No father. No Father. No patria. No father. No Church. No country. These gaping absences have produced a rage among young people that explains a great deal about our present national trauma. This is one of the fascinating theses in Mary Eberstadt’s masterful new book, Adam and Eve After the Pill, Revisited.
Don’t let the title fool you. This is not merely an updating or reworking of her 2012 book of roughly the same name. This is a fresh and deeply insightful look at the pathologies the sexual revolution hath wrought. Among them, envy and wrath among young men and women who have been cheated out of life’s true wealth: family relationships.
Eberstadt says, “Deprived of father, Father, and patria, a critical mass of mankind has become dysfunctional on a scale not seen before.” She argues that much of the violence we witnessed in the summer of 2020 can be chalked up to fatherlessness. We knew this already—for instance, that the epidemic of fatherlessness has caused the murder rate in the cities to bloom like poison plants gone mad. Eberstadt points out that much of the violence has been based on envy.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
She describes the “feral children of Portland.” For decades, Portland has opened its doors to runaway teens and thus grew tribes of “teen hobos” organized into toxic “street families.” Toss into this mix that these kids are not anchored in religious faith and have come to hate their country. No father. No Father. No patria. No wonder Portland burned. No wonder Portland is a dystopian nightmare that its citizens are abandoning.
Man is not made to be alone, nor is he made to live only with a “street family” or what some call a “chosen family.” A street family is no family at all. And so, we have the specter of child mobs entering the suburbs to attack homes that fly the American flag. They attack these homes not for the flag but for the family inside. Do you remember the fad of gangs of kids attacking families eating dinner in restaurants? This is the wrath of feral children turned against those who have what they have lost or never had.
Eberstadt points out this is not just a phenomenon of the Left. Right-wing mobs are also filled with fatherless and Fatherless boys. As Eberstadt has pointed out in her previous book Primal Screams, those without familial ties—no father, mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins—may seek that identity in dark and dangerous places.
Eberstadt quotes theologian Deborah Savage: “They have been left alone in a cosmos with nothing to guide them, not even a firm grasp of what constitutes their basic humanity, and no means of finding the way home.”
Eberstadt says, “(T)he social Rubicon crossed in the summer of 2020 signifies something new. The triply disenfranchised children of the West have a cheap critical mass. They have slipped the surly bonds of their atomized childhoods; they have found their fellow raging sufferers, informed online families; and they have burst as a destructive force onto the national consciousness en masse, left and right, as never before.”
How did this happen? The world ended as we knew it on October 29, 1959, when the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle applied to the FDA to market Enovid as an oral contraceptive. A new world was born. The envious, violent, feral children of our world can point to this as day-zero, the day that took away their families and gave them a scorching case of herpes to boot.
Certain promises were made in those halcyon days of the sexual revolution, primarily that women would be free and happy when they no longer lived under the threat of pregnancy. The Pill would empower them. The Pill would eliminate the need for abortion. They said out-of-wedlock births would be prevented.
British poet Philip Larkin said, “sexual intercourse began” when the Pill finally came on the market in 1963. This would come as a surprise to all those who went before, but what Larkin meant was all the male horndogs could now happily slip the leash. And the pale horse rode.
All the promises were false. There were no sunny sexual uplands. The Pill led to millions of abortion deaths along with the attendant collateral damage of women forever haunted. Shotgun weddings ended, and single motherhood exploded, along with men like Philip Larkin laughing all the way to their next conquest. Women were not freed; they became slaves to male passion. Fatherlessness is now rampant. The family was destroyed.
And all the feral children roam the streets screaming into homes that are not theirs.