Monday, June 30, 2014

Why were they taken seriously?

Our problems didn't start recently. There have been damaging currents of thought held by our intellectuals for quite some time. Case in point: Jeremy Bentham. From a piece in The Guardian we learn:
...the maximisation of pleasure was the central aim of utilitarian ethics. In place of the traditional Christian stress on bodily restraint and discipline, Bentham sought, like many other 18th-century philosophers, to promote the benefits of economic consumption, the enjoyment of worldly appetites and the liberty of natural passions. This modern, enlightened view of the purpose of life spawned a revolution in sexual attitudes, and no European scholar of the time pursued its implications as thoroughly as Bentham. To think about sex, he noted in 1785, was to consider "the greatest, and perhaps the only real pleasures of mankind"

Is that really the best that Bentham could come up with? That the purpose of life is the maximisation of pleasure, understood in the most mundane terms as economic consumption and worldly appetites? To Bentham it even made sense to consider thinking about sex as the only real pleasure of mankind.

It seems shallow and alienated and yet the modern West follows Bentham to quite some degree by assuming that the purposes of life are career and consumption.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

There are only two sexes

If you set up a profile on Facebook you can now choose to describe yourself as male, female or custom. If you select custom you get 70 different gender options. You also get to choose which pronouns will be applied to you.

The innovation was brought about by two Facebook engineers, one a lesbian, the other a transwoman (a man who wants to identify as a woman).

The problem with all this is that there are only two sexes. There is male and there is female - those are the two possibilities not only when it comes to our biological sex, but also when it comes to an "essence" of life.

That doesn't mean that every particular man and woman has a clear identity as male or female. Things can go wrong biologically (a very small percentage of people have chromosomal abnormalities); nor is it the case the everyone will psychologically accept their biological sex as part of their identity.

But, be that as it may, the fact remains that there are only two sexes. We cannot make up a new one of our own.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Well, that didn't take long

It's been less than three years since the Australian military decided to open up combat roles to women (for my protest see here).

It was never the case that the Australian military would stay the same but with female troops. Once the decision was made to fill the ranks with women, then fundamental changes would come about.

I was reminded of this by a recruitment advertisement that ran on Australian TV tonight. The advert has images of both young men and women in the military, though the women seem to feature more than the men. But what was most interesting were the graphics on display. As we saw the images of the soldiers, the first graphic said "warriors" but it was soon followed by another which said "nurturers".

Maybe someone thought that the first word "warriors" might not appeal to women as much as men, so the second word "nurturers" was added.

But is trying to recruit nurturing types to the army really such a good idea? If you are under fire, do you really want the person next to you to have nurturing qualities or fighting qualities?

Shouldn't the army stick to recruiting warriors?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A scientist gets it right

For some decades now, feminists have been arguing that society has been arranged to give men an unearned privilege at the expense of women and that male privilege has been upheld through acts of violence against women. Therefore, domestic violence is a product of patriarchy. The solution to domestic violence is, in this view, to deconstruct traditional masculinity.

There are many arguments to be made against this feminist view. One of them is that women commit acts of domestic violence as well. Women have no reason to commit domestic violence to uphold the patriarchy; therefore, there must be other reasons for its existence.

A new study carried out by Dr Elizabeth Bates of the University of Cumbria has found that women are more likely than men to initiate acts of verbal and physical aggression:
Psychologists at the University of Cumbria questioned 1,104 young men and women using a scale of behaviour which ranged from shouting and insulting to pushing, beating and using weapons.

They discovered that women were ‘significantly’ more likely to be  verbally and physically aggressive to men than vice versa.

They concluded that violence was linked to controlling behaviour such as checking up on partners and persuading them not to see certain friends.

Interestingly, Dr Bates has drawn the logical conclusion:
Study leader Dr Elizabeth Bates said: ‘The stereotypical popular view is still one of dominant control by men. That does occur but research over the last ten to 15 years has highlighted the fact that women are controlling and aggressive in relationships too.’

She said scientists may have to think again about the reasons for male violence against women, which previous studies said arose from ‘patriarchal values’ in which men are motivated to seek to control women’s behaviour, using violence if necessary.

She said other research also looked at men in prisons and women in refuges, rather than typical members of the public.

Monday, June 23, 2014

What cannot be reconciled

Jim Kalb has written a very good piece for a Catholic magazine (the points he makes should be of interest to non-Catholics as well).

It is about the fundamental opposition between the world view of Catholics and secular liberals:
That opposition leads to views of morality and justice in which drastically different claims and authorities carry weight. The Church values conscience, and accepts “this is right”—in general, this expresses the moral nature of a world that after all is God’s creation—as a claim that normally overrides other considerations. Today’s secular world values individual autonomy instead, and prefers the authority of claims such as “I want this” or “this is part of my identity as I define it.”

Furthermore, the "separate spheres" understanding of the authority of church and state has broken down, as the liberal state is now claiming authority in both spheres:
At one time it was possible to reconcile the two by saying that they dealt with different matters, the Church hierarchy with fundamental spiritual and moral principles and the state with worldly practicalities and standards of conduct generally accepted as a matter of vernacular natural law (otherwise known as common sense).

That view no longer works because of growing state absolutism resulting from the decline of transcendent religion and the sense of a natural moral order. All social institutions, including the family, are now viewed as state creations, so that determining what they should be in light of ultimate values such as equality and personal autonomy is considered a basic function of government. On such an understanding there is no room for the moral authority of the Church.

Modern liberalism sees the traditional Christian view as not only wrong but gravely so:
Secular society of course views things differently. From its standpoint the Church’s claims are not merely weak but outrageous. “This is right,” where “right” is presented as obligatory without regard to desires, chosen identities, or the needs of a public order that makes freedom and equality its supreme goods, is seen as an attempt to make the speaker’s outlook and preferences trump other people’s...Against that background secular society is coming decisively to view religion as a matter of private lifestyle and symbolism

What Kalb says next is very significant. He writes that unless Catholics are willing to acknowledge the fundamental differences, their point of view will either not make sense to a secular audience or else will be comprehended within the secular outlook:
Otherwise what we say will either be treated as incomprehensible or absorbed into the current secular outlook. A call for mutual love, for example, will be understood as a call for affirming and supporting the desires and self-defined identities of all people just as they are, subject only to the principle of mutual tolerance.

That was a very good example to give, because it is becoming so rife within the various churches. It is common now to hear Christians argue that the commitment to love one another means accepting whatever choices people make, i.e. accepting them however they wish to be as a gesture of inclusiveness, even if these choices run counter to scripture or longstanding church tradition. It is dissolving of the notion of moral good, apart, that is, from the good of unconditional acceptance and inclusion.

Kalb finishes by giving some suggestions for what Catholics might do at the present time. One of them is to live well:
it remains true that in a time of moral confusion living well is the best offense. People know that the current order of things doesn’t help them lead good lives, and if they see someone who has something better many of them will eventually want to know more about it. We should live in a way that makes that the natural turn for their thoughts to take.

I think that's good advice for traditionalists in general (though not the complete answer). If we become known as the portion of Westerners who best display the masculine virtues; who make good husbands and fathers; who are positive and courageous in their attitudes; who are magnanimous in the sense of rising above pettiness - then that helps to prepare the ground for converting young people in the future to our cause.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It's not so simple Susie

Bendigo is a regional city here in Victoria with a population of about 80,000. The city now has 200 Muslim residents, mainly it seems due to the presence of a university campus there. These 200 Muslim residents have applied to build a $3 million mega mosque, which has caused much controversy in the city.

Susie O'Brien, a columnist for the Herald Sun, believes that opponents of the mosque are just being racist. She thinks the issue is a simple one:
Extreme elements of the Islamic faith certainly have no place in Australia.

But that should not stop moderate, law-abiding Australian Muslims from exercising their cultural and religious beliefs. As long as they abide by our laws and our customs, Muslims should have the same freedom of religious expression as any other group in society; for example, the freedom to build a house of worship, such as a mosque.

She is right that if you are going to have Muslim immigrants then you are going to have mosques.

But I don't think this is as straightforward as Susie O'Brien claims. Why, for instance, build a towering mega mosque for a couple of hundred Muslim overseas students in a regional Victorian city?

My instinctive response was to think "It's a marking of territory." And when I looked at some websites covering the issue, one of the explanations for the mosque was that it was intended to undercut the Buddhists in Bendigo. It seems that Bendigo has been selected as a future site for Buddhist worship, with the housing there of a Jade Buddha of Universal Peace in a Great Stupa. The Stupa has been built on a grand scale:

The Great Stupa under construction
So it seems that Bendigo is fated to be contested between an East Asian population of Buddhists and a Middle-Eastern one of Muslims.

Which brings me to my second point. It's understandable that the locals would be particularly reluctant to accept the fate of becoming a centre of Islam here in Victoria. Bendigo is a picturesque and peaceful small regional city:

It can't be easy for local residents to imagine a transformation along Islamic lines. Especially not when images of violence in Muslim areas are so prominent in the news. Here, for instance, is a picture of the Mahdi suicide bomber militia, raised by Shiite clerics in Iraq to counteract the even more violent ISIS Sunni army:

Susie O'Brien's response is to say that we will keep out extremist elements from Australia whilst welcoming moderate Muslims. But the problem with that is that it is sometimes the children of the law abiding immigrants who join the extremist groups. The Daily Mail has been running a series of articles on British Muslims who have joined up with ISIS in Iraq. It is thought that there could be 500 already who have done so (alongside 150 from Australia). Some are very well-educated young men who have gone against their parents' wishes:
The furious father of a star medical student who went to fight jihad before appearing in a chilling ISIS recruitment video has said he has binned family pictures of his son.

Nasser Muthana, 20, has been revealed as a key figure in a chilling recruitment video aimed at luring jihadists to Iraq.

The star medical student secretly travelled to Syria from his family home in Cardiff with his 17-year-old brother Aseel - despite being offered the opportunity to study medicine by four universities.

Today, his furious father Ahmed Muthana, 57, said if his sons ever return to the UK, he would like to see them jailed.

You can select the most law-abiding of immigrants but still end up with 500 sons committed to violent jihad.

Such are the fruits of the liberalism of our political class. Australia ought to have continued to uphold its own identity and culture. That should have been our contribution to a global diversity of culture.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Men can support feminism by...

In a recent comment thread, a reader linked to a list of suggestions made by a feminist detailing 35 "practical" ways that men could support feminism. The reader quite rightly thought that the list showcased the strangely entitled views that you find amongst feminists. But what really grabbed my attention was practical step number 34:
Get in the habit of treating your maleness as an unearned privilege that you have to actively work to cede rather than femaleness being an unearned disadvantage that women have to work to overcome.

She's serious about this. She wants men to walk around thinking of their maleness as an unearned privilege that should be actively ceded.

There is something anti-human about this. The feminist author is not interested in men developing the stronger and finer qualities of manhood. Nor is she oriented to the significance of the relationship between male and female. She just wants stuff.

There is a meanness of spirit in this, in the sense of having only lowly, materialistic, narrowly self-interested objects in mind.

And what can you say of a woman who encourages the men of her nation to take a negative view of their own maleness? How well does she think her society will hold up without the presence of confidently masculine men? When ISIS comes to her neighbourhood, does she really want the men surrounding her to be lacking in masculine strength?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Who's marrying now?

More evidence that a culture of family life is in decline amongst those with less education:
Mothers with four or more years of college tend to wait until marriage before giving birth (68 per cent) followed by mothers with one to three years of college (33 per cent), and mothers with a high school diploma (29 per cent). Lastly, among mothers with no high school diploma, only 13 per cent waited to get married before they had their first child.
However, all is not well either amongst the best educated. Another Daily Mail post tells the story of a English mother with five well-educated sons who is surprised by how reluctant her sons are to marry and support a wife. She writes:
Born in 1960, I was brought up to believe that being a good wife and mother was the best life could offer us. My own mother would say to me: ‘To go to sleep in the arms of the man you love, to wake up at his side, to bring up children with him, this is what makes a life worth living.’

One of her son's girlfriends confided in her that she had similar beliefs:
Not so long ago, the girlfriend of one of my sons confided in me while clearing away Sunday lunch that what she really wanted — despite being a lawyer with a top firm in London — was to live in a cottage in the country and have lots of children.

She wanted to spend her days reading stories to them, making jam and chutney, having long walks in the middle of the day, and feel somehow that she was alive.

But her sons are generally against this kind of family idyll:
Will and his brother Tom, 30, my eldest, are positively vituperative in their avoidance of a life filled with nappies. Well-educated, kind and polite they may be, but they’d do anything rather than settle down and have babies.

Tom...baulked at the very question.

‘I hate that word “marriage”,’ he told me. ‘Marriage belongs to another era. I prefer the word “partnership” because that’s what it should be, a partnership of equals right from the start. Both man and woman should contribute financially to the home, and both should do domestic work.

‘What really annoys me is when the woman has children and somehow thinks it’s all right to skive and stay at home with them. ‘The baby should be sent to a nursery as soon as possible and the woman should get back to work. Aren’t women supposed to have the same aspirations in their careers as men? Then they should prove it and not expect a whole year’s maternity leave. It’s scandalous!’

The mum does an OK job of thinking through why her sons might have such attitudes:
Perhaps it’s no wonder. For so long, women have insisted that they can be just like the boys. So can we really be surprised when our young men refuse to countenance treating their female partners differently from how they are treated themselves?

If it's drummed constantly into men that there are no differences between the sexes, and that there are no sex roles tied to masculinity or femininity, then why would young men think of supporting a wife to be at home? Her son Tom has so much bought into this reigning principle that he even hates the word "marriage," presumably as he associates it with differences between the sexes. He prefers the word "partnership".

I suspect too that the reluctance to commit stems from how late in life upper class people tend to marry. It means that the more solid of young men can be shunned by their female peers in their teens and early 20s, only to become a sought after commodity in their late 20s or 30s. I'm not sure the "make him wait while I play around and then give him endless options when I really need him" is a great strategy for women to pursue.

And if a society wants men to take on the stresses and strains of supporting a family, in order to create a more protected space for women to raise their children, then there has to be a more positive attitude to the role of men in society. Less emphasis on men as enemies of women; less emphasis on the idea that men are privileged oppressors holding back the advance of working women; and more recognition of the sacrifices that men traditionally made for the benefit of their families.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Columnist mourns the death of gallantry

Rita Pahani has defended chivalry in today's Herald Sun, in response to news that men are no longer standing up for pregnant women on public transport.

I winced at her opening argument:
The lack of manners those women experienced made me think of Blanche and a line in the last season of The Golden Girls where she explains to a suitor: “I don’t want to be treated like your equal. No! I want to be treated much better than you.”

That should be the ideal all women strive for in life. It’s not only pregnant woman who deserve to be treated with all due deference.

The requirement for equal pay and opportunity shouldn’t spell the death of gallantry.

I don't like her definition of chivalry as women being treated better than men or as men deferring to women. And I'm not sure that you can run with a levelling philosophy in terms of social outcomes and then run with a differentiated philosophy when it comes to manners and mores. It's not easy, in other words, to drill constantly into the minds of men that women are just the same in social function and then expect the idea to flourish that women are different in personal interaction. The first ethos tends to depress the second one.

Nor does this argument help much:
AS a woman I am as capable, independent and empowered as any man, but that doesn’t mean I want to be treated like one.

I get that opening a door for a woman doesn't mean she can't do it herself, but if women bang on about how independent, capable and empowered they are, they are not exactly pushing the right buttons in switching on the male instinct toward gallantry.

However, Rita Pahani's argument does pick up later on. Most of the following I would not take issue with:
Being equals doesn’t mean we are the same. Do women truly want to be equal in every way? The simplistic equality-by-numbers approach fails to acknowledge that women, not all women but most, often have vastly different priorities from men.

Being truly equal means fighting in the front lines and being treated as an abnormal, ambitionless layabout for choosing to stay at home to raise children. As Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in her best-selling book, Lean In: “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes.” Is that really what most women want?

...I don’t consider a man opening the door, offering me his jacket if I’m cold or helping me with a heavy bag to be condescending or subjugating. It isn’t an admission that I’m inferior or superior; it’s merely an acknowledgment that we are inherently different.

...Chivalrous men are not only thoughtful but they are naturally protective; I recall Terri Irwin talking about her late husband, Steve, and how he would always walk ahead of her down a narrow spiral staircase so if she tripped, he would be there to cushion the fall.

That’s chivalry and there aren’t too many sensible women who don’t appreciate it.

Chivalry was once a matter of small gestures that signalled a man's protective instincts towards women and women's gracious acceptance of the man's gesture. It helped to create a good feeling between the sexes, and was an expression of a refined heterosexuality (which might be part of the reason why feminists disliked it so much).

At its worst, though, chivalry descended into a "defer to women as a matter of principle" attitude, which then meant that too many men were spineless in standing up to the demands of feminist women (it possibly encouraged, too, the idea that women were by nature morally superior to men, which then compromised the ability to men to lead in upholding moral standards in society).

Chivalry has to be properly focused if it is to be a positive good in society. If it makes men at all wimpy then it's going wrong and needs to be reset; if it is a happy part of the heterosexual interplay between the men and women of a society, then all strength to it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rushing women's syndrome

Lisa Curry was a champion Australian swimmer who married an ironman champion, Grant Kenny. They were married for 23 years, had three children and then divorced.

She has hit the Australian news again after blaming herself for the divorce. She now says that during the marriage she suffered something called "rushing women's syndrome" which made her, too often:
an absolute b****, a cow, angry and irritable for no reason. He [Kenny] wasn't actually doing anything wrong, I just couldn't control it. It created a lot of tension for us for a lot of years.

I had days where I just felt completely out of control. I was angry, irritable, moody, cried for no reason and wanted to kill the world.

On behalf of me and all women in Australia, I want to say sorry to all the guys, cause they cop it, the men cop it, it’s the men that are closest in your life, and ...they don’t even have to do anything, yet they can't do anything right or our eyes they’re the worst person in the world

The reaction to these comments hasn't been good. Some of the criticism is understandable. Some critics are saying she is blaming the condition rather than herself; others are wondering why you need a label like "rushing women's syndrome" to describe too hectic a lifestyle; and there are some who have pointed to fact that Lisa Curry is plugging a cure for the condition.

Lisa Curry

That's legitimate criticism, but even so I don't think her comments should be entirely ridiculed. First, Lisa Curry is going against social trends in not blaming Grant Kenny and other men for her problems. She recognises her part in what went wrong.

Second, she's probably right that too rushed a lifestyle takes its toll on relationships. This would be true for both men and women, but it's possible that women are tipped against their husbands by this kind of pressure a bit more quickly.

I would like to think that in a traditionalist society there would be an effort to get the work/life balance right, in part because of the value placed on marriage and family.

Friday, June 13, 2014

We're different - in a bad way

Today in Washington DC a "secular summit" took place, attended by quite a few congressmen and women.

What was a bit different about this summit was the pricing structure. At the website we are told the summit is: "FREE for students, women, LGBTQ community, and minorities".

That would make the summit free for just about everybody. Except white men, who are expected to pay $100.00 each.

Now, this is a small matter in the greater scheme of things. But it does reveal, I think, a certain mindset on the political left. Either it is being assumed that all white men are so privileged that they can afford to pay when others can't, or else it is a kind of punitive attitude toward white men for supposedly being an oppressor class.

Either way, it shows a deepening hostility toward us on the left. You can only hope that it will alienate some young white men from identifying with such leftist politics.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pictures of decline

There's an interesting page up at the Daily Mail which shows before and after photos of urban decay in the American city of Detroit. Here, for instance, is a series of photos showing Hazelridge Street:

Hazelridge St, Detroit, 2009

Hazelridge St, 2011

Hazelridge St, 2013

We don't have the experience in Australia of parts of a major city decaying and returning to nature.

One part of the reason for the decay is the effect of violence amongst a black American underclass in Detroit. (Back in 2011 an Australian man bought a run down block of apartments in Detroit with the intention of doing it up; it went wrong when he attempted to evict a woman for not paying her rent - the woman's father, despite being a lottery winner and having the money to support his daughter, chose to gun down the Australian.)

However, what makes me curious is the following. In Detroit property taxes are very high compared to elsewhere, because of high spending and a failure of many to pay taxes to begin with. That was part of what pushed some residents and businesses out of the city.

In other words, it's difficult to maintain civilisational standards when a declining percentage of the population are working to support those who are not working. The burden on the productive increases until it becomes too much and they seek a life elsewhere.

But is this just happening in Detroit? It seems to me that there is a slow shift along the same lines more generally in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West. I noticed, for instance, that 1 in 6 American men in their prime working years are now no longer active in the workforce. What if that percentage continues to worsen? Is there a breaking point at which decline becomes obvious? What, for instance, if the percentage were 1 in 4 American men?

Monday, June 09, 2014

Boris at it again

Boris Johnson is the supposedly "conservative" Lord Mayor of London. He is, in fact, typically right-liberal in his politics and has described himself as a libertarian.

Right-liberals often believe that we fulfil ourselves by being self-made in the free market and this means that:

i) they have a positive view of the free movement of labour along market lines


ii) they think that economic migrants, who take the initiative to improve themselves economically by migrating to a wealthier country, are an ideal group - more so than the native citizens

Therefore, right-liberals are often committed to high levels of migration. So it's not surprising that Boris Johnson has come out with this:
London will fall like the Greek city of Sparta if it turns away immigrants like the ancient militaristic regime which "kicked people out", Boris Johnson has said.

David Cameron's pledge to bring down immigration into the tens of thousands was a "policy failure" and should never have been attempted, the Mayor said.

"Look at Athens and Sparta," Johnson told the Telegraph. "Athens was an open city and Sparta kicked people out. Go and look at the ruins of Athens and Sparta now and ask which of the two cities made the greatest contribution to civilisation. Look at the greatness of the American economy."

Again, typically for a right-liberal Boris wants open borders combined with assimilation:
But Johnson said that efforts to celebrate and promote multiculturalism had meant many migrant communities had not felt the need to integrate. "I want to see people proud of Britain, we have to insist on that. We went through a long period of cultural laissez-faire, where we didn't understand that they want to speak English."

Interesting that Johnson wants people to be proud of Britain and yet he doesn't think the British can run a city by themselves but need constant waves of foreign migration to keep things going.

Nor is becoming yet another globalised, multicultural city likely to improve London's contribution to civilisation. Cities like London and Paris once had a culture and heritage of their own which gave them a unique character and charm. But if these places instead become globalised centres of finance dedicated to economic matters alone, then what is to distinguish them from all other such centres scattered around the globe?

(Johnson also appears to be wrong when it comes to the history of Athens and Sparta. In fact it was the famous Athenian leader Pericles who changed the law on citizenship to require that citizens had both an Athenian father and mother. Sparta had no such law.)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The decline a moral collapse?

Tiberge at Gallia Watch posted the following answer as to what went wrong in the West:
...there has been a moral collapse in the West. The moral collapse preceded the propaganda which in turn nourished the moral collapse. The enemy is both within and without, but mostly within. We renounced the moral code of the past many centuries (you could say five thousand years, beginning with Abraham), for reasons that have not been definitively clarified, though there is much speculation. If better people cannot win back their cultures, or at least secede from the enemy to form new States, then there will be no future for the West. However, I try to remain "on alert" - on the lookout for good signs, such as the recent elections in France and Europe. And the Internet prints the truth which must have some effect in the long term. An economic collapse can always be overcome, but a moral change, a mutation, is much more difficult to comprehend.

There's much merit in this answer. The Western intelligentsia was sickly as far back as the early 1900s (remember Randolph Bourne). It lost the connection to the great values that had once inspired Westerners, and once this emptiness became apparent then it was inevitable that there would be a fall.

But what brought about a sickly intelligentsia? I'm not sure that you can isolate one single reason. Some people go very far back and blame the rise of nominalism in philosophy, namely the idea that there are only individual instances of things and that universals do not exist.

Others take aim at scientism, the idea that the only valid knowledge is that acquired using the scientific method (which means that only concrete, measurable entities are taken seriously).

Western philosophy also took a turn toward scepticism, in which there is doubt that we can have true knowledge of external reality.

It seems to me, though, that the early forms of liberalism are partly to blame for setting up the fall. The idea that society can be organised around the pursuit of rational self-interest in the market cuts right across the older ethos, as does the view that the good can be relegated to a private affair within the civil realm whilst the state remains neutral.

The Anglo cultures were also hamstrung by a tendency to include liberalism itself as part of the ethnic identity; if you believe that being liberal is part of being Anglo, then how do you give it up when it becomes clear that liberalism is undermining the existence of the Anglo peoples?

Finally, the strongest and healthiest current within Western cultures was the one which fused Christian and aristocratic virtues. Whilst this current remained strong, it could keep the West afloat. But in parts of the West both Christianity and the aristocracy went into decline in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

It's true that Christianity retained popular support for much of the 1900s. But the Western intelligentsia had mostly dropped away from Christianity by about the 1880s; and the position of the English aristocracy declined markedly from the very early 1900s.

The problem, then, was both a decline of the healthy current and the existence of a number of competing currents which were incompatible with the older values.

One final point to make is that it is difficult to simply blame the left for what went wrong, as the modern left grew out of the demoralisation rather than bringing it about. In other words, the modern left is more a consequence of the decline; it is what emerges when things have already hollowed out.

A terrific Marine Le Pen interview

The French National Front had a great election result last month, winning 25% of the vote. The leader of the National Front, Marine Le Pen, has now given an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel (hat tip: Gallia Watch)

I thought she answered the sometimes hostile questions very well. It seems to work well for her that she doesn't allow herself to be put on the defensive. Here she is, for instance, on the issue of immigration:
SPIEGEL: Front National is an anti-immigration party. Polls show that immigration is the issue of greatest concern to voters.

Le Pen: Yes, we support putting a stop to immigration.

SPIEGEL: Why such xenophobia?

Le Pen: Xenophobia is the hatred of foreigners. I don't hate anyone.

I do have something of a disagreement with Marine Le Pen in this exchange:
SPIEGEL: Is your success the product of the failure of the elite? Socialist politician Samia Ghali argues that the French wanted someone who spoke to their hearts and that you, unfortunately, were the only one who did so.

Le Pen: Our political class no longer has any convictions. You can only pass along the beliefs that you hold. They no longer believe in France -- they have a post-national worldview. I call them France-skeptics. That's why democracy is collapsing here in France.

SPIEGEL: Prime Minister Manuel Valls still has convictions. They just aren't the same ones that you have.

Le Pen: I don't believe that. He is a man with no convictions whatsoever, just like Nicolas Sarkozy. These are people who will tell you anything just to further their little careers.

Coining the term "France-skeptic" is very good. However, it's not so easy to say that the French elite no longer has any convictions. I understand why Marine le Pen says this: the modern elites have lost the connection to the greater aspects of human culture, so they certainly appear to be empty souls.

Nonetheless, modern liberalism has found a way to gain conviction, and that is through a procedural morality in which we are each individually supposed to self-define our own life goods, which then means that the moral thing is to not interfere in each person doing this, which raises qualities like non-discrimination, tolerance, diversity, openness to the other and so on to a moral standard, with persecution for those who are deemed to breach these standards.

In fact, one of the problems for traditionalists is that we have not been as strong in our convictions as we ought to have been. We can learn here from Marine Le Pen, who does come across as very strong in her beliefs and in her faith in what can be achieved.

EU elections: something to celebrate

European elections were held last month and the results have been described as a political earthquake. A number of parties that are either opposed to open borders or who wish to maintain their own nation states made major breakthroughs. Eurosceptic parties now make up about one third of the European parliament.

I'm not sure that any of the parties are, strictly speaking, traditionalist in their politics. Even so, it's great to see the shaking up of the liberal consensus in Europe. Amongst the top performers were:

France: The National Front achieved the highest percentage of votes of any
French party at 25%. The ruling socialists scored only 14%.

Denmark: The Danish People's Party finished with 26% of the vote.

Germany: The Alternative for Germany, a new party, scored 7% of the vote. That may not seem much, but it is a great step forward and will give the party credibility.

Austria: The Freedom Party scored 20%.

The Netherlands: The Freedom Party scored 13%.

Italy: The Five Star Party scored 21%.

Great Britain: UKIP 27.5%

The results stunned the ruling elites in Europe. This was the reaction in France:
President Francois Hollande's office said he would hold urgent talks today with top government ministers in what French media called a crisis meeting.

Speaking before the meeting, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said it was 'a political earthquake in France' and 'a very grave moment for France and for Europe', while ecology minister Segolene Royale said: 'It’s a shock on a global scale.'
Excellent. Hopefully at least some of these parties will be able to capitalise on their strong showing and open up political space in Europe for those opposed to globalisation and open borders.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Changing the military for what purpose?

Three years ago, the Gillard Government announced that women would be able to serve as combat troops in the Australian military. So how many of the 3100 women in the armed services have taken up that offer?

So far not a single woman has joined the infantry in the regular army; and just two women have signed up for the infantry in the Army Reserve. The numbers are slightly higher for the artillery and engineering: 15 have signed up for these roles in the regular army.

That's despite a lot of advertising promoting women in the armed services.

The changes to the army are not being made because many thousands of women are having their dreams shattered by not being able to charge out of foxholes. It's clear that at the moment there is hardly any female interest at all in combat roles.

One of the consequences for the average woman in all this is that if it becomes accepted that women are suitable for combat roles, then the next time there is conscription it will be difficult to avoid the call for women to be conscripted alongside men.

I read an opinion piece discussing this issue recently. The author, a feminist woman named Sara Erkel, believes that women should be able to choose to sign up for combat roles but should not be drafted.

She has the following arguments:
  • women are less physically strong than men so that a country not drafting women would have a battlefield advantage over the country that did
  • women prisoners of war would risk sexual assault
  • women are needed to have babies
  • women don't earn as much as men and therefore shouldn't be required to make the same sacrifices for their country
The problem with the first three arguments is that they not only apply to women drafted into combat roles, but also to women who volunteer for them. A woman who volunteers and is taken prisoner is just as much at risk of sexual assault as a woman who is drafted. A country loses the fertility of the women who volunteer and are killed just as much as the women who are drafted. And it is likely that there will be a reduction in physical strength requirements for women who volunteer, so the unequal playing field argument partly holds there as well.

As for the last argument, if military service is tied to income and job status, that would mean that feminist professors ought to be drafted well ahead of male janitors.

Anyway, once the idea takes hold that there are no principled reasons why women should not serve in combat, then it's likely that none of the specific arguments made by Sara Erkel will hold ground.

Monday, June 02, 2014

The third degree of hostility

On the left, the Elliot Rodger murders are being blamed on privileged, entitled, white male rage. An example is a piece in Salon by Brittney Cooper with the following heading and subheading:
White guy killer syndrome: Elliot Rodger’s deadly, privileged rage

Can I go ahead and scream yet? It's time for America to admit what it's long resisted: White male privilege kills

Leftists like Brittney Cooper picked up on Elliot Rodger's sense of entitlement and fitted it very quickly to their belief that white males are a privileged class in society.

They did so despite the fact that Elliot Rodger identified as Eurasian rather than as white and that he ended up expressing hatred for both white men and women.

But the bigger picture is that leftist magazines like Salon feel comfortable expressing such open hostility toward white men. A sample of how Brittney Cooper feels about us:
But I am saying that we cannot understand Elliot Rodger’s clear mental health issues and view of himself as the supremely forsaken victim here outside a context of racism, white supremacy and patriarchy. I’m also saying that white male privilege might be considered a mental health issue, because it allows these dudes to move through the world believing that their happiness, pleasure and well-being matters more than the death and suffering of others.

This is madness.

But it is neither singular, nor anomalous. Every few years, the American public has to watch in horror as some white kid goes on a rampage, killing everything from babies to old people. Yet, neither the press nor the law will understand such perpetrators as monsters or terrorists. Few will have a conversation about white male pathology and the ways that systems of whiteness and patriarchy continue to produce white men who think like this.

We're being associated here with baby killing.

This is the third degree of hostility toward white people. The first degree began back in the late 1800s, when the Anglo-centric view of the classical liberals of the time, in which Anglo-Americans were thought to have a special dispensation to bring freedom to the world, and immigrants were therefore expected to assimilate to Anglo-Saxonism, was replaced with a pluralistic view in which all ethnic groups were to contribute equally to the American project.

This left the mainstream ethnic identity in a difficult situation as it had historic claims to be something more than just one element in a melting pot; for the new understanding to work, the mainstream ethnic group had to be reduced to something less than it had been. But it was still allowed to be one positive element in the mix.

The second degree of hostility arose at around the time of WWI. This was when Anglo intellectuals, feeling alienated from the mainstream culture, began to assert the idea that there was no worthy Anglo-American culture, and that Anglo-Americans should therefore be cosmopolitans intent on enjoying the vibrant cultures of others instead.

The third degree of hostility is the more aggressive one which asserts not just that Anglos, but whites in general, not only have no historic claim to be anything more than one element of America, and not only have no genuine culture of their own, but worse yet are responsible for systems of hatred and discrimination designed to harm others.

You can find expressions of all three degrees of hostility toward whites in America. But, clearly, Brittney Cooper prefers the third degree.

The traditionalist response to the Elliot Rodger crimes was put well by Jack Cashill (about whose politics I know very little):
Yes, there is a sickness afoot in the land, but feminists have no more hope of curing it with sexual harassment laws or enforced sensitivity training than Rodger did with his “day of retribution.”

Valenti and others on the left failed to see that this sickness set in when they and their ideological allies began to dismantle protective institutions of lasting value like family, community, nation, faith and married love.

...One Twitter post in defense of the parents sheds unwitting light on the world Rodger inhabited.

“Elliot Rodger’s parents gave, gave, gave,” reads the tweet. “Money. Housing. Resources. Therapy. Life Coaches. They got the police involved. Nothing happened.”

Here is what their parents did not give their son: a home, a neighborhood, a community, a church, a faith, a God, their time, their attention.

Feminists often talk about patriarchy as a negative thing, as a system designed to privilege men and oppress women. But in my understanding a patriarch is a man of culture and character who understands the need to uphold in society the kind of structures that Jack Cashill talks about. To describe a man as a patriarch of his community ought to be considered a very great compliment.

Modern Western society lacks patriarchs and so our young men are left with a "thin" understanding in which life is thought to be simply about having fun. In a well-balanced society fathers would be responsible not just for providing (being out of the home in pursuit of a career) but for cultivating in their sons and in the wider community a sense of the importance of:
  • masculine character, with a corresponding pride in manhood
  • family lineage, of ancestry and of the good name of the family
  • the history of one's own people/ethny
  • a man's role within the family as a husband and father
  • men's role within the community, as protectors and as patriarchs
  • one's faith; what one owes to God; of reverence and piety
  • of culture as a higher expression of individual personality, of national character and of the spiritual life
  • a connection to the land and to nature; a love of place

We traditionalists have to hold to this understanding at a time when the surrounding culture does not support us. We need to create the space which will not only allow us to hold firm, but one day to push back and retake some of the ground that has been lost.