Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sisters & Slackers

The Weekly Standard is one of the two publications for which I still receive a print copy via snail mail. Two articles about sexual harassment caught my attention--one by Charlotte Allen, and the other by Harvey Mansfield. The first referenced a blog post by a wronged woman named anonymous, while the second is commentary on the sorry state of romantic relationships on campus.

Anonymous, a graduate student in philosophy (and I think also African-American) fell head over heels in love with a much older, Ivy League professor--the world leader in the philosophy of global justice. (Per Ms. Allen's suggestion, you can google ivy league global justice to learn his likely identity.) This gentleman won our lady's favor by intelligence, good looks, charm, money, and deceit. Even she admits that she should have known better. And despite threats to sue, she really has no legal recourse--she was neither a student nor employee of his, but rather just a member of an audience at a talk he gave.

What a hypocritical cad! That's the opinion of right-minded commentators on both the Left and the Right. What a lucky guy! That's the private opinion of some bloggers who write under a pseudonym.

My Leftist friends want to make the gentleman's actions illegal, though they don't know how to do that. For them it is all part of the rape culture that infests our elite colleges. After all, the male faculty at such places are almost by definition intelligent, charming, and moneyed. Most have passable looks, and a few are psychopathic enough to lie without guilt. Aren't women equally endowed with such talents? And shouldn't they be similarly rewarded?

With the exception of psychopathy (a mostly male, inherited trait), many women do have those skills--certainly those who work at Ivy League colleges do. But what good does it do them? After all, mere seduction is not a woman's hardest endeavor--it is instead convincing the seduced to commit. That's a much harder problem than a bouquet of roses, a nice dinner, and a few hours of conversation can solve. Psychopathy won't get you very far.

Leftists, now in the guise of feminists, want a society where men simply refrain from using their nature-given talents. They should voluntarily stop hitting on women--that's what they mean by ending the rape culture. A man should court only when he's ready to commit, and not a moment before. In the feminist's world, first comes the marriage proposal, and only then the courtship. That's sort of what happens in romance novels.

Of course that will rarely happen in real life. Attempts to end the rape culture will probably have no lasting impact whatsoever. At most, they will simply be another nail in the coffin of the higher education complex. Facts are very stubborn things, and feminists run headlong into the fact that men and women want very different things from their relationships.

But my Rightist friends--now in the person of Mr. Mansfield--are hardly any better. While the feminists blame men for all their problems, Mr. Mansfield blames feminism. However irritating it may be, I think feminism is a flea bite on a gnat--it is completely inconsequential. Or more precisely, it is a symptom of larger social change, rather than a cause. Changing feminism, or even abolishing it completely, won't solve a thing.

Mr. Mansfield argues that college women were better off in the status quo ante--the world of chaperones and curfews. Those institutions protected women from psychopaths, and hence actually gave them more freedom rather than less. But anonymous is a grad student, and it's hard to see how she could still be chaperoned into her late twenties and early thirties. So I think Mr. Mansfield overstates his case. On the other hand, I'm oversimplifying his argument--read the whole thing.

The causes of the problem (if problem it be) are 1) birth control and 2) technology. Birth control gives women the power to choose when they have babies, or even to choose not to have babies. Nothing wrong with that per se. The issue arises when most women reduce their fertility to two or lower, and many women choose not to have children at all. Indeed, many are even proud of their low fertility--witness Amanda Marcotte's pitiable essay here.

The result is that the educated sorts, people like Ms. Marcotte and anonymous, are not having children. Conversely, the people who are having children tend to be members of religious communities--Mormons, Orthodox Jews, Amish, Duck Dynasty types, etc., all folks who don't use birth control. People with children determine the future.

Thus is evolution happening in real time. The question confronting our species is How do we successfully reproduce in an environment that contains birth control? The answer appears to include membership in a religious group. Accordingly (if present trends continue) feminism looks to be literally dying out, and in two or three generations will be confined to Boston, Berkeley, and Madison, WI.

The second change is that technology has rendered male jobs disproportionately obsolete. Upper body strength is no longer a requirement for employment. Neither are the supposedly male traits of math or spatial abilities--long since supplanted by computers and GPS. The fact is, women can do many or even most jobs better than men can.

And so we're generating the new leisure class--slackers. These are men--typically without especial intelligence, good looks, or psychopathy--who have chosen to cash out of the economy and live off their women folk. Needless to say, they don't make good husbands, and women don't want to marry them.

So the Sisters (feminists) go to college--they make up over 55% of all students these days. At my college (a liberal arts, public school) the ratio is 62% female. And the slackers stay home, play video games, and watch porn. Women are all forced to compete for an ever shrinking number of eligible bachelors--a competition that is becoming ever more brutal and cut-throat.

No wonder anonymous throws herself at the Handsome Dude on the flimsiest pretext. She's all too willing to believe his lies--what other options does she have? She has two that I can think of: spinsterhood or prostitution. Anonymous doesn't need the protection that Mr. Mansfield recommends. What she needs are viable careers for men that enable them to be good husbands.

What about philosophy grad students, you say?--most of whom are male? Aren't they marriageable? A male graduate student is just another name for a slacker, albeit one who doesn't want to concede the obvious. His job prospects are approximately zero.

The female grad student, at least, can advance by spreading her legs. Though as anonymous discovered, that's not always successful.

Further Reading:

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