Paraguay has the dismal distinction to be one of the perpetually underperforming basket case countries of the western hemisphere. While it’s hard to point to one single catalyst, I suspect I can support the argument that fatherlessness was a factor.
I’ve always been partial to the idea of fathers as the primary transmitters of civilization and culture. My opinion is informed primarily by anecdotal evidence. I’ve lived near negro ghettoes and huwyte trash trailer parks, and have seen the produce of the skank-ho single mom, firsthand. That aside, I have no real training as a sociologist, and thus the following is just me giving some historical details in support of my own speculative suspicion.
The gent at top-left is one Francisco Solano López. As his uniform suggests, Frank was sort of a belligerent fellow, who was appointed the second ever President of Uruguay by his father, the first President of Uruguay. He didn’t get his position merely via nepotism. It seems he took the work of preparing for his role seriously. He studied at a French military academy for at least a year, and returned to Paraguay with a British contract to deliver weapons.
Paraguay appears to be the Belgium of South America. By that I mean it was artificially created as something of a buffer state, between two large, powerful rivals. Brazil and Argentina border Paraguay from each end, and it has no outlet to the sea. While Brazil and Argentina are both Catholic countries, the language difference (Portuguese / Spanish) make the peoples inhabiting each ethnically separate.
While López was apparently a competent military officer, his political cunning was sorely wanting, and he allowed himself to get drawn into a fight, first with Brazil, and then with Uruguay. Once Uruguay was attacked, an old military alliance was triggered that brought Argentina into the fight. Thus this conflict is called the guerra de triple alianza. While Frank had a very well-trained and well-staffed army, most of the heavy weapons he ordered from England were blockaded immediately by all three of his neighbors. Brazilian troops retook Paraguay’s occupied territory in the Matto Grosso, crossed the Rio Paraná, and began slaughtering everyone in their path.
(More blood in the gutter at The Economist)
What followed was an absolute disaster. Thomas Whigham estimates that around 60 percent of the total population of Paraguay was erased between 1865 and 1870, when our boy Frank met his end. The carnage was not entirely due to hostility. Jerry W. Cooney estimates that by the end of the war, at least 50,000 Paraguayans had died of Cholera and Smallpox. At the conclusion of 5+ years of carnage, 80 percent of the marriage-aged men of Paraguay were gone — to disease, to bullets, or to desertion.
Estimates by François Chartrain put the total prewar population of Paraguay at around a million people. The postwar population of Paraguay, according to the 1871 census, stood at 221000. David Jordan interprets the data, inclusive of adults, as featuring about two adult men for every ten adult women. In any random village, circa 1870, every surviving Paraguayan male had three to five Paraguayan females from which to choose. This is a society that seems like a playaz paradise, until one considers the physical and mental state of people who have been savagely crushed, raped, occupied and looted, for years, until they were abandoned to start over again.
Paraguay is an interesting case study in a society which reaped the benefits of chivalry. “Wimminz and children first” could have been the motto of this nation, which depopulated its male citizens to such a drastic degree.
Did this first feminist republic find the wimminz paradise that the bulldykers promise, once they “killed all the men”? The short answer is no. The U.N. Human Development Index lists Paraguay as only slightly better off than Haiti, and in worse straits than Peru and Sri Lanka. Anecdotes from Paraguayans suggest that the country is still in the process of recovery, over a century after the cessation of hostilities.
(Ask Lost Patrol about his time in the Feminist Republic here)
We have to wonder exactly how this nation survived, and as amateur historians we can come up with a couple of possibilities. There is a high degree of likelihood that many Paraguayans are descended from the Brazilian and Argentine conquerors, who occupied parts of the country during the conflict. Whigham goes into detail about the low social standing of soldiers in Brazil, specifically. It was probably a step up, socially and economically, for many of these men to simply stay on after the cease fire, and with so few native Paraguayans around, they faced little resistance in doing so.
In the twenty-first century, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are all developed, pleasant places to live. Paraguay, in contrast, is one of the basketcase countries of the western hemisphere. I doubt this fact is coincidental with its status as the first feminist society, founded on chivalry, fatherlessness, and killing all the men.