American History, Book Reviews, Charles, Life Advice, Political Economy, Sex Roles, Social Behavior
comments 9

Domestic Extremist: A Practical Guide to Winning the Culture War (Peachy Keenan)

My aunt, one of my father’s two sisters, died in 2020, at the age of eighty-five. She never married, because when she was young, she convinced herself that what mattered was having a career—in her case, as a virologist. She attended all the best schools: Miss Porter’s; Bryn Mawr; and Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1959. She was pretty, quirky, engaging, but most of all, she thought she was always the smartest person in the room. She believed, she knew, that by placing career over family, she would earn a Nobel Prize. She did not get a Nobel Prize.

My aunt loved nothing more than children. But she denied marriage to herself to follow the Zeitgeist of her youth, that sold by the odious Betty Friedan and other destructive harridans (including my grandmother), which said that motherhood was contemptible. As the years ground on, and nothing stellar materialized in her professional life, she became a very difficult person, a diagnosable paranoid (my grandfather on my mother’s side was a psychiatrist, and so he told me). She fought constantly with her colleagues at every university she worked, to the extent of bringing conspiracy-minded lawsuits.

Print (PDF)

You Should Subscribe. It's Free!

You can subscribe to writings published in The Worthy House. In these days of massive censorship, this is wise, even if you normally consume The Worthy House on some other platform.

If you subscribe will get a notification of all new writings by email. You will get no spam, of course.  And we do not and will not solicit you; we neither need nor accept money.

Other than her brother, my father, who died a long time ago, I was the relative closest to her. She had no friends where she lived. Thus, as she declined, I brought her to Indiana, to be close to my family, where she talked endlessly of the past, often only interpretable by me, who knew the stories of her youth. Then she died. They coded it as the Wuhan Plague, but that was a lie, no doubt done to grab more money. In truth, she simply lost the will to live, probably because my family was forbidden to visit her, and she dearly loved her grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

The extended family held a graveside memorial service the following year, after the stupidity surrounding the Plague had abated. It was a good event. However, there was one false note. Over the grave, my surviving aunt gave a long discourse about how her sister had struggled professionally for decades—because she was a “strong woman” and a “feminist” at a time when that was supposedly not allowed. Not a word of this was true; it was simply retconning the truth to shore up the decayed feminist ideology which had destroyed the happiness of my dead aunt. All being a so-called feminist did for her, whom I loved, was ensure a life of pain. As she told me once, in a rare moment of introspection, with a catch in her voice, “I’ve been so lonely for so many decades.” This fate is what Peachy Keenan wants you, and your daughters, to avoid.

It is hard to convey truth to young adults. Although the idea that the young always rebel against the generation preceding them is a total myth, a self-serving ahistorical lie spread by Boomers to justify their crimes against our society, it is still a Sisyphean task to fight back against the all-pervasive propaganda machine the Left has created, which both whispers and shouts lies into children’s ears from their earliest years. As a parent, or as any adult offering wisdom, finding a way to stand out in the noise is therefore crucial. That is one reason Keenan’s book is so valuable—because its unique combination of humor and serious messages is far more likely to be heard than would be yet another book that simply bemoans the modern world.

Domestic Extremist is a book directed at women. Part autobiography, part mirror for princesses, part social commentary, Keenan offers a path for women to follow, though men get a few mentions. She is very clear that her own youth was in some ways misspent, and only by good fortune, and fairly late, did she recover from the damage done by feminism. But recover she did, and that is something that should give hope and confidence to all young women. Most importantly, rather than imagine some perfect Instagram tradwife life, Keenan talks to real women in the real world, which is a refreshing departure from much writing on the Right.

The title is, naturally, a play on words. Its core meaning is that Keenan is, regards herself as, and recommends that women be, “extremely domestic”—that is, centered around the home. Its secondary meaning is an acknowledgement that our Regime is violently opposed to, and will oppose with violence, women recentering themselves. No doubt, as with mothers who complain about homosexual pornography being forced on their young children in school, or fathers who complain about trannies raping their daughters in the school bathroom, the Eye of Sauron has noticed Keenan, and placed her on lists of enemies with whom to deal.

True, it may seem unlikely that our corrupt FBI is going to roll up on Keenan some morning with a SWAT team. She jokes about the no-knock raid, discounting it because her advice “has exactly zero to do with violence.” But then, just a few years ago many of today’s actions of the terroristic Department of “Justice,” including their Gestapo-style tactics against the thousands of peaceful heroes of the Electoral Justice Protest and our illegitimate Regime’s filling of the jails with political prisoners, would have seemed impossible. And, after all, the Left tells us that words are violence, if they are the wrong words, and so by that standard Keenan is most definitely guilty of crimes against the state. Maybe, as a friend of mine said to me once a few years ago, when it was more obviously a joke, we can be shackled to adjacent benches in the Ministry of Love.

That said, Keenan is explicit we are in a war—a culture war (though I note that historically the boundary between cold and hot culture war is porous). Moreover, her aim is not simply to prevent sad stories such as those of my aunt; it is to save our entire civilization. A very bold, and very worthy, goal. To win the culture war, we, and our children, must become anti-feminist. Instead, women must remain “authentically female.” In a sense, this isn’t hard, because feminism is the essence of unreality, so in order to be anti-feminist, you simply have to hew to reality. But in another sense, it is very hard, because facing reality is often less fun than pretending, and the forces arrayed against reality are extremely powerful.

This is the point of Keenan’s book—to narrate what is, and to recommend, reality. It is hard to review this book because it is complete in itself. There is little to add to either Keenan’s analysis or her prescriptions, and the reader, any reader, benefits from reading it. She may have knowledge revealed to her, or she may have confirmed to her what she already knows, or she may gain strength in a plan that she has already begun to execute.

The first part of the book covers “What They Took From You”—a complete analysis of where women have been steered wrong. And what they took from you was pretty much everything. Keenan spares nothing from her gimlet eye, nor does she ever, ever, offer any preemptive apologies, any kowtowing to the verities of the age, pretending that feminism has benefits along with costs. She just tells it straight, of what you, a woman, were robbed. Your fleeting fertility. The unique role of women (where she cites the outstanding Mary Harrington). The very definition of “woman.” Femininity and its virtues. Men and masculinity, the necessary complements to femininity. Wedded bliss (destroyed by no-fault divorce). Your unborn children (slaughtered by abortion and birth control). Your maternal instinct (infants and children forced into always-horrific daycare). Your real job (children and home). Your parental authority. Your happiness (swamped by depression and mental illness).

It’s all done with a great deal of humor (“It is no coincidence that ‘lean-in’ is what the witch tells Gretel to do in front of the hot oven”), but with a deadly serious message. Keenan, like Ronald Reagan, though without his ultimately worthless and destructive program, is a happy warrior. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything, and she gives no quarter to our enemies, but she stays relentlessly optimistic. Unlike certain people (cough, cough) she doesn’t think that, in all likelihood, it’ll be necessary for our society to be burnt to the waterline first, in order to rebuild it. I hope she’s right.

Each chapter also has exquisitely-chosen epigraphs, including one of my favorite exhortations of all times, from Ernst Jünger’s The Forest Passage: “Long periods of peace foster certain optical illusions: one is the conviction that the inviolability of the home is grounded in the constitution, which should guarantee it. In reality, it is grounded in the family father, who, sons at his side, fills the doorway with an axe in hand.” (And Keenan is pretty daring to quote Jünger, for the record). All this makes the book a pleasure to read.

The second part covers “How To Take It Back,” which is paired with the third, “What Winning Looks Like.” Not for Keenan any Patrick Deneen-style pulling of punches or disavowal of the desire to actually win, and win permanently. Keenan is upbeat about winning. She points out that what feminism, and more broadly the Left, offers is life on Impossible Mode, because everything they offer defies reality. This necessarily implies that if you simply adopt a reality-based focus, life reverts to Easy Mode. Not that everything will be easy. But it will be easier, much easier, and much better. What women need, most of all, is permission, permission to do it differently than the ways into which they have been indoctrinated. “Look, you and I both know you secretly want to be more domestic. It’s what everyone would already be doing if they hadn’t been bombarded with destructive anti-domestic messages their entire lives.”

Very usefully, Keenan uses her own life, and how she was rescued, and rescued herself, from feminism as a frame for the success of others in doing the same. The key was her husband, who when they first started dating refused to pander to feminist propaganda. This was very attractive (I suspect, though I am decades removed from dating, but it does cohere with my experience, that being right-wing is no debility, and likely an asset, for a man in attracting women of left-wing inclination). She was pushed completely into domestic extremism by marriage and children; as always, reality will assert itself, and it did for her.

Thus, she became an anti-feminist. The core principle, she makes clear, for “taking back,” is that femininity, not feminism, is where real power lies for a woman. What flows from this is, in a sense, obvious, but again Keenan lays it all out with clarity and verve. Don’t be promiscuous (dating apps, porn, or anything else that cheapens the user). Cultivate a marriage mindset. Have more than two kids. Embrace parenthood. Don’t have a career outside the home (if at all possible; Keenan acknowledges the economic realities that our society has unwisely imposed on us, but also notes that most parents could live on less than they choose to). Get religion. Reclaim your parental authority. And live happily ever after, or much more happily.

Well, then, after fighting back, what does winning look like, exactly, in Keenan’s vision? She refers to the 1980s as a sort of golden age, and that even going back there would be enough. Maybe. Leaving aside that we can never go back, and that I myself am nostalgic for the 80s, which as I often say were the last time Americans were truly optimistic and happy, the 1980s held not the seeds of today’s evil, but the seedlings, which were already growing vigorously, and rapidly choking the life of many institutions and social practices. Plus, even if we were somehow granted the 1980s again, we’d end up in the same place soon enough anyway. No, feminism must be exterminated, root and branch, in a new dispensation.
To be fair, Keenan doesn’t think we can go back. Nor does she mean we all need to homestead. She intends that we all change our ways, a type of Great Awakening. We need to “save the planet—one family at a time.” It’s not a luxury lifestyle, and it does require adjustment. But it’s something we can do locally, within only our own family, if necessary. What we need is the will.

All this is true. Still, I suppose a legitimate criticism, or concern, is that those who need this book most are the least likely to read it. That’s not something that can be helped, but it does suggest that the impact of this book, or any hortatory book, will be limited. Among anyone who is even a little open to the message, however, this book will crystallize a great deal of inchoate thought. So although Keenan is unlikely to convert our enemies, she may convert some neutrals, and she will very likely substantially improve the chances of the receptive changing their lives greatly for the better.

Yes, given the decay of our modern world, complete winning as a result does not seem likely, or rather, it doesn’t seem likely without going backwards first. I think that the real benefit of this book is not that it will, of itself, initiate a societal rebirth, the necessary rebirth. Rather, with its help we can rescue individuals from the storm, and begin the process of welding those women, and their families, into a cohesive whole. Of course, our enemies won’t take this lying down. Keenan says “We will claim victory peacefully,” by rejecting them, and “outvoting them.” I doubt it. After all, any important election is now fortified. And even aside from that, even modest Hungary-type reforms, such as tax breaks for mothers, will never be allowed by our corrupt Uniparty. But that’s no excuse not to try—events are likely to open up cracks in our enemies’ fortifications, which can be exploited. And in the meantime, we should spread the message widely, and apply it in our own lives.

You Should Subscribe. It's Free!

You can subscribe to writings published in The Worthy House. In these days of massive censorship, this is wise, even if you normally consume The Worthy House on some other platform.

If you subscribe will get a notification of all new writings by email. You will get no spam, of course.  And we do not and will not solicit you; we neither need nor accept money.

PDF (Typeset)


  1. We get there when we are men and tell women.
    Not ask , not persuade, not reason.

    We “tell” the men first.

  2. Karen Bradford says

    You left out the critical part of this equation, that is enough men who will act first on behalf of his family. In every culture, there is evidence that men, given some windfall of resources, treat themselves, while women give to the household. There’s too long a history of men treating women with contempt, to understate their behavior, for women to buy into complete dependence on a male centered society. If you’re truly committed to strengthening the family, then a massive reeducation of men must begin. Ok, I hear it now, men react and treat women on how they are treated. Both sexes must be committed to working together as a team. The best gift a mother can give her children is for them to see her contented, happy and peaceful. This usually happens when her husband is fully engaged with his family. There’s usually a reason behind these massive societal shifts and the post WW2 building of suburbia and rise of the corporate man left too many women living alone and without proper support, especially the demise of the extended family which completely isolated her. Perhaps we can think about a third way that benefits everyone, materially and spiritually.

  3. SlowlyReading says

    I hope that Ms. Keenan & Mr. Haywood are right that sparks will fly between based, un-feminist young men, and eligible young women. The pundits these days are constantly warning that political “incompatibility” between based young men and woke young women –as determined by polling & survey data — is bad news for the mating market.

    • Charles Haywood says

      It’s outside of my expertise. But I suspect most of these articles are lies. That’s not to say the dating market is not entirely broken; it is.

  4. V.Dominique says

    Boomers didn’t “spread the lie” that the young always rebel against their elders. That lie was already being spread by popular culture when the oldest boomers were still in elementary school with films like ‘The Wild One’ (1953) and ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ (1957), with Rockabilly (1950 to 1956, give or take a year) which gave way to Rock ‘N’ Roll with Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. Some might argue that it started with the Bobby Soxers of the 1940s who became the first generation of young women and girls who screamed for Frank Sinatra and other male crooners. Indeed, we can go all the way back to the Roaring Twenties to find the first generation who were told it was natural to rebel against their elders. The common denominator? Mass Media… film, radio and television.

    • Karen Bradford says

      The influence of the Beat generation always gets ignored. I doubt that generation X,Y,Z knows anything about them.

  5. Mrs. PMH (I notice other people also give only initials or pseudonyms) says

    Feminist ideology and its results, gladly abetted by government, is the greatest problem in America and in the West (and elsewhere, but that’s for them to worry about). And it is hardly ever discussed in the conservative press (of whatever degree and stripe). I have noticed this silence for decades. The reason is that men are cowards when it comes to offending women. As I’ve often said, it’s all in Genesis. Flattery can get women to act against their own interests. Again, it is the greatest problem. A nation or culture that dies out is dead.

    The only person who wrote systematically about this–other than Phyllis Schlafly, and she was also good– was Allan Carlson, and he was excellent. I have his book, Family Questions (1990), but have not read it through, so I don’t know whether it summarizes his newsletters. But his newsletters, most of which I still have, were first class information very soundly sourced.

    The statistics on women going to work are available but never presented as they are, and they are damning. Among other facts, women going to work did not raise the standard of living. It just raised prices. That’s an oversimplification on my part. But it would be worth your while to investigate this. One example: when we bought our house in 1962 for $21,500, Federal rules forbade banks to take the wife’s income into consideration when setting the maximum mortgage, because it was assumed that most wives would stop working, when they were running a home and having and raising children. Then the the feminists started screaming: “Unfair, unfair!” And they got their way, so that the wife’s income could be taken into consideration setting the maximum mortgage amount. Within a very short time, house prices rose significantly. Who would have guessed??? This forced women who before did not have to work when married to have to go to work. Of course, general feminist propaganda in favor of working also played a great role. As I say, women can be easily influenced by flattery. And, of course, as prices in general rose in response to more dollars chasing goods, this made it necessary for many women to go to work to maintain the family’s standard of living. But social pressure also greatly contributed, as did constant propaganda in the media. People want to be like other people. Earlier, women socialized informally with their neighbors. Now many went to work, partly or mainly, because they felt alone in their homes with all their neighbor women working. If they wanted friends, they had to work.
    And all this does not even address the dreadful effects of daycare on children. I have a saying: How are a brothel, an old people’s home, and daycare center similar? They all perform functions that should be done in the home.

    A frothy little book like Domestic Extremist is certainly welcome, but it is many books on the level of Allan Carlson’s, reviewed and discussed in Conservative/Right-wing venues, that has any hope of changing things. And while individuals can opt out of working, since almost any family would have enough to live on with the husband’s salary, this is a “usage” that, man being a social being, has to be general. With exceptions, as before, in the other direction. But one custom has to rule. Both on social grounds and on financial grounds.

    AND, no fault divorce has to go. Obviously, if a woman can be divorced simply because her husband wants another wife, she is taking a risk not studying for and maintaining a “career.”

    It seems to me that the Right does not have the guts to take on this fight.

  6. Ben Mordecai says

    Practically speaking the main way for this to begin to happen is for men to speak boldly and unapologetically about their expectations in marriage. During the dating and courtship phase, err on the side of being offensively blunt about domestic exceptions and ready to say, “It’s not going to work,” if there is anything beyond nominal pushback. Modern women (the type of woman, not all woman of our time) are used to sexually thirsty men starving for attention and don’t know how to handle a situation where their attention isn’t craved.

    Secondly, virtuous men need to bully other men who enable female misbehavior and constantly pump up other men who exhibit virtue. Weak men are used to getting affirmation from the sisterhood. No man naturally wants to be hated by men and praised by women (who will not date him).

  7. we are in a war—a culture war — correct we are and for Americans that war started long time ago:

    No religious test clause

    Constitution’s Article VI, section 3: “… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

    Debate in North Carolina Ratifying Convention
    30 July 1788 by Mr. Henry Abbot:
    “The exclusion of religious tests is by many thought dangerous and impolitic. They suppose that if there be no religious test required, pagans, deists, and Mahometans might obtain offices among us, and that the senators and representatives might all be pagans. Every person employed by the general and state governments is to take an oath to support the former. Some are desirous to know how and by whom they are to swear, since no religious tests are required–whether they are to swear by Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Proserpine, or Pluto.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *