Monday, February 20, 2017

What are the feminine virtues?

Mark Moncrieff alerted me to an interesting post by Dalrock. It's about a Lutheran pastor, Hans Fiene, who thinks that Millennials are having less sex because young men are too invested in porn and social media to pursue relationships with women. According to Pastor Fiene,
As men pursue women, however, they come to develop a more robust appreciation of what women have to offer them beyond physical beauty and sexual gratification. They become more exposed to the various feminine virtues—things like kindness, compassion, selflessness, loyalty, tenderness. And the more decent men encounter “the imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit,” as St Peter calls it, the more they come to value this inner beauty over raw sexuality.

This jumped out at me, because I am of a generation of men that would not identify women with qualities like kindness, compassion, selflessness, loyalty and tenderness - certainly not when it comes to their personal relationships with men.

But all of this raises the question of how we define masculine and feminine virtues. And it seems to me that to qualify as one of these two conditions need to be met.

The first is that the quality should be characteristic of that particular sex. So if we say that courage is a masculine virtue, then we should expect that many men will have that particular quality, particularly relative to women.

The second is that the quality should be part of how we define what it is to be a man or a woman. The quality, in other words, should make up part of what we perceive to be the essence of the masculine or the feminine. We would therefore want men or women to deliberately cultivate these qualities so that they are able to play their necessary masculine or feminine role in society; so that they can reach fruition as men and women, successfully embodying their own created nature; and so that they can stand fully inside their own spiritual nature as a man or a woman and have that completing sense of genuinely feeling "this is what I am meant to be".

To give an example of how this works, there was a scene from Australian reality TV in which a group of people were sent to live in the African jungle. The women arrived first at the isolated jungle camp and saw that the open air beds were arranged in two circles, the inner one closer to the fire and the outer one bordering the jungle itself. The women immediately expressed fear about sleeping close to the jungle with its wild animals and hoped that the men would agree to sleep protectively in the outer circle.

This did not make the women seem to be lacking in feminine virtue, because we do not instinctively believe that courage defines a woman the way it does a man. We would not respect the women less, as women, for wanting to be physically protected this way. But if a group of men had been fearful and had urged the women to sleep on the outer, then we would have taken this to diminish their manhood.

So, to get back to Pastor Fiene, we have to ask whether his list of feminine virtues meets both criteria I outlined above. The answer, in my opinion, is that some of them do, but only with conditions applied.

It's easier to begin with the qualities that don't meet the criteria. The most obvious one is loyalty. There is no doubt that men would like women to be loyal and to cultivate this quality in themselves. But it just does not seem to me to be characteristic of women - it is a quality that is far stronger in men. So it fails to meet the first criterion.

In what ways do women fail to show loyalty? If you have ever worked in a female environment, you will know that there are women who seek in-group conformity by turning on some hapless member of the group and making them persona non grata. It can be demoralising as a man to watch this play out precisely because of the breach of loyalty on display. In personal relationships, too, many women appear by nature to be serial monogamists who find it difficult to retain attraction for one man over the course of a lifetime.

To say that loyalty is a feminine virtue is likely to blind men to the difficulty of maintaining a system of monogamous pair bonding. It seems more truthful to recognise that civilisations arise when men are strong enough to keep women within a system of marriage and family. The Roman historian Tacitus, witnessing the decline of the family in his culture, praised the Germanic tribes in this regard:
Much better still are those tribes in which only virgins marry and where marriage is performed only once for a wife with a hope and a vow. Thus they take only one husband, in this way both being of one body and life, lest there be second thoughts or belated desires, so that the women love not so much their husbands as their married state.

Tacitus here recognises the difficulty of women remaining loyal to their husbands in a personal sense, but thinks that if women are not given the opportunity of "second thoughts or belated desires" that they will at least stay committed to their married state (hat tip: David Grant at Social Matter for the translation).

And what of kindness, compassion and tenderness? The problem here is that women show more of these qualities than men in some aspects of life, but less in others. For instance, the best women do show these qualities when it comes to the care of their children, of the elderly and of the sick. But they do not show them when it comes to their husbands. It has been noted at the red pill websites, correctly in my experience, that it is a considerable error on the part of husbands to seek support from their wives for troubles they are experiencing, as their wives are likely to lose attraction for them, sometimes disastrously so.

It's important to make this distinction, because men should know, realistically, that it is not in women's nature to love their husbands compassionately. However, I do agree with Pastor Fiene that kindness, compassion and tenderness for children, the elderly and the sick are feminine virtues, both because many women do have these qualities and because it is a defining aspect of the feminine (i.e. if a woman did not show these qualities we would think that she was not meeting an aspect of her own feminine essence).

So, despite my initial scepticism, I do believe that Pastor Fiene has correctly identified some of the feminine virtues.

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

A rad trad criticism of liberalism


Some readers might find this interesting. It's a description of the outlook of radical traditionalists within the Catholic Church. There is clearly an overlap with the criticism of liberalism I have made at this site:
The “radical” school rejects the view that Catholicism and liberal democracy are fundamentally compatible. Rather, liberalism cannot be understood to be merely neutral and ultimately tolerant toward (and even potentially benefitting from) Catholicism. Rather, liberalism is premised on a contrary view of human nature (and even a competing theology) to Catholicism. Liberalism holds that human beings are essentially separate, sovereign selves who will cooperate based upon grounds of utility. According to this view, liberalism is not a “shell” philosophy that allows a thousand flowers to bloom. Rather, liberalism is constituted by a substantive set of philosophical commitments that are deeply contrary to the basic beliefs of Catholicism, among which (Catholics hold) are the belief that we are by nature relational, social and political creatures; that social units like the family, community and Church are “natural,” not merely the result of individuals contracting temporary arrangements; that liberty is not a condition in which we experience the absence of constraint, but the exercise of self-limitation; and that both the “social” realm and the economic realm must be governed by a thick set of moral norms, above all, self-limitation and virtue.

Because of these positions, the “radical” position—while similarly committed to the pro-life, pro-marriage teachings of the Church—is deeply critical of contemporary arrangements of market capitalism, is deeply suspicious of America’s imperial ambitions, and wary of the basic premises of liberal government. It is comfortable with neither party, and holds that the basic political division in America merely represents two iterations of liberalism—the pursuit of individual autonomy in either the social/personal sphere (liberalism) or the economic realm (“conservatism”—better designated as market liberalism).

This is a principled criticism of liberalism, one that reaches down to first principles. I was especially interested in the final observation - that the mainstream parties are usually just "two iterations of liberalism," with the left wing party oriented to "the pursuit of individual autonomy in either the social/personal sphere" and the right wing party being oriented to the pursuit of individual autonomy in the economic realm.

Regular readers will know that I agree with this understanding of mainstream politics (though the emergence of an anti-globalist right is starting to modify the political landscape).

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"The long-held belief that each generation should do better than the last is under threat"

Dalrock has found an interesting report from the UK about the declining earnings of young men there. The gist of it is that an increasing number of young men in the UK are working in lower-paid industries, such as retail and bars and hotels. They are now earning significantly less in their 20s than did the previous generation. Women's wages have stagnated rather than fallen.

Some excerpts from a Business Insider article:
Men in their 20s are earning significantly less than the generation before them and it is closing the gender pay gap.

Millennial men have earned less than Generation X men in every year between the ages of 22 and 30, resulting in a cumulative pay deficit during their 20s of £12,500 ($15,638). However, the unit found that millennial women's pay is stagnant compared to the last generation.

This in turn means the gender pay gap is closing — but it's not good news. In fact, Resolution Foundation says "millennial women have experienced neither generational pay progress or decline. This has narrowed the gender pay gap for millennials – but for the wrong reasons."

"The long-held belief that each generation should do better than the last is under threat," said Torsten Bell, Executive Director at the Resolution Foundation.

"Millennials today are the first to earn less than their predecessors."

Dalrock connects this decline in male earnings to the decline in marriage. This argument is clear enough. If young men no longer believe that being a provider is a pathway into a happy and successful marriage, then there is less incentive for them to commit to a full-time career.

As for generational decline, that has been obvious to me for some time, but it's noteworthy that a business newspaper should acknowledge it. If you have a quasi-religious belief in progress it must be particularly challenging to have to acknowledge generational decline.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Social media

I've decided to get more involved with social media. First step is Twitter, but there'll be more later. I've put a link in the sidebar, but the Twitter page is here.

Ever heard a feminist say she just wants equality? Read on...

When a feminist is on the back foot, there's an excellent chance she will defend herself by saying "But feminists just want equality between men and women". The reality is different.

Take recent events at the University of Sydney. It turns out that over 90% of the intake into the veterinary science course at that university is now female. Over 90%.

The university has therefore accepted a scholarship for the course which favours male applicants who are willing to work in rural areas (there already exist scholarships to support women undertaking the course).

What do you think was the response of feminists at the University of Sydney? Do you think they said "Yes, fair enough, after all we complain when engineering courses are mostly male, so it would be hypocritical of us to object to a scholarship for men in a course absolutely dominated by women."

Well, you probably guessed that campus feminists did not take this line. Here is their response:
Imogen Grant, women’s officer for the university’s students’ representative council, described the reaction of female students as “horrified.”

“To have male-only scholarships is to continue male privilege within society,” explained Grant.

“I was really surprised,” said one unnamed, female veterinary medicine student. “I really thought that it was a mistake – some sort of clerical error. Sexism exists in our society but I thought the uni held itself to a higher standard."

More from the women's officer Ms Grant:
Ms Grant said while the gender specification might be within the law it did "not mean that is how the law should be implemented".

"It is no excuse for the university to be complacent about discrimination," she said.

"Funding issues are a big part of many people’s decision about whether or not to pursue study. This scholarship would force many women to self-exclude."

“Making gender a deciding factor between applicants illustrates that a woman’s right to an education is not as important as her male counterparts.

"The fact that the university has no problem with offering a scholarship that excludes women calls into question whether they are truly committed to combatting sexism on campus.”

And more from the female vet student:
“It’s poorly thought out, their reasoning. They’re not addressing gender inequality in an intelligent way, and I think the university should be held to a higher standard.…It seems they care more about money than they do about my being a woman and getting equal opportunities.”

The female student went so far as to claim of her male counterparts: "their low numbers are a byproduct of privilege and not oppression."

These feminist women are using patriarchy theory and leftist identity politics to justify the idea that despite being in the 90% majority in veterinary courses that they are still victims of sexism whilst men are privileged oppressors.

Patriarchy theory claims that everything in society is set up for a group of people classed as "men" to get an unearned privilege at the expense of those "othered" as "women". Therefore, women are necessarily eternal victims, because that's what the system does. And in leftist identity politics, men are tagged as privileged oppressors which means that it is thought right that they lose moral and material status in society.

You can see in the University of Sydney story what this kind of political ideology is used to justify. Even when women make up over 90% of veterinary science students, feminists still insist that these female students are struggling for equal opportunity and inclusion, and that the lack of men in the course is evidence of male privilege.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Kristol wants to replace the white American working class

Here is a good traditionalist quote from Abbé Grégoire Celier, who I believe is a French cleric affiliated with the Society of St Pius X (via Wrath of Gnon):



Note the insistence that a nation is not an aggregate of standardized and interchangeable individuals. I was reminded of the relevance of this when reading about comments made recently by Bill Kristol, a leading American neoconservative. During a debate on the difficulties being experienced by the white American working-class, Kristol took the view that rather than trying to help them by limiting low skilled immigration, they should instead be replaced via open borders:
Look, to be totally honest, if things are so bad as you say with the white working class, don’t you want to get new Americans in? Seriously, you can make the case—this is going on too long and this is too crazy, probably, and I hope this thing isn’t being videotaped or ever shown anywhere. Whatever tiny, pathetic future I have is going to totally collapse.

You can make a case that America has been great because every—I think John Adams said this—basically if you’re a free society, a capitalist society, after two or three generations of hard work everyone becomes kind of decadent, lazy, spoiled—whatever. Then, luckily, you have these waves of people coming in from Italy, Ireland, Russia, and now Mexico, who really want to work hard and really want to succeed and really want their kids to live better lives than them and aren’t sort of clipping coupons or hoping that they can hang on and meanwhile grew up as spoiled kids and so forth. In that respect, I don’t know how this moment is that different from the early 20th century.

This is a rampantly ideological position to take. Although it is no doubt true that some migrants do work hard to establish themselves, the statistics clearly show that many immigrant groups are far more likely to be welfare dependent than the natives. Consider this:
In 2012, an average of 41.6% of African Americans received means-tested benefits each month. About 18% of Asians or Pacific Islanders and 13% of whites received benefits each month. Thirty-six percent of Hispanics of any race received government assistance.

Bill Kristol has things exactly the wrong way around. White Americans are far less likely to be "clipping coupons" than the wave of immigrants from Mexico. And yet Kristol calls white Americans "decadent, lazy, spoiled" and believes that they need to be race replaced by "waves of people" from Mexico.

Kristol's attitude is also rampantly ideological in the sense that he sees people as interchangeable units, with those best fitted to the needs of the market being the ones who can justify their place in society. In theory, the liberal take on society is supposed to uphold the rights of the individual and to promote "individuality". But look at what happens in practice. Individuals are stripped of those qualities that tie them to a particular place, people and tradition, and are instead standardised as part of an anonymous mass serving the market, and can therefore be readily replaced.

If you can be so readily replaced on the grounds of lacking dedication to the market then you cannot claim to have much standing as an individual in society. You have value not on the grounds of your individuality but rather on your utility.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Hillary: the future is female

So feminists want equality? Really? Then why do they have, as their battle cry, "the future is female"?

Hillary Clinton has just released a video (screenshot below) in which she says "I remain convinced that, yes, the future is female."



How can any self-respecting man consider himself a leftist? Why would you attach yourself to a movement which pits men and women against each other as hostile, competing classes and which then asserts that the future is female?

There is no future for any people which does not take seriously the need for men and women to successfully pair bond and to raise children together. Nor is there a future for any people which does not raise young men to be masculine and to embrace their role of organising to protect the tradition they belong to.

Hillary Clinton is the failed past we have to move beyond, not the successful future.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Being politically disarmed

Classical liberals seem to be figuring out which way the wind is blowing. I've noticed more of them trying to stake a place in the alt right. On one level this is a good thing, as it further isolates the left. However, I would caution anyone on the alt right from adopting a classical liberal politics.

The classical liberals I am talking about are trying to appeal to disaffected young white men on the following basis:

1.The left uses identity politics to rank you as belonging to an evil group. Classical liberals, though, are colour blind and only recognise an individual person's character, not their race.

2. Classical liberals support free speech, unlike the left which organises campus riots against speakers they don't like.

It's true that classical liberals do have these beliefs and that they might have a superficial appeal for white men who are tired of being cast as the evil oppressor. But classical liberalism is not an effective way of opposing left liberalism.

I'd like to focus on just one reason why this is the case. Let's say that white Americans were to embrace the classical liberal position. That would mean white Americans would play by a certain set of rules, namely to see themselves as individuals only, self-reliant and personally responsible, but blind as a matter of principle to any interest they may have as white Americans or to the future existence of white America as an entity.

Would all Americans do the same? No. Other groups who embrace a left-liberalism would play by a different set of rules. They would believe that they were part of an oppressed race and that by organising and acting together in unity that they would promote the cause of freedom, justice and equality.

So the classical liberal pitch to disaffected white men is not really all that helpful. It's not going to stop these men from being painted by those playing by leftist rules as evil oppressors - that will continue on as before. But it will disarm them politically from acting in unity together to effectively defend their own larger identity and interests.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Spanish PM: "I am not in favour of borders"

The "conservative" (centre-right) Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, when responding to a question about Donald Trump's immigration measures, said:
Well, I am not in favour of vetoes or borders nor do I believe the world will walk in that direction. So I hope that in the future that this will be fixed and we will all be in a situation of normality.

He is not in favour of borders. A breakaway right-wing party responded as follows:
The prime minister’s comments were slammed by the president of VOX, a right wing, Christian democratic party created by former PP members, who argued that “a nation without borders is not a nation. A leader who says he’s not in favour of borders is a leader who is not willing to defend his homeland”, Santiago Abascal said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The liberal mainstream, whether of left or right, is sticking with globalisation. I can only hope that this is met with the rise of a patriotic party in Spain as has happened elsewhere in Europe.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Setting out a vision of society

Liberal Party Senator George Brandis is Australia's Attorney-General. Some years ago he wrote this:
To the liberal, the most fundamental characteristic of any society is that it is a coming together of a number of individual persons, each of whom has a unique identity, unique needs and aspirations, the individuality of each of whom is equally important. The pursuit of individual ends, subject to the agreed mutual constraints necessary to social existence, is the dynamic force of human progress.

This is the liberal view of society. The conceive it to be a conglomerate of individuals, each of whom has a unique identity and aspirations, and each of whom is in pursuit of individual ends. The only caveat on all of this is that there will be "agreed mutual constraints necessary to social existence" - so social existence is not a driver of things at all.

And liberals have pushed Western societies a considerable way toward this ideal. Think of life now in one of the big multicultural cities. A lot of people end up living the liberal way whether they like it or not. Many single people, in particular, are now living the way that liberals want them to: without deeper connection to others, but in pursuit of purely individual ends, such as career and consumption.

It's important to grasp what the liberal ideal is in order to understand the importance of the traditionalist alternative. For traditionalists, some aspects of the identity and aspirations of individuals will be unique, but some will not. If a Japanese person identifies as ethnically Japanese, then he will share this part of his identity with millions of others. If he identifies as a man, then he shares this part of his identity with billions of others. Perhaps he might identify as a father, a son or a brother - again, this is a shared identity. He might identify as a Buddhist, sharing this identity with countless fellow Buddhists.

These aspects of his identity can only be expressed in community with others. To be a father requires a family. To be ethnically Japanese requires the existence of a Japanese ethny. To be a Buddhist will usually be expressed through connection to a particular church, culture and tradition.

And this is one way that individuals come to recognise the existence of a common good. If your sense of who you are is tied to an identity that you share with others, then you will be concerned to uphold the larger communal tradition in which you are able to express this identity.

You might, in fact, see a larger communal tradition as being important not only to the expression of your identity, but also to your social commitments, to your sense of belonging, to your connection to the past and future, and to your connectedness and attachment to a particular culture, land and landscape. You might also see this communal tradition as something that is inherently good, as a unique expression of human life with its own transcendent essence, that draws out your love and your desire to represent the best of this tradition, to protect and preserve it, and to make your own positive contribution to it.

And all of this will help add a richness and meaning to your own individual life, one that is torn away by the liberal vision of society, in which there is no shared identity and no common good, but only you alone as a "unique" individual with "unique" aspirations.

The liberal view of society makes us all interchangeable. Yes, that makes it radically "inclusive" but only by stripping us of the qualities that situate us deeply within a larger communal tradition of our own.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Great speech by Geert Wilders

A reader, EuroSwede, sent me a link to a speech given by the Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, to a conference in Germany. The speech is therefore in German, but there are English subtitles.

Wilders leads a party in the Netherlands, the PVV, which has recently increased in popularity - it is now supported by about 1 in 3 Dutch people and is projected to be the largest single party after the next election.

It is not easy to categorise Wilders' politics. He has definitely broken with mainstream liberalism, especially in his defence of patriotism and his opposition to open borders. However, he also identifies the core Western values as being equality and freedom as a liberal might do.

The problem is that if you keep equality and freedom as the guiding principles, unless you explicitly redefine them away from their liberal meaning, then you will eventually find your way back to a liberal rejection of patriotism as not allowing people the freedom to define who they are by their own choices, or as violating equality by including some and excluding others because of an "accident of birth".

Even so, it is a great, inspiring speech and you will most likely want to listen to the whole twenty minutes of it. I really do hope that the Dutch give their support to Wilders in the upcoming elections.