-Humanizes
George Orwell was inspired to write “1984” after he read Yevgeniy Zamyatin’s dystopian novel “We.” Big Brother of “1984” is analogous to the role of The Benefactor in “We.” One of the underlying themes of “We” is the human isolation brought about by lack of privacy and especially by universal mother absence, which allows for mechanizing society into a slave state.
The narrator of “We,” named D-503, acknowledges this: “If only I had had a mother like the Ancients: my – yes, exactly – my own mother. She would know me as – not the Builder of the Integral, and no cipher D-503, and not a molecule of the One State – but simply a fragment of humanity, a fragment of herself, trampled, squashed, thrown away . . . And whether I am nailing or being nailed – maybe it’s all the same – she would hear what no one else heard…” To know a mother’s love is to be known and to be human. But this intimacy can only occur in the realm of privacy.
Without privacy, there can be no intimacy. Without two people sharing secret knowledge, which has its germ in the mother-child bond, there can be no deep friendship, no strong personal relationships. These facts go a long way to explaining why the policies of totalitarian societies are always so hostile to family autonomy and privacy. As the state invades private life, it removes the laboratory in which the seeds of civil society can gestate. We might say it performs an abortion on civil society.
Private life is a sphere hidden from the government, a place where gut feelings are exposed and discussed in confidence. It’s the place where all true loyalties begin. So if you can undermine the mother-child bond, you’ve gone a long way to separating everyone in a society.
“The Power of the Powerless” spells out just how important the hidden sphere is for overcoming the power of a totalitarian state. It was written by the Czech freedom fighter, and later Czech president, Vaclav Havel in 1978. In it Havel explains how freedom from the bonds of totalitarianism and groupthink must come from “the hidden sphere”—i.e., from private life, private conversations, and personal relationships. From that sphere, change reverberates outward as a ripple effect.
Statists seem to have pondered this conundrum. They seem haunted by the question: Who needs a Big Borg State when you’ve got this sense of belonging and love? If people were all loyal to their families and friends and communities, how could they ever be more loyal to the mass, mechanized bureaucratic state?
The Sexual Revolution As a Weapon Against Happiness
By now, we should understand why social engineers loathe devoted mothers so much. Sure, on the surface and for the moment, they will publicly tolerate mothers, and even offer platitudes honoring them on Mother’s Day. But motherhood is indeed the first and last line of defense against central planning, which by its very nature extinguishes motherhood. This truth is buried too deeply for us moderns to comprehend. But the fact is that Big Brother is now—and always has been—in a perpetual state of war with Little Mother.
So let’s set aside the Mother’s Day apple pie for a moment, and consider how inconspicuous mothers might get in the way of power-mongering statists, and how statism would undermine their influence.
Motherhood obviously goes way beyond the act of giving birth or providing legal guardianship. It works in mysterious ways, sowing the goodwill and self-reliance. It’s the stuff that real villages are made of. This seems the only logical reason for social engineers, wittingly or not, to keep pushing policies that undermine the family, and especially the mother-child bond. There can be no question that proponents of the centralized state (and the totalitarianism it inevitably breeds) are invested in family dysfunction, and especially dysfunctional motherhood.
As we travel that route, we see culture steering women towards adopting sexual behaviors that lead to them being exploited by men, all in the name of “equality.” We then also see women steered to view their children more as commodities to procure or dispose of at will than as lives to embrace unconditionally. We even see whole-hearted efforts from social engineers to strongly discourage single mothers from getting married. In the end, Big Brother gets women to give up their power and personal relationships by succumbing to him and his “freebies,” as advertised in the 2012 Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia” infographic (which is now all but scrubbed from the Internet.)
In essence, those attitudes promote totalitarianism because they all separate human beings from the regenerative bonds of kinship loyalty. Central planning is also an enemy of friendship, always having the effect of separating, isolating, and controlling people.
But statists’ biggest prize, and their biggest obstacle, has always been the intimate bond between mother and child. The total woman feels this bond before she even has children. It causes her to seek out a permanent mate, enlisting him as ally and defender of their children. The smart woman disqualifies any man who isn’t mature enough to understand that this doesn’t give him license to lord it over her and suppress her own personal creativity and ambitions.
How Big Brother Fights Little Mother
This healthy mother-child-father bond quickly becomes the bane of fascist existence if left to its own devices. How to destroy it?
The social engineer’s approach involves a lot of conditioning and behavior modification to steer people towards separation and isolation. Through advertising, entertainment, and groupthink, Big Brother: 1) uses the lures of orgasm and vanity to separate men from women through faceless and perfunctory sex (i.e., the sexual “revolution”); 2) promotes single motherhood and no-fault divorce to separate father from mother and child; 3) uses abortion to weaken the bond between mother and child so she must see her own child as a non-person and is stuck doing emotional gymnastics or blocking to align her abortion experience with any living children.
At the same time, social engineers are also deeply invested in polarization on a more macro scale. By stoking resentments of one identity group against another, Big Brother can create a culture of distrust between sexes, races, classes, religions, and so on. By cultivating the culture of death—including faceless and loveless sex, abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and infanticide—Big Brother further weakens the bonds of family and social trust.
Statists have now deployed another weapon to weaken maternal bonds and separate mother from child. It’s the transgender ideology instantly spawned by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, which essentially outlawed recognizing marriage as the union of one male and one female. Transgender law takes “marriage equality” to the logical next step by ultimately abolishing legal recognition of biological sex distinctions.
In this way, biological mothers and biological fathers can be put on track to lose automatic recognition as legal parents to their child. As we change language and pronouns to suit gender ideology—and hence build a sexless society—the terms “mother” and “father” will legally be abolished. This is the bait-and-switch of the scam Big Brother has deceitfully named “equality.”
Big Brother thus accomplishes his mission to regulate and essentially eliminate all personal relationships based on trust. Again, he knows best that the roots of all such relationships can ultimately be traced to the mother-child bond.
Harnessing Social Media Mobs to Attack Mothers
There can be no question that central planning is the goal in today’s America. This is best undertaken when mothers are separated from their children, and the earlier the better. All social engineering programs—from mandatory pre-kindergarten to gestational surrogacy to enforcement of the transgender ideology—have the effect of attacking a child’s sense of self and severing the organic mother-child bond.
In all of these programs, especially when forced on children in the schools, the child ends up displaced, deprived, and de-sexed. All are destabilizing influences that an attentive mother’s unmolested presence would neutralize. But devoted mothers are an obstinate breed. As C.S. Lewis wrote in his prescient 1947 essay “The Abolition of Man:” “We may well thank the beneficent obstinacy of real mothers, real nurses, and (above all) real children for preserving the human race in such sanity as it still possesses.”
Alas, since then, we have careened much closer to insanity. The only winners in this war on children and their mothers are central planners who seem to be on a quest to mechanize humanity. If you have any doubt, just consider what happened to gay fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana last year when they expressed their disapproval of gay adoption and surrogacy in same sex parenting, particularly because the practices deliberately deprive a child of mother.
Celebrity gay couple Elton John and John Furnish went ballistic. Since they have two sons through surrogacy, they started a celebrity boycott of the D&G brand. The lemming public immediately swarmed on social media, ultimately condemning the idea that a child has any right at all to know his or her mother.
In addition, cases of transgender “men” giving birth are putting us on track to legally de-sexing all mothers. Even just a couple of cases of women giving birth while identifying as men already have us going there. Medical personnel are already complying with language that rejects the reality of biological sex in order to accommodate transgender ideology. These “trans men” often cannot even breastfeed their babies because they elected to have double mastectomies.
The assault on family privacy undermines mothers’ influence. For example, policies that force the transgender ideology on children as young as kindergarten interfere with the reality that the child’s biological sex matters, or, by extension, that he was created through a mother and father. Government policies to forcibly end privacy by sex in restrooms are just another part of this attempt at collective thought reform. Even the right to privately question this ideology in a therapy session is being abolished under the guise of protecting us from reparative therapy. Another ambition of Big Brother is to inject LGBT ideology into churches, which would essentially outlaw expression of church doctrine that humans are created male and female.
Big Brother knows that if you take away privacy, and especially family privacy, you can start growing social distrust. Once social distrust (which has risen greatly since the General Social Survey began in 1972 ) reaches a tipping point, a surveillance society can set in. Self-censorship, induced by political correctness, moves this process swiftly along.
Whose Hand Should Rock the Cradle?
Like Rumpelstiltskin, Big Brother is forever trying to coax mothers into giving up being the hand that rocks the cradle so he can take control of the cradle for himself. If there were so little power in what a mother does and what she believes, why ever would central planners seek to do such a thing? Why would they even care?
They care not only because devoted mothers have the power to transfer values and virtues to the next generation, but that mothers are inclined to do so. Not only that, but if they are stay-at-home moms with a steady source of income independent of the state, statists see mothers as dangerously free agents in private life.
Real motherhood is an instinctive and spiritual call to arms against any force that would undermine the well-being of one’s children. That means combatting the forces of harm—physical, emotional, and especially spiritual—while a child is most vulnerable to them. It means having an instinctive distrust of those forces, with the instinctive ability to detect them, to preempt them, and to destroy them whenever she is confronted with them. As her children grow, the astute mother instills strength and battle-hardens her children so that they, in turn, can confront and destroy those forces in the future.
So civil society always starts with encouraging and respecting strong mother-child bonds. They are the source for cultivating a climate of trust. One-on-one and face-to-face conversations based in mutual trust will always have the greatest impact on our perspectives and our lives.
No wonder Big Brother is so heavily invested in polarizing us. No wonder he is eternally at war with any devoted mother. In the end, she’s the only antidote to his poison.