Some degree of gynocentrism in culture is probably evolved out of sexual strategies pursued under natural selection. Relations between men and women in traditional cultures were delicately balanced, with more or less overt or covert power sharing, depending on the culture; it’s easy to look at those cultures with our modern-day glasses on and see the powerlessness of some women, but not to see the powerlessness and abuse of low-status men in those cultures. There has been no shortage of mistreatment and callousness toward fellow human beings in the past, and only advancing civilization brought forward the concept of universal rights and respect for all.
Modern feminists and Social Justice Warriors, having fixated on the flaws of the highly progressive and rights-sensitive culture of the West they are embedded in, have a tendency to see Western culture as soiled and unjust, while other cultures have greater authenticity and deserve respect. Thus it is when you discuss the genital mutilation practiced by some Muslims on girls or the pogroms against the Muslim Rohingya people of Burma by Buddhists, their outrage is muted by a desire to agitate only against the villains in their own parent culture. They take to Twitter to emotionalize the kidnapping of hundreds of young girls by Boko Haram while failing to exert their outrage on behalf of the hundreds of boys killed in similar incidents.
By choosing to notice only the bad things that happen to women in our own time as well as other cultures and times, modern feminists have failed to work for truly equal treatment of men and women. Instead of seeing individuals and their rights as important, modern feminists and other Social Justice Warriors believe the relentless focus on oppression of some categories of individuals by others is the key to righteousness, and their collectivist view of group rights leaves little space for sympathy for anyone who cannot claim membership in an oppressed class. They believe as a religious cult would believe that if only they explain their beliefs hard enough to the unenlightened, the scales will fall from their eyes and goodness will triumph. No amount of victory in achieving their goals would ever be enough for them to end their battles, since new groups of the wicked can always be identified to battle against; the battle itself nourishes their egos and so it must continue. If all their enemies have been vanquished, villainy is defined down to catch a new class of micro-villains whose microagressions and incorrect thoughts must be corrected.
Note that it is no longer enough that “victim” classes be treated equally by government and in employment and public accommodations — theirs is now a push for equal outcomes to overcome private rights of association and contract, so women (or men!) who desire to work less or take out more time for family would not be allowed to bargain for those conditions of employment by asking for less pay for less work. Implicitly all employees with the same job title and duties must be paid the same regardless of their individual contributions or their own desires for a lesser degree of commitment to the business.
Equal treatment does not imply there should be equal outcomes, because diversity of interests and abilities between individuals and the sexes means there will be unequal interest in career options that require 60 hours a week of work, intense focus on mechanical problems, manual labor, or hazardous conditions. Similarly, you will not get or expect equal interest in the highly social, helping professions that on average women appear to prefer. Efforts to force equal employment in every company by race, sex, age, or other class are simply doomed — any company which balanced its workforce to match these desiderata would find themselves forced to hire less productive employees, crippling them against their competition not so constrained. When you talk to a Social Justice Warrior about this, you get an answer remarkably similar to what socialists said in the 1980s when you asked how any country could level outcomes (“to each according to his needs”) without the productive escaping to another country to achieve what they could without the shackles: “well, that’s why they had to build the Berlin wall.” Prevention of the defection of those who want to be free to follow their own preferences requires that this preferred system be extended everywhere or somehow escape must be controlled and punished by, say, walls, machine guns, and Gulags.
So what we have is a small but highly influential group, educated, generally well-off, and embedded in academia, government, and non-profit work throughout the United States. They continually agitate for larger and more intrusive government which would employ more of their kind, the better to regulate away all imperfect thought and behavior. Business and profit-making enterprise is viewed as suspect because it is partly beyond their political control, so efforts to take control of decisions inside businesses continue, and the expanding HR departments, lobbyist payments, and political contributions of businesses reflect the need to pay for protection against this bureaucratic tendency. Similarly, hospitals and schools have responded to the increasing regulation and government funding of their activities by hiring many more high-paid administrators while shorting the low-level staff that actually do the work, because they must do so to get along in an increasingly bureaucratized, legalized, and controlling environment. This employment of large numbers of high-paid staff that don’t directly produce anything of value for customers has hugely increased the cost of domestic services like healthcare and education, and the increasing drag on Western economies has brought economic growth to a halt in many places.
We have seen such bureaucracies before — the Catholic Church, which for centuries held both political and moral authority over weak governments in Europe, attempted to regulate thought and action to increase its own power. The solution to the problem of state interference in private thought and belief was found after centuries of turmoil in the Enlightenment idea of separation of church and state. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.
The early history of the colonies which later became the United States is instructive. Many of the colonies had an established church (the Massachusetts Bay colony notoriously drove out religious dissidents and hanged the Quaker Mary Dyer on Boston Common in 1660) and wished to maintain their government support for a specific religion even as the Enlightenment took hold, but it became clear that any government uniting the colonies would have to take a neutral stance toward religion which enforced a set of negative rights (constraints on government action on individual thought and choice) to allow them all to co-exist peacefully. The great flaw of this compact, its political tolerance of slavery and second-class citizenship for slaves, was only corrected by the upheaval of the Civil War, which cemented the primacy of the federal government and its enforcement of the ideal of individual rights within the states.
Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America by David Hackett Fischer is an eye-opening look at the four founding British cultures of colonial America, and how each of them continues to influence present-day political preferences and power struggles. Other immigrant cultures (German, Irish, Scandinavian…) were also influential, but tended to join with one of the four founding cultures that closely represented their views, resulting in the welter of memes of political belief now contending for influence.
In New England, the Puritans from East Anglia settled between 1629 and 1640, the years immediately preceding the English Civil War in which Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan army defeated and beheaded King Charles I. Their colony started with a rigid established church which was intolerant of free thought.
In Virginia, settlers consisted of vanquished supporters of King Charles and the Established (Anglican) Church of England, primarily from the south and west of England. They tended to be more relaxed about religion and more business and trade-oriented.
Quakers then arrived in the Delaware Valley (Philadelphia area) from the English midlands (and their religious kin from various German sects) between 1675 and 1715. Their way was strongly religious and pacifist, recognizing as important freedom of conscience.
The good coastal lands having been occupied, the Scotch-Irish, referring collectively to immigrants from the north of England, lowland Scotland, and Ulster, settled the Appalachian hill country from 1717 to 1775. Scrappy and suspicious of any effort to tax and control by hated distant governments, their attitude of automatic resistance is still visible in today’s politics, with Sarah Palin an example of the type.
Only a government which respects and mediates the difference between these founding cultures could work for a larger United States.
As time has gone on, these Enlightenment understandings have been eroded, and “Americanism” (the practice of tolerance and “minding your own business,” belief in progress and rugged independence and freedom of thought and contract for all citizens of sound mind regardless of sex, race, wealth, or heritage) is less practiced. Our Social Justice Warriors value freedom of speech and thought but only for approved speech and thought; heretical ideas are to be stamped out by denying speech and punishing the heretics. It is no longer unusual to hear a college activist suggest that certain kinds of speech be forbidden by law.
There are signs that popular culture has taken note of the tendency toward totalitarianism and government propaganda from the Social Justice Warriors. Dystopian YA novels like The Hunger Games show a population repressed and manipulated by a media-controlling central government. The movie version of the novel The Giver takes some shots at this mindset; a thoughtful review of the movie version in The Atlantic “What Is the Price of Perfect Equality?” gets at its politics:
Engels saw the institutions of family and private property as deeply entwined. Part of Engels’ objection to the institution of the family was that it involved a “progressive narrowing of the circle, originally embracing the whole tribe, within which the two sexes have a common conjugal relation.” Marxism’s benevolent tendencies are swallowed up by concern and preference for one’s immediate family, which becomes the unit of basic inequality.
Commerce and trade, it turns out, are just as dependent on the passions as the passions are dependent on commerce and trade in The Giver. The true nightmare of a dystopian world is that all of these things are interconnected, and that by losing one or the other, by engineering it away socially or medically, nightmarish unintended consequences will ensue.
Only intentions matter to Social Justice Warriors. The fact that all of their well-meaning attempts to stamp out incorrect personal preferences and social disparities create damaging unintended side effects is only seen as a reason to stamp harder and control more until the thoughts of the people are perfected. The source of these failures is always pinned to the improper thoughts of the backward citizenry. As a result none of their programs is ever recognized by them as a failure or boondoggle, and evidence to the contrary is flushed down the memory hole.
The solution to this contention over social preferences and culture is analogous to the separation of church and state. To accommodate all religious and social beliefs in a framework of law and justice that respects all such beliefs that can be consistent with universal human rights, a government has to be prohibited from interfering when those beliefs are practiced without harming an individual’s rights. We might call this generalized idea “Separation of Culture and Government.”
While the Social Justice Warriors would wish to eliminate such current cultural communities as Mormonism, ultra-orthodox Judaism, socially conservative evangelical Christians, conservative Catholicism, and unreformed Islam from the scene, the bargain must be struck to prevent further strife: the law will not take a position on any social belief — it will not take sides for or against social conservatives or Social Justice Warriors. Any individual is free to practice their beliefs with other like-minded individuals in voluntary association. Attempts to bring the force of the law to bear on changing social mores and behaviors that are not in violation of individual rights would be prevented. The law of marriage would revert to the law of contract, with social conservatives free to enter into perpetual marriage contracts with features like dowry, alimony, and discriminatory child custody and support arrangements, while others would be free to bind themselves to marriages which maintain individual property and call for equal arrangements for child custody, with no alimony implied unless provided for by contract. No group could punish an individual member for behavior contrary to its beliefs except by private action: social sanctions, excommunication, and shunning. Lobbying the central government to adopt your preferred social arrangements by law would, ideally, occupy far less time and attention in national politics as such efforts were struck down by the courts.
Currently modern feminists have considerable ability to use government support and propaganda to free women of some of the obligations of the patriarchal culture feminists want to replace. Not only to correct injustices in law and employment, but to increase government spending and regulation to provide support that women formerly might have had to negotiate and serve a partner or employer to obtain. Both ever-expanding social welfare states and the failed Communist states reduced individual accountability and replaced allegiance to family and employer with allegiance to the state’s goals, and that is the model modern feminists prefer and are now working toward in the US.
Under such a controlling regime there is far less reward for striving. Hard work is replaced by contentious committee meetings and political struggles for pieces of a shrinking pie. The increasing numbers of academics, government workers, and nonprofit workers operate detached from practical considerations of serving customers. It becomes easier to slack off, and so more people slack off. The endpoint occurs when the productive have fled or chosen more leisure over work, and the economy collapses after years of stagnation.
Men and women who don’t want to take the role offered them in a culture have the choice of not doing so, or bucking their culture to find a partner who more closely reflects their values. But under a government that micromanages social arrangements and decides family custody and support decisions based on “victim feminism,” men are never safe from rape accusations, your children can be taken away from you easily, and the population of women one might productively partner with has been programmed to see themselves as victims entitled to use government to win any disputes that might come up. If you are hardworking and successful on your own, you are taxed heavily to support other men’s children and fund the politically correct bureaucrats who harass your business. This thumb on the scale of justice makes marriage a negative-sum game for many (especially poor and disadvantaged) men, and the elevation of bureaucrats and academics above workers in the private sphere damages men’s career prospects, unless of course they adopt the conformist ideology.
The small-government crowd doesn’t want no government. It is generally recognized that externalities and free-rider problems can only be handled by a government; defense, civil justice and policing, pollution regulations, and public health regulation (quarantines, vaccination requirements, etc.) are areas that can only be directed by a monopoly state. But political decision making is a blunt and inefficient mechanism, and those matters which can be handled by private business and voluntary social organizations should be, both for efficiency and freedom of choice. The libertarian and smaller government crowd wants a government that is less parasitic and concentrates on effectively and efficiently handling matters only it can handle well. The expansion of the government sphere at the expense of the private sphere is analogous to Microsoft’s destruction of most competitive software applications companies in the 1980s: using its near-monopoly in operating systems and the enormous profits to enter the applications market, marketing its mediocre applications and funding them when any normal company would have given up. Eventually competitors were worn out and stopped funding new development; Office products took over, ending most of the progress in the field for a decade. Using the power to tax and the lack of any mechanism to disband failed government programs, mediocre government-funded services (like monopoly elementary and secondary education) crowded out the privately-funded community schools, and after a century of increasingly centralized control, local parental control of schools and their curricula has almost vanished.
So it will be “interesting” to see how all this ferment and turmoil comes out in the only mechanism the people have to control their government: elections. People attracted to office tend to favor Doing Something as opposed to a hands-off approach, though the American people once had the wisdom to elect as President an examplar of the type: Calvin Coolidge, who noted “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.” Minding our own business, while respecting the freedom of thought and action of everyone, ought to be our goal.
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
The Latest from Jeb Kinnison:
[Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, In Kindle and trade paperback.] The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game.
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of Death by HR
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat. For it is now fairly impossible for any company not to erect an HR wall as a legal requirement of business with the sole purpose of keeping government diversity compliance enforcers as well as unethical lawyers from pillaging their operating capital through baseless lawsuits… It is time to turn the tide against this madness and Death by HR is an important research tool… to craft counter-revolutionary tactics for dealing with the HR parasites our government has empowered to destroy us. All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
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