It doesn’t matter how much study I’ve done on the patriarchal homeschool movement; when it comes to information and truth, there’s no end to it. The more I study, the more I’m forced to adjust and readjust my thinking. But it’s an unending process of reading and sifting. Due to too much negative exposure to the real-world patriarchal homeschool movement (that is, exposure to real people and not merely lofty philosophies), I tend toward being overtly critical of the leaders of this movement. Their logic may seem impeccable to them, but the actual fruit of their labor is often so rotten that it renders their talking points null and void. Recently, owing to the “fall” of Vision Forum’s Douglas Phillips, I’ve been reading yet more articles on patriarchal homeschooling. This is NOT my favorite subject. The talk points are old; the people in the movement more tiresome than ever. Most of the time, I want to tell these people to get a life. And I would mean it literally, too. Get a life that allows you to breath every once in a while outside of an hierarchical obedience structure. Take up a hobby. Or whatever works for you.
However, this night I was surprised by one whom I had previously considered to be one of the Dangerous Patriarchs. I arrived at the article(s) by a series of link-outs from a current article on Phillips’ demise. I was not only surprised by the sentiments expressed in this supposedly Dangerous Patriarch’s article(s), I was surprised that it was written five years ago. Okay, so let’s put this into perspective: Five years ago, one of the Christian patriarchal leaders whom many in the patriarchal movement follow to this day warned of patriarchal dysfunction:
I am convinced that this “Patriarchal” evil disguised as righteousness will be disposed of by simply dragging it into the light. The facts are too embarrassing and shameful for this pretense to continue. Many have continued to be faithful to their patriarchal precepts in spite of the many indications of failure, convincing themselves that their poor family experience is the exception. They plod on in blind faith trying to do better, but they blame their failure on their children, accusing them of worldliness and rebellion. When things don’t work out like the model they have been presented, they shut the door tighter against the world outside, not realizing that their failure is visible to the whole world, and is actually a universal side effect of a very bad idea.
In another article, he writes:
The healthy parental attitude comes from a presupposition that human autonomy is an unalienable right and responsibility endowed in each human being by our Creator, and that it develops in each child incrementally in the natural course of physical and mental development, commencing fully at the commonly recognized onset of adulthood.
The arguments for patriarchal authority extending beyond the onset of adulthood are not based on nature or any command found in Scripture. They rest only on the basis of “apparent” examples in the Old Testament of patriarchal authority in a tribal and clan society that extends well beyond the commencement of adulthood, even until the end of their natural lives.
If you have been exposed to the Christian patriarchal homeschool movement, perhaps you can guess who the author is. Personally, I’ve had several books from this person’s family ministry foisted on me. I’ve also read a number of his/their articles. I’m good at spotting writing styles, and maybe you are, too. For a million points, Guess That Patriarch. Honestly, I’m thankful to have my worst cynicism exposed as the unforgiving and black-and-white construct that it is.