Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why not to support the march

I've already written one post on the upcoming women's march to protest Donald Trump's inauguration. There are some leftist white women who have been put off the march because of demands that if they want to attend they have to "check their privilege constantly".

This is not the only indication, though, that the average woman might like to think again before supporting the march. The organisers of the march have released their demands, one of which is the following:
...there is a global migration crisis. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.

They want open borders. They want a situation in which anyone in the world could fly into a country and, as a right, be accepted as a citizen of that country.

Think of the implications of this. It would mean:
  • those belonging to wealthier nations would face a massive influx of economic migrants from around the world and lose any semblance of their former identity and culture.
  • there would a levelling downward in wealth, as economic migrants would gravitate to a wealthier nation until the strains of this migration made that country as poor as the rest. Any country showing the way by establishing good governance and a good work ethic would be drawn back down rather than being able to set a long-term standard for other nations to emulate.
  • the possibility of a failed state, no longer able to provide for law and order or for welfare to all of those crowding in

It's not a positive vision of the future and it does not deserve to be supported.

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Below is a video from a young woman living in Seattle in the U.S. (a city known for its liberal culture). It's her first go at a YouTube video and she does a terrific job. It's longish but it won't disappoint.

What is most significant about the video? I have a theory about this that I'd like to try to explain. If you were to look at the traditional family of the 1950s it would look good in comparison to the dysfunction we see around ourselves today. However, in one crucial respect it was still deeply flawed.

The baby boomer family was built around what is sometimes called the "feminine imperative" - which, to my understanding, means the female sexual strategy of wanting to obtain resources from men. The imperative itself is a natural one, as natural as men wanting sex in a relationship. However, if a culture is built solely around this imperative, then men are likely to become too domesticated - too focused on the task of serving their wives, to try to keep their wives happy through compliance with their wives' truncated view of men's purposes.

Men should really have a dual focus, both a domestic and a civilisational one. They should be protectors not only of their family, but also of the larger tradition they belong to. This means devoting some time and resources to non-family institutions that are designed to protect the tradition: fraternities, churches, cultural associations, political parties, service organisations and so on.

For some women, a husband investing not only in her but also these other institutions will be very confronting. It will run against her instincts and could be deeply resented. Nonetheless, it is actually in her interests, and those of her children, if the men of her society do take care of the larger tradition.

The men of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s often served their families well. But they felt little responsibility for their culture, country and tradition. One half of their masculine focus was missing. And we are paying for that today.

And this is one reason why I find the video significant. It is possible that the level of civilisational crisis is strong enough that some women now recognise that men should be paying attention to it as part of their masculine role in society. The young woman in the video does not simply issue a "man up" message: she is aware that the frame of society is a feminist one that does not encourage men to act in a wholly masculine way.

If we ever do manage to restore a community of our own, I don't think that we should seek to return to the family life of the 1950s. It was a model in which the feminine imperative was too dominant. The older men of the community have to make sure, for the sake of the whole community, that men are able to operate within a masculine frame. If a man's whole life is dedicated to his wife, then he is doing things wrong. It can be difficult for individual men, when women have the threat point of divorce, to do the right thing, which is why it is so important that it becomes a community norm.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Liberal churches bless abortion mega-centre as sacred space

I wish I could say this was fake news, but it appears to be real. An abortion mega-clinic in Washington D.C. was recently opened with an interfaith blessing ceremony:
Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and secular leaders gathered inside Planned Parenthood Metro Washington’s new Carol Whitehill Moses health center on Tuesday to perform a blessing of the space.

The event, co-hosted by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, included interfaith blessings, prayers, and testimonies about why it was important ― politically and spiritually ― for women to have autonomy over their own bodies.

These churches have become secularised to the point that they are accepting the liberal value of autonomy as the overriding good. To underline this point one of the female ministers made a piece of visual art during the ceremony which she called "Liberation for Blessed Choice":

Another participant, Dr Willie Parker, thought that women made "sacred decisions" at the clinic.

Here's a picture of the female drumming troupe which opened the ceremony:

A short YouTube clip of proceedings:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

White women are the new white men

It's not enough for the left to take aim at white men. Now it's the turn of white women. Case in point: the women's march on Washington (against Donald Trump). There are white women who are dropping out of the march because they are being told by black women that they should be constantly checking their privilege, talking less and listening more, drowning themselves in black poetry, and confronting their exploitation of other women.

From the New York Times:
But the tone of the discussion, particularly online, can become so raw that some would-be marchers feel they are no longer welcome.

Ms. Willis, the South Carolina wedding minister, had been looking forward to the salve of rallying with people who share her values, a rarity in her home state...

But then she read a post by ShiShi Rose, a 27-year-old blogger from Brooklyn.

“Now is the time for you to be listening more, talking less,” Ms. Rose wrote. “You should be reading our books and understanding the roots of racism and white supremacy. Listening to our speeches. You should be drowning yourselves in our poetry.”

It rubbed Ms. Willis the wrong way.

“How do you know that I’m not reading black poetry?” she asked in an interview...“The last thing that is going to make me endeared to you, to know you and love you more, is if you are sitting there wagging your finger at me.”

Ms. Rose said in an interview that the intention of the post was not to weed people out but rather to make them understand that they had a lot of learning to do.

“I needed them to understand that they don’t just get to join the march and not check their privilege constantly,” she said.

That phrase — check your privilege — exasperates Ms. Willis. She asked a reporter: “Can you please tell me what that means?”

That must be fun - checking your privilege constantly. Interestingly, the only specific evidence for white women's privilege given in the article is that white women earn more than black or Hispanic women. What isn't mentioned is that Asian-American women earn a lot more than white women do - and yet Asian-American women get to be part of the "oppressed" group rather than the privileged group:

Nor is it mentioned that life expectancy for black American women is going up but for white American women it is declining (the upward trend shown in the graph is for mortality):

White women should know that in the future envisaged by the "rainbow coalition" they will occupy a low moral status, one in which they will be expected to always defensively justify themselves as white women; to focus on making amends for their supposed privilege; and to deconstruct their own identity and culture to make way for that of others.

Much better for men and women to make a culture together they can be proud of and positively identify with.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Swedish patriotic women video - what do you think?

I found this video produced by the Swedish Democratic Youth. There is much to like in it: it is positive, upbeat and unapologetic. I'm less certain about the way it tries to meld the traditional and the modern (traditional values with a kind of modern single girl look). It is possibly a smart move for an electoral party, but I think that over time a patriotic culture is likely to look for something deeper than a breezy liberated lifestyle ethos (but again, maybe it's smart to appeal to young single women this way).

Monday, January 09, 2017

German liberals' horror family

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) is a leading German newspaper, described as "centre-right" or "liberal-conservative". It is owned by a foundation that is run by a group of CEO's, company owners and corporate lawyers. It is liberal in the larger sense of supporting the liberal order that currently dominates all Western countries.

Last year a weekly magazine of this newspaper took aim at the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), the patriotic party in Germany. In attacking the AfD, the magazine ran a story titled "How the AfD would like to live". To illustrate the wickedness of how the AfD would like to live, the following illustration was published:

The intention was to communicate the idea that something is deeply wrong with the AfD, that anyone who wants to live this way must be a person to be avoided or opposed.

Which goes to show how deep the division is right now between liberal Westerners and the rest of us. Because I can't see anything too horrifying about what is portrayed in the illustration. You can argue about the details, but it seems to show a mostly functional family with a masculine father, a feminine mother and enough children to keep things going for the next generation.

So why does the FAZ think we will be repulsed by the picture? I wonder if it has to do with the liberal rejection of a meaningful order that is already created for us and its replacement with the idea that it is the sovereign individual who autonomously creates value through his own choices and acts of self-determination.

In the picture, everyone is plugging into that pre-existing meaningful order: dad is clearly masculine and protective, mum is attractively feminine, and they are raising their own children within the framework of the traditional family rather than making up their own kind of family.

Or maybe liberals are horrified by the idea that this is clearly an independent kind of family. There are roles, hierarchies, commitments and loyalties that bind this family together, in contrast to the alternative in which there is only a vertical relationship between the individual and the state.

Or maybe the family is just too German for German liberals to handle. The family looks stereotypically German; they have a dachshund; and one of the boys is wearing lederhose. But, again, unless you are a globalist liberal, why would you think there was anything wrong with that?

Saturday, January 07, 2017

So proud of these boys

Below is a video of three American boys/young men arguing with their school teacher about the pay gap between men and women. It's long (14 minutes) but well worth watching. The boys do a great job of staying calm and making clear arguments. The teacher (an older male) does not impress: he is not only poorly informed, he doesn't care for facts and is slow to grasp the arguments the boys make. The one school girl who tries to back up the teacher is also poorly informed on the issue. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Why can't liberals perceive threats? Or future loss?

If you are a traditionalist you are likely to wonder at the inability of liberals to perceive threats or to predict future loss. They often just don't see it. The liberal mind seems to be fixated on openness and change, which they assume will lead to progress.

Researchers have noticed this when studying the reactions of liberals and conservatives to negative stimuli. The liberals don't react as much as the conservatives do:
Are conservatives ‘hardwired’ to perceive threats?

Research with emotion-generating images suggest that liberals and conservatives are hardwired to see the world differently.

...“Conservatives are fond of saying that ‘liberals just don’t get it,’ and liberals are convinced that conservatives magnify threats"

And this:
the target article...summarizes a wide swath of literature showing that conservatives are more attuned to threats in their environments than liberals are.

And also this:
“That some people are more attuned to potential threats, more sensitive to sources of contagion, and more desirous of in-group protections is known intuitively and amply demonstrated by a large research literature,” and this variation in heightened negativity bias is significantly correlated with conservatism.

So it is recognised in the research that conservatives are better at recognising potential threats than are liberals. Therefore, liberals see us as magnifying threats whilst we see liberals as being clueless about the risks to one's own group from hostile or self-interested outsiders, or to a decline in the culture and institutions of society, or even to the longer term dissolution of the group itself.

Enter Stefan Kuzmany, a liberal journalist from Berlin. In October of last year he wrote an article for Der Spiegel, criticising the Alternative für Deutschland (Afd), a patriotic party:
No coalition is possible with the AfD. Because they live in a displaced reality.

It must be terrible to live in these conditions: foreign bands rule the big cities, sell drugs, grope children in public pools, stalk women on their nightly walks, subvert and destroy the local culture, and whoever says something against it has to fear state repression and loss of job. The politicians don't care about the concerns of the people, the bigwigs live high on the hog, while a controlled media deceives the masses and keeps things quiet until the project of the ultimate disenfranchisement and final eradication of the Germans through mass immigration is completed.

It is no wonder that people become angry on account of this very threatening situation, go onto the streets and feel called to do something themselves to help save the fatherland....

It seems - and here lies the problem with the "concerned citizens"... they apparently live in a different country than the majority of Germans. If you heard the talk of the AfD co-chairwoman Frauke Petry on the Day of German Unity you would think you had entered a bizarre parallel universe...

Germany must, says Petry, literally be reconquered: "We must give back pride and identity to the people. We must therefore turn back the spirit of the times (the Zeitgeist).

A minority of the losers of modernisation would therefore like to set back the clocks in Germany...

Best to pity them, as prisoners of their irrational horror image of the demise of the homeland, as prisoners of their fear.

I've quoted this at length because it shows an aspect of the liberal mindset. According to Stefan Kuzmany there is no real threat. It is all in the imagination, it is "a bizarre parallel universe". To recognise a threat is to have fear. Modernisation is, for him, necessarily a good thing, even if there are losers from it.

Equally, of course, I wonder at his take on the situation. If you add a million young Middle-Eastern men to Germany's population each year, then it just seems logical that the existing German population (those who are ethnically German) will form an ever declining part of the population, until the point is reached that they won't form a distinct people. They will no longer have a sense of living in a homeland of their own. Somehow the logic of this just cannot penetrate Stefan Kuzmany's liberal mind. He cannot perceive a real threat, a future loss.

Anyway, reality caught up with Stefan Kuzmany at Christmas, when a refugee drove a truck into a group of revellers in Berlin, killing twelve and injuring 56. How did Stefan Kuzmany respond? He explained his reaction as follows:
There must be something wrong with me. It's probably something with my head -- or my heart. The mass-circulation Bild newspaper, which acts as a barometer of German public sentiment, says on its front page that I should feel "Fear!" But I can feel no fear.

Anis Amri, the suspected attacker -- who is believed to have murdered a truck driver and 12 people at the Christmas market at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin, and injured many more on Monday night -- is still at large and is presumed to be armed. Even that triggers no emotions in me, except the sincere hope that he will soon be caught and locked up for the rest of his miserable days. But fear? Maybe I'd be afraid if I had the bad luck of running into him.

Perhaps I'm no longer normal. I think it's terrible that 12 people had to die at the Christmas market, each of them too early and each one a senseless death. But even though the attack took place in Berlin, the city where I have lived for almost 15 years, the horror still feels abstract to me, as if it had all happened in a faraway country. It would be different, of course, if it had happened to someone I know personally, a friend or a family member.

A few days before the attack, my wife and I were saying that we should stop by that Christmas market after work, with our son. I shudder when I think that we too could have been standing there when the truck slammed into the crowd. But I don't think about it for long. We weren't there. What's the point of imagining that we were? I have other things to do.

Is that cold? Maybe. But it's just the way it is.

This is what the Berlin terrorist has achieved. He has made me indifferent. He evokes no feelings in me...I have no room in my thoughts for him and his ilk.

...If someone wants to drive a truck into a crowd, there is nothing to stop him from finding a truck and a mass of people. The only thing we could do is shut everything down completely: no more Christmas markets, no more public events at all and we'd best all stay at home and lock our doors. The result of this is that we would have an increasingly closed society rather than the open one that we enjoy today.

Something isn't quite right with me...

Maybe I'll go out later and drink some Glühwein. Go ahead and call me crazy. But maybe it's just the world that has gone crazy.

Kuzmany refuses to feel fear. And so he feels indifference. He closes off his mind and emotions to a part of reality that he doesn't wish to recognise. It could have been him, his wife and his child who died in the terror attack. But he won't think about it. It's not to be thought about. The problem is not, he thinks, with his "open" society (open to all, including terrorists), but that the world has gone crazy. It is the world that has failed - reality hasn't lived up to his ideals.

Merkel mockery

Saturday, December 31, 2016

American white women are dying younger

It's highly unusual for death rates to increase in first world countries - the usual trend is for people to live longer. However, American white women are now dying younger than they once did. This is particularly true for rural white women. Black women, in comparison, have continued the expected trend of living longer.

Here are some graphs from the Washington Post illustrating the phenomenon. The first one shows the changes in the mortality rates from 1990 onwards for those aged 30 to 34:

You can see that things have improved considerably for black men and women in that age group. For black women, for instance, the mortality rate has declined by 40%. The situation for white men improved until about the year 2000 and has then declined. For white women mortality has worsened by over 20%.

The situation is worst for white women living in rural areas or small cities:

You can see that the trends have been bad for all whites in this age group since about the year 2000. However, it is worst for rural women, whose mortality rates have increased by well over 40%.

Why are white women dying younger? For the 30 to 34 year olds, it is mainly due to drug overdoses, with suicide also being a factor. For older white women, cirrhosis of the liver (heavy drinking) is another big factor, as is heart disease.

The graph above shows those causes of death that have increased since the year 2000. You can see that for both urban and rural women aged 50 to 54 that there has been an increase in deaths from drug overdoses, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide, and also from various lung diseases.

The question that is not fully answered in the Washington Post article is why white women are succumbing to drugs, alcohol and depression - particularly at a time when black women's health outcomes are significantly improving.

I'm not going to attempt  to answer that question now. I'd just point out that feminism does not seem to be making white women any happier.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Feminist mother and son

Think of what feminists commonly believe:

1. Differences between men and women are not natural but exist because of the patriarchy.

2. Under the patriarchy the male is the human default setting, the female is therefore not thought to be fully human.

3. White males uphold the patriarchy to defend their privilege at the expense of women and people of colour.

If you were a woman and you really believed these things, would it not complicate your relations with men? Is it not possible that you would feel negatively toward men as a class?

Enter Polly Dunning. She is a third generation feminist (her mother is the feminist commentator Jane Caro). In a column for the Sydney Morning Herald she writes of how conflicted she felt when she learned that she was carrying a boy child rather than a girl:
I had never wanted a son. I wanted daughters...This seemed altogether to fit in with my feminism better. It was more comfortable to me. But when the sonographer pointed out my son's dangly bits in our 19-week scan, it was clear that I was going to raise a son. The anxious feeling I had about this daunting prospect lasted a few weeks as I came to terms with why I felt the way I did and how I could let it go.

There were two parts to the feeling: I had to mourn the life I thought I was supposed to have...and I had to come to terms with having a relationship with a son that I had never really considered. There were dark moments in the middle of the night (when all those dark thoughts come), when I felt sick at the thought of something male growing inside me.

The bolded part was noticed by a number of media outlets and seems now to have been edited (replaced by "when I felt sick with worry thinking about how I would go about raising a son.")

So what's a feminist to do? How do you reconcile the ideology with mothering a son? Polly Dunning's solution is the gruesome one of subjecting her son to a kind of feminist cleansing process:
In this patriarchal world, this world where even the best men (and women, for that matter) engage in casual and ingrained sexism, how will I raise a son who respects me the way a daughter would? Who sees women as just like him? As just human beings?

...People are constantly telling me "boys are easier" to raise (casual and ingrained sexism, anyone?), but I think they are much harder. How do you raise a white, middle-class boy not to think his own experience is the default experience of the world?

How do you counter a society that makes things easier for him than for others, and make him see it? See how it is for women, for people of colour?

Raising a boy who maintains the status quo sure would be easy, but I refuse to be satisfied with that. I will raise a feminist boy. Just like his father and grandfathers before him, but even better. I will point sexism out to him at every turn, and he will never get away with it without being called out. I will show him that girls are just people like him and that products and art targeted at them are no less valuable or enjoyable. He will be immersed in feminism by a family who models it in their everyday life.

She wants a son who will respect her, even as she points out his sexism and privilege at every turn. I don't like her chances. I know some feminist mothers and the usual result is an exasperated son who is "shorter" with his mother than boys usually are.

Polly Dunning is likely to love her son and repel him in equal measure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What an American academic wants for Christmas

This is so predictable. There are some on the left who have convinced themselves that the only thing preventing the emergence of a free and equal liberal utopia is the resistance of (supposedly) privileged white people. Therefore, they are hoping for the demise of whites. Here, for instance, is the Christmas tweet of Associate Professor George Ciccariello-Maher of Drexel University in Philadelphia:

To make his meaning clear he followed up with this tweet:

The professor is referring here to the massacre of 4000 French men, women and children on Haiti during the revolution there in 1804 - a deliberate (and successful) violent act of genocide.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Chomksy on capitalism

Noam Chomsky is a well-known American thinker. He is, unusually, a left-libertarian and is therefore anti-capitalist, but without turning to a centralised state as an alternative, as most leftists do.

I came across a quote from Chomsky (from here) which reminded me a lot of James Kalb's criticism of modernity. Kalb emphasises the idea that liberal societies are regulated along a combination of market and bureaucratic lines and so are "technocratic" in a way that leaves little room for traditional institutions or understandings to have any authority.

I believe Chomsky is outlining a similar criticism of capitalism when he argues as follows:
Capitalism basically wants people to be interchangeable cogs, and differences among them, such as on the basis of race, usually are not functional. I mean, they may be functional for a period, like if you want a super exploited workforce or something, but those situations are kind of anomalous. Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist — just because it's anti-human. And race is in fact a human characteristic — there’s no reason why it should be a negative characteristic, but it is a human characteristic. So therefore identifications based on race interfere with the basic ideal that people should be available just as consumers and producers, interchangeable cogs who will purchase all the junk that’s produced — that’s their ultimate function, and any other properties they might have are kind of irrelevant, and usually a nuisance.

What is "functional" for capitalism is that we are available as sources of labour and consumption, not that we have particular identities and loyalties - the latter make no sense within a system organised around market participation (i.e. they have no function within such a system). Therefore, those particular loyalties and identities will seem irrational, inefficient and obsolete to those who want a society run along technocratic lines.

A couple of decades ago, most people on the right were reflexively in favour of a society organised along market lines, which was a weakness of the right, as the free market tends to dissolve the understandings that allowed a traditional way of life to flourish. I'm glad to say that some on the right are now taking a more nuanced view of the market.

So what then is the alternative? I would take a three-pronged approach. First, I would strongly reassert the view that there are important human needs that cannot be met through a streamlined technocratic organisation of society. Second, I would try to make sure that traditional loyalties and identities did have some "functional" value to the economic workings of the society. This could be done, for instance, by giving some sort of advantage to local producers (so that these producers had good reason to support traditional loyalties). Third, I would not allow larger corporate interests to dominate the media, nor would I allow these interests to control political parties (for instance, via campaign contributions). (Perhaps a fourth idea is to make sure that there exist in society non-corporate institutions with influence, that have the explicit purpose of upholding the traditional values of that society.)

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Strange Privilege

Modern liberal politics is sometimes astonishing. Take the "privilege" concept. There has been a kerfuffle about the casting of white actress Tilda Swinton in the movie Dr Strange. Her character in the original comic book story was Asian, so it has been suggested that "white privilege" is at play. Margaret Cho, a bisexual Asian-American comedian and actress, criticised Tilda Swinton's casting on racial oppression grounds and she was supported by Omar Sakr, an Arab-Australian poet, in a column in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Sakr really went the whole hog in his column. Some excerpts:
Of course Cho was polite in her emails; if people of colour weren't polite every time we're confronted with problematic behaviour by powerful white people, we'd be rioting every hour of every day.

...There is absolutely nothing surprising about Cho's emails or her account on the podcast; both will be familiar to anyone from marginalised backgrounds or who faces systemic discrimination.

...Plenty of people have come to Swinton's defence with variations of the line, look how genuine she is, isn't this what we want to see?...Personally, I think a privileged person approaching a member of the underprivileged, whom they don't even personally know, to say "please explain to me how I've participated in your oppression" isn't something to champion...the whole thing reeks of white guilt seeking to be absolved.

...Having plenty to say despite openly admitting you haven't read anything on the subject surely sums up the white condition in 2016 (see: Trump) - in addition to expecting random people to educate you. This, perhaps more than anything, is the most aggravating part of the exchange. The articles, essays, books, and speeches written by people of colour already exist, and the arguments have been made a thousand times. Breezily saying you haven't bothered with any of it is the epitome of privilege.

There's a lot more of the same. The gist of it is the idea that Asian women like Margaret Cho are oppressed by white women like Tilda Swinton and that the role of Tilda Swinton is to educate herself about what an oppressor she is, to admit fault, and to let Margaret Cho have what she wants (and then to get out of the way).

The irony of these "privilege" claims is that it is often the most privileged people in society who claim to be horribly oppressed. Margaret Cho works as an actress, a comedian and an author. She has a national (perhaps even international) audience for her political views. She doesn't stand out as an underprivileged person.

Nor do Asian American women in general. Consider the issue of income. Asian women earn a much higher median income than do white American women (to the point that Indian-American women earn more than white American men).

The following charts come from the United States Department of Labor (2013). The first one shows a comparison of earnings according to ethnicity. You can see that white Americans earn only 67% as much as Indian-Americans. To put that in context, black Americans earn 80% as much as white Americans and that is considered to be evidence for the oppression of black Americans. So you would think that white Americans earning only 67% as much as Indian Americans would be evidence for the oppression of whites. But instead it is the Indian Americans who get to be thought of as oppressed, with whites as the oppressors.

The second chart includes data based on sex as well as ethnicity:

The information here is striking. White males are told over and over that they are privileged both in terms of race and sex. And yet when it comes to median earnings they do less well than Indian women and only marginally better than Chinese women.

And Margaret Cho belongs to a group (Korean women) which clearly earns more money than the group Tilda Swinton belongs to (white women - though she is British rather than American).

Maybe it is time for Asian women like Margaret Cho to stop pretending that they belong to an underprivileged group.