Sunday, June 30, 2013

Another significant Benedict quote

In 1997 the then Cardinal Ratzinger, later to be Pope Benedict, gave a long interview to a German journalist, Peter Seewald.

In this interview, Pope Benedict rejected the idea that men and women are interchangeable in their roles in society. He explained the belief in interchangeable roles in a similar way that I do. According to Pope Benedict, moderns think of freedom as being a liberty to self-author or self-create. But to be free to self-author means rejecting the given parts of our nature.

Pope Benedict described the modernist mentality this way:
The idea that 'nature' has something to say is no longer admissible; man is to have the liberty to remodel himself at will. He is to be free from all of the prior givens of his essence. He makes of himself what he wants, and only in this way is he really 'free and liberated'. Behind this approach is a rebellion on man's part against the limits that he has as a biological being. In the end, it is a revolt against our creatureliness. Man is to be his own creator - a modern, new edition of the immemorial attempt to be God, to be like God.

Moderns believe that in taking this approach they are maximising individual freedom. That's supposed to be the selling point.

But what kind of freedom is it really? In the traditional view, my identity as a man connects me to a masculine essence, which exists independently of me as an objective value. But in the modern view, there is only an arbitrary, invented identity that doesn't connect me to anything outside myself. It seems that in adopting the modern view I am losing something rather than liberating myself.

Murders of Afrikaner farmers

There's a report in the Daily Mail on the situation in South Africa which reveals some disturbing statistics regarding Afrikaner farmers.

There were 25 white farmers murdered last month alone in South Africa:
Last month alone there were 25 murders of white landowners, and more than 100 attacks, while Afrikaner protest groups claim that more than 4,000 have been killed since Mandela came to power.

Last year the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, was filmed singing a song called "Shoot the Boer":
At a centenary gathering of the African National Congress last year, Zuma was filmed singing a so-called ‘struggle song’ called Kill The Boer (the old name for much of the white Afrikaner population).

As fellow senior ANC members clapped along, Zuma sang: ‘We are going to shoot them, they are going to run, Shoot the Boer, shoot them, they are going to run, Shoot the Boer, we are going to hit them, they are going to run, the Cabinet will shoot them, with the machine-gun, the Cabinet will shoot them, with the machine-gun . . .’

And a political rival of Zuma, Julius Malema is open about wanting to drive Afrikaner farmers off the land:
Malema wants all white-owned land to be seized without compensation, along with nationalisation of the country’s lucrative mines.

Ominously, Malema, 32, who wears a trademark beret and has a fondness for Rolex watches, this month promised his new party will take the land from white people without recompense and give it to blacks.

Malema wants all white-owned land to be seized without compensation, along with nationalisation of the country’s lucrative mines.

‘We need the land that was taken from our people, and we are not going to pay for it,’ he said.

It's interesting that Malema should claim that the land was taken from his people. The original inhabitants of South Africa were the Khoisan hunter gatherers. The Afrikaners settled the western part of South Africa after their arrival in 1652, displacing the Khoisan. The Xhosa people (the ethnic group that Mandela and Desmond Tutu belong to) had meanwhile pushed down the east coast, themselves displacing the Khoisan. The Xhosa were themselves then pushed further westward by pressure placed on them by the migration of the Zulus.

In other words, the Xhosa themselves took land from the Khoisan and the Zulus took it from the Xhosa in a series of migrations.

The Daily Mail article also reports on the Afrikaner community of Kleinfontein. This is one place that Afrikaners can live in without fear of violent crime:
Most crucially of all, in a country with 60 murders a day, there is no armed robbery, murder or rape in Kleinfontein. ‘An old lady can draw money here without any fear,’ says Marisa Haasbroek, a resident, mother of two teenage girls, and my guide for the morning.

‘It’s safe, quiet and peaceful.'

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A successful meeting

I'm pleased to report that the latest Eltham Traditionalists meeting went well last night. The conversation was great, there was another new face and the general atmosphere surrounding the group is very good right now.

The aim is to get this local group firmly established by the end of the year and then to set up similar groups elsewhere in Melbourne.

I doubt that anyone would not have enjoyed our dinner together last night. I'd encourage anyone within driving distance of Eltham to get in touch (

The change at the top

Australians once again had a change of PM yesterday, not because of an election, but because the Labor Party thinks they'll be better off in the upcoming elections with a different PM.

So it was out with Julia Gillard and back in with Kevin Rudd.

I find it very difficult to summon up much interest in this, as both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd have little to recommend them from a traditionalist point of view. Rudd is a "big Australia" man in the sense of wanting open borders (and he has also pushed for the creation of a regional superstate). Julia Gillard has also been running immigration at record levels and she identifies strongly as a feminist.

That last point may be the most interesting thing in all this. In a bid to boost her popularity Julia Gillard once again played the "gender card" warning women about voting for "men in blue ties" and setting up a "women for Gillard" support group.

It backfired. Her support amongst women remained stable but support amongst men fell by 8%. This suggests that Australian men may have reached the point where they're less willing to tolerate anti-male rhetoric from politicians.

It seems very likely at this stage that Tony Abbott will lead the Liberals to victory in the election later this year. But I also find it difficult to get excited about the prospect of this victory. The left likes to portray Abbott as being fiercely right-wing, but when you look at his policies it's difficult to find much evidence for this.

For instance, one of Julia Gillard's last acts was to support a bill that was intended to make it more difficult to rort the 457 visa scheme. The bill requires employers to show that they have tried to employ local workers (by placing job adverts) before they use 457 visas to bring in workers from overseas.

It's a very modest attempt to encourage employers to hire Australians before turning overseas, but Abbott's Liberals attacked it in the strongest terms as being racist.

For once I have to agree with the Labor Party. The Labor Party Immigration Minister, Brendan O'Connor, said:
I can assure you it offends every Australian when someone suggests that because you want to put locals first you're a racist.

The warning I would give now to my Australian readers is not to expect too much from an Abbott Liberal Government. It's highly likely that Abbott will win, but we are going to see more of what we've had over the past few decades rather than a change of course.

Depression in Wales

There's an item at the Daily Mail on the rate at which antidepressants are being prescribed in a town in Wales called Blaenau Gwent.

There are 10,000 prescriptions being written each month for a community with 60,000 adults.

Now, I'm no expert in this area and if any of my readers are suffering depression I'm not the person to take advice from - consult with someone who knows you well or a professional.

But I can't help but wonder whether liberalism isn't contributing to rates of unhappiness and depression. The article mentions unemployment as a possible contributing factor, but it seems to me that liberalism undermines the sense of identity, connectedness, belonging and purpose that people once had and treats them instead as atomised individuals who exist to work and to consume.

That liberal way of doing things works best when you have a more glamorous, high status job (and when you have the social skills to understand that liberalism is to be ignored in some aspects of your life, such as family and community).

But what if you live in a working-class community where the jobs are gone, where the rate of family breakdown is high, where teenagers get hooked on drugs or booze and where the glamorous consumerist, careerist lifestyle seems out of reach? Where then are your anchors in life?

The residents of Blaenau Gwent need the support of stable family relationships. They need to have a role within the family that fulfils who they are as men and women. They need to have an ideal of manhood and womanhood to give a positive direction and a sense of pride. They need to have a sense that they are contributing in their lives to a larger, ongoing ethnic or national tradition of their own. And it would help too to be supported by a church culture and tradition.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dissociation, repression, distancing

Here's a thought that relates to political strategy.

If you think calmly and clearly about current trends in Western societies, you can't help but recognise a terrible fact, namely that the Western peoples are facing going out of existence over the next few generations.

Now, you might think that a good response to this would be to yell as loudly as you could, to as many people as you could, that this terrible thing was occurring and needed to be responded to.

But this doesn't get the desired response. It often just makes people shut down entirely. Why?

I think the answer, in part, relates to the way that people cope with bad things psychologically. If there's something terrible looming that we feel we have no control over, one way of coping is to distance ourselves from the thought of it. It's a form of what might be called dissociation or repression.

If people are already doing this, and you heighten the sense of threat, then they'll only do it more.

This happens with my wife. Early in our marriage, if she said something thoughtlessly in support of open borders, I'd remind her of the long term trends and what that would ultimately mean. But I quickly learnt not to do that as it genuinely distressed her. She told me outright that she couldn't cope with the thought of it, that it upset her and that she wanted not to think about it.

So what does all this mean for political strategy? I don't think it means that you shouldn't point to what is happening and the long-term consequences. But I don't think you should assume that this will be enough to prompt people into action. And, in some cases, it might even push people away by making them feel psychologically distressed.

So what else can we do? First, we can gather together the more psychologically robust: those who are strong enough to see what is happening and work patiently against it. We need to make sure that we achieve political clarity within this group and keep enough momentum to gradually build.

Second, we can appeal to the stronger masculine qualities in men, particularly the instinct to stand firm and to hold ground. That sets us against one wing of the men's rights movement, the wing which wants to "liberate" men from their masculinity.

Third, as we gain ground we can expect to win a wider audience as the situation will seem less daunting as individuals become less isolated from each other. There will be less discomfort from distress and therefore less need to dissociate or repress.

Fourth, and related to this, there is a benefit in the medium term in establishing local areas where numbers are consolidated. If you were to have a small area where trads were to predominate, it might not change the political scene overall, but it would provide a place where some people would feel less need to dissociate or repress.

Fifth, we need to make sure that our realism about the gravity of the situation is balanced with positive news about the gains that are being made either in our part of the world or overseas. Again, you don't just want to prompt people to shut down.

Sixth, I think it helps to make the argument that working for the good is important in itself, regardless of whether we ultimately achieve success or failure. It is part of the role of an adult male to uphold a larger tradition; it is a full expression of our masculinity; and in attempting to do so we feel right in our conscience.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Not bad for an ad!

In 2007 Steinlager, a beer company from New Zealand, released a "deliver me" ad. It has some surprising themes, but I'll let you watch it before I comment on it:

To sum up: a young white man is inspired toward a quiet masculine strength through the example of his father. This young man is connected to his identity, he "knows who he is".

The portrayal of race in the ad goes against the usual trend. Usually when the interaction of whites and blacks is portrayed in the media there is an emphasis on white guilt or black coolness. But in this case the black fighter is portrayed as being too loudly aggressive, too "in your face".

I wouldn't want every ad to have that particular slant - my trad instincts are to want blacks to find their place in the world as well. But it's refreshing to have the better qualities of young white men portrayed in the media.

The ad shows what might be done in a more traditionalist minded community. The media could be used to inspire us to be the best of who we are and to be strong in our identity.

(Hat tip: Social Pathologist)

A quick reminder

Just a reminder to Melbourne readers to check out the Eltham Traditionalists page. This is our local traditionalist association which meets regularly for evening dinners - we have another meeting coming up this week. If you're within driving distance and would like to attend email me at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Women forced onto fishing boats? Not quite.

I came across a couple more items on feminism today.

The first is a definition of feminism by Susan Faludi. According to Susan Faludi, feminism:
asks that women be free to define themselves instead of having their identity defined for them, time and again, by their culture and their men.

That fits with my own claim that feminism is liberalism applied to the lives of women. It is liberalism which wants individuals, above all, to be self-determining or self-defining. So if your aim is to maximise the extent to which women are self-determining and self-defining what do you do? Well, you reject roles that are predetermined, such as motherhood, in favour of roles which can be thought of as uniquely chosen (career). And you promote the idea of women being independent of men, mostly through career, but also through state welfare schemes.

When you follow this kind of logic, equality comes to mean, above all, equal participation in the labour market.

And so it's no surprise that the European Union has been looking into the underrepresentation of women in the fishing industry. One member of the European Parliament, Stuart Agnew, is a member of UKIP and he challenged the EU on this policy. He used question time to ask:
What is the end game? ...Is this the beginning of a legislative process to say to people in the fishing industry, you have got to employ more women?...And if it's legislation what are you going to use, the carrot or the stick? ...In ten years' time, where do you think we ought to be with this?

Stuart Agnew wondered in his questions if the EU would force a role reversal in which the husbands would be expected to stay home while their wives manned the fishing boats. He asked the very interesting question of what the long-term aims of the EU feminists were on this issue. What was the response? The chair, Dolores Carabello, took a while to compose herself, but then gave this answer:
I was a bit taken aback, but really I think that I'm not aspiring to perfection, I'm trying to be intellectually rigorous, I'm not a clairvoyant, so I don't know what's going to happen in ten years. What I don't really want is that you've got attitudes like that of Mr Agnew, who is denying women the same rights and responsibilities that men have in the sector. That's what this is all about. We're trying to improve the situation in areas in which its been shown that women are an active part, an economically productive part, but this role has not been adequately recognised. Let's hope that in ten years that we have proper equal opportunities which the women are fighting for.

There are two interesting things about this answer. First, I think this is an insight into the mindset of the liberal managerial class. Dolores Carabello is not a revolutionary. She doesn't want to implement a grand plan through one violent, forceful action. She belongs to a class of people which is used to getting what it wants over time through its use of government agencies.

What she does have is a principle, which she frames as women having the same rights and responsibilities in the paid workforce, but which is really better expressed as the promotion of women's career outcomes. Once she has that principle, then her aim is to use administrative measures to carry it through over time. Where it leads to ultimately she doesn't know, nor does she really need to know.

I understand this, as I think much would be the same of traditionalism. We have very different principles to Dolores Carabello, and although we could lay out what our ideal society might be based on these principles, it would be difficult to say in advance how much of that would be realistically achieved over time. It would be enough to know that a community was advancing according to those principles.

Anyway, right now the intention of the EU is not to force women onto fishing boats. I read the EU document and the authors recognise that women don't want to go onto fishing boats as the work is poorly paid and dangerous (read my post on Trawlermen for some idea of the difficulties of working on a trawler in the North Sea). The EU report states:
Women on the whole don’t wish to go to sea and aren’t particularly wanted, so whilst ensuring that women can participate if they so wish (i.e. no unfair barriers) there is little point in pushing for greater involvement.

There are extraordinarily few women working on fishing boats. In Belgium there is one woman; not a single one in Denmark; none in Finland; and one full-time worker in the Netherlands and three part-timers. These figures suggest just how little this career appeals to women.

If there were more money or status in it, I'm sure the EU would be ready to push women into the field no matter what. Instead, what the EU wants to do is to promote women in the more lucrative fields (administration and aquaculture) and get them out or let them stay out of the less lucrative areas (processing/fishing boats). Here is what the EU report states on processing:
There is clearly discrimination in processing, but it is perhaps best to help women exit the industry rather than concentrate on upgrading what are likely to always be low grade jobs. So in non-FDAs there is little justification for special support other than the general education/training that will allow women to move out of these undesirable jobs

So it's not really a case of "equal opportunities" or "the same rights and responsibilities". The principle is that whatever promotes women's career advancement is right and good. Therefore, the EU is happy to leave women off the trawlers and to get them out of the processing side, whilst they boost women in the administrative and training side of the industry (and attempt to formalise and professionalise some of the supporting work that fishermen's wives do at home).

If that approach were to hold over time would women be equal in the industry? No, they would not be equal, they would clearly be privileged. They would have the cushier jobs, whilst men did the dirty, dangerous and lower paid work. But for now the principle is "promote women's career outcomes" and so the EU bureaucracy is happy to push on in this direction.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cambridge feminists on display

The feminists at Cambridge University are running a campaign in which their supporters hold up little whiteboards explaining why they have chosen to be feminists. (Hat tip: Laura Wood)

Here's a selection. Let me know which one you like the best.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Antigones

You may have seen at Laura Wood's site a report on a new French women's group called the Antigones.

They have been set up in opposition to Femen, a feminist group originally from Ukraine, but which has also spread to France. The Femen women often protest topless with obscene comments daubed on their bodies.

The Antigones want to be feminine and dignified. I've read some of their published material and it seems to be quite good. They are definitely opposed to the "gender theory" I reported on a little while ago. This is the idea that our identity as men and women is merely a false social construct and that we should be liberated to choose whatever sex identities we like.

This gender theory is obviously very closely tied to the liberalism which is dominant in the West today. Liberalism claims that we should aim to maximise individual autonomy, which means being self-determining or self-authoring, which means that predetermined qualities like being male or female aren't allowed to matter. That then means that there cannot be complementary masculine and feminine essences as part of the reality of things.

The Antigones have set themselves in a principled way against the liberal position. Here are some quotes from a YouTube clip:
Femen, you assert that machismo dominates our society and you fight men. We reply that it is only with men that we will be women in the full sense of the word.

Femen, you demand sex equality. We reply to you that complementarity between men and women is a source of wealth for our society.

From their "Who are we?" statement:
Daughters of our fathers, wives of our husbands, mothers of our sons, we do not reject men. Instead, we are persuaded that it is with them, in complementarity, that we will build our future.

And from an article published at their website (the Google translation isn't perfect but gives a clear idea of the arguments being made):
Everyone has an intuition, an immediate impression, sometimes confused, of what are the male and female identities. Sometimes these are clichés, but we must nevertheless admit that the physiology and psychology of both sexes have specific irreducible genetically transmitted and define their respective idiosyncrasies.

Beyond the visual evidence of the different conformation of the body, biology, cognitive science and ethology have shown that brains are physically different and how they work, how they process information, as well as hormone levels and differentiated control their behavior in response to the same stimuli. Cultural identity unfolding from the image represented the body, so there is a thread invariant of female identity, a feminine essence, an eternal feminine, a "feminine genius", that is, a way of being in specifically feminine world. It seems that the female nature is expressed by what we might call a "sense of closeness" what Julia Kristeva calls "intimate."

At the very least, all this demonstrates that things don't have to be the way they are now. We don't have to have a women's movement which is anti-feminine and anti-male. It's possible to envisage something else.

It's interesting to contrast the Femen women with the Antigone women. The Femen women are rancorous and destructive like so many movements of the Western political class before them. I don't know what the flaws of the Antigone women may prove to be. But these women do seem to have turned in a different direction, one that at least has the potential to be more creative and affirming.

I will watch their further development with great interest.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Challenging Amnesty

I went to the Eltham library yesterday and I was surprised to find that Amnesty International had a large stall there with banners and literature promoting the boat people cause.

It's so rare to get a chance to talk things through with open borders people that I took the opportunity to engage them in a discussion. There were two women, an older, very warm-hearted Anglo woman and a younger, well-spoken Persian woman from Iran.

I told them that I opposed the current refugee system because it took people from very different ethnicities and put them all together in Australian cities which would make it impossible for any group to keep their own tradition and culture going. There would be a melting pot in which no particular culture would survive. A better alternative would be for the wealthier nations to contribute to a fund which would be used to settle refugees in whatever country was closest both ethnically and in living standards to the country the refugees were coming from.

The Anglo woman was receptive to these arguments. She told me she had noticed that the Somalis she worked with in Melbourne seemed to be culturally dislocated here. But the Persian woman disagreed. She said she had no problem with all the cultures and peoples of the world merging together. I asked her if she really had no problem with people living only as individuals rather than belonging to a particular culture and people and she replied that it would be OK as long as everyone obeyed the law.

Now, that's an easier position to take if you belong to an ethnic group, like the Iranian Persians, which is growing quickly rather than facing decline. If you're in this position, the idea of losing your own tradition won't seem as real.

But here's another problem with the position taken by the Persian woman. At the same time that she was making these arguments to me she was distributing a pamphlet called "No place like homelands". It was about the importance of Aborigines having their own homelands in which they could retain their own traditions and culture rather than having to assimilate into the mainstream.

Here are some quotes from the pamphlet:
"Living on homelands allows Aboriginal people to ... raise their families within their traditional culture ... Having a strong connection to culture, family and land allow Aboriginal Peoples to have more control over the lives... language and culture can be passed down to future generations."

The pamphlet also quotes an Aboriginal woman who complains that without a homeland Aborigines will "lose our identity".

So Amnesty wants different things for white Australians and Aboriginal Australians. Aborigines need a homeland, an identity and a traditional culture. But, according to Amnesty, white Australians don't need the same things. Apparently we are so different we can just accept life in a melting pot of different cultures, rather than preserving one of our own.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Viking objects

I got told off for my last post. Norway has introduced conscription for women. I complained that women aren't made, either physically or emotionally, for combat and that they won't fulfil their feminine nature in such a role.

This upset a Norwegian reader:
We have lost brave women in combat in Afghanistan. And you ramble about the size of a girl's forearms? Please google Marit Bjorgen. And Suzanne Svanevik. They are women that Norwegian girls idolise.

I could have told you to google a lot more, like our F16 bombings in Libya. But I wont. Because when people are so lazy that they don't even bother to check out basic facts before writing something, then its not about getting a story right. Its all about having something to rant about. I feel sad for your lack of ability to adapt to information.

Yours Viking.

OK, so that made me curious. Norwegian girls idolise Marit Bjorgen and Suzanne Svanevik. I've never heard of either of them, so I decided to follow Viking's advice and google them. It turns out that Marit Bjorgen is a cross country skier:

And Suzanne Svanevik is a weight lifter or body builder:

Now it's true that these photos do show that there are women who, as professional athletes, can develop muscle. But at what cost? These women look like half men/half women. And that's not surprising since the model of society they are following tells women to follow a masculine ideal, but to pragmatically retain just enough feminine attractiveness to hold male interest.

If that's what Viking wants, he can have it. For myself, I want women who are female in every way - they are the women who command my respect and admiration.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Norway introduces conscription for women

Liberals want to make sex distinctions not matter. Logically that means that both men and women have an equal duty to serve in the army. And so it's not surprising that Norway has become the first European country to begin conscripting women into its army. The new policy was supported on both the left and the right.

The thinking behind the policy was put simply enough by one of the young women who is liable to be called up. Cana Elgvin said "I think it is natural that in an equal society girls and boys have the same duties."

That attitude casually assumes that men and women are made the same way for the same purposes. I think Cana herself is living proof that this assumption is wrong. Cana is the 17-year-old Norwegian girl on the right of the photo below. Was she really made for aggressive physical combat? For the physical rigours of combat? Look at how slender her forearms are. Could she really lug around a heavy weapon with those arms? Is she equipped with hard chest muscle and muscular limbs? And does she look like she has the emotional hardness and the aggressiveness to stand up for herself in a bayonet fight? And should she, as a woman, be expected to be hard in this way? Would that be the highest realisation of her feminine being?

And what message would her conscription into the army send to Norwegian men? Men are inspired by the beautiful womanhood they perceive in women, a beauty which has a softness and vulnerability to it. The sense of duty men have to protect women from harm is in many ways a response to this perception of beautiful womanhood. But what if the message is that men and women are just the same, with the same duty to serve in the armed forces? Will Norwegian men then have the same sense of duty to protect women? Will they maintain the same masculine culture that breeds good soldiers?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A French awakening

The government in France is pushing what is called "gender theory" into schools. What is this gender theory? It's the liberal theory that sex distinctions between men and women are oppressive social constructs that should be made not to matter.

If you remember, liberals believe in individual autonomy. That means that the individual has to be self-determined. But the fact of being born a man or a woman is predetermined. Therefore, liberals see this "gender binary" of male and female negatively and would prefer for the individual to choose their own individual sex identity from across a whole spectrum of "gender".

Tiberge at Gallia Watch describes gender theory this way:
a hair-raising innovation being promoted by the diabolical minister of Education, Vincent Peillon. Imagine yourself back in grade school, being informed by your teachers that you were born neutral, and that you will be free to choose your sex when you grow up

Marguerite Peeters explains it as follows:
According to the social engineers who have been fabricating the gender theory since the 1950s, the feminine and masculine identity, the ontological structure of the woman as spouse, mother and educator, the anthropological complementarity of man and woman, fatherhood, heterosexuality (“heteronormativity”, dominant in all cultures), marriage and the traditional family would not exist per se, would not be good in themselves, but would be social constructs: sociological phenomena, social functions constructed over time, stereotypes to deconstruct by way of education and culture as they are deemed discriminatory and contrary to equality.

The French elite is serious in trying to push ahead with gender theory. One French agency wishes to replace the terms "boys" and "girls" in schools in order to "prevent sexual differentiation":
Grégor Puppinck reminds us that the report by IGAS (General Inspectorate of Social Affairs) recommends "replacing the terms 'boys' and 'girls' by the neutral terms 'friends' or 'children', telling stories in which the children have two dads or mums, etc." According to the report, the aim is to "prevent sexual differentiation and the interiorisation by the children of their sexual identity."

Now, none of this is new. If you're interested I've listed many examples of liberal "gender theory" in the chapter on sex distinctions in my e-book. But what is new and encouraging is the level of resistance to gender theory that is taking place in France right now.

The first victory was that 270,000 people signed a petition against an amendment to a bill that would have made the teaching of gender theory compulsory in all French schools. That amendment was then defeated in the French senate.

In Lyon an association has been established to bring together teachers and professors in opposition to gender theory:
We are creating a new organization to be called "Teachers for Children" said Jean-Baptiste to will aim to federate a maximum of professors and teachers, ranging from primary to preparatory classes, and mobilize all the people to fight against gender theory...We do not agree with these absolutely crazy ideas.

In Paris there was a demonstration against the gender theory:

Xavier Breton, who seems to be the most vocal member of the French National Assembly in opposing these kinds of measures, has criticised gender theory for suggesting "that man and woman are interchangeable". The Catholic Church has also criticised the theory for undermining "sexual differences that are intrinsic to humanity". Bishop Ginoux has also rightly pointed out that gender theory cannot fit within a Christian world view:
“This issue is serious and lays the foundations of a society which, by rejecting nature and thus creation, considers man to be his own creator, one who chooses his sexuality and organizes his lifestyle based on personal choice,” wrote Bishop Bernard Ginoux of Montauban this past June.

It's interesting too how people are criticising liberalism in much the same terms that I have done here at this site. Here, for instance, is a comment from Antoine Ginesty, aged 29, an art buyer:
But we fear that this law, if passed, will erode the difference between men and women. It will impose the theory that gender does not matter – with potentially calamitous consequences for the values of our society.

And many of those protesting are young people, both male and female. There's more to report about this, but I hope I've made the point for now. Liberalism is not set in stone. It's not the way that things have to be. Many thousands of ordinary people don't want it, even after decades of intense campaigning in its favour, with the media, the schools and the universities on its side.

We need in each Western country a real opposition. That doesn't just mean voting for an establishment right-wing party every three years - that won't do much at all, not when these parties are mostly liberal in philosophy anyway.

The fight is not between Labor and Liberal, or Democrat and Republican, or Labour and Conservative. It goes much deeper than this.

There is a France that wants to live and endure and another France that is set on deconstruction along the lines of a dubious theory. The living part of France is, for now at least, asserting itself and organising and leading the way.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sheridan on border protection failure

Greg Sheridan has written a lengthy article (registration required) about the boat people arriving in ever larger numbers in Australia. There are two interesting facts that he points to. The first is that the boats have become an organised Muslim channel of immigration to Australia:
This boatpeople phenomenon is essentially a determined Muslim immigration...A former senior officer of the Immigration Department spoke to me this week, on condition of anonymity, on the way the illegal immigration trade to Australia has become regularised, from Iran in particular. When he first got involved in this issue, Iranians and others would go to Malaysia, then on to Indonesia, and it would be months before they could find a people-smuggler. Now, he says, it is more often like a travel agent service, with everything arranged inside Iran.

Sheridan is concerned that this wave of Muslim immigration will bring to Australia ongoing security problems. So far there have been 40,000 boatpeople arrivals under Labour and this number will increase through family reunion. If you have 80,000 most will be law-abiding, but there will be some who will get involved in terrorism. The larger the overall number, the more difficult it becomes for the security organisations to control the situation.

The other interesting information that Sheridan provides are the unemployment numbers for the boat people. Most of those arriving are low-skilled and with poor English language skills. The rate of employment, even after five years, is abysmal:
The Immigration Department's figures, released last year, revealed that five years after arrival the rate of employment - not unemployment but employment - of Afghans was 9 per cent, while 94 per cent of Afghan households received Centrelink payments. From Iraq, 12 per cent were employed while 93 per cent of families received Centrelink payments. Overall, households that came under the humanitarian program had 85 per cent receiving Centrelink payments after five years. The family reunion cohort had 38%, and skilled migration 28 per cent.

Those are sobering figures. Even the skilled migration programme has 28% of families receiving Centrelink payments. But you can see how costly to the public purse the arrival of boat people really is: roughly 90% are unemployed even after five years in Australia. At the moment there are 3000 arriving every month or 36,000 per year. Of those 30,600 will require ongoing unemployment benefits. In just over three years there will be 100,000 requiring unemployment benefits, plus other family and rent assistance payments, plus the costs of education, health care and so on.

I should point out that even if the economic costs weren't so high traditionalists would still be opposed to mass, ongoing, diverse immigration. That's because we believe that the different ethnic and national traditions are important to preserve, and so we don't want them to be undermined by open borders.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


The Germans do picturesque very well. Below is a photo of the little town of Cochem. The town dates back as far as Roman times and the name is recorded as early as 886.

The town is located on the left bank of the Moselle River in the west of Germany:

The castle on the hill, named Reichsburg, has an interesting history.

It was built in about 1000 and survived until 1689 when it was destroyed by French troops during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV. A German businessman purchased the ruins in the 1800s and used them in rebuilding the castle.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Peillon's conceit

I want to spend some time in France in my next few posts, as important things are happening right now in that country.

France has a left-wing government and the Education Minister is a man by the very French name of Vincent Benoît Camille Peillon.

Monsieur Peillon has stirred some controversy in setting out his vision for French schools. He wants to have courses on "secular morality" taught in French schools. But what is this vision of morality?
The purpose of secular morality is to allow each student to be free, because the starting point of secularism is the absolute respect for freedom of conscience. To give freedom of choice, we must be able to remove the student from all determinisms, family, ethnic, social, intellectual...

The Minister of Justice, Christine Taubira, has said much the same thing in the National Assembly:
in our values, education aims to relieve pupils of social and religious determinisms and make them free citizens.

When questioned in the National Assembly Vincent Peillon had this to say:
Regarding freedom of expression and "remove the student from all determinisms," I remind you that the purpose of the republican school has always been to produce a free individual.

The possibility of building your own autonomy, that is to say the ability to give yourself the rule, means being able to take some distance from all heritages. This does not mean that we abandon these legacies, but simply that one is able to choose for yourself.

These ideas are clearly very similar to those of liberal autonomy theory. This is the theory that politics is about securing a certain kind of freedom, namely the freedom to be an autonomous individual. Autonomy itself is understood to mean that the individual is free to be self-determining rather than being "trapped" by whatever is predetermined.

We do not get to choose membership of a family or ethny, so these are considered to be 'determinisms' and are set against the ideal of the "free citizen".

I could spend some time looking at Peillon's efforts to push a "secular morality" when he himself declares that he does "not believe at all in a fixed moral order." But I want to focus for now on his idea that students must be removed from all "determinisms".

Part of the traditionalist response to this was made in the National Assembly by Xavier Breton. He reminded the members of the Assembly that family and ethny are not to be written off negatively as impeding freedom, but are important for fulfilment and self-development:
The environment, especially a family one, is not a determinism to fight absolutely, but unavoidable and possibly a place of fulfilment. For us, being part of a group, an ethnic community, or perhaps a social, intellectual or family one, may be a factor in development...the intention of the State should not be to "snatch" members...

I want to go even further than this by looking at the specific liberal conceit that is being pushed by Vincent Peillon. If you read through Peillon's interview, you get a certain picture of reality, one in which Peillon imagines that liberals like himself are far enough removed from any inherited determinisms (e.g. beliefs, values or ways of life that you get from parents or from your ethnic culture) that they are able to assume the status of free-thinking, critical, reflective, rational individuals able to pursue a universal morality.

The traditionalist answer to this conceit is important. It gets to the crux of the significant differences in outlook of traditionalists and moderns.

A traditionalist accepts that there are important ways in which we are "determined". But we do not see this as inhibiting or limiting our reason, or as leading to arbitrarily held beliefs or values, but rather as providing a necessary platform from which we are able to seek to understand the truth of an order of being.

Let's go back a bit to look at what it means to be determined as a traditionalist or indeterminate as a liberal. The traditionalist has specific grounds for identity, for relatedness, for solidarity and from all this for telos (ends or aims). But if you have made yourself indeterminate or abstracted as a liberal, then you must make up for yourself what you are (self-create or self-determine). This might be presented as a freedom to self-define, but it means that you could be one thing or just as easily another. You become something merely as a matter of choice, and this not only seems arbitrary, it also has a sense of lacking meaning or significance. How then is an individual supposed to be oriented to a truth of his own being?  How can you actively seek the truth when you begin from a point of emptiness and then make things up as an act of your own individual will?

A strength of the traditionalist position is that humans clearly do have a created being, for instance in the fact of being a man or a woman. It is through our created being that we come to experience who we are physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. And from this come the forms of relatedness through which we express our social natures. From the cultural traditions we belong to we experience a real endeavour over time to make the different layers of our experience (the natural, the social etc.) work together within a larger social setting.

It is through our engagement with this particularity that we are more likely to seek and to be brought to universal truths about man, rather than by abstracting ourselves from it and dealing with individuals as indeterminate and interchangeable.

Traditionalists, therefore, would contest the notion that in rejecting determinisms people are no longer "trapped" in beliefs and values but can rise to a universal, secular morality as free, rational and reflective citizens. Instead, it is more likely that, in becoming indeterminate, individuals will lose an orientation to pursue the truth of their being and they will deny themselves the particular context through which the universal is made known to us.

And apart from all this, the liberal position is not a neutral one and so itself "catches" people in certain beliefs and values and ways of life. For instance, the liberal position suggests that we have not been created in specific ways for specific purposes, which will then lead over time to a secular outlook. Similarly, by advocating a distance from "determinisms" like family and ethny, the liberal position will encourage over time an atomised individualism. The emphasis on autonomy will lead to a preference for uniquely chosen careers over inherited and gendered family roles and so on.

Liberals arrive at certain positions, then, not because they have freely, rationally and critically decided on the merits of these positions, but because liberalism itself has a set character that inclines them this way.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Homosexuals are better parents?

Some research conducted at the University of Melbourne is being widely reported in the media. It is being used to claim that gays are better parents.

In reality the research doesn't prove much one way or the other. Why? Because it is based on a self-selected sample and the data was self-reported (the gay parents themselves filled in a questionnaire about their family life).

The researcher who conducted the survey is himself in a gay relationship and raising children.

For what it's worth, I know of one lesbian couple who are raising children. They are of a very high income and educational level. Their two children were more emotionally turbulent as young children than the average, but settled a lot as they got older. The boy is very likeable but at this stage probably won't be as masculine as average (we'll see). From that tiny sample, it seems to me that this type of family will give its children a better start than some heterosexual families where one or both of the parents has poor parenting skills. But two capable heterosexual parents will give a child the best start.

One final point. The recklessness with which some people in the media are reporting the "gays are better parents" line is very interesting. It's like watching people lob around an atomic bomb. Imagine if the idea caught on that lesbians were better parents than heterosexual couples. The implication of that would be that men don't add anything to family life as men. And the implication of that would be that men should turn their focus to things other than the family, things where their masculinity actually mattered and made a difference.

It is utterly foolish for a society to promote ideas that are likely to demoralise the male paternal instinct.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The state drifts ever closer in Scotland

This is a disturbing development:
Under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, every child from birth will be given a “named person”, charged with keeping an eye on that child’s interests until it reaches adulthood.
Every child will be assigned a named individual by the state to oversee the interests of that child. This role, of overseeing the interests of a child, once fell naturally to the parents of that child.

What is this named individual going to do? According to the Bill, the named person is responsible for:
doing such of the following where the named person considers it to be appropriate in order to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person—

(i) advising, informing or supporting the child or young person, or a parent of the child or young person,

(ii) helping the child or young person, or a parent of the child or young person, to access a service or support, or

(iii) discussing, or raising, a matter about the child or young person with a service provider or relevant authority

The politicians who have queried the measure seem most interested in how a personal relationship will be developed between the named person and the children they are responsible for:
SNP MSP John Wilson asked how children would be made aware that they had a named person, and how that named person would be identified to the child.

"How do we make sure that this named person is actually identified to the young person, and the young person has the confidence and the ability to actually directly speak to that named individual?" he said.

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw suggested the measure is "a very huge enterprise".

"How many named persons do you anticipate there will be? What will the turnover be in named persons? And how in practice does that really establish a bond of confidence on which people feel they can rely?" he asked.

The main intent seems to be to have a personal contact between a child in need and one named individual responsible for the child's welfare. For children from highly dysfunctional families who are in some kind of danger, that might be a good idea.

But it's an unnecessary and dangerous extension of the role of the state to have a named individual for every child. Can we really trust the modern administrative state to direct its intervention only to those children in real danger, once an administrative structure and authority has been established over all children? Especially when the role of the named individual is defined so broadly, as being to promote the wellbeing of the child they have been appointed to look after.

It's dangerous too to have such a measure at a time when the family is being redefined in a way that diminishes the importance of the "filial" connection between child and parent. This is not the time to further undermine the significance of biological paternity in establishing in normal circumstances both authority and responsibility in relation to a child.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Some marriage research

I'm not someone who thinks that the only important role that men play in the family is a provider one. Still, it is a significant role as it's part of the way that a man tries to create a protected space for his wife to have children and create a warm home life for the family.

So upending normal arrangements and having the woman instead be the breadwinner is likely to create tensions within at least some marriages. Here are some research findings released back in 2010:
a 25-year study that tracked 2,500 married couples found that female breadwinners were 40 percent more likely to divorce their lower-earning husbands than women who raked in less than their partners. Reporting his findings in the October issue of Journal of Family Issues, sociologist Jay Teachman at Western Washington University noted that the distinction only becomes apparent when women earn 60 percent or more of the family's income. After that marker, couples became 38 percent more likely to divorce over the 25-year period. Researchers were "surprised about the strength of the effect," Teachman said...

Why might the divorce rate have been significantly higher when wives earn 60% or more of the family income? There are no doubt various reasons, but some suggestions were made in research released in 2007. This research found that when women became the primary breadwinner husbands did less "emotion work" in the marriage, and that more traditional arrangements led to more "expressive" forms of marriage in general:
women who are in marriages that are characterized by more traditional gender beliefs and practices are happier with the emotion work they receive and do receive more such emotion work from their husbands.

...adherence to traditional beliefs and practices regarding gender seems to be tied not only to global marital happiness but also - surprisingly enough - to expressive patterns of marriage ...

Monday, June 03, 2013

Sydney Traditionalist Forum update

The Sydney Traditionalist Forum is continuing its good work. In April it held a documentary screening with Senator Cory Bernardi as the guest of honour. There is a report on the evening's events at the Sydney Trads website. I particularly liked this opening comment from the Convenor:
The Convenor opened proceedings by noting the apparent crisis of conservative politics in the Anglosphere. “Conservative seem to be always on the defensive” he said, and that “the best we can apparently expect from our leaders is a compromise with the Left.” He noted how this does not lead to a viable alternative to the mainstream’s liberal politics. “What this amounts to is a form of incremental triumph, over time, for the Left. All we have to do is look at other supposedly conservative parties of the mainstream to see where this will lead. The prominence of the John McCains, David Camerons and Malcolm Turnbulls within major non-left parties suggests there is a crisis of faith among the conservative mainstream.”

The Convenor then said that if conservatives want to address this problem, we need to openly and energetically analyse what it is to be a conservative in the first place. “If conservatism is simply the ‘praxis of preservation’, or merely preserving the status quo, then such a definition would mean that a conservative living in Soviet Russia in the 50’s would have to be a communist. Obviously this is a nonsense. There is more to conservatism than just preserving what we have, especially if there is a great deal around us that we may not wish to see preserved at all.

From Senator Bernardi:
He discussed the importance of building a strong community-based grassroots movement while also avoiding the stifling effects of personality based politics. Senator Bernardi emphasized that genuine conservative activism is principled activism, and indicated that for too long conservatives have been too accommodating to the demands of the unscrupulous left. Due to the inroads that leftist politics has made in popular culture over the last several decades, Senator Bernardi mused that “in a way, we are the radicals of today”. Although a great deal of cultural capital has been lost, “we should always have faith in the truth of our position

There's also a report at the Sydney Trads site of a more recent meeting of a Conservative Cave group.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

"The West has lost all capacity for self-love"

I went to mass today at Our Lady of Victories in Camberwell. The priest officiating this morning was very impressive. He spoke clearly and concretely and he managed to uphold both the universal values of the Church but also the particular traditions which carry forward the good over time.

He began the homily by talking about how man was made for community. He then asked why so many Catholics no longer take part in the community of the Eucharist. He thought that part of the reason was that Western societies have become more individualistic and that traditional communal identities have waned in modern multicultures.

Included in the mass were two prayers, which I wish I could remember verbatim, but they were about preserving cultural and civilisational traditions and how we are links in a chain connecting generations past, present and future.

Whilst on the topic of the Catholic Church, I was interested to read a lecture given by the then Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict, to the Italian Senate in 2004. It is about European identity and the crisis of European civilisation. The lecture has faults, I think, but it does at least take seriously the gravity of the situation facing Europe:
At the hour of its greatest success, Europe seems hollow, as if it were internally paralyzed by a failure of its circulatory system that is endangering its life, subjecting it to transplants that erase its identity. At the same time as its sustaining spiritual forces have collapsed, a growing decline in its ethnicity is also taking place.

Europe is infected by a strange lack of desire for the future. Children, our future, are perceived as a threat to the present, as though they were taking something away from our lives. Children are seen—at least by some people—as a liability rather than as a source of hope. Here it is obligatory to compare today's situation with the decline of the Roman Empire. In its final days, Rome still functioned as a great historical framework, but in practice its vital energy had been depleted.

Another excerpt:
This case illustrates a peculiar Western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological. It is commendable that the West is trying to be more open, to be more understanding of the values of outsiders, but it has lost all capacity for self-love. All that it sees in its own history is the despicable and the destructive; it is no longer able to perceive what is great and pure. What Europe needs is a new self-acceptance, a self-acceptance that is critical and humble, if it truly wishes to survive.

Multiculturalism, which is so passionately promoted, can sometimes amount to an abandonment and denial, a flight from one's own things.