SOLANGE HERTZ, the formidable and inspiring Catholic author who wrote some two dozen books and many magazine articles on culture, history and the Church, died on Oct. 3 at the age of 95. A trenchant anti-feminist in the age of Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, Mrs. Hertz was the mother of five children. Her husband, Gus, was captured by Vietcong while working for USAID and died a prisoner of war. The family was living in Saigon at the time and she returned home with their children. She later supported the family in part through her writings. Here is an obituary in The Remnant newspaper. Mrs. Hertz is survived by 19 grandchildren and 50 great grandchildren.
Mrs. Hertz, I suggest, was virtually unknown to mainstream culture precisely because she was such an eloquent critic of it. Feminist trash fills the shelves of every public library while one must dig to find Mrs. Hertz’s works. She would never pass the censorship of our cultural commissars. Here is an excerpt from one of her many memorable essays, “The Housewife as Guerrilla:”
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.
I am saddened by the death of this powerful voice of sanity. May more people discover her writings in the years ahead. Read More »