Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Liberals step up abolition of sex distinctions

So liberals believe that we should self-define who we are, which means that predetermined qualities like our sex are thought to be limitations on the self and on our freedom as autonomous individuals to choose freely in any direction. Therefore, sex distinctions have to be made not to matter. Which explains the following news items from the past week.

First, outrage that a toy pram should be marketed to girls with a "play like mum" slogan:




You would think that this was the most innocent and natural thing for young girls to do, but in a liberal society it is a cause of outrage.

Next was a story that the Australian Army is no longer recruiting men. One recruiting officer complained that he now had to try to protect the Army from Canberra.



Then a story hit the press of an English "hate crime" police officer who warned supermarkets that they should change their "feminine hygiene" signs to something sex neutral like "personal hygiene":



Imagine being a supermarket manager and being told that it is a hate crime to display tampons and the like as feminine hygiene products:



Then there is the decision by NSW authorities to implement a 50% quota for women in hiring new fire fighters. To achieve this the physical strength requirements for fire fighters have been drastically reduced:
It wants new recruits to be able to “drag a collapsed firefighter to safety on their own”, yet to accommodate female applicants, the Physical Aptitude Test has been reduced from a 90kg [200lb] dummy drag over 20 metres [66 feet] to the relatively easy task of carrying a 30kg [65lb] weight for 10 metres [33 feet].

The heading:



Another story to make the press was the criticism of shoe company Clarks for selling shoes to girls which had heart patterned insoles in contrast to the boys' shoes which had a football design.



The company has caved in to the criticisms:
The shoe manufacturer has removed the Dolly Babe from its website following "customer feedback" about the name.

"We are working hard to ensure our ranges reflect our gender-neutral ethos," Clarks said.

...Clarks said it was creating more unisex shoes in response to customer feedback and promoting its gender-neutral stance both online and in store.

The issue united both right and left (liberals) in condemning the shoe company:
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, also criticised Clarks. "To call a pair of shoes for a girl Dolly Babe is dreadful. It's wrong in all sorts of ways ... this is just really silly," he told the BBC.

Carolyn Harris, shadow minister for women and equalities, described the situation as "blatant discrimination", while Sarah Ludford, a Liberal Democrat peer and shadow Brexit minister, called the name choices "depressing".

Finally, there is this:



It's about liberals who believe that people are blank slates and so if children are caught early enough sex distinctions between boys and girls can be eradicated:
At the heart of the BBC programme are claims made by Dr Abdelmoneim that, apart from having different sexual organs, there are no major physical differences between the sexes at the age of seven, and their brains are almost identical.

He concludes that the explanation for why boys act so differently to girls lies in how they are raised, from the toys they are given to the terms of endearment they hear.

Children at one school were subjected to a bizarre liberal experiment:
So, out went the gender-specifics, no more boys-only football matches, books about fairytale damsels in distress and in came the unisex storybooks and mixed sports teams.

The TV production team even went as far as to enforce same-sex toilets, something the class of seven-year-olds protested at loudly.
And this:
In an attempt to bring equality to the classroom, Dr Javid begins by sticking stereotype-breaking affirmations to the walls. “Girls are strong,” one sign reads. “Boys are sensitive,” another says.

This is all so distant from the traditionalist understanding of sex distinctions. We see our individual identity as being closely tied to the fact of being a man or a woman; our sex informs our telos - our life aims and purposes; and at least part of the natural focus of life will be to develop ourselves along masculine or feminine lines, to best fulfil our created nature. So the attempt to suppress, rather than to develop, masculinity in boys and femininity in girls, seems utterly misguided.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Why don't liberals see themselves as the establishment?

We have a liberal establishment and yet liberals generally continue to see themselves as anti-establishment outsiders and rebels.

I was talking to someone at our recent Melbourne Traditionalists meeting who lamented the fact that this left no-one taking responsibility for the larger, long-term health of nation and civilisation. And I think there is much truth to this. Right-liberals are so individualistic that they are often only concerned with what will affect them within the timeframe of their own lives. Left-liberals are often only concerned with the sectional interests of their own identity group (e.g. a white feminist's horizons are often bounded by the professional interests of career women within her own country).

So why do those who dominate the institutions refuse to recognise that they are the establishment? A reader recently noted that liberals deny an order of being:
I have long defined modern liberalism as the denial and the defiance of an immutable natural order of being, which traditionalist conservatism accepts and embraces along with the necessary constraints and trade-offs.

The comment was in response to a post about Karley Sciortino, an American writer with a "fear of normalcy""
Last weekend, I found myself sitting in front of a shaman in a mansion in Berkeley, talking about my commitment problems. You know, cliché white people stuff. “I have this fear,” I told the shaman, “that I’m going to wake up one day with a husband, two kids, a house in the suburbs, and wonder how I got there, as if it’s my destiny.

Liberal moderns like Karley Sciortino aren't able to find meaning in the order of being we find ourselves a part of. It seems too predestined to them, too limiting to their own will. And so they rebel against it, attempt to subvert it. Even when at the helm of society they still have this sense of themselves as rebels and outsiders (particularly true of leftist intellectuals).

So, in the absence of an order of being, where do liberal moderns find meaning? They have to create it themselves ex nihilo, which usually comes down to individual career success, or creative endeavour (writing a book instead of having a baby), or individual status signalling (being politically correct, or belonging to a hip lifestyle group, or supporting some sort of "difficult" avant-garde intellectual or artistic movement).

One last point. I haven't read much about national socialism, but my impression is that they too rejected an order of being and were faced with the task of creating meaning ex nihilo. But they chose a different way of doing it to liberals, via an assertion of will, power, strength and force. That would have given them an advantage in terms of the seizure of power, but a disadvantage when it came to using that power to create a lasting, stable form of society.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Hitchens on the Scandinavian Utopia

I had a couple of readers alert me to a post by Peter Hitchens, in which he reviews a book on the Swedish model of society by Michael Booth. Hitchens praises a particular insight in Booth's book:

But on pages 357 to 360 he produces one of those blinding-light moments that finally link up and solidify long strands of thought.

What is the blinding-light moment? It is that a liberal society aims to make individuals autonomous, by severing the natural connections existing between people, but that this then leaves individuals dependent on the state.

This is not a new insight - I've made the same point many times myself, as have others. But it is expressed well in Hitchens' blog post:
Michael Booth concludes that Swedish Social Democracy 'was driven by one single, over-arching goal; to sever the traditional, some would say natural, ties between its citizens, be they those that bound children to their parents, workers to their employers, wives to their husbands or the elderly to their families. Instead, individuals were encouraged - mostly by financial incentive or disincentive, but also through legislation, propaganda and social pressure - to ‘take their place in the collective’, as one commentator rather ominously put it, and become dependent on the government’.

But he notes that this can also be truthfully described as liberating Swedish citizens from each other allowing them to become autonomous entities.

But of course (and this conclusion is mainly me) they are only autonomous within the embrace of the strong state, which substitutes itself for family, employer and all other social ties, and seizes most of their wealth in return for requiring a loyalty and submission as great as any imposed in feudal times, in return for ‘social protection’. Thus did the peasant whose hovel lay in the shadow of his Lord's castle offer up his fealty in return for safety.

He quotes the Swedish author Henrik Berggren:

‘The Swedish system is best understood not in terms of socialism but in terms of Rousseau…Rousseau was an extreme egalitarian and he really hated any kind of dependence – depending on other people destroyed your integrity, your authenticity – therefore the ideal situation was one where every citizen was an atom separated from all the other atoms…The Swedish system’s logic is that it is dangerous to be dependent on other people, to be beholden to other people. Even to your family’.

Hitchens has another passage following through on this idea. He notes aspects of the decline in British society, such as permissive attitudes to drug use, and writes:
What were all these things about? Why, personal autonomy. Their central slogan was ‘I can do what I like with my own body and nobody can stop me. How dare you tell me what I can do with it?’

The paradox, well understood by Aldous Huxley, is that the person who proudly yells this battle cry also meekly accepts that in return he must surrender his mind, his privacy and his wealth to the power of the parental state.

In Michael Booth’s book, it all came together in an intentional, deliberate pattern. These things are connected. And it is the absence of the Christian conscience which makes them possible, and which is their enemy and rival. The new all-powerful parental state, the war against the married family, the scorn for conscience, the loud demand for personal autonomy and the rage against those who suggest it is in any way limited by morality or law, are all one cause, reborn in the West since the collapse of the USSR and advancing fast on all fronts. I saw it in Moscow and after my return from there, but instinctively. As so often, my instincts were right, and it has taken long years for my understanding and knowledge to catch up with them

There is just one thing I'd like to add to Peter Hitchens' observations. There are traditionalists who instinctively recognise the dynamic that Hitchens describes and who, quite rightly, think it important to uphold non-state institutions like church and family. So they become good churchmen and family men. I don't think this enough. When fathers stand only as individual men, they have little control over the torrent of influence that comes from the larger institutions of society, such as the mass media, the schools and the universities. Defending family or church requires organising together as fathers to shape the larger institutions, wherever this is possible.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Bill Kristol wants to rebrand conservatism as...

Bill Kristol is a leading "neoconservative" member of the American Republican Party. I have argued for many years that the establishment Republicans should really be called right-liberals, as they mostly hold to some variant of a classical liberal politics. Bill Kristol was asked how "conservatives" (establishment Republicans) like himself might rebrand themselves and he answered as follows:



He is happy to rebrand "conservatism" as liberalism. And I hope he does, as using the term conservatism deceives people into thinking they have more political choice within mainstream politics than they really do. The choice is really one between a left liberalism and a right liberalism. You get to choose liberalism.

And in case you are sympathetic to the right wing brand of liberalism, it was Bill Kristol who earlier this year responded to problems within the white American working class by suggesting that the white working class should be replaced by Mexican immigrants.

(Kristol is backed financially by our own Rupert Murdoch.)