A bridge too close

Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.
-John Locke

And nobody has to accept his claim his rights supercede their rights.

Trans ‘rights’ advocates are pushing past a once distant bridge.  They have the same rights as the rest of us.  Not among those rights is immunity to charges of indecent exposure because of their self-perception.

“[W]hat threat could possibly unite radical feminists and Christian women conservatives?

This: Feminists, Conservatives Join Forces to Oppose ‘Equality Act’

We should tolerate everyone’s perceived personhood. So long as it’s merely psychological, and not infringing.

We can be civil, nothing more is required, without having to agree with their opinion. Or being forced to use their pronouns, share bathrooms with them, or date them.

We should not let a tiny, arguably delusional, minority define personhood as “whatever I think I am at the moment.”

We should not legislate such transitory, whimsical definitions.


Gender feminist theory predicts we’d see nearly equal employment of males and females in all occupations if we could erase the ‘patriarchy.’

In STEM and managerial positions there would be more women; in health care and K-12 teaching there would be more men (a side effect of no real interest). That this is not the case is indisputable evidence of pervasive discrimination based on sex.  (Except, of course, for dangerous, physical jobs like lumberjack, oil rigger, lineman…)

The intersectionalists leading those feminists (i.e., almost all of them) are quite certain this misogyny results from the evils of capitalism, insufficient government dictation of female-friendly employment rules, and paucity of financial incentives favoring females. In short, any difference in male vs. female outcome results from deep systemic suppression of female choice.  Don’t doubt this.  James Damore did, and look what happened to him.

The root cause is white male privilege – of which capitalism and too little government coercion are but symptoms. I’m sure I’ve left out much else of the intersectionalist potpourri, but life is short.

Drawing lines from every situation ever encountered by humans to meet at a grand conspiracy theory nexus (so long as such drawing elevates your identity group’s oppression quotient) can be lots of fun, I guess. It keeps you occupied, and gives you all the perks of victimhood. Still, blaming everyone else, over all of history, for everything that isn’t perfect in your present society seems like more work than any supposed insight might be worth.

This is the theory upon which the current feminist societal prescription rests. Let’s examine some outcomes where it has been tested.  Emphasis mine.

Countries with Higher Levels of Gender Equality Show Larger National Sex Differences in Mathematics Anxiety and Relatively Lower Parental Mathematics Valuation for Girls
-Plos One, 2016

“We propose that while economic considerations may play a more prominent role in STEM-related interest for individuals living in less developed countries, intrinsic subject-specific interest will play a more important role in educational and occupational attitudes and choices for individuals living in countries with higher levels of economic well-being. When the relative role of interests become more important than the financial drivers, and when men and women have more freedom to pursue their intrinsic interests, the well established sex difference in occupational interests will become more strongly expressed [74–77]. Altogether, these patterns might explain why girls benefit less than boys in terms of reduced mathematics anxiety. For example, in more developed countries in which people engage more in activities that intrinsically interest them, girls might not engage in STEM activities as much as boys, giving them less opportunity to reduce their negative feelings about mathematics…”

In sum, wealthy societies provide more opportunity for choice. This should not be surprising. But, put another way: Free market capitalism is most likely to indulge individual “intrinsic interests.” It is a superior economic system in terms of choice – regardless of sex. And, “the well established sex difference in occupational interests will become more strongly expressed,” suggests men and women pick activities and occupations most appealing to them. Differences in outcome would not, then, appear to be the result of a conspiracy to oppress women.

There is more evidence for this conclusion:

The Gender Scandal: Part One (Scandinavia) and Part Two (Canada)
-Jordan Peterson, 2018

“Given that differences in temperament and interest help determine occupational choice, and that difference in occupational choice drives variability in such things as income, it follows that political doctrines that promote equality of opportunity also drive inequality of outcome.”

When barriers to choice are lowered more choices will be made according to individual preference. Outcomes will then vary according to “temperament and interest.” This is also what the feminists claim. What they don’t like is that the result confounds their prediction. More choice does not appear to make females more nearly identical to males.

In fact, the opposite happens:

Sex differences in personality are larger in gender equal countries: Replicating and extending a surprising finding
-International Journal of Psychology, 2018

Sex differences in personality have been shown to be larger in more gender equal countries. We advance this research by using an extensive personality measure, the IPIP‐NEO‐120, with large country samples (N > 1000), from 22 countries. Furthermore, to capture the multidimensionality of personality we measure sex differences with a multivariate effect size (Mahalanobis distance D). Results indicate that past research, using univariate measures of effect size, have underestimated the size of between‐country sex differences in personality. Confirming past research, there was a strong correlation (r = .69) between a country’s sex differences in personality and their Gender Equality Index. Additional analyses showed that women typically score higher than men on all five trait factors (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness), and that these relative differences are larger in more gender equal countries. We speculate that as gender equality increases both men and women gravitate towards their traditional gender roles.”

This next is related (though men and women compete in separate chess tournaments, and for reasons similar to the idea that it is unfair for male and female athletes to compete head to head):

Which countries are best for creating and encouraging women chess players?
-Marginal Revolution, 2019

“To oversimplify only a wee bit, it is the countries with less gender equality which have more female chess players, relative to male chess players. Here is some description:

Denmark is the worst country in our list of participation, with only one female player to roughly 50 males, while the rest of Scandinavia as well as most of western Europe also languish at the bottom.

On the other hand, some of the best countries show evidence of the effect of female role models, and would be no surprise to players familiar with women’s chess history. Georgia (ranked 5th) and China (ranked 4th) both featured multiple women’s World Champions. There are also some high rates from a few unexpected sources: Vietnam (1st), the United Arab Emirates (2nd), Indonesia (8th), and even Kenya (12th) really buck the trend. Interestingly, a lot of the best countries for female chess players are in Asia. Besides Vietnam, there are five other countries in the best ten, and if I am a little more lenient with the chess population cut-offs, Mongolia and Tajikistan would also be in there.

Here is one cited hypothesis:

Could it be that, deep down, women just don’t like chess as much as men?

I consider that to be possible, but unconfirmed. In any case, the lesson is that gender imbalance in a particular field can be correlated with greater equality of opportunity overall.”

Let’s look at the number of women in senior business positions in the most gender equal countries:

Nordic Welfare States Worsen the Gender Gap
-National Review, 2018

“Saadia Zahidi, senior director and head of gender parity and human capital at the World Economic Forum, has stated that “while patterns vary across the Nordic countries, on the whole, these economies have made it possible for parents to combine work and family, resulting in more women in the workplace, more shared participation in childcare, more equitable distribution of labour at home, better work-life balance for both women and men and, in some cases, a boost to waning fertility rates…”

So how are women faring in the modern Nordic welfare states? They’re doing quite well in many ways. Nordic societies have a large share of women active in the workplace, perhaps the most gender-equal attitudes in the world, and a tradition of women’s empowerment in the political sphere.

One might expect this to translate into many women reaching the top of the business world. But this clearly is not the case. In a new policy study for the Cato Institute, I show that the share of women among managers, as recorded by the International Labour Organization, is 43 percent in the United States, compared with 36 percent in Sweden and 28 percent in Denmark.

Comparing the Nordic countries with each other, a pattern emerges: Those with more extensive welfare-state policies have fewer women on top. Iceland, which has a moderately sized welfare state, has the most women managers. Second is Sweden, which has opened up welfare services such as education, health care, and elder care for private-sector competition. Denmark, which has the highest taxes and the biggest welfare state in the modern world, has the lowest share of women in managerial positions.”

So, managerial employment is inversely proportional to gender equity and statism. This is a correlation, not a cause.  But it is not a single example, and requires an explanation.  It does prove that the policy structure demanded by feminists is not producing the results they expect and desire.

Relationship of gender differences in preferences to economic development and gender equality
-Science, 2018

“What contributes to gender-associated differences in preferences such as the willingness to take risks, patience, altruism, positive and negative reciprocity, and trust? Falk and Hermle studied 80,000 individuals in 76 countries who participated in a Global Preference Survey and compared the data with country-level variables such as gross domestic product and indices of gender inequality. They observed that the more that women have equal opportunities, the more they differ from men in their preferences…”

[H]igher levels of economic development and gender equality favor the manifestation of gender differences in preferences across countries. Our results highlight the critical role of availability of material and social resources, as well as gender-equal access to these resources, in facilitating the independent formation and expression of gender-specific preferences.”

More simply, free market capitalism enables a luxury good – a focus on gender equality of opportunity – and when gender equality is maximized the differences in chosen employment increase.

I’m not sure if the intersectional feminists would argue that the reason fewer women choose to play chess, to pursue a career in STEM, or to aspire to managerial positions when its made easier for them to do so, is that they are subjugated by culture from the womb. It seems like one of the few arguments that would explain why their theory has been not just ineffective, but counterproductive.

With that claim, though, they would be hinting that many women in advanced countries are too dumb to see ‘the way’ when it’s shown to them.

Human personality is complex, more so because not every decision is rational, and there may be other explanations than individual interest/temperament/choice. Still, feminism is left to explain why less support, less equity, less freedom for women… results in more parity (as defined by equal outcomes) for women.

Encouraging women to be more like men has backfired if the goal is equal outcomes.

Maybe the definition of “gender gap” isn’t what we’ve been told it is. The science tends to show it’s a choice gap.  That’s very hard to ‘correct.’  You’d need government to enforce it.

So, if we want numerical equality of, say employment outcome, what we’re left with is making men more like women. This is the impetus for the toxic masculinity campaign.

Skills gap 2

Quillette is a gem.

I find this, A Victory for Female Athletes Everywhere, a compelling, thoughtful (fairly long) article from a person highly qualified to comment (emphasis mine):

“As an academic, I appreciate the value of intellectual inquiry that challenges our socially constructed defaults. As someone born into a mixed-race family steeped in the civil rights movement—my father was black and my mother was white—I was nurtured to recognize the harm that social constructions about race and sex can do to subordinated individuals, groups and societies. As the wife of a black man and the mother of two black sons, my radar for both explicit and implied racism is finely tuned. As a woman, a feminist and a lawyer, I have an abiding commitment to anti-discrimination norms, and to race and sex discrimination laws in particular. As a humanist, I believe that each one of us has the right to self-identify.”

She doesn’t even mention her pioneering, elite athletic background. She is highly likely to vote Progressive (‘socially constructed’, ‘implied racism’, ‘subordinated individuals’), so the usual SJW ad hominem counter arguments are blunted – and she deals with them, IAC.

I am struck by the implications for the core political debate about what the word “equality” implies. There’s a faction insisting it means equality of opportunity and a faction insisting it means equality of outcome. Gender feminists have been in the latter group, claiming different outcomes ipso facto prove discrimination based on sex. However, there is some tension (you might say cognitive dissonance) for that subset of those gender feminists (the so-called Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) who want to preserve a traditional definition of the word “female” in the face of trans-sexual attack. And attack is the right word… If anyone can decide, moment to moment, that they are female without reference to biology – what’s the point of “Women’s Studies.”

It turns out, in the case of female athletics (a proxy for the ‘real world’), that you can’t even approach equality of outcome without equality of opportunity. No XX has the opportunity if XY is allowed to directly compete, so the outcome is no females on the podium for one definition of “female.”

It’s delicious watching them hoist by their own petard. If they stumble upon a bit of introspection, maybe they’ll apply the lesson to their prattle about the “wage gap.”

James Damore is laughing.

Victimhood competence hierarchies

“Tyrannical pathological hierarchies are based on power…”
-Jordan Peterson

Dr. Peterson sometimes refers to our traditional hierarchies as hierarchies of competence, since they arise organically out of our necessity to act in the world.  To do something is to want to improve the way you do it.  Some people will become better than others in some given action.  Some people achieve higher ability to cook, some become more proficient in math, others in music, or sports.  There are infinite hierarchies in which you may compete.  You can even create your own, like Paul Durand-Ruel, Steve Jobs, or Lee Felsenstein, Efrem Lipkin, Ken Colstad, Jude Milhon, and Mark Szpakowski, and enable millions of others to invent new hierarchies.

While any hierarchy is subject to corruption, they are inevitable, biologically ancient, and not by necessity pathological or tyrannical. Though those based on power usually are.  It’s sort of the point.

Social Justice practitioners are telling us all hierarchies are entirely socially constructed, unfair,  and oppressive – excepting theirs – which they don’t admit to having.  But what else is the jockeying for power in the identity group/victimhood sweepstakes about?

We haven’t yet seen a merger of the many contenders trying to prove they are the biggest victims and the smallest oppressors.  The hierarchy of victim hierarchies is yet to be settled science. The Intersectionalist Progressive Social Justice Cartel is having some nasty fights trying to sort out their pathological hierarchy:

Trans vs. feminist
Indigenous group vs. Indigenous group
Black LGBT vs. White LGBT

Given what they insist all the rest of us must believe, I think tyrannical also applies.`  And we don’t even have the comprehensive doublethink manual yet, since they’re fighting over it.

To advance their cause with less embarrassment they need is a kinder, simpler way than Twitter fights to sort it out, preferably based on objective analysis of the victim/oppressor ratio. Because nobody is a perfect victim.

If they did find the perfect victim, they’d have to make him/her/it/zir/xe/Mr. Mxyzptlk the Dear Leader of the world utopia. You might think of it as the ultimate inverse hierarchy, because actual competence in any real thing is a Western, white, colonialist, patriarchal concept.  To be avoided.

I surely don’t understand the intersectional nuances that would allow me to compare a black gay male who hires a fake hate crime attack on himself, with a brown cis-gender (and why do I have to use a made up term now to indicate ‘normal’?) female who spouts anti-semitic drivel in the US House of Representatives.  An objective assessment may well be impossible.

Each individual objecting to someone else’s existence will have their own criteria. We could ask them all their opinion of everybody else and average the results (sort of like Facebook); Throwing out those rated below some arbitrary score – by other voters whose ratio was in the top 1% on the victim/oppressor ratio scale  (sort of like Twitter).

Running, especially enforcing, that system would be the prize for winning the victim/oppressor ratio sweepstakes.

Still, if we were to attempt objectivity, even to arrive at an informed individual opinion, a complex spreadsheet to calculate power rankings might serve. We’re after a way to model other people’s thoughts. We need to place the technology into individual hands, since it is obvious we can’t depend on the SPLC anymore.

Let’s consider the complexities via example. Rate a black, homosexual male, wealthy actor; vs. a white, trans-female, wealthy former Pentathlon champion; vs. a brown, female, anti-semitic, Islamist congressional member; vs. a white, 1/1024th Amerind, biological female, wealthy United States Senator. It’s not easy, and those are only a few of the factors. The enterprise seems very difficult.

victim-oppressor axis

This is the type of analysis intersectionalists demand as a principle of governance.  And, that’s just a poor preliminary attempt to begin to capture the variables currently driving the SJW power struggle. It doesn’t include anywhere near the required profile information. I tried filling it in for a couple of people I thought would help refine scoring. Maybe you can guess who they are.

Complicating this further, just when you might think you have a workable algorithm someone gets offended by something you did not expect. For example, here’s an example of a lesbian, trans, Leftist, female academic in the Humanities you’d expect to score moderately well even if you’re white: A concrete example against which to test our calculation of the victim/oppressor ratio.

Students demand controversial prof be replaced by ‘queer person of color’

That controversial prof is Camille Paglia. You might think this means race trumps homosexuality as a factor on the victim/oppressor scale. I don’t think we can depend on that. From the complainers:

“In recent interviews she has blatantly mocked survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and in classes and interviews has mocked and degraded transgender individuals. She believes that most transgender people are merely participating in a fashion trend (“I question whether the transgender choice is genuine in every single case”), and that universities should not consider any sexual assault cases reported more than six months after the incident, because she thinks those cases just consist of women who regret having sex and falsely see themselves as victims.”

Aha! The problem is Paglia’s opinions and outspokenness, which one could at least imagine being held by a “queer person of color.” It isn’t about color.

The entire identity politics internecine war is about thinking the right thing. Thinking correctly is hard to define, though. It depends on the thought processes of the person thinking about someone else’s thoughts. See: Red Guards.

Full circle we have come. When objectivity is thrown out the postmodernist window, objective rankings are simply impossible. And that’s intentional, since any reference to a set of rules could inhibit the exercise of power.

So, it’s back to imagined victimhood points minus perceived privilege points times influencer points divided by the reciprocal of Twitter followers. The factors for race, sexual orientation, biological sex, wealth, income, religion, political affiliation, etc. are left to the student.  If you are intersectionally woke the answer just pops into your head.  Of course, that may not be the same answer another woke intersectional arrives at…

Clarity of thought, rational arguments, philosophical consistency are irrelevant. We don’t need no freaking spreadsheet to identify thoughtcrime. Besides, Excel itself is oppressive because it uses numbers, and its very name is a violent affront to nihilistic mediocrities cowering in their safe spaces everywhere.

It’s not so bad though, those of us not caught up in the victim-identity Olympic trials can eat lots of popcorn while we watch.

Man In Critical Condition After Hearing Slightly Differing Viewpoint

Closing the skill gap

U.S. Women’s soccer team sues for equal pay

There are a couple of ways to look at this. The logical way is that we can agree on “equal pay for work of equal value.” If women’s soccer provides paying customers with value equal to men’s soccer, arguments for higher pay could be put to the customers.

Oh, wait. Those arguments have already been put.  Case closed.

The other way is a lot more fun: Men who identify as women should be encouraged to play women’s soccer. Maybe they could get that group of 15 year old boys who trounced the US Women’s National soccer squad to defect, gender-wise.  (There was a similar result in Australia.) This would raise the quality of “women’s” soccer, though it wouldn’t do much to increase actual women‘s pay.

Alternately, women soccer players could decide to identify as men and compete in the men’s league. We would see how many get hired.

Both of those solutions should easily be approved, since sports organizers are already letting males wrestle, run track, and lift weights in competition with females.

Where’s Bobby Riggs when you need him?

Bait and switch

Google Finds It’s Underpaying Many Men as It Addresses Wage Equity

Here is the core point from that NYT article:

When Google conducted a study recently to determine whether the company was underpaying women and members of minority groups, it found, to the surprise of just about everyone, that men were paid less money than women for doing similar work.

Now, that’s a blockbuster, right? Feminists should be rejoicing. They aren’t. They are still whining, and the goalposts are being adjusted as you read this.

From Google’s point of view these results are a happy thing. If you wanted to spike some private suits, fire a shot across the bow of crazed employees, and stick a finger in the eye of the Labor Department all at once… you might want a study just like this.

For example:

The Labor Department is investigating whether the company systematically underpays women. It has been sued by former employees who claim they were paid less than men with the same qualifications.

However, according to critics, it isn’t enough that Google has been paying women more for equivalent work – they were started at lower salaries.

Google’s critics say it doesn’t come close to matching what a woman would make if she had been assigned to the appropriate pay grade in the first place…

This is a strange objection, because the data imply the opposite: Either men are started at lower salaries than they should be, or women get more substantial raises more quickly. Otherwise, how is it that men at Google are more likely to be underpaid?

Men disproportionately received raises and bonuses. Google apparently found that it’s men who are hired at lower than “equitable” salaries. Italics mine:

The company has done the study every year since 2012. At the end of 2017, it adjusted 228 employees’ salaries by a combined total of about $270,000. This year, new hires were included in the analysis for the first time, which Google said probably explained the big change in numbers.

Those who don’t get that relationship are probably not good candidates for high level software engineering jobs. They do better at diversity consulting.

Joelle Emerson, CEO of a company which profits by convincing its clients ‘increasing diversity’ is so hard it can’t be done without ‘woke’ consultants, explains:

Google seems to be advancing a “flawed and incomplete sense of equality” by making sure men and women receive similar salaries for similar work, said Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a consulting company that advises companies on strategies for increasing diversity. That is not the same as addressing “equity,” she said, which would involve examining the structural hurdles that women face as engineers.

Google, “by making sure men and women receive similar salaries for similar work” is doing it wrong.  It needs to hire Ms. Emerson’s consultants.

You have to admit this is a nice twist on planned obsolescence. The “structural hurdles” will never be exhausted in the search for equality of outcome and the righteous battle to prevent diversity of thought.

A good example of Ms. Emerson’s definition of diversity would appear to be equal pay outcomes for those who can’t code, but only if they are female, or members of some other identity group not white or male.

“Equity” is a code word for equal outcome. In the ’60s, it was equal opportunity that drew sensible people to support changes in how women were treated. That’s all gone.

See also: Asymmetries in the workplace do not necessarily reflect gender discrimination for more examples of denialism from the Feminists:

  1. In countries with little to no institutional barriers to employment on the basis of identity, men and women often make choices (involving their own family and vocational priorities) that result in asymmetries in workplace representation and earnings (whether among Uber drivers or graduatesof prestigious MBA programs).

  2. Men overwhelmingly outnumber women in the most dangerous jobs. This also doesn’t indicate that discrimination has taken place.

  3. While unequal treatment before the law and corruption should not be tolerated, different career and family choices (as well as preferences and aptitudes) that result in asymmetries in workplace representation and earnings neither result from conspiracies nor from oppression.


A teaching moment for Nathan Phillips

What can we learn about masculinity from the Covington Catholic High School foofaraw? Who acted like a Man? How would we decide?

Let’s start with what it means to be a Man by revisiting a bit from an earlier post; the Feminist list of toxic masculine traits – stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression. Feminists focus solely on the negative aspects, but there are also positive behaviors associated with that list:

Stoicism. Self-control and fortitude. Overcoming adversity. The absence of whining, enabling men to work in dirty, dangerous, uncomfortable jobs.
Competitiveness. The entrepreneurial impulse. The urge to scientific curiosity. The drive to co-operate by winning within the rules.
Dominance. Negotiating skill. Drive to succeed. Good leadership.
Aggression. Protecting the weak. Response to threats.

Who demonstrated the plus side of those traits? Our competitors are Nathan Phillips, ‘Vietnam era’ Marine and long time Leftist “activist,” and Nick Sandmann, a high school student.

The focus of the SJW ire was (amazingly still is, in many cases) on Sandmann.  They want to destroy his life.

But, it was Sandmann who stood calmly while Phillips approached him, chanting and glaring, and continually beating a drum inches from Sandmann’s nose. It was Sandmann, while engaged with Phillips, who signaled to another student to knock off arguing with another protestor after that protestor had said, “Go back to Europe, you don’t belong here.”

There’s little argument that Mr. Sandmann was stoic. After an hour of filthy verbal abuse from the Black supremacists protesting on the Mall, the chaos escalated. In Mr. Phillips, Sandmann suddenly faced an even more confusing and potentially dangerous situation. He did so without complaint. He wasn’t stone faced, you could see the emotions flashing across his face when Mr. Phillips rudely challenged him, but Sandmann controlled them. Mr. Phillips claim he was trying to protect the Black supremacists is ludicrous on its face. Which bring us to competitiveness

Mr. Phillips’ game was, “I get to play the victim.  You get to play the oppressor.  1) I’m going to force you to move, or 2) make you push my drum away from your face. I win when you retreat. I get bonus points if you get physical.”

Turning away is potentially dangerous. If you ‘run,’ you look like prey. If you touch the drum, all hell is likely to break loose.  Mr. Sandmann was forced to play, but, seeking a peaceful outcome, he recognized the rules permitted a third choice. Stoic tolerance.

Dominance? Well, Nathan Phillips was obviously trying to incite Mr. Sandmann. Mr. Sandmann peacefully stood his ground despite having his personal space noisily invaded. And, he showed leadership in urging a classmate to cease an argument with one of Mr. Phillips’ fellow protestors.

Finally, aggression. Mr. Phillips was clearly the aggressor. Mr. Sandmann’s response to the threat was controlled and appropriate. Particularly for his age. His parents should be proud of him.  Mr. Sandmann’s performance under fire was exemplary.

The Man here was Mr. Sandmann. Mr. Phillips was the toxic adult.

I score it 4-0.

The Maim Scream Media™ should be ejected for the season.

Blank slate? No.

Fathers taking joy in their children only happens when the father is around them. Humans have evolved to appreciate this.  If we hadn’t, we might not be around as a species, and we certainly wouldn’t be humans.

I started to make this an update to the previous post – it’s very much related – but I decided it deserved its own spot. It should be Womxns Studies required reading, at least as oppo research.

Just read the whole thing. An extended example of the beneficial side of male traits:
The marvel of the human dad


Fathers are so critical to the survival of our children and our species that evolution has not left their suitability for the role to chance. Like mothers, fathers have been shaped by evolution to be biologically, psychologically and behaviourally primed to parent…

[C]rucially, dad has not evolved to be the mirror to mum, a male mother, so to speak. Evolution hates redundancy and will not select for roles that duplicate each other if one type of individual can fulfil the role alone…

The mother’s peaks in activity were seen in the limbic area of her brain – the ancient core linked to affection and risk-detection. The father’s peaks were in the neocortex and particularly in areas linked to planning, problem solving and social cognition. This is not to say that there was no activity in the limbic area for dad and the neocortex for mum, but the brain areas where the most activity was recorded were distinctly different, mirroring the different developmental roles that each parent has evolved to adopt.

“Evolved to adopt.” There seem to be deeper reasons than feminists imagine for human behavior.

Living through the “revolution.”

feminism-booksIn 1968 I supported “women’s liberation,” which I took to be the simple idea that men and women should have equal opportunity. Evidence that women were not treated equally was not hard to find. For example, my wife wasn’t allowed by her employer, Trans World Airlines, to be married when she was hired. In order to keep her job, she had to submit to routine weight checks. Being over 130 pounds, at 5’9”, would have called for a suspension until “excess” weight was lost.

These strictures did not apply to pilots, a job class where the negative health aspects of being 5’5” and 300 pounds might have a direct effect on passenger safety. Remedies for such discrimination were not long in coming, but the process kicked off a rising tide of shrill activism that spiraled into excess; and implicated great men, from past cultures, dead for hundreds of years. Grudges of the past still fester.

There are still feminists, they have been called equity feminists, who hew to the original intent. My wife, for example, whose degree in Womens Studies (likely attractive because of obvious discrimination she experienced) did not result in intellectual paralysis. This did expose me to the dangers of such curricula in the 80’s. It’s much, much worse now. It also prompted me to investigate feminist theory more thoroughly than I might have otherwise. The picture above is the current shelf, and I discarded about this many when we downsized our house. I also browsed any number of books my wife encountered in her courses.

I have one last minor feminist analysis credential appropriate to the 80’s. I was “Mr. Mom” for several years while my wife was flying internationally. This doesn’t make me non-toxic, however.

Demands for equality of opportunity have given way to insistence on equality of outcome, and the word equity has become a code word to that end. I am no longer the least supportive of feminism. The word is as corrupt as Cathy Newman’s ideopathy.

By emphasizing the extremes of men’s tendency (relative to women) to stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression; and entirely ignoring the beneficial side of those traits when appropriately moderated (almost always by exposure to a man, a father, demonstrating such moderation), the SJWs are out to destroy traditional masculinity by re-defining it as toxic. Maybe a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, as Ms. Steinem famously claimed, but a boy needs exposure to traditional masculinity (now we have to qualify that, just like “liberal”) like a feminist needs a clue.

These are cross reinforcing, of course, but here’s another way to look at:
Stoicism. Self-control and fortitude. Overcoming adversity. The absence of whining, enabling men to work in dirty, dangerous, uncomfortable jobs.
Competitiveness. The entrepreneurial impulse. The urge to scientific curiosity. The drive to co-operate by winning within the rules.
Dominance. Negotiating skill. Drive to succeed. Good leadership.
Aggression. Protecting the weak. Response to threats.

The simpering inherited from the 1960’s led to the proximate roots (circa 1995) of our present male bashing. By the turn of the 21st century, Christina Hoff Sommers was writing, Cassandra-like, on the wall up against which the gender feminists were plotting to line boys. I read The War Against Boys in 2001. It’s one reason I have long detested Title IX.

Following is a long excerpt (but much shorter than the book it summarizes) from a longer piece by Sommers from 2000. It clearly explains how we started on the path to where the words “toxic masculinity” can appear in a razor commercial, and half the population will defend it.

The whole thing is worth reading, but here’s the excerpt:

“One can welcome [Carol] Gilligan’s [Harvard University’s first professor of gender studies] acceptance of the fact that boys, too, have problems while remaining deeply skeptical of her ideas about their source. Gilligan’s theory about boys’ development includes three hypothetical claims: 1) Boys are being deformed and made sick by a traumatic, forced separation from their mothers. 2) Seemingly healthy boys are cut off from their own feelings and damaged in their capacity to develop healthy relationships. 3) The well-being of society may depend on freeing boys from “cultures that value or valorize heroism, honor, war, and competition—the culture of warriors, the economy of capitalism.” Let us consider each proposition in turn.

According to Gilligan, boys are at special risk in early childhood; they suffer “more stuttering, more bedwetting, more learning problems … when cultural norms pressure them to separate from their mothers.” (Sometimes she adds allergies, attention-deficit disorder, and attempted suicide to the list.) She does not cite any pediatric research to support her theory about the origins of these various early-childhood disorders. Does a study exist, for example, showing that boys who remain intimately bonded with their mothers are less likely to develop allergies or wet their beds?

Gilligan’s assertion that the “pressure of cultural norms” causes boys to separate from their mothers and thus generates a host of early disorders has not been tested empirically. Nor does Gilligan offer any indication of how it could be tested. She does not seem to feel that her assertions need empirical confirmation. She is confident that boys need to be protected from the culture—a culture in which manhood valorizes war and the economy of capitalism, a culture that desensitizes boys and, by submerging their humanity, is the root cause of “out-of-control and out-of-touch behavior” and is the ultimate source of war and other violence committed by men.

But are boys aggressive and violent because they are psychically separated from their mothers? Thirty years of research suggests that the absence of the male parent is more likely to be the problem. The boys who are most at risk for juvenile delinquency and violence are boys who are physically separated from their fathers. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reports that in 1960 children living with their mother but not their father numbered 5.1 million; by 1996 the number was more than 16 million. As the phenomenon of fatherlessness has increased, so has violence. As far back as 1965 Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan called attention to the social dangers of raising boys without benefit of a paternal presence. He wrote in a 1965 study for the Labor Department, “A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future—that community asks for and gets chaos.”

The sociologist David Blankenhorn, in Fatherless America (1995), wrote, “Despite the difficulty of proving causation in the social sciences, the weight of evidence increasingly supports the conclusion that fatherlessness is a primary generator of violence among young men.” William Galston, a former domestic-policy adviser in the Clinton Administration who is now at the University of Maryland, and his colleague Elaine Kamarck, now at Harvard, concur. Commenting on the relationship between crime and one-parent families, they wrote in a 1990 institute report, “The relationship is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature.”

Oblivious of all the factual evidence that paternal separation causes aberrant behavior in boys, Carol Gilligan calls for a fundamental change in child rearing that would keep boys in a more sensitive relationship with their feminine side. We need to free young men from a destructive culture of manhood that “impedes their capacity to feel their own and other people’s hurt, to know their own and other’s sadness,” she writes. [Have you noticed how much more likely people are to say, “I feel,” rather than, “I think,” these days?] Since the pathology, as she has diagnosed it, is presumably universal, the cure must be radical. We must change the very nature of childhood: we must find ways to keep boys bonded to their mothers. We must undercut the system of socialization that is so “essential to the perpetuation of patriarchal societies.”

Gilligan’s views are attractive to many of those who believe that boys could profit by being more sensitive and empathetic. But anyone thinking to enlist in Gilligan’s project of getting boys in touch with their inner nurturer would do well to note that her central thesis—that boys are being imprisoned by conventional ideas of masculinity—is not a scientific hypothesis. Nor, it seems, does Gilligan regard it in this light, for she presents no data to support it. It is, in fact, an extravagant piece of speculation of the kind that would not be taken seriously in most professional departments of psychology.

On a less academic plane Gilligan’s proposed reformation seems to challenge common sense. It is obvious that a boy wants his father to help him become a young man, and belonging to the culture of manhood is important to almost every boy. To impugn his desire to become “one of the boys” is to deny that a boy’s biology determines much of what he prefers and is attracted to. Unfortunately, by denying the nature of boys, education theorists can cause them much misery.

Gilligan talks of radically reforming “the fundamental structure of authority” by making changes that will free boys from the stereotypes that bind them. But in what sense are American boys unfree? Was the young Mark Twain or the young Teddy Roosevelt enslaved by conventional modes of boyhood? Is the average Little Leaguer or Cub Scout defective in the ways Gilligan suggests? In practice, getting boys to be more like girls means getting them to stop segregating themselves into all-male groups. That’s the darker, coercive side of the project to “free” boys from their masculine straitjackets.

It is certainly true that a small subset of male children are, as Gilligan argues, desensitized and cut off from feelings of tenderness and care. But these boys are not representative of their sex. Gilligan speaks of boys in general as “hiding their humanity,” showing a capacity to “hurt without feeling hurt.” This, she maintains, is a more or less universal condition that exists because the vast majority of boys are forced into separation from their nurturers. But the idea that boys are abnormally insensitive flies in the face of everyday experience. Boys are competitive and often aggressive, yes; but anyone in close contact with them—parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, friends—gets daily proof of their humanity, loyalty, and compassion.

Gilligan appears to be making the same mistake with boys that she made with girls—she observes a few children and interprets their problems as indicative of a deep and general malaise caused by the way our society imposes gender stereotypes. The pressure to conform to these stereotypes, she believes, has impaired, distressed, and deformed the members of both sexes by the time they are adolescents. In fact—with the important exception of boys whose fathers are absent and who get their concept of maleness from peer groups—most boys are not violent. Most are not unfeeling or antisocial. They are just boys—and being a boy is not in itself a failing.

Does Gilligan actually understand boys? Does she empathize with them? Is she free of the misandry that infects so many gender theorists who never stop blaming the “male culture” for all social and psychological ills? Nothing we have seen or heard offers the slightest reassurance that Gilligan and her followers are wise enough or objective enough to be trusted with devising new ways of socializing boys.

Every society confronts the problem of civilizing its young males. The traditional approach is through character education: Develop the young man’s sense of honor. Help him become a considerate, conscientious human being. Turn him into a gentleman. This approach respects boys’ masculine nature; it is time-tested, and it works. Even today, despite several decades of moral confusion, most young men understand the term “gentleman”and approve of the ideals it connotes.

What Gilligan and her followers are proposing is quite different: civilize boys by diminishing their masculinity. “Raise boys like we raise girls” is Gloria Steinem’s advice. This approach is deeply disrespectful of boys. It is meddlesome, abusive, and quite beyond what educators in a free society are mandated to do.

Did anything of value come out of the manufactured crisis of diminished girls? Yes, a bit. Parents, teachers, and administrators now pay more attention to girls’ deficits in math and science, and they offer more support for girls’ participation in sports. But who is to say that these benefits outweigh the disservice done by promulgating the myth of the incredible shrinking girl or presenting boys as the unfairly favored sex?

A boy today, through no fault of his own, finds himself implicated in the social crime of shortchanging girls. Yet the allegedly silenced and neglected girl sitting next to him is likely to be the superior student. She is probably more articulate, more mature, more engaged, and more well-balanced. The boy may be aware that she is more likely to go on to college. He may believe that teachers prefer to be around girls and pay more attention to them. At the same time, he is uncomfortably aware that he is considered to be a member of the favored and dominant gender.

The widening gender gap in academic achievement is real. It threatens the future of millions of American boys. Boys do not need to be rescued from their masculinity. But they are not getting the help they need. In the climate of disapproval in which boys now exist, programs designed to aid them have a very low priority. This must change. We should repudiate the partisanship that currently clouds the issues surrounding sex differences in the schools. We should call for balance, objective information, fair treatment, and a concerted national effort to get boys back on track. That means we can no longer allow the partisans of girls to write the rules.”

The Long March through the Institutions took a long time. These cultural vampires have been gnawing away at the foundation for awhile, and now they’re creeping out of the debris into the light. Sadly, they aren’t dissolving into smoke.