“Woman is the nigger of the world.”
—Yoko Ono and John Lennon
Yesterday, I recommended John C. Wright’s posts about “Saving Science Fiction from Strong Female Characters.” The only thing that annoyed me in the post series was Wright’s comment about women’s not being able to own property before the sexual revolution (“Even so, women were not afforded the equal rights to vote and own property until quite recently, even in the West” from part 1). What nonsense! And yet, it is nonsense commonly believed—just like other idiotic and widespread lies that somehow never die, of which there are legion. One that really annoys me is the belief that Europeans five hundred and some score years ago conceived the earth as flat—“Christopher Columbus defied common opinion by attempting to sail around the world.” Ancient Greeks not only knew that the world was round, but Hellenistic natural philosophers estimated the earth’s size and the distance between the earth and the sun with incredible accuracy. Another is the “droit du seigneur,” where we are to believe that medieval Christians allowed local lords to commit adultery with women before they consummated their marriages with their husbands. Or what about the common view of witchcraft and witch-hunting as typically medieval, when the whole sordid business got rolling just as sorcery really did infect the West—at the beginning of the so called “Age of Reason”? Whorish lies, often started and perpetuated by nasty moderns in an attempt to denigrate their ancestors; cf. the word “Gothic.”
Women in Germanic societies have had property rights for ages. In Britain, those property rights were close to the same as those for men, though there were Norman introduced complications when it came to titles and certain types of land property due to the Frenchies’ Salic Law. What, then, is the origin of this false belief? Marriage. Women largely ceded control of their property to their husbands, as the heads of their households, when they married them. Shouldn’t we expect this in a society that takes Christian marriage seriously—“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Even so, there were many provisions that granted certain property rights to married women, given dynastic and land interests. Alas, even in a Christian society, people often mistrust the in-laws, especially when the families had recently been at war. If you wish to know more about the legal condition of women before “feminism,” then you ought to read Mary A. Greene’s “Legal Condition of Woman in 1492-1892,” written when feminists and their audiences were far less historically ignorant.
Seriously, how in the world do people—often educated, thoughtful people—harbor so many absurd ideas? Obviously, we are all quite ignorant about most things—the world is big, history is long, and our lives are short and consumed with many matters. But how can people be so wrong about things that they themselves lived? Lawrence Auster would occasionally remark about the extremely foolish statements public personalities make about America before the 1960s—comparing, for instance, American women before the sexual revolution to chattel slavery or to the condition of women under sharia law. Steve Sailer also frequently posts about the bizarre memory lapses among America’s chattering classes; see his Diversity before Diversity series for some examples. Women couldn’t own property? At the very least, haven’t these folks seen (not to mention read) Gone with the Wind?