Nothing to Laugh About

So, I was listening to The Door Into Summer the other day, and as a throw away line on “how language has changed” he has a man threaten to punch out the main character for using “that word” in front of a lady.  I don’t remember what the word was.  (Weirdly, in Portuguese translation, which of course I read first and is still what I always remember, it was “queer.”)

I didn’t think much about it.  Why?  Because I’ve read/heard the book a million times, give or take a hundred thousand.

But yesterday I was reading Lileks Gallery of Regretable Food, and right at the beginning he apologizes (in essence) for making fun of food writing in the fifties because … well, he shows an advertisement for a supermarket, and there are all these baby carts and children parked outside, waiting for mommy and he said something like “Who are we to make fun of them when, in their society, it was safe to do this?”  (This was not news to me, btw, because some years ago a Scandinavian visitor got charged with child neglect for leaving her baby in a carriage outside a coffee shop while she went in.  Apparently it was still done wherever she came from.)

In the same vein – you know I read a lot of Rex Stout and for that matter a lot of pulp SF.  I won’t say that guys are always getting in fist fights, but there is often the threat of one, usually for something done to women and children.  (The most candid of the Heinleins on this is For Us The Living, in which the custom of fist fighting between men has been eliminated with the elimination of sexual jealousy, which is rather, you know, one of those ideas he got stuck in his head and couldn’t get out.  In his defense no one had tried it.  Now, fifty years of that great experiment later, we known added promiscuity doesn’t eliminate sexual jealousy, it just eliminates attachment.  Never mind.)

It’s funny, if you look at the early books, because the women aren’t at all upset by this – though they might get upset if a bigger guy hits a smaller one.  But only sometimes, which is why the Atlas systems commercials worked.  Women preferred the big brutes.

It is only in the sixties, with the rather stern pushing of the “sensitive man”  that women start acting like men fighting over them is some sort of terrible offense, and in fact men fighting at all is the sign of an oppressive patriarchy and stuff.

The culmination of the stupidity of women’s behavior in books and movies since then is the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean II where the woman has ONE JOB and that is to guard the stupid trunk, and instead she’s running after the men telling them not to fight.

Do women behave this way?  Sure they do.  Indoctrination works, and they’ve become convinced men fighting over them – or anything, in fact – is a sign of oppression and brutishness and stuff.  (You say that like it’s a bad thing, honey!)  I have in mind the idiot who was all upset because her boyfriend defended her in public from a drunk, because well, if she were upset she could defend herself.  (No, she couldn’t.  Men and women are different sizes and strengths.  She can only “defend  herself” because she can call on daddy government to put the mean evil man away.  That’s not adulthood, that’s simpering folly.  Daddy government also has troops, and if he turns on her, she’ll have no defense from HIM.  Sure it won’t happen.  Sure it won’t.  And what stops it, exactly?  Are you going to call on another government to punch government’s nose?  You probably think you are…)

It has become a trope to consider men doing this sort of jostling for position, even in defense of women and children as uncouth and uncivilized and, oh, yeah, patriarchal.

I never fully understood why “Patriarchal” is baaaad, but “matriarchal” is devoutly to be wished for.  Unless, of course, you never met any women, and your idea of mothers is a housewife in the fifties, ready to wipe every nose and tie every shoelace.

In fact, there have been very few real matriarchies (I’m not interested in your pre-historic fantasies.  Sex with dinos is more realistic) and those that have existed didn’t last very long, because, well – see that thing where women aren’t as strong or as large as men.  Also, for the record, this causes women rulers to behave in a different way.  For how, exactly, go and read about our cousins, monkeys and apes, in the wild.  Males establish their dominance by fighting, sometimes to the death.  But females – ah, females are something special, and anyone who has ever gone to an all girls’ school will know our species uses the same method – establish their dominance by bullying to such an extent that underling females stop ovulating, due to extreme stress.

The only people who believe a female hierarchy is peaceful and caring are males who look at it from the outside and see the dominant female’s constant interfering and “bless her heart” as a “caring” thing and not the horrible oppression it is.

The problem is women in the US – and little by little in the rest of the world, but not so much – have either bought into or found it convenient to pretend that male view of females was right.  (The women who buy into it tend to be chunky, middle aged, wear home made jewelry and talk about the Earth Mother a lot.)

They pretend that the male form of dominance is just wrong and barbaric, but the female is sainted, and leads to peace and caring.

So – this is where we are.  Men no longer fight in public, not even to defend women.  But women do still bully and push and shove in private, and drive other women insane.

Is society better for it?

I don’t know.  Someone was talking in the comments yesterday about the coarsening of society.

I’m one of those women who never felt much need to have a man protect me, but that was because in the time and place I came of age I was larger and stronger than most men (this doesn’t mean I was Helga.  I wore a size 7.  But, different food and stuff… and most men were shorter and smaller than I.  Also I am and have always been stronger than I look.)  So I not only would stop nonsense cold, but I often protected weaker females (often from other females.)

And I’m not going to tell you I ever found men punching each other out attractive as such.  I can even understand the roll of eyes, particularly with juvenile males, as they fought over nothing at all.

However, it is important to remember that humans aren’t angels.  Whether you believe someone created us or we “just growed” the truth is that we’re built on an ape frame.  And ape societies are established in a certain way.

Now we’ve made it impossible for men to establish their dominance structures but, more importantly, we made it impossible for men to police themselves.  A man can no longer come along and say “Hey, Miss, is this ape bothering you?” without risking the woman turning on HIM.

Is our society better for it?

As Lileks in the intro to his book, I have to say “Who are we to make fun of them?”

Instead of men jostling and threatening each other, we have women appealing to an all powerful government whom they want to guard, protect and look after them.

Again, what are you going to do when your government turns on you?  And what are you going to do if all those cozy things you voted for become oppressive?  The one who pays for you to give birth might also decide you need a forced abortion.  Why not?  Most other countries who have that kind of power have, at some point or another.  The one who pays to keep you in comfort will at some point decide that you’ve lived long enough.

Look, no one is arguing that some aspects of patriarchy could be very bad indeed, when patriarchy was taken to the extreme.  In the Victorian age, a woman could be a helpless prisoner of an awful marriage (though not as much as our literature would make it sound.)

But now women, who still need protection, and who still, instinctively, seek the most powerful male, are de facto hankering for a marriage with government.  Which can be the worst marriage of all, because there is no escape.

And as for aspects of the matriarchy – ask any woman who lives with her mother in law in a traditional society how loving and caring a tribe of females can be.

It takes decades of college education  indoctrination to believe that women rulers and kinder and more caring…

So, now when I read novels and two guys are bandying words (if novels reflect the truth it hardly ever came to actual blows.  A warning sufficed most of the time) over the way one of them was treating a woman or a child, I can’t even roll my eyes anymore.

Are we superior?  How are we superior?  How is it keeping the violent members of society from policing each other making us more civilized?  How is pretending men and women are exactly the same and their relationships are exactly the same even sane?

What happens when you build your entire society on a lie?  The lie that women need no protection might seem to favor women – but if it did, how many women would now be at the mercy of government, and how many children growing up fatherless.

It is always wrong to think of human genders as existing in isolation.  You can’t suppress patriarchy in its place without suppressing matriarchy in its place.  If men aren’t jostling for dominance, they also are not suppressing the bad actors in their midst and the women who think they’ve now become all powerful are in fact handed the dirty end of the stick and left powerless.

This Heinlein quote is wrong only because now many of the starry eyed idealists are female, but the rest stands:

All societies are based on rules to protect pregnant women and young children. All else is surplusage, excrescence, adornment, luxury, or folly, which can — and must — be dumped in emergency to preserve this prime function. As racial survival is the only universal morality, no other basic is possible. Attempts to formulate a “perfect society” on any foundation other than “Women and children first!” is not only witless, it is automatically genocidal. Nevertheless, starry-eyed idealists (all of them male) have tried endlessly — and no doubt will keep on trying.

You might not like it.  You might not think it applies to you.  You might think you’re all powerful and self-sufficient as a female – but sooner or later you’re going to need protection from the bad actors in the male community.

Why do you think it’s better to get it from a bureaucratic society that you cannot hope to stop or even to influence very far than from the decent man down the street?

You can laugh at the punching out matches in old books and movies, but look at our illegitimacy rate, our drugged-to-the-gills young women, our fatherless children, our dropping-out-of-society male youth.

Who are you to laugh at the structures of the past?

234 thoughts on “Nothing to Laugh About

  1. I think that the old system was good mostly and wish that so much of it wasn’t jettisoned.

  2. So, now when I read novels and two guys are bandying words (if novels reflect the truth it hardly ever came to actual blows. A warning sufficed most of the time) over the way one of them was treating a woman or a child, I can’t even roll my eyes anymore.

    I suspect they are accurate, at that point– look at concealed carry weapons. Not only do looser laws make for fewer random attacks, often just the sight of a gun ends the attack. The times when it actually comes to firing your privately owned weapon is roughly as common as with police, with a far larger population. (equal or lesser percent of gun crimes among CC holders, too, from the few studies)

          1. My mother said one time after a meeting of her garden club in the ’90s that they had a gay time.

            “Oh, I didn’t mean it THAT way!”


  3. Heh. One of the reasons my spouse picked me (I found out years later) was that I was 6′ 5″ tall and had grown up in a large family with four sons who would grapple and scrap on occasion. Not bragging, but often my entering a room often stops burgeoning fights from breaking out.

    Oddly, I have only been in a couple of fights myself, and neither of those occurred after my 21st birthday.

    1. Average height and very broad-shouldered, I’ve been over 250 lbs since attaining adulthood, and only one or two actual fights. My experience very strongly convinces me that violent criminals, and bullies in general, go for perceived weakness and fear perceived strength. The more so because I was a small child, and often picked-upon back then.

  4. Tracy Clark-Flores wrote in Salon (I know, I know!) “I resented men for having desires that made me feel vulnerable to rejection.” She’s not the only one. The problem is that in their effort to eliminate those desires, they’ve eliminated the very rituals and culture that kept those desires in check and channeled them into productive use. The result is the modern metrosexual male, the hipster douchebag, the wimpy geek, and the absurd pickup artist who steps in to prey on the wreckage.

    1. Tracy Clark-Flores wrote “I resented men for having desires that made me feel vulnerable to rejection.”

      What Tracy doesn’t seem to recognize is that this also applies to men.

      1. What Ms Clark-Flores also overlooks is that there are limits on what your resentment entitles you to demand — especially when it comes to your subjective interpretations of reality and “how it makes me feel.”

    2. For some reason, I’m having real trouble trying to parse that sentence, “I resented men for having desires that made me feel vulnerable to rejection.”

      I don’t quite understand how a man’s desires would make a woman feel “vulnerable to rejection”, unless she felt vulnerable if she rejected him (ie, afraid of what he would do). If that is the meaning, I can understand it, but it’s worded poorly, in my opinion, but if there is another explanation, can someone enlighten me?

      1. “I knew men liked women, and I was afraid they wouldn’t like me because I was too ugly.” or “I resented men because I desired them, and was afraid of being too ugly for them.” A startlingly badly written sentence and stupid however you parse it.
        Beware a society that lets the ugly girls dictate. And by this I don’t mean ugly in body — my husband assures me that ultimately what a man wants is a woman who is kind to him — but ugly through and through.

          1. Now that it is descrambled* it is clearly the result of a scrambled mind.

            *Thank you Sarah, that sentence made NO sense to me as written.

        1. I don’t know to whom this ought be attributed, but “Beauty may be skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.”

          Generally, physical ugliness is an expression of a person’s inner reality. Even a plain person can be lovely when smiling. But ugliness, true ugliness, requires effort. You’ve got to have a grudge against the universe so deep that it shapes your every waking and sleeping thought.

          1. Minor quibble, RES. I’ve known several women whom, while physically striking to look at, harbored such a vile temperment I wondered that the ground beneath their feet did not liquify and swallow them up whole. To look at one, in pictures or from casual acquaintance, they appeared quite lovely. Nice smiles. Smell good. All the other traits one can see and sense at a respectable distance…

            While a truly ugly attitude may bleed through into the scowly face, nose thrust haughtily up in the air, and a shrewish mouth, the beautiful and smiling face does not always signal a beautiful mind and kind demeanor. As our host related and I can confirm (at least for myself), kindness is damned sexy. Physical beauty can attract a man, but there has to be something else there to keep him, if he’s truly all grown up and not just pretending.

            Also, when I was young, I was confused for the longest time about what “ugly” meant, because the only time I heard it used was when some woman was “being ugly”- basically, acting like a spoiled child.

            1. “Being ugly” can also describe mistreatment of inferiors — a slightly broader form of behaving like a spoiled child. Typically the preposition used is being ugly toward someone or something (you can be ugly toward a dog, for example.)

              A similar if not fully equivalent idiom involves “showing one’s arse.”

              1. Most often men got “showing his arse” while women got “being ugly” applied- but that’s probably just regional. We’re an odd people sometimes.

                1. Apparently I fell into a coma and Hillary slithered in meanwhile. I wonder what else has changed.

                    1. In a just world Hillary would be engaged in no task more significant than posing for labels on jars of dill pickles.

                      Gratuitously mean, I confess.

                2. What president? The president is someone empowered and constrained by the Constitution. We don’t have that. We have a pathetic little man strutting about the White House pretending he’s important.

                  1. I stopped thinking of him as the president after he blamed Benghazi on a YouTube video and had the filmmaker arrested. The government was constituted to secure our rights, not surrender our rights to cover its own ass.

          2. The one thing that is a total negative to me is whining — from either sex. I find it hides a childish, immature mind locked in kindergarten. Two other comments, RES:

            1) ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. A terrific voice, an active, supportive personality, and a willingness to fulfill a commitment can be beautiful, regardless of the package. Of course, an attractive package can also enhance the deal, but it shouldn’t be the whole basis of judging “beauty”.

            2) “Situational awareness” — never judge a person from a single encounter, unless it lasts awhile — at least a few hours.

            3) “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is actually something that works. I’ve known men who have married women who were not only good cooks, but WILLING to put forth the effort to supply a good meal when it was needed. (I didn’t know how well my wife could cook until our wedding night, but then, I cook well enough it didn’t matter. Turns out she’s a VERY fine cook!)

            1. That last one reminds of one of Archie Goodwin’s lines, from (I think) Some Buried Caesar*. He and Wolfe have found themselves attending an upstate county fair (Wolfe is exhibiting orchids, intent on upstaging a rival orchid grower) and Goodwin is directed to try the chicken and dumplings offered by one of the ladies “whose husband has left her three times and returned three times for her cooking.” Archie is left to wonder how bad her temper must be to drive her husband off.

              Physical beauty fades, eventually, a beautiful person remains radiant long past physical fading, but good cooking lasts.

              *Notable to Stout aficionados for introducing Lily Rowan.

              1. I was about to make some sort of a remark about “Lily Rowan”– something like “what’s her middle name, Leaf?”– and then remembered I was one dead relative away from being given a similarly “clever” name, so objection withdrawn.

                1. Lily is first described to Archie by a friend of hers as “a vampire. She’s dangerous.” … “I used to think that talk about some women being dangerous, you know, really dangerous, was romantic hooey, but it isn’t. Lily Rowan is one. If she wasn’t too lazy to make much of an effort there’s no telling how many men she might ruin, but I know of at least three she has played the devil with.”

                  Of course she falls for Archie and they indulge in some banter (not a lot simply because Lily just doesn’t get as many pages as I’d like her to have). Their first kiss is decidedly unromantic but makes me smile every time I read it.

                  “Lily held her hands out. “Help me up.”

                  I grabbed hold, gave a healthy jerk, and she popped up and landed flat against me; and I enclosed her with both arms and planted a thorough one, of medium duration, on her mouth, and let her go.

                  “Well,” she said, with her eyes shining. “You cad.”

                  “Don’t count on that as a precedent,” I warned her. “I’m overwrought. I may never feel like that again. I’m sore as the devil and had to relieve the tension somehow.”

                  “Go climb a tree,” she said, and got her arm through mine, and we went to the house that way, though it is a form of intimacy I don’t care for, since I have a tendency to fight shy of bonds.”

                  I love how Archie tries to play it off, but she isn’t having any of it. Lily knows what she wants and she goes after it.

                2. *chuckle* Same here… one old circuit riding preacher away from “Genesis Leviticus Daniel Chronicles.”

                3. All depends on context. In my ficton, one kingdom of Elves takes their names from nature. Species-part. One royal in this kingdom has a name that translates into English as The Crown Princess Rowan Leaf. Her mother, the Dowager Empress, is Amaranth.

                  Such pretty names these plant species. Of course, you wouldn’t want to be called Liriodendron Tulipifera.



            2. In defense of whining (sometimes):

              It may (or may not) serve as a kind of war dance by which the individual works themselves up to change what is bothering them.

              That doesn’t oblige others to put up with it.

              1. Whining is like crying. It does nothing but make you feel better. There is certainly a time and a place for it, but you should first ensure that there isn’t something more important for you to be doing.

            3. Works on the fairer sex, too. *grin* Not in place of the necessary qualities like fiathfulness and honesty, but can make up for other lacks.

              My grandma, bless her, taught me to cook when I was just a Wee Wild Odd. “Son, you ain’t never gonna be handsome. Nor will you ever be a great big tough guy. So I’d better teach you to cook, ‘cuz it ain’t likely you’ll find a gal these days what can.”

              Grandma didn’t much believe in sugarcoating. *grin* Because of her (and others) I managed to pay my bills and fill my belly for about three-four years back in the early 2000s. Red wine, garlic pasta (with crusty bread), and chocolate fondue snagged me a great gal once during those years, too.

        2. … And by this I don’t mean ugly in body — my husband assures me that ultimately what a man wants is a woman who is kind to him — but ugly through and through.

          Very true. So many of the left-wing radical women I’ve known are not only physically-unattractive by most standards — something that has little effect on me (because I pretty much find all women physically attractive) but also nasty, suspicious and incredibly apt to blame others for everything that goes wrong. They do not realize it, but their attitude probably scares off any men who might actually love them, leaving them the attentions only of guys who really are just looking for sex. Which is of course a vicious circle: it confirms their assumption that All Men Are Evil.

            1. Anyone who has observed teen boys at a middle school mixer would … oh, wait – that would mean she had to observe others! My mistake.

              One thing I appreciated in Rowling’s Harry Potter was how sensitively she caught the terrors of lads asking lasses out.

            2. Oh, no, no male has ever suffered from cold sweats from such worries. Never! Especially not me. No, no, no. Not once.

              Maybe 10,000 times, but not once. 😛

      2. I interpreted it as “I resented men for having desires that possibly wouldn’t be in congruence with my own.

        In other words, “I resent men for being human beings.”

  5. You overlook the greatest risk of reliance upon government: selective enforcement, aka “the Chicago Way.” See recent news (non)coverage of Shutdown Theatre.

  6. Just a few minutes ago, as I was running an errand, I was thinking how much I enjoy living in a place where gents still open doors for ladies (not all the time, but enough), and how appreciative the guys are when you smile and say, “Thank you very much.” And where I can still get a positive response at the gym if I say, “Hey, guys, could you tone it down until I leave, please?” The raunch and jock talk get a lot quieter until I’m out the door, and the gents look a little sheepish about getting fussed at.

    Society, at least the progressive edge of it, tossed respect out with (perceived) repression. Not just general “open the door and defend if necessary” respect for women and children, but the idea that individuals have intrinsic worth simply by being human. Why be polite, why defend someone who might not be able to protect themselves, since only your desires and interests mean anything? Armed and polite stems in part from that (fading) fundamental respect for others, IMHO.

    1. This loss of respect for the individual is a feature, not a bug, for those who wish our society to be similar to an anthill.

      1. Baby steps. You can’t get to the point where the woman marries the State, not the man, and so both woman and children are dependent on it, without undermining their respect for each other.

    2. Just a few minutes ago, as I was running an errand, I was thinking how much I enjoy living in a place where gents still open doors for ladies (not all the time, but enough), and how appreciative the guys are when you smile and say, “Thank you very much.”

      I live in the Seattle blob, and notice that having a baby along (or multiple kids, or being visibly pregnant) gets me a lot of unasked for help of this sort. I’m very careful to smile, say thank you, etc. (I also grab the door if I see anybody heading for one with their arms full. Gotten a few blushes from sweet young guys, and a lot of grins from men. Sometimes we trade off– I block open the door with my stroller, they shoulder it open while I herd the ducklings through.)

      1. I think that holding the door is really mostly about just that… who is likely to have full hands? Though sometimes doors are just really big and heavy. (I used to have to wait until one of the older kids went into the school and I’d dash in behind them… there was a door on an old building at NDSU that was almost as bad.)

        On campus here there aren’t many babies and not many full hands, but almost everyone will hold the door for the next person through it, and once in a while you’ll get a “you go first”.

        1. My favorite “you go first” was an utterly thuggish Mexican biker looking guy with spiked hair and the whole nine yards. Lovely smile when I grinned and said “thank you,” too.

          1. A surprising number of bikers (ie, the non-drugdealing kind) are chivalrous at heart. This is why the Society for Creative Anachronism and similar organizations have a surprising number of biker members. Similarly, a surprising number of hoods at school were more gentlemanly than the preps or the jocks, at least if you treated them like humans.

            The comforting thing about life is that, despite all the people who backstab you, there are also plenty of unforeseen allies and friends unlooked for.

            1. Washington bikers tend to wear a suit and tie to work, and pull out pictures of their grandkids if you show interest…. one of the things I like about this state!

              1. I spent some time around some older Hells Angels (no longer active) over there when I was younger. Nice guys, real laid back as long as you treated them with some respect. Amazing how much you are left alone and don’t have to prove yourself to some of the rougher elements of society when it is known they are friendly with you, though. 😉

                1. But yeah, I have friends and family members over there of the biker element you mention also. Here the bikers are more apt to wear a cowboy hat and boots, nothing accessorises a hawg like a rifle scabbard 🙂 (and yes I have seen several Harleys locally with one attached).

    3. This creates a problem for males — an anxiety, a hesitation about moderating their behaviour which is destructive of self. Because the same behaviour, whether opening doors or not, whether moderating language or not, renders men subject to social opprobrium. Once upon a time such a quandary was known as “schizophrenogenic” — repeatedly placing an individual in intolerable tension between equal and opposite demands, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      This induces passivity, resistance to action that poses risk.

      Similarly, when women demand decorum from men but fail to exhibit it in their own behaviours they are shredding the social fabric. It is absurd for a woman to “cuss like a sailor,” demand men eschew rough language and claim the two sexes are equivalent (except the XX one is better.) Similarly, it is cruel for women to shake “their booties” or their boobies (I can’t count how many times in an ordinary few minutes of TV watching I see women jiggling their jugs as a joke) and attack men for “ogling.”

      Such conditions create a situation which is unsustainable. Either men will check out and be unwilling/unable/unavailable to defend society against external threats (*cough* Islamism has no problem with unfettered male aggression against other people’s women) or there will be a backlash as men decide that, if they are damned either way, they will be damned for doing what they want to.

      1. Nailed a Lefty chick to the wall when she started spewing the “slut shame” bullshit:

        “She’s only a Slut if she actually puts out — otherwise, she’s just a Cock-tease.”

        Cue several minutes of Working Jaw, But No Words. >:)

    4. Regarding doors and the opening thereof:

      I struggled with maintaining this courtesy in my youth because I found myself being dressed down so very often for presuming the female in question was helpless. Dressed down as in ANGRILY lectured. Hard to remember your manners after a point.

      1. Same, once I hit college. It becomes… difficult to maintain the proper image of a Southern Gentleman when a five three, spiky blue haired, foul mouthed “lady” demands that you not only refrain from holding doors and chairs, but do not use the words “Miss” or “Ma’am” in her presence or else she will get physical with you.

        Ah, youth. *chuckle*

        I got slapped, but it was so very worth it to hear a cultured older lady’s voice sail from across the room, “Bless your heart sweetie, obviously no one ever taught you how to act like a lady.”


        1. I might’ve paid (in gold) for a cultured older lady to weigh in a time or two. Seems like I got stuck with the uncultured, feminist older lady. While she might’ve taught the younger versions a thing or two, I don’t think I’d be any better off for their increased command of invective and expletives. 😦

          As for ma’am, around these parts we use it from the time they’re walking until we box ’em up. Simple courtesy. My travels have shown me many a female who found it a disparagement, but that one was never at risk. Ma’am can have many inflections.

          1. Eamon, you poor bastard, sounds like you got stuck in Mefirst, Progressiville. That sort of pervasive attitude can try the patience of a saint. Hope you’re out of that particular Pit of Despair, and if not, might I suggest a suburb of Southern Appalachia? Hell, we even take Yanks and make decent folk of ’em, sometimes. *grin*

            That remark of yours about paying in gold for a cultured lady to weigh in got me thinking, though (I know, bad sign). With apologies to Miss Sarah, I know we’ve talked about the virtues of strength, honor, and discipline among men, but what of womanly virtues? They’re not quite the same as men’s.

            It takes a different kind of strength to be kind and caring. Think these qualities don’t require a kind of “strength”? In the this world with intolerance, hatred, and wickedness thrown into our faces time and again? Emotional stability and calm, reasoned response mean putting aside what is simply expedient or what just feels good at the time. Many a humble prayer that starts “Good Lord give me the strength” is quite often referring more to strength of will rather than the muscle power to move big rocks.

            A virtuous lady is a civilizing force on those around her. Miss TXRed above made a comment about guys at the gym moderating their behavior when asked to, and I’m certain a good many of you fine ladies can relate similar stories. Far from the glittery feminist hoo-haa wymyns that coarsen their manners to achieve some low and arbitrary “equality,” the kind of woman that can get that sort of respect at will can bring with her order and tranquility.

            Kindness and caring are the waist-to-hip ratio and big bosom of the mind. It speaks to something somewhere hidden deep in that lump of matter between our ears, and says “this woman will not only bear your children, but make sure they survive to adulthood.” Or something like that, only with more grunts since this is the deep dark recesses of the male brain where common sense and decorum fear to tread. Many a man who will wrestle alligators or fetch you a shrubbery or some other weird stunt just to see you smile will sacrifice, sweat, and bleed for you when he thinks he can get your kindness and respect. These two things stand *tall* in our estimation, and are most definitely worth the effort.

            Without these fine feminine qualities, be he ever so good and righteous a man’s existence can be made hollow by the lack. What is he fighting for, if not home and family at the most basic? For what I have seen and think, a good woman is what makes that home feel welcoming, safe, and worth fighting for. A stable society *needs* the virtues of both sexes. For most folks, the virtues of the one call out for the other.

            Good, virtuous women are more precious than all the gold, oil, or money in all the world. As a man, I thank all that is good and right that they still exist, despite all that the world does to twist and pervert those very virtues that men have come to cherish.

            Hats off to you gals. Your grace and righteousness are what gives me hope for the future.

                1. Y’all are both good people and fine ladies. Just ask your husbands!

                  As much attention is paid to the negative qualities that the new feminists lavish such praise upon, the praise of truly *feminine* qualities gets lost in the noise sometimes. Sometimes its good to retaliate by saying “THIS calibre of woman is good, right, and worthy.”

                  And heck, I’m a guy. I appreciate the good qualities of fine women pretty much by definition. *grin*

            1. Enough of those happened in Texas to be distressing. Economic success and population growth have their costs. But that was some time back. The worst I deal with these days is the rude assumption that an opened door is their right. And that attitude is in the minority, for the most part.

              I spent some time dancing on the KY/TN border, once upon a time. Generally found memories of the area. You know, when I wasn’t sleeping in the rain.

              As to the rest, as the Prof. says, “Chivalry was a system.” Too many are happy to accept the restraint of men while ignoring any corresponding obligations.

            2. A female friend recently posted on Facebook, “Lord give me patience . . . because if you give me strength, I may need bail money, too.”

          1. Hah! I should have thought of something like that. All I did was say “Sorry you feel that way, Miss.” *shrug* I’ve gotten worse for less reason and found there’s rarely a reason to delve to their level- actually hitting back would have been a failure of discipline on my part. I’m not all that quick on my mental feet so snappy comebacks like that usually hit me later in the day like “Yeah! I should have said that! Dammit!” *chuckle*

            1. Yeah, I’m not always that quick with the snappy comeback, either. More often, I just infuriate them by laughing at their behavior…

    5. This is why my sister-in-law was chomping at the bit for my brother to retire, so they could move back to the area where I live from Pittsburgh. She hated how rude that place was.

    6. I always open doors for women, and for men with their arms full. I’ve gotten an earfull from a few women, but over time I’ve developed a defense that always works:

      “My mother taught me to be a gentleman, and to treat women with respect and dignity. In honor of her, I continue to behave the way she taught me.”

      Many an angry femninist has nothing to say after that…

      1. “I always open a door for a lady. I apologise for my apparent mistake.”

        (Presumably this phrase ought not be used when addressing a female member of the SFWA, whatever her plumbing.)

        1. When addressing a female member of the SFWA you can always explain that you were impersonating a Victorian gentleman, but if she prefers to be treated as a Victorian trollop you would be happy to rectify your mistake*

          *I assume no liability, monetarily or otherwise, for any injuries resulting from the use of this advise.

  7. That Heinlein line is rather sobering– some of the big-L-philosophical libertarians I know online justify it as “you females were asking for it!” but…well, they want to build a better society by booting the “women and children first” type rules. (Yes, I know our small l/practical libertarians here are different. Not an attack on the relatively sane.)

    1. But, you see, they *were* “asking for it” — in fact, they were fucking *DEMANDING* it.

      Then they got it — RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYES.

      “You deserved that, Paul — you deserved that.”

      1. I highly object to a small number of obnoxious female bleeps being extrapolated to all women. (And when that’s pointed out, the claim is that those who didn’t agree weren’t loud enough about disagreeing…even if weweren’t there, or BORN.)

  8. They not only ignored Chesterton’s Fence, now that the fence is down, they are desperately pretending that now that its purpose is obvious, it still was a good thing to do.

    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.

    1. And the answer may come back, “the barrier was placed across the road during an economic/political argument of the past by someone know to history only as “Mr. Stompy Foot” and apparently no one dared to remove it.

      1. Problem is, that’s what they generally assume – that it was erected for either whimsical purposes, or else some sort of oppressive move, by their political opponents, when, in fact, they are looking at a fence that was put up to contain the bull in the pasture, and when they tear it down, the bull can now gore them with impunity.

      2. There you have your reason.

        Rest assured that all the vets and tourists and the rest knew why the barrycades are up before they pushed them down.

        1. quod erat demonstratum, who was the wiser. Had the one who placed them there ever served in the military, he might have recalled this simple truth:

          “Never give an order you *know* will not be obeyed.”

    2. Alas, that passage is too optimistic. Afaik Chesterton did not envision the 20th Century’s mass murders in the name of utopia.

      He did not envision the wolves who, seeing a fence built to keep wolves out, dress up as reformers and declare that the fence was created by evil oppressors. Cf. Wayne Blackburn’s comment elsewhere in the thread.

      (Otoh, when a fence becomes unnecessary, objections, sincere or otherwise, to its removal may be voiced by some who do well in the status quo.)

      1. He lived to see Hitler.

        “By far the stupidest thing done, not only in the last year, but in the last two or three centuries, was the acceptance by the Germans of the Dictatorship of Hitler — to say nothing of Goering.”

        His End of the Armistice is — interesting. It’s about the outbreak of World War II. He died in 1936. It was collected posthumously.

    3. The corollary to the gate, is the existence of a fence. Very, very rarely do they ask. “Why is there a fence?” The concept that the fence is to _keep_things_out_ never occurs to them. In their alleged mind, the fence exists solely to keep _them_ in.

  9. As the father of a now 35 year old son, I recall working with him in detail during the bullying in elementary school, which got bad, about how to use the system against the bullies… it was remarkably hard because the appropriate and immediate and reasonable response was to fight back.

    Over the course of many months, we managed to salvage his dignity while working out a definition of “fight back” which used the system against the bullies. — Never think that smaller kids and girls can’t bully the biggest kid in the class, an unspoken conspiracy makes someone the target and God in his heaven can’t stop them. It was extremely difficult to come up with strategies to deal with accusations that were simply lies.

    It wasn’t until he was 15 that he really got the courage of self to stop hiding as an avoidance technique and to be so obviously hugely present that he became difficult to oppress.

    Really, it would have been far simpler if he could have just smashed a few noses at the appropriate moments, and if I could have gone and had vigorous discussions with a few parents about discipline and lying. The “all violence is evil” mentality in the school system that punished the one who fought back the same as the bully is un-sane. At first, I thought that they were saying that they had to do that because it was one kids word against another, but as it turns out, even with the evidence of teacher’s eyes and the digital recorder, the act of fighting back was somehow itself evil. I asked “should he have just lied there while they kicked him then, until he passed out?” I was answered that “he’s bigger than them, when he hit back he was oppressing them…” or words to that effect. Thank god it eventually ended.

    But Sarah’s quite right, the concept that violence is ALWAYS evil unless it is in the hands of some official is a scarey thing. We are apes not sheep. Trying to turn us into sheep, and castrated de-horned sheep at that, is unlikely to make for a healthy productive society of apes.

    1. As someone who went the “smashed a few noses at the appropriate moments” route, it isn’t simpler. Not only do you have the disciplinary system to deal with (adults tend to jump to conclusions when you have one kid bleeding and a half dozen witnesses who can say who did it) but the kids learn that by provoking you they can use the system as a weapon to bully you further.

      1. As one who also went that route I will note that it never hurts to have a mother who explains in no uncertain terms to the administrators when they call that, if her son comes home with a bloody nose, he better have the busted knuckles to go with it.

      2. I understand that Jeff, in the system as it is built today, that route is closed. In any rational system, young men would have it out, do their posturing and such, and it would be over.

        Yes, yes, there is the occasional sociopath who will lurk in ambush and so forth, but again, any rational social system would recognize him or her after the 2nd or third occasion and it would be over, but that has not been the case in the US since the late 60’s.

        By the time I was 15 (1970) the rules had quite substantially changed, and trying to explain that to my father was very frustrating.

        Fortunately for me, I had dealt with the bullies in my school system by the time I was ten. In Topeka Kansas in 1965, you could still defend yourself as long as you did not initiate force. In 1990 at age ten, my son had no such ability. We came within a hairs breath of exercising the same “nuclear option” that Sara was forced to with her #2 of pulling him out of the school, but luckly we found a teacher allay and worked out a strategy, however marginal it might have been,

        I am grateful that my son came out of it with a sense of honor and compassion and decency. That could have gone the other way.

        1. Something I haven’t seen anyone say: The “posturing” and “pointless fights” of adolescent males can be a very effective training in how to respond to a variety of situations with the right techniques and right amount of force. It would be nice if there were classroom instruction to go with the lab, but a lot of parents/mentors of boys don’t have the knowledge to help in that way.

          1. I’ve lamented the lack of that education in my own life. I want my boys to have that sort of education, but I never had it myself. My father never passed it to me because, as far as I know, he never had it either. There are – or were – certain rules and guidelines on how such things should be handled, but I have had no exposure to them. I’ve had to sort of rebuild it from scratch.* So far, I’ve come up with two rules on violence for my boys, which are referenced frequently (the boys know them by heart). Rule One: keep yourself to yourself. Rule Two: You start it, you finish it. The second might need a little elaboration; obviously, if my son starts a fight, it’s his problem. If someone else (read: his brother) starts a fight, he has two options: come to me, or take care of it himself. If he chooses the latter, he has forfeited his claim to the former. I’m sure the list will grow – I haven’t covered everything – but that’s all I have so far.

            *Pointers to philosophical and practical resources are always welcome. You lot often come up with the most amazing things.

            1. “*Pointers to philosophical and practical resources are always welcome.”


              Marc & Dianna MacYoung have lots of great material on that site, plus they have an amazing group of friends who study and teach everything from conflict communications to just about every self defense style that actually works.

            2. The real world being somewhat more complex than simple rules can reach, when laying those rules out remember that “there is always a right of appeal.”

              If son #1 gets into a fight and son #2 supports him on it, while the general rules is “Not my circus, not my problem” it may (and probably sometime will) be the case that the “other side” escalates in ways that require your intervention. They may assemble a gang of 10 or 20 to attack, they may invoke Law Enforcement or School Authorities, and they may lie about it. In the case of “unfair escalation of conflict” beyond the initial argument over face, or females or territory or whatever, if it escalates into feud or war, then both sons have the right of appeal.

              Of course, their judgement about what is appealable will be poor, and frequently the answer is ‘NO,” but without it, you get kids shouldering burdens they needn’t take on, sometimes leading to self-destruction.

              At seventeen, my son was involved in a car accident which totaled his car and was going to make him late to work. Before the cops arrived, he excused himself and went into a neighbors house to call his work and explain his lateness. The cop ticketed him for leaving the scene. Normally this would have been “not my circus” but Zac had previously paid a speeding ticket and a stop sign violation without bothering me or his mom, using his own money, because it was his responsibility. Kansas “third strike” rule for moving violations in the same year for teens would have ment the loss of his license, so he invoked appeal and we got the families lawyer involved.

              “Not my circus” only goes so far. At some point, he’s still my son.

  10. I am reminded of two historical periods, the US indian wars and the Brits in Afganistan, same century I believe, but vastly different cultures. In both cases conventional wisdom was for Ghod’s sake don’t let them capture you and turn you over to the women. The saying among US soldiers was to always save the last bullet for yourself. And every fan of Kipling knows that bit about rolling to your rifle before the women get to you.
    I suspect it’s something to do about balance. Women are by design caring and nurturing to those of their clan, but by the same token can be tremendously heartless and cruel to any they perceive as threats to those they hold dear.

  11. Um, er. I think Heinlein was arguing instead that the elimination of sexual jealousy would lead to everyone having more healthy fun sex, promiscuity being a word that means “has more sex than I think they should.”

    Also, actually, there are a fair number of long-lived matriarchal and matrilinial cultures; one interesting one is the Na xi people in China.

    1. The matriarchies survive in some strange circumstances that force them — but by and large they don’t seem to survive in the “open.”
      In this case I was using “promiscuity” as “the poor kids are taught they should have sex with everyone who asks or they have ‘hang ups’ and are unhealthy.” This is hard for people of our generation to believe, and I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t know a bunch of the younger kids. This is seriously not fun — rather leads to joyless gymnastics, and is going to invite an awful backlash.
      I do agree with you that’s not what Heinlein meant, but the belief that sexual jealousy could be completely eliminated seems to have been by his way of wanting to believe in fairy tales. Maybe it can happen in some limited circumstances, but it’s never going to be the way society is run — it’s too primal a thing. (Unless, of course, we all live thousands of years and stuff.)

      1. There is a strong correlation between the number of sexual partners and sexual satisfaction. Alas for the leftists, it’s a strong inverse correlation.

        1. I saw a graph once plotting divorce rates against number of lifetime sexual partners for both spouses. When N=1 for both spouses (i.e., they were each other’s only sexual partner, ever) the divorce rate was ridiculously low, something on the order of 6%. I wish I could remember where I saw this graph so I could link it, and possibly double-check its data… but those numbers sound right to me.

      2. This is an overarching theme in many of Heinlein’s books that is so unbelievably unrealistic to me that it throws me completely out of the story. Books like Friday and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress could be really good stories, but so much of the story hinges on the complete lack of sexual jealousy that the whole plot falls apart for me.

        1. Sharon Shinn’s Archangel also have a tribe with no sexual jealousy. The book’s still good, but boy are they implausible. (Also no problems with custody disputes.)

        2. I disagree here. Friday was about a specific sub-culture (generally). General Patton’s observation that “A soldlier who won’t fuck won’t fight” would be very applicable to that sub-culture.

          In The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, I never got the idea that jealousy did not exist, just that women were so rare and thus had so much power that a man was not allowed to be openly jealous.

          1. Part of the problem with that logic is that scarcity doesn’t confer *power*, it confers *value*. A society with a dearth of women is one where women will be chattels of powerful men.

            1. That’s true only to the extent that the society in one in which most disputes are resolved by contests of individual physical strength. One of the reasons for the upheavals of recent generations is the rise of a number of cultures in which that’s less so. If women can avoid the error Dalrymple observes–which is to say if they can quit being associated depth of feeling with violence of jealousy and so avoid the wife-beaters–that will leave them only with strangers to arm themselves against.

              1. If I’m parsing your comment correctly then you seem to be assuming that the women will have a choice in the matter. I don’t think that that’s the case. In a society where women are a scarce resource, powerful men will monopolize them. That power doesn’t have to be in terms of physical strength, and is, in fact, unlikely to take that form. Wealth, political influence, and criminal connections will serve to secure the scarce women for the men of power.

                1. Your assumption rests on the premise that all men will be complicit in the subjugation of the scarce resource by the powerful man (men). That is not necessarily so.

                  1. Not necessarily “all”, but rather “enough”. Especially if the powerful also control the military or its equivalent.

                    Fortunately (or not) we have a live experiment running in China and India right now. No real need to argue online when we can simply see how those countries develop as they actively skew their sex ratios.

                    1. Heinlein’s moon was a prison colony. I think he was trying to liken it to Australia, but that doesn’t really work as Australia had free air and room to move into without having to dig new tunnels. Given the prison population, I’d have expected gangs to form quickly and the female prisoners to be monopolized by the meanest gang leaders, with the ugly or used-up women being delegated to the street thugs via brothels.

                      I think RAH had an unrealistically rosy view of human nature:-(.

                    2. Yes, but unrealistically rosy views of humanity can give rise to movements to better human behavior. It may stimulate thought.

                    3. I think that one needs to take account of the fact though that a lot of the “prisoners” had come from the Chinese “clearing” of Australia and other such things — I mean, these were not NECESSARILY prison population.

                    4. Of course he was trying to liken it to Australia. He stole half the slang in the book from them, too.

                      The difference, in this case, being that the women were always able to go find other men, if they had been wronged by one, to go find and deal with the perpetrator. This is what gave them power, and was illustrated when Stu LaJoie was almost eliminated. The notion that someone would damage such a rare resource was what led the men to protect them.

                      Was this an overly-optimistic projection? Perhaps. I’ve always thought so, but I can also see it happening if the right mix of men willing to protect their chances of access to women were put together.

                    5. And I think those are useful foils to RAH’s contentions (in a couple of senses of the word).

                      But we also have to look at the society from which our proposed cultural response arose. If it is bent far enough in the direction of ‘protect and respect’ then women have power in that society (as they do in our current one) by virtue of the willingness of men to enforce with violence women’s will. Which is the situation posited in TMIAHM, a visitor finds himself on the verge of being tossed out an airlock by a group of men because he pressed his perceived advantage with a woman. The disparity in power between the visitor and the woman was irrelevant as the men in her society were inclined to take up her defense.

                      Relevant to this, of course, was women’s understanding of their role in this culture and an agreement to participate. Absent that, it all crumbles.

                    6. I’m not entirely relying on speculation. I’ve lived my entire adult life in a system in which people fought tooth and nail for what seemed to them to be high stakes, but the only tools allowed in the game were intellectual. In that world, men had no power to ride roughshod over women individually, and women had no motive to enlist the aid of other men to protect them. What shook out was a system in which whatever value women had was theirs to negotiate with–it could never be “monopolized” by someone else without their permission.

                2. If you take individual physical force out of the equation, it’s not only the men’s “power” to arrange things as they like that will come into play.

                  I attended a university where men outnumbered women 3-to-1 and were disinclined to to “over the hedges” to find another source of supply, so I’ve seen this work out on a small scale.

                  1. A university is not a society or a nation. Those women had the option of leaving, and the men had the option of seeking female companionship elsewhere (even if they chose not to exercise that freedom, they knew they weren’t confined to the campus for the rest of their lives).

                    Had that University been transported to a world without any other humans, female equality might’ve survived if the sex ratio stabilized quickly enough and the cultural mores of the founders remained sufficiently strong, but it’s unlikely that those women would’ve been allowed as much freedom as the men simply because doing so would’ve endangered the survival of the entire group. Dead women produce no children, and women are the reproductive bottleneck.

                    Now, instead of Western University students and faculty, start your exile colony with Chinese peasants, or inner-city gangbangers, and a 3:1 male/female ratio.

                    1. If, in our experiment, we arrange things so that men have no ability to overpower women in one-on-one altercations, I suggest that things will work out much as they did in my university. The guys who would like to monopolize the women as a scarce “resource” (i.e. chattel) will find that they have no way of enforcing their preferences. Everything depends on making individual women fear individual men, and thus need the help of other organized men to rescue them.

                    2. I think you’re assuming what we in the West would consider a civilized group of colonists. “Civilized” is a debatable term on its own of course. Some would say that allowing guns is uncivilized, but then you guarantee that men will be able to overpower women.

                      Given a society wherein all members are armed and share an egalitarian ethos, then yes, the women are likely to have quite a bit of informal power. If they try to *formalize* that power via legislation though, I suspect that the menfolk would object and take action to prevent such a usurpation. I could be wrong about that of course, and fiction writers can postulate whatever behaviors they like. I reserve the right to consider lopsided male/female sex ratios to be incompatible with female legal and social equality though, especially in non-Western or non-Law-Abiding societies.

                      Anyway, I’m logging out now. Toodles!

                    3. If they try to *formalize* that power via legislation though, I suspect that the menfolk would object and take action to prevent such a usurpation.

                      Overlooks that Luna, pre-revolution, lacks government, ergo no opportunity to “*formalize* that power via legislation.”

                3. The key, touched upon by a few but not explicitly asserted, is that Luna is an environment where individual power is limited. Even a man who is extremely careful is subject to accidental death; given the ease of causing “accidents” any person who throws his weight around too aggressively is likely to discover a p-suit leak, erroneously reading air gauge or battery that fails to hold its charge.

                  Add to that the difficulties any individual would have in building a sufficiently significant power base without compliance of the community — if only by refusing to do business with him.

                  Add to that the probability that women “in” the harem would object to their power being diluted by addition of more femmes. Eventually the “powerful” man would incur a fatal accident.

                  For those and other reasons it seems improbable that “powerful” men such as are posited would be able to abuse their power to “corner the market” on women.

              2. In fairness to Heinlein we must concede that, at the time he wrote it, it wasn’t yet provably false.

                In fairness to _honesty_, we must concede that, having run a gigantic civilization-wide experiment over the past five-ish decades, testing what happens when the assumption of monogamy breaks down, the case for his beliefs about inter-sexual relations is no longer tenable in the face of evidence he didn’t have, but we do.

              1. Was this comment in response to my observations about the difference between power and value? If so, I don’t see how it relates.

                1. It seems clear enough to me. Absent the ability to overpower women physically one-on-one, there is no natural power advantage in favor of men.

                  1. Debatable, but that doesn’t explain where “pre-automated weapons” come from in Sarah’s comment. Nor does it clarify what cultures she was referring to.

                    1. China. The Arab world (which has experienced artificial scarcity of women for a long while. India, if you consider infanticide.) All those cultures come pre-baked and their issues aren’t caused by the scarcity of women. They also came about before Smith and Weapon made women equal. Sorry, but it does matter. And let me assure you a colony world, particularly from more than a culture, would be a very different thing because not all would come from cultures where women have ALWAYS been chattel.

                    2. I took her to mean “a society that predated the use of automated weapons,” i.e, one in which individual women could even the odds despite their smaller individual strength.

            2. Like Sarah said earlier– Mr. H had a very kind view of humanity’s instincts. Combined with a passion, that can make you very blind.

      3. From Heinlein’s novels, and even more from his biography, it’s obvious that he had a romantic streak a mile wide. He tended to form immediate, intense, lasting bonds. I think he assumed that everyone was like him: that they would form deep personal attachments to anyone with whom they had sex, and therefore that sex always would deepen human relationships. He seemed to have very little notion of the more common approach, in which children are engendered while the parents almost immediately lose interest in each other as people. In his universe, when you had sex with someone you just met, the chances were good that you’d marry them and be willing to die for them on the spot. If you were already married, you just added them to the Band of Brothers.

        1. John C Wright has a deeply promiscuous society in The Hermetic Millennia — inspired by a feminist who commented about how once we shook off our shackles there would no such thing as a nonsexual relationship, that child-adult relationships would be as sexual as the child was physically capable of, incest taboos would fall by the wayside — and its language distinguishes between people you have congress with often, and those seldom, and there’s no way to indicate someone you don’t have congress with.

          It also uses lots and lots of mind controlling drugs.

  12. I’ve more or less found a workaround that has been successful. Seeing what looks like a male harassing a female I will usually butt in with the question: “Sir, is that women bothering you?”

    I’ve never had anyone react badly to it so far… Stopped a few obviously bad situations, and gotten some laughs from the ladies involved as they realized the were being rescued by non-traditional means.

    Well, when I say “react badly” I have had some dirty looks from men who were departing the area… but nothing worse.

    Sometimes weighing in at a muscular 115 kilos is enough to end a fight before it gets started…

    1. Exactly. Again, I do understand Heinlein’s dream and it might even work if we all lived thousands of years. BUT aside from that, it’s never going to completely eliminate instinct. Perhaps unfortunately. But what we have now is people pretending instinct HAS been eliminated both male protection/aggression and the er… fact women are attracted to strong men. And it’s becoming a very sad farce.

      1. Reminds me of the Doctor Who episode “The War Machines” where Ben is moping in the nightclub until he has a chance to come to Polly’s assistance.

    2. I’m afraid you are talking about people who had all their attitudes frozen in the hippie Sixties, and they have no real respect for the institution of the police. So they think all police are bullies, and probably should be bullies. Picture the horrible thug of a sheriff played by Gene Hackman in “Unforgiven,” hired by citizens who thought they may as well hire an ex outlaw to fight outlaws.

      1. The threats against which they rely on the government to protect them are largely a consequence of governmental policies — encouraging single-female headed households, providing just enough sustenance for the youth to grow strong and feral, denial of healthy male role-models and healthy outlets to develop adolescent boys into men.

  13. This came up a bit back, referencing the Brit chef popping the guy for bum pinching. And thank you for explicitly acknowledging a truth few seem to understand: male violent interaction is often a matter of enforcing norms on their peers, the female role in these cases is secondary, though the benefits to females in general are implicit in the norms.

    There are deep and important reasons behind male ritualization of male/female interaction and discarding them willy-nilly is exacting a price.

    Perhaps as the cost becomes known we can explore what gender roles actually encompass and how they affect society…

  14. While reading this, I couldn’t help but think of that whole “Life of Juilia” thing…that literally DID replace a man with Government as “Julia’s” husband-figure.

    As if that’s sort of the goal. The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father…

  15. L.E. Modesitt’s science fiction novels often have interesting throwaway lines in them, often in a fake scholarly publication that he quotes in between chapters. In one of them, he mentions the “Sosh Wars” (which I parse as the first syllable of “society”), vaguely men against women (though no doubt there was a lot of crossover), and a comment about how part of the problem was that one side didn’t realize that social controls are an alternate form of force. That’s the sort of revelation that illuminates a lot of things. Much like your comment about how bullying can stop ovulation because of the stress—I’d never heard of that, and that’s a distinct evolutionary reason behind bullying. Good to know.

  16. Men punch each other and women are verbally poisonous to each other. Never having been punched, I can’t say which is worse but the notion that words will never hurt is a pernicious lie.

    1. The verbal hurts more. I was a hoyden, I’ve been in plenty of physical fights. Once the bruises heal all is well. With verbal stuff, it stays with you your whole life, and comes back when you least expect it.

      1. Generally speaking, in a fistfight both participants come away knowing they got punched. Unless you’re a *real* forty-watt or have a serious grudge, this creates a kind of respect. It can reinforce self control at the same time- even if I can beat the crap out of this guy, he can still get his licks in too. This is assuming, of course, it is remotely a fair fight and not a gang beating.

        Harming someone with words does none of these things, but can lead to fistfights if it gets bad enough. I’d much rather get punched. At least then I can get a little satisfaction and pride by punching back, and it feels utterly justified since the other guy hit first…

        1. This is why discouraging children from fighting is a terrible idea. Let them hurt one another before they’re strong enough to damage one another.

          1. Yup. Be the good adult/parent. Step in if it gets serious. Otherwise, let ’em roughhouse while they can. It’s a balance between sheltering them from the world that would harm them and preparing them for that world, that they may meet it on their feet rather than on their knees.

      2. That has been my father’s wife’s specialty. She hardly ever says anything obvious, but she is a master of the underhanded dig. Like maybe saying something that would seem almost complimentary, on paper, but said in a tone of voice which makes mockery of the words. Took me quite a while before I really started to believe what she was doing, I kept thinking I had misunderstood, but when she got more used to me the digs occasionally started to become unmistakable.

        And of course after a while I saw everything she said through the suspicion that she had meant it as something insulting. Undoubtedly also without reason at times. And she has been taking pretty good care of my father. Have to say life might be quite a bit easier if the bad guys were just bad, and the good ones just good.

        Heh. I have personal experience of an evil stepmother. At least I was an adult, getting close to 30, when she moved in with my father. Dealing with her on the visits has been difficult enough, I rather not try to imagine what living with her as a child or as a teen might have been like.

  17. There are plenty of women who like to see men fight. They are typically lower class with a violent boyfriend, and they come on to a guy knowing it will result in a fight when her boyfriend sees it. Even if you “win” the fight you don’t win.

    And fighting seems to have lost its “Manly rules” as well. Men fighting these days don’t know when to stop.

    Sexual jealousy comes from attachment. Promiscuity might eliminate the jealousy, but it also eliminates that attachment. If everyone is easy, then you are eminently replaceable. No need there for love or commitment.

    But that’s okay, the left celebrates single motherhood. Although they’d rather she get an Abortion so she can continue to be sexually available.

    1. I recently read a strong argument that the major proponents of abortion were the families of upper (and upper-middle) class young men. The sort of families who were historically accustomed to paying off the young women their young men “despoiled.” Much nicer to have a lower cost legal alternative, especially when faced by a young mother-to-be who did not want the problem to be made to “go away” and who simply was not presentable at their boy’s … professional obligations.

      I have also read many an assertion that the big Hollywood studios, back in the Thirties, each maintained a studio “infirmary” where such minor problems as an actresses’ weight gain could be addressed.

      So, abortions were not performed to maintain a woman’s sexual availability so much as they were to enable sire’s fathers to avoid fatherhood.

      To quote from an old George Carlin routine (before he became “enlightened”):
      Man answers phone: “Hello?”
      Woman’s voice on other end: “Hello”
      Man: “Who is this?”
      Woman: “Jane.”
      Man: “Jane?….uh….Jane who?”
      Woman: “You know, JANE!”
      Man: “Jane Jane?”
      Woman: “Jane. We met at a party about uummm 6 to 8 weeks ago and you said I was a really good sport!?”
      Man: “Oh yeah um Jane. So how are you?”
      Man: “Say, you are a good sport aren’t you!!”

      1. This is why Playboy has always funded abortion advocacy. This is why that idiot going on about “bro-choice” and how Texas couldn’t ban abortions after five months because it might make it harder for him to find disposible sex partners. True, he framed it as abortion in general, but since the ban was after five months, he must have factored in the time needed to browbeat her into it.

    2. Nah, it eliminates the attachment but not the jealousy.

      All these enthusiasts believed that if sexual relations could be liberated from artificial social inhibitions and legal restrictions, something beautiful would emerge: a life in which no desire need be frustrated, a life in which human pettiness would melt away like snow in spring. Conflict and inequality between the sexes would likewise disappear, because everyone would get what he or she wanted, when and where he or she wanted it. The grounds for such petty bourgeois emotions as jealousy and envy would vanish: in a world of perfect fulfillment, each person would be as happy as the next.

      The program of the sexual revolutionaries has more or less been carried out, especially in the lower reaches of society, but the results have been vastly different from those so foolishly anticipated. The revolution foundered on the rock of unacknowledged reality: that women are more vulnerable to abuse than men by virtue of their biology alone, and that the desire for the exclusive sexual possession of another has remained just as strong as ever. This desire is incompatible, of course, with the equally powerful desire—eternal in the human breast but hitherto controlled by social and legal inhibitions—for complete sexual freedom. Because of these biological and psychological realities, the harvest of the sexual revolution has not been a brave new world of human happiness but rather an enormous increase in violence between the sexes, for readily understandable reasons.

      The rest of the essay — really, it’s very good on the topic — is here:

      1. Theodore Dalrymple is one of the great Cassandras of our time. More people should listen to him, but, well, there’s a reason I called him a Cassandra. And the two essays you linked provide plenty of examples of why he’s not listened to: because to do so would require the (non-)listeners to — horrors! — make a moral judgment.

  18. Sunday at church I was minding the toddlers and there were two 4-year-old lads who were bigger than the rest who wanted to wrestle. They had a grand time of it. My wife and the other female worker was abashed and wanted to break them up. I just got in the middle of them and made sure nobody got hurt. I sat cross legged on the floor with them and provided a target for their aggression while periodically pulling one off the other. Grand fun.

    It was pointless fighting, but they were having fun. Fights are a time-honored male bonding ritual and we are ill advised to take them too seriously. Our society seems bound and determined to make little boys into little girls.

    1. Cf. R. Hood and Friar Tuck or R. Hood and John Little.

      It is a way of assessing a companion’s strength and skill, an essential for travelling in uncertain times. A boy unwilling to fight (see: Tom Sawyer, Cousin Sidney) was automatically suspect. In almost all areas of boyhood unwritten rules applied, such as no weapons (sticks nor stones) and first blood ends fight.

      It has been said that boys fight with fists and shrug it off, girls fight with words and destroy their victims.

    2. Oh, and N.B. — toddlers rarely have strength or skill sufficient to inflict serious damage in such bouts. They retain sufficient cartilage and flexibility to easily recover from most injuries likely to be inflicted. Unless one sits atop the other and pounds his head against the floor it is unlikely that any lasting harm will be suffered and both parties learn that it hurts to be hit by someone and it hurts to hit someone.

      One problem with most violence depicted in TV and Film is that people tend to recover all too easily. That meme is as absurd as 110 pound women knocking down 250 pound men with a single punch. (I look forward to the show that has a woman who thinks she can fight slug a guy the size of Adam Baldwin and him just smiling at her.)

      1. Yeah—that’s why most female self-defense classes are classes in how to fight dirty. You aim to HURT your opponent—and aside from the obvious (and easily shielded) target*, they teach you to do things like scrape your foot down the shins, tear ears, gouge eyes, and basically inflict maximum damage with minimum force.

        *”Grab and twist.” At which point all the male readers flinch and cross their legs.

        1. The problem with those techniques is that they require you to be within grappling range of someone statistically bigger and stronger than you, whom you have just made VERY angry, and whom you have not necessarily incapacitated.

          Far better to stand a dozen yards away and put 9mm or .45″ holes in him until he decides lying down is the preferred course of action.

          1. But guns are evul! And as Sarah’s esteemed representative (or senator or whatever the heck she is) pointed out, “it is far more likely he would take the gun away from you, and possibly use it on you.”


              1. Yes, but when necessary, *everything* is a field expedient melee weapon (remember the discussion about “fleeing to the kitchen”?). It’s rather a pity that walnut-stocked, bayonetted M14s are not as easily concealable for CCW…

              2. I dunno, If you watched the old George Reeves Superman, he would stand up to all the bullets from a gun, but when they threw the empty gun at him… HE DUCKED!

                  1. Dressed in a flannel froggy footsie and snoring at my feet. I’d post pictures, but the dang camera broke and is still in shipment to repairs.

            1. I much happier with my nasty little .38 in my hand than my emergency whistle in my hand. (N.B. This .38 kicks like a mule and inspires almost as many epithets.) I’d prefer to stay out of situations where I need either.

                1. Operant conditioning. It is a well demonstrated fact that repeated administration of [Insert preferred # of grains] of lead can moderate the pack behaviour of even the densest beasts.

                  Regrettably, certain simple-minded regulators seem to have an aversion to such therapy, possibly because they profit from the sale of more complex measures.

            1. I am not a lawyer, you need to study your local and state statutes before learning how to use and carry any type of what is officially described as a weapon. I am not a self-defense expert. With that said:
              Stand away protection: wasp spray, tazer, mace/pepper spray/bear repellant. Closer in: pocket snake (small whip, requires a good deal of practice), tazer. Within touching distance: monkey-fist keychain, tactical pen, keys in fist, knife, steel-rod high heel shoe, metal clipboard, computer power box swung as melee weapon, chair, walking stick, stout purse on sturdy strap, sturdy metal three-hole-punch, heavy books, metal figurine with sharp bits, old camera tripod. Note that I’m just glancing around my office, listing what I see. The larger point, as you’ve read here and elsewhere, is the mindset.

              1. Ooh, new product idea – “keychaiin” that is a small cylinder which holds up to 4 or 5 keys in the following way:

                The cylinder has slots which a key will fit into, and each slot has a retractable cord which can be pulled out so as to use the key. Cylinder fits in closed fist, and can be used as a weapon with the keys not only sticking out, but reinforced by the slots they sit in. It also protects the hand from the relatively thin cross-section of a key, when making violent contact with a would-be attacker’s body.

                1. Not exactly your idea, but look up Kubotan. While the TSA will not allow you to carry a real Kubotan through security these days, they will allow keys hung from a Mini-Mag flashlight which is essentially a Kubotan with a built-in light.

                  [Hope this does not get sent to moderation.]

            2. The first rule of personal protection is “don’t be in dangerous places” and the second is like unto it “get away from dangerous situations as fast as you can”. Ultimately that might mean moving if possible away from a bad area. Always this means what is called “situational awareness”. Even if you are not allowed to carry a particular type of personal protection tool (firearm), “If you have to fight, fight like a cornered cat.” [Google “Cornered Cat”.]

              The average person goes through life unaware of what is happening around them. Don’t be that average person.

            3. “Yeah, but what is recommended for those of us who can’t carry firearms?”

              Team up with someone who can.

              1. In my case, the problem isn’t local gun laws, it’s clinical depression. I worry that in a period of despair, I would take the coward’s way out.

                1. This is one of those choices that seems reasonable but actually isn’t.

                  If you wake up one day deciding that you would be better off dead, you will not lack for means to accomplish the deed, whether you possess a gun or not. I am willing to bet that, wherever you are right now, there are at least a dozen means within an easy walk, by which you might easily kill yourself.

                  But most of them would be pretty useless for defending yourself against criminals.

                  Your life is already in your own hands. You fear that you might not be worthy of that much trust. I say, since you’ve had the means to die for many years already but are obviously still alive, you’re more worthy of it than you think.

                  I’ve been where you are. Relinquishing responsibility is not the solution. Indeed, it’s a big part of the problem. After my second suicide attempt, I realized how lucky I’d gotten. I realized that I probably wouldn’t get that lucky again. And I realized that, because of that, I couldn’t afford to let myself fall that badly again. And I haven’t.

                  You _are_ worthy. You _can_ be trusted. I know you doubt it, but every breath you draw adds more evidence.

                  This is one of the tiny number of areas of life where believing can indeed make it so.

                  1. Having contemplated that route in my youth, I found no argument against it more compelling than a Gahan Wilson cartoon of a man, sitting in a chair, holding a gun preparatory to suicide. The caption read: On the other hand, what if I’ve already pulled the trigger?

                    If suicides are, as the Bible advises, condemned to Hell, what torture of the damned could be more fitting than that which drove you there? Maybe you don’t believe in an afterlife, but are you so certain there is none?

                    1. Most religions condemn suicide as a sin. Then if you study stories about near death experiences and such, or older stories about what the mediums of the spiritualist era claimed of having learned of life after death – pretty much any stories where the tellers have claimed to have gotten in contact with the other side – well, that seems to be one of the things most of them have in common. That suicide does not get you away from your troubles, but rather makes them worse. Either you end up in hell, or you have to keep facing the same problems until you figure out how to deal with them. Or you have to live through all the pain your decision caused to others (maybe that’s hell).

                      No thanks.

                      Doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, I’d rather not take the risk. Everything passes, and no matter how miserable one’s life is it will be over one day even for those who will do their best to prolong theirs as far as possible. I think I will rather suffer now than risk the possibility of much longer, or worse, suffering if it turns out all those life after death claims will actually are true, because in that case the oh sh*t! realization would come a tad late.

            4. 1) Change that.

              2) Get really good a running.

              3) Carry a knife. You’re still stuck in grappling range, but at least you have a better chance of inflicting a debilitating injury or convincing the goblin that you’re too much work.

          2. Ideally, one shoots the SOB before he gets in close, yeah — but there are times when, for whatever reason, one doesn’t get that interval. Friend of mine had a guy shove his way into her house one fine pre-dawn; he ran off when he realized her mom hadn’t left for work yet and my friend was still home, so he didn’t have just one person to deal with, and left a giant switchblade in their back yard. (Fingerprints lifted from her bathroom window indicated he’d been peeping in there for some time.)

            Or it turns out that the gentleman one was on a date with… isn’t a gentleman, and doesn’t stop at the shirt when you ask. Bit late for bullets then.

            (That said, the advanced classes in the self-defense series that I did… included a bit of shooting things. Shockingly easy, at least in the day, at paper targets.)

  19. I hold doors open for women whenever possible. I’ve never had a complaint, and usually get a compliment.

  20. StevePoling: I’d suspect the toddlers were rasslin’ and rough-housin’ for the same reason young kittens do: to determine, among other things, who’s top cat in the litter. (Of course, one could call it “pecking order,” which refers, generally to female chickens, i.e., hens.)

    Some time ago, I was waiting in line at a store checkout, when a brash young — well, I’m not too sure: black pants, boots, shabby looking shirt, long hair, ear and nose studs — man cut in front of the older woman who was waiting patiently to pay for her purchases. I couldn’t help myself, and snapped “The lady was in front of you, young man!” He moved to the back of the line, the lady involved smiled broadly, and there were a couple of affirmative head nods and smiles.

    Now, I’m an old fogey (74 pushin’ hard on 75) and I try to abide by the old standards: open doors, take my hat off in elevators, stand up when a lady enters the room, and so on. Do I do this because every female human is lady? No, indeed. I treat ’em as ladies because I am — or try to be, anyway — a genetleman.

  21. As I’ve stated elsewhere: The HippieYuppieBoomers are the natural product of a Utopian system — the generation which creates the Perfect Society will face rebellion by the second generation, as the 2nd gen realizes it faces but two possible paths: Either consciously ape every behavior of its parents — or destroy the Perfect Society…. (See Pournelle’s Sparta duology for details.)

  22. “Beware a society that lets the ugly girls dictate. And by this I don’t mean ugly in body — my husband assures me that ultimately what a man wants is a woman who is kind to him — but ugly through and through.”

    The sad thing is Sarah, when (if) society undergoes a reset of some kind, or readjustment, I think the “odds” are really going to pay for it – guilt by association with the ugly people who have been running things for the past good 40 or so years it seems. From what I read around the blogosphere, I think people, certainly men it seems, are starting to get tired of it enough to start pushing back. Backlashes get ugly. Here’s the thing too, what I’ve seen of so-called “tolerance,” “equality” and “diversity” movements means they are really less about fixing things so that future generations don’t have to endure what their predecessors endured then simply about “getting back” and petty revenge. It’s a “two-wrongs” make a right culture we have, it’s not enough to fix something, we have to make someone suffer for things they never had a part in. I’m tired of playing that game.

    1. Yes, and they are creating racism where there was none before. I see people I have known my whole life who have never been racist both consciously and unconsciously avoiding and discriminating against certain races. Because they have been accused of racism, disparaged, reviled and discriminated against by such a large percentage of the members of those races that they are no longer willingly to associate or do business with them.

      1. You’re right. Just makes me think of this.

        “You can laugh at the punching out matches in old books and movies, but look at our illegitimacy rate, our drugged-to-the-gills young women, our fatherless children, our dropping-out-of-society male youth.”

        After all our “race consciousness” and seeing racism in every shadow (hey, calling it black or even gray might be racist!), and legislation to address this issue, is it any wonder that the folks who most typify the above voted for the current administration? By singling out this group or that, we divide what should be *truly* unifying.

        We’re all Americans. The principles of freedom, religious tolerance, and the rule of law made this nation great. Our citizens don’t need more wedges between us masquerading as “I’m special!”-type identifiers.

  23. I posted this to Facebook, and a liberal friend took the bait:
    “tl;dr, but I scrolled to the bottom to see what the point was. “You can laugh at the punching out matches in old books and movies, but look at our illegitimacy rate, our drugged-to-the-gills young women, our fatherless children, our dropping-out-of-society male youth.” Um, how about the author look at the rate of those same things 50 years ago? It was just as bad then, unless you like to deny social history.”

    Jeffrey Quick: Oh?
    About 5% of total births in the early ’60s, 40.7% in 2011
    Drug abuse in women:
    Still behind men, but catching up rapidly
    Fatherless children:… (there are better sites out there, but they are closed because the Senate hasn’t passed a budget.)
    “dropping out of society”: not sure precisely how we measure that. Participation in labor or marriage perhaps. Marriage we’ve sort of looked at. Labor participation was ca. 10% (world leader in youth unemployment!) in the 60s, 13% in 2007, 21% now. That’s not entirely (or possibly even mostly) the fault of young males.

    I hate it when you MAKE UP SHIT because it reinforces your worldview, because then I have to look up facts to keep the truth ratio up in my posts. Anyone who live through the 60s and 70s KNOWS this stuff first hand. But it’s always good to look at objective numbers, esp. those provided by the government and liberal websites.

    1. I was NOT talking about people drugged on illegal drugs, nor was I “making up shit.” EVERY young woman I know who can afford it is on anti-psychotic, prescription drugs. Now, it could be just me…

      1. I don’t think Jeff meant to say “you” made up shit. I think he meant people in general do, as on his Facebook page, and then he has to look up the statistics to set them straight. He was agreeing with you, right?

          1. Yeah, breaking it out better would be good, but he was showing someone’s response to your article, where that person was claiming that drug use and illegitimacy were the same 50 years ago as they are now, which is blatantly untrue, and the part about “making up shit” was in reference to that.

          1. Entirely possible. I’m unusually tired/foggy today — will call the HVAC people after I get more tea — but the way it shows on my computer, it’s impossible to tell.

    2. No, I have no idea how to find the number of girls who are on anti-psychotic meds. I don’t think the statistics are kept — I just find it impossible to believe that my acquaintance is that rare.
      As for “dropping out of society” — read Dr. Helen’s book, Men on Strike. ALSO kindly DO consider that at this point fifty years ago was the sixties. The books I’m referring to were from the thirties and forties.

    3. I’m not sure if you were being sarcastic or not, but, government and liberal websites are often not objective.

    4. I’m not Jeffery, but I think this is an easier to read formatting of what the conversation was:


      “tl;dr, but I scrolled to the bottom to see what the point was. “You can laugh at the punching out matches in old books and movies, but look at our illegitimacy rate, our drugged-to-the-gills young women, our fatherless children, our dropping-out-of-society male youth.” Um, how about the author look at the rate of those same things 50 years ago? It was just as bad then, unless you like to deny social history.”

      About 5% of total births in the early ’60s, 40.7% in 2011
      Drug abuse in women:
      Still behind men, but catching up rapidly
      Fatherless children:… (there are better sites out there, but they are closed because the Senate hasn’t passed a budget.)
      “dropping out of society”: not sure precisely how we measure that. Participation in labor or marriage perhaps. Marriage we’ve sort of looked at. Labor participation was ca. 10% (world leader in youth unemployment!) in the 60s, 13% in 2007, 21% now. That’s not entirely (or possibly even mostly) the fault of young males.

      JEFFERY ON FACEBOOK: I hate it when you MAKE UP SHIT because it reinforces your worldview, because then I have to look up facts to keep the truth ratio up in my posts. Anyone who live through the 60s and 70s KNOWS this stuff first hand. But it’s always good to look at objective numbers, esp. those provided by the government and liberal websites.

      I can see how it’d be perfectly clear if I was the one sharing it…but I also know from painful experience how what’s clear as fine glass to me isn’t so clear to others, especially if I’ve cleaned it up to protect the guilty and remove the facebook spam.

      I suspect this post is getting some spam that we don’t see, too, or Sarah probably wouldn’t be doing background checks on folks like Jordan.

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