Image: Babylonian Marriage Market by Edwin Long
What does Doug Wilson think the world should look like?
Wilson holds to postmillennial eschatology, that Christian ethics will rule across the globe in the millennium before Christ’s return. This explains a great deal of Wilson’s pursuits in becoming a mover and shaker in Christian education, why he tries to stick his fingers into each Classical Education pie he can.
Wilson holds to the beliefs behind Geoff Botkin’s 200 Year Plan: That by shaping children we control the future and that through education he can mold and fashion children’s minds so that when they grow up they will quite literally take over the world with their superior intelligence, work-ethic, and belief, paving the way to the postmillennial future he dreams of. This is also why he writes so much on family life as well, he needs patriarchical fathers who run their families like a fiefdom, who will dictate that their daughters only marry a man in his own image, and that his sons will turn out quite the same way. This plan is comparable to those of premillenniallists who seek to engineer politics and world events to hasten the day of Christ’s return.
As if God needs any help with that.
This is important to recognize because Wilson is not ‘merely’ writing self-help books for fathers seeking control over their families and making a buck off of it. In Wilson’s mind, he is writing pamphlets for how to take over the world. The family dynamics and scenarios he describes are how an ideal society not only should, but will operate when his postmillennial vision comes about. This makes me wonder: what does this kind of world look like?
First, let’s take another look at that very controversial passage from Her Hand in Marriage:
Women inescapably need godly masculine protection against ungodly masculine harassment; women who refuse protection from their fathers and husbands must seek it from the police. But women who genuinely insist on “no masculine protection” are really women who tacitly agree on the propriety of rape. Whenever someone sets himself to go against God’s design, horrible problems will always result. The Bible says that we find the way to true self-discovery through self-surrender. Those who exalt themselves are humbled, and vice-versa. In the feminist movement over the last several decades, women have been looking for (and have not yet found) themselves. This is because they have been trying to find and identify their role apart from God’s design. The beauty of biblical courtship is that it never leaves women unprotected.
“The beauty of biblical courtship is that it never leaves women unprotected.” Wilson is not talking about protecting daughters from the “Zone of Vulnerability” (emotional distress) that he spoke of in that book. He is speaking of very real, physical protection against terrible crimes that could befall them. Similarly to Future Men, where Wilson writes that boys should learn how to cook, but in the masculine way; he is long on points and short on detail. He never explains how a father can supernaturally protect his daughter from being raped by being choosy over who she dates.
Wilson doubled down on that in a recent Mablog post:
It is the conviction of many of us here in conservative Christian circles that the principal threat to women is men. Taken as a general rule, women need to be protected from men. But because of the superior strength and higher levels of aggressiveness in men — and I know I run the risk of heavy fines and internment in sensitivity camp for saying it — what we must have in order to protect women from men is . . . men. Men are the principal danger, and so men must be the principal defense against that danger. You can complain about this if you like, and you may get your representative to introduce legislation about it, but it remains the fact that something that is 200 pounds weighs more than something that is 130 pounds.
Now, on one hand I agree: Men are the principal danger and thus men must be the principal defense. The best defense is preemptive and begins by teaching boys not to be abusive, not to rape. And while Wilson writes quite a bit in Future Men about teaching boys to respect women, I don’t think that’s what he means. One possibility is some sort of Saudi Arabia-esque rule where women would not be allowed out in public without a male escort. This seems to be in line with another Mablog quotation:
Say a woman — for some egalitarian and very foolish reason, declines to have her dinner date walk her back to her car in some urban center after dark. Let us say she is raped and murdered. According to what RHE says, my response is going to be some variant of “served her right.” Now you would have to be a fool not to see the connection between her refusal of an escort and what happened to her, but you would also have to be pretty vile to say that walking to your car deserves the penalty of rape and murder. You would also have to be pretty high up among Obama’s advisers to falsely accuse someone of being that vile.
Now, maybe this only qualifies for dark urban centers and not sunny Friendship Squares, and there are a hundred other contingencies where a male escort would not matter in the least for walking down this dark alleyway. Unfortunately, these crimes do not only happen in dark urban centers, they could happen anywhere. So wouldn’t a male escort also be required everywhere?
And if I remember rightly, one of the girls was actually planning on getting an apartment the next year when marriage intervened. So let us say that one or both of our girls had moved out before marriage, and let us also say that a couple years passed before the right guy came around. When he came around, would they still “have to” do it the courtship way? Well, that would depend. Would they still have a dad whose opinion of men they respected, and who still loved them?
Wilson was apparently planning on letting a daughter of his get her own apartment but before that could happen, marriage intervened. Based on the above, how could he allow that? She would be surrounded by males of unknown quality in the complex and who knows what could happen to her as she walked on her own from her car to her apartment? So if Wilson’s own daughter getting her own apartment is a plausible reality in Wilson’s mind, what sort of protection is he thinking of that could safeguard her? It would have to be some sort of supernatural, nebulous spiritual protection that was based on her submission to her father and her father’s own righteousness. In Wilson’s mind, that’s how masculine protection could still secure her even if it was not physically present: Wilson seems to thing that being under the headship, the authority of a man is a shield, even if they are not close at hand.
This brings about its own set of problems as there are far too many examples of godly women, married and daughters, who this promised supernatural shield has not covered. Were they not godly enough? Not submissive enough? What caused this safeguard to falter? Or is Wilson simply betting that most of his followers won’t have to deal with these tragedies and when it does happen, he will side with the assailant against the victim to reinforce that this simply doesn’t happen to those who truly follow his teachings?
Wilson profits by offering his followers a paradise, where they will have submissive wives, obedient children and a life untouched by tragedy if they follow his rules. This paradise can be more fully realized by moving your family to Moscow and by attending his churches, sending your children to his schools. But not even Wilson seems to be sure of how his promised ideal world will work. Women will need male chaperones but can also be sent to live on their own under spiritual masculine protection. Elders could recommend that your daughter marries a pedophile. The testimony of an abusive perjuror held up as the standard of truth. There is only one thing that is constant: what benefits Wilson is the straight and narrow. Wilson’s postmillennial endgame is not the future that sees Christ glorified, it is the future that sees Wilson glorified.
Cicero’s Note: I know many godly believers and hold fast many friends that hold to postmillennial eschatology. My point here is not to condemn that theology, but to point out how it not only informs Wilson’s views, but that he twists it for his own self-serving ends. I hold to many views, like complementarianism, that have been used to justify no end of evil. I firmly believe that we who hold these views must do the most to call out those who misuse them. Thankfully, I can say that nearly every postmillennial Christian I know distrust that I do.