Mary Harrington on sex and the Pill, part II.

by Eric Schliesser on August 14, 2023

In my first post (here) on Mary Harrington’s (2023) Feminism Against Progress, I focused on her views on the family and suggested that not unlike Yoram Hazony (in his (2022) book, Conservatism: A Rediscovery), she rejects the patriarchic ‘nuclear family’ embraced by American, Christian-ethno-nationalists. Instead they both defend what they call the ‘traditional family,’ which in Harrington’s argument involves commitment to joint projects centered on home-based work and family. As she puts it, “households formed on this model can work together both economically and socially on the common business of living, whether that’s agricultural, artisanal, knowledge-based or a mix of all these.” (p. 21)

There is also an important contrast between Harrington and Hazony. As Hazony recounts in Chapter IX, “Some Notes on Living a Conservative Life” of Conservatism, rejection of the morality of abortion as a student was a major pathway into a more conservative political orientation for him. This does not seem to be the case for Harrington (who notes that abortion plays out differently in the US and the UK). Harrington’s transformative conversion moment (rejecting ‘progress theology’) seems to have been much later in life during her sense of isolation in a commuter town after a near death experience in giving birth (pp. 3-4; 24; 27-28). [click to continue…]