Archives for category: sociobiology/evolutionary psychology etc

Explaining religion is not necessarily a simple matter.

I grew up taught to believe that the stories of my religion were true. But as I grew older, certain inconsistencies and antinomies weighed upon my mind, and I found myself incredulous about the whole matter, so I gave up on the beliefs and the rites.

But, if not literally true, is religion — or all religions, or some — figuratively true? Supremely useful? Something else?

The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.

Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. I, Ch. II

I was taught to regard the religion I was born into as true, literally so, and all others as false, with a faint chance that shadow meaning sometimes figuratively refracting the truth — but more likely “of the Devil.” Converting out of the religion, it was easy to treat my youthful theological stance as Atheism With One Exception, making actual atheism merely a final step.

But I did understand a discordant note to this secular triumphalism: henotheism. It was clear that Judaism began with a polytheism-in-fact but monotheism-in-practice: “thou shalt have no other gods before Me” more than implied a multiplicity of deities. Yahweh was good, all others were bad — or, even less strong a position: Yahweh was ours and all others were theirs. The Chosen People idea seemed to imply one of many gods choosing and nurturing a bloodline of people to serve His agenda. But this idea, while clear in my head, I somehow never took all that seriously.

What did I take seriously? The “ghost theory” and exaptation. These ideas can be found in the sociology of Herbert Spencer, and the latter has been greatly expanded by contemporary evolutionary psychology. Beliefs in the gods arose from memories of dead leaders echoing in human brains and showing up in dreams. And hallucinations. That is the irritant that starts the pearl that is religion. But then something else happens: religious belief and practice is discovered to be useful.

To all sorts of people. For good and ill.

But one use we fell into. It turns out that when we less-than-well-tempered hominids — Hominoids — even contemplate a putatively divine being or concept, or even any “transcendent object” or priniple, we think and behave less like selfish, short-sighted apes. We begin to behave morally.

And thus the transcendent notion, whatever it is, can serve as a social signal that can encourage others to see our intent to coöperate, not engage in harm. Whatever religious idea we hold can gain a lot of traction when folks come to rely on such signalling.

Thus, the gods.

A simple story, this secular account, and it can be filed under the heading Exaptation — a thing that originated for one reason surviving for other reasons. It was as if adapted for a new purpose, but as naturally selected, sort of adapting itself.

A meme — a replicable habit — spread for reasons independent of its explicit rationale.

Great story.

It may even be true.

Almost certainly it is true.

But it is not the whole story: we still have that initial irritant. The “ghosts.” Which though inconvenient after the religion becomes a memetic hit, still persist.

And there is an outside possibility that some of those irritants in the oyster of our imaginations are, themselves, Not What They Seem.

They may be neither dreams nor hallucinations nor memories.

They might be aliens.

In a fascinating dcumentary about a man who paints his alleged encounters with aliens, some of whom with which he engages in sexual acts, Love and Saucers, we learn about an odd variety of religious experience, the sexual extraterrestrial encounter. Philosopher Jeffrey Kripal, quoted in the movie, tells us that religious experiences with a sexual component are common in the literature. He also sees alien encounter and abduction stories as not dissimilar from past religious tales. What they interpreted as angels we, in a more scientific age, interpret as extraterrestrials.

And such experiences are not uncommon.

So, do we have these experiences because of some quirk of our psychologies, as evolved from the distant past?

Or is it something more direct?

I do not know.

I have never had an encounter as described by the painter in Love and Saucers. It would be easy to mock him. That is something I am sure my “skeptic” friends online would be inclined to do.

But I no longer do such things. If David Huggins, the subject of the documentary, is conjuring these “memories” by confabulation, that is almost as astounding as the events he describes.

And then there is the wider context. Do we have certainty that encounters with “aliens” do not happen? I do not have that certainty of conviction, of dismissive incredulity. I do not have enough faith to dismiss out of hand the UFO context.

Now, I understand, that wider context and the evidence for it may be peculiar in the extreme, sure — but it is vast. The number of documents leaked from governments, and the hundreds — the thousands — of seemingly earnest testimonies from military personnel and government contractors, airline passengers, and workers about encounters with bizarre flying and submersible crafts is huge. And these crafts — in government documents and reports as well as in reams of testimony, apparently run according to principles nothing like the technology we know, which is based on aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, and on the many types of internal combustion engines . . . well, the number and weight of the testimony is almost disturbing.

Further, there appears to be an ongoing government disclosure of information about these encounters, around the world, and even — belatedly, with a great lag — from the biggest, most UFOey government of them all, the United States of Military Industrial Complex.

I do not know what to make of all this. Not with anything approaching certainty. And were it not for the Cato Institute, I might not be thinking about it at all.

A number of years ago the libertaran think tank fired one of its consulting scholars, economist Dom Armentano — removed him from their honor roll, so to speak. Why? Because he had come out for UFO disclosure.

Think about this. The retired professor merely expressed a support for transparency in government on an issue of public interest. But the “heroic” Cato management could not even be associated with something as tame as that.

When I heard this, I experienced something like shock. I had thought I understood the cultism of the cultural center, its proneness to shaming and shunning and marginalization . . . perpetrated to keep the hierarchy of the in-group secure against all comers. But Cato is libertarian. Do Cato-ites think their propinquity to power, geographically, makes them in the in-group? If any tribe on the planet has reason to understand the corrosive nature of in-group intellectual regimentation, it would be libertarians. And if any group should be prone to resist such nonsense, then it must be libertarians, right?

Apparently not. Cato was so eager for respectability, and so unimaginative that an illustrious economist had to be purged.

This is when I realized the astounding extent of ideological cultism in America, and its corrupting powers. And, once you realize how powerful that propensity is, then you can see how it could be manipulated.

By a conspiracy. At a power center.

For, alas, it seems likely that some conspiracy is involved. Either a cabal within the Deep State is conspiring to keep some dread secret from the world and from the citizens that the government putatively serves, or a big if ragtag group of military personel, domestic pilots, seamen, and a great number of civilians are perpetrating and perhaps coördinating a huge fraud.

About two years ago, I began to think the latter the less likely.

Further, I surmise, if I were in the Deep State and saw all these rumors swirl around me, I would regard them as a destabilizing force, as undermining governance by decreasing trust in basic institutions. I would earnestly support public research into and educational efforts about the phenomena, the better to thoroughly explain and debunk paranormal accounts and tall tales about UFOs and “aliens.” But, on the other hand, had I a secret to keep, a big one, letting the testimonies and photographs and rumors and urban legends spread while giving lukewarm and even preposterous counter-explanations might just work — to keep the secret. After all, I could count on all the little Catos out there, doing my work for me, keeping “the nuts” marginalized.

This does not mean that painter David Huggins is not some kind of a nut. There is room for psychological confabulation along the margins. But it sure looks like something strange is going on. The planet and its history may be stranger than we thought.

Indeed, “the gods” at the start of religions may not have been mere mirages and dreams and “visions.” Perhaps the Anunnaki and Quinametzin and Viracocha and that crowd really did help start our civilization, and that they seemed “gods” to us barely higher apes. And maybe they had some connection to the phenomena that we call “religious” — and maybe they have something to do with “aliens.”

In any case, Love and Saucers is a fascinating documentary.

And religion remains something of a mystery.

twv

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When I was in junior high, a recurring argument between some of my friends, all boys, with another batch of my friends, all girls, vexed me. The two groups took sides over this:

Which is better: horses or motorbikes?

Even at age twelve I realized this for the pointless, indeed, stupid argument that it was. The two differently favored instruments of locomotion were too different to be directly compared in an across-the-board manner. One gets more love from horses, but one may in good conscience stress one’s motorbike to the limit, on a regular basis.

It was about this time that my respect for the general run of my peers almost vanished entirely. It only began to reappear as we became adults, as they swapped idiotic debates with important ones.

Or so I thought.

The other day a friend placed a trollworthy image on his Facebook page:

Are women better than men?

I interpreted this as a half-comic question, and many of the answers forthcoming followed in this manner, only half-serious. But one stood out, showing that the trolling had indeed hooked a big fish:

It is proven [that] women don’t have [as] many affairs as men. Women have a higher pain tolerance than men. Women take better care of themselves than men. Women are more compassionate and empathic than men. Women are the caregivers of men. Women are the peacemakers in the family. Women are the keepers of the family history. If it were not for women men would not have life. Women have to remember everything for everybody in the family. If a couple is divorced or the wife dies she will go on, but a man will be looking for someone else to take care of him very quickly. Women put up with an enormous amount of disrespect, and unappreciation that men don’t have to. The list goes on, but hell ya [sic] women are better.

I replied, and in the ensuing comments section interchange I learned that this woman (she had a feminine photo and everything) was indeed quite earnest.

So I now can take it as a fine example of narrow, bigoted opinion. And here quickly react to each of its points:

It is proven [that] women don’t have [as] many affairs as men.

Well, I can see why someone might believe that. I sort of assume that, too. It makes evolutionary sense: plentiful semen versus scarce eggs leads to two quite distinct survival strategies.

But it turns out that studies are all over the map on this issue, and the full truth may be somewhat ambiguous. If we take seriously the reportage of The Daily Mail (and I am by no means convinced we should be), we get conflicting stories.

In “Think men are the unfaithful sex? A study shows WOMEN are the biggest cheats – they’re just better at lying about it,” by Maureen Rice (September 7, 2009), we learn a few things that complicate previous and competing surveys and studies:

According to Dr David Holmes, a psychologist at Manchester Metropolitan University, women are having more affairs than ever – recent studies say the figure is around 20 per cent for men and a bit over 15 per cent for women — but they behave very differently from men when they cheat.
‘The biggest difference is that women are much better at keeping their affairs secret,’ he says. ‘If you look at the studies into paternity, even conservative figures show that between eight and 15 per cent of children haven’t been fathered by the man who thinks he’s the biological parent.’
That’s a lot of women keeping a lot of secrets.

It appears that men and women prevaricate differently:

When studies about sexual partners or fidelity use a mixture of face-to-face interviews and anonymous computer questionnaires, men will give the same answers to both, but women will report much higher numbers when the answers are anonymous.

And, because of the aforementioned sexually dimorphic sexual strategies, men and women have different levels and manners of lying about cheating:

British men consistently claim to have had more partners than women – the current average is 13, while women claim to have had only nine.

Plainly, someone is lying here. While men might exaggerate their sexual conquests, the bigger liars are women.

In other words, for reasons of caution and pride, women will tend to understate their numbers of affairs, while men tend to overstate them!

Oddly, though, this article does not attempt to do the math. If men really do have more affairs than men, where are those women coming from? (I am assuming that the difference is not made up of rough trade.) Either fewer women have more partners, or some unmarried women are more than willing to play the “home-wrecker” than are men.

But The Daily Mail is not done on its stellar reporting. A few years later we find this: “Men ‘more likely to have affairs than women because they experience stronger sexual impulses’, by an unnamed journalist, which cites a study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin:

Scientists said although men have the same ability to resist temptation as women, this is overriden more often because men have stronger desires.

I am dubious about all these studies. They all betray some fundamental problems of data integrity. So I turn back to that matter of ratios. If it is true that men’s horndoggishness leads more of them to cheat, then the fewer number of women who cheat must cheat with a wider number of men — it is the horndogs versus the whores.

Who comes out looking better here?

Besides, we do know that, in America today, women divorce their husbands in far greater numbers than husbands divorce their wives. And yet, by evolutionary strategy we would think that marriage is set to aid women to secure resources for their children. The truth is just the opposite. What has changed? Modernity, particularly the policies of the modern State. So, the real takeaway may be this:

More women than men have been enticed into de facto marriage to the State.

Government programs have created, for modern women, a new kind of demimonde.

So, definitely not “proven.”

Women take better care of themselves than men.

This I wonder about. If true, I bet this is partially a result of a Bell Curve distribution, the kind that leads to men demonstrating a flatter distribution curve: more male geniuses and dunces. So, more male self-care fanatics than women, but more male self-abusers than women.

Also, we know that life expectancies of men and women used to be, a century ago, nearly at par. With the growth of the modern State and its compensatory feminist policies, women’s life expectancies increased more than men’s did. This may not be a factor of self-care, however, but, instead, of other-care, particularly in the differently allocated resources devoted to repair. For example, much more money (pubic and private) is spent researching breast cancer than in fighting prostate cancer — far more. Also, death in childbirth was the traditional burden of women, putting them at high risk. That has largely been taken care of by modern medicine. Meanwhile, the risks that men take are far more deadly than those taken by women. And this is not attributable to recreational mountain climbing and cliff diving. Men take up occupations that are far more dangerous than women take up: workplace deaths are far higher for men than women. And, for no great mysterious reason, feminists complain about a paucity of women in high-paying desk jobs and in-front-of-the-camera jobs, but never muster much ire about the low numbers of women loggers, ocean fish-boat workers, and other non-glamourous but quite dangerous occupations.

Also: men kill themselves in far greater number than do women. Part of this is the result of the higher rates of failure of female suicides. Lesson: men are more competent than women — they succeed at grim tasks. And part of this is that men have to live with women, and have their honor defined in terms of success with women. Lesson: women are a problem for men, perhaps more than men prove to be a problem for women. At least at the life-and-death level of analysis. At the annoyance level? I suspect this is a wash.

Women have a higher pain tolerance than men.

Let us accept this as given, just as I accept reports that redheads have lower pain thresholds than non-gingers. So, please also accept as given another stat: women are more fearful of violence than men, despite the demonstrable fact that men are far more likely to suffer violence than women are. Women may endure pain better (they are biologically programmed to bear children, after all), but when it comes to judgment of danger, when the prospect of pain is at play, women are far less prone to take risks. Men are courageous; women . . . well, let us just say they are “differently emboldened.”

Women are more compassionate and empathic than men.

Studies by Simon Baron Cohen more than suggest that this is true. That is, more women than men show high empathic responses. But those same studies also show that more men than women exhibit high system-building intelligence. So, a certain type of emotional intelligence is favored by females in the population, while a major factor in IQ can be found higher in men than in women.

We are back to horses versus motorbikes, here. The girls love their horses; the boys are fascinated by their machines. Different but at about parity, if you ask me.

Women are the caregivers of men.

Once again, I will stipulate this as true without investigation. Will my feminist interlocutor stipulate that men provide more resources to women than women do to men? Another rough parity here. Maybe. Though the amount of resources thrown at women by men suggests no parity at all. And do not doubt that this is true: once you figure in tax payment and consumption, men are far more likely to be net taxpayers and women net tax consumers. The welfare state has weighted the whole game of life towards, not away from, women.

Women are the peacemakers in the family. Women are the keepers of the family history. Women have to remember everything for everybody in the family.

Oh, yawn. This is just too boring for words. Though I would be remiss were I to forget to mention that there is nearly as much spousal abuse by women directed against men as vice versa, men against women. So this “peacemaker” line is mighty hard to swallow. And as for family history: yawn. Amongst my Finnish-American folk, interest and maintenance of family records and genealogies strikes me as about equally weighted.

Oh, and about those memory services, that is part of what the housewife job description entails, and what the sexual division of labor amounts to. Got more empathy? Then you get more empathy-dependent tasks. That is why there are more stay-at-home mothers than stay-at-home fathers. But men are more thing oriented. Why do you think husbands tend to be the lawn care and car repair and carpenters of the household? We all go with our strengths.

Comparative advantage: look it up.

If it were not for women men would not have life.

And now we arrive in Stupid Town. If it were not for men, women would not have life. We are a sexually dimorphic species. Does my interlocutor even understand how sex works?

The biology is quite clear, no matter how much “gender theory” makes it all seem very queer.

If a couple is divorced or the wife dies she will go on, but a man will be looking for someone else to take care of him very quickly.

I am going to pass on the illogic of the first clause, instead do the right thing and concentrate on the intended meaning. So, why are men more likely to seek to remarry than women? (If that is indeed the case, and not just a memory glitch or availability bias mis-judgment.) Might not this disparity be a result of the fact that it is easier for a woman to get on welfare than a man to get government assistance cleaning house?

But I wonder if my interlocutor is aware of MGTOW.

Women put up with an enormous amount of disrespect, and unappreciation that men don’t have to.

And men get a lot of disrespect that women do not have to. And a huge lack of freakin’ appreciation. How, otherwise, to explain male homelessness as so much a bigger problem than female homelessness? Why are their so many shelters for abused wives but so few for abused husbands, despite the near-even ratio of actual abuse? (Yes, women can and do violently abuse men — as well as make false rape claims, stick men with child support for the children of other men, and much more.) Why the assumption that in rape cases the man is said to be guilty (I just heard a woman on TV, in a discussion of rape, say “women have a right to be believed”) even if the only “evidence” usually provided is nothing more than an accusation — do we think women lie less than men do?

The whole set-up of modern society is the result of men bending over backwards for women, formally and informally, through government and personal effort, both.

Truth is, men are expendable. Women, less so. Think: “women and children first!” And yes, it comes back to biology, survival of the fittest . . . societies. It is about the nature of investment in children, and that old bedrock difference: many spermatozoa, much semen . . . versus scarce eggs.

So, have we learned anything, here?

Feminism has encouraged women to show and feel solidarity for other members of their sex. Men do not have anything like that. Men are, on the whole, more individualistic. They do not even tend to carry on gripes of this nature, as exhibited by the witless paragraph of the woman I quoted.

I present her prejudiced, thoughtless case as yet another attempt to advance Women’s Honor — and I offer it as Exhibit A in the defense of men against the calumny of feminists.

But, really, I do not want to defend men. I am not very sympathetic to the general run of male kind. But my natural liking for female kind is wearing awfully thin, with each repeated exposure to feminist bullshit.

I mean: cow shit.

twv

Timothy Wirkman Virkkala

re: ongoing sexual misconduct revelations

Much is being said about power dynamics, inequalities of power and the problems people have with sexual relations between people on different levels of a hierarchy. And there is indeed much to be said for this perspective. But in several ways this relentless rehash of the same perspective — a litany of standard feminist analysis — masks a few truths. Or possible truths, of which I here make some I-hope-plausible conjectures:

IMG_20801. The main issue in sexual “harassment” situations — though definitely not when it steps up a level or two to rape — is a kind of breach of contract. When somebody higher in an institutional hierarchy brings sex into the workplace, that is a de facto change of the job description from whatever the professional relationship was to whoremongering and procurement. Most of those subjected to such jarring contractual shifts should object to such a move.

2. It may not be power that corrupts but some other factor, or perhaps some factor in addition to hierarchical power. Yesterday I speculated (on this site) that this other (perhaps additional) factor might be feminism itself, and the false promise of equality it offers but cannot deliver. Today I should mention the obvious: the bulk of these allegations are boiling up in the entertainment and political realms. Why is this? Because these are beset on all sides by hierarchical inequalities? Well, those exist in most walks of life. Perhaps it is because the people in these fields are all flirting with . . .

3. harlotry. Traditionally, actors and actresses were considered whores. And not without reason. They pretend to be other people for money, and their lives are taken up with falsity. They do things in a fake-but-“real” way. And they know it. Many of them fake sexual relations on stage or screen. Many, many are or were “models” — people cultivated to look good, and thus serve as sexual and beauty “objects” for others. Models, remember, are attention whores. Actors, too, are attention whores. Even politicians are attention whores. Is it any wonder that people engaged in activities one or two small steps removed from actual prostitution should behave, then, like pimps?

Indeed, to discover that near-whores and especially their managers and overseers adopt sexually transgressive behaviors should hardly surprise anyone. And, further, one reason for the belated tattling on all this misconduct could simply be that the “abused” targets of apparently unwanted sexual attention and sexual displays  and advances (“propositions”) took so long in going public may also have something to do with the expectations of whores and near-whores. Acting, especially, probably seems to many of its artistic aspirants to be something somewhat seedy. And when you are in a seedy business, what are the boundaries? The victims could themselves be in honest quandary. Not a predicament so much as a conceptual and moral muddle.

If this be the case, then perhaps one reason we see so much of this kind of conduct is not just that the industry/profession is corrupting, but also that

4. its known features attract the kind of person who aims to be transgressive. Power attracts; harlotry attracts absolutely.

Be that as it may (or may not) it is the case that much of the current brouhaha strikes me not so much anger at sexual crimes (though there is certainly that, and some of this uneasily hovers on the line between the merely icky to the obviously criminal) but as

5. just another puritanical moral panic. Americans are especially susceptible to this sort of thing. And it should be remembered: this is largely branded with the stamp of leftist politics and ideology, not social conservatism. And yet this sure feels like a puritanical conservatism. But there is no mystery here; this is not at all anamolous. Generally, today, the Left has become the “conservatives” and the Right the “liberals.”

Which is, I think, the cream of the jest. I could go on and on, even giving advice — and I really do think that America does not prepare its youngsters in the ways of the world, so that the targets of some ugly or criminal advance are not courageous in their reactions, and that this should be generally addressed — but the truth is, most of this seems not to be my business.

And many of the stories bandied about get attention from the lick-smacking puritans manqué.

I have never witnessed this kind of thing . . . in those around me. Yes, my own very physical person has been sexually groped by strangers, but on those few occasions that this did happen, I did not freak out or even for a moment surmise that I had been “assaulted.” An unwanted hand moving where no invitation had been given was easy for me to remove and discourage.

Obviously, I have led a nicely sheltered life. I have never been raped. And those whom I know to have been raped were so abused far from my ambit of protection.

Rape is a horrible thing, and my speculations, above, are not about rape. The speculations above are about sexual propositions and exposures as well as lewd comments and suggestions and flirtations.

And in those cases, especially when having occurred long ago, the dredging up of the stories amidst truly horrifying allegations of actual rape strike me as dangerous. They seem like attempts to upgrade offenses to crimes, and may have the unwanted side effect of downgrading, in the general public judgment, crimes to offenses of etiquette.

So, those who have true tales to tell of creepy behavior — if those tales do not rise to the level of rape or actual criminal assault, do not name names. Discuss the offenses? Sure. But name names only in the worst cases.

Do not jump on the mania train, please. Do not send the culture into another of our insane moral crowd madnesses.

twv

 

IMG_2031

 

So, comedian Louis C.K. has been caught in the commotion, this . . . warlock hunt. He has admitted to making inappropriate sexual . . . displays.

“These stories are true,” C.K. says in a statement sent by his rep Lewis Kay. “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my d–k without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your d–k isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”

My take?

Woman flashes tits at a man: cheers all around; jubilation.

Man whips out his dick: the sky falls down; night terrors.

Lesson?

IMG_2027There is no equality between men and women. We cannot even have a rough parity. The double standard still exists and it always will — at least until we have morphed away from sex, after we have deeply embraced some cyborgian future. (Mere “gender” non-conformity will not do.)

Yes. Feminism is dead, even as feminists whoop up shouts of triumph.

That being said, I am amazed that an apparently intelligent man would think springing out the pud early on in a relationship, or in a carelessly prepared context, is a good thing, or a sexy thing.

“Men are such dicks.”

Well, I guess so.

But to what extent have men like Louis C.K. been misled by feminism itself? We are told that “everybody’s equal.” And so men not unreasonably extrapolate from their fantasies to their behavior: “Hey, it would be great if Tig Natarro flashed her tits at me! So, why not show her my dick?”

IMG_2031The Golden Rule in action? Do as would be done by.

But the Golden Rule is hardly a rule at all, as I have argued before. The Silver Rule is a bit better: Don’t do as you would dislike being done to.

And here we have to remember the inequality. For people are not equal. And it is not Tig (or some other nominally attractive woman or better) who should serve as your paradigm case: better would be some woman you find disgusting, some fat, ugly, unpleasant person. Or your mother (on the other end of the spectrum, I hope). Someone you don’t want to fuck.

True reciprocity is not always easy to figure, and one’s first conjecture about a relationship may deeply misconstrue the actual nature of the relationship.

Which is one reason that sticking close to traditional habits of decorum continues to be such a good idea: you do not know how to calculate all the features of human interaction; you lack the specific knowledge of context-from-another’s point of view, or of their desires and standards. (It is also the reason that act-utilitarianism makes so much less sense than rule-utilitarianism.)

But we do not live in a traditional context. So that confuses us. Men have been told for such a long time that “we should treat men and women as the same” that no wonder they galumph into one predicament after another.

Now, Louis C.K. admits that “asking permission” to engage in sexual display puts women into a “predicament.” True. But the whole modern project of sexual equality puts men into a predicament. Many men eagerly take up the explicit terms of the movement, not realizing that it was never about those explicit terms. “Equality” is a term of art at best. The art? Advancing the status of women in society. Men are not being advanced much at all. Men are supposed to “just adapt.” Make way.

IMG_2080Hardly fair. But fairness has little to do with all this, either.

But look, some of this modern predicament is merely comeuppance. Much of feminism is male fantasy. And men are discovering that they have not gained what they thought feminism would provide them: women who behave more like men. Which is something so many men want. They yearn for women to behave in ways they understand. They want the sexual interplay to be done The Male Way. They want fun. They want freedom. They want . . . minimal responsibility.

You cannot have it, men. You will always be held responsible. Which is why when feminists talk equality, you must knowingly nod your head, but, privately, or in the company of other men, remind yourselves: there is no real equality; women are not men, or even very much like them in some important ways; feminists are speaking fiction and lies; everything has costs; the feminist pretense is not utopian but dystopian.

It is up to us. For it is quite obvious that ambitious women have been so misled by feminism that they, too, haven’t a clue. One moment they demand to be treated as equals, the next? Shrieking, shrinking damsels in distress.

And now there is the mob, vindictive.

Well, it is not me being attacked, so, well, sparse sympathy from me. Men: grow up. Do what you have been telling the rest of us to do. But think. Do not follow. Lead.

And feminism? It is poison, best taken in very small doses.

twv

cropped-discriminations-rational-tao1

 

 

 

 

N.B. Mariah Carey’s problems may seem to be a reverse of the usual order. And perhaps they are. But I confess: I find the lawsuit to be ridiculous, and have little sympathy for the bodyguard suing her. Perhaps more discussion is needed. Though frankly, as an employee you have to define what you will not do, or put up with. The proper response is probably, “You realize that you have broken the rules here, right, ma’am? More of this and I walk out the door — and you realize that breach of contract negotiations will be made public.”

Also note: children are not equal to adult men (or women), either. Which is why there are laws such as “statutory rape” and legal principles to protect the young. The case of Anthony Edwards shows how molestation can occur for years — and here again (and we are getting a lot of these, eh, Kevin Spacey?) the attitude must be to protect the vulnerable. Which is why relationships that might be, on a stretch, acceptable or dismissible for adult men perhaps even in hierarchical relations is not so when children or youths are involved with older people, adults.

McInnes on Hannity with feminist

Gavin McInnes makes some good points in his recent video on a certain type of “journalist” he does not like, a group of censorious, moralistic women he calls the Spinster Police:

But he insists that these women writers are not good at their job. An odd charge. For it is quite obvious that the female journalists he is talking about are doing precisely what they are hired to do: give half-assed and half-assessed arguments mixed with invective, calumny and virtue signaling — all in the cause of “social justice” and “feminism” and a bunch of allied isms.

I would say that they are doing a fine job as demagogues, as harridans, as scolds. They may even win, and reap the whirlwind as ultimate reward. Cultists sometimes do.

Now, McInnes often repeats a claim that women would be happier, on the whole, were they to do what they are evolutionary designed to be best at, something that men cannot do: give birth to and nurture human life. Wasting time on once-predominantly male occupations does not make them happy, he says, it makes them frustrated.

And kind of pathetic.

This is no doubt true for many such women. The Cat Lady phenomenon is a little hard to take. And all the mantras of “independence,” the repeated rationales. Methinks the ladies do protest too much.

But from this it does not follow that women who forswear family life for dubious careers are bad at their careers. Many are fantastic writers, lawyers, doctors, what-have-you. But still unsatisfied. Why? For the simple reason that careers qua careers are not as satisfying as women have been told, have been telling themselves.

Feminism gained much impetus from envy. Or at least plain covetousness. Some women coveted the positions of successful, alpha males. And out of this covetousness feminism grew. In the cause of equal rights and responsibilities, this was fine, so far as it goes, but covetousness, once upgraded from vice to virtue, becomes all-consuming.

And the trouble with desiring what somebody else has is the tendency to forget what one already has, or has the best chance of obtaining. It is not much different than other vices, especially miserliness. The miser so obsesses about money that he forgets what money is for: spending now and saving to spend in the future. It is not about hoarding. Similarly, covetousness over-values what others have and under-values what the covetous have. And in the case of feminist women, what became under-valued is motherhood itself, the biological function and social institution necessary for the continuation of the species.

If you choose against your nature, prepare for the consequences. They can be vast.

In the case of many women, what careers get them is often a stunted or negligible family life: often no marriage, and either no children, one child only, or (the worst) de facto fatherless children.

Now, having only one or two children is part of a major pattern that comes with wealth acquisition: the substitution of quantity of children for quality of children. (See Theodore Schultz’s 1981 opus, Investing in People.) And, because of the small size of families, each child becomes super-important to the mothers, and that is quite a bond, one that I wish not to challenge at all — well, other than to note how big the cultural change is when most children come from small homes: risk averse parenting (because of the increased marginal utility of each child) leads to sheltered, over-protected children which in turn engenders spoiled, whiny, demanding, insufferable adults.

But back to our career women, especially those who are single and childless. They may be very good at what they do. But that does not mean that they have chosen wisely. Even if they are extremely competent, it can still be the case that it makes more sense to invest their lives in motherhood. Motherhood is natural, and one would have to cultivate an Epicurean or an existentialist anti-naturalism to make that pay off. More importantly, however, may be comparative advantage.

Say a woman has found a suitable mate with whom to procreate and establish a family. Even if the woman is better at her market-based job than be her husband, her comparative advantage may still be motherhood. What one should do is not always a maximization of a particular goal, but a situation- and opportunity-dependent satisficing.

No man can bear a child; most women can. Though men can indeed nurture children, women do tend to have a developed-by-evolution skillset to do that much better. Which means that time spent away from making a home and producing future humans, with all the joys and sorrows that entails, is apt to appear (ceteris paribus) much more enticing than doing the career thing.

Besides, as Dr. Jordan Peterson insists, most people do not have careers. They have jobs. Real careers are demanding and all-absorbing. Not univocally good life choices. Not without tremendous costs. If one can be fulfilled outside the market environment, why preclude it?

So, my point against Gavin McInnes is not that he is wrong about the advantages that women can find by embracing motherhood, or his oft-expressed arguments about how very different the fatherhood role is. It is just that the case for more women choosing motherhood and family life over careerism does not rest on the idea that they tend to suck at careers. It is, instead, that they have such a comparative advantage for family work that even in many cases where they are extremely competent — even genius — at their jobs, opting for family life often makes more sense.

The cream of the jest, though, resides in the cases Gavin focuses on: of extremely attractive women in media jobs. He mocks a professional woman who scorned the family option of motherhood but nevertheless got a facelift. Wives rarely get facelifts for husbands, unless very rich. They get facelifts to land a husband, or — and this is key — keep them in the job market longer.

You see, in media, as in the performing arts, it really helps to look great.

It is amazing, to me, to see so many good looking musicians. Does good looks naturally skew with musical talent? Writing talent? News commentary? Lawyering? That has not been my street-level, workplace-level experience. But it is so at the higher levels. Why? Because people like to look at good-looking people, and so, when the public is involved, or many clients are involved, good looks aids and even trumps talent.

Which brings us not to sexism but to lookism.

Looks, for women, has long been the chief lire for sexual attraction. But instead of honing their looks to obtain the coöperation of one man, for mating, career women hone their looks to obtain repeat business from a long string of customers, clients, and fans. This means they are nudged to pay more attention to their looks than they likely would under family life. Farding up for one man, invested primarily early in the relationship, swapped for farding up late in life for a huge audience? A daring exchange.

What a woman who swaps marriage for career finds out is what many men have long known: whoring is at the core of capitalism. The woman who marries and has children does is whore herself but once. In a career, she does what workingmen do: whore herself out every day.

Quite an inglorious end to the coveting of “what men have.”

And it is interesting to see what has really happened here: women have coveted only the top positions in society. They rarely covet the dangerous jobs, the messy jobs. There is, as is now common to notice, no cry for women’s workplace parity with men in logging, fishing, trash removal, etc. And the demands for the more glamorous of dangerous jobs, like policing and firefighting, have led to the erosion of standards in those callings. Women tend not to be as strong and hardy as men, so becoming cops and firefighters is harder for them, unless the bars for entrance are often lowered, to the public’s endangerment.

The problem with high-profile women scorning family life and marriage and even men, and scorning child-bearing, is not that it does not work for some of these women. After all, we want people of both sexes to choose what best suits them. The real problem is that it sets up a class system. The really attractive career women succeed in front of our eyes; they constantly defend their cause, ballyhooing their life choices — and this is not, for reasons unknown to me, usually interpreted as elaborate self-justification. And by doing this they provide a horrible example . . . for less attractive women, less career-oriented women. These less-blessed women go on to adopt values that channel them into unprofitable lifestyles wherein they become stuck in bad jobs while under-producing the one good that might make them happier: children. The reward is minimal, the opportunity cost tremendous.

And the now-common feminist scorn for men, the belief they are unimportant for women, sends too many mothers and their children into the Dependent Caste, perpetually stuck on state aid, trapped.

So, it is time for feminists to find it within themselves to praise motherhood. Further,

  • hating on men as fathers is not doing women in general any good;
  • the substitution of the welfare state for fathers has been a bad deal;
  • the valorization of that most unnatural of activities, market labor, above the more natural economy of family life, was doomed from the start to frustrate women.

And the great irony of this shift? Women forever courting the dreaded “male gaze” — but instead of to please one man, they fard up to please the masses of men.

Some swap.

twv

 

Pensive Baboon
Human beings may resemble baboons too much to abide by the morality that civilization crystallizes for us. This is why the most popular political movements incorporate baboonish elements into the mix — to make our conceptions of “the right” more palatable to hearts bent primarily on “might” — upon domination and violence and exploitation.

It is also why, across the political spectrum, you will find bizarre violent and irrational undercurrents: lust for war; hatred of material progress; collectivism; tribalism; servility; sexism; racism; groupthink …

But what happened to that one troop of baboons who lost their alpha males….