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Don’t Mess With a Home-School Mom!

The Housewife as Guerrilla

Solange Hertz POSTED: 12/5/12


Judith, a daring and beautiful widow, upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign conquerors, goes to the camp of the enemy General Holofernes, with whom she slowly ingratiates herself, just before decapitating him and taking his head back to her fearful countrymen.

( Like many words for fighting, guerrilla is feminine.  Although women are exempt from military conscription, never let it be said that battle is unwomanly.  It’s an integral part of woman’s vocation.  There is divine sanction for this outrageous statement, first pronounced in Eden, where her war began.  God informed the serpent.  “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” (Gen. 3:15). 

Satan, poor devil, was to suffer the humiliation of being fought down through the ages and eventually conquered through the tactics of a woman, the militant mother of men, “fair as the moon, bright as the sun,” but “terrible as an army set in array” (Cant. 6:9).  Because she excels in guerrilla warfare—a form of fighting exhibiting unmistakably female characteristics—she is seldom seen in uniform, and often not seen at all.

Effective precisely because he doesn’t form part of the visible army, the guerrilla acts best independently, often on his own initiative or in small, highly mobile units disbanding and regrouping at will under the broadest and most radical directives of the high command.  What his operations may lack in scope is more than made up for in ruthless, on-the-spot effectiveness. His concern is with the immediate, the impromptu, the fluid.  Dressing like anybody else, as often as not he lives in the neighborhood, and in fact is usually one of the neighbors.  His camouflage is anonymity: his materiel, ubiquity.

Unlike regulars who have the tangible support of their fellows in well-organized ranks, the guerrilla depends on personal motivation and an incisive grasp of main objectives to keep up his morale.  More than any other kind of combatant, he must know what he’s fighting for, and why.  As a TRIUMPH editorial proclaimed [“War in Our Time,” Oct. 1972], the guerrilla may become the only moral soldier in an era of electronic warfare.  That many will be women is a foregone conclusion.

Pursued as it is under limitations which dictate other surreptitious approaches to the enemy at close quarters, much guerrilla work appears pedestrian and negative.  While others may cover themselves with glory before the cameras on the video battlefield, the guerrilla is doggedly jamming the channels, sabotaging supply lines or planting counterpropaganda in recreation areas.  Women, not because they are naturally underhanded, but because they are women, take to this naturally. 

It’s no accident that particularly subtle underground maneuvers are so often confided to them.  Like Joan of Arc and the divine Judith, the belligerent woman arises out of nowhere in answer to immediate necessity, usually when the men are about to give up.  As patroness of kinder, kuch und kirche [children, kitchen and church] she rarely fights wholeheartedly unless one of these is attacked; but when this does happen, the female is indeed deadlier than the male.  With all three under fire today it’s small wonder she’s “emerging.”  She‘s been evicted, and she’s furious.

Chesterton slyly noted that women are anarchists by instinct—not in the sense that they don’t support law and order, but in the sense that they have been given custody of those social areas lying beyond mere rules and regulations and defying the quantitative approach.  Their institution par excellence, the home, may be said to be the one anarchist institution, older than law, and standing outside the state, if only because it is the mother of the state.

Whereas man has been entrusted with government, his wife has been entrusted with society.  His the state, hers the family.  To his sophisticated professionalism she brings the happy pragmatism of the dedicated amateur.  ”Whenever you have a real difficulty…when a boy is bumptious or an aunt stingy, when a silly girl will marry somebody, or a wicked man won’t marry somebody, all your lumbering Roman Law and British constitution come to a standstill.  A snub from a duchess or a slanging from a fishwife is much more likely to put things straight.” 

To woman, “almost certainly, are due all those working traditions that cannot be found in books, especially those of education; it was she who first gave a child a stuffed stocking for being good or stood him in the corner for being naughty.  This unclassified knowledge is sometimes called rule of thumb and sometimes motherwit.  The last phrase suggests the whole truth, for none ever called it fatherwit” (G. K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World).

Motherwit is the very stuff of guerrilla warfare, at which woman excels to the degree that she remains at Adam’s side where God put her.   To fight with Adam is not to fight Adam.  Each must face, not the other, but their common enemy.  In this confrontation Eve’s position is that of the guerrilla in relation to the regular army, which is her husband’s.  Like every guerrilla’s hers is ancillary and presumes the existence of the regular; but, again like the guerrilla, she must be prepared to continue the fight alone when routed regulars fall back to regroup.

I daresay this is woman’s unenviable task today, when authority is crumbling all around us.  Man has all he can do to restructure it and regain control.  Luckily, as Chesterton also remarks, “Government is only one side of life.  The other half is called society, in which women are admittedly dominant.”  While man reforms his ranks, she must keep the resistance going, lest everything fall to the enemy.  Unfortunately many women alert to the current emergency have been seduced for the first time in history into abandoning their most impregnable positions without a fight.

Poor Adam

The cowardice of women’s liberationists is shocking; they don’t seem to possess the most elementary female courage.  At this crucial juncture they are proclaiming out loud that women are no good at all, that to qualify as human beings they must be like men. 

First learning to expectorate that manly epithet, “Bastards!” they end by cravenly subscribing to legislation, public debate and fisticuffs as the only viable military weapons. Demanding “equal rights” in the very teeth of the enemy, they surrender whole batteries of privileged positions without protest, confessing before all creation that they have been wrong from the beginning, that men are more excellent in all departments of life and have been right all along about how to do things. 

Poor Adam, at a time when he needs Eve’s help most desperately, is finding his ranks swollen with second-rate regulars who will never master basic training,  can’t budge the artillery, won’t take orders, and hate his guts besides.  With helpers like this, who needs the enemy?

A real woman wants man’s role in society as she wants hair on her face.  Never would she admit for a moment that man’s way of doing things is better than hers, or that he’s any smarter. She will only acknowledge, quite happily, that he’s different and that she needs him.  She will be tireless, on the other hand, in demonstrating how much he needs her.  Without me, dear, she tells Adam, you can do nothing!

The Woman of Thebes

An episode in the Book of Judges illustrates this perfectly.  It opens at the Sichemite town of Thebes, where a desperate last ditch resistance to the murderous tyrant Abimelech is nearing its end: “There was in the midst of the city a high tower, to which both the men and the women were fled together, and all the princes of the city.  And having shut and strongly barred the gate, they stood upon the battlements of the tower to defend themselves. And Abimelech coming near the tower, fought stoutly; and approaching to the gate, endeavored to set fire to it.” Abimelech had the fighting men of Thebes penned up just where he wanted them.  He was confident of his strategy, having just liquidated the capital at Sichem by the same tactics.

Unfortunately for him, a certain housewife, unnoticed in the general panic, was looking down on him from the battlements.  And she was armed.  Wasting no time on lesser targets, she coolly waited till the very last moment for the general to come into range, and “casting a piece of a millstone from above,” she “dashed it against the head of Abimelech, and broke his skull.” 

She didn’t kill him outright, but then she didn’t have to.  Abimelech’s male chauvinist pride did the rest: “He called hastily to his armor-bearer, and said to him, ‘Draw thy sword and kill me, lest it should be said I was slain by a woman!’   He did as he was commanded, and slew him.”  The war ended abruptly, because with their general gone, “all the men of Israel that were with him returned to their homes” (Judges 9:51-55).

The Universal Woman

The woman’s name isn’t even mentioned, but then why should it be?  She’s Holy Mother the Church.  She’s Mary the Mother of God.  She’s every woman fighting for Christ against the Adversary.  Like so many nameless heroines in Scripture, she appears briefly and brilliantly in what looks like a perfectly straight forward account about men and their doings, only to disappear as suddenly once she has scored her point.  But the plot is never the same again.

This woman is universal.  Despite infrequent public appearances, she’s there all the time.  In fact the enemy tends to forget about her, and that’s his undoing. Our Theban housewife never forgot him for a minute, but she didn’t foolishly abandon her social position in order to fight him as a man would.  Forced to flee her house for the safety of the tower with the other refugees, she took her home with her. 

The Holy Spirit exemplifies this exquisitely in the deadly weapon she used: It was part of her ordinary kitchen equipment, one of the stones between which she ground the flour to make the family’s bread.  With this in hand, why wrest a useless sword or spear from her husband?

“Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder” (Matt. 21:44), for the “millstone from above” which she dropped on Abimelech was one of many Old Testament prefigurations of Christ, the stumbling block from on high which is an obstacle to Jews, madness to pagans, “but unto them that are called…Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1Cor. 1:24).  Woman is privileged to wield this invincible weapon insofar as she conforms to the feminine roles God has assigned her.

She throws it with greatest force and least effort from the “high tower” which is a favorite figure of exalted prayer in scripture.  Established thus aloft in faith, our housewife scorned the absurd idea of rushing down and out of this tower in order to dispatch Abimelech by some kamikaze-type sally. Rather, this seasoned guerrilla, waited confidently on God’s providence to supply the proper opportunity.  She was above any quantitative approach based on calculated probabilities.  And her attack, we sense somehow, was intensely personal, a thrust at an enemy who was out to destroy everything she held dear.  It had quality, not to mention devastating female unexpectedness.

Most noteworthy is that she didn’t rely on her own strength to strike him, wisely preferring to propel her missile by God’s inexorable natural law of gravity.  So it is that any natural force enlisted supernaturally, as it were from the top of the “tower,” becomes endowed with divine efficacy. Woman, so close in her maternal functions to the natural forces of life, has a special duty to regulate society by keeping it firmly rooted in the natural law ordained by God.  All the anti-life diseases which plague us today—contraception, abortion, artificial education, homosexuality, euthanasia and their like—are essentially sins against maternity, against woman herself, so let her drop her millstone, by all means!

The Valiant Woman

Not only a figure of Christ, this millstone by which the family meal is prepared is most particularly a symbol of Christian education [and certainly home schooling, as well! Ed. The Remnant], an instrument of supernatural nourishment.  Our Lord tells us it would be better to be drowned with it around our necks than to teach children anything improper   (Matt. 18:6).  Not the least of woman’s guerrilla activities is the care and training of future guerrillas, not to mention all the professional soldiers who must issue from her womb.  These are her “seed,” destined to battle the Adversary—and win.  The quality of their fighting spirit is her first responsibility.  She must use every natural means at her command to this supernatural end.  If she deserts her post, what men can man theirs?

Sad to say, the besieged home is, as Chesterton again says, “like the church and the republic, now chiefly assailed by those who have failed to fulfill it.  Numberless modern women have rebelled against domesticity in theory because they have never known it in practice.”  They have never known, apparently, domesticity is a fight to the death, the home a resistance cell in the very bowels of enemy territory, and the woman there a warrior from the beginning.

Who shall find a valiant woman?

Far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her!

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