Archives for category: sociobiology/evolutionary psychology etc

There is a distinction, current in sociobiology, that is worth noting for our understanding of racism: the difference between positive and negative ethnocentrism.

As I understand it, positive ethnocentrism is the tendency to prefer your own kind over others, to give them special consideration. This is basically family love and commonality taken beyond clan and to the tribal and even national level. Negative ethnocentrism is the tendency to disfavor, discount or even hate members not of your kith and kin and country.

The importance of positive ethnocentrism to the survival and progress of our species can hardly be under-estimated. Negative ethnocentrism is a much more difficult subject, and it would be worth knowing how much of it is a mere extrapolation from positive ethnocentrism and how much derives from the same or quite distinct impulses/instincts.

Of course, one value of negative ethnocentrism is fairly obvious: it bolsters positive ethnocentrism. But it presents also a danger, for negative ethnocentrism can embroil societies in warfare that advances no group’s welfare. Internecine conflict bought on hatred, loathing or mere fear is just that, internecine, unprofitable for all parties. The obvious problem with negative ethnocentrism is that it leads to negative sum interactions.

Now, it is obvious that both forms require a regulatory propensity, tradition, or law. Or something. One can be too positively ethnocentric as well as too negatively ethnocentric. I suspect the lack of any kind of ethnocentrism is also a vice.

Now, racism takes the group particularism beyond nation (shared genes and language and culture) to a larger grouping based on certain morphological markers of no small but often less definite significance — shared genes are fewer, several language groups could be involved, and the cultures can be startlingly different. Anti-racism started out as an attack on racism as a negative ethnocentrism unbounded by nationalism. But ideas don’t stay put, and hidden in each memeplex lies the seed of its own destruction . . . when the “infected” take one salient element to an unwarranted extreme. We witness just this in current woke attacks upon racism that have led to attacks upon any kind of positive ethnocentrism (at least by powerful white people). The result is a bizarre altruism: the fear and hatred not of the outsider but of one’s own kind.

There are few mind viruses more loopy than white intellectuals hating on whites . . . in general. This cultural development is ridiculous, in that it is anti-racism carried to the unwarranted extreme of an inverse (rather than reverse) racism.

It is probably worth mentioning that one impetus for the development of this inverse racism is likely quite simple: noticing that racism-as-hatred entails fallacious discriminatory treatment against individuals because of an invidious distaste or distrust of members of their race in general, it crosses one’s mind that discriminatory treatment for individuals because of a valorized love of one’s own kind is also kind of fallacy. And it can be. But a predisposition for one’s own kind is not on the same level of error, for a number of reasons. Like what? Well, one of them is our limited capacity for altruistic action, which requires us to expect limitations in fellow-feeling, and, by a small step in reasoning, we should expect it to flourish most in cases of similarity and commonality (not “identity”); it is in family, clan, community and culture where we should expect to see altruism first flourish, and if we do not see it here, we are unlikely to see it elsewhere. A moralistic duty to cultivate altruism for people furthest from us is likely to induce a pharisaic sense of love and a heightening of ugly moralism in culture.

Which we do in fact see.

Whereas positive ethnocentrism is an oikophilia, the reversal stemming from fanatical attachment to anti-racist ideas is sometimes called oikophobia; whereas negative ethnocentrism is called xenophobia, the inverse racism valorizing others over “ours” gets the moniker xenocentrism.

So far I have not taken up the philosophical account of racism. That defines racism as the taking into the realm of justice the errors of fools: namely, the errors of judging parts by wholes and wholes by parts, the misconstruing of the relationship between sets and members, the fallacies of ad hominem and guilt by association, and even the genetic fallacy.

These are obviously complex subjects, but it has to be useful to draw out the full continua on which the concepts associated with racism and anti-racism belong. While I am aware of some of the phenomenological literature on this, and have read a few relevant papers in sociobiology, I am obviously a beginner here. But I do notice something: many well-regarded experts seem laggard in this endeavor to draw out the full range of key concepts.

So, though there has to be much good work done on this subject, it remains regrettable that it is the shoddy, beginner-level work that too often stands out. This apparent fact, however, does not mean that the subject is suspect. Merely that most participants are.

Oh, and it is OK to be white. If you think otherwise, on what grounds? That some who say this are racist? That is illogical, as we say: fallacious. The fallacy is guilt by association.

For the record, I rarely think of myself as “white.” But because I am of solid Yamnaya genetics, hailing from Finland with genetic markers labeling that heritage at about 96 percent, I sometimes express commonality with my fellow Finns and Finnish-Americans. But because I am also an individualist, my particular flavor could be called Finndividualism.

There are not many of us Finndividualists, but perhaps more in America than in the woke home country.

twv

The gender debate is a tricky one. I think “gender” is mostly pseudo-science, but if you regard gender as simply “one’s identity understood in sexual signaling terms,” which is what it really means in proper usage by academic gender theorists, it has to be understood that people interpret signals differently, and the intended sign — the one you wish to “put out there” — has never automatically been accepted by others. And there’s the rub, right?

In the trans and intersectionalist movements, the signal you “put out there” is said to be the true one, and it is oppression if others do not accept it.

Well, does that even pass the smell test?

After all, as Umberto Eco pointed out so eloquently in the first few pages of A Theory of Semiotics (1974; 1976), the study of signs is ”in principle the study of everything which can be used in order to lie.”

And the trans activist part of the gender movement sure stinks of people committing a public fraud and demanding not only compliance, but praise, too.

Switch away from trans. Consider another gender rubric.

I could “display” as an Alpha Male, for instance.

And funny that gender theorists never talk about the Alpha/Beta/Gamma/etc rubric in anything but contemptuous terms), eh?

Anyway, let us say I dress up and behave as a typical Alpha.

But that would be absurd. I am obviously not an Alpha. And who says I’m not, who are these horrible oppressors? Women. If I were an Alpha, I’d have a new woman on my arm every week. That isn’t happening, so no matter how I “display,” I’m not an Alpha.

Same with a man dressed up as a woman. A man is a male adult. That’s the definition, and it is determined, after challenge, by gametes (which are binary, with no spectrum or crossover whatsoever), genitalia, chromosomal make-up, and secondary sexual characteristics.

A Gedankenexperiment

Now, as a thought experiment, a “trans woman” tries to get us to treat him as a “her,” for reasons we can leave for another time. Not treating him as a woman is oppression, etc. etc. But if some man just says he’s a woman while still looking like a man, I’ll balk. Why wouldn’t you?

What most “trans women” try to do, thanks be to the daimons in our culture, is dress and act in a feminine manner, according to the customs of the society he resides in, and alter, as much as he can, his secondary sexual characteristics, often with estrogen therapy. If he goes the full way, he will get surgery to do so, and even remove or modify his genitalia the better to pull off “the transition.” But note he cannot change his chromosomes or his gametes.

So, on a basic biological ground, he remains a man, no matter how far trans he has gone.

Of course, by custom, a man who can pass for a woman usually gets treated so, but that isn’t a matter of his/her/zher rights, it’s a matter of others’ discretion.

Bottom Line

Since the trans movement reached its most recent degree of ratchet-crazy, I’ve often said that I’m not really interested in your gender, and that I’d prefer to bestow others’ pronouns, for example, by sex.

Seems like my linguistic habits should be up to me, not you.

If you are a man, I’ll call you as such. If you are a woman, I’ll call you as such. It’s truly oppressive for you to insist on something different from me. My language is mine, and you must negotiate with me to induce me to change it; if you apply coercion (especially legal coercion), you become my enemy.

And I’m authorized to defend myself by force.

And, for the record, I will take your “gender theory” seriously when you treat seriously the Alpha/Beta/Gamma perspective. This has been talked about for years, but the gender theorists I have encountered are “oppressively” dismissive.

twv

Great moments in “gendering”: Ludwig von Mises called Ayn Rand “The most courageous man in America.” When Rand heard this, she was gleeful.

Modern politics and the major ideologies, including organized racism, are attempts to make up for the difficulty of managing the commons in a diverse society. 

Nationalism makes up for ethno-diversity by creating an over-arching statist culture to “identify” with, above the level of the kin, kith and ethnic group; woke multiculturalism, like politically correct socialistic agendas before it, counters with a rigid ideological monoculture the better to manage people as ever-more commons are created through socialization.

Neither old-time nationalists nor woke multiculturalists can stand alt-right ethno-nationalists because alt-righters believe — not without some realism — that even vague kinship similarities work better at beating back defection strategies by participants in a commons (which includes funds secured by taxation) than can ideology. Woke multiculturalists especially hate them because, in addition to alt-racists seeking to create a kinship-based monoculture rather than an ideological monoculture, the woke also engage in a characteristic treason strategy of bringing in outsiders to upset existing nationalistic hierarchies, and are more tolerant of anarcho-tyranny than other groups. Alt-racists prefer regular tyranny to anarcho-tyranny.

In both standard, familiar nationalism and woke multiculturalism, a doctrinal ideology is preferred to more natural methods of group solidarity. Obviously ethno-nationalism is anathema to both. It is too “natural” and not “civilized” enough — meaning not artificial . . . and thus “anti-intellectual.”

But classical liberal and libertarian strategies outdo both nationalism and multiculturalism in the doctrinal department by pushing the lateral-thinking move of reducing commons problems — and the inevitable defections (“tragedies” in Garret Hardin’s terminology) — by reducing the number and scope of resources accessed and held in common. Instead of planned against, and fought in a public programs, the Tragedy of the Commons is largely obviated under classical liberal and libertarian programs.

Nationalists understand the move, since nationalism grew out of liberalism, and nationalists are more than willing to use commons-limitation strategies to reduce the over-access problem. Nationalism is a mixed-strategy approach. 

Woke multiculturalists cannot even wrap their heads around the liberal-libertarian approach, since their mindset identifies increasing the scope of common resources as the best way to bring outsiders into the in-group, and thereby upset and re-integrate the hierarchy. (Woke folk often pretend to be against hierarchies, but that’s only a piety to encourage stupid people to join the revolution.)

On this reading, ethno-nationalism seems the most natural course for statism, the most stable course. Doctrinal nationalism, on the other hand, by engaging in ideological nation-building, prompts further ideological development — simply by mimesis, the meme of using ideology to manage the commons encourages the growth of socialism and its variants, which merely take the idea of using ideology to manage commons-access to a daring extreme.

But doctrinal nationalism has obvious advantages in international relations because of its mixed strategy. That is, it can marshal more resources to the state than can the narrower, extremist doctrines of socialism’s fake-anti-nationalism, since it destroys fewer resources. And probably encourages more production of easily-alienable wealth.

Indeed, the genius of the State in ancient times was how it encouraged the growth of easily alienable wealth. Socialists imagine wealth as communally shared and thus inalienable as such, which itself limits the utility of the State as anything other than a driver of human beings — their freedom being the easiest thing to alienate in the commonwealth.

The problem with liberalism/libertarianism is that it gives so little scope for political action that ambitious people find little reason to accept its strictures. Thus ambition alone, but mixed also with greed, would take a minimal state to the nation-state and beyond to dirigisme; add in envy to the ambition-greed mix and at least one sector of the population will almost inevitably demand full socialism.

Minarchism does not appear to be a stable solution.

twv

Is it true that girls tend to be attracted to the guys
that give them the least amount of attention?

…as answered on Quora….

No. But women (and girls) are often attracted to men (and boys) who show enough strength and confidence not to fall all over themselves in a mad rush to fawn over the objects of their affection and lust.

Women tend to admire strength, confidence. Men who attend to women too earnestly often turn women off.

There is an antimony here. It may seem schizoid. But we humans have more than one need we aim to fill when we seek to mate, and those distinct needs drive us to behaviors that can seem paradoxical. Some of our desires and standards are buried deep on one level, while others burst out, unmissable, into the open. Though it is dangerous to cite studies that only back up one’s favored point of view, I merely note here that some studies have shown that women tend to prefer different types of men at different times in their hormonal cycles. It might be helpful to learn this lore, which is developing in evolutionary psychology. (I’d avoid “women’s studies” because these “disciplines” — wholly the creatures of feminism and state subsidy — appear relentlessly ideological and unscientific.)

And men, too, have seemingly contradictory and transitory impulses. The lore on this is commonplace. Men are said to “only want sex” (sexual gratification) and yet they move heaven and earth to please women and take care of children.

How the welfare state, feminism and sexual (“gender”) egalitarianism have affected the playing out in individual men and in society of these two quite distinct urges is the subject of ongoing ideological conflict. The current trend of outing creepy, rapey men in politics and in the performing arts (but I repeat myself) for their abusive behaviors is not unrelated.

“The least amount of attention” in the question references, I gather, the “cool stance,” a sexual strategy very common in developed capitalist society. This stance is liken unto “peacock feathers” and other extravagant plumage among birds, and massive antlers in ungulates — aesthetic excesses that subtly signal strength. The idea being that “I am so strong I can afford to ‘waste’ resources on ‘useless’ beauty.” Women are programmed to admire strength. The species would not have survived had they not found mates strong enough to protect them and their babies. The cool stance, as well as drug use (tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, heroin — the more dangerous the stronger the signal) attracts those attracted to power, seeking natural signs of power.

But coolness is just one strategy that can signal male power. Another is behaving like a criminal, like “an asshole.” You know, as in “bad boys.” It is a staple of narrative fiction and feminist dispute to note just how common this is. More obvious signals of male power are wealth (“like my shiny new car?”), athletic prowess, and uniformed military and police service.

Intelligence, of all things, has even been known to serve to attract women. Whodathunk?

So, there are a variety of strategies available, for both men and women, to attract mates.

There is no one dimension, and certainly no single strategy, upon which sexual selection and the mating market play.


See, among many possible references, The Origins of Cool in Postwar America (2017), by Joel Dinerstein (I purchased a copy but have not found time to read it yet; it looks great), and The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature (2001), by Geoffrey Miller.

I have never once heard a person blathering about “gender theory” ever mention the designators of sexual selection roles in terms of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, etc.

According to standard gender theory definitions, these terms would at least have to be considered, even if discarded.

But no. Never heard anyone say this. Just me. 

Have you heard anyone consider “Alpha male” or “Beta male” as “genders”?

I am more than aware that I’ve convinced few people of my extreme skepticism of the concept of “gender.” At least, no one has admitted to being convinced. But I have given multiple reasons to abandon, even scorn, the terminology, as unscientific etc.

But considering the nature standard gender talk by gender ‘activists,’ and considering that one can (allegedly) display or define one’s own gender, rather than have it socially constructed or whatever, then at the very least Alpha, Beta, and Gamma, along with Sigma and Omega, and still other of these pack-based terms, would serve just as reasonable terms for a gender as any of those you find in these witless lists of genders.

My thesis, which you may attack at will, is that this is a tell.

This is a tell that “gender research” is bloviating ideological nincompoopery, not anything like science, and the use of it by scientists — legit or manqué — is an embarrassment to all honest thinking persons.

You may say that the “Alpha/Beta/etc. categories are not used by actual ethologists” and I am very interested in what you have to say. Now you begin to think. But that’s not my point. If you don’t see why, think some more.

twv

Laissez Faire edition, still available on Apple’s ebook platform.

Is it possible to reduce the world population by 50%? Isn’t world over population the cause of all the problems in the world?

…as answered on Quora….

Two questions, eh?

  1. Is it possible to reduce the world population by 50 percent?
  2. Isn’t world overpopulation the cause of all the problems in the world?

The answers are simple:

  1. Yes.
  2. No.

But there are complications:

  1. Many of the ways to decrease populations quickly, especially by half, are of the Thanos-or-worse variety. We do not want to decrease populations quickly. Gradually could be another story.
  2. As economist Theodore W. Schultz explained — and as Julian Simon demonstrated in a more daring and popular form — population is not the huge problem that neo-Malthusian alarmists say it is. Human beings, if they do not rely upon predation and parasitism, and have plenty of opportunities for market coöperation (trade), are what Simon calls “the ultimate resource.”

When we rely upon trade, we must be of service to one another. We engage in trade only when we expect to gain, that is, when both parties to an exchange expect to gain from it. I help you out if you help me. And the more trades occur, the more that competition for each others’ business hones our productivity. The more productive, the more advances in technique and technology we bring to the stock of civilization. This is progress.

Thomas Robert Malthus’s worry in his Principles of Population (1798) was that (a) the rate of agricultural advance would be outstripped by (b) the natural rate of human population growth. He was stumbling towards a modern conception of external economies, of the “market failure” focused on in neoclassical economics. That is where options seen by the individuals as in their best interest yields widespread effects not in the interest of people generally. (Malthus was arguing against the anarchist rationalist William Godwin and his belief that moral progress would lead to an ethical utopia of excellence everywhere.) Basically, the Malthusian fear is that people would be incentivized to reproduce at a socially dangerous rate. Reason would fail — in effect be upended by circumstance.

But Malthus had an interesting analytic mind, and he handled the problem with something more than a glib pessimism. He noted that these two diverging trendlines (agricultureexpanding at an “arithmetic rate” versus population expanding at a “geometric rate”) were offset by other forces, at least on the reproduction trend line.

There were, he wrote, natural checks on reproduction rates, including famine and pestilence and infant death by malnutrition; and there were artificial checks, including sexual abstinence in several forms, most of which he regarded as moral, and some gruesome means, such as infanticide and abortion and eugenics. His worry was that populations would grow to bring misery, and also a rise in immorality out of perceived prudence. He rightly saw that crude measures of packing people in close together, as happened in cities, often breed plague and sexually transmitted diseases. And it is in his spirit — and often inspired by reading his treatise — that many modern prophets of doom have developed the popular anti-population mania. And theirs is indeed a harrowing philosophy, turning otherwise nice and smart folks into anti-humanist immoralists, praising horrific measures of (aack) mass death or (ugh) government repression. This sort of thing inspired the modern environmental movement, where you will find some folks advocating reducing humanity to “a size twice the population of bears.”

But all this misses the “miracle” of modernity: progress.

Malthus failed to see what Herbert Spencer saw in the early 1850s: coöperative humanity can indeed fight against the Malthusian trap, flipping the trend lines so that agriculture can grow exponentially more productive than the rate of population reproduction . . . and in turn spurring increased populations to be increasingly productive. The only thing we would have to give up? The militant, regimented means of social organization, instead embracing “industry.” Which in this case was the predecessor to the industrial revolution, the agricultural revolution. Spencer saw trends on Malthus’s agriculture forecast that would raise the line several orders of magnitude.

Interestingly, Spencer almost came up with the theory of natural selection in this work. But he only applied his notion of a ratcheting up of living standards by means of competitively coördinated coöperation to the social world, not to the long-term cycles of plant and animal descent. “Missed it by that much,” as Agent Smart said in Get Smart. It is for this reason that sociologist Jonathan Turner inverted the infamous “Social Darwinist” charge against Spencer: Darwin, really, was a “biological Spencerian.” Spencer spiffed up his approach a decade later, for the final section of his Principles of Biology. And in the process he gave us the turn of phrase “survival of the fittest.” Though it has been trendy (for a full century, actually) to look upon Spencer’s viewpoint as a ghastly exercise in cruel theoretics, Spencer was actually emphasizing peaceful coöperation and presenting humanity with a remarkably positive vision. J.D.Y. Peel, in his study of Spencer, said that the British philosopher-sociologist “out-Godwinned Godwin”! But Spencer did this not by hoping for a triumph of Reason, but by merely noticing the flourishing that is possible with distributed patterns of collaboration sans an over-arching plan.

The amazing thing? He was basically right.

Spencer was actually presaging what today’s more realistic economists and demographers understand perfectly well. And, what is more — less: today’s best researchers notice that as human societies get wealthier, the rate of reproduction goes down.

In Schultz’s terminology, parents swap “quantity of children” for “quality of children.” In mere agricultural societies, children can be productive in farm life and in resource extraction; in industrial societies, for people to be productive they have to decelop their skillsets more markedly, so parents opt to expend resources to “invest” in their children’s “human capital.” So, that old black magic of having scads of children ceases to increase the chances of family success, but, instead, tends to reduce it.

That is one big reason why people, today, tend naturally to produce fewer children than in the past.

One might think that this would be completely scuttled by the lowering of childhood death rates, but for a number of reasons, this does not appear to be the case.

And, yes, populations are indeed declining in the First World — and as the rest of the world catches up (and in my lifetime the poverty rate has declined markedly with the expansion of the extent of the market), the general reproduction rate will level off. In Europe, the white population is veering to the opposite-of-“Malthusian” trend: demographic collapse. In the United States, were it not for immigration and recent immigrants’ higher reproductive rates, America, too, would see population decline.*

Demographic collapse is actually probably going to be a bigger problem in the future than the “population explosion.” It is the implosion that would more likely destroy civilization.

But here we have another offsetting trend: technological progress.

The great heterodox genius Samuel Butler, not long after publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) argued that the next form of evolution will be machine evolution. This was played for science-fictional interest in his dystopian romance (or is that utopian comedy?) Erewhon (1872), but now we are really seeing this kick into high gear, as we approach something like a social Singularity (see Ray Kurzweil).

About the time of Malthus, there arose the legendary “Ned Ludd,” who saw only devastation in the destructive creation of technological advance. And since then there have been worriers who see mainly the death of labor in “labor-saving devices.” And like Malthusianism, Luddism, if true, would have meant the death of free labor and our whole civilization a century ago. The opposite is the case: technological advance increases worker productivity, leading to a general increase in wealth and welfare. The “trouble” is, people have to adapt to the machines.

Perhaps the challenge of population decline will not be so bad, as machine evolution makes our lives better and better. Maybe, in Richard Brautigan’s poetic lines, we shall be “watched over by machines of loving grace.”

The real challenge will be political.


* The downward trend line is exacerbated by welfare state interventions, and the high rate of abortions, too. But for this analysis I need not get into to it.

It was the bicentennial of Herbert Spencer’s birth, on Monday, so I threw together a celebratory podcast episode, of sorts.

And, in that ninth outing of the LocoFoco Netcast, I blew through the theory of dysgenics so fast that I did not clearly distinguish (a) my thoughts from Spencer’s, (b) the best case for these ideas, especially in the theory of (c) incentives and disincentives, (d) inculcation of virtue and success, and (e) concern for the welfare of the worst off. Indeed, I am pretty sure I came off as a callous Social Darwinist, leaving Spencer and myself open to the usual criticisms.

That is what I get for being in a rush.

But then Jim Gill, who joined me for the final segment, had even harsher things to say!

Which means that I will have to quickly put up a follow-up episode. I am thinking it will have a subtitle: “Let’s ‘Nuance’ This Up a Bit.”

Which is something Bill Bradford used to say.

And Jim and I will do just that.

But how bad, really, did we get? You can listen at LocoFoco.net, or on the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, et al.:

LocoFoco Netcast #9: My Herbert Spencer Problem — and Ours.

The video of the new episode is uploading to YouTube, and will take a while.

twv

Why do some rich guys think polygamy is their preserve?

as answered on Quora

There is a major difference in the sexual “economies” and “strategies” of males and females throughout the animal kingdom. Each species has “figured” out its way to handle the differences. Human beings have come up with a number of distinct patterns. Polygny is one of them. For reasons of basic biology, it is a much more natural a fit than polyandry — which nevertheless has occasionally occurred.

Men produce an overabundance of sperm to fertilize women’s small number of eggs. This is a radically unequal investment in genetic heritage. A man can sire hundreds, even thousands — technically millions — of babies; a woman, at best a handful. If a woman wanted to increase her genetic inheritance, having many “sperm donors” would be of little help. It is more rational — and, over the life of our species, this is how it tends to work out — to invest in a man or two to feed and protect her and her children. A man seeking to increase his progeny can collect more wives — or mate with many women he invests in not at all.

So, those men who want to increase their standing in the world — who want to flex their wills to power by siring many multiples of children — increase their numbers of wives.

Men tend to think in a “polygamous” fashion more than women because of that basic inequality: abundant sperm vs. scarce eggs.

There is nothing very mysterious about this.

The major wrinkle, in our time, is that to a remarkable degree the costs of child-rearing have been socialized. Women need not marry to raise children. “The village” raises the child, through subsidies such as public schools, public school breakfasts and lunches, SNAP, Section Eight housing, Medicaid, and much more. This and widespread use of contraception, abortion, and even infanticide allows women to ape typically male-desired promiscuity patterns — having many sexual partners — without inordinate discomfort, though it is worth noting that many of the professional feminists who push for these measures tend to be married and sport fairly stable marriages, merely using their ideology to export aped male sexual styles onto poor women, often to their ruin.* It is a weird and I think rather sick bit of moral gamesmanship, but most folks disagree.

And it is worth noting that women, as a class, are net tax consumers, and men, as a class, are net taxpayers, and this merely mimics the one-on-one marriage system of old, where men went out into the world to secure resources that women spent on setting up house and raising children. And to that extent polygamy has been socialized, with a mass of make taxpayers supporting a mass of female state aid recipients. Sociologist Herbert Spencer, linked above, had an old-fashioned term for the dominant sexual style of today, “promiscuity,” which he defined as “indefinite polyandry joined with indefinite polygyny.” Marriage is a more “definite” social institution, in his terminology, while today’s tax-based child-rearing system is far less definite, since much of the responsibility for raising children has been shifted from actual parents and guardians onto taxpayers, the courts, bureaucracies, and government functionaries.

It is a cruel joke upon both sexes, if you ask me, but no one asked me — the question was why men with great resources think that polygamy is their prerogative, in effect asking why rich men favor polygyny more than rich women favor polyandry. The answer should be obvious: cheap sperm vs. scarce eggs, coupled with the opportunity costs associated with rearing children, both of which have gone into the (observed) sexual division of labor of our species.

The subject is almost boring in its simplicity and explanatory power. What is interesting is how things change (and do not change) when the costs of raising children get socialized. Which is why I brought it up. Even if no one asked me.


* The puzzle of what I call the WWWWs — “The Woke White Women of the West” — in their bizarre, moralistic anti-white racism runs parallel to their defense of socialized child-rearing even while they themselves tend to adhere to the older, individualistic structure for their children, is fascinating. My guess is that their cult of Woman Power forces them into their strange cognitive dissonances, but my extended, high-octane speculations on this matter must be dealt with elsewhere.

For quite some time now, in private conversation, I’ve discussed a problem of our civilization. I do not think I’ve mentioned it in print or in public talk yet. But I have occasion to now.

The problem?

The “Woke White Women of the West” problem.

Following a long line of hortatory, “liberal women” tend to be anti-white racists. This not only includes but is exemplified by white women. They take the anti-racist line that we’ve all imbibed as if on mother’s milk (metaphor: apt or inapt?) to the reductio ad absurdum level: we oughtn’t express any animus or anger against non-whites that can even seem to collectivize them into racial categories, but we must express sympathy or pity or indignation in their cause by constant reference to their racial categories. They are victims. Always. By whites. Always. And we must therefore humble ourselves before them, always apologizing for past crimes as well as current slights.

Worse yet, this double standard leads to the bigger, more ominous double standard: the “woke” white women feel compelled to accept responsibility for crimes and slights, real or alleged or complete fantasies, of all white people, especially those of the past. Thus what white people are not allowed to do against others is obligatory against themselves.

This is not merely ridiculous. It is evil.

And white “liberal” women appear to be the population most susceptible to this mania.

My occasion, today, for bringing this up, is a video by a white nationalist (he is white and a nationalist, so the moniker fits):

This is an especially good video by “Way of the World.” It is uncomfortable to watch, at times. But the moralistic frenzy of the woke white women in the unfortunate debacle of a town meeting included in this video is worth dissecting.

Now, the white guy asking the question of the Mexican immigrant is uncomfortable even for me. But what is far more disturbing is the reaction of the white women Way of the World focuses on, and that black racial scold. (You’ve probably seen the video elsewhere. I’d seen it traded around on Facebook and Twitter.) The moralistic desire to expel the offending man for his horrible breach of manners and moral in merely asking a question is worth sticking through.

So, why do the WWWWs exist in such numbers? Why are white women susceptible?

I have many theories. One is that women must, by the nature of selection pressures, be more accepting of the Other and the Out-Group than men, for throughout the history of our species, when one group conquers another, the defeated men were slaughtered (or, sometimes, enslaved) and the women were kept as concubines or sometimes as wives. So the women who can turn on a dime against their own in-group continue to breed females who are more than capable of doing the same.

But we probably do not need a strict natural selection theory for this. It is noted that women vote more right-wing (and thus protective of In-Group) when they are married. It’s the freemartins (h/t Aldous Huxley) and baby mommas who build up their resentments to the male insider culture of their own societies — and it is freemartins and baby mommas that contraception, abortion, and welfare have bred. This class of people are nurtured to be independent of family and male provision. The State is all. And the State is not our State — actually existing governments — but the Magical State, which takes from the rich and gives to the . . . women. (Women are generally net tax consumers in modern society, and men are generally net tax payers.)

But why are so many married women WWWW?

I suggest that progressivism is a cult. It is a cult that holds to pieties of “social justice” utterly at odds with actual justice, and is inherently collectivist and moralistic. Women tend to be cultic followers more than men do, in my experience, which is why they fall prey to all this. The real driver here is altruism and the perversion of empathy. It is an extreme position, to sacrifice self to others or in-group to out-group. It is, generally, a quite dangerous thing.

WWWW cultists crave acceptability, like all women do, and a smaller percentage of men do. (Men are greater risk takers, and will often risk defying social standards.) And thus are prone to virtue signaling. The virtue, in this case, is racial altruism, and the signal is anti-white racism and a condescending xenocentrism. Ethnocentrism is not allowed, for that is egoistic and in-group positive.

Now, it’s not just women who are socialists, progressives, feminists and other “woke” cultists. No special theory needs to be advanced to explain the existence of the anti-white race hustle among non-whites. That appears as egoism and particularism and a confidence game. (Altruism is what the worst egoists will be most tempted by.) But what about the insufferable white men, often seen hanging around the WWWW population?

Well, first off, it’s one way to behave as a beta male: to get sexual favors from women. If women increasingly despise masculine men who think for themselves, then ape the feminine and still get access to females.

Indeed, this strategy may even account for the development of feminism and anti-masculinism. It is a strategy of what in evolutionary psychology is called the Sneaky Fucker. This is a sexual strategy seen in some fish populations, where the diminutive male appears as docile and effeminate (and perhaps, in human culture, gay) and thus no threat to alpha males. So they infiltrate feminine society and encourage resentment against alphas and standard betas.

I am not really hip to the lingo of Vox Day and others. Are these men just another kind of beta male, or are they Gammas gone wrong, or Sigmas, even?

The taxonomy of sexual strategies in a decadent culture need not concern us. But the kind of male I’m talking about — I think of them as False Eunuchs — is pretty obvious.

Of course, many of them earnestly fall for the errors of the ideology in question, and slip into the sexual strategy as the only one available to them.

It is that ideological transit that I find most interesting. The memes themselves can direct much of the development. Information, it used to be said, “wants to be free”; but memes want to dominate. And they do. And that is why over the course of time either a meme dies off or it pushes its adherents into an extreme version of the meme.

My memeplex doesn’t fit with the WWWW population, of course. The right-wing in-group preference and the left-wing out-group preference are, in themselves, not problematic: it is only in isolation from each other that they are bad. That is because the medium point between them is individualism, wherein justice adjudicates when and how force may be applied, based upon individual behavior, not group membership. But humans, being social animals, tend to fall for standards that are collectivist, hence the right and the left as separate propensities in politics, each with its own extremes and vices.

Getting western white women to see this will be hard. It is frightfully hard to get men to see it, and they have at least some predisposition to the philosophy, by natural selection.

But let us not forget, individualistic justice is itself something of a straitjacket on natural impulses. So we should expect racism and ethnocentrism to go from in-group positive version to out-group negative versions. And, just so, we should expect anti-racism to take in-group negative forms.

Which is what we see in the Woke White Women of the West.

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It is possible to interpret a single concept, as instantiated in a bit of jargon, in a way completely at variance from how others use it.

When I encounter this — as I often do — I sometimes believe that I am in the right, and others in the wrong, while on other occasions I am not at all sure who is right.

Recently, Meryl Streep, an actress in a popular Amazon Prime show about women behaving badly, shocked the readers of ‘Everyone Thinks We’re Insanos’ Home Journal with a seemingly commonsense statement that, in times past, would not have raised an eyebrow. She is not fond of the term “toxic masculinity”:

We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity. . . . And I don’t find [that] putting those two words together . . . because women can be pretty f—ing toxic. It’s toxic people. We have our good angles and we have our bad ones. I think the labels are less helpful than what we’re trying to get to, which is a communication, direct, between human beings. We’re all on the boat together. We’ve got to make it work.

“Meryl Streep’s ‘toxic masculinity’ critique a ‘step out of’ Hollywood ‘echo chamber of conformity,’ Concha says,” by Charles Creitz | Fox News

At first blush, this seems preciously close to wisdom, though immediately a note of uncertainty creeps in: does use of the phrase “toxic masculinity” ineluctably hurt “our boys”? Despite my doubt, the statement is not nuts. But it was not a universal hit:

Janet Fiamengo, Paul Elam, and Tom Golden shared some time onscreen talking about this brouhaha. And the general consensus seemed to be that the concept of “toxic feminism” was an inherently indecent concept:

The folks at InStyle warned against their interpretation: “The specific kind of toxicity Streep is talking about involves a kind of hyper-gendered behavior. It’s not saying outright that men are evil or inherently violent.”

Emily Alford went full Jezebel, asserting that “Meryl Streep has no idea what she’s fucking talking about” on the subject, while admitting, “Yes, there are toxic people, some of them women, many of them girls I went to church camp with in 1996, but that has nothing to do with toxic masculinity.” Ms. Alford helps us with her own definition:

“Toxic masculinity is what can come of teaching boys that they can’t express emotion openly; that they have to be “tough all the time”; that anything other than that makes them “feminine” or weak. (No, it doesn’t mean that all men are inherently toxic.)

It’s these cultural lessons, according to the A.P.A., that have been linked to “aggression and violence,” leaving boys and men at “disproportionate risk for school discipline, academic challenges and health disparities,” including cardiovascular problems and substance abuse.”

Emily Alford, “Meryl Streep Does Not Know What ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Means,” Jezebel, May 30, 2019.

What Alford offers us is an environmental, “nurture”/“social construct” view of the issue. And while I do not doubt that there is a strong cultural component to the education of male humans about their (contested) roles in society as boys and men — how could I? — males are also and indisputably driven by biology, too, especially the hormone testosterone. It used to be fun to joke about “testosterone poisoning,” and I have no problem with that joke. Toxic masculinity is associated with the male hormone for good evolutionary reasons, and trying to impute masculine toxicity entirely or even mainly to cultural influences is not plausible, no matter what the A.P.A. may or may not assert.

Alford offers a definition and a theory. I reject her theory but accept her definition. Prof. Fiamengo et al. seem to object to the very term, and agree with Streep that talking about it is bad for boys. Alford demurs: “You see, Meryl, there are some damaging facets of culturally-imposed masculinity that are toxic to men (and the rest of us). It is not the men who are toxic simply by accident of being men.”

Alford seems as level-headed as a person can be under the sway of the ludicrous Blank Slate hypothesis, where human behavior is “culturally” driven. Men are not toxic for being men. Sounds plausible. Good. But, that being admitted (at least arguendo), the toxicity of masculinity is indeed a male-related propensity driven in no small part by biology. More importantly, we call the problems heavily associated with masculinity (which includes violent crime, first and foremost) toxic because they destabilize and vex and sometimes even destroy the affected individual as well as those around him.

And, once again, I do not doubt the cultural component. Indeed, one group of people who have traditionally — and even unto this very day — promoted masculinity to the point of toxicity has been . . . women. Not all women, of course: #notall! And not just because of factors associated with Briffault’s Law — that is, not just because women tend to control male access to the Delta of Venus between their legs.

Indeed, I am pretty sure one could show toxic masculinity as developing in a sort of Grand tarantella with toxic femininity — each leading on the other.

And what might toxic femininity be? Well, traditionally it is associated with a number of behaviors, known to us personally and in literature — the Vamp (pictured above) being just one classic example. And it is also connected to the deep life history of our species, broadly speaking, and to the hormone estrogen, narrowly speaking. “Estrogen poisoning” is also relevant to the discussion.

And I will go further: it may also be the case that feminism has cultivated not only some classic forms of toxic femininity, but also applied toxic masculinity in women against women, perverting their lives to the extremities of misery.

Which brings us back to our trio of anti-feminists. For reasons I do not wholly understand, Fiamengo et al. seem to think that Streep is right, and that toxic masculinity sends boys the wrong signal. Dispirits them or something. (I confess, I turned them off before they had finished. Perhaps others with more patience than I can inform me if they started making more sense halfway through.)

The problem I see here? A common problem in our culture, where the old Aristotelian notions of virtue and vice are no longer part of our moral vocabulary. The idea that virtue is found in balance, and vice at the extremes, helps explain how we should recognize two poles in our natures, yin and yang, and recognize that they need balancing — by the cultivation of good habits, according to reason.

And this question of “toxicity”: it is a metaphor. And a good one. Poison is in the dose. Estrogen and testosterone are good things in our make-ups. They provide us with our basic drives. But we must not let them drive us into perversity or oblivion. Balance; moderation in all things.

And, when it comes to toxicity, it is all a question of dosage. Too much of any single hormone is, well, too much: poison. Too little is bad, too, for it is at optimum dose that poison is medicine.

Similarly, each person must find his or her balance. The first requisite of being a good human is to be a good animal, Herbert Spencer said, and speaking in frankly biological as well as cultural terms is important. But add in other medicines (which, again, are also poisonous at high dosage, by the principle of hormesis) as well, like rights and obligations and justice: we have a lot of balancing to do.

Little boys need to understand that some typically boyish behaviors — like rough-and-tumble assertiveness — can be quite bad in some circumstances and at some extremes. Same goes for little girls. They should be aware that certain typically girlish behaviors — coquettish cuteness played up, say — are also dangerous in many contexts and especially when laid on thick.

Nowadays, of course, we are supposed to immediately discuss various ambiguities of sex roles and behavior ranges, using the term “gender,” which I dislike for reasons I have often discussed. So I will skip all that. Of course, of course: #notall, blah blah blah.

I will, instead, merely summarize: Streep and Fiamengo et al. are wrong to suspect that little boys cannot handle the knowledge that some of their typically boyish behaviors can be taken to an excess of vice. But little girls need similar remonstrances, mutatis mutandis, and perhaps were this stressed more, and seriously, boys would be able to handle maturation better than they seem to be doing these days. They will realize that they are not singled out as “problematic,” and that every person, of both sexes, have a tough road ahead of them, perhaps right up to the moment of death.

And the feminists need to let go of their relentless and indefensible social constructivism, for reasons I have given elsewhere. I am quite glad that Ms. Alford does not mean to say that toxic masculinity should be understood as akin to Original Sin. But hey: blaming society for social mores that double down on our basic sexual/biological patterns we see in mammalian and avian species the world over is a nonstarter. Further, not only do I readily admit that culture and social controls and norms matter, I suggest to the Alfords of our society that their feminism has worsened, not alleviated, the basic lot of humanity.

Well, to some extent, at least.

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