The Myth That Kills

I’m very afraid this is another of those posts that will get me accused of being a “gender traitor.”

That’s just fine.  If you think a gender – the fact that you were born with one piece of physical equipment – demands your loyalty and forces your opinions to be the same as those people with the same piece of equipment, call me a traitor.  Guilty as charged.

You see, I tend to think of people as people.  This has largely been a handicap in writing fiction in the current age, because I’m expected to view women as saints-and-martyrs and men as oppressors-and-satyrs.

Have I met some examples of those?  Oh, heck yes.  Hasn’t everyone?  But I’ve met the opposite too.  Hasn’t everyone?  So why is only one of those the “correct” thing to put in a novel?

Ah, but you’re going to tell me that pushing women as victims, as saints, as nurturers is the way to go, so we can carry on with the feminist victory and equality of the sexes.

(Looks across the computer at you)  I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

Equality means, in this as in anything else, equality before the law not equality of results.  This is something that we keep forgetting.  Look, that was the ultimate difference between the American and the French revolutions.  Americans wanted equality before the law.  The French wanted equality of results.

They had justifications, too. They were dealing with an historically beaten-down peasantry, starved, uneducated (though not nearly so much – the revolution happened because education had started to spread.  Never mind. We’re going with how they viewed themselves) used to being deferential.  They needed more than just equality before the law, they said.  They needed to redistribute some of those advantages, to enforce equality of results for a while.

We all know how that ended up, right?

It always ends up that way.  Humans are individuals, not groups.  When you empower the groups, you empower the worst in any group. The power-thirsty, the aggrieved, those who want to manipulate group-outrage for their own purposes.

It is the same with women.  It’s lots of fun to read the more sentimental writers of centuries past (and the not so sentimental and totally un-ironic feminists of the last century) go on until your eyes bleed about women being kinder, gentler, softer, nicer.

Poppycock.  Poppycock with powdered speciousness.  Yes, women presented that way.  This was the result of centuries where women had the subservient position.

The first one of you to open her mouth about how this is the injustice feminism needed to correct is going to go to the corner with the dunce cap, so help me bog.

The reason women were “oppressed” for six thousand years (longer, for certain values of women) had NOTHING to do with men dethroning the goddess myth and destroying the perfect matriarchal society because they’re evil or any other re-writings of the Judeo-Christian myth of Eden.  Marija Gymbutas was – yes, I’m crossing Godwin, and I have a reason – as much of a fabulist as Hitler, and about as good a scientist.  She didn’t have armies at her disposal, but those who believe in her might in the end bring down civilization as effectively as the Nazis would have done, so I do not apologize for using the analogy.  (If you don’t think convincing women that all men are their enemies, handicapping boys in school, running men out of the teaching profession, and generally making men guilty-until-proven-innocent is a civilization-killing meme, you need to go out and meet some real men and some real women.)

Women were subservient in society due to that horrible oppressor: biology.  When you were going to have to be a celibate or spend half of your life pregnant, you missed out on other aspects of life.  Yes, I love those of you who had no problems in pregnancy.  I had to diametrically opposite experiences: the first pregnancy would have killed me without strict bed rest, for the second I kept forgetting I was pregnant.  HOWEVER in both of them in retrospect, not at the time, I missed vast chunks of intellectual function.  There is an hormone cocktail that is supposed to make you fat, happy and dumb during pregnancy.  It is what it is.

Worse, even for women who never get pregnant, until modern hormonal treatment, we women were prisoners of our hormones.  Even now I have more than a friend who hit menopause and… became someone else.  In very rare instances, the change is for the best.  Most of the time it’s a “What on Earth happened to your brain?”

I thought I had dementia for a long while – I literally couldn’t remember the names of my characters or what had happened from a chapter to the next.  And if I wrote it down, I’d have to go look at the notes, and then when I came back to the book I’d forgotten what I’d looked up.  For a while (most notably the last Musketeers mystery) I had to have a friend check my work because I’d forget what I was doing and had tons of internal inconsistencies.

Turned out it was an hormonal problem, not dementia and not menopause, as I thought.

Now, that’s an extreme case, mind you.  But it’s not unusual.  And though men, too, can have this type of issue, it is considerably more common in women.  What makes us women — the ability to generate new life – also makes us cyclical creatures, both in the monthly sense and in the life-cycle sense.  And if you think your hormones don’t affect the way you think, let me tell you the only reason you think that is that you’re inside your skull and being affected.  Until my experiences with hormonal insanity I too thought I was impervious.

Anyway, the point is until modern medicine with contraception and hormonal supplements, women were swimming with an iron vest strapped on.  Add to that that only women can be sure that their children are theirs.  This made men – of course – wish to make sure women were controlled, to make sure the kids they were providing for were their own.  It made for a society where women were somewhere between children and chattels and men had all the responsible positions. (Though even then some women managed to break through.  Individuals are… individual.  It’s one of their characteristics.)

Does any of that still apply?  No.  Thanks to modern medicine, we even can figure out whose daddy is whose without keeping women in purdah.

And though it took a little while, society changed. Women started taking the place of equals in society.  Like the French peasantry, which would have come along once barriers to their equality under the law were removed, we have started taking intellectual callings and sometimes physically intensive callings.

We are now, if we want to be, equals.

The problem is that most of us don’t want to be equals.  And the reason for that is that most of us have been sold on the feminist creation myth of the great mother and the perfect society with men as the spoiler of paradise and the villain.  And most of us are stupid enough to buy it.  (Yes, I know men worshipped goddesses.  If you think that made the society feminist, you have birds in your brain and you probably also believe there’s some magical herbs that are as effective as the pill and have no bad side effects.  (No.  There aren’t.  There was a bush that had similar properties, but it went extinct in Roman times).  Societies that worshipped goddesses often demanded the most control over women and engaged in temple prostitution.  They also had a marked tendency to child sacrifice.  On the other hand, most societies worshipped both.)

Also, most men are of course bigger than us.  Stronger. And there’s the whole historical inequity.  Just like the French peasants.  So we demand laws that favor us and more importantly we demand the blood of our enemies.  And we demand to be treated with a respect and a care that would have scared Victorian maidens.  We use the slightest thing as a weapon.  Because only when the oppressors are gone, will we be free.

This was bad enough when it was the French peasantry.  But men are not some aliens dropped on the Earth from afar – they’re our fathers, brothers, sons and husbands.  They’re an integral part of what makes humans humans.  They’re not a monolithic group, just like women aren’t, but statistically they’re better abstract-and-visual thinkers and the people who are more likely to think outside the box, just like statistically we’re the socially-oriented people, more detail-specialized and better at cooperating.

Society – a civilized society – needs both to survive and go forward.

But women have been sold on males-as-the-boogeyman and therefore they see evil intention and coordination and conspiracy behind males’ being people.  Meet one abusive male, and you’ll go through life convinced that all men are like that.  Does anyone do the same when meeting an abusive woman?  I don’t know about you, but I’ve had bosses from hell in both genders.  So, why is only one accused of being “oppressive”?

Because it’s the myth.  And it’s a myth the power-hungry people who took charge of the feminist movement (one that initially only wanted equality under the law) are happy to perpetuate.  It’s a myth every college, every entertainment gatekeeper cherishes.

It’s a poisonous myth.  It’s also a stupid one.  No one in their right mind would talk about “War on women” for instance.  Are you insane?  Why would normal men – yes, your husband, your brother, your son – want to make war on women?  And yes, that means you, your sister, your mother.  Hell, even my gay male friends like women and have mothers and women friends.  And yes, for those of you about to be stupid, even males on the opposite side in politics have all of those, and no, none of them hate women.  (Except perhaps the occasional pathological case.)

(If you bought that wanting to not pay for contraceptives out of the public purse and at the expense of other people’s religious conscience is a “War on women” you might want to inform yourself.  Not giving you something for free is NOT restricting access.  Otherwise, people are restricting your access to food, housing and entertainment.  Is that a war on humans?)

I’ve watched the rise of this myth with slack-jawed amazement.  HOW can you even think that.  Guys, my men – and I live with three of them, husband and two sons – couldn’t “conspire” to keep chocolate hidden from me (they’ve tried.) And they’re all three of them brighter than the average bear.  WHY would you think men in general would want to conspire to keep you in submission?  Most modern guys wouldn’t know what to do with a truly submissive woman.

Oh, I know.  It’s the myth you heard, from Gimbutas and her sisters in school all the way to the latest movie you watched.  Males want power over you.

Well, some males maybe.  Those who belong to a religion that dresses women like upholstered furniture.  But it’s just one culture and there’s reasons for that (including but not limited to a culture of scarcity and a tradition of bride kidnapping.)  It’s not all men, and it’s certainly not MOST men men of the western world.

Like the women who no longer remember why women were “historically oppressed” the men alive now were never in a society where men had the upper hand.

I have a friend who believes that it’s a pendulum.  Men had the upper hand, now women do, then it will swing back.

Unless science has some sort of pendulum too, I don’t see where she’s right.

What I see is women who were freed by tech advances and who THINK they were freed by marching shoulder to shoulder and taking permanent offense.  These women live in a state of paranoia, dreaming up male privilege that is invisible to anyone but them, and taking offense at ever more ridiculous things – even things that have nothing to do with gender – because they’re so terrified of men taking the upper hand again.

I look at them going to war with spelling: Womyn, Herstory.  I look at them dancing around dressed as vaginas (!) because apparently the most important thing in these women’s lives is their sexual organs. I look at them acting as a pack and attacking whoever they’re told to attack because “so and so is anti-woman” and I think… these are humans?  These are civilized people?  Don’t they see they’re being tools of the Marxist divide-and-conquer strategy?  Don’t they see the end of this is either societal destruction or TRUE backlash for the sake of saving civilization?

Apparently not.  So… carry on.  Dance around in your little fabric vaginas.  Think that all men are out to get you.  Refuse to have children, because some of them might be male.  And scream, scream, scream about made-up outrage.

That’s the way to bring civilization down and destroy the technological advances that brought us equality.  If that’s what you want, DO carry on.

Apres nous, le deluge.

582 responses to “The Myth That Kills

  1. The French leader of their analog Department Of Education has said that he wants to do away with homework because it gives an advantage to children that live in healthy, supportive homes where parents are involved with their children’s learning.

    A government unwilling to assign homework will eventually be replaced by one that is.

    • Good grief! Time to dig out Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron.

      • That was going to be exactly my thought, but the audio of a car crash cut it off before I could pursue it.

        • When the story was published in the Wall Street Journal as an editorial I gave copies of the story to all the members of our school board.

          • Big mistake. They’ll probably implement it now.

            • That was over a decade ago, and no they did not impliment such measures. I was on very good terms with the school board, and was part of a group that gathered input for a state ordered redesign of the gifted program. (The state had decided that while certain counties were addressing the needs of the gifted well, others weren’t at all. They felt that this needed to be corrected and standardized.) Sadly those orders set parameters that resulted in the loss of one of the finest programs for the highly gifted in the country.

    • pontificators

      What an amazing stance. I am confident that the logic behaind the statement is lacking. I feel this would only create a larger differnece in opportunity for those children left to manage thier education on their own. I am interested to see how this plays out. In my opinion, we need to raise expectations for those who are in greater need … but we also need to provide the necessary supports to see those higher expectations meet.

      • Mind you, most of the homework my kids got was “make work” and nothing would be missed.

        • Which is why it is important to “show your work” — because even when the answer is right, the reasoning might well not be. Sometimes the person inadvertently made three lefts to get it right.

          • actually most of what the kids got was “copy sentence a to box b” and they got a lot more out of… oh, reading books. But of course that’s part of what the French critter doesn’t get. Kids like mine will use that free time to read books, write stories and get in enormous arguments with parents over say the virtues/flaws of monopolies in the Roman system (Augustus monopoly grants were one of Robert’s favorite economic knots for a while.) Meanwhile kids from more disadvantaged circumstances won’t even have access to parents who will pull texts off shelves to make them read and see they’re dumb and monopolies are always bad. (Which was, of course, my unbiased role) which means the differences will only widen.

            • That difference in parents is something that I think I avoid considering most of the time. My mental focus is on parents who want a great education for their kids but can’t find/afford it. Because I want everyone to have access to great education, it’s painful to think that there are parents who really don’t care. I can’t do anything for their children. I hate the compulsory factory schools, but that’s all those children will ever get because their parents either don’t know any better or don’t care. So in that light, for now, I give somewhat grudging support to those trying to make the government schools less bad.

              Regarding monopolies, there are a few places where natural monopolies are optimal. Specifically, places where the nature of the infrastructure or market makes it untenable for two companies to function (like water and sewer service). Those are few and getting fewer, and they should never be enforced monopolies. I still don’t like them, but they happen.

              • Natural monopolies are usually short lived. I was discussing government-set monopolies, like the ones granted by Augustus to various suppliers of foodstuffs for Rome.

                • He granted monopolies for food?! Of all the idiotic, ignorant, maliciously stupid – *trails off frothing*

                  Ahem. Yes, state monopolies should be eliminated with all haste, force, and prejudice. And fire.

              • I’m short on time, so all I’m going to say here is: C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle, dwarves who refuse to be fooled.

        • Exactly. Do away with homework OR replace it with some that is not the intellectual equivalent of digging holes and shoveling them back in. I refused to do any homework my last two years of high school. It resulted in much hand wringing and moaning by teachers who HAD to give me bad grades because knowing the material and getting good tests could not trump fawning obedience and subservience, the real goal of public education.

          • EXACTLY. EXACTLY this. Now homework counts for 75% of grades. Kids could ace all tests (and mine often did) and have a D because they didn’t turn in the MINDNUMBINGLY STUPID homework. In fact, homework and the valuing of it might be responsible for the semi-literate graduates I keep running into. You’d have to have an IQ lower than a chimp not to be able to do homework. Literacy not required. A lot of it involves copying sentences into the right place. On the other hand, if you’re fairly smart and know the subject, it’s a form of torture. I hate it when everyone stands behind “homework” or “education” without examining the contents.
            Um, that’s a post right?

            • There’s mindnumbingly stupid, and then there’s just the grunt work that is the basis for rapid use of useful info later on. For instance, multiplication tables. Yes, you can do a charter of apples that outlines the concept of 2 x 2, but to really be able to use the skill, you need rote memorization of the tables, 0 (the easiest, lol, followed only by 1) through 12. Sure, it’s a bit mindnumbing, but it provides a foundation for the rest of what they’ll be working on in higher math classes and, frankly, is a useful skill in real world situations.

              • I see rote memorization as push-ups for the mind (as opposed to push-ups for the bust, an entirely different matter.) Push-ups are an effective method of developing upper body strength; while the ability to perform a proper push up may offer no significant survival enhancement, upper body strength well may. Rote memorization is a way of expanding the mind’s usable memory, its ability to hold multiple thoughts simultaneously and connect them.

              • You’re right, Scott, there is a difference. A static lookup table is way better than repeated calculation. The problem is that the education cartel either does not understand the difference or deliberately blurs the line.

                • I’d go with deliberate. As proven by my brain dead thing of giving the kid something to copy, it’s pretty hard to come up with homework that teaches NOTHING. And yeah, a lot of it will be “look at this then copy there.” — the problem with the lookup table is that you won’t always have it. When the older was in third grade, I was doing the flooring in the dining room in our old house, and trying to figure out how many parket squares it would take to cross it. I was doing calculations in my head, but talking aloud. The kids came to marvel at my prowess. I said “it’s just multiplication tables. It’s not magic. Don’t you know how to do this?” Turned out no. If they needed to know what 2×2 was they looked it up in the table at the end of the book. This is when multiplication tables became a (dreaded) part of life with me. They would be questioned a propos nothing and everything and that chocolate chip cookie they really wanted might hang in the balance. I also found that Robert had been taught to guesstimate instead of doing long division. So I taught him long division. One problem? The notations are different in Portugal. To this day, if he has to do long division for some reason in scratch paper he ends up turning in, the professor will say “what is THAT?” and he has to explain :-P

                  • Re: lookup tables. I meant a mental equivalent; that is, knowing the outcome rather than calculating it every time. It is something of a computer joke, meant to refer to using a database lookup table rather than sending the problem for processing. Sorry it came out too vague.

                    Re: Portuguese division notation – am I remembering right that they calculate going up, with the answer at the bottom?

              • Scott, this is NOT what I mean at all. Yes, that stuff can be boring but it’s not STUPID. I’m all for memorizing verbs in foreign languages by copying them any number of times. Or for memorizing multiplication tables. Or for doing long division till your eyes bleed. My younger kid had visual issues (actually sensory issues all across the board) and they gave him this set of fancy exercises he HATED and I couldn’t even understand. So instead, I’d pick three random book pages, have him do vocab, then copy then three times, then give him dictation. Mind-numbing? Sure. And he HATED it. But it fixed the problem (which was that he wrote too slowly. Anything done often enough you get faster at) AND improved his reading, spelling and vocab.

                No, the homework my kids brought home was stuff like “Color every third square pink” and “cut out the shape of a house and put in it shapes of everything you like.” Or the one that’s fun for the whole family “Have your mom give you her shopping list with prices on it, then tell us what you’d cut out.” (Which could be interesting if they went into nutrition, etc, but was still a pain.” Or “Draw the scene from page five, and color it.” And stupider ones. At one time we bought stacks of used National Geographics, so many of their homework assignments started with “cut out things with the color purple” usually followed by “make a collage” and this was in high school. The only saving grace were the advanced/specialized classes — engineering, advanced bio, etc.

                • Dioramas were my bugaboo. Other than the shop windows at Harrods, Macy’s and their ilk, when does anybody in the real workaday world ever have cause to make a diorama?????

                  “You will note, sir, that this year I have produced your financial statements in the form of a diorama.”

                  “In order for you to better understand the procedure we will be performing for your heart bypass, please look at this diorama I’ve constructed.”

                  “Allright, troops – lissen up! We’re going over the top when the whistle blows and taking the fight to the enemy! To facilitate your assault I have this diorama I want you to study!”

                  • “Allright, troops – lissen up! We’re going over the top when the whistle blows and taking the fight to the enemy! To facilitate your assault I have this diorama I want you to study!”

                    President Ronald Reagan’s job during WWII was to narrate filmed dioramas to be used as preparation airman for bombing runs. For this he had to receive top security clearance.

                    • for airman. Bother.

                    • If you have to go back seventy years to find an application for a skill, perhaps it is no longer necessary to require Third-Graders to spend hours learning to craft them? Particularly when they’re already constructing 4-dimensional computer models on their iPads?

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  I see things like this and wonder how Kentucky could ever be ranked at the bottom of education (maybe above West Virginia, but not every year). I figured the reason that I originally had such a confusion was because I lived in the Metropolitan area of a (smaller) big city.

                  Then we moved to a county that was far enough away and redneck enough that the influence of Cincinnati should not be a factor, and yet even Sean never had assignments THAT bad after early middle school. And I still thought he had some very much “make-work” type of assignments.

                  Now, after some counseling and medication have alleviated many of his troubles and he is now in Honor’s English and Honor’s Chemistry, the classes still seem watered down, but still, I don’t think the school as a whole is as bad as you describe theirs.

            • “A Post??” Yeah, and WWI was a bit of a kerfuffle.

              I’ve no problem paying for education, I just wish they’d provide it. As it is, we’re paying for education but what we’re receiving is indoctrination. Bureaucratic Bait’n’Switch is no better than the commercial kind.

  2. Mwahaha! A third rail posting! Let’s all post unthinkable things!

    Did women’s past legal and practical status in particular societies depend on how healthy the women were, and how well they dealt with hormones because of diet, habits, and genes? I could see that. Medieval Irish society didn’t really seem to think that big strong agricultural girls needed to take much time off for girl stuff, women did have career options, and they seem to have gotten plenty of exercise and sunlight and gotten a fair amount of dairy protein in their diet. That didn’t mean you might not die in childbirth anyway, but it probably didn’t hurt.

    Other societies with a lot worse nutrition do seem to have pictured that time of the month as a time when women really were debilitated, although again, some of that may be genes, too.

    • It’s also genetic.
      Is it unthinkable? I thought “War on women” is unthinkable as is “War on men” except by bureaucracy and government (but those are “war on humans” institutions. They want automatons.) I mean, literally unthinkable, as in “that makes NO SENSE.”

    • Kitteh-Dragon

      GAH! Women were sequestered “at that time of the month” for purely logical reasons. It depended on how many domesticated non-human male animals were around. And how much hunting contributed to the food available for everybody. Herders whose clothing had picked up the scent of women’s menstruation (before the advent of modern hygiene and hygienic practices and products) would have had a difficult time with all the males (neutered or not) trying to “hump” them. Hard to get the oxen to plow the field, and dangerous for the guy behind the plow.

      Hunters *knew* that the scent of blood would definitely put a crimp in their chances for success — and it didn’t take much of a ‘crimp’ to mean the difference between survival and starvation for the whole group.

      I read Gimbutas in a post-grad course I took as an undergrad. I reamed her up one side, down the other, and staked her spread-eagled body for the vultures. This was, thankfully, a history course and not a women’s course (which I would never have taken). The few other women in the class looked at me, their mouths dropped open, and they basically went, “Oh, my God! She’s right! Gimbutas is *insane*”. The guys in the course were scared to death I’d started something that would get them killed by rampaging feminists; then they realized that there weren’t any, and ended up cheering me out loud. That was in a quickie little, no notes, off the cuff, “Why I hate this woman and wish she’d be purged from literature and especially academia” rant that subjected the prof and the class to. The look of utter delight on my prof’s face will stay with me until my dying breath.

      I wrote a paper that that did the same thing, in spades, with footnotes and all that. I believe it was at around this time my professor suggested that I go straight from graduation to the PhD program, bypassing Masters altogether. I had no idea such a thing was possible. Such was not to be, though. Enforced bedrest during my first pregnancy killed finishing the classes needed by a year. And we moved to another state.

      Which means, no, I don’t have the “credentials” that Sarah does. But she’s right, and God help anybody who argues with her about it, because I too have a husband, son and brothers, and had a father and uncles — and you *will* have your precious lady parts pulled over your head so you can see out again if you try it.

      • Wayne Blackburn

        Women were sequestered “at that time of the month” for purely logical reasons.

        And here I thought this meant that it was to keep them from running around with lethal weapons and attacking all the men. ;-)

      • This points to one of the nastier aspects of the whole topic: suppression of free speech (or, as the Leftists term it: allowing naught but “responsible” speech.) Any woman who disagrees with the mantra is a gender traitor, a victim of false consciousness and must be suppressed. Any man who disagrees is gynophobic (a term which pretty much applies ONLY to homosexual men; heterosexual men typically can’t get enough of that) and arguing from self/gender interest (as if the Feminazis aren’t!)

        Failure to get a PhD is in many instances a mark of honor. While expertise has its values (see STEM) in programs that are essentially conceptual (meaning: in case of error bridges don’t fail, things don’t explode) being certified as “Expert” merely means you have mastered the conventional wisdom, drunk their Kool-Aid and are no threat to use your credentialed mind to challenge their hegemony.

        • I never piled it high and deep either. I’m about a year short or maybe two…
          I’d like to get one in classical studies, but I’m afraid the politics would make me kill someone. So… I’ll take an associates in art, which is at least fun.

      • Ah, Kitteh-Dragon, I’m afraid that “menstruation causes mating behavior” is a myth. A very few male animals out of any population of male animals might react to a woman by showing mild interest (iguanas), but some female animals do the same. When I rode regularly I was told to beware of well-meaning souls who say that women should not ride or be around stallions during menses because . . . It ain’t true. The bear attack theory? Not true, but you should still dispose of used feminine products properly for sanitation reasons (ditto used toilet paper and paper towels).

        • Kitteh-Dragon

          TXRed – you ever walked down a city street with no leash laws at ‘that time” of the month and been mobbed by every male dog in God knows what radius? Or had a ram at a petting zoo start trying to hump you? Maybe it’s the Neanderthal genes, but I’ve gotten the ‘gallant response’ from a stallion I used to ride, also. And I practice meticulous personal hygiene. Now think about a time when people owned one set of clothes, bathing was unheard of, and the normal “that time of month” stuff was dried and used again the next time. Anthropology papers in the stacks have some of the most *interesting* (and least publishable) themes….

          • Dogs – yea check, Cats yea check, goats yea check. Better to stay in the house during certain times of the month, check.

            • I’ve noticed that dogs want to take a sniff, but then, they usually want to take a sniff at any time of the month. I’ve never seen or heard any dog or group of dogs be aggressive about it, much less any other animal; the female dogs I’ve known have been much more interested than the males. And if any critter was going to react, you’d think it would be actually during ovulation, not the other.

              Now, mind you, I’m not saying you’re lying, but rather that this may be another argument for genetics. If you don’t have any critter-upsetting pheromones running in the family, you don’t have to worry about the critters during that part of the month.

              • Seconded here– been around animals my entire life, dogs behaved the same no matter what— obnoxious as snot unless they’d been trained not to behave inappropriately. I noticed it a lot more when I was having my cycle, because I’m always…er… over-sensitive and feeling vulnerable at about that point.

                We did have a fixed cat that acted like she was in heat around a specific guy, so I’d guess that there are some people who just smell different to animals. This might be related to how some folks are just magical with animals, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some women only have that smell at set points in their cycle.

                My mom had never even heard of that silly old “stallions attack at that time of month” myth that..I think it was Conan’s author?– put out. Wild stallions will attack anyone that they think is a threat to their mares, and will go out of their way to attack riders if there’s a mare having her cycle.

                Also, an ox is steer, a castrated male. They’ll play around as bad as a cow, but it’s not because of hormones. Smelling like a cow that’s in heat, that might get you in trouble, but that’s cattle no matter what.

                • our first girl cat acted like she was in heat around Dan.We don’t know why. Until she was really old (and she was fixed as a kitten) he just went nuts around him. After she was really old, she STILL loved him.

            • Have I mentioned that cats will come and greet me at other times? :-)

          • Kitteh-Dragon, I must admit that no, dogs never approach me, I’ve never had a stud come after me, or had any other male or female animal express more than the usual interest in me. I was looking at zoology papers rather than anthropology, so that may explain part of why we have different takes on this topic.

        • I don’t know about that — but I *do* know it gives a whole other meaning to the phrase “Shark Week”….

        • pontificators

          Many of modern societies illnesses came from the decision to stay in one place rather than being nomadic … I guess the decision to plant crops and and leave paper towels around also led to an increase in bear attacks.

        • Not to be crude, but animals DO catch the scent of active coitus however.

  3. I guess that I escaped a lot of that feminist-cultural stupidity by being in the military … although I did have a small-f feminist phase. But I never took being a small-f feminist as an excuse to be a nickle-plated b*tch, and I never mistook the exercise of conventional good manners with being horribly opressed.

    http://www.ncobrief.com/index.php/archives/thoughts-from-the-deep-archives/

  4. Oh, goodness, Yes, to all of this!

    I think there’s a kind of life cycle for all Movements. The women’s movement (which, yes, succeeded more from tech advancements – though there were laws that needed to be changed, I remember when women couldn’t get a charge card – but which was as much about changing womens’ own minds about themselves, because most oppression is crab-bucketing, in our own minds, keeping ourselves down) started out pretty broad and full of a lot of sensible people. As it succeeded (remarkably quickly, because it wasn’t that big a shift, women in the US were always quite free), the sensible women went out and got jobs. There were some difficulties for that first big wave into the workforce, as any new group finds, but women proved themselves and now it’s over.

    So who’s left in the women’s movement? The dysfunctional ones, who’ve made a career out of screaming “oppression” – blaming their own inadequacies on the world instead of looking in the mirror. We had a female professor bakc when I was in college who was notorious for this, wailing about how people discriminated against her because she was a woman; my female friends who knew her said, Nope, people discriminated against her because she was an obnoxious B. But if you can blame THEM, it’s THEIR fault, instead of yours.

    • This is an application of The Iron Law Of Movements: ALL political/social movements eventually become run by their most extremist elements, because a) those are the only ones willing to put in the time and effort to keep the Movement going and b) they drive out the sensible people, those able to say “I have a life, I don’t need this crap.”

      Thus Feminism became a haven of man-hating women, vegetarianism a cadre of Gaia worshippers and the Libertarian Party a haven for ill-disciplined anti-government adolescents. Like a cistern, unless a healthy circulation of people through the movement is maintained, there develops a stagnant pool constituting the bulk of the system.

      • Free-range Oyster

        Yep, I can see that as the First Corollary of Pournelle’s Iron Law. I could come up with quibbles, but I’m tired and I like your statement so I’m going to be intellectually lazy and just agree with you. :)

        • It is entirely possible that my expression of the principle was first planted by Dr. Pournelle, ingested so long ago that it has burrowed into my data base. I don’t know when I first met his writings, but it has to be on the order of forty years now.

      • Extremist elements: I call them the “aileron” — they’re found on the extreme outer part of the wing; they’re as far from the mass of people as they can be; they make up a small section of the wing itself, yet have a disproportionate influence on what the wing does; and when they come adrift, the whole system winds up in a smoking crater, with a whole bunch of dead people resulting from same.

      • Hey, I rather like the concept of Gaia. But it’s about time the kids started living on their own, and got their own apartments (Mars might be nice, as a starter home), so the idea of hanging on to mom’s apron strings forever, like most people who talk about Gaia seem to want to do, doesn’t really appeal to me. And I think Gaia would probably agree. Nobody really wants those kids who get stuck in your basement, and show no intention of ever leaving.

  5. If we accept Darwinian development as fact, then the absence of any matriarchy from the list of advanced civilizations suggests it is an unprofitable development.

    Assortment of individuals into groups is one of the most invidious of policies. Disaggregation is key to understanding the issue; As one example, the famous “gender gap” is demolished when you look into it more carefully: most of the disparity disappears when you look at Married vs Unmarried women, and the rest goes away when you breakout the data by race: African-American women are so disproportionately Democrat that they skew the whole sitzpinkler category.

    “Gender traitor” is typically a term of opprobrium ONLY for those who are attempting to conscript you as their canon* fodder.

    *[Sic]

    • The only true matriarchal societies I have seen working today is in the jungles. So not advanced at all. ;-)

    • Actually the Western World is well on the way to becoming a Matriarchy. That’s the goal of the rabid feministas. The challenge is to put on the brakes and say, Okay, we’ve got equal opportunity and a lack of external barriers. Stop right here, and hunt down the few residual problems keeping us from being a solid Humanarchy.

      • Don’t worry. If it continues, someone – the Chinese, Islam, Russia, etc – with an active and aggressive male culture will take it over and all the feminists will probably be removed as poor breeding stock. By then most American men will have given up anyway so they won’t need to be neutered.

        • This has occurred to me…

        • My money’s on China. Islam is too backward and Russia is dying off. The Chinese do have their own demographic problems, but as they wean themselves (gradually) off State Capitalism (ie Fascism), their cultural self-confidence and willingness to get their collective hands bloody will stand them in good stead.

          Not my *ideal* outcome, as I’d prefer America to lead mankind into the Final Frontier, and we’re not out of the running yet, but if I had to select a second team in terms of plausibility, it would be China.

          • And keep in mind: China Needs Women!

            • And keep in mind that China is soon to face over extended banks — in part because they have a failing green industry that was developed to sell to the US and Europe which are not buying.

  6. Too bad you didn’t have a daughter, too – you would have enjoyed it. Having kids of both genders (entirely by accident, I assure you) means that I can now rail about how education is not geared for any of them.

    Beyond gender, they are also so different from each other I don’t know how we managed it.

    All forms of education are bad, for all kids, all of the time – but are still better than no education. Individual learning is not best done in a classroom, with a bunch of other kids of widely divergent abilities (even in ‘gifted’ classes). But ‘best’ is rarely achievable for any single kid, for very long, even when you try very hard. Unless you are wealthy, and can provide individualized instruction by many gifted teachers for your dear little ones (dear on days they aren’t driving you crazy), there’s a lot of wasted effort, both by teachers and students. A lot of time that could be better spent. A lot of distractors. Sometimes it’s a wonder they all learn to do anything useful at all.

    So you watch and monitor and see where things go and what the results are. And complain a lot about the things that are wrong. And try to provide alternatives. And hope the 80/20 law applies. And try to keep the offspring from getting too depressed about it (they do have a natural tendency to learn – as well as one to play video games – and a host of other competing ones).

    Now, if the crap added by the state to try to ferret out BAD teachers didn’t add to the workload of gifted teachers who are actually trying…

    • I’d have loved to have a daughter, but if she took after me she would “present as male” in learning, which — I’ve seen other girls go through this — is h*ll on Earth. As is, I intend to corrupt my granddaughters if I ever have them, by playing trains and swords with them. ;) (Hey, I liked it. I bought the boys pop guns because I had fond memories. Dan’s mom didn’t allow gun-toys, so he didn’t.)
      I disagree with you on education — which is building to a screed — right now it favors STATISTICALLY normal women/girls.
      However you’re right the current educational system is bad for everyone. Which is why it needs to change. (What? Were you under the impression my goal wasn’t to change teh stupid no matter where? Come on. Aristos to the lamppost.)

      • I do remember a time when I was six or seven and lived in a small neighborhood outside of SLC. There were a lot of families with kids the same age. We would get together and play cowboys and Indians. The boys wanted to be cowboys and run around shooting with their cap guns.

        We liked being the Indians because we spent our times figuring out ways to ambush them. After a while, they refused to play with us anymore. I guess we played rough. ;-)

      • Some girls are wired girly-girl. They have a natural instinct for cuddly things as well as pink, purple, ruffles, sparkly, shiny, paint and scent. So, as the boy who was being raised gender-neutral turned his Barbie into a gun by folding it at slightly less than a ninety degree angle, grasping it around the body and point the feet at his target, the girl may well take the sword you present and pretend to ‘cook’ shish-ka-bob.

        • Umm – I wasn’t a girly-girl and it bought me a lot of grief as a child. My parents took away the cars because they were boy toys and gave us Barbies. The Barbies stayed in the box (with their heads twisted off) while we would run around in the sagebrush catching frogs and chasing snakes and scorpions. Our best friend had a .22 that we would spot rabbits so that he could hunt. He wasn’t good at seeing them. We weren’t allowed to touch guns. Maybe a good thing though. I had to stop my sister from grabbing my father’s rifle and shooting someone.

          • My third sister was a girly-girl though. She was like a creature from a different planet.

          • I never got the train I wanted, either. It was a boy-toy.

            Though I did play baby-dolls and had an unhealthy thing with doing the dolls’ hair… as in all my dolls ended up bald through overstyling. (The first of you who giggles and says that’s why I have gay male characters is going to be in trouble!)

            • No train either although my dad had trains so we got to watch. ;-) ooooo that sounds bad…

              • My dad bought me a model train set as a Christmas present. I spend the Christmas days watching him play with it. He was ‘showing’ me how to use it.

                Well, I did get to play with it later, and did, quite a lot, for few years.

                • I think that that Dad thing often happens to boys as well.

                  • sigh. Except Marshall got really upset and tried to bean Dan with the train, when he was two. That stopped… :-P

                    (And because Marshall is MINE from the top of his horns to the bottom of his little hoofkins which he don’t got, I was torn between scolding him and giggling with sudden recognition that I’d have done EXACTLY the same, only harder.)

            • Wayne Blackburn

              No, but have you thought that perhaps you’re a gay man trapped in a woman’s body? (Running away)

              • I’ve been accused of this — my question to that is… HOW COULD YOU TELL?

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  I would presume that someone would think such a thing if the person has several mannerisms that don’t fit their sex, yet they are not gay. Since I’m about as observant of mannerisms and body language as the average tree stump, I wouldn’t know, personally.

            • The song is fun. While I do not endorse the implications, I acknowledge that many girls have experienced such. It wasn’t good for the girls and it wasn’t good for the boys.

        • Indeed. It’s just that gender-atypical girls seem to run in the family. My anti-gun in laws gave the kids a wooden puzzle of the States. The kids went rampaging with Ohio and Fl.

          • I worked in a School Age program for about six months once. Never again. The management had a no gun policy so when one of the teachers taught the kids how to make a rubber-band gun (he was pretty popular), he was fired.

            I was always amazed at what the kids would turn into guns.

          • Ohio? I mean, Florida is obvious…but you’ve gotta be pretty determined to use Ohio as a weapon. I’d have used something like Oklahoma (would make a nice hatchet or cleaver!) or California (dagger, baby!) or at least something bulky like Texas or Alaska, that could serve as a force-multiplier in hand-to-hand combat.

            Or is this an example of overthinking it? :)

          • If I’m ever accused of something violent I’m probably going to be in deep trouble. I kind of collect knives (several Finnish puukkos, others include a rather good modern copy of a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife), have one sword (wants more!) and several axes and sundry other farm implements with sharp edges in my apartment, not to mention all the books about martial arts, poisons, guns (would probably collect them too except for the rather strident local gun laws, which make guns into a somewhat expensive hobby), well, about all the different ways how to kill people effectively. And a few about chemistry, including some which you could use for research about how to make explosives. Hey, I use the books for research when writing might not be the best possible defense then, especially since the only reason I could give for all the knives is that I like them. Well, the throwing knives might get by as something used in a hobby, as might the sword. :D

        • Wayne Blackburn

          Larry Summers found out you can’t admit such things in Academia.

      • Kitteh-Dragon

        We have a son and a daughter. Daughter ‘presents as male’ in learning, but also suffers from the Neanderthal curses associated with reproductive organs. I fear for some of her lamer-brained instructors now that she’s near fully grown and could definitely ‘take them’ when the Mood is upon her. And I would be cheering her on. I’m trying to get both of them into Krav Maga – bwahahahahahahahahaha

        • I got a phone call from the high school principal where my daughter was attending. He informed me that my daughter had been in a fight. I asked him, “well, did she win?”. He said that wasn’t the right response. We had several “discussions” after that, but he never again called me because my daughter had gotten into a fight. (She had won, against one of the players on the football team. I taught her to fight nasty.)

          • I’d have informed him rather promptly that it was HE who was giving an incorrect response. (Well, OK…in your shoes I’d have led with “is she injured” and then followed up with “who started it” before getting to “did she win”. But I’m betting he’d have been no happier about “who started it”. And given your dual role as parent and taxpayer, thus doubly his boss, it’s still not up to HIM to decide what the right response is. :) )

            • One of the most disillusioning days of my life was the day that I accidentally hit someone with a wiffle-ball bat in a high-school gym class and then when I turned my back he kicked me in the head. The principal had a policy that if there was a fight, he would punish both of the participants or neither. He couldn’t punish me (not only had about thirty witnesses seen that it was an accident, my parents and most of the rest of the town would have strung him up) so he didn’t punish either of us. So the other kid learned it’s okay to kick people in the head and I learned that fuck the police.

              • This, by the way, is one of the many reasons that if I get into a fight, the fight’s over when the other person can’t fight anymore. I don’t care for being kicked in the head.

              • I’ve had friends whose kids were in schools with “zero tolerance” – both participants in a fight get punished, regardless of who started it. This means that bullies effectively run the school, and kids learn to not stand up for themselves.

                • That’s the policy in our town and the one kid who was bigger than Robert (please take in account Robert in kindergarten was larger than most fourth graders) took delight in chasing him around and beating him. This was made worse by the fact I’d told Robert “Never fight, ever ever ever” because I had visions of his slapping a little and sending him to the hospital.
                  When the other kid threw Robert’s glasses down and stepped on them in the sand pit, we took the muzzle off. “Next time beat the cr*p out of him.” Robert did. We got the call. We told them what had happened. We got the horrified “Violence never solves anything.” We showed them Robert’s glasses and pointed out this kid never got punished because his parents were very active in the school and had excuses for everything. Robert — okay, so, he read Heinlein — told them to tell it to the city fathers of Carthage (about violence.)
                  I’d like to say the bullying and the fighting stopped, but what happened was the smaller kids who didn’t want to get beaten fell in behind Robert and until younger son entered the school there were still clashes. Then younger son entered the school. Younger son is a berserker like me. You upset him, you can’t stop him until you either stop moving (and it takes a while) or someone (in this case, usually Robert) pulls him off you. Mind you, like most berserkers he’s learned to control it, so it takes a LOT to let go. BUT it’s part of his credo that “no one beats up my brother but me.” Now, take in account at the time Marshall was 90th percentile for height and 20th for weight… the term “fifty pounds of fury” comes to mind. Marshall deployed excessive and unreasoning violence in defense of his brother, who deployed it in defense of the weaker people in the class. The bullying stopped cold. (We could call this “world war II in elementary” I guess.)
                  Anyway — met this kid (now a young man) — last year. He’s taller than Robert, still, but a stripling and… uh… While I think he’s straight (I didn’t ask, okay, but that’s the gut feeling) the word “effete” comes to mind. I’m mentioning it because it strikes me as weird and I don’t even understand that trajectory.

                  • Yes – it’s better for the bullying kid, too, to get taught a lesson (I don’t blame adults for the kids they once were) and there’s often a reason when a kid acts like that, if only that they were never taught otherwise (and often, they’re bullied at home).

                    • The problem with waiting for Superman to deal with Luthor is that Supermen are hard to find. While I’m fine with victims turning tables, I don’t think that it should be viewed as a reasonable solution to a problem. I know you were not suggesting it, but it always seems to be implied when this particular discussion is at hand: Sooner or later the bully will bully the wrong person, justice will triumph, and he will learn his lesson.

                      I call bullshit.

                      The two people who bullied me in high school never learned their lesson, primarily because I didn’t learn to fight outside my weight class until after I had left high school and nobody else seemed interested in dealing with it. Why I didn’t go Columbine on them, I’m really not quite sure. I thought about it, and I had access to quite a lot of weaponry. I honestly think that if I recognized one of them on the street, I’d run them over with my car. This is one of the reasons I don’t visit my home town any more often, and I don’t keep up with my classmates from that time period. I don’t know what they look like now, I don’t know where they live, I don’t know what they do, and I don’t want to.

                      The solution is for the system to deal with Luthor. He may be a supervillain, but we have him outnumbered and we have nuclear weapons. Similarly, if you decide to victimize members of a group, don’t be surprised if the group… groups, and returns the favor with interest. This, in my opinion, should not be punished if it is clear that the system was not meeting its responsibilities.

                      If the system is set up to do this cleanly and transparently, vigilantism of whatever stripe is not necessary. If it isn’t, vigilantism becomes inevitable.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Well… while waiting for someone to give a bully his comeuppance is not generally a winning strategy, there’s no denying that if someone does kick a bully’s tail, he’s less likely to go around bullying that particular person, anyway.

                      When my mother was young, there was a bully on the street she lived on. One day, her older sister and some of her friends got sick of him, ganged up and tied him to a telephone pole, then commenced to start piling sticks around his feet. She was not sure if they were going to actually set them on fire or not (they were stopped before it got that far), but he never bullied anyone on that street again.

                    • Oh, and while I’m posting comments that will probably haunt me at the trial:

                      I don’t care why they did it, Laurie. I simply do not care. I don’t debate with people who want to discuss that: I just ignore them. I don’t care why bullies bully, I don’t care why rapists rape. You don’t reason with rabid dogs. You shoot them. Humanely and after confirmation. But you shoot them. They don’t get better and they don’t get less dangerous. By and large, the same is true of violent people.

                      Yes, some people turn their lives around. But the reason it makes such inspirational television is that it’s so effing rare. There are billions of us and only so many psychiatrists and parole officers to go around. Never mind morality: We are not making wise resource allocations when we treat every violent jackass as the next thing to a victim themselves.

                    • “You don’t reason with rabid dogs. You shoot them.”

                      I completely agree Marc.

                      I didn’t want to quote your whole post, so I just quoted one line, but I agree with the whole post.

                  • This kind of thing is why I’ve come to the conclusion that any parent who leaves their child in public school is committing de facto if not de jure child neglect.

                    Public schools have become nothing more than baby-sitting services interspersed with Leftist indoctrination; if you want your kids to actually learn, private or home schooling is the only answer. Fortunately, technology is rapidly making homeschooling not only possible but more effective.

                    • Even before the wide spread availability of the Internet home educated children were regularly out testing their piers on standardized tests.

                    • Yes. Unfortunately we only realized that when our younger was almost out of school. And here I have to insert that I went through school in a socialist country, so I was doing de-programming of the kids as a routine matter. To me that was “normal.” I only figured out the schools here are now worse than THAT when the younger one was in a program that wasn’t — it was engineering oriented, and made him very happy — and the older was in college. I can honestly say, though, if I had it to do over again, the kids would have been homeschooled.

                  • It is scary for the person with the rage, too. When I was ten I already knew that I had a beast inside and had finally muzzled it. I can imagine what kind of personal toll it took on your son. Bullies, meh. Almost two years now I had a run-in with a bully in our apartment complex. When I called the police, they told me I was a busybody and should keep my nose out of other’s business. (We have drug dealers come into our apartment complex and I suspect the bully was also into drugs.) He was also working for the police (towing away cars for them) so the police considered him a good guy.

                    It pissed me off. Nowadays I don’t have the strength to go berserker, plus it was a policeman. But I went to talk to his boss with an incident report in my hand. I got an apology– the boss was worried that I would ruin the poor boy’s career. My thing was — you listen to the people who are complaining because they have a reason. This bully had been after us for years and we had ignored him. It just got worse. The guy left after I finally got a police report on him. I also made a report to the owners of the complex. I hit them with everything I could. They left the complex
                    about six months later.

                    It seems though that the bully whole goes vacant and another one steps right in. I just don’t understand that phenomenon.

                    • It has been speculated that this is exactly what attracts young boys to The Hulk — it’s the “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” aspect and allowing rage to suppress higher intellectual function.

                    • Well I had some of the berserker because my whole body was shaking– but yes – HULK – yes

                    • The problem is that entirely to many policemen are themselves bullies, they are attracted to jobs where they think they can let their bulllying instincts free safely, without repercussions. To a degree they are right, they do have power and can bully others as policeman with very little fear of repercussions as long as they keep the bullying from getting to FAR out of hand, or until they run into the person who just don’t give a d*mn, and ain’t going to take no crap, regardless of consequences. (my opinion this is the real reason Rambo was such a hit, many people are fed up with putting up with being pushed around, but they have to much to lose if they push back hard, and pushing back easy is ineffective).

              • There were many contributing factors to pulling The Daughter out of the middle school gifted program and switching to home education. One was the day that one of the vice principals called and opened with a sincere apology for interrupting my day.

                Let me back track: The Daughter had been having trouble with a young man who had been harassing her during gym. I had spoken with the gym teacher, who was more concerned with the fact that The Daughter asked inappropriate questions during class. I asked for an example, and she gave me, ‘Do I have to put up with having stones thrown at me in class?’ I asked the teacher if The Daughter did. She was not amused. The Daughter solved the problem by standing as near to the teacher as she could. The young man kept throwing stones, and eventually hit the teacher, who then punished him.

                During the unsupervised class change after that gym class the young man came up behind The Daughter and hit her so hard on the head the school feared she had a concussion. And so I got the call that they were so sorry to interrupt my day.

                There was nothing they could do to the young man, who was already on permanent in-school suspension. They could not send him home, there were no adults there to supervise him during the day time. If The Daughter had hit him back, well, she would have been placed in out of school suspension.

                (After discussing it with the vice principal, who really was an excellent administrator, I ended up apologizing for all the parents who were so self-absorbed and who had verbally abused that the vice-principal that she felt that she had to open her call to me in that manner.)

                • I don’t normally say this. In fact, I hardly ever say it.

                  But you should have sued the crap out of them.

                  • Suit would likely have resulted in a few decent staffers being thrown under the school bus, a few additional unenforceable rules being enacted and no serious improvement in the system. Dealing with it in the way described brought those most likely to be scapegoated in line with the parent and probably engendered a far more favorable situation in future circumstances.

                    • Settlement requirement: Children on in-school suspension are required to be sequestered from the general population.

                    • As we live in a population center which allowed for it, I was one of the supporters of an experimental extended day alternative disciplinary school for young men in trouble that was being tried at the time. It had been set up to provide higher levels of structure, close supervision and strong male role models, things usually lacking in the environment of these students. They also provided quick and predictable consequences (in house) for unacceptable behavior. This allowed those students who were willing to learn better ways of living a chance. It also relieves the other schools in the system of students who have proven to be (at best) a disturbance and distraction from learning and (at worst) were a menace to the safety of the student body.

      • When daughter and son were little, they decided they really wanted to play Elfquest in the yard, and could I come up with a couple of spears, please, since elves need spears?

        She’s still got hers. She shoots, too; add that and some other things together and she’s frequently irritated hell out of all the right people.

      • I was going to say something pedantic here, but I already did that once tonight. :) So instead I shall simply drop some shameless self-promotion. I’m working to fix education, to make something worth having available to as close to everyone as I can manage. I think we can do it too.

        I disagree with ABE regarding all forms of education being bad for children. What forms are best may vary, but there are ways that work well for any given child. I’m trying to find the best solution myself. I know a lot of people here have fed my insatiable thirst for education discussion in the last couple of months. Come check out what I’ve been doing with your ideas. (ew, not that. Give me a break!)

        • Thanks. I probably won’t comment there, but look forward to poking in from time to time to see how it’s coming along.

  7. “these are humans?”

    Allegedly. Upright-standing primates, anyway.

    “These are civilized people?”

    Of course not. You know better. In fact, this very post is an argument to the contrary.

    At one point in my life, I was firmly convinced that I would live to see the day when the last male child was born in a Western country. For that matter, most of my classmates in school (of both genders) all female members of my own family, and not a few authority figures in my youth all believed it too. After all, women are indispensible to the survival of humanity, but men are (allegedly) only needed until women can figure out how to have daughters parthenogenically.

    Then, of course, I grew up, and got to observe what happens in any part of society where they significantly outnumber us. Ain’t pretty, lemme tell ya. :)

  8. I also went through a small-f feminist phase before I joined the military. It had a lot to do with my experiences with my childhood religion and the relationship with my father (not Freudian– he actually believed I should live in his home until he presented me with a groom UGH). I love my father, but he wanted to go back to the 19th century and before.

    Anyway, working in the military took away a lot of my prejudices that I had gathered through my life. I was in electronics and most of the people in my field were male. It was a great experience. I would take a male boss over a female boss– no offense please because even if he is a beast at least I know why he is being a beast. Sometimes with women you just don’t know why she is angry with you. Most of the time it is illogical.

    Also I was the boss for awhile. It is a really hard job. I won’t accept that job again. Anyway– women running around dressed like vaginas sparked a thought… It reminded me of Dionysus and his Maenads.

    Also I understand about the brain failing me. When I started to die from my disease in 2003, I was so upset that I could feel my brain fail me. It was the scariest feeling in the world. The first time in my life I couldn’t depend on a tool that had been there since I was three years old. Scary. Still scary sometimes.

  9. Wayne Blackburn

    Well, I really think that – WAIT.

    Why are you wearing shoes, and what are you doing out of the kitchen??!?! Go back and make us all sammiches*!

    * – this sarcastic phrase is the ONLY place you will ever see me write the word, “sammich”. BOG, I hate that term.

    • Yeah, but you have to admit this was funny:

      Yahoo! Answers Question: What’s a good comeback for when my boyfriend’s friends tease me and tell me to “go in the kitchen and make sammiches?”

      Answer: You’d better comeback with a g*****n sammich.

      It was so wrong, but it felt so right. (No, I didn’t post it.)

      • Wayne Blackburn

        I saw that one, too. One of my friends linked it on FB a few weeks ago. I nearly fell off my chair.

      • Kitteh-Dragon

        Answer 1. “You kill it and skin it first”
        Answer 2. “If your ‘Sam’ itches, there’s a cream for that, and you can use it yourownself.
        Answer 3. “Fine. I’ll get the cauldron out and start the incantations. You should be between two slices of bread in about five minutes”
        Answer 4. Go to market that sells Rocky Mountain Oysters. Serve them in a bow. Raw. Say that’s what happened to the *last* guys that said that to you.

        Sorry, these are off the top of my head and I’ve been a tad under the weather lately.

      • For those who do not know, Kinky Friedman is solidly libertarian, an entirely unregenerate liberated thinker and equal opportunity skewerer of what he sees as non-sense:

  10. There are still some women who grow up in homes that do not particularly value a girl with goals involving brains. One lady I know was told by her father on her wedding day that her husband now would be guiding her thinking about important things like politics. So, I can see why she was inclined to listen to the feminists she met in college.

    I grew up in a very different family. They celebrated brains first and foremost, followed by academic and professional achievements. There had been professional women back into the nineteenth century. Ok, they were also pretty hung up about being skinny … yeah skinny. But they were really no more open minded than my friend’s family when it came to any challenge to their view of ‘how things ought to be.’ When I stayed home to care for The Daughter myself, and then took up home education they felt repudiated.

    Lots of people have trouble really treating others as individuals.

    • Yes. Of course. But I was just upset at the GENERAL belief that you know, men are evil.

      BTW I was raised with the idea I should do housekeeping for my brother because he was a man, BUT I was also expected to be better than him in school. In case you wonder why I’m so messed up. And my staying home to raise the boys broke mom’s heart. EH.

      • I’m equally upset at the “Game” theorists’ belief that women are mindless jackals. Each “side” becomes something extreme and self-beclowning once it abandons the virtues of the opposite sex.

      • I’m not sure that there’s a general belief that men are evil. A squeaky wheel belief, maybe, but I think the general belief that I am acquainted is that it’s impossible to tell the evil ones from the good ones just by looking, so for safety’s sake, it’s a survival trait to assume J. Random StrangeGuy is evil until proven otherwise. (And that one wants to find the proof otherwise!) If I notice that two guys are following me up the stairs into a parking garage… yeah, I’m gonna run for my car, because the consequences of being wrongly trusting are too great, and the consequences of being wrongly suspicious are… me being out of breath.

        (I also deny that pregnancy-brain is a universal experience. :p )

        • Wayne Blackburn

          The “men are evil” notion is not as much the notion that the likelihood of being violently attacked is high, as it is that men are actively furthering and passively allowing the subjugation, either physical, intellectual, emotional, or any combination of the above, by numerous means, from refusing to pay women equally to men, to expecting them to conform to roles such as being the nurturing and supportive member of a family, to looking down on those who go outside the borders of acceptable behavior, all the way to naming things, such as the fact that Hurricanes used to always be given female names, until there was an outcry in 1979.

          As you can see elsewhere in this thread, there are even those who consciously change spellings or names in their use, simply because the word contains a portion which is the same (or even sounds the same) as a gender-identification pronoun.

        • Quickening your step and heightening your alertness is a survival trait. Screaming bloody murder wouldn’t be (seeing as how, the overwhelming majority of the time, they’re not _following you_, they’re _walking behind you_ in the same general direction).

          Moreover, there’s a vast gulf between a suspicion (supported by evidence which, while far from definitive proof, is nevertheless not wholly imaginary) that these particular men might mean you harm, and an ideological certainty that men as a category mean nothing but harm to women as a category. (Yes, I agree that such an attitude is crazy. It’s also frighteningly common.)

        • Some advice: Don’t run to the car. Walk confidently to the car with keys in hand ready for attack. Keys to the eyes hurts. Predators look for nervous people. If you run, they will automatically run after you. (People or animals). ;-)

        • It should be noted that men have a greater chance of being attacked by men than women do. If anybody should be warier, it’s men. (Attacked in the general sense. Attacked and sexually assaulted, for instance, is still mostly a male-on-female crime.)

          And I always assume that J. Random StrangeGuy may be up to no good. I follow the ancient wisdom which tells us to have a song in our hearts, a smile on our lips, and a plan to kill everyone we meet.

          • Yep – plans are good. You made me smile Marc– I think my next killer will smile as he kills– more creepy that way… (in my book… what did you think I meant?)

            • I am sometimes asked by people who notice (most people don’t notice, which is the general idea) why I carry a knife. What they really mean is “HOLY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT EVIL FOLDING COMBAT KNIFE IN YOUR POCKET?” Nobody has ever asked about the gentleman’s knife on my keyring, which leads me to believe that they don’t want to know why I have a knife, they want to know why I have that knife.

              My standard response is, “Because I’m not allowed to carry a gun.”

              The real answer is “Because it takes too long to beat somebody to death.”

              • Umm … I have carried a Swiss Army knife with about twenty blades in my purse since the mid-1980s … and a switchblade in one of the little storage spaces in my car since my daughter gave it to me. It’s a replacement for the can of brake cleaner and the cheap cigarette lighter that my Dad gave me to keep in the door pocket of the last car. I don’t exactly have a plan to kill everyone I meet, but I can damage them slightly.

                And the Army knive comes in very, very handy, since some of the blades are Phillips-head, standard-blade screwdriver, scissors and magnifying glass. Used them more often than I can tell. Every woman should carry one in her purse. You never know when it might come in handy.

                • Not that I am trying to give anybody any ideas, but a butane lighter can be a useful deterrent to mischief in combination with a can of hairspray.

                • I’m sure you meant that the knife is a folding stiletto or other thin-bladed, intimidating-looking knife and not a true switchblade, since switchblades are illegal to carry or possess in almost every US state. People often use the word “switchblade” to mean any vaguely scary-looking knife. I’m a knife snob, so I offer correction when I see it. :)

                  • Thin, scary-looking knife, springs out when you press the button on the handle … that would be it.

                    • Does the blade come straight out the end of the handle when the button is pushed? If so this is a true switchblade, and I don’t know if it is illegal in Texas or not (it is illegal in Washington, or was twenty years ago) When my dad brought my grandpa back from Mexico he had one of those and a can of mace in his luggage. The security guard in El Paso was not impressed and didn’t want to allow them on the plane (they flew into El Paso on a plane full of illegals without going through customs), my dad wanted to just leave them with the security guard, but my grandpa (who had a brain tumor with stroke-like symptoms, and couldn’t talk) threw a fit, eventually they allowed them in the stored luggage and he brought them home. I always wanted that knife, but one of my uncle’s got it.

                    • State and local laws may vary, but the Federal law against switchblades does not distinguish between folding knives (including gravity knives) and extensible knives. I have not researched it in some time, but when I was really interested in knives, there was exactly one state where any kind of switchblade, in the broad sense, was legal, and if you had one you better have made it inside the state and never taken it out because crossing the state border with it was a Federal offense.

                      Like one of the other areas I am reasonably well-educated about (intellectual property law) the law of concealed weapons is absolutely filled with misconceptions and myths. I could recount a dozen off the top of my head that someone told me and would have sworn on a stack of BIbles was the law of the land which were completely false.

                • Daddy believes that every girl should have a good Swiss Knife, and the smallest model acceptable in his mind would have a cork screw. It is a most useful of tools. Just remember to put it in your check through luggage when flying.

                  • *grumble*
                    That’s what I hate about flying places – ever since I got a swiss army kife and realized just how danged useful the little thing was, I try not to go anywhere without it. I also hate to check bags, because it’s expensive with pretty much anyone besides Southwest, I hate having to wait at the bag check, and I’ve heard too many stories about people having valuables stolen out of their checked luggage. So its either deal with checking a bag, or go without the swiss army. :(

                • A knife is a tool. A gun is a tool. A hammer is a tool. Used as designed, and for the proper reason, all are constructive. Mis-used, all become deadly. The idea of “dangerous weapon” is a fraud. There are no “dangerous weapons” — there are only dangerous men. A screwdriver will cause just as much damage as a knife when thrust in just under the ribcage or just under the chin (Thanks, MSgt Han!). No one tries to outlaw screwdrivers.

                  • I agree 100% with you Mr. Weatherford. That is exactly what my daddy taught me.

                  • That sounds good, until you realize that if you offer that logic to do-gooders the result is that carrying a screwdriver becomes a criminal offense.

              • I carry a knife. I think every Baen author has to, or Toni (the publisher) comes to our house and beats us about the head and shoulders — check me here, Baenites, that’s the rule, right? — of course the one time I needed it it had been taken off my pocket due to flying — I HATE THE TSA. HATE THEM.

                • I still miss the beautiful little stainless-steel pocketknife I lost on an airplane long ago – I carried it on, but it fell out of my pocket. :( Nowadays, I don’t carry weapons which would violate the regulations on airplanes, which is one of the reasons I have flown on a trip once in the past ten years.

                • My response to the ‘Why do you have that?’, when I’m feeling polite, is “The knife is the most generally useful and personal of tools ever developed; why don’t YOU have one?”

                  More and more, since so many asking that are the ‘evil weapon’ types, the response is leaning toward “Because f*** you, is why.” I’m a lot less tolerant of those people than I used to be.

                  • I am a lot less tolerant too of that kind of b-s. Ugh tools are not evil for the reason that evil is a moral issue and tools can’t decide good from evil. Rofl Sh-t I just had a story seed in my mind of an intelligent tool in the hands of an imbecile. The tool is the brain and the imbecile is the brawn. (A two part organism) URG… Sarah quit spreading story ideas.

                    • Many years back, with a co-worker who was heavily into D&D I designed a sword, a magical artifact that grew in power. This sword’s charm was that it could defend against attacks, requiring no skill of its user. When first claimed the sword’s ability was modest, limited to physical attacks: parry other swords, deflect arrows, bolts and thrown knives, counteract poisons.

                      As the sword and its owner grew in power, however, the sword developed not only the ability to counter any and all physical attacks but the ability to ward off major magical assaults. Ultimately the sword acquired the ability od prophetic speech, able to foresee and warn its wielder against potential dangers and threats. At which point two unfortunate aspects manifested.

                      First, the sword spoke with the voice and personality of a Jewish mother — think Fran Dreschler. Second, the sword decided that once it had warned its wielder of a danger, its work was complete. If the wielder was determined to rush into danger in spite of the warning it was no concern of the sword. She considered her work done and refused to defend him, refusing to provide any defense beyond that of an ordinary sword. And while he desperately fought attacking orcs, wargs, trolls and malefactors the sword would nag him about ignoring her advice.

                      Beware the Yentle Sword!

                    • Uh… I can’t wait till you meet me… er…

                    • I am fairly sure the invention preceded my ever reading Lawrence Watt-Evans’ delightful The Misenchanted Sword but cannot swear to it. Possibly after, as the book came out around that time … the idea is free for anyone who finds it useful, as I will never write such tales.

                      It seems a likely basis for an anthology, doesn’t it? A magical object, granting great power and having major drawbacks, a treasure found and lost over the ages? Multiple authors each crafting a tale of a new person’s discovery of the talisman — could be a series, each about a different object.

                      (Not that there is any shortage of anthology ideas, and not that I am interested in editing — only reading — such a thing.)

                      As for meeting me – wait. Truly, I am as dull in person as a person can be, slow-witted and indolent (and those are my good points.)

                    • Amanda at one point had a character haunted by his Jewish Grandmother and his Catholic Grandmother who-did-not-get-along but both agreed he should get married and clean up his apartment.
                      I wish she’d finish it.

                    • And there we see the basis for ancestor worship: to prevent their haunting us (other than genetically.)

                      Imagine poor Prince Charles, haunte … err, advised by his ancestors Victoria, George III, Elizabeth Regina and the rest.

                    • I don’t think I could write it, but heavens, I’d love to.

                • Illegal where I live, except for the really teeny tiny ones. So of course I don’t (tries to look innocent – okay, maybe I’m kind of counting, sometimes, on the fact that I’m a nice middle aged lady. Maybe. Scatterbrained one too. Keep losing all kinds of stuff in my purse or backpack, which usually is kind of big and too full of everything anyway, I’m in the everything but the kitchen sink school when it comes to the ideas of what you need to carry with you, and I do need a cutting implement in my work…).

                  • Oh yes, when one might take a walk in the countryside geology is a great hobby. Especially since the Finnish version of a rock hammer I have is a bit bigger than the ones used in most countries, with a long handle. Local rock types can be quite hard, you need something hefty if you want to get a sample of something like granite.

                    And my knees are starting to bother me enough, occasionally, that I have been considering getting a walking cane. Might help with the occasional bouts of dizziness I get too.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Well, then you never know when you may have to break a car window to get out, so there’s a spring-loaded emergency window breaking tool. Looks like of like a hole punch, but the tip is hidden and comes out with significant force when the button is pushed.

                    • Hmm. Wayne, thank you for bringing this to my attention. One never knows. :)

                    • Please to note that while this device is an excellent safety mechanism in certain very rare circumstances, it would make an extremely poor weapon, even an improvised one.

                    • Weapon? Marc, it really is illegal to carry actual weapons, that is anything that is listed as a weapon in the law books, or anything that could be used as a weapon unless you have a good reason why you might need it for something legit, where I live, the exception being hunters during the hunting season. If you carry anything, especially if something were to happen and you have to talk with the police at some point you better have an excellent explanation why you had it. And if you happen to run into the police even if nothing whatsoever has happened that good reason is still a good idea. Limits the options quite a bit. So yes, I’d prefer something else, but tend to go by the idea that something is better than nothing.

                      Plus I do like to take the occasional look at the rocks.

                      The laws, and the way they are applied here, can suck. Even a clear case of self-defense can get people in trouble, if somebody attacked you and you happened to, say, punch the guy in the nose and break it, and escape without a mark yourself, there is a damn good chance you’d end up paying him. Even if there were witnesses who saw the whole thing. We are basically supposed to be able to defend ourselves without causing any undue damage to the attacker (and sometimes it seems that ‘undue’ can mean ‘any damage’), and to be able to judge exactly when to stop so that we don’t cause that damage while possibly fighting for our lives – yep, even when it’s not a case where the attacker actually started to retreat, even if he is still coming at you. In the 90′s a woman got four years when she stabbed a man who was in the process of raping her with a fruit knife and accidentally killed him. The conviction wasn’t because the judge had any doubt about the circumstances, it was deemed that he really had been raping her, and she had not tried to kill him on purpose but had just grabbed what she could reach and hit him with it, but it was because she was judged for having used undue force when defending herself.

                      And when it comes to having anything with you – one case I remember, a guy had used a folding knife on a parking lot, next to his car, to open a package, police happened on the scene and saw the knife – well, you can have something like that if you, say, need it in your work, but the package opener found that opening something you had gotten from post office didn’t qualify. When he later tried to get a permission for a shotgun – for hunting – he was denied that because of that incident, which had gotten him a mention of a ‘possession of an edged weapon in a public place’ (well, that’s the best translation I can manage for that sentence).

                    • Even a clear case of self-defense can get people in trouble, if somebody attacked you and you happened to, say, punch the guy in the nose and break it, and escape without a mark yourself, there is a damn good chance you’d end up paying him.

                      Sounds as if there is a “tax” on competence; a competent boxer slips aside from a blow while counter-punching; an incompetent one takes the blow.

                      It also sounds as if there would be good reason to master Tai Chi — its art of evading attacks by offering zero resistance, causing the attacker to absorb the full force of their assault, should be within the parameters of the law.

                      I vaguely recall various comedy fight routines in which “the hero” manages to leave his foes utterly devastated without throwing a single punch; he just “happens” to evade their blows by slipping, tripping, stumbling and bending down at the exact opportune moments for his assailants to clobber one another. Probably from a Jackie Chan film, but as likely Buster Keaton or Harry Langdon.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Wow. That description truly makes me want to regurgitate. I would have to find some way to leave there for somewhere more sane.

                    • Most of Europe is more or less like that, Wayne. Estonia is one of the exceptions I know of, at least it’s possible there to get something like a carry permit for a gun, ‘self-defense’ seems to be a valid reason there. Since Estonia is also a bit cheaper country to live in (and a bit further south) I sometimes have played with the idea of moving there, maybe after I retire, if possible (not quite sure how they see retiree immigrants…). My father is nearly 90 years old now, not likely he will live all that much longer, and during the last two decades he’s been one of the main reasons why I haven’t wanted to move.

                    • I used to correspond with a guy from Estonia, who hunted and trapped. He explained to me that what I considered draconian laws were some of if not the most liberal in Europe. Cured me of ever wanting to go visit Europe.

          • That is pretty much me. I always know where things are I can use to hit so I gain time to run if possible… Okay, okay, THAT part of Thena IS autobiographical. Look, I’ve been through too much crap not to be that way. And I will NOT get in an elevator with someone I don’t feel comfortable with (politeness be damned) AND I gave up my office because GOOD HEAVENS it was giving me a bad vibe going to the bathroom. So… Paranoid? I call it “Surviving.”

            • The rule is that anybody who’s faced down an automatic rifle with a banner and a bad attitude does not have to apologize for being paranoid unless they actually hit somebody without probable cause. Carry on.

            • I have situational awareness too. I has saved me a ton of grief. Plus if I am intent on destruction for some reason black dogs (I have never met in my life) come to my rescue. (Yes, it has really happened to me– I think that is why I am drawn to fantasy because I think there is another world around us we aren’t aware of– birds, animals, etc. etc.)

              • There is, Cyn. Humans (at least in civilization) are fundamentally blind in a significant way: we can’t read the olfactory world worth a damn, yet so very very much information is laid out right under our noses. Dogs and cats have demonstrated the ability to detect imminent epileptic and diabetic seizure, for example; smell seems the most probable mechanism.

                I think Spider Robinson did a novel based on this premise, starting from a biochemist’s realization that “civilization stinks” which resulted in development and propagation of a virus that multiplied our sense of smell by something like 100-fold. I forget the title and am too lazy to look it up.

                • Strangely humans don’t look up around them (trees, 2nd floors, etc) even though they might look at the sky. They can walk through town and not see a single animal even though the place is occupied by numerous species of birds. They don’t see or hear the raccoons, etc, etc. — and yes, our olfactory sense is very dulled. I think it was better many century ago–imho

                • ‘By Any Other Name’, novella in Analog (which I read and was impressed by); Telempath, later fixup novel (which I haven’t read). HTH.

              • Plus if I am intent on destruction for some reason black dogs (I have never met in my life) come to my rescue.

                Having seen a large, black animal running beside my car on a deserted desert road at about two in the morning, and later finding out that some of my uncles have seen him in dangerous driving situations as well, I can fully believe it.

                • :-) There are bad stories about black dogs– I just think they are guardians. If you are bent on hurting someone else, then you can get on their bad side.

                  • I’ve heard about black dogs both ways– I didn’t know about the mythology, other than the Hound of the Baskervilles stuff, until later. I’d trust my gut with one of those beasts, myself– even the memory of whatever I saw gives me chills, but not in a threat-to-existence way.

                    Pretty standard non-human intelligence stuff, they do what they want…. From a mythology POV, it’s the two sides of dogs, kind of like the two sides of fire. ^.^

                    I’m just glad I saw the one I did, and clearly you’re glad you saw yours!

                    • I would too – from what I saw (or at least the ones I met), it was pretty benevolent. It was huge though. I am five foot eight inches and its back was above my waist. The neck and shoulders were very hefty. I felt safe.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Sometimes I get mildly annoyed when no woman I meet hesitates to get in an elevator with me, no matter the circumstances. I hate being so easy to read. :-P

              • If you were wearing a callsign on a T-shirt, Wayne, and a ball cap, I wouldn’t hesitate. In my experience most Amateur radio geeks are harmless. lol

          • I buy the hubby knives all the time– he even has a boot knife. I carry a stun gun and a small knife in my purse. I used to carry a knife that was given to me by a gunner’s mate. It had a long spike that was used to loosen knots.

            • Now you’ve got me started.

              It’s called a marlinspike. I have one of those. I have one of pretty much everything and more than one of quite a few things. :)

              I have two knives which are my “main” knife on a more or less constant rotating basis: an Applegate-Fairbairn folding combat knife and a ceramic-bladed Puma folding drop-point knife.

              Yes, yes, that piece of porcelain is going to get me killed breaking at the wrong time. But it’s so cool-looking and you just can’t dull it. Plus it belonged to my father and I like to carry it.

              On the occasion I have to carry something with a bit more heft… well, I’m pretty much spoiled for choice, but it’s usually a fairly small clip-point fixed-blade knife. I see no point in advertising. If I take out a fixed-blade knife it’s because I’m about to use it. I’ve always wanted to carry my kukri, since I read Ayo Gurhka! when I was a wee bairn, but it just wouldn’t fly. The thing looks evil. And it’s impossible to hide. Alas.

              I always carry a locking-blade Swiss Army knife in my briefcase, which goes almost everywhere I go. It’s one of the really ridiculous ones with a zillion tools which I’d never carry in my pocket, but it’s extraordinarily handy to have, um, handy.

              I wish I could bring myself to carry some of my Damascus steel knives, but I’m too afraid of losing them. Which probably means I should: one shouldn’t get so attached to things that one can’t use them for their intended purpose.

              • yes, yes, but how many times can you knife porpoises?
                (Runs.) My excuse is I’m getting a fever.
                (Seriously — Thank you for the disquisition on the knives)

              • Umm – yes – I have lost everything including my brain at least once. ;-) It means that I have found that if I have my hubby, enough food, and enough brain, I can live a good life.

                As for knives, they are pretty neat and sharp and sometimes a little evil. I really like them. Also we have those hefty flashlights.

                Oh yea, and thanks on telling me the name of the knife… I used to know it. It was my favorite knife that I carried to work. I made the mistake of having that knife in my bag when I was getting on my flight to Japan (for the Navy). They took it from me, put it in a bag, and gave it back to me after the flight. I thought I was going to lose it then. :-)

                • The knife is called a yachtsman’s knife, or just a sailor’s knife. The tool is a marlinspike. :)

                  It looks pretty mean, but I’ve never seen a locking one. Fighting with a non-locking folding tool is something you do only when desperate. That includes straight razors: I know how to fight with one, but I’d rather have a paring knife, scary as they look. You need a lot of edge to make slashing a good strategy. I’d rather not fight with a knife at all, truth be told. As has been pointed out, the winner of a knife fight is usually the one who just goes to the hospital.

                  • Oh yea – I wouldn’t fight with it… it is just a little intimidating ;-) when you pull it out and the person has no idea what it is. The times I have dropped a guy, I have not used a knife– ;-)


                  • As has been pointed out, the winner of a knife fight is usually the one who just goes to the

                    hospital.”

                    No, the way I always heard it was, “the winner of a knife fight is usually the guy who brought a gun.” ;)

                    Although it must be noted that I grew up in an area rife with illegals, and their gang fights and drug deals gone bad made the news fairly regularly (now of course they are so common they don’t hardly make the news). I was constantly amazed how they could have a gun fight in a hotel room with six illegals and thirty some shots fired, only manage to wound one person. Apparantly knowing enough about the use of a gun to at least realize which end the bullet comes out of, and pointing that end in the general direction of the person your wishful of shooting, is useful knowledge in a gun fight. ;)

                    • That would only apply if you think the purpose of firing off a gun is to harm others. Those for whom firing their guns is a dominance display have no interest in hitting anybody and may actively avoid it as likely to incite others to aim their guns at them.

                    • So funny – We lived in Panama, Panama for over six years. On all the holidays the residents would result in drinking and firing their guns in the air. Possibly they didn’t know you had to aim?

                    • The other thing these morons (and yes we have them here too) forget is that what goes up must come down, and comes down with more than enough force to kill people.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Fortunately for that type of people, it turns out that if you shoot straight up into the air, the slug will lose its aerodynamic spin and tumble on the way down, so that it will only hit with enough force to raise a welt.

                      Shooting at an angle, however, will allow the spin to remain, and it can be deadly on its downward path.

                    • Which is actually unfortunate from the cosmic justice scale perspective, because them shooting themselves would be the optimal outcome.

                    • And just because I love it:

                      “You can carry a .25. If you must. However, never, ever load it. If you load it, you may fire it at someone. If you fire it at someone, and they find out about it, they may become very angry with you.”

                      — Col. Jeff Cooper

                      (This was the punchline of a story about a fellow who was shot at with a .25ACP and didn’t realize he’d even been hit: his leather jacket had stopped the bullet cold. He returned fire with a .45ACP and killed his assailant.)

                    • Marc, that reminds me of my favorite “guns and alcohol don’t mix” story:

                      Pensacola paramedics are called to a house to treat a gunshot wound. The “victim” admitted he had drunk “about a case” of beer while cleaning his pistols. The paramedics examined the bleeding foot and found three bullet holes. It seems he didn’t notice the .25 or the .32; when he got to the .357 loaded with hollow-points, on the other hand….

  11. I’m reminded of an incident of Teh Outrage I heard – that all descriptive terms for black skin were commodities, because racism. My science brain immediately went off to find terms for white skin that *weren’t* commodities, and failed. The reason we don’t find successful matriarchies is much the same reason we don’t find successful patriarchies — humans can mess up ANYTHING regardless of gender and putting one group of humans in charge purely because of internal plumbing exacerbates the tendency. (The only modern “true” patriarchy I can think of is Saudi Arabia, and they have all kinds of problems. The men too.)

    I’m very grateful to the women (and men!) who fought to get women the right to vote. I like voting ;-) I’m grateful to the women who put up with all kinds of institutionalized nonsense at universities so when I showed up nobody batted an eye when I majored in physics. The Labia Loonies, however, need their lithium doses recalibrated. With a hammer, in my opinion, but then I’m not a *medical* doctor.

    • (The only modern “true” patriarchy I can think of is Saudi Arabia, and they have all kinds of problems. The men too.)

      They will, however, offer you $20,000 for the blond female non-com you’re eating dinner with downtown.

    • Labia loonies. We should make it an hash tag #Labialoonies dancing in sparkly vaginas again.
      Of course, tech changed society but it took time for perception to catch on. And btw, the women who broke down the barrier were heros, as is that little Afghani girl who got shot in the head for wanting an education.

      The #labialoonies though, can … er… talk to the hand.

      • Daniel in Brookline

        scottmcglasson:
        There’s a lot to be said for the argument that getting the middle-east laid more (the lack of which is attributable to polygamy) would end our jihadist problem almost overnight.

        Our Lovely Hostess:
        Labia loonies. We should make it an hash tag #Labialoonies dancing in sparkly vaginas again.

        So, if the jihadi problem is that would-be jihadis aren’t getting laid enough, a solution presents itself! Offer the Labia Loonies free one-way passage to visit the jihadis, pink costumes included. The jihadis get more of what they want, and the LLs get to see what a TRULY anti-female culture looks like (and hopefully learn to appreciate Western culture more). Win-win.

        • One of the kidnapped women in John Ringo’s Ghost says pretty much this exact thing on national television. (Note: the woman in question has been captured by an Islamic terrorist group along with several others to be tortured to death on live webcast. The women have co-opted the webcasting equipment and are communicating with American television networks.)

          “[America is] Male-dominated society? Screw that. This is male-dominated society. America is heaven compared to this place, to these people.”

          It’s hi-larious. He’s not subtle, but he is funny. Not for nothing did he inspire the infamous OH JOHN RINGO NO! meme.

          • There was an Ottoman ambassador, writing from the Holy Roman Empire, that assured his readers that he had seen it with his own eyes, he would not have believed it otherwise: if the emperor was riding, and met a woman, he would pull up his horse and let her go by, and if he met one while afoot, he would take off his hat to her. The only thing the ambassador could think of to explain it was that it stemmed from reverance for the Blessed Virgin.

  12. Incoming instalanche, incoming instalanche, grab your protective head gear now now now!

  13. I was just thinking this AM that Feminists want womyn to be free to be anything but semi-traditional women. People like my mom suffer from false-consciousness, in the professional Feminist’s view of the world, and can’t see how miserable they really are (even though my mother broke all sorts of barriers and in semi-retirement earns more than I ever will, while raising more-or-less normal children and enjoying a very happy marriage to *gasp* the same man for close to [redacted] years).

    I can hardly wait till the professional Feminists meet my MC. A career soldier who desperately wants children although she can’t have them (hybrid sterility), she wears skirts, flaunts long hair/cranial fur, likes dancing and shooting, has very few qualms about killing people and breaking things, and is NOT an activist for female liberation. She’d rather subvert the system from within, discretely, by encouraging both females and males to excel in whatever their strengths are.

    • Gasp TX– so when is this book coming out?

    • I’ve given critiquers a problem with some of my stories. They have to admit that the women are indeed strong woman characters even though their motives entirely stem from being wives or mothers (or both).

      • Spider Robinson had a good line about the people complaining about Heinlein heroines being implausible, which really threw him because not only was he having this argument with alleged feminists, but it meant that they didn’t believe in Ginny Heinlein. Which, he theorized, could get you killed if you happened to encounter her.

        • Forget that aspect — I might not be the brightest bulb on the string, but my kids and husband are geniuses as are many of my friends. Geniuses don’t scare me. I know people whose IQ can only be estimated because the tests hit on the ceiling.

          Ginny Heinlein intimidated the living daylights out of me. She was also the only person EVER to give me EXTENSIVE reading lists. You know, not one or two books i might have missed, but a month’s worth of reading. Otoh she also once told me Robert would have been proud of me. As one of Heinlein’s far-flung children of the mind, there is no sweeter praise.

        • One justification for reading is that you expand your mind to encompass new people and new ways of thinking. Unfortunately, the people who most need it are those who resort to “unrealistic characterization” so as to disbelieve.

          This may be distinct from the problem I describe, because the critiquers either did not grasp their real issue (one just marveled at the fact) or did not have the nerve to express it plainly, so I don’t know whether it’s that, the view that strong women wives-and-mothers should not be depicted in fiction, or perhaps that strong women and wives-and-mothers ought to be mutually exclusive in both fiction and real life.

  14. For every person who reads this post and accuses you of being a “gender traitor,” you’re going to gain at least two new fans. Thank you for saying this.

  15. Honest, I was never once exposed to Gimbutas in a serious academic setting. I tried once (once) when I was living in Boston to read her “with an open mind,” as one of my housemates requested. I read the first sixty pages and showed up at dinner with a fifteen point mockery. Her jaw dropped, she turned red, and she didn’t speak to me for three days. As it is, I “present as male” academically, as well. I have a son. I have brothers, and a husband. I still miss my father. Hostility toward men is something I just don’t get. However, I turned down the chance of a master’s degree in education when I was getting my teaching certificate – I just didn’t want to be seen as having a masters’ in something so fuzzy that I thought was full of it.

    • Honest, I was never once exposed to Gimbutas in a serious academic setting.

      Golly. I can only say, after reading the blog post and the various reactions (including this one) that I am happily relieved to be entirely ignorant of said author’s works. I fear to inquire of The Daughter if she has been exposed, for this sounds like the kind of thing up with which she will not put in most vociferous terms.

  16. The Cult of Victimology. If you split us up into enough pieces, _everyone_ can belong to an oppressed minority.

    I either squeaked through college just before the feminists went downhill, or I was even more oblivious to the Real World than I had realized.

    • Free-range Oyster

      “If you split us up into enough pieces, _everyone_ can belong to an oppressed minority.”

      I had to endure “sensitivity training” for one of my jobs years ago – in California no less. /shudder At one point they did exactly this, having people who had been ‘victimized’ or ‘discriminated against’ stand at the front of the room. Then they started broadening the criteria until everyone but my supervisor was up front. Yes, even young white Christian male me – I was doing it rather ironically, treating the whole exercise as a victimization of those of us with a functioning brain.

      My supervisor, an outspoken woman of late middle age, was encouraged to join the group. Surely she had been discriminated against somehow! Sure she was white and Christian, but she must have been done wrong because she was a woman! She merely shrugged and told them with as little derision as she could manage that she refused to be a victim and did not define herself by what other people did. I was so proud of her and ashamed of myself for caving (even ironically). I thanked her later for what she did, and she just smiled. That’s just who she was.

  17. “Most modern guys wouldn’t know what to do with a truly submissive woman.”

    I disagree.

    I’d have her make me a sammich.

  18. I think there IS pendulum, but it’s sort of a secondary one. Basically, the sort of feminist who absolutely hates men is a pathological creature. She will tend to have fewer children. (We already see this becoming a commonplace among the feminist crowds up in the NE, now gradually beginning to celebrate their “old and lonely years,” because, gee, what other choice do the poor gals now have?) Her views will thus become more rare, and essentially, extinct.

    Men and women who think “gee, that sex I’m supposed to be getting down with, they sure are great,” will continue to do so.

  19. PS — my wife would now officially like to meet and claim you as her long-lost sister.

  20. Apparently a woman’s nesting instinct extends to parentheses!

    But jokes aside, well said. Very well said.

    • Parentheses are a natural result of insufficient caffeine. You’re lucky it’s not written in martian.

      • Insufficient parentheses are a natural result of either an insufficiently logical mind or an insufficiently complex argument. :)

        You have nothing to implicitly apologize for. The natural process of parsing an English sentence is imprecise. Parentheses fix this.

  21. To paraphrase Jerry Pournelle: Free humans aren’t equal. Equal humans aren’t free.

  22. I could not agree with the author more. After a long and successful career that included being the first person to graduate from college in my family and breaking many a “glass ceiling,” I have come to the conclusion that there is more of a war on men than women in today’s society.

  23. Notes:

    1) We may be able to tell who the daddy is, but that is the very, very last thing modern feminists want. It gives power to men and we can’t be having that.They fight tooth, nail and claw to prevent any and all application of paternity tests to support obligations. Disgusting.

    2) Equality of access will never produce equality of results because of the different ability distribution curves. There are more extraordinary men and there are more sub-ordinary men. I never seem to hear any complaints about how there are more boys than girls in special needs programs (there are) but that is exactly the same phenomenon which puts more boys in gifted programs (and in the highest positions of power and commerce.) This has actually benefitted women on the whole as modern society has reduced the need for ordinary and slightly sub-ordinary workers, but it means they’ll never be in equal numbers at the highest levels unless the playing field is tipped in their favor. Anyone who says they want to see equal numbers of female Congresspersons, CEO’s, and so forth is, know it or not, arguing that men should be actively repressed.

    3) Your last point is exactly how the pendulum will swing back, if we are stupid enough to let it (I think we are) or we don’t hit the Singularity first (might, might not.) A trend which can’t go on, won’t. If we continue to “feminize” society, society will become unsustainable, and it will radically change.

    • I wondered when somebody was going to bring up paternity fraud. I’m convinced that Islamic societies treat women so badly because paranoia about paternity fraud has become embedded in Islamic culture. Actually, Robyn Blumner mentioned in 2000:

      http://www.sptimes.com/News/061800/Perspective/Can_it_truly_be_Fathe.shtml

      American women have been stonewalling this issue for 20 years.

      • Yes. And I agree with you that this is insane. Interestingly, tests in the wild prove that female apes cheat way more than males (i.e. go outside the band.) I’ve often wondered if that’s true in human society too. (I know it’s not what surveys say, but a survey is a poll and if you’re not lying to polls you’re not doing your job. When I was a kid in Portugal people went on a flap on how kids were losing their virginity earlier and earlier. At thirteen, attending an all-girls’ school I barely knew any boys other than family, but when presented with a survey which asked the MOST BIZARRE THINGS some of which I didn’t know were possible, I lied like a rug. So did my friends and — look, guys we were a gifted form and we did physics problems on break for FUN. We had competitions! — I’d put hands in the fire all but the lesbian couple were in fact virgins. It’s just anonymous surveys could make us invent alternate personalities and have SO MUCH FUN.) I know female writers are WAY raunchier and less romantic than males. Which would seem to go against the societal image. Perhaps women should have clung to the image. Makes us so much more appealing. ;)

        • You know, my dad always said the men were more romantic than women (he said it was because women couldn’t afford to be, because of the consequences for them).

          As for more cheating in Islamic societies – of course there would be. A polygamist society, where you’ve got little chance of loving your husband (who might be quite a bit older than you and is likely to put you aside for a younger woman as you get older) and a surplus of unattached young men?

          (As said above, gender supremacy by either gender is bad for everyone.)

          • I meant more cheating for ANY women everywhere.
            And I think your dad was right.

            • That one, I can’t really say. I’ve seen both, but probably more men than women (though it was older men and younger women who did the cheating, if that means anything).

              • Slimeballs cheat because they are slimeballs. That’s pansexual.

                Married men who aren’t slimeballs cheat because their wives have cut them off (metaphorically, or else the question would be moot) and they can’t stand it anymore. (In the words of a perceptive comedian I once heard, “You women think you’re as horny as men are? You’re not even close“)

                Married women who aren’t slimeballs cheat because their husbands don’t make them feel special any more and they have been told that they deserve to feel special.

                Whichever happens more often will tell you who is going to cheat more absent slimeballism.

                *ducking and covering*

                • What I have seen, in general, are few slimeballs, but different approaches when a marriage breaks down between good people. Women (who are better at this kind of thing) will see problems and try to fix them – push for counseling (I have never heard of a woman refusing to go to marriage counseling, I have seen several men who did refuse), and then both agree to a divorce. She’ll stay on her own, with the kids if there are children and it might be some time before she dates anyone, possibly because she’s just trying to survive.

                  Men, on the other hand, will soldier through an unhappy marriage (because, for many men, a bad marriage is still better than no marriage), until they find someone else. Which means they aren’t as likely to deal with what went wrong in the marriage in the first place (and I have seen, too often, that they completely blame everything on their wives, when it usually takes two people to break a marriage).

                  Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but this is a pretty typical pattern.

                  • I have seen both women refusing to go to counseling and women going and then initiating divorce afterwards anyway. I guess it depends.

                    • I don’t fault going to counseling and then still wanting divorce – counseling can’t fix everything and sometimes things have just gone too far. But at least people know they’ve at least tried their best to fix things. And counseling might at least help people to move past the anger and end things with as little rancor as possible.

            • Being romantic is a price women can extract from men. Men don’t usually demand it of women.

          • The opposite of this is that women are more practical than men: they have to be. Or at least historically. Now that (in some cultures at least) the world has been tamed and women have complete reproductive freedom (they can either not reproduce or they can reproduce and the state will support them if the father will not) they seem to be becoming less practical. Unsurprisingly, men are becoming less romantic.

            • And on that note I think it’s time to haul out the classic “Men are a breeding experiment run by women. If they do not like the results they have only themselves to blame.”

              • I have recently run across a character — apparently male — who insisted online that the only reason women are poor is deadbeat dads, and it’s never ever ever the woman’s fault for choosing a bad father for her child, it’s always always always the man’s fault for lying to the woman.

        • I know female writers are WAY raunchier and less romantic than males.

          Anyone who has worked for any length of time in a facility serving the public (restaurant, movie theatre) can vouch for this principle. The condition in which females routinely leave their restrooms would appall the crassest male.

          • I worked in a New Age store for 3 years, running the bookstore. A beautiful, tall redhead, a local model I think, went in the bathroom, and after she left….. let’s just say she obviously didn’t want her lovely tuchus to touch out awful toilet lid.

        • You know, there’s a book I read about 20 years ago, liberal columnist went to Samoa with friends and wrote about it, the book was illustrated with Doonesberry cartoons set there, but the mosts radical thing this guy ever did in his life was hunt down the girls Margaret Mead interviewed for “Coming of Age in Samoa” and interview them. The then middle aged ladies laughed their heads off at what the dirty-minded plangi woman would believe! It was all fibs, they had the hardest time keeping a straight face as Mead asked for hotter and hotter details!

        • “tests in the wild prove that female apes cheat way more than males (i.e. go outside the band.) ”

          Not possible. It takes two. Therefore, if one band had more cheating females, another has more cheating males.

          • sigh — not necessarily. All it takes is one guy from the other band cheating.

            • Read your mythology — how often does the sojourning demi-god get more action than a prize bull? Simple math for stock-breeding: it is genetically more efficient for one male to service several females.

          • erhm. Think about this. If 20 females are getting a bit extra outside the troop, it does not mean there were 20 SEPARATE Males that they were getting it with (the same applies, logically the other way around). A friend of mine did some work on sexual selection in fish, and it turned out that there were a small percentage of males whose strategy was to have a bit on the sly, and females were broadly receptive (this is a harem species, and the higher up the pecking order, the less likely). Oddly these ‘sneakyf*uckers’ (the correct biological term, btw were the males who failed/were still too small to keep a harem.

    • If by “radically change.” you mean: be conquered by barbarians, then yes, probably.

      • That is in fact my opinion of the most likely outcome. However, I can also totally see a Handmaid’s Tale sort of thing happening.

  24. I think some caution is merited in the definition of “oppression,” certainly historically. What we observe, from a distance, is that far fewer women occupied positions we *in the present* regard as higher status, higher power, more important, more rewarding: king, baron, bishop, legislator, warlord. And no doubt that’s true. But there’s an interpretation issue here: it’s folly to overlay modern ideas of what’s an important role onto society 500 years ago (or even 50, really).

    WAS it more important to be a king, baron, bishop in 1500? Or (for example), were you more powerful as the queen, baroness, or mother of a bishop? These are nontrivial questions, without obvious answers. Today we are far more individualized than ever before. We interact to a much greater extent as individuals to society at large — our customers, readers, clients, how we are portrayed in media. But for most of human history, we interacted directly almost entirely with our family and neighbors, and broader social interactions were more group-to-group: family to family, dynasty to dynasty, sect to sect.

    Consequently, it is not unlikely we overvalue things like title, position, or theoretical power of command in the past, and undervalue things like influence and stature within the family, sect or group. That is, we feel they are important to a degree that our distant ancestors would not. And, they, correspondingly, would value aspects of our lives less than we do.

    One fact about the sexes — not genders, please, nouns have genders, people and animals have a sex — that seems incontrovertible is that as a rule women are more conservative than men (meaning less experimental, less taking of risk). From that point of view, we would always expect women as a group to change general social perceptions and behaviours more slowly than men. They will abandon what worked more slowly, be less eager to try out the latest fashion. So…if women were late to the professionalism party — if they sought to become lawyers, senators, and presidents a full 500 years later than men — what can we conclude? That the men kept them down? Or, perhaps, that the women were more conservative, and did not abandon the more traditional roles of power and influence until later than the men. That seems more likely. Which means we are operating from a viewpoint of profound ignorance. Rather than say “Why did 16th century woman put up with being subservient?” we might be better of asking “What were the individual and group modes of behaviour and influence that made the 16th century woman not feel subservient, in a way the 21st century woman (thinks she) would be in the same situation?”

    It’s a general corollary of the fact that if we fail to understand our ancestors, that is much less likely to be because they were crazier or dumber than us, and much more likely to be because we have misunderstood the actual circumstances of their lives.

    • “What were the individual and group modes of behaviour and influence that made the 16th century woman not feel subservient,

      That is an extremely fascinating question. (I suspect some of this might have some compare-and-contrast moments with the Vor Lady Network and Conspiracy Society, as in Bujold’s A Civil Campaign, too.) I would be fascinated to read a (reasonably non-dry) book/essay about that. I’d also want to see how class affected the situation; did women often feel that “being a woman sucked” (more than men felt “being a guy sucks” or simply “life sucks”), in certain social strata, and if so, which strata?

    • Yes — I should have mentioned that in different centuries different things are valued (I already had way too many of these things) but from our POV lack of economic power, vote, etc equals oppression. I probably should also mention my grandmother never had the right to vote (unless my grandfather granted her that right, as was the law for married women) till she was seventy or so, but the idea of grandma as oppressed makes me choke with laughter.
      But mostly, mostly, it seemed to be biology.

      • My grandfather would tell my grandmother how to vote the night before they went to the polls. My parents did the same thing. I always consult the hubby because the legal language can sometimes screw with my head. (Rule of thumb– if they ask for extra money especially now, it is not a good thing to give it to them.) lol

    • In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, ‘I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.’ To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: ‘If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.’

      This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.
      —G. K. Chesterton

      it also applies in retrospect. 0:)

  25. I’m in debt to Glenn Reynolds for sending me here and him asking you to guest blog on Instapundit. I dearly love intelligent women. I’m married to one and have one as a daughter, so I know what they look like. You look just like one. Besides, anyone that would quote Robert A. Heinlein can’t be all bad and you play with guns…Robert would be so pleased.

  26. Thinking For Oneself is what women do much better than men. Why they became convinced they couldn’t/shouldn’t or wouldn’t is a mystery… I suspect other women as blatant generalities indicate women pay much more attention to other women than to men…blatant generality is only valid as far as any blatant generality can be…

    H.L. Mencken in 1920′s wrote about the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI. He predicted that the germans would have no choice but to re-arm and return to the conflict.

    He also noted that sending women to war was ignoreing the character of women. Women in war, he predicted would be focused on killing the enemy and returning home as expeditiously and quickly as possible. He said that women were basically the less civilized part of humanity. Men, in contrast want to hold to “sportsmanship, fair-play and appaluase for acts of bravery performed by the enemy.”

    He alsi said that “Women are like wild game. Morality correspondes to Game Laws.” I read the book over 40 years ago. I have three daughters, a wife, sister and sister-in-law… So far the thesis hold true… The book was titled “In Defense of Women”… Please excuse my memory if I mis-quote anything verbatim… I was going through a “Mencken Phase” and digging out copies of American Mercury, books, essays, and news columns… Mencken was among the first to “cut-and-paste” to recycle his previous newspaper column… The Sage of Baltimore was famous for removing the first one or two layers of skin from the pompous and mighty, in his efforts to get behind their aura and illusions of magnificence… Makes one wonder how he would have analyzed the modern cast of politicians, centillionaire preachers and corporate big wigs….

    I don’t think many people know him or his writings any more…

  27. “I look at them going to war with spelling: Womyn, Herstory”

    Oh, God, don’t get me started on those morons. 5 minutes of research into the etymology of either of those words reveals how utterly idiotic that kind of letter substitution is! They think they’re making some sort of statement about… oh, for goodness sakes, what *is* it supposed to mean, anyway? Makes me want to pull my hair out, when I see people do something like that.

    • gah! forgot to check the comments email box.

    • It means “maleness is evil.” It’s like the uber-fundies who answer the phone “Heaven-o!” so they won’t have to say “Hell.” (Yes, they exist. They are very rare but not imaginary.)

      • And it has the same ultimate root – fear. :)

      • Some of those, huh? I was going to say I couldn’t understand how people could be *so* wrong, and yet *so* convinced they’re right, (biology, you fools! No women without men, no men without women!) but then I realized that’s exactly when people are wrongest (not to imply that goes both ways. You can, of course, be convinced you’re right and actually *be* right. But I do find that some of the world greatest evils have come from people convinced that they really are doing a good thing.) What’s the quote? “It’s not that they don’t know anything, its that so much of what they know isn’t so”?

        • Fear the do-gooder far more than the evil-doer. For at some point even the most rapacious, the most avaricious, the most murderous villain may be sated, may take a moment to be satisfied with his unspeakable acts. But a person who truly believes that they are doing something for somebody else’s own good will never rest, will never falter, and will commit any action no matter how unthinkable in pursuit of their chosen goal. Most of history’s despicable stories have their roots in some claimed injustice being remedied, some claimed sin being avenged, some claimed evil being opposed.

          • If you’re going to quote C. S. Lewis, please let others know who you’re quoting. [Wink]

            • I wasn’t, although I had read similar quotes before and one of them might have been his. I thought I was amalgamating. If it was close enough I should have given credit, please accept my apology on behalf of the gentleman.

            • I thought that was familiar – CS Lewis…

              • You’re thinking:

                Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

  28. I agree with your arguments, In reality, they have equal application to the race wars that are being fought right now. I modified one of your above paragraphs to emphasize this point…”What I see is minorities who were freed by legal advances and who THINK they were freed by marching shoulder to shoulder and taking permanent offense. These minorities live in a state of paranoia, dreaming up white privilege that is invisible to anyone but them, and taking offense at ever more ridiculous things – even things that have nothing to do with race – because they’re so terrified of whites taking the upper hand again.”

    • These are the people so obsessed by race (gender) that they cannot imagine others being wholly indifferent to it.

  29. In addition, it seems hardly controversial that even humans have sexual dimorphism other than tits — that men and women are designed for at least slightly different social roles. There’s is decent physical evidence that men are, in agreement with theories of sexual selection and opportunity cost, more experimental across the board. That they take greater risks, and are biologically more varied.

    At the very top of the human intelligence spectrum, there are more men than women. But also at the very bottom, too. Far more men win Nobel Prizes in physics, and far more men are diagnosed with ADD, or end up alcoholic or in prison (which Murray nad Hernnstein have ably argued is directly correlated with intelligence).

    The reasons seem clear: throughout nature, in species that give live birth and where parental investment is high and centered on the mother, fathers are more expendable. A tribe can suffer the loss of 50% of its men and go on just fine, where loss of 50% of its women is a reproductive catastrophe from which it may not recover.

    So what does that mean about social roles? It means men will be the daredevils, and acquire disproportionate share of the credit for unlikely success, and the blame for forseeable failure. They are more likely to be heroes and villains, lionized or outcast, revered prophet or voice in the wilderness.

    For most of human history, fraught with savage environmental challenges that made mere survival chancy, it seems very likely stability, common sense, caution, and conservatism would’ve been highly valued, at least as highly valued as the occasional breakthrough cleverness. So women would not have enjoyed less social status than men, although it may have been less intense either way, less boom or bust cycle of fervent admiration mixed chaotically with intense distaste.

    But every since the Industrial Revolution, and our increasingly safe and predictable lives, where we do not routinely fear carnivores, starvation, infectious disease, or raiding slave traders from across the sea, we appear to be valuing the “breakthrough” results more and more, and disdaining (or just taking for granted perhaps) the virtues of conservatism, good sense, good planning in depth, having a realistic Plan B for every optimistic Plan A. That may well be what underlay our shift in perception, so that what the men were doing — working on breakthrough stuff — seemed more “important” than what the men were doing — making sure the breakthrough wasn’t actually breaking through the thin ice, bloop bloop ack eep.

    As perceptions have changed, the women not surprisingly wanted to be part of the more exciting stuff, and so they have. It’s accompanied by a revulsion for the past, but sometimes I wonder if that isn’t a method of quieting a disturbing whisper in the hearts of women. IS this really the right way to go? WILL this really please me, protect my children, ensure our tribe survives?

    It might not, you know. Sure, maybe it seems much more glamorous to be a engineer who constructs giant machines. But…what if those machines are bad ideas? Thermonuclear bombs instead of power reactors? Deadly biological weapons instead of gene therapy vectors? Hmm. I can understand why women, in particular, may have a broad underlying sense of unease in adopting a more traditionally male sense of what’s fun and important — bold adventuring! innovation! working without a net! — and perhaps have to beat it down by disparaging their past choices. If I have a secret doubt about whether it was a good idea to buy the house I just bought, the probability that I disparage renters goes up.

    • I think another bit of the disparagement might be… Many of the fore-runners in “traditionally male” jobs had to be More Boy Than Boys Are to be accepted. (I mean, there were newspaper cartoons about police cars with frilly curtains when female police officers were first getting their jobs!) Any hint of “femininity” would be jumped on and presumably used as ammunition for “no woman — not you, not anyone — can do this MAN’S JOB. Go home and make sammiches.”

      I think one can see where this ingrained “must be One Of The Guys, must mock the ‘traditional Little Woman’” attitude might have had some of its roots? Which ironically leaves the HyperFeminist in the state of… denying that anything traditionally “female” is Good, and embracing All That Is Traditionally Male. Which, of course, leads to the terrified frenzied scramble to claw one’s way into the Good place (the Male one), and kick out the current occupants in the assumption this is a zero-sum game.

      (Meanwhile, the more nuanced feminists are the ones going, “Look, all this focus on HyperMale Is The Only Good is bad for women who want to do non-HyperMale things, and really bad for guys who might be great child-rearers, and we kind of need to break down this whole concept of gendered roles so that it’s not women-in-male-job or guy-in-female-job and just doing-what-we-like-and-are-good-at.”)

      (I will say, I don’t think that mocking the HyperFeminists helps. It’s the sort of thing that is likely to set up the hackles of the people who are willing to go, “I don’t understand why you feel fulfilled by this particular social role, but I’m willing to defend your right to do so freely,” and get them feeling, “If I defend Housekeeping Mom as a role, it’s going to be twisted into support for the [squeaky wheel] Women Out Of All Other Roles.”)

    • Those who believe things to be outdated or stupid simply because they are old are committing the Fallacy of Chesterton’s Fence, q.v.:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/08/thinking-about-taxes/243651/

      “There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. ”

      I don’t say *you* are, but those are the people you are talking about.

    • Another aspect of this issue is the fact that in many professions you cannot rise to the top unless you have performed certain functions or held certain roles – e.g., in the military, if you have served honorably in combat, your path to promotion is somewhat easier than if you have not, and certain kinds of functions are reserved to those who are allowed to serve in combat. This would irritate the anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better types in any event, but since there *is* a small kernel of true unfairness – which is there for a very good reason – to it it is ammunition, if you’ll pardon the expression, for all sorts of shrewery.

  30. I think another factor bears mentioning: when accusations are made that men oppress women through indirect, social means (as opposed to the very direct means of force used e.g. in Islamic culture) — by “how women are portrayed”, language, et cetera — I think this is a priori obvious nonsense, for the very simple reason that men listen very closely to women — are tremendously influenced by what attracts women — but women listen much more evenhandedly, if not more to each other.

    To take one example, you will find far less variation in the acceptable “look” of women in media consumed mostly by women — magazines, mainstream TV and movies — than you will in media consumed mostly by men, e.g. pr0n. It is women who enforce the current fashionable look on each other, whereas men like women in a great profusion of shapes, sizes and styles, from the BBW MILF to the creepily nearly pre-pubescent shaved look. Few roles are as tightly socially monitored and fraught with anxiety as how mothers evaluate each other, particularly with young children. It’s way more oppressive than how men evaluate women in, for example, business.

  31. I am a member of reddit’s men’s rights community because
    i believe in true (before the law) equality.

    I have to say, ATH, you are totally awesome. Most of the posters here…. totally awesome. You all have my respect and admiration. *big hugs*

  32. “We are now, if we want to be, equals.”

    As usual, it’s the subordinate clause that causes the most grief. Far too many women don’t want to be men’s “equals,” in any sense. They want their turn as oppressors — and have used every instrument of the law, politics, and simple emotional blackmail to have it that way. But men are reacting in exactly the fashion a reasonable person (of either gender) would predict…and the would-be oppressors are not pleased.

    Will good sense make a comeback among the harridans of the “liberated” set? Or will the much discussed but seldom delineated “war between the sexes” enter a hotter phase yet? (And what about Naomi?) Stay tuned.

    • How true. I have read with my own eyes a justification of favoring girls over boys in kindergarden on the grounds that boys have been favored for centuries.

      • To which I am inclined to respond, “Didn’t your momma teach you that two wrongs don’t make a right?”

        (OK, my mind skips off and what comes of it: three lefts will make a right. We are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights …sigh!)

        • it’s stupid to punish boys for a state of affairs they personally never profited from. I can see some — flawed, imo — justification for racial preferences, if you assume that otherwise these people would have been better off/have more resources. (Even that accounts for three generations, max, but never mind.) BUT boys and girls still come from the exact same family, with same father/mother. So one of them can’t have less resources because of “historical missed opportunities”. Even i f you assume our ancestors were in a conspiracy to thwart women, why would their grandsons be punished.

          • “why would their grandsons be punished”

            It’s all based on collective thinking. Collective guilt, collective recompense.

            • which is to say fallacious reasoning. Collective guilt and collective recompense is EVIL by any other name.

              • Well, yes of course. I’ll just sit back down here in the choir seats, ma’am. :)

              • *cough*
                It is only EVIL when done to me or mine; when done by me and mine it is Justice long overdue.

                Of course a rabid individualist such as Sarah finds such collective treatment offensive, but how else are we to control large segments of society with only a small force? Leverage is the only answer, and amassing groups by denying individuals their personhood is the only way to gain such leverage. You must all sacrifice for my greater good.

                Because I am better than you.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            In the past, it was considered one of the things to be proud of our culture for, that we did not punish the son for the sins of the father. I guess they think that’s wrong.

            • Maybe someone should sue to overturn the mess as a Bill of Attainder.

              • Early on, in response to Feminism’s demands that women be promoted more aggressively, many a business demonstrated a tendency to promote unqualified women to management positions, enabling them to claim that they had tried women managers and it just didn’t work out.

                There is now accumulating a significant body of evidence that Affirmative Action by colleges results in mis-matching promising minority students with schools, actually increasing the burn-out/failure rate. (What – you think those SAT scores are meaningless and that a 70th Percentile SAT score student can just slide right in at a college geared for students with 90th Percentile SAT scores?)

                Often the “cure” is worse than the disease, and in social policy often replicates the disease in a new form. The solution to some prople having been mistreated is NOT to mistreat other people; it is to stop mistreating people.

                • I’ve seen this happen – kids who would have been great at a good solid state school were at my grind-for-brains school and often dropped out, or downgraded their majors. Not good for them.

                  It happens in the business world, too. I’ve seen more than one good person promoted too quickly because they fitted an affirmative action category, before they had a chance to learn what they needed to learn at the level they were at, and fail miserably and get fired.

                  • The real problem is they don’t get fired, they just get propped up and / or shuffled off to the side where they can’t do as much harm.

                    Occasionally they get elected President.

  33. I’m writing a character in my Nanowrimo novel Sarah Hoyt just because of this column. I will read it over and over again while I’m writing.

    Thank you.

  34. Another reason I think women were historically held back: they tended to die young. There was no point in spending loads of time educating a woman just to have her drop dead in childbirth when she was 22. The 19th century, with its improving medical care, suddenly kept women around much longer, and that’s part of where the whole “spinster” thing came from. Suddenly, men didn’t marry a string of women because each of them died after bearing children. He married one, and stuck with her, and so there were less men to go around (especially with all the wars going on).

    And you know feminism went off the rails when it came up with hundreds of bizarrely specific terms and created byzantine rules. Churches do that too, just look at the medieval catholic church: The only way to understand that you were morally correct was to ask an expert aka a priest, and that cemented the power of the clergy. This is the same thing the only way to understand if you’re being “true” to the goals of feminism and thus “progressive” is to talk to a women’s studies major, and that cements the power of the feminists. You actually see this sort of thing with lots of “moral” movements, particularly after the core element they’ve been pushing for is no longer necessary. They need to conjure up new reasons to remain relevant.

    • Men died young too. In one analysis of colonial America, they found that if you divided life into the first year and then every decade thereafter — any given person was as likely to die in each of these age groups as in any other age group.

  35. Reading this article, I have to really wonder what sort of circles you travel in. These women you describe as being typical are anything but. I’m talking about the women who dress up in vagina-suits and wax psychotic about the dire threat posed by men, perpetually paranoid that we are conspiring to steal their shoes and chain them to a kitchen stove.

    These women do exist, and I’ve actually encountered them in the wild at least once, but they are rare. To reliably find one, you have to visit one of the Hyphenated-Studies departments at a university, and even then you have to pick carefully since some of these departments are founded upon the perpetual grievance mongering of other Marxist factions which compete with the faux-feminists for attention and preferential treatment.

    The women I know aren’t preoccupied with their imaginary disenfranchisement or make-believe oppression. They live and work and go about their lives in harmony with us men folk, neither looking to emasculate us nor use us as a meal ticket.

    If a sizable percentage of the women you know are the sort of nutters you describe, then you need to find new people to associate with. Hanging out in a mental hospital won’t make you crazy, but that doesn’t mean it is good for your mental health.

  36. And today we have feminists dressed as binders. It has to be seen to be believed.

    http://www.youtube.com/ watch?&v=oRcQ_eGjpz0

    • THAT one is completely inexplicable. They’ve jumped the binder.

      • That type of political activism absolutely mystifies me. WHO THE HECK says: “I was going to vote for Candidate A because I think his fiscal policies are far better, but your giant puppet has swayed me to support Candidate B?”

        • my favorite were the people holding up signs saying “Vagina, if you can’t say it you can’t legislate it” — uh… who CAN’T say vagina? Is there some drive to keep the speech impaired out of positions of authority? It’s mystifying.

          • They confuse a polite disinclination toward using a term with inability to use it, thus forfeiting all elements of polite society in pursuit of their social(ist) agenda.

            I pity the fool who attempts to explain to them that there are FEW (I want to say NO, but don’t fancy the effort to confirm; I s’pose anti-prostitution legislation covers the vagina) laws governing the vagina. The laws they object to govern the uterus.

            You can’t legislate it if you don’t know what it is.

            • Actually they were referring to a female legislator who was sanctioned by the legislature she was a member of for using the word on the floor.

              • Okay then. Who the heck gives a… flying vagina?

                • Not me, but they should have known that doing such a damnfool thing would lead to exactly that result. It did make them look pretty stupid. Not that the #labialoonies didn’t run the ball just as far down the field in the other direction.

              • What she’d said wasn’t just vagina, but an implication that her colleagues wanted to assault her. I don’t remember the exact phrase, though. In any case, it wasn’t just the language.

                • If their reaction was anything like mine, they would have wanted to assault her even if she had nuts; the only thing that would change would be the target of the first kick.

                  • I’ve been told by female friends who were taking self-defense classes that women have plenty of pain-sensitive nerve endings in the groinal area too, and that a kick there, while not as instantly disabling as it would be on a man, would still HURT. Enough to make a female assailant stop focusing her attention on you so you can get away, in fact. So they trained on aiming for the groin regardless of the gender of the assailant.

            • At this point, I must point that they dress up as vulvas, not vaginas.

              You’d think they were trying to spread the notion that women are creatures of very little brain.

              • Most women are … and in fairness, so are most men. The more intelligent of us know that, the majority do not.

  37. When American mothers stop circumcising their sons – the surgical first strike by stealth in the War Between the Sexes – I may begin to believe that the war could be over. You can’t untake the Red Pill.

    • You do realize circumcision was an “hygienic thing” and nothing to do with men/women, right? It was just one of those lunacies of the early 20th century that went viral in the culture. In Europe it’s considered very odd of Americans to do this — but even in Europe they don’t think it’s the fault of American women.

      • “You do realize circumcision was an ‘hygienic thing’ and nothing to do with men/women, right?”

        Well, no, I don’t. What I do “realize” is that “hygiene” is but the latest of several “reasons” put forward to justify the circumcision program. When it was first proposed in the mid-19th century (concurrently with the origin of modern feminism, ca. 1848), it was a “cure for masturbation”.

        So why did it go “viral in the culture”? Where did it come from? What other cultural trends have been associated with it, or at least concurrent? Since I learned 20 years ago what harm had been done to me, I’ve been asking these and other questions, and learned a lot.

        Most people see only the surface of things and think they know all about it. Even Europeans. Genital mutilation (of both sexes) has deep roots in the swampier (and stinkier) areas of the human ur-psyche, and nothing is as it seems. It’s a very complicated subject, too much to go into here, but I assure you that “hygiene” is not what it’s really about.

        Just one link (book and site by a woman): Top 10 Ways Circumcised Sex Harms Women. There are many more sites exploring the subject, though so far as I know, none have yet questioned the common assumption that men are responsible for infant male circumcision. So why, I wonder, would men deliberately harm themselves in this way? To somehow spite women? This seems to be the unexamined answer. Unexamined, because if it were examined, it would become clear it doesn’t make any sense. So why is it not examined? Another good question.

        “I think women rule the world, and that no man has ever done anything that a woman either hasn’t allowed him to do or encouraged him to do.” – Bob Dylan, Rolling Stone interview, June 21, 1984

      • “You do realize circumcision was an “hygienic thing” and nothing to do with men/women, right?”

        As he said, no, he doesn’t, and neither do I, because it wasn’t and isn’t “an hygenic thing”, and because it does have a lot to do with men/women, particularly on the receiving end.

        Looking at your response in total, I notice that you’re pushing back against a male/female division of responsibility narrative in there that isn’t actually in Philalethe’s comment.

        Look at it again. He only said he might believe the war between the sexes could be over when MOTHERS just stopped doing it to their OWN SONS. He wasn’t asserting that women were originally responsible for it; he was merely explicitly identifying his own metric for considering the possibility of the war between the sexes being over. So you’re arguing against content that wasn’t actually in his comment. It’s just in your own head.

        “It was just one of those lunacies of the early 20th century that went viral in the culture.”

        Again, not relevant. That’s just you continuing to push back against a narrative of comparative male/female responsibility that only you yourself introduced into the discussion.

        “In Europe it’s considered very odd of Americans to do this — but even in Europe they don’t think it’s the fault of American women.”

        But you’re the only person here saying that anybody thinks it is. Philalethes didn’t. He just said he might believe the war between the sexes could be over when mothers stopped doing it to their own sons.

        It was probably counterproductive of him to put it that way, and that choice was likely the result of prioritizing trying to work through his own personal resentment over actually changing hearts and minds, but the correct response should nevertheless be to validate his feelings about it, because they’re healthy and appropriate. We’re supposed to resent being criminally abused, and also to expect to have our expression of that healthy and appropriate resentment accepted and validated by others.

        You didn’t do that. You twisted what he actually said and responded to that misrepresentation.

        Did he hit you in a vulnerable spot by phrasing it that way — about mothers and their sons? Is that why you’re backing away from your supposed commitment to men’s issues on this, and misrepresenting his comments?

        NB to head off wasteful pseudo-argumentation: yes, it is criminal abuse, because it would be criminal abuse if done to any other normal, healthy, functional human body part. It fits the definition and satisfies the standard. The male prepuce has the same intrinsic value we assign to every other normal, healthy, functional human body part, and that makes its amputation without a direct medical necessity criminal abuse and mutilation.

        If people want to make an unique and extraordinary exception for the male prepuce to that definition and standard, then it’s their responsibility to present a sufficiently unique and extraordinary justification. That has not been done, so it’s criminal abuse and mutilation.

        If you want to argue otherwise, then you first need to overcome that high bar. Unless and until you do, you simply don’t have a case. It doesn’t matter whether you want to argue from the religious freedom or the medical prophylaxis or the parental rights angle; the common and fundamental minimum value assigned to all normal, healthy, functional human body parts must trump all of them just to exist in the first place. It’s a universal abstract application, which is necessarily inclusive of the male prepuce, and must necessarily take precedence over claims of religious belief, medical prophylaxis, and parental authority simply to exist.

        You can’t just assume the unique and extraordinary exception and argue from there. You have to establish it first. You have to present an objective proof not only documenting why the exception should exist, but why it should be an exception for ONLY this one particular normal, healthy, and functional human body part. You can’t just assert the male prepuce isn’t included; you have to also explain why all the other normal, healthy, and functional human body parts nevertheless are.

        You first have to document what’s objectively, replicably, provably different about the male prepuce from every other normal, healthy, and functional human body part, and then second, establish why that difference is sufficient grounds to make such a unique and extraordinary exception to the existing default standard of retention of physical integrity we apply universally.

        • I want to argue that this has absolutely nothing to do with the relationship of men and women. I didn’t say the perception it was hygienic was ACCURATE, merely that this is the argument made. I could as well well argue that the number of hysterectomies (which I think excessive and unwarranted) among American women is a plot by men. It’s not. Half the doctors who wanted me to have one are female. It’s merely a “we don’t know why it’s misbehaving, take it off.”

          How do you figure appendix removal and tonsillectomy, also surgical crazes that have been discredited. Would you say that’s hatred against what?

          This is just a case of inserting your personal battle charger on a subject that has nothing to do with it… and incidentally rendering yourself open to the suspicion of being Andrew Sullivan whose trade mark this is.

          • “I want to argue that this has absolutely nothing to do with the relationship of men and women.”

            Fine, but. . .why? You keep trying to insert that into the discussion when nobody else is bringing it up. Why are you still pushing back against a narrative that only you inserted into the discussion, and that nobody else is addressing?

            Why are you refusing to engage in dialogue about why you’re doing that? Nobody else is talking about comparative responsibility by gender, just you. So why do you keep trying to shove that into the discussion?

            I ask because it’s very distinctly inconsistent behavior to write a post you characterize as likely to lead to accusation of gender treachery, and then turn around in the comments and start playing Strawman Defense for Team Woman.

            “I didn’t say the perception it was hygienic was ACCURATE, merely that this is the argument made.”

            [shrug] So? Nobody said you did say it was hygienic, either. Philalethes and I only refuted your assertion about what we ‘realized’, and the ‘For Great Hygiene!’ proposition itself. So again you’re pushing back against another misrepresentatory narrative that only you inserted into the discussion ITFP. Why do you keep doing that?

            “I could as well well argue that the number of hysterectomies (which I think excessive and unwarranted) among American women is a plot by men.”

            Yes, you could, but again, nobody else but you is shoving this comparative gender responsibility narrative into the discussion in the first place. And not only are you the only person doing that, but you’re responding to a comment pointing that out by. . .doubling, tripling, quadrupling down on it.

            This is not rational behavior, Sarah, and it pretty much puts a lie to your claims about being pro-male. If just the tiny little wedge of polite disagreement I’m presenting here is all it takes to make you back off on that claim and start hamstering like this, then you probably aren’t really all that committed to helping men and boys.

            Also, if you’re going to lose objectivity to this degree in response to just this minimal an amount of mild, respectful correction, then we men’s libbers probably can’t rely on you for anything meaningful going forward. This is about as gentle and considerate a response to your errors as any sensible, mature person could reasonably expect, and if you really can’t handle even just that much, then how are we supposed to trust you to have our backs under worse circumstances?

            Also, I think you’d be better off comparing it to unnecessary episiotomies.

            “It’s not. Half the doctors who wanted me to have one are female. It’s merely a ‘we don’t know why it’s misbehaving, take it off.’”

            And again, nobody except you is arguing that it is, so why are you pushing back against the idea?

            Nobody except you is bringing up the issue of comparative male/female responsibility for male circumcison. You’re the only person talking about it, at all. Why do you keep bringing it up?

            “How do you figure appendix removal and tonsillectomy, also surgical crazes that have been discredited. Would you say that’s hatred against what?”

            I’d say that done as “prophylaxis” or as “parental rights” (or “religious belief”), they’re also criminal abuse and mutilation. Because they also meet the definition and satisfy the standard. But as far as hatred goes, that’s just you shoving another narrative misrepresentation into the discussion. Nobody else here is calling it misandry or the like. And personally, I don’t consider circumcision done exclusively to males, such as here in the usa, to be misandry ITFP. I think that like most gender discrimination against men and boys it’s much more the result of depraved indifference as a means of facilitating economic tradeoffs between risks and harms for individual males versus material benefits for everyone in general.

            Basically, the model is that we train everybody to devalue and dehumanize men and boys, including men and boys themselves, in order to maintain a constant resupply of willing self-sacrificers so that we can have cheaper resources, infrastructure, manufacturing, defense, and so on, in exchange for male well-being, safety, health, and lives. So it’s not about hate. It’s about how much risk of how much harm we’re willing to drive men and boys to volunteer for and and everybody to accept for them in exchange for not just cheaper necessities of life but luxuries as well.

            Such as cosmetic anti-wrinkle facial cream made, in part, from the foreskins of baby boys. I.e., the industrial commoditization of male sexual flesh. You can find price sheets online from multiple companies for vials of processed male neonate prepuce in under a minute of googling.

            Basically, Soylent Blue.

            So, in order to get men and boys to devalue themselves enough to take those risks and suffer those harms in exchange for sufficiently minimal rewards to make the transaction profitable, we have institutionalized and maintain a sufficiently common and dehumanizing attitude in everybody, men, women, and children alike, towards men and boys, across the culture overall.

            And one of the consequences of that is this TNS Recovery Complex being openly hawked, including its sourcing from the sexual flesh of innocent children, on one of the most popular and successful and culturally defining mainstream television programs of the past generation, the Oprah Winfrey Show.

            Soylent Blue, really truly madly deeply right here right now in real life.

            “This is just a case of inserting your personal battle charger on a subject that has nothing to do with it…”

            I don’t understand how a clear and excellent example of an actual myth that is actually used to not only actually oppress men and boys, but actually sometimes actually kill them can have nothing to do with a post about the killing myth of institutional male oppression of females.

            There have been far too many far less relevant sidetable discussions here for me to take that seriously. It just doesn’t make sense. I’m not exhaustively familiar with your blogging, but if you don’t consider it relevant here, I need to see a citation of at least a few posts where you would consider it relevant to believe you’re bringing that up in good faith rather than as a kind of psychological Ad Hominem. We men’s issues folks have been dealing with that sort of thing so long we’ve categorized them, BTW. In the Catalogue of Anti-Male Shaming tactics, that would probably fit best under Code Brown, the Charge of Fanaticism.

            “and incidentally rendering yourself open to the suspicion of being Andrew Sullivan whose trade mark this is.”

            No, Sarah. I haven’t written a single thing here that merits that kind of passive-aggressive personal attack. I’ve been nothing but polite and fair to you. I’ve been deliberately and intentionally respectful of any personal feelings you might have on the topic. I’ve treated you and your readers here with courtesy and respect.

            If you don’t like being called out for pushing back against narratives that only you have been inserting into the discussion, and glaring inconsistencies between your claims about being pro-male and your actual behavior when put to the test, then as a mature and responsible adult you should first be dealing with that by acknowledging and correcting your own errors instead of irrationally lashing out at me.

            • Acksiom – you’re getting tedious, tendentious, tiresome and trollish. Open your mind and try to grasp what has been said and if you have something to ADD do so in a reasonably concise manner.

              I know of nothing that makes me so sympathetic towards “women’s issues” as “men’s issues” bores. The more you type the more off-putting you get.

        • I recently read that 100% of all penile cancers occur in uncircumcised men. 100%. Of course, it is a rare cancer. But 100% occur in UNCIRCUMCISED men. So, circumcision is an absolute preventive to penile cancer. Works for me.

          As for tonsillectomies. had mine at age 8. A few days of recovery eating all the T & W. lemon custard ice cream I wanted (and not much else), then back to school. In the last few years, I’ve known a few 20 somethings who have had to undergo the operation. Honestly, it seems much more painful to them then I remember,as well as more expensive. Days off from elementary school can easily be made up. Bunch of days off from your job- especially if you’ve already maxed out your paid sick days- costs.

          My kids went through childhood with a lot more episodes of strep throat then my wife or I did. And the doctors wouldn’t even consider a T & A for them. And in modern life, doctors still cannot explain what it is tonsils are good for. Doctors don’t do appendectomies just for the sake of doing them, but, if they are in the area doing any other abdominal operation, they remove the appendix. At least, they did for my wife.

          • I never had a tonsillectomy and I am 51 years old. Never had an appendix out either. I would be very unhappy if they removed the appendix if it was good — I mean really unhappy. Just because they have no idea (I hear they have an idea now) doesn’t mean they can take the appendix w/o my permission.

            I have a thing about that kind of thing especially since I have to have so many procedures for my disease.

          • Actually these days they HAVE found the reason to keep tonsils AND appendix — My son is pre-med and we talked about it just the other day. Tonsils are sort of a natural immunization center. The infection is supposed to concentrate there and generate antibodies. (And I’ve never heard of anyone taking it off once the craze was past. And it was a craze. I had mine out at three, in a batch-surgery job in Portugal where they didn’t wait for the anesthesia to take effect [I react oddly to anesthesia. Always] because they were doing these every few minutes. There might be, of course, rare cases, but I’ve never heard of it.) As for appendix(es?) it seems they act as reservoirs and prevent the condition of killing all your intestinal fauna/flaura with antibiotics a condition that otherwise has to be treated with fecal transplant (which is ew, but apparently effective.)

            So, see, yeah, bits have/had reasons for existing. Now, wether those reasons still apply in our vastly modified environment (compared to how we evolved) is something else.

            I’m perfectly willing to entertain the arguments of the save-the-foreskin people. JUST NOT ON THIS FORUM or ON THIS TOPIC.

            The idea that all women conspire to circumcise babies is as daft as the idea that all men conspired for centuries to keep women down.

            Opinions on circumcision vary and don’t seem in any way gender bound, so someone who feels the need to bring up circumcision on a post on feminism is the male equivalent of labialoonies. Foreskinfanatics perhaps?

            I keep running into people who have this type of issue. It’s like a specialized form of tourettes. You know, you could be discussing cookie recipes and some woman will come out with “right to choose” or you’ll be discussing shoes and someone will bring up bibles in schools, or you’ll be discussing exercise and someone will bring up drug legalization… It’s sort of a religion for some people, I think. By concentrating on only one issue and seeing only one side of it they simplify their emotional life. There is only one thing to worry/think about EVER and all decisions are made in reference to it. It makes them tedious to talk to and probably dangerous voters, but what the heck, if it keeps them off thorazine they would need if they thought about all the real issues in the world… meh. Leave them alone.

            • TY Sarah – you said exactly what I was thinking– that you can’t blame mothers for circumcision and husbands conspiring to keep their wives down. I hope I am thinking straight because I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee yet.

              • I suspect the issue has more to do with Daddy not wanting to have to answer questions about differences in appearance between Junior’s willie and his own. Mothers, having no skin in this particular game, are ill-situated to counter Daddy’s stance.

            • I don’t know *why* my Tonsils were removed (I was about 8 years old) but my appendix *had* to be removed. Oh, funny (in a way) story about the removing of my appendix. This was when I was around 13 and I was to go on a Scouting camp out but when my Scout Master learned that my parents were going to be out of town (my Dad’s HS reunion) he refused to let me come along. Dad was quite upset but they took me along (leaving me at the grandma’s house). Needless to say when my parents found out about my appendix attack, they were glad that I wasn’t out camping. Oh my Scout Master later joked that he would have to take out my appendix with his scouting knife. [Grin]

              • yes, of course. When suffering from acute appendicitis there’s a reason to remove it, but what Harold mentioned used to happen. “While we’re here, let’s take…” and it was silly.

                • There was a situation in our little community when I was a young girl where the doctor decided to take the girl’s ovaries (oh btw thing) while doing another operation. When she was a woman she was having troubles getting pregnant and found out in her early twenties that they were gone– Yes there was a law suit; however, it didn’t help the girl. Plus the doctor thought he was doing his job in keep the population in check. They found out later she wasn’t the only girl he had snipped so to speak.

                  • How is/was he still alive?

                    • He lived in a Mormon community (even though he wasn’t a Mormon). He did lose his license.

                    • I was starting to think that Mormons were more or less normal folks until just then.

                      Obviously it’s some kind of weird mind-control cult, if it can keep multiple parents whose children were mutilated by a lunatic from killing him. And especially since I thought Mormons were big on having lots of descendants.

                    • This was in the 60s and 70s– my experience with Mormonism wasn’t good– Some people do well with it. I thought that a lot of the men my age were kind of wimpy.

                    • It’s not necessarily a Mormon thing. My MiL had an hysterectomy after her one & only child. She was pushed into it by the obstetrician who also did them for several of her friends and oh by the way they found out later he was a big proponent of population control.

                    • Oh the doctor was NOT a Mormon although he was in the Mormon community– Mormons only do those procedures if the life of the mother is in danger (or girl).

                  • I was terrified they’d sterilized me during my second c-section– BOTH doctors kept pushing it. Changed providers and all. Apparently, just because we have two children… nothing like screaming at the doctor when he asks AGAIN, before you get pain meds, when you’ve been in labor for two hours waiting for him to show up, that you do not want to be sterilized. Because the papers you signed weeks ago weren’t enough, apparently. *headdesk*

                    I could see double-checking if you had papers that said you DID want it– sort of like when they write “this knee” for knee surgery, and have you sign it– but that was just bull feces.

                    That girl just turned one, so there’s still a big push for population shrinkage.

                    • Thirty-two years ago* I was in hospital for knee surgery — torn cartilage, meniscus, etc. — and almost had it rescheduled because they had given me the wrong colour ink pen when they took my signature on the release. They discovered this while I was en route to the operating theatre. They would not let me sign again because I had already been given the pre-anesthesia whatever pill and thus was no longer “legally competent”, in spite of my insistence that having spent the previous night in hospital and allowed my leg to be shaved and already signing one release form surely indicated consent. Happily, mother and Beloved Spouse were able to sign on my behalf.

                      I CANNOT FREAKIN’ BELIEVE they would pressure you into such a procedure at that time. No, I am not doubting you for a minute.

                      * I remember the interval because the evening after the surgery that the only — only — thing on television was the Democratic National Convention, and Jimmy Carter had already defeated Teddy Kennedy in the floor fight. The ENTIRETY of my recovery stay there was NOTHING on the television beyond that d*mn convention.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Different areas, different attitudes. Most of the hospitals and a lot of the doctors around here are Catholic, and I have heard many stories of women who wanted to at least have their tubes tied and their doctors refused if they didn’t have at least 3 children and were under the age of 35.

                    • I’m glad you’re bucking it. We wanted “as many as the Lord will send.” Somehow, I expected more than two… ah well.

                    • Sometimes it seems like He just likes to mess with folks, eh?

                    • Yes. We were HOPING for eleven. Maybe twelve…

                      Ah well, maybe a miracle will occur and one of them will give me grandkids.

                      Maybe He wanted me to have time to write. How in heck would I know?

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Eleven or twelve? Are you sure you’re not a masochist? *shudder*

                    • My best friend came from a family of 14. I was very jealous…

                    • There is ample evidence showing that kids do better in larger families. Parents are less prone toward hovering and the interaction with multiple different personalities fosters greater independence and more tolerant attitudes. Such families tend to not permit members to insulate themselves in “their” rooms, growing isolated from mature influences.

                      I expect that a study would find per capita residential living space has significantly increased from the first half of the 20th Cent compared to the present, as we now “enjoy” smaller families and much larger residences.

            • I think the preferred term is No-Circ Ideologues, but to confirm that would demand more interest than I can raise. Frankly, it is a form of ideological masturbation that non-practitioners find tedious.

              I do appreciate the idea of “Ideological Tourettes”, an all too common syndrome. Many years agone Beloved Spouse & I saw a 1-act play on Broadway (Rubbers, paired with Yanks 3 Detroit 0 Top of the Seventh) depicting a debate in the New York legislature in which a main character ably displayed this syndrome, sporadically bursting out with shouts about “starving babies in Biafra” in utter disregard of anything under debate.

          • Wayne Blackburn

            Tonsillectomies after about age 10 are not only more painful (One of my friend’s daughter just had to have one, at the age of 14, I think, and she could barely stand it, because it turned out she couldn’t take any of the more effective painkillers), it’s also more dangerous of a surgery. I don’t know why this is, because I can’t remember it from anything I have read.

            I also had mine out when I was young, because I kept getting sinus infections.

          • During WWII, in 1942 at least one sub squadron commander at Pearl Harbor had each crew marched down in rotation for appendectomies because better on dry land than 1500 miles deep in hostile waters.

            • makes a certain (though not high) sense. Not high because I don’t think incidences of apendicitis were that high then. (they aren’t now) BUT maybe they were?

              • The problem was three-fold: Subs back then didn’t carry full doctors and the surgery was the wardroom table (usually in 100+ temps as the AC wasn’t…. robust); no one’s digestion was doing all that well because of things like brackish / chlorinated water from more primitive distillers, so by the time it was clear that something more than “GI belly” was involved things were well into the “acute” stage; and finally, there wasn’t penicillin yet so there wasn’t anything for non-surgical treatment. There weren’t that many cases but most of them were agonizingly fatal. There were a few successful appys even under those conditions, in one case with kitchen utensil instruments sterilized in torpedo alcohol fuel with the pharmacist mate following his night-school medical text….

        • It is obvious that this is a subject about which you feel very strongly. I hadn’t noticed that anyone had been arguing in favor of circumcision so I could easily paraphrase part of your own opening statement: She only said…

    • What Sarah said – and when my brothers were born the doctors pressured the parents into circumcising. (hygenic)

      • The doctors/nurse practitioners, but most strongly, the nurse practritioners, all female, strongly urged us NOT to circumsize our sons. We did, anyway. Never missed my foreskin, and the few uncircumsized men I’ve talked to about it mainly find it a pain to keep clean. They don’t seem to enjoy sex any more or any less then I do- so it’s a draw on the most important aspect. (Well, actually, if talking about frequency, most of them enjoy it less… but I married well.) And apparently, it’s easier to get caught in zippers.

        I think hygeine for removing the male foreskin is a pretty good excuse. Though it did start, near as I can detemine, as a Jewish cultural custom.

        • I have read — Andrew Sullivan — that the foreskin is quite conducive to anal intercourse. I have no direct knowledge, nor do I desire any.

          • I will ditto your remark.

          • I hesitate to ask, but my first thought when reading this was, more conducive for which partner?

            • Oh, thank you. I wondered too but I thought I was the only sick mind in the group.

              • Ewwww. Just Ewwww. First I watch a political commercial that somebody posted at Powerline and now I read this. There is NEVER enough coffee to make this much squickyness work for a start of a day.

                • But is there enough whiskey?

                • I didn’t post it at powerline. I posted it at instapundit. And yeah, it makes me feel like I needed to shower.

                  As for that — I haven’t had enough coffee, and I feel icky and, well, think of it as mechanics not body parts. WHY would something like that make a difference. I could ask the premed student, but I’d rather he’d either have your reaction or give me a three hour lecture.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  You just HAD to make me go and find that brain-destroying video, didn’t you? Ewwww! And to think, I thought I had a strong stomach!

              • Now, Sarah, you surely know better than that… ;-)

            • I don’t think it appropriate to delve into overmuch detail, but I gather the foreskin acts as sleeve facilitating movement of the crown. So i guess more for the buggerer than the buggered.

  38. IMO women have always had an important role in societies. The roles were just different than mens. One thing I’ve heard is about “respectable women”. It didn’t matter if men thought a woman was “respectable”. What matter was if the wives thought a woman was “respectable”.

    • this IS absolutely true.

    • Yes, on both points. I was going to say that men tend to be better judges of men, too (just as women are better judges of other women), but women tend to be the granters of “respectability” the most often.

      (But you should still have your male friends vet a prospective boyfriend. Or female friends vet a possible girlfriend.)

  39. More good sense and information elicited in the comments to your column
    than I have ever seen in one place: Kudos ! My own sad suspicion is that
    technological society will be unstable until women invent and enforce an
    updated version of ‘With your shield or on it, soldier’.
    Science Fiction has an (un) surprising interest in this question, and an
    all too understandable reluctance to address it directly;
    Two related stories by Cordwainer Smith:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norstrilia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crime_and_the_Glory_of_Commander_Suzdal

  40. gender traitor?
    So one is supposed to vote for one’s own sex, and not the other?
    OK, now it’s clear.

  41. Sarah, thank you for your comments on Menopause and memory. My wife of 37 years had to have a full hysterectomy due to ovarian cysts and has experienced some short-term memory issues which worry her greatly. I printed out your comments and showed them to her, and she told me that they helped and that she didn’t feel so alone. Having a favorite Aunt who succumbed to dementia has frightened her badly.

  42. “. . .TWO diametrically opposite experiences. . .”

  43. Sounds like something or someone hit your rant button. I agree, it is downright idiotic to see women running around placing BLAME on every male they see. Women have always been powerful, even the ones who were beaten down by men. Because they refused to give in, die, and found very nasty ways to get even. I would much rather deal with a man in a fury than a woman in b***h mode. Men can be reasoned with, women have to be emotionally disarmed. I don’t have the time or patience to deal with drama trauma.

    Every time one of my liberal friends (yes, I keep a few around for amusement) starts on the whole female V male issues and how they have a right to be in charge of their bodies, I often point out that they really don’t because hormones control them most of the time. (really ticks them off) I am pro life, I believe that abortion is murder. Women get so ticked off about that for some reason. If the DNA says it is human, then it is human and as such has a right to life. Can’t deny DNA. That bit of tissue they are carrying isn’t from some sort of mystery DNA after all. Anyway, when I point that out, they generally shut up. Women, on the whole, me too at times, can’t deal with facts. They want to deal with emotions, and when they fall into that trap, they lose all credibility.

  44. Pingback: Late Thursday Links | Pseudo-Polymath

  45. Pingback: Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e242v4

  46. Louis Wheeler

    It gets complicated. It’s about sexual politics because of the fracturing of Marxism.

    By the ’30s, it was self evident that Communism was a no-go. Marxists weren’t ready to give up a faith which was a rejection of western civilization, so they tried different means of attack.

    Feminism is just one. The Marxist- Leninists in 1880 dismissed involving themselves in women’s rights or the suffragists. Women could never be considered a minority or oppressed, they thought.

    I have no respect for feminists. They dismiss a traditional gentleman’s courtesy as demeaning. Yet, they think they have their bodyguard, the government, ready to beat up on men. They believe they have all the tradition rights of women, plus more because they have power.

    The result is that men shy away from women. Why get married and have children when you have no rights? Any misunderstanding is always the man’s fault, including the fact that men won’t commit to a serious relationship.

    “Laugh with all the women and cry with none” is damned sad. It is a sentiment too often expressed among big city men. But, that is what you do when you can’t win and don’t trust.

    Paying for one night at a time is cheaper than marrying. It is also far less emotionally damaging. The trouble is that this tends to keep men emotional stunted. No one really grows up until they take responsibility for children.

    All this drama will eventually pass. Social change will occur when the feminists die off. Conservative women are out producing Liberal women; 1.2 children per woman for liberals and 3.5 for Conservatives. The men and women who have an emotional or religious need to pass on their genes will prevail over petty politics. This is why the Rust Belt and the Left Coast are declining in population.

  47. Speaking of gender differences, I left this Amazon review on your “Something Worse Hereafter”:

    http://www.amazon.com/Something-Worse-Hereafter-ebook/product-reviews/B009QQI3OY/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    ————-

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    I don’t usually read science fiction written by women…

    …because, in my experience, women writers tend to focus a bit less on plot and ideas, and more on relationships and experiences.

    Sarah Hoyt is an exception – she delivers the best of both worlds: really good characters AND ideas and plots that you can chew over and really enjoy.

    This was a great short story: atmospheric, emotional, interesting. In just a few short pages I ended up caring about both characters. The conclusion was perfect.

    Recommended.

    ————-

    It’s sexist, I suppose, but I really do think that the AVERAGE female SF author writes qualitatively differently than the AVERAGE male SF author, and my own particular interests mesh better with the typical male writer.

    Ursula K. Le Guin, for example, is an amazing writer…but her stuff just doesn’t push all the buttons I want pushed when I’m reading.

    There are other male writers I read who are, objectively, not as good authors, but they deliver enough of what I want that I keep going back for more.

    Do you concur, or do I speak heresy?

    • I think that the issue is less whether the writer has balls than whether the publisher does; evidence is that of all current publishers of SF only Baen has balls. Big brass ones. AFAIK, ANY women writing for Baen will not disappoint you on the grounds you’ve cited. They may disappoint you on other grounds, but not for lack of ideas, plots or action.

    • Sigh. Mostly I like male SF authors. I had to fight for years to be allowed to write SF which is where I feel most at home.

      Thank you for the review, btw. Also, it might interest you to know (or not) that this was a dream I had.

      • > Sigh. Mostly I like male SF authors.

        There’s obviously a bell-curve distribution: a few women have ultra-girly interests, most have a mix of feminine and masculine interests (with the emphasis on feminine), and a few at the other end have nothing but masculine interests.

        …and, of course, something similar applies for men.

        It makes sense – given my interests – that the kind of authors that I like are the ones who (a) write in a “male-ish” style, and (b) ALSO tend to like male authors.

        > I had to fight for years to be allowed to write SF

        Sorry to hear that, but VERY glad you won the fight!

        > Also, it might interest you to know (or not) that this was a dream I had.

        My novel is based on a dream I had in 1993. It took almost 20 years to get it on the page. ;-)

        Thank you for the review, btw. Also, it might interest you to know (or not) that this was a dream I had.

        • My fantasy is more feminine. Though not — I think — belly button gazing.

        • Ah, there’s inclination and then there’s also what we show on the bell curve. The first time my husband watched me putting on eyeliner and mascara before we went out the door, he looked like an engineering student who tried to put 21 and 21 together and came out with 3.141592…. instead of 42.

    • No reason to apologize for noting you don’t normally read female SF authors. I don’t either, and noted this the first time I reviewed one of Sarah’s books, before I really knew the woman.

      There are just damn few good female SF authors for any number of reasons.

      Sarah is one of them.

  48. You know, there seems to be an ‘out cross’ meme in most societies. Not strong. What it means is that a small society, which defined most of the societies that led up to the great agricultural revolution about 10k years ago, seemed to see non-threatening strangers as guests to ‘entertained’. I wonder about that. Could it have something to do with ‘cheating’?

    • Despite what some famous anthropologist once said, primitve societies knew about the dangers of too much inbreeding amongst humans.

      Hence, a sailor from a far away place would find a very warm welcome on Poyynesian Islands. To the islanders, he was simply a source of new genes to reinvorgorate the gene pool. Though they had no idea what a gene was, they understood breeding.

      The same is probably true in most small, isolated groups. But in islanders, more pronounced, because they cannot just walk away to a farther village. When the roadblock is not a mountain, but a few hundred miles of open ocean…

      Human society is good at adapting to realities vs. ideals. A whole bunch of my ancestors on the then frontiers had very premature first births. (Checking family tree wedding dates vs. first child birthdates) It was more important to know that a couple was cross fertile then that the bride be a virgin on the wedding day- though everyone present would pretend that was the case.

  49. I’m getting a late start here — just finished my second cup of coffee. I also think one of the areas that have driven the “War of women” (since it’s being driven by a small group of arrogant overgrown children) has been the easing of divorce, the fraud that removed any stigma from OPEN pre-marital sex, and the deletion of any sense of stigma for out-of-wedlock childbirth. There are reasons for social norms, especially those that go back five or six thousand years. The current demands to change the basis of the institution of marriage is just one more attack against morality, especially Western (I.E., Christian) religious morality.

    All of these attacks have one purpose: to separate modern man from the “myths” imposed by religion, in every aspect of human behavior. The method used is to create a new set of myths (although they aren’t called that) that will replace the former social norms. Thus we have “no fault” divorce, “social services”, “free sex”, “multiculturalism”, “the War on Women”, and other such self-destructive behavior taking the place of long-established social and religious norms that held society together through some pretty awful times.

    Most of the new myths have little in the way of substance to them. They are designed to accomplish one purpose, and one purpose only: to allow for the creation of a totally secular society, controlled at every level by “the best and brightest” — the people behind creating the myths used to destroy the old order.

    I grew up in a very unusual household, but I didn’t understand that until I was 30+ years old. My parents loved one another, and were unafraid to show it. They worked together as a partnership, with each having specific roles to play. They were supportive of each other, even when things were bad — and they were bad a lot. Although my dad was not a church-goer, I had a strong sense of belief in God, and understanding of the Bible. I grew up being taught to be respectful of my elders, to love and respect my parents, to understand the roles of social norms in preserving our society, and a strong distrust of politicians.

    Most of the demands today for “equality” are more truthfully demands for privilege. The demands for equality based upon skin color is to create “white guilt” and to suck the majority of society dry for those “less fortunate”, with the middlemen taking 90% or more of the take. The demand for “gender equality” is actually a demand for supremacy of women to counter what a small group of them believe are centuries of being treated as chattel. Most of those who push for/demand these things have NO understanding of the historical reasons for such behavior, or why there are limits to how much these roles can actually vary. Our society, in the meantime, is being torn apart, weakened from within, and set up for collapse, with those fomenting that collapse having no idea what the outcome of that collapse will be. They believe they can control the Four Horsemen, when none of them have the slightest idea of which end you feed, and which end you stay away from.

    • I personally don’t think it’s an organized conspiracy. I think it’s a Pink Conspiracy: a group of people all acting at various-levels-of-englightened self-interest, for whom individually their actions make perfect sense, but whose cumulative effect is what looks like an organized conspiracy of madness.

      While I’m quoting we-don’t-go-theres, here’s one I’ve always rather liked.

      “But men and women are different,” she said. She looked sick.
      “They must behave as if they were the same,” I said.
      “But what of their true natures?” she asked.
      I shrugged. “Their true natures are unimportant,” I said. “Let the heads be shaped by boards. Let the feet be bound with tight cloths.”
      “But will there not come a time of screaming,” she asked, “a time of rage, of lifting of the knife?”
      I shrugged. “I do not know,” I said. “Let us hope not.” I did know that frustration tended to produce aggression and destructiveness. It did not seem unlikely that the frustrations of [Earth,] particularly those of men, might precipitate the madness and irrationality of thermonuclear war. Aggression, displaced, would presumably be ventilated against an external enemy. But the trigger would have been pulled. It would be unfortunate if the last recourse left to men to prove to themselves that they were men was the carnage of contemporary, technological conflict. Yet I knew men who hungered for this madness, that the walls of their prisons might be destroyed, even though they themselves might die screaming in the flames.
      But perhaps they might reclaim their surrendered manhood before they themselves, and their world, became the helpless victims of its thwarted furies. Manhood cannot be forever denied. The beast will walk at our side, or it will destroy us.”

      (Source deliberately not given: you can find out easily enough if you want to. Trust me. You don’t want to.)

      This passage often comes to me when I run across some particularly vituperative writing from an MRA or MGTOW advocate, which I do from time to time because I read a lot of weird s**t. (I don’t necessarily support it: I just find it interesting.) “Though they themselves might die screaming in the flames” I find quite evocative and a nice literary allusion to all the absolutely insane things people will do when they think they’ve run out of options. (Not that this is unique to men, but the topic is the War on Men.)

  50. It’s discussions like this which make me wish I had been born a beaver. Most folk know the genus name for beavers is Castor; but they do not know why — the reason is: Beaver sex cannot be determined without surgery or X-ray (a fact the Oregon Zoo learned a couple years back; which is why we are zooparents to *three* beavers instead of two). Yet the little furballs manage to get along just fine. One wonders how humanity would behave if, like beavers, they were physically indistinguishable in most visible aspects….

    • What makes you think beavers can’t tell the difference?

    • Wayne Blackburn

      Theodore Sturgeon did that story. In the society he created, all newborns were surgically (and, I think, later hormonally) made into hermaphrodites similar to the people in Left Hand of Darkness. It was a bland piece of grey goo about how wonderful it would be if we weren’t differentiated by sex.

    • Beaver sex cannot be determined without surgery or X-ray

      Fine; but what has that got to do with the etymology of castor? Beavers secrete castor; the Romans named the substance after the god Castor, whose name comes from Greek (‘He who excels’), who was a patron of the branch of medicine in which the substance was used. Later the name of the substance replaced the older name of the animal in ordinary Latin usage. None of this has anything to do with sexual dimorphism or the lack thereof.

    • This is accidentally and semi-tragically (depending on your viewpoint, for the competitors, or person concerned) quite…. odd, considering the name of the runner Caster Semenya.

  51. “yes, I’m crossing Godwin, and I have a reason”

    Eh, Godwin’s Law is chiefly a means by which people arguing from a patently dishonest position keep from having to face the counterexample that knocks them for a loop.

    • Isn’t the logical extension of this that the first person in a debate to cite Godwin is admitting to have lost the debate?

      I s’pose that when I point out that somebody arguing for state control of the means of production, military expansion of national territory, and extinction of the Jews is advocating a program that has already once been tried unsuccessfully — I am forfeiting the argument?

      Obviously Godwin intended no such absurdity.

      • If you set loose a rule, it is like setting loose a dog. It follows its nature and not yours — or Godwin’s.

        The commonest effect is when a person arguing that because this is legal it must be right, and then has vapors at the notion you had the nerve to bring up the Holocaust rather than making unpleasant choice between ruling the Holocaust right and giving up the notion that legality proves morality.

    • Free-range Oyster

      *Puts on hat labelled ‘Pedant’* I have to note that what we commonly refer to as Godwin’s Law is actually the First Corollary. The Law itself simply says that eventually someone will bring up Hitler. The corollary is where we find the statement that said person loses the argument. Godwin made no such stupid argument. *removes pedantic hat*

      cf This XKCD strip: http://xkcd.com/261/

  52. Related to the myth of the happy Matriarchy is the myth of the strong independent Celtic woman. Said myth is comprehensively demolished inthis post at Charlie Stross’ blog – http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2012/08/the-myths-of-avalon.html

    We’re going to have to live trhough this for some years to come but in general now that women can choose whether or not to have children we’re seeing a strong bifurcation between those that don’t want any and those that want lots. Which means assuming this is a genetic trait (and it probably is) that in 100 years or so all women will want lots because the other sort will have failed to reproduce. As Lois M Bujold says in one of the Vorkosigan books – “All true wealth is biological”

    • Celtic women were independent — as compared to women in other Indo-European caste-hierarchical societies. You can have lots of fun comparing Ireland with India, yuppers. (Mostly because Ireland after Christianity still had hereditary castes, but only to a limited extent, and there were various escape hatches.)

    • Give credit where it is due, Francis. The post may be on Stross’s blog (which is not a place I go frequently) but it’s written by Kari Sperring, a writer herself.

    • But, but, but — we don’t know much about Celtic women! Obviously it must be the perfect paradise in the eyes of 21st century liberals! (WEIRDoes, as the social scientists put it.)

      I have seen a certain tendency in pagan revivals to aim for the ill-documented, so they can replace their own views for that which they don’t like.

      • To be fair, this tendency also exists in many Christian groups also. In fact, there’s a reluctance among certain people of romantic tendencies to want any real information about any age they’re interested in.

        For example, patristics. We don’t have all the info we might like to have about early Christianity, but the fact remains that you have hundreds of volumes of early Christian literature to read, in multiple languages, as well as a great deal of documentary archaeological evidence. It is a thick, juicy subject, there’s plenty of room for all sorts of Christians to study it, and probably good fun and inspiration for atheists and pagans too. (Because there’s a lot of pagan and anti-pagan-theism info also, and because some atheists would find the theism/Christian info good ammo.) If you don’t want to study, per se, there are plenty of honest popularizations by people of various Christian persuasions, and also by anti-Christians.

        But there are a substantial number of people, including people I otherwise respect, who would rather imagine early Christians than know them.

        • See, it’s very convenient to be able to imagine historical periods any way you want, if you like to imagine things fluffily. It’s awkward to find out any details that contradict your fluffy thoughts.

          And of course, if you belong to a group which claims to emulate early Christianity, but actually doesn’t, it would be very awkward to find that out, especially if you have a lot of social and emotional ties to the group. If you depend on the group for help as many Christians do (and rightly so), it’s beyond just awkward.

          Worse, you might also find out that early Christians were not all living blessed lives in a time of miracles and wonders (although anyone familiar with the Bible should know that humans often manage to be human and grumpy, no matter how many miracles happen around them). Finding out that folks you idealize are not ideal, or not some fluffy ideal, is very painful for folks who build up lost utopias of the past for themselves.

          The sad thing is that often these people are reluctant even to look at early Christian art, or to find out what daily life would have been like. They lose out on all kinds of beautiful and interesting things.

          So yeah, fakey pagan ideas of the pagan past are easy to point fingers at, but I run into this stuff more often nowadays. And ironically, it’s the people posing as debunkers (I’m looking at Ehrman, but Pagels tries it too) who often are coming up with the fluffy ideas (P) and the slick overstatements (E).

          • Disclaimer: I am not a patristics scholar. I just read a lot of early Christian literature, mostly stuff that is fun, and mostly stuff that is in translation. I know I’ve just read enough to be dangerous! But yeah, all the atheist patristic scholars complain about Ehrman, even….

            My natural prejudice is towards amassing info, for no reason except interest and amusement, so it’s difficult for me to understand those who’d rather not amass info, when they have a good reason.

          • They should read their Bibles. More precisely the parable of the wheat and tares. Or wise and foolish virgins. Or the net.

        • I have read with my own eyes a statement by a Protestant minister that Christians should not read the early Christians because they were – gaspCatholic and might make a Catholic out of you.

          Others, no doubt, don’t want to taint their sola scripture views.

          Catholic and (from what I’ve seen) Orthodox blogs are rife with discussion of the early Christians, and not only from the bloggers but the commenters.

          • I quit going to a congregation when they told us that we should not read the apocryphal works because there were very good reasons why the (ugh just had a brain fart) — Coucil? kept them out of the Bible. The message was to only read the bible and the explanations from their church leaders (this seems to be a common message from every church I have visited).

            Since that really torques me because I am a book wolf, I kind of told my hubby that we couldn’t in good conscious stay in that church. We keep looking for a congregation we would like to be around, but you know people are grumpy and territorial. So when we walk into a new group and have skills– we are targets of people who have been in the congregation for years.

            So we just don’t do it. Also– I write fantasy and many times churches that I walk into say things against my type of writing. Talk about making me NOT “feel at home.” :-)

            • I’ve got nothing against reading apocryphal works (especially the fun ones, like the Acts of Peter, where he resurrects a string of dried sardines to demonstrate God’s power) or even Gnostic apocrypha (although most of them are pretty hateful about women, which is why Pagels thinking they’re feminist is so jawdropping), although Gnostic stuff gets to be brain-numbing.

              If you mean the Deuterocanonical ones that got dropped from some Protestant Bibles, of course it’s pretty sad to miss out on Judith beheading Holofernes, or the Daniel detective stories of Susanna and of Bel and the Dragon, or Tobiah and his bride facing off demons by going to bed (not to mention the Bible’s main example of a good doggie), or the Maccabees’ holy Scripture about writing and editing, or Baruch pointing out that a cat knows a false idol when he sees one, or ….

              (Of course, they got dropped out mostly for doctrinal implications, which of course as a Catholic I’m all for keeping. But even if you don’t believe in them as Scripture, they’re still darned good Jewish literature and history, and repay reading, IMHO.)

              • Good heavens. Are these in normal Catholic Bibles? I think we have one somewhere in the house — possibly in French. (My family Bible which I read three times at fourteen was King James translated, I think the result of someone going into a panic and saying “Shouldn’t we have a bible in the house?” “Well, I think the British consulate is giving them away!” Either that or my family history is even more religiously complex than previously suspected — and let me tell you that would be eye-crossingly difficult. … and now I can hear Grandma say “Nothing is ever easy for us.” ;) )

                • Yes, Of course. Why would we exclude canonical books from our Bibles?

                  The Orthodox use them too, which puts paid to the silly Protestant notion you sometimes see: that they weren’t added until the Council of Trent. In truth, they weren’t questioned until then, which is why the doctrine didn’t need defining before then.

                  • I believe that the Protestants excluded the Apocrypha holding the position that the Old Testament should only include those books traditionally included in the Tanak.

                    • One reason the Puritans acquired that name is their scholars announced their intention to “purify” the Scriptures by going back to the original Hebrew / Aramaic / Greek texts whenever possible to remove “Romish influences.”

                    • They also want to “purify” the Church of England of “Roman Catholic elements”.

                      I have also heard that they had good relations with Jews as the Jewish scholars aided in their studies of the Hebrew texts.

                    • They excluded the Deterocanonicals because they didn’t like that Catholics argued from them.

                      Arguing that they were adhering to Jewish rather than Christian canons only raises the question of why not go whole-hog, then?

                    • The reason the Protestants would not, as you say, go whole hog (shrafe!) is they believed, unlike the Jews, that the promised Messiah had come.

          • Oh, I actually ran into one of those in the flesh when I was in high school (Presbyterian private school). He was not amused when he trotted out this bilge and I informed him that it was fortunate that Presbyterian was a Protestant sect so we didn’t have to rely on priests to decide which portions of the Bible to read.

            Why, yes, I am a wiseass; what was the first clue? 8-)

            • Really? So why were you called Presybyterians then? Prebyster’s Greek for Priest.

              • I’ll let you and John Calvin argue that one out. And I didn’t say I was Presbyterian, I said the private high school was; it was sponsored by a local Presbyterian church.

                The teacher was Presbyterian, though….

              • It comes from our form of organization/church government: the Presbytery, or council of elders. Presbyterians are Scottish Calvinists (Church of Scotland) who came to the States. We changed our name because Church of Scotland implies a relationship with the (Scottish) government, which wasn’t present in America. Same reason and type of renaming Anglicans are called Episcopalians.

                • “Episcopalian” is fun to say. So is Presbyterian, but Episcopalian is more fun.

                • In which case, you do have priests, alias prebysters.

                  • I’m Baptist, not Presbyterian, but I would disagree about “elders = priests”. Priests are believed to have “special links to God” and I believe that Presbyterians (and other groups with councils of elders) would disagree with the idea that the elders have “special links to God”.

                  • Having a priesthood, or more specifically priests, does not necessarily mean that a sect believes those priests have exclusive rights to interpret or dispense God’s word, which was the original point. For example, we are not Protestants, but the LDS Church ordains priests as young as sixteen years old. They are overseen by higher orders of priesthood. They have significant responsibilities, but a monopoly on doctrinal interpretation is certainly not one of them!

                  • mmm, sorta-not-really. They have a similar role in some respects, in that they provide spiritual leadership, but ppaulshoward is right below at us balking at the idea of the elders being a priesthood. (at least, one apart from the general congregation – are you familiar with the term ‘the priesthood of the believer’?)

              • presbuteros – elder (of Jewish religious leaders and of church leaders); presbuterion body of elders (of the highest Jewish council and of church leaders); & presbeuo be an ambassador, be a representative (for someone) The Presbyterians have a elder form of government — elected representatives. This is opposed to the Baptists who let everyone, once baptized vote, or the Quakers who looked for consensus.

          • Oh lawsie, that Protestant minister saying that the early Christians were Catholic is almost as overwrought as a book I read describing Mary and Jesus as the first Catholics, down to fasting on Fridays and Mary pining for the celebration of the Mass in the years prior to the Last Supper. Oy veh.

            • He pretty throughly pointed out that they were all tainted with Catholic doctrine through and through.

              He was right, of course.

              • Eh … I’m a Lutheran, born and raised – we always considered ourselves to be Extremely Reformed Catholics, and I cannot recall anyone in ecclesiastic authority (and I went through catechetical school when it lasted for what seemed like YEARS, and I cannot remember anyone ever telling us not to read in the early church accounts for fear of being corrupted. John Calvin was off on his own particular visionary exploration of belief … and the very best rip-roaring sermon I recollect ever hearing was preached by a Scots Presbyterian minister in Oban, Scotland in the summer of 1976.
                So, there were a lot of early texts left out of the established biblical canon, when the Council of Nicea met to thrash out what, exactly, Christians believed … as I said, Lutherans think of themselves as being Extremely Reformed Catholics.

                • Speaking as a Presbyterian, I must add that I haven’t heard anyone say not to read the early Christians b/c they’re too catholic either. If anything, I did (once) hear the something almost opposite implied: that the very early church was closer to the protestant tradition until catholicism arose and changed it. or something. yeah, it didn’t make much sense to me either. The early church was definitely in the same, hmm, how to put it, continuity? as the the Catholic church. bishops, Rome, Pope, etc. That said, there are certainly differences – traditions that hadn’t yet arisen/ been codified, whatever. Not that a protestant service would be any closer to the 1st century service than the catholic! As a stubborn Presbyterian attending a very catholic university, allow me to tell you something I’ve repeated many a time when the subject of theology comes up: Protestants vary. Greatly. Just ‘cuz one of us said something doesn’t mean the rest of us agree with ‘em :)

                  • Exactly … there are many rooms in the early Christian mansion – and all of them worth exploring, for the intellectual joy of it, if nothing else.

                    • Looks like I should plug my Dad’s researches into St Symeon the New Theologian then – http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199546633.do

                      People on this thread might like them. St S was an interesting person with attitudes that seem somewhat familiar to modern evangelical Christians even though he was a Byzantine who lived 1000 years ago. Some of the Calvinist doctrine is also simiar as I understand it – but I’m not a theplogian so I could be wrong about this

                    • O.O 86 pounds!? Is it out of print or something? Or’d they include overseas shipping? It does sound quite intriguing, though. I’ll have to check the library.

                    • My grandmother thought wel of him (which is weird.)

                    • Ha! Victory for the library! They have it! I’m going to go read it! Well, I have to write a midterm paper this weekend, so actually I’m going to add it to my to-read list. But I’ll add it to the top! *happydance* Sorry, I like finding new books :)

      • My friend (and another author – Liz Williams) is frequently very biting on that sort of thing in modern paganism. On the other hand she’s also remarkably refreshing about pointing out that modern paganism has effectively no genuine link to any pre-christian religion whatsoever. It’s all made up in the late 19th and 20th centuries and borrows heavily from mainstream Anglican/Episcopalian christian thought because most of the erly founders were from that culture. So yes that does mean you can put in your views because they’re no worse than the views of the people who made the thing up inthe first place, but you need to admit that they are your views and neither handed down from wisewoman to wisewoman nor handed out pre-written by a lady in a pond.

        Liz and Kari are friends and they have the same robust attitude to BS

  53. Sarah Hoyt “Marija Gymbutas was – yes, I’m crossing Godwin, and I have a reason – as much of a fabulist as Hitler, and about as good a scientist.”

    Will have to look up that name. Speaking of extreme feminism similarities to Nazi ideology, are you familiar with the feminist version of the “blut und boden” myth? That women, because they are women, have a special, mystical connection to the earth that gives them knowledge and insight unavailable to men? Knowledge that cannot be questioned or denied, even by the most rigorous science?

  54. “By positing itself as a necessary intermediary between men and women, without which men would be undisputed rulers and women undisputed slaves, feminism commands the obedience of every woman, especially those with the power of influence. It’s cute to hear feminists talk of opportunities for women, while using sleights of language like “technological advances”, “march of science”, “medical progress” to hide where these opportunities originated from in the first place.”

    http://endofwomen.blogspot.in/2012/10/the-biggest-success-of-feminism.html

  55. You might enjoy reading Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg– he traces a lot of the ideological movements from their roots in the same soil that grew into Nazis and various Communisms. With citations. Fascinating reading, really.

    Funny thing is, the title is from a guy who supported the idea, H. G. Wells. 1932, he also called for folks to be “enlightened Nazis.”

    • I like to listen to audio book while I do housework and cooking. The Spouse likes to listen when commuting and doing yard work. I gave him an audio copy of Liberal Fascism (a great find at a local used book store). He apparently enjoyed it. I had listened my way through a series of biographies and histories on the Revolutionary period a decided that I would take a listen to Liberal Fascism. While I can say that what I heard of it was good, and excellently documented, I could not listen to the whole of it. It hit far too close to home. I grew up in that world, still love my family, but have rejected their world view and politics.

      Fascism was not considered such a derogative until after WWII. Consider when Cole Porter’s musical Anything Goes was presented in London the lines that P. G. Wodehouse altered for the English audience in You’re The Top: the couplet You’re an O’Neill drama / You’re Whistler’s mama became You’re Mussolini / You’re Mrs Sweeny.

      (No not anything to do with Sweeny Todd, rather Ethel Margaret Whigham (1912-1993), who at the time had been engaged to Lord Warwick, but threw him over for an American golfer named Charles Sweeny – she later divorced him and became Margaret, Duchess of Argyll)

      • The democrat, who is typically also an aristocrat, thinks or allows himself to think that, by dethroning the king and transferring the king’s powers to an assembly, he is destroying the sovereign imperium. But he is not; he is only dispersing it.

        If some alliance of democrats so much as renders the king subject to the rule of law, they are transferring the king’s judicial powers not to no one, but to a concrete human body – a judiciary. They have fragmented the imperium and produced the constitutional solecism of imperium in imperio. Their monarchy is certainly doomed, at least in any substantive sense. And thus men laid, centuries ago, the foundation for all our feral subway yoofs. Imperium fragments irreversibly and entropically – monarchy descending to oligarchy, oligarchy to aristocracy, aristocracy to democracy, democracy to mere anarchy.

        Which fruit has taken many a year to ripen. But what a fruit it is! Now, at last, we see it in its glory. No other recent day knew such a thing. Yoofs!

        Mencius Moldbug, Divine-Right Monarchy for the Modern Secular Intellectual

        • Very nice. That one’s going to be reread a few times, plopped into my mental stew, and sure to come out in some refried version or another at some point.

          • You want to be very careful sampling Moldbug’s cooking: the secret ingredient is a nefarious mixture of methamphetamine and heroin. While on average it neither speeds you up nor slows you down, it plays hell with your neurochemistry, and after just a few samples you find it quite addictive indeed, even if you just meant to try it to be polite.

            • Thanks for the tip. Is he better freebased or injected straight into the vein?

              • His preferred delivery method is via a pill, whose slowly-digested and quite agreeable coating protects the sodium core until the appropriate step in the metabolic process is reached. To wit:

                We have swallowed the red pill, which now makes its way to the stomach. The coating dissolves. The rotor spins up and the device begins to operate. Inside, the sodium-metal core remains intact.

                And we begin the treatment. Again, our goal is to detach you – by “you,” of course, I mean only the endogenous neural tissue – from the annelid parasite which now occupies a significant percentage of your cranium, and of course is fully integrated with your soul.

                This worm goes by many a name, but today we’ll just call it democracy. Once we’ve severed its paradendritic hyphae, you can remove your little guest safely in your own bathroom – all you need is a Dremel tool, a Flowbee and a big plastic bag. Pack the cavity with Bondo, wear a wig for a few weeks, and no one will suspect you’ve become a reactionary imperialist.

                Of course, you came to us. So the worm must be a little loose already, or otherwise unwell. Which is great – but doesn’t really assist us in the procedure. UR is a scientific operation. Everyone gets the same cuts on the same dots. So for the purposes of our red pill, we’ll assume you remain an orthodox, NPR-loving progressive. Continue reading at your own risk.

                Mencius Moldbug, A Gentle Introduction to Unqualified Reservations (Part 2)

          • For instance, after he delivers the above flowery but quite reasonable rhetorical smackdown to those who think that democracy is somehow different in kind from other forms of government, he segues right into this, which is the metaphorical equivalent of the comedown crash from the aforementioned literary speedball:

            As St. Exupery wrote in the ’40s:

            For centuries, humanity has been descending an immense staircase whose top is hidden in the clouds and whose lowest steps are lost in a dark abyss. We could have ascended the staircase; instead we chose to descend it.

            At the bottom of the stairs: anarchy, hell, Haiti, Mogadishu, Lagos. For you they are waiting! For you, for you, for you, these hells! For you! Stop on the stairs; listen quietly; hear Mogadishu, in the blackness below, reeking of piss, waiting for you; purring; licking her chops. She wants you. You! And your family! Anarchy is hungry, hungry, always hungry. Insatiable. Yet patient.

            And at the top? Versailles. Louis XIV. Elizabeth I. The greatness of Britain. The greatness of Europe. The fire of yesterday, untarnished by time! The glory of princes! Cardinals, in their red hats! Black-robed Jesuits, terrible, intense! Against them, the burning martyrs of the Reformation! What a world! A gleaming, cloud-borne Olympia in the blue, far above our wet gray reality. Gentlemen, we have only our butts to turn around. Why not climb, and fast? Two steps in a jump? Three?

            No, there is a problem. It cannot be done. Imperium is conserved; imperium decays. And cannot, in any way, be made to undecay. Cold does not flow to hot; power does not shrink; we cannot climb the stairs. At most sit on them, and shiver in the deep fog. Waiting. Sooner or later, Mogadishu will ascend. Must we come to it? It will come to us. Sooner or later. Sooner…

            No! There is one desperate way – and one only. Having descended for centuries, shambling, sitting, resting, going on – we cannot climb. Fast or slowly, at a walk or at a run. Climbing is impossible; ascent is essential; there is only one way. We must leap, in one bound, to the top. The asymmetry is fundamental. Obey it.

        • Historically we have seen societies who moved towards anarchy embrace anyone (or anything) they thought would provide them will some semblance of order and stability. Thus the French after decent into mob rule took Napoleon as Emperor.

          While the best government imaginable might be the truly benevolent Tsar, there is no such thing. So we are left with Churchill’s ‘worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.’* Noting, neither Britain or we have a full out democracy, but, rather, forms of a democratic republic with checks and balances. I will add, as Ben Franklin* would, if we can keep it.

          *Knowing that all quotes ascribed to Churchill, Franklin, Twain, et. al. are often tradition and are subject to verification. Churchill: House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947 & Franklin: Attributed to him in the notes of fellow delegate to the Constitutional Convention Dr. James McHenry.

          • CACS, it doesn’t matter what “forms” we have; what we have in fact is a “warm-body democracy” (warm optional in Chicago), which is nothing the Founders would EVER have approved of. Unfortunately, there really are people who are too stupid and or evil to be trusted with any form of authority whatsoever.

            • We don’t have any kind of democracy. When the government does things (with complete impunity, yet) of which more than half of the people eligible to vote do not approve, it is logically impossible that the form of government involved could be a democracy.

              The oft-given definition of what we have is “republican democracy,” in which we democratically elect representatives who then democratically determine amongst themselves what the government’s policy shall be. However: see previous paragraph.

              What we have is a semi-permeable aristocracy with a multi-tracked but extremely rigid hierarchy. It’s becoming less permeable by the day: its true form is becoming more apparent as the hereditary successions become more and more common.

            • Sure, there are problems. You cannot make people think, even for their own good. That the people might and do ‘check out’ of the process and this has resulted in a breakdown does not negate that, while the worst, it is also the best form developed.

              Your quip about Chicago — the dead voting is not new or exclusive to them. I come from Philadelphia, where the story is told that the seven Indians who died before the Revolution and are buried in an old graveyard on Pine Street in Center City have voted in every election — at least up to 2000. (This is the city where one precinct reported 110% turn out in a recent Presidential election. ;-) )

              • I keep hearing people say that democracy is the least-bad system ever developed, and I have yet to see a shred of compelling evidence for it or even a logically consistent definition of how one compares governmental systems for relative overall badness.

                I think that the fact that countries with republican democracies have, in the recent past, been more successful than competing countries can be explained in a lot of ways, some of which have little or nothing to do with the fact that they were republican democracies. For instance, it’s entirely possible to have a a vibrant economy in a country with little or no “democracy,” and economic strength seems to be much more relevant to a country’s relative success than any other measure: in fact, that is one way to define a successful country. Correlation does not imply causation.

                • Marc, the below Heinlein quote came up on the Bar and I think it applies here.

                  Quote.

                  Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How’s that again? I missed something.

                  Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let’s play that over again, too. Who decides?

                  End Quote

                  The problems with any government are the result of “who is in control”.

                  An autocratic government would work just fine if the autocratics were Angels, but men aren’t Angels.

                  It might work for a while but the next group of autocratics would likely wreck it.

                  • All governments are composed of humans and humans are fallible. No system can be set in place which will eliminate human influence. While I have great respect for the Framers of the US Constitution, the idea that you could have a system of laws and not of men, absent invincible robot armies, is a pure and unadulterated fantasy. In the end some human being decides and as we have seen there is no document so clear nor unambiguous that one cannot derive any result one wishes from its application.

                    That being said, the true question is, which systems have been shown to be the stablest for the longest period of time?

                    If you use this logic, democracy, republican or otherwise, is not even close to the winner (or the least-bad.)

                    • Ok Marc, give me an existing example of a government that’s “better”.

                    • I am not sure that longevity serves as the best measure of a government from the standpoint of the people who live under it. Rome had the emperors from 27 BC, split in 395 AD, with the eastern half collapsing in 1453 AD and the western half 476 AD. Russia was under the Tsars from 862 AD until 1917 AD. Good times were not had by many.

                • it’s entirely possible to have a a vibrant economy in a country with little or no “democracy,” and economic strength seems to be much more relevant to a country’s relative success than any other measure

                  Oh, certainly: the problem with monarchy us not that it’s impossible to have aagood long. it’s that you’re stuck with his descendants. sure, with good parenting and education, they’ll probably turn out right, at least at first. but sooner or later, you’ll get aabad one, and then you’re screwed. a representative republic allows you to screen applicants first.

                  • Trouble with that is that you’re mostly screening them for their skills at demagoguery, so you end up giving power not to the best men, but to the men who want it most. Who are, of course, disproportionately likely to be among the _worst_ men.

                    • Precisely. I defy anybody to look at the current and recent composition of our highest governmental bodies and tell me we couldn’t do better than that.

                    • true. Our present President, for instance. So far as I can tell, he was elected because, um, first black president! hope and change! he gives a good speech! Whatever! but we’ve only had to deal with him for four years. If you got some one like that as a monarch, he’d have the rest of his life to screw up the country.

                    • Compare the amount of time the present President of the United States spends screwing up the country to the amount of time he spends playing golf, going on vacations, and campaigning for re-election.

                      A truly dedicated ideologue would never get within miles of a golf course. Or a vacation. He wouldn’t rest until the entire nation had burned to a cinder. Even the more ordinary sort of politician experiences a lot of pressure to dress up his recreation as “doing the People’s Business”. They think they got elected in order to Do Things(tm), and so — whether it’s their natural inclination or not, let alone whether or not it’s a good idea — they feel compelled to do things. Pass new laws. Regulate new activities. That sort of thing.

                      You know…making people’s lives worse.

                      On the other hand, a king, who by definition of monarchy would have no need to pander to those who made him king (because “those who made him king” were his parents, and if he’s got the job, it means they’re dead already), would probably spend even more time on the golf course than Obama does. Or maybe he’d enjoy the beach. Or collecting stamps. Or trainspotting. Or hell, let him spend all his time and attention on hookers and blackjack and cocaine, for all I care…as long as he’s not bothering _us_.

                      Giving one dude an unlimited budget to spend on entertainments of his choice for himself and his personal friends would be many orders of magnitude cheaper and less destructive for the nation than the present system.

                    • REally you want my family back in power? You have got to be kidding. It didn’t take more than a few hundred years for most of the king lines to go insane. I mean really insane. The country was actually run by the advisers.

                      Then look at the Tsars and their families– I have met some Tsar royalty (cousins etc) who were able to escape Russia. They were great people— but even great people become beasts when they have unlimited power. Even the monarchs who started the Constitutional Monarchies in Europe were called Benevolent Tyrants.

                      So no– I wouldn’t want it after reading the history of my families. It is much better to have a country who makes someone work for the job. I see your points– I just don’t agree with them at all. My family didn’t come (except for one line from the Mayflower) for persecution. They came because they were excited about a new country, new land, and a new experiment.

                    • I’m behind Cyn. Actually monarchies are run by ENTRENCHED bureaucracies. If you think we have it bad, you ain’t seen nothing. Also it promulgates the pernicious idea some people are born better than others intrinsically — not with better qualities than others, but just “better born.” Screw that. You do that, I start thinking lampposts.

                    • Anime has been surprisingly useful in getting folks to think about power structures– I think that Dragon Ball Something Or Other, where the main character is dead, showed the (lots of poetic license) heaven of Chinese mythology. It’s paper-pushers forever. DMV is an image of fairness and effective use of time type stuff.

                    • Try Saiyuki if you want some chilling images of the Chinese heaven and the ‘care’ demonstrated by the (so-called) Benevolent Goddess. She makes Pratchett’s The Lady look positively … benevolent.

                    • Ooh, I know Saiyuki…. *gets a silly grin thinking about Cho Hakkai for a few minutes; shakes it off*

                      You’re quite right, but it’s– sadly— not as popular as it should be.

                    • Hm, yeah. I have a Cho Hakkai zipper tag.

                    • Good to remember that the “power corrupts” quote was originally about what people would let great men get away with, not what it did to folks personally. Everyone knows that power amplifies human problems, which are famous.

                    • I agree with Sarah’s points– better born … a horrible idea–

                    • Cyn and Sarah:

                      This is where neocameralism comes in. It isn’t power that corrupts: it’s the perception of inadequate power. A person with absolute power, or whose power depends only on a knowable and known set of conditions, has no reason to act tyrannically. If they do, they can be removed legitimately because the known and knowable conditions have been violated. To wit:

                      In a full CDCC government, the sovereign decision and command chain is secured from end to end by military-grade cryptography. All government weapons – not just nukes, but everything right down to small arms – are inoperable without code authorization. In any civil conflict, loyal units will find that their weapons work. Disloyal units will have to improvise. The result is predictable, as results should be.
                      [...]
                      Cryptography applies to the back end as well: the decision side. If the controllers vote to refuse to renew Steve’s key, and anoint Marc instead, Steve will no longer have command of the army. He won’t even have command of his office door. He will have to call security to let him out of the building. (If you doubt that this is technically feasible, it is.)

                      Mencius Moldbug, OL7: The Ugly Truth About Government

                      And there is the answer to your biological-variable objection.

                    • *all* your weapons governed by an encryption system? one emp from a high-altitude nuke later, and your entire military is left with nothing to do but fix bayonets. *Bad* idea. Not to mention to possibilities for general failures on an individual level. As for it being used to suppress rebellious units, what’s to stop a coup-minded individual from gaining control of that switch and using it to disarm the loyalists? As for “perception of inadequate power”, I rather doubt it – there will always be be people who want more power, no matter how much they have. It’s human nature.

                    • Hardening electronics against EMP is a question of money. If you have your own nuclear deterrent, such attacks are suicidal. If you don’t, you are already at the attacker’s mercy and the form they use to attack you is almost irrelevant.

                    • How do you assign responsibility and target your reprisal? Say a nation, such as Russia, transfers nuclear bomb technology to another state, such as the mullahs in Iran. That second state then shares the technology with stateless actors, such as Saudi nationals bent on bringing down their monarchy, and those dissidents employ one of their nukes to attack the United States. How does your deterrence work? Against whom do you take your reprisals?

                    • Ah, now there indeed is one of the hidden beauties of the system. Steveifornia cares not about “international opinion,” other than as it relates to its bottom line. His Steveness doesn’t worry about things like “who” or “why.” Only, “Who allowed it?” If the missile launched from Russia, Russia either pays damages, or Russia gets damaged. If Russia can’t control its Patch, it doesn’t deserve to have it.

                      We basically revert to Mr. Roosevelt’s system: “I want the American back alive, or I want the man who grabbed him dead. Do it, or I’ll do it for you.” The classical international law allowed us to deal with brigands and pirates in a quite satisfactory way for quite some time. One of the many irritating things, at least to me, about our current situation is that no one seems to be the least inclined to resurrect the classical approach.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      So how does that policy work if Russia is simply distributing the weapons to someone else, who then use them?

                    • Then we see if Russia can buy proxies faster than said proxies can breed after being nuked.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      That’s an easy way to get nominally allied countries pissed, if the radicals are from them. For example, a group of Extremists in France. Several countries might get a bit upset if we nuke a Paris suburb.

                    • If they are really our allies then they would round up said extremists themselves… and close the Russian embassy.

                    • With only a few apologies to Kipling:

                      Then a silence came to the river,
                      A hush fell over the shore,
                      And Bohs that were brave departed,
                      And Sniders squibbed no more;
                      For the foreigners said
                      That an American’s head
                      Must be paid for with heads five-score.

                      Let them hate us, so long as they fear.

                    • “That’s an easy way to get nominally allied countries pissed, if the radicals are from them. For example, a group of Extremists in France. Several countries might get a bit upset if we nuke a Paris suburb.”

                      You know, I don’t really care if they are upset, as long as they take out their own trash. My opinion is if they allow the vermin to breed and multiply in their house, and one of the rats comes over and bites my kid, giving them bubonic plague; I’m done asking them nicely to take care of them. I’m going to gas the place, then pour deisel all around it, splash some on it and light it. If they want to live with rats, then they’ll suffer the same as the rats when the exterminators are called.

                      Why yes, I am a proponet of a bigger hammer approach, how did you guess?

                    • So we keep due process to ourselves and expect other countries to manage what we here at home cannot? We have had our own home grown dissidents who we have failed to stop before they did crimes.

                      Not everyone bent on mass murder goes around politely announcing, ‘Excuse me, but I am planning a suicide bombing. If you’d like the detail just drop by my place, anytime, at your convince and we can chat. That is before next Tuesday a week, because after that you’ll have trouble getting me together.’ I am sure that the security forces in Israel would appreciate it if they did.

                      I do not wish to live in a police state. Not even, if it were possible, one that generally agreed with most of my principles. Problem is one of my first principles is ‘no police state’. Freedom can be messy, and sometimes it is not safe.

                    • We are talking about France, where they DO go around openly talking about it (while not dates and places specifically ahead of time, but methods and the fact they ARE going to do it).
                      Personally I would argue that we DO live in entirely to much of a police state, and that is what has caused much of the problem. People would handle many of these problems themselves before they got out of hand if they were not forbidden to under punishment of law; which of course by definition criminals disobey.

                    • Funny, being of Jewish descent, living in The South, having Catholic and Negro friends — the phrase “People would handle many of these problems themselves” has a certain frisson that makes me reach for defensive weaponry.

                  • oh, geeze, the typos. sorry, was commenting from the mobile browser on that one.

                • With a nod to them meaning a democratic republic, rather than a pure democracy– two wolves and a sheep voting on dinner– it’s “best” in being the hardest to exploit to cause harm to its own members.

                  • Explain the logic underlying this conclusion, please.

                    • There are a couple of extremes:

                      No gov’t: no protection.

                      Everyone is in charge: same as above.

                      Halfway point between everyone and no-one is a few leaders, various flavors:
                      Only one, by-birth-or-arms leader: easier for a smallish group to get unfair advantage, although they can probably at least lead.
                      Only one, randomly selected leader: good chance of having zero skill at being a leader. (Results in the paper-pushers leading.)

                      Small number of by-birth leaders: still too easy for them to be unfair, although they were probably raised to know their own bureaucracy.
                      Small number of by-arms leaders: dead man’s shoes type promotion kills off your best.
                      Small number of randomly selected people: they’ll try to get everything they can out of their time in office, and usually won’t know what they’re doing.

                      Everyone votes on everything:
                      51% can vote that they get the others’ stuff.
                      Everyone votes on one leader:
                      Still only one man, and the 51% can vote that they get the other guys’ stuff.

                      Everyone votes on a range of leaders, some only for their group, with contradicting powers who have baseline rule that are really hard to change which limit what they can do:
                      Democratic republic. A freaking mess, but harder to game.

                    • Regarding bureaucracy, once again let someone suggest the marvelous British series Yes, Minister. The elected governments come and governments go but we still have mostly the same bureaucrats. And the same is a problem under kings who must rely on bureaucrats to administer their will.

                      A freaking mess, but harder to game.

                      But it does, sadly, get gamed, particularly when the electorate stops thinking with their brains.

                    • The difficulty of gaming a system depends upon the consistency of its rules and the consistency of their enforcement. I think that our current situation shows that republican democracy offers no unique protection on either of those scores.

                    • Marc – I disagree… it was doing just fine until someone ammended the Constitution so that the people could elect Senators. Now the Senators represent the people and not their States. It means that our system was stopped in its tracks.

                      I don’t always agree with my father about politics but I do agree with him that the more arguments in government and the less laws passed, the better it is for the governed.

                      Also I am a proponent of laws that have a time limit. If they turn out bad after we use them or are unenforceable then they expire (five years would be a good time limit). It would keep our legislatures busy trying to keep their favorite laws on the books.
                      *evil laugh

                    • The reason the Constitution was amended to allow the people to directly elect Senators was that the Constitution contains an amendment mechanism which allowed it in the first place. Given that, it was inevitable that this would occur. Argument to the “original” meaning of the Constitution is meaningless: it means what it says and what it says is that it means what “we” want it to say.

                • Correlation does not imply causation.

                  Correlation does not prove causation.

                  Singapore has done quite well with a system of government that is authoritarian when it comes to its citizens and hands off when it comes to business. Your objections to what is going on in this country – power devolving to the hands of a few – is no less of a problem there. And certain freedoms are not allowed their citizens which some of us think important, even if messy.

                  • Your formulation is weaker and, in my opinion, leaves open the possibility of the fallacious thinking which my formulation is designed to minimize. Correlation does not imply causation: at best, it suggests it may be present.

                    My objection is not to power devolving to the hands of a few. My objection is power devolving in a way which is not consistent with the stated goals and restrictions of the governing body. If my putative redress for unresponsive government is voting, and yet my vote does not count for anything, the government has absolutely no incentive to be responsive to me. In Singapore, the redress for unresponsive government is not voting, so it bothers me not that they don’t count noses to determine the outcome of any particular governmental question. I want there to be all kinds of Patches with all kinds of rules for all kinds of people. However, I want Patches to make their rules known and enforce them consistently. And, as I said, a truly secure authoritarian government would have no reason to try to control what its subjects think because it would have no reason to care what they think.

                    • However, I want Patches to make their rules known and enforce them consistently. And, as I said, a truly secure authoritarian government would have no reason to try to control what its subjects think because it would have no reason to care what they think.

                      Rules that are know and enforced consistently? I truly wish, but I do not believe it is humanly possible. Your truly secure authoritarian government that can be held accountable is also impossible. They will always have reason to care what the citizens think.

                    • At the risk of sounding childish: no, they don’t. A modern authoritarian state would have absolutely no need to fear its subjects. Only its shareholders.

                    • Shareholders? Oh, like what happened with King John? Don’t need to care about the people? Oh, like what happened to Louis XVI?

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Most of this discussion has been outside the boundaries of my clear understanding so far as being able to join it in a meaningful manner, but here, I think you’ve made a classical mistake common to Socialists: That of mistaking the theory for the practical. The bald fact of the matter is that no assurances of security and safety are enough for everyone who may occupy the top position, and once you get someone who does not believe in his absolute authority, the purges will begin.

                    • Wayne Blackburn

                      Just to be clear, in case I wasn’t: I was not calling you a Socialist, just saying that I think your statement had a similar problem to one of their main problems.

                    • Both of those examples were both insufficiently modern and insufficiently authoritarian.

                    • So Pol Pot only overstepped himself when he went to war with Viet Nam over the ongoing boarder clashes rather than accept encroachment? And Idi Amin’s mistakes were not to be sufficiently thorough in putting down dissenters and trying to annex disputed land which was being held by Tanzania?

                      Frankly, from your ongoing arguments, I am inclined to ask you — pull the other, I’m limping.

          • Actually, Moldbug has had a go at envisioning superior forms of government made possible by modern technology. I think that some of them sound vastly preferable to democracy. He refers to this as “Patchwork” in general, after the notion that one could establish a “patchwork” of such governments, each controlling a “patch.” Here is his basic starting principle:

            Let’s start with a point of agreement: our goal, as people who live in a civilized modern society, is a system of government which is responsible. Good government is responsible government. The equivalence is a tautology. The question is: how shall we secure for ourselves the blessings of responsible government? Or as Pope put it:

            For forms of government let fools contest;
            Whate’er is best administer’d is best:

            Unless you had quite an unusual education, you grew up believing that the problem is solved: constitutional democracy is the best mechanism for producing responsible government. It certainly produces something. Let’s call this something, whatever it is, moral responsibility.

            Here at UR, we see constitutional democracy as a sort of large hydatid cyst, cuddled gently in the skull alongside one’s actual neural tissue. The intrepid reader, with the instruments this blog provides, can extract the creature in the comfort and privacy of her own shower stall. As the neurosurgeon, Dr. Ahmad, notes: “The space was filled with saline at the end of operation.”
            [...]
            For example, I have no hesitation in calling for the King of Thailand to throw off the reins of the transnationalists, obey the wishes of the people, and return the country to full independence and royal government. I have also previously noted that any corporate descendant of the old Union of England, Scotland and Ireland, including but not limited to West Virginia, is entitled to restore the Stuarts through the Princes of Liechtenstein. If you wonder what this would mean for you, personally, try the simple exercise of reading your quality local fishrag for a month, noting the top headline, and asking: “How would Hereditary Prince Alois handle this?”

            His preferred Patch would be governed by what he calls a neocameralist system. He acknowledges that this is a hard sell to the modern progressive:

            But royalism, even if you stick a “neo-” on the front, is just too old-fashioned to appeal to some. So we also offer an extra decorative touch, available for a mere $19.95, in which the customer can fill her cyst’s void with our own synthetic organ of government. We call it neocameralism, and it is very fresh.

            Neocameralism informs the surrounding neural tissue that the best mechanism for producing responsibility in government is for governments to be administered as sovereign joint-stock corporations, controlled absolutely by their shareholders, who hold the master encryption keys for the government’s invincible robot armies. At some risk of oxymoronism, this could be even be described as private government. It creates quite a different form of responsibility – financial responsibility.

            Of course, it’s entirely possible that our so-called “cyst” could be a healthy, normal lobe of your brain. That our sinister, unapproved product could in fact insert a strange translucent, globelike parasite, which will control your destiny and lead you to an awful end. Ha ha! Yes, young Jedi, we are asking you to choose. Wield the red saber for the first time! Then visit our Sith Library, and learn the truth about this so-called “Council.” You already know what they say about us.

            In other words, the financial responsibility created by joint-stock sovereignty would be much more desirable, in terms of quality of life for most residents, than the moral responsibility which we presently enjoy thanks to constitutional democracy. Or so I assert.

            But this is a dangerous assertion, because history teaches us very quickly that there are many worse things than constitutional democracy. I claim to be encouraging you to exchange the path of evil for the road of enlightenment, but I could be doing just the opposite. And even if I’m not, the surgery I recommend is traumatic by definition. The procedure has never been attempted, let alone tested, and the implant is something I whipped up in my garage out of spare helicopter parts. On the other hand, do you really want to go through life with a worm in your head?

            Mencius Moldbug, Patchwork 3: What We Have Now and What’s So Bad About It

            Moldbug spends a great deal of time explaining to the reader why everything they think they know about democracy and its history is wrong. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Progressive, his arguments will literally make no sense to you. It’s not that you will disagree: you will not understand what he is saying other than that in the most general way he doesn’t like democracy. And when you consider how much more correct he is – confirmable through verifiable primary sources – than the history we are all taught about things that can be verified, one really starts to think he might be on to something about the rest. At the very least his assertion that the 20th century makes absolutely no damn sense at all when viewed in the traditional way as a fight between Good Democracy and Evil Tyranny is unassailable.

            The mark of a good scientist – of a rational human being – is that they are always willing to consider that they might be wrong about one or more basic assumptions. However, in the social sciences, this appears to not be the case. There are Questions We Do Not Ask, Answers We Do Not Challenge. One of these was the basis for the original post above. If you find reasonable inquiry as to the value of democracy versus other systems of government intolerable, consider the phrase, “You cannot reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into.” If “democracy” is an unassailable answer for you to some question, you’re not being reasonable: you’re proceeding on faith.

            • what would hereditary Prince Alois do?
              ha! now, if any state claiming such governance would be ruled like the *early* colonies (king? oh. Yeah. him. he just stays in the far side of the water and leaves us alone) it might actually work pretty well. :)

              • That’s the idea.

                This is probably my favorite Moldbug quote (it’s this or the one about Mogadishu:)

                An authoritarian state has no need to tell its subjects what to think, because it has no reason to care what they think.

                His point is that up until now, all governments have engaged in what might be called thought control because it was the best (in fact, the only) way to ensure their continued power. (If you think that democracies do not do this, you have not been paying attention.) In any event, there are two ways one indulges in thought control. If what you want your subjects to think is generally congenial, you simply reinforce it constantly along with goodies designed to make them believe that what you are saying is right. If it isn’t, or you can’t cough up the goodies, well, then we go the Gestapo/Stasi/KGB route. Republican democracies in the recent past have largely gone the former way but now that the goodie train is starting to fail they are implementing programs more similar to the latter.

                Hereditary Prince Alois would, in a truly modern authoritarian state, say to his subjects, “My taxes will be paid on time and in full. Molest not my subjects without their consent or mine: happy subjects are productive subjects. Do nothing which degrades the value of my property – namely, everything – unless you are prepared to pay the price for it. Other than that, I do not give a fig for what you do and even less for what you think. Have a pleasant and productive life. Shop smart, shop Alois-Mart.”

            • Let’s start with a point of agreement: our goal, as people who live in a civilized modern society, is a system of government which is responsible. Good government is responsible government. The equivalence is a tautology.

              I don’t agree with Moldbug’s first assumed premise about government. Define responsible government. Herein lies the problem. That which administers best? Administers what? Administers how?

              I know that you are fully aware that there are people who believe that the government is and should be responsible to guarantee education, employment, minimum income, housing, clothing, food, health care, and a safe environment (natural and crimewise). Further, there are people who believe it is fully possible with proper administration, particularly with modern technology, to do so. I don’t.

              I do not believe that mankind can ever create a ‘perfect’ government, because there is no such thing as perfect people.

              • This gets into a whole lot of discussion about the purpose and execution of government which even my lengthy quotes could not do justice to. The short answer is that responsible government is that in which the consequences of governing decisions lie upon the person or person who makes them. A representative quote:

                “Any system in which authority and responsibility are roughly equivalent will work. This doesn’t ensure that it will be a good system, only that it will work. Any system for which this is not true will not work.”

                If Hereditary Prince Alois decides that “the Jews are our misfortune” and boots them out of the Patch, and the economy suffers as a result, which lowers the dividend, the government is responsible if the shareholders use their combined authority to remove him from office and institute the reign of Regent Marc while they pick a new CEO. The difference between historical regencies and a neocameral (and it’s not as big a difference as it looks if you know your history) is that the CEO answers only to the shareholders whose only power is to remove the CEO and institute a new one. If that sounds like republican democracy to you, I admit that the parallel can be drawn, but I ask you to comment upon whether you thought Apple under Steve Jobs was a republican democracy. (Moldbug uses Jobs and Apple as an example quite a lot, in one of his essays describing a Patch he calls “Stevifornia.”

                And one of the many, many things that California, State of Love, does, is to hover over [its citizens] with its soft, downy wings. Needless to say, Stevifornia will not have soft, downy wings. It will be hard and shiny, with a lot of brushed aluminum.

                [...]

                And I suspect that in Stevifornia, there would be very little crime. In fact, if I were Steve – which of course I’m not – I might well shoot for the goal of providing free crime insurance to my residents. Imagine if you could live in a city where crime was so rare that the government could guarantee restitution for all victims. Imagine what real estate would cost in this city. Imagine how much money its owners would make. Then imagine that [a public charity designed to replicate the social services provided by the former State of California] has a third of the shares. It won’t just heal the lame, it will give them bionic wings. But I digress.)

            • The hinge here seems to be the reliance on “responsible” as your measure of government – a standard I abjure. That term is too vague and subject to variable interpretation. Arguably, this nation was founded not on the basis of most responsible government but least oppressive government. Government on a national scale entails bureaucracy which is the organized diffusion of responsibility.

              • All arguments are about definitions.

                I argue that your definition of a responsible government is one which is most effectively restrained from oppressing the citizenry. You cannot stop individual representatives of government from exceeding or misusing their authority: the most you can do is hold them accountable. In other words, make them responsible.

                I further argue that both logically and by observation we can determine that by diffusing the responsibility we have not increased the responsibility: with regard to any individual government actor, we have greatly decreased it. However, we have not appreciably decreased their power (only their incentive to exercise it positively.)

  56. … you just have an insufficient appreciation for mature conversation combined with an excessive desire for juvenile melodrama.

    ad hominem argument, nil semantic content

    …the way you put things indicates that I shouldn’t want your sympathy

    ad hominem argument, nil semantic content.

    …displaying the incredibly conceited attitude

    ad hominem argument, nil semantic content.

    … the way you’re treating me tells me your regard isn’t worth anywhere near what you’re asking for it.

    ad hominem argument, nil semantic content.

    Which is why attempting a debate with such people is useless. He has openly asserted disinterest in persuasion except for people who already agree. Which is probably useful, as he has not demonstrated any capacity for persuasion beyond assertion of his own (imagined) superiority.

  57. Guessing someone took out the trash.