Archives for category: sexology

I pity the young.

They’ve been programmed to believe that because some men do bad things, we all do bad things, and that when some of those bad things are sexual abuse of women, that makes us all “misogynists.” And “trash.” But listen:

  • You are not trash for wanting sexual relations with women.
  • You are not trash for being forward about it.
  • You may be, however, if you are disgusting about it. (“Trashy,” at least.)
  • You definitely are if you use force to get what you desire.

The crimes of a few (or even the many) does not imbue you with guilt, ineluctably.

IMG_2026Yes, these thoughts are brought to you by a specific essay that has been brought to my attention: “How, If You’re a Man, To Deal with the Fact that You’re Trash,” by Damon Young.

I pity Young himself.

But I am not going to critique his dreadful confession of intellectual cravenness. I will let you read it and judge for yourself.

I am on a rant here.

The problem of the present age is that the only form of chivalry left is what has been subsumed by feminism, which is chivalry metamorphosed and corrupted.

And the only form of modesty with current cultural cachet appears to be the hyper-faux-puritanism of major media scolds.

img_2320Why does the puritanical mindset so quickly lead to witch (and warlock) hunts?

I pity the young. They have not been taught the skills to recognize b.s. when they encounter it. They do not seem to realize that most messages they receive are not simple but complex, and one need not accept or reject anything wholesale. Pick at the ideas, men. Prescind one notion from another. Discover principles. Take ideas apart, see what the consequences may be, and then slowly start putting them back together.

If you’d do that, then you would see that much of what is dominating Twitter and cable news is trash talk cruelty and bigotry. It is that way not because important issues are being raised, but because important stuff is being wed to triviality.

IMG_2080And let’s get real: if people would consider marriage as the primary outlet for sexual passion, a lot of this would change. A lot of this is the de facto sexual freedom we have, and the unprepared reactions to it by men (and women) of ambition.

I pity the young. They are caught in the rush of history and it is not slowing down even as it reaches the ocean of oblivion.

twv

Brain

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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

Bill Clinton's Shadow

This just in — in the mail:

Richard Posner's Sex and Reason.

I have been meaning to read this book since it first came out. I wanted to review it, but the magazine I worked for at the time was run by a crazy boss, and his rule was that review copies that came in belonged to him, and, alas, not to his employees even if they reviewed the book in the magazine.

Talk about unreasonable! So I never read it, never reviewed it. Such was the magazine’s loss.

Anyway, Posner’s tome could not come at a more auspicious time, for taboo sexual relations all the way from risqué jokes up the ladder of evil to rape are on our minds.

But I have not read it yet. So I cannot comment. What I can honestly comment on are yet more elements of the current wave of sex abuse allegations. And have. Though some, like previously today, I would not direct to strangers on Facebook, others I did place on that site. Like this, below:

While I believe (or at least “strongly suspect”) that the Roy Moore and Hollywood sex scandal pile-ons are true, my caution advises me to bracket out all opportunistic and witch-hunty accusation binges, and suggest discounting them as possible fabrications.

I remember the mania of Satanic child-abuse cases in the ’80s and ’90s, all of which turned out to be false. But they looked so real at the time. (Though I had doubts, back then, big doubts from the beginning . . . largely because I know that children fib regularly, and are easily manipulable.) When there is a “cause” that leads people to pile on, some of those doing the piling are almost invariably opportunistic liars. The trouble is, we have no way, by hearsay and reporting alone, to judge such accusations. So we don’t really know what to make of most of them.

Then, I wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore even if he were a eunuch on estrogen.

It is true. I do believe most of these accounts. I speculated yesterday why so many people in the public eye seem to have these problems, and I guess I should reiterate at least one point: those who are given to breaking basic taboos are also the same kind of person to take up professions where those taboos are easiest to flout, and which feed the egos of the people doing the flouting.

But I am greatly worried about all the precipitous judgments outside courts of laws, especially when it all depends upon testimony and nothing else.

It’s not just that men can be corrupted by situations of power, and seek out those situations because of a predilection for corruption itself, but also because women (and anyone, for that matter) can be corrupted by waves of accusation, by herd behavior, mobbing. And no doubt some of these accusations are opportunistic lies.

They are, I think, this: too much too late.

Had they been made earlier, then the crimes (or slights) could justly find proper redress. Now it just looks bad, even in cases where the accusations are true and the accused are in the wrong.

This being said, when The Atlantic, today, published an article taking up the feminist movements near-united defense of the oft-accused Bill Clinton, I tagged my Facebook post “It’s about freakin’ time.”

twv


P.S. And then, in the Schadenfreude Department:

And a sensible perspective, with a proposal:

P.P.S. A final thought of some substance: The context of a sexual offensive maneuver can turn it from a slight of etiquette to an assault. For instance, a disgusting suggestion when you have exit from a room may be just that, a disgusting suggestion. But if someone has blocked the door and looms over you saying it, it does indeed become something much more serious. (I wrote this before watching the Feminism KEK video by Diana Davison. And yes, this too was pulled from Facebook.)

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.

a thesis sans argument*:

IMG_3872Amusingly, what makes the infamous and much-castigated “social Darwinists” conceivably Darwinistic is not so much the theory of natural selection, especially construed as a “survival of the fittest” by way of a ruthless weeding out of weak individuals, but, instead, a reliance upon sexual selection as the basis of human breeding. By defending a dispersed responsibility for begetting and rearing children, the individualists** completely relied upon individuals to choose their own mates and determine their own fates, as well as that of following generations.

This quasi-Darwinistic social vision of the individualists was challenged and replaced by a new hard-headed view of society — in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — that of the social engineers associated with Fabian Socialism and American Progressivism. Their new vision was not so much “Darwinian” as “Galtonian,” in that it carried social engineering to the extreme of coercive eugenics.

This did not mimic either of Darwin’s great contributions, Natural Selection or Sexual Selection.

The principle to which the new social engineers appealed was quite old-fashioned and understood by folks prior to Darwin: Artificial Selection. They insisted upon direct human control of the process of selecting qualities to breed into future generations. Sure, the selection criteria “were scientific” — just as breeders of cattle and dogs were careful in their arrangements of livestock mating — but in no way dispersed.

Their idea was to concentrate (centralize) choice (or at the very least the “breeding out” criteria and enforcement) into the hands of experts. It was thus sexual selection turned artificial.

An old idea, to some extent (since marriages were historically subject to arrangements by clans and courts, to encourage the inheritance of some traits, usually non-biological traits such as wealth and power), but now more expicitly statist, and in theory defocused from families and focused wider onto society as a whole. To be managed by the State.

Yes, social engineering and eugenics were indeed promoted as “scientific” during the heady, early days of Progressivism, and Darwin’s name was often . . . taken in vain.

Darwin had nothing to do with the outrageous notion of applying Artificial Selection to human populations at the macro-social (societal) level. His theory of sexual selection indicated, instead, a more dispersed process that explained adaptation and speciation.

The eugenicists of Progressivism were engaging, on the other hand, in a scientistic misappropriation of Darwin’s legacy, and it was the earlier individualists, relying instead mostly on invisible hand processes of nature and society, who were closer to the spirit of evolutionary science.

But, in fairness, the eugenics movement had its scientific backers. The term eugenics itself was coined by Sir Francis Galton, Darwin’s cousin once removed. And Galton was no slouch, revolutionizing statistics and the research of inheritance.

Tipping the hat to Galton, honesty and precision suggests an alternative to “social Darwinism,” societal Galtonism.***

Resting upon Galton’s obsessions, the statist eugenicists donned the mantle of science. Within a half century of the eugenics heyday, progressive intellectuals, under the guise of “liberalism,” rewrote the history and jiggered with the concepts to obscure the enormity that their parent generation had embraced whole-heartedly. And, twist of the proverbial knife, they castigated the earlier individualists as cruel “social Darwinists” when the real crimes — their tradition’s — were far more directly inhumane and unchristian, and more plausibly a misappropriation of evolutionary theory.

Politics and ideology are full of droll reversals of fortune.

The memes that survive must serve functions, yes, but they are selected, artificially selected by humans with interests. And “social Darwinism” has served progressives for a long time, helping them bury the sorry history of their own movement by deflecting to others the apt charge of scientism.

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* This post is admittedly mostly just assertion. But I hope the reader will forgive me for floating the notion before I find time to defend it. Maybe I should do a Kickstarter campaign to fund my elaboration of this and allied ideas!

** I am mostly referring to Herbert Spencer here, though the Americans John Fiske and William Graham Sumner might also fit into this category as relevant.

*** A Google search called up just one comments-section coinage of “social Galtonism,” but “social,” to my ear, more properly applies to micro- and meso-levels of human interaction than the macro level, so the uglier adjective “societal” makes a quantum of sense.

Offensively sexist Wikipedia entry:

Roosters almost always start crowing before four months of age. Although it is possible for a hen to crow as well, crowing (together with hackles development) is one of the clearest signs of being a rooster.

It is only the Cockocracy that keeps hens from crowing.

IMG_3847If it weren’t for cockerel oppression, hens would have an equal station at the roost, protecting the brood, perhaps trading off. In a true chicken coöp coop, the cocks would share in nesting chores, allowing hens to patrol the grounds, too. And besides, keeping other cocks from entering the territory is just cock-of-the-walk privilege. The hens should be able to choose from a variety of cocks, and prevent any one cock from dominating the walk.

In the coopunistic future, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch she wishes, chickendom regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for chickens to do one thing today and another tomorrow — hens would be able to lay eggs and nest in the morning, peck in the afternoon, roost in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have in mind, without ever becoming nester, rooster, pecker or critic.

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oldmastersexpainting

Yesterday I liberated from the overgrown jungle of Facebook a brief and characteristic-of-the-age Q&A, placing it here. But that short burst of re-iterations — restatements of my basic set of objections to modish (postmodern?) sexuality/social construction theory and intersectionalist politics — is obviously not enough. Some day I must make a definitive statement. But even before that time, there is something else I must do.

Some time back I made a more lengthy and rhetorically loaded against the theory — “I do not care about your ‘gender’” — which was itself a reiteration of points I’d made earlier. And Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan challenged me on my post, in the comments section.

That challenge deserves a reply more extensive than the one I gave initially. Or, at least I should take on points not initially handled. So here goes.

The Œconomist Mac Kiernan wonders about my attitude, which I will not directly address, since it can be read in all that follows. More interestingly, he states that he does indeed recognize that “the people who speak and write most vociferously about gender theory themselves confuse the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘gender’” — a point I often make. I often draw from it the conclusion that the innovation of “gender” is thereby likely a mistake. But I could very well be wrong, at least to make this inference. He goes on to insist that this need not be the norm: “some of those of us who write less vociferously are also consistently careful to recognize the difference between physiological states and rôles that have been associated with those states by psychological factors, some idiosyncratic and some involving interaction with other persons.”

There is a lot to unpack here, and I am probably not the one to do the unpacking. But while gender is said to be the social aspect built on the biological foundation of sex, no matter the extent to which gender is an individually chosen role, an assigned role, a socially promoted role, a socially tolerated role, a socially deprecated role — even perhaps taboo — it does seem to me about roles. That has been my reading of the concept, anyway. So I wonder about this:

While gender is plainly associated with sex, I don’t know that gender can be reduced to a sex rôle, in-so-far as there may be more than one gender associated with a sex, and I believe that there may me more than one sex associated with a gender. We now see the latter, at least as a sub-cultural phenomenon, in our own nation.

Of course there may be more than one gender associated with a sex. That was the original idea. Non-problematic from the original theorists’ point of view. And, yes, both men and women (adult male and female humans) can play a single role (that of, say, subservient homemaker, or breadwinner, or what-have-you). I am not sure what is the big deal here. Indeed, I do not see why we need “gender” to explain this. People choose different functions in social groups, and that is to be expected, since there is a division not only of labor in society, but of leisure, also.

Indeed, what is gained by talking about gender over role and social functionality? The very word is derived from a classificatory scheme.* But people are individuals first, and classified role-players second. Instantiations of roles are almost infinite, because each individual is different, at least to some degree. That socially recognized role functions get promoted in society is of course a big deal, but so is individual choice. But the idea that individuals must create newly named social role functions in order to become the people they wish to become strikes me as nipples on a bull’s belly: not necessary. Individuals may simply diverge as they choose, and, in an open society, decide not to conform to standards A, B, and C, but perhaps to D or E, even if such standards are not socially prevalent, normed.

A lot of the angst behind gender theory is the angst of people making identities for themselves in terms of closed society norms while creating and participating in increasingly open societies. But instead of embracing the evolving openness as an individualist option, they are insisting that every role choice be socially defined and accepted, and any resistance to it a sign of oppression.

This all strikes me as the anxieties of the Last Man. (The Last Man being a Feminist, or a Mangina.) These are all examples of Sartre’s “bad faith.” My objections to gender theory are partially on this existentialist-individualist line. Gender obsessions among postmoderns (Last Men) are evasions of responsibility by trying to construe the freedom of an open society as an embattled group-interest cultural war in closed-society terms.

Whatever we may conclude about gender, there are plainly people who are intersexed, having more traits of the male sex and of the female sex in combination than we find in “textbook” models. These people were once simply concluded to be in some way defective, but defects only exist relative to purposes of some sorts. It seems to me that if these people are content as they are, then there is no defect to be corrected. And if the only source of discontent associated with their physical states is that society treats them as defective, then they have a prima facie case for social change. If we pity them, it should be as we pity anyone treated badly by society. Likewise for those born sexless.

Well, yes. But of course there is a “purpose.” It is the one set by evolution. If you are born with your heart out of your chest, you are born defective. If you are born without the genitals associated with either the male or the female, you are a defective.

I was born with several disorders at birth, which showed up as infantile glaucoma and, later in life, a substernal goiter. I am a defective. I know it. I have always known it. That’s just the truth.

This is not a difficult concept. The question is not whether there are defectives, but how to treat them. As civilization has progressed, we learn that we more and more physical and mental defectives can be socially useful and socially tolerable. Indeed, we discover that our bad treatment of defectives hurts our society almost as much as it hurts them.

Thus I see one problem with gender theory as not properly dealing with defects. Indeed, I regard this as the modern goody-two-shoes vice: lying about reality because reality seems harsh. We have options to ameliorate reality. They can include honesty.

But somehow rarely do.

This is not to say that what is defective under one perspective cannot serve as an advantage under another. My lack of stereoscopic vision saved me from any enticement in sports, which I tend to regard as a great social nuisance. But that does not mean that my poor eyesight (and, growing up, slight frame) should not be seen as defective. Nicely, conveniently for me, other talents and abilities more than made up for my physical shortfalls.

Perhaps my attitude to gender theory derives in no small part from my attitude towards my own defects, growing up. I developed my own sense of self, and had no models ready at hand. I rejected many messages coming at me. Sure, I was not good at sports. But, I realized fairly quickly that I did not care (and had not ever really cared) about such socially normed activity. I turned my attention elsewhere. Had I been one of those more normal boys who had always wanted to be a baseball pitcher or some such waste of time, I would have had greater difficulty. Sure. But the lesson is still valuable: accentuate the positive; do not bother yourself with what is too expensive to fix; prepare for the best and avoid the worst. Give up on impossible dreams.

What one should do if one dislikes one’s own body more than I did — if one cannot stand one’s own genitals, for instance — I am probably not the best to advise. But I do have some perspective on the situation, and I take that perspective in my many criticisms of what I regard as leftist lunacy regarding sexual matters.

And, really: are there “plenty of people” who are intersexed? There are a very few people, by population. (It is also worth noting that these people are not primarily suffering from “gender” problems but sexual/somatic disorders.)

And let me restate more clearly: there are many defectives. Ugly people, fat people, stupid people, weak people. Indeed, there are so many defectives and so many valid perspectives under which we can be defined as in some way defective that we can say that we are, nearly all of us, defectives — only in different ways. This recognition of limitations is the beginning of wisdom. It is the beginning of folly to pretend that defects are not defects.

It’s baldly true that what is called “sexual reässignment surgery” cannot turn men into women nor women into men; at present, surgery cannot even give a genuine new breast to a woman who has lost one! But that doesn’t established that sexual reässignment surgery is always a bad idea. Surgery can be used to counterfeit various sorts of changes, to good effect — for example, a counterfeit breast for the aforementioned woman. It seems to me that sexual reässignment surgery may be in the same category.

I am not saying that sex changes are not a good idea (though the evidence is far more indicative of its perils than its benefits); what I was saying, I thought, was that such manipulations are not “gender” reässignment. Sex change surgery is, instead, a somatic alteration. Sure, you may do what you want. But note what is happening when a person who suffers from a sexual identity crisis has surgery to change his or her body into her or his body: it switches a so-called (perceived; constructed) gender problem into a somatic problem. Basically, a psychological and moral problem into a problem for medical technicians. But since the sexual reässignment surgeries are still quite primitive — have you seen what passes for a penis at the end of such procedures? I’d prefer a vagina and make do! (vice versa for constructed vaginas) — the results are often gruesome. And extremely inconvenient. Quite a lot of bother.

Once again, as far as I’m concerned, normally-bodied folks may (should be allowed to) alter themselves to become freaks, or freaks may try to become less freakish (I may sometimes advise it),  but that is not my issue. My issue is lying about what is being done.

Or even creating moral fictions to smooth over the bumps of the inconveniences of nature and circumstance.

I am very interested in moral fictions, but I try not tp engage in many, myself. Indeed, when somebody catches me in one, I enjoy (after picking at a psychological scab or two) exploring another element of fiction in everyday life. Fiction is extremely important in the course of civilization, for individual persons as well as at meso- and macro-level society. But to be a philosopher is to be able to distinguish fact from fiction, truth from lies — and speculate where the lines should be drawn when they can be drawn competently. (My theory of rights incorporates a theory of moral and legal fiction.)

I don’t think that anyone born of one sex can somehow know by introspection that he or she has the brain of another sex. We’re not telepaths; even those of us who are content with our birth sexes know others of our sex only through the lens of gender! But if someone can be made significantly more comfortable as a counterfeited male or as a counterfeited female, taking hormones for the rest of his or her life, this seems to me to be fundamentally analogous to someone with, say, a face transplant, taking anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his or her life. I don’t see a reason to avoid the person, nor to smirk at the choice.

I am fine with most of this. But my smirk comes from the desperation to be something one is not and cannot be. What one cannot change one may be advised not to try. Those who insist on trying, and failing miserably, are the subject of comedy. That is what comedy is about, exactly such failures.

Of course, that is what tragedy is about, too.

I say this as a somewhat comic figure myself. As indicated above, I grew up knowing myself to be physically defective. And I now know (am made daily aware) that I am in physical decline. I am aging; death is nearer at hand every day. And though that may seem tragic from my perspective, it cannot be so for everyone else: they have their own lives to live until they can no longer muster the resources. I have no social and moral standing to make others pity me overmuch. Indeed, that is the lesson of Tolstoy’s “Death of Ivan Ilyich.” Let us not lie as we die. Nor should we lie as we primp and preen.

Desperation to put off the inevitable is understandable, but the more desperate the less admirable. I am more inclined to the Stoic and Epicurean disciplines: accept one’s limitations. Make do. Don’t fret.

I advise individuals not to adapt themselves according to a cookie-cutter “gender construct,” but define themselves as persons first and foremost.

If one sees little to offer in a standard model of sexual behavior, fine; embrace your inner eccentric. I have done that. I have never formed a long-term pair bond, and have never produced children, much less raised children to maturity. But I have never lied to myself about the cost of my choices. Or, at least I have tried not to lie.

When eccentrics prescribe for the centric we enter the realm of the problematic. Surely bachelors, spinster, openly homosexual, et al. must realize that they cannot be models for the common run of mankind. And it seems obvious . . . what must be considered the central story of any species is its sexual reproductive story. Individuals who do not participate in this activity directly must expect to incur costs of not doing so. To choose to live tangentially or orthogonally to the central story of life means one cannot directly participate in its benefits. And we should expect that this central story remain central. To not continue to place it at the center is to choose decay — by which I mean death of the social group, even death of the species.

Gender theory is, as near as I can make out, consistently, and with maddening repetition, anti-heteronormative. And heteronormativity strikes me as not merely an understandable cultural adaptation to biological and economic reality, it is necessary. We must define as decadent those practices that oppose the continuation of the species, or even the social group. Gender theory, at least in its usual pair bond with postmodernist intersectionalism, is decadence through and through.

Of course, just as there is a lot of ruin in a nation, there is always decadence in a society. And as a de facto member of a quasi-decadent social category — the “confirmed bachelor,” now known as MGTOW — I believe it to be my duty not to universalize my choice, much less undermine the social capital (heteronormativity being one) that allows society to survive and progress. Honesty demands this.

I believe gender theorists to be dishonest and decadent in the worst possible sense. They oppose the basic and necessary institutions of a society. They wish to remake the world to serve and valorize those who do not directly contribute to the continuation of civilization. What a perversity that is.

It is one thing to make room for the oddballs. It is another to redo all social arrangements to put the oddballs at the center of consideration, overthrowing normal sexually reproductive life strategies.

Family values, even. Indeed, one of the mainstays of current feminism and its embrace of “gender” theory is its utter reliance upon the State to replace the family institutions that existed prior to postmodernity. Fatherhood has been relegated to sperm donorship and forced child support payments. Motherhood is now, for increasing numbers of people, a government affair, a de facto marriage of women with the State. The norming of this allows the norming of anti-heteronormativity. The relations between the sexes have become attenuated, and all this gender talk exists within the context of the welfare state. The attenuation of social functions, like the bonds between mothers and fathers, runs parallel to the attenuation between producers and consumers, turning most folk into consumers only.

No wonder conservatives are appalled at the modern (post-modern) world. But they are completely in over their heads, because they helped create this monster.

And it is a statist monster.

If one is (as I am) skeptical of the State and its intrusive role in contemporary society, accepting gender theoretics is just another back-door meme serving to undermine an honest and subtle view of society. Gender talk serves as a lever to corrupt folks, apparently in service to the creation of a New Socialist Man, a world of Last Men where individual personhood is subsumed to State coercion at every social contact.

It is no accident that most gender theorists are out-and-out socialists. Their dream is to utterly upend society and purge all its members of individual responsibility. Directing our attention away from our own choices and towards conformity to new normed “genders” is vital, essential to their program.

And it is not a new program. Socialism, as Yves Guyot insisted years ago, only plausibly works under conditions of sexual separation and economic subsidy. This was clear in The Republic and it is clearer now, long after the death of Plato.

twv

* Late Middle English: from Old French gendre (modern genre), based on Latin genus ‘birth, family, nation’. The earliest meanings were ‘kind, sort, genus’ and ‘type or class of noun, etc.’ (which was also a sense of Latin genus).