We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The enemy of our enemy…

…can also be our enemy too. Just because a person dislikes the regulatory state, that does not mean they see several liberty as first of all virtues.

Here on Samizdata.net, we have written many articles abominating the coercive law enforced process of moral relativism called ‘Political Correctness’. As a result, it is a measure of how bizarre some commenters can become when they starts accusing us of being PC because we do not have a problem with women joining the military, regardless of the fact none of us ever suggested a significant number of women have the physical strength to be front line infantry. It is apparent that the reason we are called ‘PC’ is that we do not think the only reasonable role for a woman in society is that of bearing and raising children.

Now I for one am all in favour of people who wish to have and raise children doing exactly that. Yet when it is suggested that a woman who might like to, say, spend her time flying a combat jet or wandering around lawless Basra as a military policewoman, we start seeing quack-science trotted out about ‘evolutionary biology’ and psychology and words to the effect that ‘real women are just unsuited to such things’ regardless of the mountain of evidence to the contrary… whilst somehow missing the rather obvious fact that actual biological evolution seems to have equipped woman, as well as men, with vastly powerful brains imbued with a capacity for reason and informed choices beyond crude instinctual motivations. Women have absurdly overpowered heads if the totality of their lives is driven by evolved psychological imperatives to immerse themselves in simple tasks such as having sex and keeping the house clean. That some of Samizdata.net’s commenters takes such an old style ‘breeders’ line is somewhat surprising these days given the avalanche of evidence that falsifies this ‘weaker sex’ theory (physical strength is not the issue here), but what is rather more remarkable is that the commenters, whilst hardly your typical libertarians, are not entirely out of sympathy with what is, for want of a better phrase, the libertarian meme. This fact is what I find really fascinating. Presumably that is also why they continue to read Samizdata.net in spite of the hostile reception they tend to get from other commenters.

I think Hans-Herman Hoppe, of whom I have written before, is probably operating from similar intellectual instincts. He argues that ‘natural’ societies will inevitably exert what he might describe euphemistically as ‘dis-affinity’, and I would describe as racism and bigotry, if only the over-mighty state was not enforcing tolerance for people ‘not like us’: racial minorities, dopers, punk rockers and homosexuals would, if tolerated at all, be confined to ghettos because when all property is private and property rights are absolute, such ‘undesirables’ would be unable to live amongst the Volk not because there is a law against it, but because a society unfettered by a state and imbued with absolute property rights (and a complex network of property covenants to prevent social change) would just demand things be that way.

Why? Hoppe would argue that it is because that is the way of human nature, which is of course exactly what our quixotic sexual determinist commenters argue as well: that is just the way we are… or in my view, because that is just the way they are and they are thus convinced that must therefore be the ‘natural order’ of things.

Presumably our ‘nature’ obsessed commenters notions are just a variant of this sort of thinking. As I do not know the commenters in question personally, I can only make conjectures as to the reasons they think the things they do. I suspect our extravagantly sexist commenters see the modern state as the cause of what to them seems like widespread aberrational behaviour by millions and millions of women, and this is the fount from which their anti-statism flows… it is not a matter of ‘liberty’ per se and certainly not a matter of individualism.

No, they make it clear that the good of the society is what matters rather than the individual, presuming, as I do not, that society is more than the sum of its parts. However the root underpinning reasons they see the behaviour of woman who elect to stray from the path of Kinder, Kuche, Kirche as aberrational is a matter more for suited for couches in psychiatrists offices than here… I am more interested in why such people see any value in anti-statism when most people of their views are so profoundly statist.

German women!  On your backs and legs apart please!

Kinder, Kuche, Kirche

As previously mentioned I think they are out of favour with the state because they sees it as enforcing, or at least enabling, the ‘unnatural’ behaviour of women and long for the days when ‘women knew their place’ and were not just as likely to the person signing their paychecks. In their view, society in its natural state without the distortions of politically correct government would naturally use all the social pressures and opprobriums at its disposal to abominate women who decide they are rational beings with ends of their own rather than baby making factories for a presumed good of society.

In any case, I am all in favour of social bonds and peer pressures as I have no desire to live in either chaos nor in a state-regulated dystopia. The great thing about social pressure is that if it becomes intolerable you can always choose to take the counter-culture route and try to make your own way in life regardless of ‘fear or favour of the crowd’. I have nothing against women who submit to social pressure to wear a burqua, just so long as the law of the land does not also prohibit them saying ‘go fuck yourself’, moving to Venice Beach and putting on a bikini… only when social pressure is replaced by legal force do I start suggesting people start reaching for their rifles and wishing the eventual fate of Taliban Afghanistan on such a place.

But just as the cosmopolitan miscegenated streets of London prove Hoppe hopelessly wrong regarding his view of what millions of people will choose to do in a modern society if given the choice, for the truth is people are given the choice is such matters, similarly in the case of our commenters they are counfounded by the evidence of reality. The very fact so many women across the developed world start businesses, join armies, become policewomen, get high flying careers with or without children, makes the notion that any woman who is not driven by evolutionary psychological programing to hearth and home before all else is not a ‘real’ woman just as manifestly absurd… because we are not talking about a few testosterone riddled circus freaks here but many millions of people across all Western societies. So much for programing and evolution.

In an era of low infant mortality, long life spans and all manner of alternative child support systems (even, shock horror, stay-at-home dads), the instinctual primitivism of those who call for driving women back into the subservience of old most to be understood for what it is: attempts to justify misogyny. It is such arrant nonsense I am disinclined to waste more pixels on the subject.

37 comments to The enemy of our enemy…

  • Leisha Wharfield

    Really, now, I just don’t believe in feminism. Honestly, can you imagine what western society would be like if women could vote?! I’m so glad men are in charge. Let’s have a war!

    I like chatting with my girlfriends about how to get my kitchen floor sparkling clean and sharing my wonderful Tollhouse cookie recipe with them. If we tried to talk about politics and things, that would just be silly, since we know nothing about them! And studying such things would only strain our ovaries and lead to miscarriage, I’m sure.

    I have to go now. My friend is here to help me lace up my corset.

  • By way of emphasis of this point, here’s my reaction to “The Politics of Manhood.” by Emanuel McLittle.

    This man is actually credited as being a Libertarian, but if you check out what he speaks of, his form of Libertarianism is to be free from any intervention from outside as “real men” reassert control over their families and their culture.

    Penis worship, ultimately, and tremendously self-referential.

    Now, McLittle has a lot of validity to his arguments, but they all end up lurching into a harking back to the time when Men Were Men and women and children cringing obeyed.

    And of course, no Girly Men.

    -rolling eyes-

    I’m no more in favor of PC thought than anyone; but when the term is used to apply to those who dare to QUESTION conventional custom and wisdom, then I consider the usage damn deceitful.

    And there is one point to PC that gets lost in the derision of it as an odious habit of thought – which is to remember to struggle against the automatic rejection, derision and abuse of those who genuinely are different simply because they are.

    Xenophobia should not be a family value. It sure as hell ain’t a Lib value. I mean, if I’m free to do as I damn well please, an it harm none, then I should be free to – say – choose to act upon my sexuality as I see it, rather than as someone else thinks I ought to.

  • David R Beatty

    Well done, Perry. You’ve hit your normal high standards.

  • veryretired

    Collectivist thought, if that isn’t an oxymoron, comes in many forms and many disguises. The attempt to classify people by race or sex is just as meaningless as the use of economic class or any other tribal characteristic.

    The theories of the left stressed economics and class. The theories of the right stressed blood and social class. The way these supposedly disparate ideologies converge in the area of family history being the definitive factor is one of the keys to understanding the kinship between the two.

    The primary factor to remember in dealing with these various 19th century reactions to the individualism of the Enlightenment is that they all have the same object—the subordination of the individual to the collective.

    It is a measure by which to judge the moral value of an idea if it abhors the person as an independent, rational actor with self-contained power and rights, but adores the faceless group of collective cattle who follow the dictates of the “folk” or the leadership of the “vanguard”.

    Similarly, there are those for whom persons do not exist if they are the wrong sex or color. These “others” become only an inherited bundle of traits and tendencies, best left to their assigned lot in life. Such ideas are very attractive for those who long for the simplicity of the feudal society, where everyone knew there place, and there was none of this “trying to be different” all the time.

    There is little point in engaging in debate with people who view the world in “groups” or “classes” or “biological roles”. These are not rational positions, but emotional longings for a time less complex, where things didn’t change so fast, where one could judge another with a look, where women and peasants knew their place.

    And, as with the pseudo-french bear, it would be best not to continuously allow these ideologues to hijack any discussion in which they wish to intrude. Of course, that is for each to decide for their own purposes, as befits this site.

  • Charles Copeland

    Congratulations to Perry for the excellent hatchet job he performed on (I presume) the obnoxious Charles Copeland, Samizdata’s spittle-flecked Neanderthal of the Year. If only Samizdata had more contributors of Perry’s calibre, guts and intelligence, it would always be a joy to read rather than an occasional torment.

    Perry mentions the reactionary fury of certain men at the very thought that certain women might choose to pursue successful careers and focus on the extrafamilial environment. He is spot on. Clearly, Copeland has two knees that jerk at the same time. Perhaps this egocentric phallocrat should even be exhibited in a museum, together with a dinosaur.

    The question is: how would visitors distinguish between the two?

    Indeed, Copeland’s splenetic hostility and monotonous diatribes against the principles and practice of equal opportunity effectively constitute a form of verbal abuse, verbal bullying and verbal harassment of the ‘second sex’. What is particularly appalling and outrageous is his misogynistic craving to wind the clock back to the dark ages of ‘Kinder, Kirche, Kueche’ — the ultimately fascistic ideology according to which women are conceptualised as nothing other than breeding mares or meat machines, no doubt somewhat lower on the evolutionary ladder than the heterosexual White Male. It would appear that their primary function in life is to gestate, rear, cook and pray, while Mr Big, fulfilling God’s will, ‘brings home the bacon’. His diehard homilies are almost beyond parody.

    Does this dishonourable representative of the troglodyte community fail to realise that there is no need in any decent libertarian society for women to confine themselves to the home ….

    Cont. on page 94 ….

    Perry, any fool can demolish an Aunt Sally – in this case a kind of caricature of the cave-dwelling ‘Male Chauvinist Pig’ who views women as some kind of inferior species and who is infuriated at the rot that set in, well, ever since women were granted the right to vote and open their own bank accounts. Well, demolishing an Aunt Sally is not an intellectually demanding task. Above all, it does not move the ball down the field. It does not belong in the framework of a Socratic dialogue – rather, it is mere polemics. Try harder next time. Didn’t like been called PC, did you?

    What I really liked about your rant was getting the Nazi smear in first …


    Charles Copeland

    I’ll be back, but TGIF – got to go to the icebox, get out a six-pack, don my hood and white sheet, and burn a cross on the lawn …

  • Well done, Perry. Judging from Charles Copeland reaction above, you have hit the nail on the head…

  • QwertzAzerty

    I enter Samizdata for the first time, so I am not familiar with the background to this discussion. On the whole, PdH’s arguments are not bad.

    There is one point I disagree on. PdH says women are just as intelligent as men. That is true enough, but they are closer to the average than men are. There are more mentally retarded men than there are women. There are far more male geniuses, though!

    Just look at chess, my favourite game. Women are so bad at chess that they have their own ‘sheltered’ clubs, where men may not play. They say they ‘wet their knickers’ when they have to play with men becasue men are so much brainier than they are! Only the very best play mixed chess, because they are depressed that they nearly always lose against men.

    There are about 500 chess grand masters. Only six of them are women! Just over 1%. So at the top end there are always very few women.

    That is also true of art, math, literature etc.

    All they win are those lousy Nobel Peace prizes (and even Marie Curie only got the Nobel Prize ‘cos her husband did all the work, I believe.)

    Still, where would we be without them?

  • Gobo

    Well Chuck, he actually said you were not a statist and hence not a Nazi. And so he wanted to ponder why someone like you would be an anti-statist. That image just shows who you are in bed with… I reckon he has you down just fine.

  • Chuck the Obscure

    Well done, Charles. Judging from Perry de Havilland’s reaction, you have hit the nail on the head…

  • George Peery

    Well, here we are — 100 pc in agreement! How delightful.

    Or maybe not. I’m an old soldier. Soldiers have to live together under somewhat intimate arrangements. That goes triply in combat.

    And so, what do young male soldiers and young female soldiers think about when they’re supposed to be soldiering, when they’re living together in close quarters? Right! They think about sex. That’s a problem, and it’s a very big problem in combat where the least little thing can get people killed.

    My opinions about this aren’t theoretical or ideological (sorry veryretired). They’re pragmatic. And no, I’m not even a little bit embarrassed about my opinions.

  • What Mr. Peery said.

    One good reason to have women in the military, however, is fewer of them emerge to become brain-dead soccermoms later.

    But other than that benefit, I don’t believe women belong in the military, outside of base duty. I’ve argued the point so often, I couldn’t be bothered anymore.

  • eric

    Welli, I was in the infantry, and I think both George and Kim are both full of shit.

    Its all a matter of training. The same sort of stupid arguments were used about blacks, etc etc…

  • OldFan

    The sum total of all theoretical musings about women in the militarty pales to insignificance when compared to the demonstrated facts of the matter:
    1) Women will volunteer for the armed forces when not prohibited – even for assignments that are hard, dirty and dangerous.
    2) If PROPERLY trained, women peform identically to males of the same physical & intellectual gifts. This training must apply the same tried-and-true methods formerly applied to males alone, with selected additional features are required to overcome social conditioning toward low agression and dependence. The Marines do this VERY well.
    3) ALL issues relating to sexual interactions in military settings are easily resolved by noting two salient features of military organizations: A) “Orders are Orders”. “Shut up and press on”. “You do not have to LIKE it, soldier, but you do have to DO it! ”
    B) “You are warriors! If you cannot handle your peers, what will you do with the ENEMY! ” The USMC is especially good at this – as revealed by the low incidence of sexual harrassment complaints [and the high incidence of “falling down the stairs” among those males mad enough to try it! ]
    4) Once you explain to the ladies that war is nothing like divorce court [“There are RULES to war! “] , the likelihood of atrocities is greatly reduced.
    5) The freedom to TRY to meet the rigorous standards of military service [especially combat] must not be restricted. Conversely, the STANDARDS of performance must not be adjusted downward to meet some arbitrary target percentage. the Arm,y should NOT “look like America” , it should be trained and selected for victory.
    6) Remember Stirling’s Dictum*: “Just because an idea is beloved of the PC crowd does not automatically render it wrong in all circumstances”

    *S.M. Striling – an SF writer who is renowned for his ultr-realistic combat sequences and his combat-ready female protagonists

  • George Peery

    Welli, I was in the infantry, and I think both George and Kim are both full of shit.

    “…full of shit”? Some rather problematic people are visiting this site. Too bad.

    If “Eric” was actually an infantryman, then there were no women soldiers in his infantry company — in which case he has no basis to comment, one way or the other, since he would have no personal experience in the matter.

    On the other hand, if “Eric” was not in fact an infantryman, then he is (to put it gently) a prevaricator. Those of us who are not ideologically driven can safely dismiss his comment.

  • Ron

    These days a lot of highly qualified men and women go out to work and both do many highly valuable things.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of less qualified families where both parents are effectively driven out to work regardless, and the children are passed off to (often indifferent) childminders of one kind or another.

    There are very many of these latter cases where at least one of the parents does a low-paid admin job that in a less statist society would not be missed if it were abolished (and often barely pays for the childminder or nursery).

    I believe the modern absence of daytime community and all-day parental presence and involvement we now see in this country is sowing the seeds of deep psychological dislocation and alienation in the current generation of young people.

    I believe that society ought to be taxed and organised such that cases of parents of children under 11 being both working is an exception (due to either severe poverty or both parents having particular qualifications or skills that would be a shame to waste) rather than the rule.

    Implementing Peter Lilley’s proposals from the 1990’s where a non-working spouse could transfer their tax-free allowance to the other spouse would be a good start.

  • Sage

    The notion that women can be “trained” to perform on equal footing with men–in any significant proportion of cases–is simply false. Every single study ever commissioned by the armed forces on this subject, both in America and the UK, has confirmed this fact. While the performance numbers for some physical tasks draw together by a small margin, they do so in only a very few cases.

    Exceptions to this pattern include things like markmanship, and other things requiring small-motor skills, reflexes, and hand-eye coordination. There is not a single naval emergency procedure, for example, in which women–even after training–come within 80% of the male success rate.

    There are preparedness issues that run longer than your arm, as well. One of the dirty little secrets of the Gulf War was the astonishing extent to which this set of phenomena manifested itself, particularly in naval operations (who would’ve thought the pregnancy rate would skyrocket on NAVAL SHIPS when deployment began?).

    The list goes on and on, to include issues of morale–a matter of life and death–but the real question for those who disagree is why the forces haven’t gender-normed the physical requirements for service? I’ll tell you why–because the number of women in the armed forced would drop like a block of concrete as women started flunking test after test. That would be a political, but not a military, disaster. It’s also why, incedentally, feminists have not called for equal standards–because they have more common sense than they pretend.

    I’m with Kim, though–this debate is just tired.

  • Ron

    Speaking of “the ‘unnatural’ behaviour of women”, it is a simple biological fact that the majority of men have structurally different brains from the majority of women.

    The main difference visible with the naked eye is that the typically female brain (TFB) has a much larger corpus callosum joining the two halves than the typically male brain (TMB).

    Moreover, tomography and other tests clearly show that TFBs have completely different distributions of electical activity than TMBs for a given set of controlled sensory stimulations. Sensory stimulations fire off activity all over a TFB but only in distinct places in a TMB.

    From a non technical viewpoint it’s evident that many women are superbly able to manage a huge number of intellectually undemanding tasks simultaneously (eg nurses or good childminders) but many men are better at performing single tasks to an extreme depth (eg chess grandmasters or computer programmers).

    There are many tests to find out whether a person has a TFB or a TMB (not necessarily dependent on physical gender or sexuality).

    One that is easy to perform is to draw a looping and criss-crossing line on a sheet of paper. Then place a large card between the subject’s face and the sheet of paper and place a mirror facing the subject so that they can see the sheet in the mirror (but not directly).

    If you get the subject to trace along the line with each hand in turn you will find that a TFB person can trace with each hand equally well. On the other hand a person with a TMB will trace very quickly with their LEFT hand (even if right-handed) and be almost unable to trace with their right hand.

    The best way to avoid friction is to allow people to pursue long-term vocations that match their brain type – not to either force people into one role or the other according to physical gender, or to force a unisex solution due to political correctness.

  • spannerman

    sheesh guys, this article really aint about gals in the military, it is about how some men see women

  • Shaun Bourke


    When you take a group of young handsome men gifted with high IQs, drenched in testosterone and well schooled in using the government’s toys, into contact with a group of young gorgeous women similarly blessed with high IQs, then blend with a little booze you will see nature take its normal course. However, for people like you and the rest of the PeeCee Media it is referred to as the “Tailhook Scandal”.

    The real “Tailhook scandal” cost the US Navy billions of $ and her name was Lt. Hultgren.

    During WW2 the Russians made extensive use of women in combat. With rare exceptions, the results remain suppressed to this day, Why ??

    There is NO Empirical Data to suggest that women can do as well as men in combat situations UNLESS the standards have been lowered.

    Some years back the S.F.Fire Department even lowered physical standards so women could become fireman !!

    There is little if any real difference between combat forces in the military and frontline police officers in the larger cities.

    What is obviously clear here is that you have fallen for the PeeCee bullshit about a pushbutton war, the fallacy of which is on full display in Iraq these past few months.

    The sadist part of your musing Perry is implied. For the self-gratification of a few people including yourself, you are prepared to sacrifice your country’s ability to obtain the very best in manpower and equipment it can purchase to defend itself !!

    This musing by Perry should be instructive to all Libertarians as to why Libertarianism continues to flounder at the bottom of the political pile.

  • Guy Herbert

    Shaun Bourke writes:
    There is NO Empirical Data to suggest that women can do as well as men in combat situations UNLESS the standards have been lowered.

    I thought the point about combat situations was that standards were abandoned completely…

    Most battles are so confused that constructing a plausible narrative of what happened is hard enough, never mind extracting empirical data from them. And warfare varies quite a lot too. What are useful characteristics in one situation may not be in another. Whether the forces have a reasonable idea what they are doing is an open question.

    However, if the military does know what it is looking for in its recruits, then it ought to keep those standards for all candidates regardless. It is pretty clear Perry wasn’t arguing for a PC tailoring of standards to candidates, merely that the fitness of candidates and the nature of the standards shouldn’t be pre-judged by third parties on the basis of imputed characteristics derived from a one-size-fits-all model of a “natural” society.

  • Well at least one commenter understood… well done spannerman. I really do not care that much one way of the other about the issue of women in the military. As it happens, I agree that not all roles in an army are suitable for women for physical and practicle reasons, but if that issue is all that people took away from this article, I was clearly wasting my time writing it people were not actually reading it.

  • GUy Herbert

    Well the comment columns have a life of their own, Perry. People wheel off into their own particular obsessions. And how.

    In defending a small implication in your piece from traducement by Shaun Bourke, I certainly didn’t intend to shrink it to that point. If I appeared to, I apologise.

  • Women aren’t just pushed by social pressure to wear burquas, nor is it just a matter of law. In sufficiently pathological societies, insufficiently covered women will also be attacked by men who aren’t working for the government, but aren’t prosecuted for thuggery, either.

    As for women in the military, some women have pretended to be men to be soldiers until sanitation standards got high enough to make the imposture impossible. If those women weren’t at least adequate soldiers, I doubt they could have stayed in the military–and while I’d like to be informed on the subject if I’m wrong, I doubt that being a US Civil War soldier was less physically demanding than being a soldier in a modern army.

  • Nancy: Quite so. If a someone attacks someone else and the law turns a blind eye, that is a failure of the state as well as society. Throwing a brick through the window of a shop was no doubt illegal in German in 1938, even if the window was Jewish owned, but of course no one would have arrested the perp… so you have the worst of all worlds: A dysfunctional society & a psychotic state. Funny how the two seem to go together.

  • Excellent article, Perry!

    I think you really hit the nail on the head when you say

    “No, they make it clear that the good of the society is what matters rather than the individual, presuming, as I do not, that society is more than the sum of its parts”

    This is the key point of divergence from any kind of libertarianism. Often the arguments can get dragged down into cul de sacs because some of the commenters just don’t get this point. As you point out in relation to women in the military, (the same could be said for all the arguments about immigration, race, IQ, etc) it doesn’t really matter whether a male only military could be proved to be the optimal condition, the assumption shared by the Faux-Libertarians and Hoppe-enthusiasts is that societal benefit trumps individual freedom. This is why the bulk of the counter-arguments are irrelevant.

    There is a kind of self-delusion here that by asserting your own freedoms you can describe yourself as libertarian (freedom for me but not for thee) but if you wish to restrict other individual’s freedoms to obtain some nebulous group benefit then you are not any kind of Libertarian.

  • One last comment from the Full Of Shit Brigade:

    Eric, I was (briefly) in a coed Army unit, and it was a shambles. The men had to carry the women’s load all the damn time, except for after hours, when the women carried the men, in a manner of speaking.

    Christ knows what would have happened in a combat situation. The women couldn’t even march more than a couple of miles carrying a light pack and an Uzi, let alone full combat gear and a full size battle rifle.

    While the feminist beast is being fed, men die. It’s as simple as that.

    I have no problem with seeing women in any damn role in society, except where physical strength is a prerequisite to survival. And I’ll believe women can fly combat jets as well as men when one makes Top Gun — without a lowering of standards to enable such.

  • Kim: I have no problem with seeing women in any damn role in society, except where physical strength is a prerequisite to survival. And I’ll believe women can fly combat jets as well as men when one makes Top Gun — without a lowering of standards to enable such.

    Amen to that… and I fully expect a woman sooner or later to indeed make it to the top flying combat jets.

  • Abby

    Perry rightly criticizes the lethally flawed reasoning of Charles’ particular brand of libertarianism.

    Charles is often heard to bemoan the fact that wealthy, educated women choose to have fewer children than poor, uneducated women. He conflates education with intelligence and concludes that our species is devolving intellectually, that nature is selecting against intelligence. He sees the state as exacerbating the problem and accelerating our collective genetic decline.

    But to interfere with the childbearing decisions made by each individual woman, educated or ignorant, offends the concept of self-ownership which is at the very heart of the libertarian argument. Concern for perceived failure of natural selection flows from the same false assumptions as Keynes’ criticism of free market economics.

    Individual women have no responsibility to “the species” to either to bear genetically desirable children, or to refrain from bearing genetically undesirable children. Charles’ concept of the genetic “welfare” of the species is the grossest form of collectivist thinking imaginable.

  • S. Weasel

    I dunno, Abby, telling Charles a woman’s breeding behavior is none of his business doesn’t actually address his point. You could both be right – we could be devolving, and any mandated ‘solutions’ to that would be unacceptably intrusive.

    Though certainly individual women have an obligation to refrain from bearing children they can’t support without recourse to public funds. That’s a libertarian enough concept.

  • Abby


    While I concede that the state should not be subsidizing the childbearing behavior of any part of the population, the phenomenon Charles fears is global and larger than any government.

    The greatest population growth is not among the subsidized of the Western welfare states, but among the unsubsidized third world poor. This procreative imbalance isn’t the result of state behavior, it is the natural consequence of wealth.

  • And that brings me to my worst fear… being oppressed by the vote of a majority of people whose views I do not like, and with me never having a snowball’s chance in hell to change their views. Being oppressed by the majority is depressing.

  • TWG: Far better then to seek greater individual freedom than assume it is correct for the state to have greater control over everybody’s life. That way if your particular doomsday scenario occurs – and I don’t agree with this scenario, acquired characteristics such as political views are not heritable – the majority won’t have the tools to oppress you. If, on the other hand, you support a repressive state apparatus to enforce your particular ideas about society or politics you can be assured that one day that apparatus will be used against you.

  • “acquired characteristics such as political views are not heritable”

    I would dispute that statement very much! Just look at the Muslims!

  • The notion that acquired characteristics are heritable is a notorious scientific fallacy (incidentally Stalin believed this was so). It may well be the case that those who grow up in an insular culture come to parrot the group view, others may rebel against it but it is not something which is genetically determined.

  • Not genetically, but culturally, socially inheritable? I would think so. Parroting a particular insular viewpoint is something I see a lot slightly north of my country.

  • Yes but this is a crucial distinction, there’s nothing deterministic about a social or cultural “inheritance”. The social/cultural environment is one of the factors which might influence your thinking, but the trend in liberal capitalist democracies (and indeed the internet) is to be exposed to other cultures and ways of thinking. The danger is not in coming from an insular community but the sense in which that community’s insularity is maintained or perpetuated.

  • I don’t look at the process of granting equal rights as “devolving.” Rather, I view it as social evolution. What separates man from beast is the ability to think and reason, perhaps beyond pre-programmed forces of nature.

    “The danger is not in coming from an insular community but the sense in which that community’s insularity is maintained or perpetuated.”

    Viewing other people’s opinions with your own bias will accomplish nothing. The best way to learn is to view other people’s thoughts and discuss them, not simply express your disagreement. I think the men who have been commenting about woman’s “natural” place in society are the ones who are devolving.

    “… and I fully expect a woman sooner or later to indeed make it to the top flying combat jets.”

    Perry, you’re absolutely right. Also, I haven’t been following this blog long enough to see those comments, so thank you for making me aware of them.