Phi Beta Cons

Government by Feminism

The domestic-violence incident involving former New York City deputy mayor Stephen Goldsmith illustrates what Harvard Law professor Jeannie Suk has written about. Domestic violence has become an area where the government takes control away from the individual woman.  

After Mrs. Goldsmith said to her husband, “I should have put a bullet into you years ago,” Mr. Goldsmith shoved her into a counter, smashed a phone, and held her for some moments. She called the police. When they got there, she didn’t want her husband arrested, but it didn’t matter. Arrest is mandatory once the woman has made the call, and her husband spent two days in jail before the charges were dismissed when she declared her wish that he not be prosecuted. (And the Goldsmiths were fortunate there. According to Suk, many disputes result in mandatory prosecution and sentencing, over the objections of the woman.)

Now the Goldsmiths have begun a public-relations offensive, calling the domestic-violence incident a “mistake” and a “misunderstanding.” No, it was not a mistake or misunderstanding. It is the law. A woman who declares herself a victim of domestic abuse by calling the cops will for a time be seen as incapable of making her own decisions. Evidently Mrs. Goldsmith regrets her action, but now his career is in shambles, his children have suffered, and the marriage is marred. No evidence has been presented that Goldsmith was a serious abuser; it was all for nothing.

As I mentioned in a previous PBC entry, Suk argues that, thanks to feminism, the home has been defined for the purposes of the law as a ”place of male violence.” This is due to what Suk calls “governance feminism,” developed by Catharine MacKinnon, which “focuses on the subordination of women by men, particularly in intimate and sexual relationships.” According to Suk, MacKinnon’s “influence on our legal system’s understanding of men and women cannot be overstated. If you talk to police, prosecutors, lawmakers, and judges about domestic violence, perhaps they have not read MacKinnon, but they often subscribe to the premise that men subordinate women through sex and violence.”  Suk’s book, At Home in the Law: How the Domestic Violence Revolution is Transforming Privacy, from Yale University Press, was published in 2009.

Most Popular


A Reckoning Is in Store for Democrats

The crisis of the Democrats is becoming more evident each week. Those of us who have been loudly predicting for years that the Russian-collusion argument would be exposed as a defamatory farce, and that the authors of it would eventually pay for it, are bemused at the fallback position of the Trump-haters: that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar: A Hostage Situation

‘It has to stop,” says Representative Ilhan Omar. No, it does not. Representative Omar, the Jew-hating Minnesota Democrat, is engaged in one of her usual games of misdirection, a pattern of hers that by now is familiar enough to be predicted: She says something outrageously stupid, offensive, ... Read More

An Idea for Student Loans: Get Rid of Them

Here is a three-part plan for something practical the federal government could do to relieve college-loan debt. Step 1: The federal government should stop making college loans itself and cease guaranteeing any such loans. Step 2: It should prohibit educational lending by federally regulated financial institutions ... Read More
Film & TV

Everyone Is Wrong about The Searchers

The greatest Western of all time . . . isn’t. Though The Searchers is regularly hailed as the finest exemplar of its genre and one of the best movies of any kind (seventh-best of all time, according to the decennial Sight & Sound poll), John Ford’s 1956 film is mediocre for most of its run time. Nearly ... Read More

Why ‘Stop Sanders’?

'Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?” T. S. Eliot asked. “Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” And where is the intelligence we have lost in cleverness? Cleverness is the plague of our political classes, an influenza of the intellect. The consultants are always trying to ... Read More

Trump Is Hell-Bent on ‘Owning the Libs’

President Trump is looking into giving a free trip to San Francisco, New Orleans, or other great American cities to tens of thousands of refugees from Central America. All so he can own the libs. “Owning the libs” is one of those phrases to have emerged over the past few years that vacillates between ... Read More