A Blueprint For a Genocide of Existence
Confronting the nihilistic call to rid the world of family.
By Jason D. Hill
A new breed of zealots has forged fourth-wave feminism, and it’s far more rabidly anti-family, anti-male, and anti-civilization than previous iterations of the ideological movement. You’d think because of its petty maliciousness and deranged radicalism, its appeal would be narrowly limited to the faculty lounges of liberal arts colleges. Yet since the inception of the #MeToo movement, the crazed foot soldiers of fourth-wave feminism managed not only to take their worldview mainstream, but also to put a headlock on the commanding heights of American culture.
This is as impressive as it is terrifying. These new nihilists are seething with toxic femininity, and the further spread of their noxious sentiment could likely spell the death of our country as we know it. Increasingly prevalent is their practice of exploiting female agency and identity to wage a blanket attack on society and men, to abolish the labor market, and to advocate for the end of the family. They are achieving these goals while simultaneously promulgating the idea that the family is by nature nefarious, and that female advancement can only come through the wholesale annihilation of heteronormative constructs of capitalism, work, and the family. The destructive consequences for relationships at every level of society — from the basic couple to the community to the nation — will be vast and irreparable.
In Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation, feminist philosopher Sophie Lewis writes: “[But] I can’t wait to see what comes after the family. I also know I probably won’t live to see whatever it is. Still, I hope it happens, and I hope it is a glorious and abundant nothing.”
Lewis is convinced that the concept of family is a cancerous blight on existence and that nothing should replace it. Starting with the premise that capitalism is bad because it is coterminous with patriarchy, white supremacy, and a world that mandates work and privatizes care, her communist utopian vision would see a world in which mothering is queered, and traditional motherhood is abolished.
Families are just awful phenomena for Lewis; she urges everyone to abolish his or her own. If you were in doubt as to what abolitionists really want, Lewis assures you of their implacable goals: “What do abolitionists want? Abolitionists want to abolish. We want things not to be. We want an absence of prisons, of colonizers. We desire the non-existence of police.”
Her preferred starting point for abolishing the family is the “protest kitchen” – that is, establishing syringe exchanges and “other harm reduction practices to welcome active drug users”; participating in massive job-quitting or “The Great Resignation,” since capitalism demands that people work and be responsible for themselves rather than have the burden fall on society (a default benefit of abolishing the family is a defense of the anti-work movement which liberates people from fiscal self-responsibility); realizing that all beings exploited by capital and by empires are homeless and driven from the commons; and recognizing that “by now it will be clear that we would put nothing in place of the family; abolishing any form of love associated with property and commodification.”
Unless all revolutionary modes of existence can pass the muster of some ill-defined “queer euphoria,” then for Sophie Lewis it cannot be allowed to exist. This is why it makes sense to her to describe “the Black family as an oxymoron.” The black family has had cis-heteronormative, white supremacist patriarchal structures imposed on it. In point of fact, Lewis should be sued for libel. She rewrites the entire history of the black family from slavery and the Reconstruction period to the Jim Crow era as a totally salacious and licentious rebellion against the concept of family, painting blacks as consistently resisting the imposition of marriage and monogamy through queering activities and other forms of relationship partnering.
The evidence to the contrary, of course, is on record. Prior to 1970 black men and black women were both more likely to be married than their white counterparts. In the 1950s, after at least seventy years of rough parity, African American marriage rates began to fall behind those of whites. In 1950, the percentages of white and African American women (aged fifteen and over) who were currently married were roughly the same: 67 percent and 64 percent, respectively.
But Lewis is not interested in statistics or facts. She has very little respect for them or the lived experience of real people. Chapter 3 of her book is devoted to a detailed history of leftist feminists from the Leninist-Stalinist Alexandra Kollontai, who dreamed of liberating sex from reproduction, to the deranged New York feminist Shulamith Firestone, who fought for the abolition of the emotion of love itself along with the labor force.
Lewis works, too, by psychological stealth. She knows that it is difficult for persons to disengage themselves from their families — that domain, she laments, where most rapes, abuses, unpaid domestic care, psychic traumas, and child commodification take place. We must start, she insists, by attacking the concept of “kin” and replacing it with “Kith” or “comradeliness” or “accomplice.” The nebulous sense of the friend, the neighbor, the local, and the “customary,” will eventually habituate us to torque the concept of kin.
In the end, with the abolition of the labor force, and disabused of the idea that each parent is personally responsible for his or her child, we will come to accept life under a “cybernetic socialism” and the “diffusion of the childbearing and childrearing role to the society as a whole, men as well as women.” What’s more, we will come to accept that Ectogenesis — the machine uterus — is notoriously a part of this speculative picture. Sex would be as abundant and necessary to everyone in society’s eyes, but also as unremarkable as drinking a glass of water.
What is interesting in Lewis’s self-centered and nihilistic rampage to annihilate the family is a curious absence of the real welfare of children. Aside from some cracker-barrel, platitudinous reference to default collective parenting in which birth certificates are abolished and “the obligations of parents to their children shall wither away gradually…until society assumes the full responsibility because parental rights are done away with,” the psychological concomitant of this abolitionist insurgency is neglect. Lewis pays no real attention to child welfare. She quotes and endorses Kollontai, who writes: “The narrow and exclusive affection of the mother for her own children must expand until it extends to all the children of the great proletarian family.” Kollontai and Lewis both envision a planetary insurgency of red love, which is a social love: a love of many in many ways.
Their motives are obvious. Genocide of the family, and obliteration of motherhood have one consequence: the annihilation of the human race. Infanticide is not advocated openly; that would not be an easy sell. Abolish motherhood and the family instead. State outright that you have no intention of replacing the family with anything, save nothingness. Then the attention is — except those whose minds are constantly on the welfare of children — focused on a group of women who have had some personally horrific family lives and manufactured a trauma economy to justify dismantling the family for everyone else.
The feminists here are cruel persons. They are deeply narcissistic people who live in a solipsistic world. They despise children. Never once can any of them imagine what it will be like for a child to live in a world where the emotion of love is abolished.
Men are absent from the universe of these abolished labor forces — and for good reason. A world of men is a world that perpetuates civilization. But the absence of men does not mean that these man-haters do not need men. Lewis admits she is short on policy. All she needs to do is plant the idea that capital chokes the life out of women while she and her cabal of extortionists choke the capital from the invisible labor force fueled by men, and to damn men as evil neo-liberals who, by their refusal to quit the labor force, are complicit in the perpetuation of the very conditions that force women to live at the mercy of the state. But the state can only survive if there is a labor force generating wealth and manufacturing products that are sold on the open market. Those funds are then appropriated by the “work quitters” like Lewis and her ilk. It makes no sense. It’s not supposed to make sense.
Communist utopians like Lewis trade on emotional seduction and the belief that the severity of damage inflicted on her by a racist capitalist society is so putatively obvious that to question the absence of logic that accompanies the tirades in the manifesto is to subject her unassailable and infallible assertions that all should viscerally recognize, to the degradation of philosophic meaning tests which are, in her mind, nothing more than language games meant to entrap the participant in the logic of white supremacist cis-heteronormative patriarchy. That false binary logic betrays a multiplicity of ways of existing and being in the world.
If one had told any astute observer ten years ago that we would be living in a world in which the Cambridge Dictionary changed the definition of a man and woman to fit the political agendas of today’s trans-ideologues, one might have been met with a patronizing smirk meant to dismiss one as a bit paranoid. That today we live in a psychotic world of enforced speech where people’s lives can be ruined if they do not abide by gender pronouns that correspond to how people feel about the gender they identify with, despite the biological sex category they were born into, is a sign of how quickly the idea of objectivity can become criminalized. That we now live in a world in which biological males are deciding they are females and decimating female athletes in sporting events, and that one can get cancelled for rebelling against these monstrous she-men is a sign of our moral degradation and cultural bankruptcy.
And further: when a social worker can tell medical students that if they challenge her on whether systemic racism exists she will not tolerate debate and simply “shut that down,” and that she views any challenge to her as a virulent display of racism, we know that the nihilists have already won.
Abolish The Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation is a work of evil. It is evil because of the comprehensive nature of its genocidal reach. Had Sophie Lewis proffered alternatives to the family – ones that could speak to the real care and nurturing of babies and young children and not nonsense-speak of universal love and collective caring which translates to simple neglect – one might have passed her off as just another misguided idealist. I remain struck, however, by her gleeful hope that the family will be replaced not just by a “glorious and abundant nothing,” but also the “nothingness” that comes after the family: the existential void and the abyss. I think of the fright of the children, looking not for hope, not even for love: but for Mom and Dad; for Grandma; and for their brothers and sisters — for those who offer simple gestures of affection and reassurance long after they have been abandoned in “protest kitchens” and syringe-infested parks that “welcome active drug users.”
Sophie Lewis’ book is an apocalyptic warning. It is the voice of a misanthropic harridan bearing the shriveled face of a barren invert who screams from every page: humanity has come to an end, and human faces have become terrifying things to look upon.