Prognosticating the Rise (and Fall) of Pajama Boy

Here’s an exchange from a 1987 Firing Line episode where Allan Bloom discusses his book The Closing of the American Mind with William F. Buckley, Jr. Bloom essentially describes Pajama Boy as the feminist solution for keeping families together when there is no meaningful distinction between males and females. He doesn’t hold out much hope for Pajama Boy, though, in a liberal society where people get to do whatever they want.

Buckley: As I understand the points you made in the book, [feminism] is not only a project, it is a project that is bound not to succeed because it is against nature.

Bloom: Of course, I never formulated it in that way. I tied to state it as carefully as possible. There is an argument—I do not believe it to be true—but it of course it is western civilization, male machismo, which is educated and if released, there would be more caring, more nurturing males. I think in our current atmosphere—I mean that of course is obviously a linchpin of a possibility of a newly constructed family where the distinction between male and female wouldn’t be important, that the males have these qualities. And I think in a liberal society where people can do pretty much what they want, you can’t or you’re very unlikely, or almost I would say can’t, count upon a very great proportion of males becoming nurturing. And that seems to me to be a very fundamental need for a certain kind of feminist argument—at least if the family is to stay together. I wouldn’t simply say it’s enough. I try to state these things carefully. I’m more trying to raise the problem, theoretically, because the relation of men to women is a complicated thing; it has a long history. I have two things: I don’t want to give easy answers myself. But more importantly, I don’t want that whole history wiped out, which is in philosophy and particularly in literature, so that one can reconsider what you lose and what you gain.

Firing Line with William F. Buckley, Jr.

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