Mary Daly Passes Away
By Staff News & Analysis - January 12, 2010

Mary Daly, a prominent feminist theologian who made worldwide headlines a decade ago after she retired from Boston College rather than admit men to some of her classes, died on Sunday in Gardner, Mass. She was 81 and had lived for many years in Newton Centre, Mass. A friend, Linda Barufaldi, confirmed the death, saying Professor Daly had been in declining health recently. A self-described "radical lesbian feminist," Professor Daly maintained a long, often uneasy relationship with Boston College, the Jesuit institution where she had taught theology since the 1960s. In 1999, Professor Daly left the college after a male student threatened suit when he was denied a place in her class on feminist ethics. She had long limited enrollment in some advanced women's studies classes to women only, maintaining that the presence of men there would inhibit frank discussion. Professor Daly did let men enroll in her introductory feminism courses and offered to tutor them privately in the advanced subjects. Among the first American women to train as a Roman Catholic theologian, Professor Daly challenged orthodoxies from the start. She came to wide attention in 1968 with the publication of "The Church and the Second Sex" (Harper & Row), in which she argued that the Catholic Church had systematically oppressed women for centuries. – New York Times

Dominant Social Theme: The old, magic ones pass on.

Free-Market Analysis: We did NOT get an exceptional amount of push back to our previous article on feminism but what we did get made us think hard about how to portray a nuanced message here at the Bell in a way that would not dismay someone reading the Bell for the first time. So now we return to the subject for a little more of an in-depth articulation. It gives us the opportunity to expand on some larger – and we think important, general – issues.

We will spend the first part of the article in a larger examination of power elite promotions and how they affected the women's lib movement and the second (briefer) portion of this article examining the startling life and times of Mary Daly.

To read the initial article click here.

First, let us state our thesis and what the Bell is not. The Bell is not chauvinistic. The Bell, in criticizing feminism, is not anti-women. The Bell is not a "conservative" publication as certain of our detractors would have it. The Bell is a free-market publication dedicated to exposure of power-elite, fear-based promotions and to the alternative to these promotions and more and more authoritarian control – which is freedom and free-markets. The Bell therefore, is profoundly pro-humanity, pro-self-growth, pro whatever is realizable for both women and men within the purview of their talents and abilities, both inside the home and out.

Now part of the problem (such as there was) with our previous article was that it was fairly short and focused directly on feminism as a power elite promotion. We stated that feminism had been promoted by the power elite as a way to make it acceptable for women to work because the elite knew full well that central banking was going to erode earning power and make two-job families a necessity. (In fact, more and more we hear these days of three-job and four-job families but that's a story for another day.) We pointed out that we believed it was no coincidence that feminism as a movement in part tracked the rise of central banking in the 20th century.

We initially decided that some of the criticism we did get had to do with the mistaken idea that we were somehow anti-women – in making the statement that women's lib was a power elite promotion. Women, like men, should be able, in an ideal world, to do whatever makes them happy (within certain somewhat ill-defined limits), and to stop doing it if it makes them unhappy. We are not anti-opportunity for women. Maybe that hadn't come across.

But … on re-examination we have decided we still didn't penetrate to the core of the criticism – that we were being CONDESCENDING to women by making the statement that their hopes and dreams, their aspirations and value-systems generally were the product of the manipulation of a handful of powerful families and (probably) old white men. We were being condescending, therefore, by appearing to make the point that women's "progress" and increased employment freedom was a manipulation of power-elite promotions.

This is a MOST SIGNIFICANT criticism. It gets to the heart of the Bell's world-view and global analysis. And so, for the record, let us state that the Bell is an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY OFFENDER.

We don't just think that women's hopes and dreams have been manipulated by power elite promotions, we think that almost EVERYONE has been victimized, ourselves included – especially when we were younger. We think most employment (public schools, public health, public legal justice, public and military service) is a promotion of sorts. Yet this does not mean that some good does not come out of elite promotions, at least to begin with. Environmentalism was for many a positive concept to begin with. The idea of cleaning up the "environment" especially in its initial incarnations was probably laudable from a certain point of view.

Elite promotions (20th century style) TAKE ADVANTAGE of the right-thinking concerns that normal people have. (And normal people for the most part can have little insight into what it feels like to be worth, say, a trillion dollars.) From the standpoint of women's liberation, the idea that women ought to be free to make career-choices is laudable. It is good. Normal people could not think otherwise, and here at the Bell we agree.

In fact, that's how elite promotions work. To begin with, they establish a problem (fear-based to be sure) and then offer reasonable solutions. Only the promotions don't stop there. They keep going and going and going, stretching what is reasonable until it becomes ludicrous, stretching the truth until it turns into a lie, stretching concern until it turns into ideology.

So you see, dear reader, the analysis we tried to offer was not that women should stay at home, or even that they should prefer family to outside work but that as the feminist movement continued through the 20th century and into the 21st it became more extreme and began to place women into a situation where they felt PRESSURED to think a certain way and to live their lives in a certain manner.

What's our view? Women like men should be able to arrive at their own decisions based on a free-market social environment and their own wants and needs. In our estimation, power elite promotions attempt to preclude that. But these elite promotions are hard to resist, especially when the media and public schools are enlisted in the promotion. Then it's like taking a warm bath. You feel lazy and tingly all over. You're cooked and don't know it.

One grows up with the idea that one has free will. One is confronted by certain challenges – the environment, overpopulation, the role of democracy in government, the substance of money itself, etc. etc. One spends (pre-Internet anyway) one's youth grappling earnestly with these issues. One finally decides that corporations are evil, that global warming is fundamental threat to humanity, that overpopulation must be fought, that government itself can have a transformative effect and that global government would be even better. Always, the solution is more government, more control, etc. You think you've arrived there all on your own!

And yes … it was very hard to fight in the 20th century. But today it's easier! These dominant social themes – these promotions – are falling apart in the 21st century, in the era of the Internet, which has taken them apart piece by piece. The same thing happened 500 years ago with the introduction of the Gutenberg press. Once people could read, or gain access to reliable information, they became aware of the lies they'd been fed. And the result was the Reformation, the founding of the New World, the Glorious Revolution, etc.

You know, we always maintain we do not keep score, but it seems to us that many of these dominant social themes are in disarray, and more emphatically than we expected even a few years ago. The whole idea of global government seems slow off the market to us given the severity of the economic "crisis." Global warming as a believable meme is in tatters. We rarely hear about overpopulation anymore – or at least not within a viable forum. The UN is held in disrepute. The EU is struggling. Stock markets are held up with suspicion. The US "war on terror" is falling apart in the EU where American and British lies about the justifications for the war in Iraq are being exposed in a public venue.

But, still it is tough to let go. We hold onto our cherished beliefs. We want to believe that we are really smart. We want to believe that we are in control of our environment and that we have chosen rationally and well for ourselves and our families in all things. We do not want to think we have been "promoted' into our life-choices – whether we are men or women. If we work in public schools, we want to think we are doing what's right for the children. If we work in the legal field, we want to think we are helping to sustain "justice." If we work for policing agencies, or the FBI or Homeland Security, we want to believe we are fighting "bad guys" on behalf of the free world.

We want to believe our wars are just, our science is independent and our political systems are rational. They are not. Instead, we live in a world, if we choose to, that has been made up for us. It is a world that has been ineradicably distorted by central banking and fully manipulated by the power of endless surges of monetary inflation. In the 20th century these manipulations reached their apogee. In the 21st century they are collapsing, perhaps, at least a little bit.

And so … to Mary Daly. She is an example of where a power elite promotion ends up. She is, from our point of view, a sad person because she found it necessary apparently to demonize one sex (men) at the expense of the other. Being realists, we would suggest that men and women are different. But we would never suggest that one sex was better than the other, whatever that means. It makes our hair stand on when men disparage women – for whatever reason. And when women suggest that they would provide better world governance because women are somehow more peaceable than men, we feel sick.

Here's something about Ms. Daly's beliefs – not from the New York Times but from another obit that appeared last week:

Radical theologian Mary Daly died last Sunday at age 81, ending one of the most interesting and tragic careers in contemporary theology. Known for her exaggerated outspokenness, Daly took theological feminism to what she believed was its rightful and logical conclusion — to the absolute rejection of Christianity and all theistic conceptions of God.

In the first phase of her career she was known as a Roman Catholic, and she taught at Boston College for many years. Her tenure there could only be described as controversial. At the beginning her teaching career was marked by a fight over tenure. At the end she left Boston College after refusing to allow male students in some of her classes in feminist thought.

Her critique of the Roman Catholic Church as a bastion of patriarchy, expressed in her 1968 book, The Church and the Second Sex, was extended to the entire Christian tradition. She rejected Christianity's focus on a monotheistic deity and what she attacked as its intrinsic patriarchy. She asserted that Christianity's focus on Jesus Christ was just another dimension of its patriarchy — a Savior in a male body.

As Margaret Elizabeth Kostenberger explains, Daly's "complete rejection of Scripture" on the basis of its "irremediable patriarchal bias" took her far outside the Christian faith. While other feminists called for the adoption of female or gender-neutral language for God, Daly attacked those efforts as half-measures that fail to take the phallocentricity of theism seriously.

Her famous dictum, "if the God is male, then the male is God," stood at the heart of her radical revision of religion. She accused Christianity of "gynocide" against women and suggested that all monotheistic religion — and Christianity in particular — is "phallocentric."

She referred to feminists as "pirates in a phallocratic society" and preached her version of feminist liberation, describing herself as a "radical lesbian feminist." She rejected the biblical notion of sin and called for a celebration of lust and the breaking of all sexual rules. She attacked heterosexuality as inherently patriarchal and championed lesbianism as a means of the liberation of women from the "phallocratic" power system of the culture.

We had to quote this particular article – written by Albert Mohler Author, Speaker, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – because the New York Times article carried none of this. If you read the Times obit, you would have come away thinking Daly was a "feminist" without understanding what it meant for her. That's part of the promotion of course. The Times if a mainstream organ of the power elite and will purvey dominant social themes in a way that is palatable to mainstream America when it can.

We are not surprised by where Ms. Daly ended up intellectually. The end result of power elite promotions always reads like a parody. In France, right now, they are making it illegal for married couples to yell at each other. In Copenhagen, a handful of world leaders tried to hijack the global economy on behalf of global warming statistics that were evidently fraudulent. In Britain, they are exposing the lies on which the Iraq "war on terror" was built.

We're happy that women can work in Western societies as they choose to. But we continue to believe that the issue of women's employment freedom was manipulated and taken to extremes for purposes of family and social control – and to cover up what would inevitably happen to the economy within a central banking regime.

We notice, by the way, a big issue in "liberating" Afghanistan women, and we hope that Afghanistan women can become as "liberated" as they choose to become. But if they want to become fully liberated within the Western tradition, they will end up with a Western style income tax, an invasive Western-style intel system that can wiretap and invade their homes at will, a central banking structure that will inflate the currency to nearly nothing, a system of incarceration that will put half of Afghanistan in jail for growing drugs and another third in jail for marketing them.

Afghanistan – and this may shock you, dear reader – may indeed be a freer country in some senses without Western "freedoms" than with them. And Afghanistan women may find, over years, that they and their families will pay a heavy price for their so-called "liberation."

In a world of promotions and dominant social themes funded by monetary inflation nothing is clear cut or simple. We all live in a kind of dream weave. The matrix is nearly impenetrable. And were societies not the victims of these sorts of promotions, it is not clear what would be left. We would suggest that truly free societies would be most conservative and possibly marked by what many would refer to as more traditional roles for the sexes. This is because societies that are not run by authoritarian governments tend to turn to moral and religious principles for their organization. Instead of incarceration, social shame is the dominant means of enforcing social order. This is the ultimate irony of a "libertarian" society. A fully free society might feel, in some sense, restrictive. Behind closed doors much would be tolerated. But public displays, especially "immoral" ones, would be frowned upon.

After Thoughts

In a fully free society, women might still feel pressure regarding work choices. But at least it would be the local culture itself engendering the pressures rather than a false promotion of the most powerful. And there would be in fact a richness of choice and opportunity that is simply not available tothe current power-elite dream time. Gold and silver might be money of choice and employment could be based on heritage, tradition and need. Society would not reorganize itself every few years as a result of monetary booms and busts. Local culture would trump nationalism. The family would be the basic unit of social organization and military and police service would not be a preferred occupation. During the Roman devolution and corruption of empire, philosophers mourned the modesty and modest women of the Republic. They did not quite comprehend the changes. But really, it is not so hard.

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