modern feminism

The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive

Prince and Princess of the Fairy Tale Model

Prince and Princess of the Fairy Tale Model

In Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner, I briefly take on the “Fairy Tale” model of romantic relationships:

[T]he ideals of romance remain culturally strong; every fairy tale, every Disney animation, (almost) every Hollywood and Bollywood movie idealize the One True Love, who you will see across a crowded room at just the right moment, fall madly in love with, marry, and live happily ever after with in a vine-covered cottage with a picket fence.

The hazard of such cultural programming:

One day we realize that we are completely possessed and dominated by a set of beliefs that we, as individuals, never chose. It is as though we breathe them in from novels and movies, from the psychological air around us, and they become part of us, as though fused with the cells of our bodies. We all know that we are supposed to “fall in love” and that our relationships must be based on romance—nothing less will do! Every man knows what he is entitled to demand from his [partner.] It is spelled out in detail in some unseen layer of the unconscious mind. This is “romance”. —anonymous

Note the word “demand.” It is a self-centered expectation that my needs will be satisfied, my happiness will come from my partner. This is a child’s narcissistic view of a relationship—it’s all about me. The fairy tale model tells you you are entitled to happiness and your partner is to provide it. Or else! Of course this is not a relationship of adult equals in loving attachment—it has no place for real life, for struggle toward goals, for temporary unhappiness and loss for the sake of a future goal. And those who cling to it generally fail.

Idealized romantic love was not considered especially desirable before Medieval troubadours promoted it. Adult long-term relationships have historically been about family, property, and influence, with eventual love a desirable but not necessary factor. In wealthy urban societies, long-term married persons often sought sexual outlets and the thrills of romance from secondary relationships.

Peter Wright, writing in A Voice for Men, captures the problematic cultural relic of the Fairy Tale with more scholarship than I could muster — we’ve been exchanging emails. From his point of view, modern feminism and the Fairy Tale are closely entwined, and modern feminists don’t recognize how much their beliefs owe to a feudalistic ideal of female privilege (the “Fairy Tale Princess” model):

Feminism promotes a neurotic vision of what constitutes true love. It takes its model directly from the Age of Feudalism which saw vassals bowing down and kissing the hands of Lords. In the 12th century that model served as the basis for a new kind of love in which men were to play the role of vassal to women who played the role of an idealized Lord. C.S. Lewis, back in the middle of the 20th Century, referred to this historical revolution as “the feudalisation of love,” and stated that it has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched. “Compared with this revolution,” states Lewis, “the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature.”

Not only has this feudalistic notion of love permeated almost every corner of the globe today, it continues to be vigorously promoted by both feminists and traditionalists alike. The love we are referring to is what Hollywood, romance novels, and other media refer to as “romantic love,” the fantasy to which every modern man and woman pledges blind obeisance…. [C.S. Lewis commented:]

Everyone has heard of courtly love, and everyone knows it appeared quite suddenly at the end of the eleventh century at Languedoc. The sentiment, of course, is love, but love of a highly specialized sort, whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, and the Religion of Love. The lover is always abject. Obedience to his lady’s lightest wish, however whimsical, and silent acquiescence in her rebukes, however unjust, are the only virtues he dares to claim. Here is a service of love closely modelled on the service which a feudal vassal owes to his lord. The lover is the lady’s ‘man’. He addresses her as midons, which etymologically represents not ‘my lady’ but ‘my lord’. The whole attitude has been rightly described as ‘a feudalisation of love’. This solemn amatory ritual is felt to be part and parcel of the courtly life.

C.S. Lewis wrote that many decades ago; I’m not sure “everyone” knows it today. We ought to remember his words, because in the long sweep of human history, what we think has been with us forever is something people only a few generations ago knew to be mostly an artificial, idealized notion.

One of the issues of the modern age of electronic media and overabundant entertainment is the lack of accountability and feedback — in earlier eras, most of a child’s time was spent with parents, siblings, and peers in the real community, and their self-image was molded by feedback from those real people. Today many children get less guidance from adults, and spend much of their early years viewing entertainments from Disney and others that were drenched in the Fairy Tale model of romance. The content of these tales has grown more sophisticated in recent years, but they still often center on either a girl who is pretty and does well by finding the Prince Charming to whisk her off to Happy Ever After Land, or a boy who bests his competitors through wit and daring. Neither of these scenarios is an actual experience with the feedback required to sharpen life skills; both allow a sort of lazy, I-am-owed-this fantasy view of how life works. The willingness of the most effective teachers to demand excellent performance from their pupils has been buried by bureaucracies punishing teachers for upholding high standards, and refusing to let teachers remove disruptive students from their classes. Even worse, the “self-esteem” movement called for praising and rewarding all children, no matter what their performance, lest their self-esteem be damaged — but untested, unreal self-esteem based on false praise crumbles as soon as it encounters real-world setbacks.

Peter Wright goes on to suggest a view of marriage or partnership as friendship-plus — the values of friendship with the addition of sex and family interests — as a healthier way of looking at it:

The field of attachment science concludes that an absence of close and consistent human attachment causes children to literally wither and die, refusing to thrive despite being provided with clothing, food and an adequate number of toys. Likewise adults literally commit suicide to escape feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially after a relationship separation. Even if we don’t end up suiciding from loneliness we have to ask ourselves if the absence of an intimate relationship in our lives leaves us limping, or somehow unfulfilled? Some would suggest we can fill our intimacy void with friendships, but this leads to a further question of whether there is an adequate formulation of friendship that can satisfy our needs – a relationship that doesn’t rely on the usual vassal and lord model at the core of romantic love.

In ancient cultures friendship was a more lofty aspiration than it is today. It was synonymous with love and it often involved sexual intimacy. In Ancient Greek, the same word was used for “friend” and “lover.” In our culture we have succeeded in separating friendship from the category we call love, and excised all trace of sex from friendships. Today when we say, “They are just good friends” or “she’s only a friend” we are indicating the absence of both intimate love and sex.

Sexual attraction and desire also need to be put in their place. They may generate some chemistry and may be the first thing that attracts you to a person, but like the shiny trinket that catches your eye at the shopping mall, you will first stare at it in wonder, maybe have a feel, and then decide whether you really want to take that thing home and share your life with it. Friendship is much the same, and if a person you meet has little in common you will be inclined to leave them on the shelf and move on, despite their sexual attractiveness.

I once again note that the breakdown in relations between men and women has been painful, and men have suffered the most in this I would think; in the current socio-political climate, marriage and even cohabitation is like jumping out of an aeroplane with a chute you’re not even sure is going to open. And all change can’t simply be political. Still, if we are ever to look forward to a cultural change that might make for a new era of improved relations between the sexes, ditching these feudalistic attitudes about “romantic love,” and restoring the ancient tradition of seeing intimate friendship being the highest ideal for a relationship, would probably by a major step in the right direction culturally. This will require a shift in the attitudes of men and women alike, but the evidence for this being possible is strong; we’ve done it before, and we still see it in some cultures today. It’s not impossible for human beings to think and act this way. So can we return to a culture where that’s the more normal way of thinking? I’d like to believe that possible for us today, or at least in the future.

In one of those elisions, Peter comments: “One of the worst-kept secrets about married couples is that they often treat their friends with more kindness, compassion and generosity than they ever do for each other. When best friends are together they are charming, engaging, helpful and courteous, but when they return home to their spouses they appear resentful, angry and uncooperative with each other.”

I think we disagree about this. When the arranged-marriage, marriage-for-property-and-dynasty system went out of style, marriages became a choose-for-yourself project, with a much larger pool of candidates to choose from. While this freed many to find more compatible partners, it also cast the losers into a game of musical relationship chairs where most of the remaining candidates were problematic; 50% of the population have insecure attachment types, and freedom of choice meant those insecure people were more often thrown in together into dysfunctional marriages. No longer feeling obligated to make a marriage work, and finding a year or two in that their partner is either too controlling and clingy or too cold and avoidant, the sniping and the negative communication games begin. You could call this another facet of assortative mating, where the best partners find each other and leave the worst to deal with each other.

There’s also a selection effect: we notice the marriages where people fight or snipe at each other. The half of marriages that do well do so quietly, and it’s easy to assume married people treat each other badly behind the scenes when nearly everyone tries to maintain status and self-image by presenting a falsely positive view to outsiders. Those whose marriages are happy tend to quietly enjoy themselves and get on with their lives, while the unhappy participants in bad marriages are more likely to let everyone know just how awful their partner is, after presenting a glowing but false picture at first.

There is a real world, and a couple has to join together and face reality as partners to be successful both with each other and in surviving and thriving in a sometimes harsh environment. A real partnership grows stronger with adversity overcome by mutual effort; if one or both partners think life should be easy because they are goodlooking, or great at sports, or Daddy’s Little Girl, the normal setbacks of life will have them blaming their partner and running for the exit. Happiness — or great sex or a perfect house — is not the goal of a successful relationship; the goal is a bond that strengthens both of you and helps you be more the person you want to be. Happiness in marriage, when it happens, is a byproduct of love and loyalty and accomplishments together over time.

Belief in the Fairy Tale Model is crippling, often leaving believers battered, poorer, and alone in middle age — ask many of the bewildered divorced fathers. And the divorcées, having moved on to what they expected would be sexier, more attentive men? Having thrown away their shared history and often damaged their children by depriving them of a father’s guidance, their lives are not improved. What they wanted was an illusion.

Another excerpt from my book, the list of “Fairy Tale Assumptions” from a friend who now knows better:

There is only one person for me. Really? With five billion other people walking around, that’s a rather unlikely assumption. If you can only partner with one person on the planet, it seems more likely your requirements are so demanding there is no one who could meet them. It’s probably wiser to strive to be the kind of person who could be a good partner to lots of people. Yes, they should be very special—but not the only one!

Money doesn’t matter. Only when you’re rich. You have to be able to talk about money. Who makes what? Does the person who brings in more money have a bigger say in how it gets spent? Do you have a spending plan? A savings plan? What if one of you gets a great job opportunity in another city—will you move?

Love will keep us together. Love is not a force in the world. It doesn’t pay the bills or get you a job or make you smart; in fact, you could argue the reverse. Love is a reason to try hard, to go above and beyond, and to accomplish things that ordinarily you wouldn’t do. Because no one is perfect and even your perfect life-partner will forget to take out the garbage or will wake you up with his incessant snoring.

You can only love one person at a time. Attraction is a function of brain chemistry. Companionate love is what remains when the limerence finally leaves. There’s nothing to prevent you from having strong feelings for more than one person. You have an infinite capacity to love.

This relationship will never end. All relationships end. Everyone dies. Everyone’s circumstances change. Instead of imbuing one relationship with magic picked up in an after-school special, it might be worthwhile to tell someone how much they mean to you and then work on showing that. Because words are cheap. Signing on a dotted line for a mortgage or having children or jointly caring for family elders shows that you’re not just another bed warmer. And all those people in high school you absolutely loved? You won’t even remember their names in 30 years.

People should love me for who I am. Oh dear. Have some more kool-aid. Just because you exist doesn’t make you lovable. If you have to do things to manipulate how people feel about you, then you are a mess. Clean your mess and stop using other people until you have.

Sex is bad. Don’t buy into that. Sex is neither good nor bad. It is a natural function, like eating and breathing. Using sex as a weapon for nonconsensual dominance or withholding sex as punishment are childish games.

I am the center of the world. You may be pretty and smart, but there are many people who are prettier and smarter and they do more chores and make more money and can run marathons. Just be your best. Love your friends. Talk to your kids. Do a good job.

The world owes me. The world doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you, nor should it. You are no more important (and no less important) than anyone else.

People never change. Do you think your mother married a balding oaf whose idea of a good time is to fart the alphabet? Did your father marry a woman because of her intense bingo addiction and her desire to wear polyester stretch pants in colors not found in nature?

My sweetheart will love me if we have children. It is morally wrong to use other people, especially children, to get what you want. Having babies to keep your man in a marriage does not work. Leaving your wife and kids because you don’t like children makes you a douche, not a dad.

I can change him or her. Guess what? Alcoholism, obesity, compulsive gambling, drug addiction, and sex addiction don’t exist because of you. You can’t fix them. You can help them get help but you have to understand that you are not the change agent.

You have to be honest about what you want and how you feel. You have to give honest feedback. Lying helps no one.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

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.


More reading on this topic:

Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)
Modern Feminism, Social Justice Warriors, and the American Ideal of Freedom
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Evolve or Die: Survival Value of the Feminine Imperative
Feminism’s Heritage: Freedom vs. Special Protections
Red Pill Women — Female MRAs

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

Proposed: How a Smaller, Less Intrusive Government Would Forward the Interests of Men

Marxist-Feminist Poster

Marxist-Feminist Poster

[Note: this is an edited version of a post released Augost 18th, 2014]

In response to several articles here about libertarians and men’s rights, I’m prompted to write about the history of government thought control and the means of restraining it by constitutional limitations on its powers. Western governments are more and more intrusive on private decisions, and modern feminists strongly influence their actions and propaganda from their positions in academia, government, and nonprofits. Restricting government’s powers to interfere in private decisions and control the media message would give private personal decisions more room, and men would benefit.

Feminism started out with a quest for equity in job opportunities, voting, and freedom to choose. This initial agenda (“equity feminism”) won a lot of support from fair-minded men and women, though even then there was a strong element of gynocentrism in the movement.

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 that only a 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 opportunity does not imply their 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. Jesse Jackson has called for Federal pressure on high tech firms to require equal employment outcomes in tech jobs. 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.” To stop the defection of those who want to be free to follow their own preferences, this preferred system must 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 ideological group, educated, generally well-off, and embedded in academia, media, 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 centrally-controlled environment. This employment of large numbers of high-paid staff that don’t directly produce anything of value for customers has greatly increased the cost of domestic services like healthcare and education, and the drag on Western economies has brought economic growth to a halt in many places.

We have seen such bureaucracies before — the churches which for centuries held both political and moral authority over weak governments in Europe attempted to regulate thought and action to increase their own power. Wrangling over state religion and power led to incessant warfare. The solution to the problem of state interference in private thought and belief was finally found 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 human 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, but recognized the importance of 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 respected and mediated 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, self-sufficiency, and freedom of thought for all citizens 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 surprising 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.

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 modern feminists 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, a 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 won considerable power to use government support and propaganda to free women of some of the obligations of the patriarchal culture they wanted 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. In the family sphere, we already see the endpoint in entire communities where single mothers struggle to raise children without benefit of a father to help and guide, young men are either in prison or involved in gangs, and intact families with bourgeois values are forced to move away. Women are taught that they are victims of oppressive males, and the enlarged State will take their side in any disputes and support them directly if they have children. What had been a safety net for people in tragic circumstances became a way of life for millions.

Men and women who don’t want to take the role offered them in the culture they grew up in have the choice of not doing so, or bucking their culture to find a partner who more closely reflects their chosen values — this is America, where you can be who you want to be! 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 men (especially the poor and disadvantaged), 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 limited 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 handled 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 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. Education is now heavily influenced by modern feminists, and children are indoctrinated in feminist and anti-masculine ideas.

It took generations for feminists and Progressives to capture the commanding heights of government, media, education, and non-profit foundations. From their perches they have directed a campaign to change the culture and enlarge the State, and they have won. Federal government authority has expanded to directing university handling of rape allegations and defunding men’s sports teams under Title IX. Meanwhile, antiquated family law (as in, for example, Massachusetts) remains unreformed, designed for an era where the woman was assumed to be a fragile flower needing protection, and forever a ward of her husband even after no-fault divorce.

Some of these problems of feminist excess are now getting more mainstream attention, but the best solution is the libertarian one of limited government. Both major US parties are flirting with libertarian ideas like an end to the War on Drugs and government surveillance excesses, but the bureaucratic underbrush that limits freedom the most has been a part of our lives for a long time, and few see how damaging it is becoming. State-by-state reform of divorce and alimony laws is happening, but slowly.

Few candidates for office believe voters will support a pledge to do less. Efforts to reduce bureaucratic and centralized control of people’s lives have been politically difficult, until perhaps now when the incompetence and waste of large government projects has become more obvious. While there is a temptation for M(H)RAs to join feminists in playing the victim card (“Men are victims, too! Help us!”), men don’t need special programs to regain fairness; they need a government that stops interfering and lets organic social relations between men and women resume a more natural course.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

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.