The National Organization for Women (NOW), an American leftist, feminist organization, was founded in 1966 and consists of 550 chapters in all 50 U.S. states and in Washington, D.C. This group advocates the unfettered right to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand; seeks to “eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia” from American society; attacks Christianity and traditional religious values; and supports gender-based preferences for women.
It’s co-founder and first president: Betty Friedan
Feminist icon Betty Friedan is credited with starting the modern-day feminist revolution – though some of the original feminists (e.g., Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott), had they lived to see her, surely would have denounced Friedan as an extremist genocidal demagogue. Suggestive of Marx, Engels, Nietzsche, Mead, Kinsey and Freud, Friedan’s private life defined her radical ideology as demonstrated throughout her writings, particularly her most famous book, “The Feminine Mystique” (1963).
As I demonstrated in previous essays analyzing the giants of the liberal/progressive canon from Machiavelli, Descartes and Rousseau to Darwin, Marx and Freud, once again, we witness with Friedan that autobiography masquerades as “science.” Friedan’s book tragically opened Pandora’s box to mothers forsaking marriage, children and motherhood in a Faustian pursuit of careers outside the home. However, Friedan’s greatest treachery was that her book 10 years later led directly to the legalization of infanticide we euphemistically call abortion, in the case of Roe v. Wade (1973).
Named Bettye Naomi Goldstein, Friedan was born in Peoria, Ill., the daughter of Jewish immigrants Harry Goldstein, a jeweler, and his domineering, hateful but attractive young wife, Miriam Horwitz Goldstein. The Goldstein house was horribly dysfunctional. Friedan’s father was adamant that her mother quit her job writing for the society pages and dedicate herself to being a housewife. Friedan would later admit that this fateful decision in her family was the cause of her mother’s incessant rage and the resulting profound bitterness and despair inside the Goldstein home.
Extolling abstractness and socialist values above real conditions undermines much of Friedan’s book. Before she published “The Feminine Mystique,” Friedan wrote for numerous leftist, socialist-inspired magazines, agitating on behalf of neglected lower-class workers. The abstractness of her ideas are fundamentally Marxist. She assumed, as irrefutable, that all women suffered the same restless discontent as her mother and herself. Friedan wrote:
The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the 20th century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night – she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question – “Is this all?”
What is the enduring legacy of Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique? First, Friedan helped destroy the American family – driving a wedge between husband and wife by demonizing the position of housewives as domestic slaves and grossly romanticizing working outside the home. Friedan’s hagiographic biographer Daniel Horowitz even noted that Friedan offered a distorted vision of the actual conditions of white upper-middle class suburban housewives in the 1950s, by hyping anything that was negative and repressing anything that was constructive, shamelessly manipulating and inventing the data to confirm her neurotic need for a crisis and disregard (as Marx, Mead and Kinsey did) everything that challenged her grand, abstract thesis.
Second, Friedan conflated a Marx/Engels paradigm they used to exploit class differences in labor and society 100 years before and smuggled them into the home. For example, observe how Friedan taught women to liberate themselves from the “housewife trap”:
[To] emancipate woman and make her the equal of the man is and remains an impossibility so long as the woman is shut out from socially productive labor and restricted to private domestic labor. The emancipation of woman will only be possible when woman can take in production on a large, social scale, and domestic work no longer claims anything but an insignificant amount of her time.
Incidentally, this passage was plagiarized from Friedrich Engels’ 1884 essay “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.”
Third, and most detestable of all, Friedan originally hid not only her Marxist biases but also the extremist and predictable consequences of her argument – the deconstruction of the American family, which she fully planned and fanatically encouraged. For example, in the first edition of “The Feminine Mystique” of 1963, the word “abortion” doesn’t appear at all. Nevertheless, in later editions, Friedan surreptitiously includes abortion in the “Epilogue” (written in 1973, the same year as Roe v. Wade). This was Friedan’s triumphant celebration of abortion breaking the last chain that since ancient times had kept women imprisoned in unhappy homes and shackled in the dungeon of motherhood.
Friedan founded two important radical organizations that paved the way toward legalized infanticide. In 1966, Friedan was a cofounder of NOW (the National Organization for Women) whose main objective would be to empower women (in Engels’s words) not to be “shut out from socially productive labor and restricted to private domestic labor.” In 1969, with Bernard Nathanson, Friedan started the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL). Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion, the numbers have been staggering – over 52,000,000 aborted babies, more than the number slaughtered by Lenin and Stalin in the name of communism.
Liberal fascism (e.g., progressivism, socialism, Marxism, communism) is a form of ideological vengeance reeked against society for allegedly being oppressive, unjust, racist and misogynist. According to author Benjamin Wiker, Friedan believed that “progress means conquering the natural conditions that keep women from being defined by their sex,” which Friedan championed under the perverse paradigm: Motherhood = “a comfortable concentration camp,” and working outside the home = “the emancipation of women.”
Friedan’s legacy essentially launched the feminist revolution known as the “Women’s movement” under the guise of liberating all women and granting them equal rights into the labor force, yet Friedan aggressively championed a hidden Marxist-Engels paradigm, exploiting all of the techniques and strategies of a demagogue. In other words, Friedan’s book essentially sanctioned the wholesale sacrifice of being a wife, motherhood and children on the altar of abortion and careerism presided over by the all-powerful Marxist State.
Ever since the 1963 publication of her landmark book, The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan has insisted that her commitment to women’s rights grew out of her experiences as an alienated suburban housewife. Yet as Daniel Horowitz persuasively demonstrates in this illuminating and provocative biography, the roots of Friedan’s feminism run much deeper than she has led us to believe. Drawing on an impressive body of new research―including Friedan’s own papers―Horowitz traces the development of Friedan’s feminist outlook from her childhood in Peoria, Illinois, through her wartime years at Smith College and Berkeley, to her decade-long career as a writer for two of the period’s most radical labor journals, the Federated Press and the United Electrical Workers’ UE News. He further shows that even after she married and began to raise a family, Friedan continued during the 1950s to write and work on behalf of a wide range of progressive social causes. By resituating Friedan within a broader cultural context, and by offering a fresh reading of The Feminine Mystique against that background, Horowitz not only overturns conventional ideas about “second wave” feminism but also reveals long submerged links to its past.