Guest Article: Revolutionary Words that Will Forever Change the American Family

By Larry Kummer*

Summary: Sometimes simple insights change the world. Here is one such— part of a quiet revolution already in motion yet still unseen. It will reshape the American family in ways we cannot even imagine.

Marx said that ideology and religion mask our vision of reality (creating what Engels called a false consciousness). Stripping them away so that we clearly see the world leads to revolution. Sometimes all that’s needed are words providing simple insights that change the world. Here are the most revolutionary words since Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat cake”.

“When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home.”

— Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) in her best-seller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (2013).

{The “let them eat cake” story is bogus, but came to represent the origins of the French revolution because it captures the exploitive and uncaring spirit of the French aristocracy.}

Sandberg’s advice to young women is rational. It allows women to have fun, then marry nice beta providers — dreaming at night of the Alpha lovers from their past. It’s called “settling”, an anathema to the dreams of the “you can have it all” school of feminism. See the controversial articles about it in The Atlantic: “The Case for Mr. Not-Quite-Right“, “The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough“, and “Reader, Marry Him!“.

Even better than settling: playing the game aggressively

While have fun then settle seems logical but cold, some women play the game more aggressively. Marry, have kids (with a husband providing support during those first few difficult years), divorce after they’re in school, collect child support. This gets the children she wants without the bother of having a husband (after a few years of marriage). The resulting high divorce rates, roughly 80% initiated by wives, makes marriage a risky proposition for men.

Update: less 60% of US adolescents (11, 13, and 15 years old) lived with both birth parents in 2005-06, the lowest level in the OCED. Today probably even fewer do. See numbers at the end of this essay.

Women of Sheryl Sandberg’s generation successfully played this game in its benign or aggressive versions. Settling assumes men’s ignorance or acceptance. But is it rational for men to participate in this game? A woman’s romance looks different to a man aware that she has taken Sandberg’s advice. What if large numbers of young men who are 20 today see marriage as an unattractive or risky proposition — and decline to marry when the women of their generation turn 27 and want to settle?

The use of settling and more exploitive strategies raises an even more disturbing question.

The nature of relations between men and women

“Relations between the sexes have always been difficult, and that is why so much of our literature is about men and women quarreling. There is certainly legitimate ground to doubt their suitability for each other given the spectrum — from the harem to Plato’s Republic — of imaginable and actually existing relations between them, whether nature acted the stepmother or God botched the creation by an afterthought, as some Romantics believed.”

— From Allan Bloom’s great Closing of the American Mind.

Economics has long been the foundation for marriage, providing rational motives for both men and women to marry. The emancipation of women, now accelerating, is washing those away.  After that is gone, what remains as a foundation for modern marriage (i.e., romance, nuclear family, easy divorce)?

(1)  Sex is now easily available.

(2)  The high rate of women-initiated divorces, likely to increase as women become increasingly independent financially, suggests that many women do not need marriage — other than temporarily to help conceive and support children.

(3)  We might already be seeing the third and final nail in the coffin of modern marriage — men losing interest in marriage. As in the frequent complaints about the “Peter Pan Syndrome: A Man’s Fear of Commitment” — “This is when a man is afraid to grow up. They usually put themselves first and do not want to commit to anything. They are unable to face adult feelings and responsibilities.” Also common are women’s responses to these new man, such as “Learn how to make him commit: The Secret Lives of Men”.

A tragedy of our time

The internet has stories. Some are true. Some are fiction containing truth. The good ones speak to us about our hopes, dreams, and fears. Some are tragedies that makes Othello look like the Marx Brothers. Here is one such, a tale of marriage today: “Saving the Best” and the follow-up “Betas in Waiting.” The author gives an analysis that cuts to the heart of the problem.

“…it’s the freedom and genuine desire with which their wives had sex with prior (alpha) lovers; desire that wasn’t based on material provisioning, emotional investment or the logistical hoops women expect their post-Epiphany “good men” to perform to in order to merit their sexual and intimate attentions.

“That’s the disconnect, that’s the con; Alpha Bad Boys get her 3-Way genuine sexual abandon with no investment expected, while he’s got to maintain ‘multiple businesses’ in order to get a prosaic sexual experience with her. The Bad Boys got her sexual best for free, while he’s expected to accept her as the ‘new’ post-Epiphany her… {The wife comments after the divorce on their final fight.}

‘Nothing I could do or say could convince him that these were past mistakes and not reflective of who I am today. He wasn’t angry with me, didn’t call me a slut or anything like that. Never once raised his voice. Part of me wishes he did, although I can’t exactly say why right now.’

“As I mentioned, the expectation is for her husband to accept “who she is today”, yet who she was ten years ago had a more genuine desire for less established, but sexually arousing, lovers.”

Conclusions

Modern marriage, with its complex emotional scaffolding, evolved in a specific social situation. Those conditions lie in our past, as our society evolves into something quite different. The facts are plain and must be faced, however reluctant we are to do so by our wishful thinking and long-standing affection for this institution. Marriage as we know it might play a small role in our future.

American society is already atomized, as the intermediate structures between the state and the individual die. Ties to a region were broken by our mobility. Lifetime employment and unions provided both social and economic stability to Americans; both now largely gone. Many of our social institutions are dying (see Robert Putnam’s powerful 1995 essay “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital“, and the book). Marriage is the most important source of our social capital. Without it we will be just isolated motes.

Life will go on. Perhaps better. Perhaps worse. We will know which by comparison with other nations whose people have taken other paths. We are experimenting on ourselves, guided purely by ideology, with our children as guinea pigs.

* Larry Kummer is the editor of the Fabius Maximus website.

A Modest Proposal

As my readers will know, I have long been interested in the question as to whether women can or cannot, should or should not, participate in ground combat. Not that I have a personal interest in the matter. If some women, driven bonkers by penis envy, insist on entering the most strenuous activity known to man, who am I stand in their way? They want to go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth; so let them go to some of the least congenial, most dangerous, places on earth. Their feminist leaders, whom they follow to the end of idiocy (supposing there is such a thing), want them to get killed; so let them be killed. Since they want it so much, they have my blessing.

Still I want to use today’s post in order to sum up, once again, the various problems that such participation gives rise to.

* Recruitment Problems. As countless students, a great many of them female, have noted, no sooner do women join any group, institution or organization than the prestige of the organization in question starts declining. The outcome is difficulties in attracting first class manpower and a loss of fighting power. And so on in a vicious cycle that points nowhere but downward.

* Physical problems. Women on the average only have seventy percent of men’s lower body strength, fifty-five percent of upper body strength. Thinner, lighter bones make them more vulnerable to injuries and stress breaks. Shorter arms make them less adept at stabbing, whereas different elbow and pelvis structures makes it harder to throw objects and run respectively. The movements of many women are hampered by their pendulous breasts. A different anatomical structure makes them more vulnerable to dirt and infection. Smaller lungs and the resulting lower aerobic capacity mean they are less suitable for operating at great altitudes. The last-named problem in particular can also lead to amenorrhea (cessation of the periods) and sterility. As at least one military woman I used to know did develop these problems.

* Training problems. Given the physical differences, training women along with men, and holding them to the same standards, is impossible. Not holding them to the same standard is unfair. The former course will lead to any number of injuries, some of them crippling. The latter will turn women into a liability precisely at the place, and at the time, when such liability can least be afforded. It also means that female soldiers will enter combat without the kind of training their male colleagues have received. Which, of course, is more unfair still. In practice, the outcome is going to be lower standards for everyone. As, to use a particularly ludicrous example, when American and British commanders are ordered to balance readiness against lactation time.

* Problems of motivation. For as long as men have existed on earth, one of their key motives in joining the forces and fighting has always been to prove themselves as men. By definition, a group, or institution, or organization, which also has female members does not allow them to do so. As more women join, men move out. The more men move out, the more the powers that be are compelled to replace them with women. In this way recruiting women often achieves the opposite from what is intended, which is to alleviate a shortage of men.

* Problems of cohesion. For a unit to be cohesive, all its members must be treated equally. The physical characteristics of women, as well as the erotic ties that will necessarily form among men and women living closely together in the same unit, make doing so impossible. Anything else is an illusion. Or why else didn’t the Catholic Church establish co-ed monasteries?

* Sexual harassment problems. The recent campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have given rise to a new problem: military-sexual trauma. Real or, in view of the possibility of obtaining compensation, fake. Whether a female soldier who is traumatized because a fellow soldier made a pass at her is fit to participate in the most strenuous and most dangerous activity on earth will not be discussed here. As things are, a situation has been created where many male soldiers fear and hate their female colleagues more than they do the enemy—and with good reason.

* Finally, and perhaps worst of all, any male member of the military who so much dares as hint at the existence of these and similar problems will find himself targeted by the thought police and disciplined. As a result the entire military, precisely the organization most dependent on mutual trust right unto death, is built on lies, lies, and more lies.

So far, the facts. Over the years, I have often been asked whether anything could make me change my views on this topic. For an answer, I turn to Karl Popper. Popper (1902-94) was an Austrian-born, Jewish, philosopher who made quite some contributions to his field. Among the most important was the idea that the validity of natural laws can never be conclusively proven; the reason being that, however numerous our experiments, at some unknown time and place there may always be an exception. Accordingly scientific progress, and with it an improved understanding of the world, is achieved by using experiments in order to invalidate “known” laws. In other words, by showing that they are false.

This kind of testing may work fine in the natural sciences, and indeed some scientists have gone on record as saying that, for them, it did just that. However, applying it do the social sciences is much more difficult. There are several reasons for this. First, as the above discussion also shows, there is normally more than one cause behind any effect. Second, cause and effect tend to be so closely intertwined as to be inseparable. Absent an “independent variable,” as the saying goes, tests are often impossible to design and carry out. Third, even if they can be designed and carried out, changing circumstances mean that they can never be repeated in exactly the same form. For Popper that means that most, perhaps even all, social science is not science but literature.

No two wars, no two campaigns, have ever been exactly alike. That is why measuring the performance of gender-neutral units against other kinds is impossible. I do, however, have in mind a modest proposal that could provide an answer. In many technical fields, one of the first steps in validating a new idea is to build a small-scale model and putting it to the test. So let there be formed, by way of a model, some mixed-gender football teams. And let them play both against all male teams and against mixed-gender ones. If they work—if the field is not quickly littered with badly injured female bodies—so should mixed combat units.

Setting up such an experiment, or test, would be easy, cheap, and, if so desired, repeatable. So why hasn’t it been done? Because we take sport much more seriously than we do war; and because everyone knows the outcome ahead of time.

Two Articles Caught my Attention Last Week

Last week being international women’s day, two articles caught my attention and drove me to do a little more research. One dealt with the fact that, as of the early years of the twenty-first century, in only a handful of fields do women make more than men. The other argued that most women—between two thirds and three quarters of them, in fact—prefer men who are taller than themselves. How to explain these facts, and what do they mean for the present and the future?

lioness-and-lion-love-i12First things first. In a previous post (“Women Outperforming Men,” 10.12.2015) I noted that, in most of today’s “advanced” countries, women make about two thirds as much as men do. As best we can calculate, that figure has not changed much since at least the time of ancient Rome. Indeed it has been claimed that, should present trends continue, women will need another 177 years to draw level with men. The article that caught my attention claimed that men out-earn women not just in general but also in almost all professions separately. Out of three hundred professions on one list, only in ten do women make as much as, or more than, men. That applies even to fields that are overwhelmingly dominated by women, such as teaching.

This is strange. Normally being a minority means being discriminated against, which in turn leads to lesser earnings. So why do men, who in the teaching profession are outnumbered by about two to one (U.S figures), earn more than their female colleagues? A mystery—or perhaps, given the physical advantage men enjoy even in the most sedentary professions such as being a professor of history, not so great a mystery after all.

That brings me to the second article. Women’s preference for tall men is easy to explain. As I also pointed out in a previous post (“The Indispensable Sex,” 11.2.2016), among many mammalian species, primates included, it is the task of the males to defend the females and their young. Even at the cost of their lives, if necessary. The fact that it is lionesses which do the hunting does not contradict this arrangement. If male lions do not leave the home but stay with the kids, then that is because they alone can protect them against predators. To enable male mammalians to carry out their appointed task, nature has made most of them considerably larger and stronger than their female counterparts. In the case of lions it has also given them their powerful roar. The larger and more powerful a lion, the more attractive he is to females and the better his chances of having multiple offspring.

The difference in size, known as dimorphism, is easily visible among humans as well. Only a small minority of women are as large as the average man. True, humans are less dimorphic than many other mammalians. But the difference between the sexes is sufficiently large to put most women at the mercy of most men. That, incidentally, is why much of the advice that tells women to practice “self-defense” is misguided. Should they try, then usually the outcome will be injuries. It also explains why, starting when they are toddlers, boys are always warned against hitting girls. Even if, as often happens in early puberty, they are larger and heavier than them. Doing so is considered “not nice” at best and can lead to serious consequences at worst.

Part-HKG-Hkg10109760-1-1-0But there are other repercussions as well. Many “less advanced” societies do not have strong police forces. Instead it is the task of the male members of each clan to protect their own womenfolk. That is why women are subjected to so many restrictions. Such as prohibitions on leaving the home, taking up work outside it, and, in Saudi Arabia, driving. When they do these things they are obliged to cover their bodies and faces and/or take on a male escort. A woman who stays inside, or who is escorted when she goes out, is less vulnerable to sexual assault and the consequences it may bring. So is one who instead of wearing provocative clothing, hides her face behind a veil.

Against the prevailing social and cultural background, all these measures make excellent sense. Thanks partly to the police, partly to what a famous twentieth-century scholar used to call “the civilizing process,” life in the West today is relatively secure. As many researchers have pointed out, the number of crimes per 100,000 of population has been declining for the last two centuries or so. That, incidentally, is one reason why the death penalty is being reserved for more serious crimes, and used much less often, than was the case before 1800. Still women before they need anything else need security. Something tall men, big men, strong men, can normally provide better than weak men, small men, short men can.

Let’s assume, as I, on the basis of the research I did for a number of my books do, that the best days of Western liberal democracy are behind it. And that, as a result, the future is likely to see civil society upset by growing crime, terrorism, and various combinations of the two. In that case women will need protection more than ever. In Europe, where wave after wave of Muslim immigrants are arriving, this is already happening. No doubt men will do their best to provide that protection. But they will do so at a price: to wit, obedience and the inequality it implies. Not necessarily because they are oppressive by nature, as so many feminists have foolishly claimed. But because you can only protect those whom you control.

To put it in different words, were feminism and women’s lib spawned by a relatively peaceful world that is even now coming to an end? If so, what a pity. It was a nice try.

Sickly Sick, Widowed

If feminists are right and women are really oppressed, exploited and discriminated against in countless ways, why do women live longer than men? And why, for every widower in the U.S, there are four widows? Ask any doctor, and chances are that he or she will mumble something about estrogen providing protection for the female body.

The doctors are wrong. True, lack of statistical information makes it hard to calculate the relative life-expectancy of men and women before about 1800. However, other kinds of evidence, such as archaeological remains, church records, and the like do enable us to evaluate the situation in certain communities at certain times. Almost unanimously, studies of the subject point to a single conclusion: from Neolithic times through Greek and Roman ones right down to the end of the eighteenth century, in all known societies men seem to have outlived women.

Since then, what a change! The first two countries in which women started outliving men were France and Sweden just before 1800. As the nineteenth century went on, other Western European ones as well as the United States followed suit. By 1900, the only West European/North American country in which that was not the case was poor, backward Ireland. South and East Europe, both of which were equally poor, followed during the first decades of the twentieth century.

Gender-DetailsAfter 1945 it was the turn of Asia and Africa. By 1990 men still outlived women in only ten countries. The largest one, Bangla Desh, accounted for two hundred million out of the three hundred million people involved. All ten had a per capita GDP of less than one thousand dollars a year. In 2011, according to United Nations figures, the one country where men still outlived women was Swaziland, home to fewer than 1,400,000 people out of about seven billion on this earth. Even there the gap between the sexes was small—about six months—and shrinking.

Has the hormonal makeup of men and women changed? Or are the doctors wrong, and do hormones have nothing to do with the issue? Keep in mind that the change got under way a hundred and fifty years before women started taking estrogen. Also that most doctors know nothing about history; making them think that what they see in the present has always been there in the past too. Hence the second answer seems much more likely than the first.

In fact, two factors account for the process. One is the very great decline in the death rate of women during, or soon after, giving birth. Here it must be pointed out that, until the middle of the sixteenth century, whenever a baby was about to come into the world men were thrown out of the room, if not the house. Child-delivery was the near-exclusive domain of women, midwives in particular. The latter’s ignorance was proverbial.

The first vernacular manual on childbirth was published in 1513. Originally written in German by a male doctor, Eucharius Roeslin, it was translated into many languages and became a European best-seller. The introduction contains the following limerick:

I’m talking about the midwives all

Whose heads are empty as a hall.

And through their dreadful negligence

Cause babies’ deaths devoid of sense.

So thus we see far and about

Official murder, there’s no doubt.

That was the state of the art before male doctors started taking over. To be sure, at that time and for centuries thereafter medical education left something to be desired. However, in comparison with the midwives, many of whom had received no formal training at all, the doctors were geniuses indeed. At least they could read! First in Zurich and then in other European cities, gradually they assumed responsibility for training, examining, and licensing midwives.

Since the universities did not take female students, all doctors were male. Later in the century they themselves started delivering children or at least supervising midwives while they did so. In 1569 a male French Huguenot doctor living in England, William Chamberlen, invented the principal instrument used for the purpose, the forceps. For a century and a half it was kept a family secret.

Even in Europe, let alone other continents, male doctors did not take over everywhere at once. Since doctors cost money, the first to hire them were high-class women. Queen Anne of England (1665-1714) may have been the first royal person to employ a male doctor to help her give birth. Her subsequent decision to knight him led to numerous scurrilous jokes. Progress, though slow, was steady. By 1800 the incidence of so-called peri-natal deaths among mothers had declined to about half of what it had been three hundred years earlier.

Not all women followed the queen’s example. In 1797 the founding mother of modern feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft, then thirty-seven years old, refused her friends’ suggestion that she call a doctor to help her deliver. Trusting to a midwife instead, she died while giving birth to her second child, Mary—who later became famous as the author of Frankenstein.

The second factor that caused the balance in life expectancy between men and women to shift was the industrial revolution. As long as most people made their living in agriculture, both men and women worked in the muck out of doors (though women always did so less than men). The onset of industrial revolution around 1800 changed the situation. Moving to the cities, many men engaged in such trades as construction and transportation, which meant that they continued to work out of doors in all sorts of weather and under all sorts of conditions. Others moved from the healthy countryside into the filthy, noisy factories; others still faced the hardest lot of all by descending into the mines that provided coal for them.

As nineteenth-century English statisticians working for insurance companies realized full well, the more industrialized any district the more women tended to outlive men. Here and there, “progress” actually caused men’s life expectancy to decline. By contrast, contemporary norms dictated that all but the poorest women should not work at all. Even the few city-women who did work outside the home almost always did so indoors as servants, governesses, seamstresses, etc. Unlike men, they were spared both the rigors of the climate and the worst effects of the factories.

Both factors continue to operate today. All over the world efforts to reduce women’s peri-natal death have caused it to decline to a minute fraction of what it used to be even a few decades ago. For men the situation is entirely different. The tradition under which they do practically all the hardest, dirtiest, most dangerous work remains in force; in the U.S, for example, the one job in which there are no women at all is garbage-collection. Female miners, divers, fishermen, miners, and lumberjacks are not exactly common either. That is why, though about as many women as men work outside the home, men are thirteen times more likely to die following an industrial accident than women.

You might think that, since men work in more hazardous occupations than women and have a lower life expectancy, they would and should get more medical attention. If so, think again. In every modern country women receive far more medical attention than men. There is nothing new about this. Ancient Egyptian doctors wrote books on female diseases; but when it comes to male ones all we have is blank papyrus. The situation in antiquity and the middle ages was similar. The term gynecology, women’s medicine, was invented over a century and a half ago. However, to this day my word processor, courtesy of Bill Gates, has never heard of andrology.

Go to any hospital, and you are almost certain to find a women’s ward responsible for treating such diseases as breast cancer, cancer of the cervix, and so on. But the same hospital is almost equally certain not to have a department specializing in men’s diseases. Perhaps because society expects men “to take it,” as the saying goes, men also visit psychologists and psychiatrists far less often than women do. From the time of Charcot and Freud on, but for female patients most practitioners in these fields would have had to close shop. And who pays for it all? Men, of course, by means of their taxes and social security contributions.

Thus a virtuous cycle (for women) and a vicious one (for men) is created. The more money is spent to treat women, the more they outlive men. The more they outlive men, the more treatment they need. For example, as of 2000 in the US out of every three dollars spent on health two were spent to treat women. In the same country three out of every four dollars spent on medical research were accounted for by women’s diseases. Four times as much is spent on finding a cure for breast cancer as on doing the same for prostate cancer. Yet whereas one in eight women will get breast cancer during her life, a man’s chances of contracting prostate cancer are actually somewhat higher (one in six). If that is not discrimination, I’d dearly like to know what is.

In respect to the field of medicine as to so many others, those who invented the myth of women’s “oppression,” “exploitation,” and “discrimination” deserve the Joseph Goebbels Award for deceptive propaganda. As has been said, one can mislead some of the people some of the time. But one cannot mislead all the people all of the time.

The feminist narrative has now misled far too many people for far too long. It is high time that it be exposed for what it really is, the lie of the century.

Women Outperforming Men

23-reasons-lilly-superwoman-singh-is-the-bff-you--2-1334-1417438737-2_dblbigAs per grades, first at school and now at the universities as well, women are increasingly outperforming men. To some that fact, allegedly coming after millennia of subjugation and oppression, is a blessing. Others see it as a danger-sign that points to the feminization of society which, on pain of losing the competition with other, more virile, nations must be avoided at all cost. But is the claim true? Fifty-two years after Betty Friedan first raised the standard of revolt, only about 5 percent of heads of state are female; out of Forbes’ ten best-paid American business executives, not a single one is. Further down the list, the situation is hardly any different. The gap in earnings remains almost as large as it was in ancient Rome where, everything else being equal, female slaves were valued at about two thirds of male ones. Similar facts could be cited almost indefinitely. They show that, now as ever, the higher on the greasy pole one climbs the fewer women one encounters. By one calculation, should present trends continue, it will take another 150 years for the gap in earnings to close. If, which I personally doubt very much, it ever does.

How to explain these facts? The standard interpretation, put forward by countless feminists the world over, is discrimination. This idea has the advantage that it enables women to occupy the high moral ground. Often it also enables them to harass and even bully men in- and out of court; few things are harder to refute, and more likely to damage a man’s career, than being accused of discriminating against a female employee.

The difficulty with this argument is that, in every developed country, women now form a majority of the population. Their share in the workforce is also very close to that of men. How, in a democracy, a majority can discriminate against a minority is easy to see; parts of the US Constitution were expressly designed to prevent just that. But the opposite is not true. This fact makes the explanation appear unlikely. Unless—and as we shall see in a moment, there are some reasons to think so—a number of those who do the discriminating are themselves women.

Follow some other possible explanations:

  1. Grades do not mean nearly as much as most people believe. Or why else have girls been outperforming boys at school for over a century? One could even argue that the qualities needed to succeed at school, primarily the ability to sit still and repeat what the teacher has said, are very different from those needed to do the same in life. Consider the careers of such super-performers as Bill Gates and Steven Jobs, both of who dropped out of college before going on to change the world. Or of George Bush, Jr., a very mediocre student who, it is said, only made it through Harvard by daddy’s money; and any number of similar cases both ancient and modern.
  2. At school, and later at the universities, women tend to go for fields that are associated with low incomes. Such as the humanities, teaching, social work, and the like. Fields that are, or at any rate are perceived as being, easy and “soft.” One result, in the words of one scholar, is that “the available evidence indicates that women are less knowledgeable than men in areas of personal finance, and these findings appear to hold true for a variety of populations.” Attempts to change the situation by making more women take up science and technology go back at least as far as the 1930s, when Stalin tried to use his iron first for the purpose. To little avail, as far as anyone can see.
  3. Women on the average are less competitive and less motivated to “succeed” than men are. One possible reason for this is that they have less testosterone in their bodies; another, that they can always opt out of the rat race by finding a man who will pay the rent. The opposite is not true. Statistics clearly show that marriages in which the woman make more than her husband are much more likely to fall apart than those in which that is not the case. In the words of an American acquaintance of mine, “twice I married women who earned more than me—and twice they divorced me.”
  4. Following up on this argument, Douglas Kinnaird, managing director of UK recruitment consultancy MacDonald Kinnaird, argues that women are discriminating against themselves. “Fifty-three per cent of lawyers graduating are female and 52 per cent of chartered accountants graduating are female,” says Kinnaird. “The response we’ve seen to advertised jobs on average from women over 25 years is 3.7 per cent, so for every 100 applications, only three are female. That tells me that it’s women who discriminate against themselves.”
  5. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and one of the very few self-made female billionaires around, explains there are three reasons behind the small number of women in senior management positions. At first it was good old male chauvinism. Men didn’t want to recruit females; but, fascinatingly, females did not want to work for females in some cases. They must have known why. The second reason was that, when a job came up internally, women just didn’t apply; this links up well with the previous paragraph. The third was that most people who get ahead in large companies do so thanks to a mentor who smooths the way and encourages them. However, senior men are no longer prepared to do that with young women because of the potential for gossip and worse. As a result, women can’t get a mentor.
    See on this, incidentally, my post, “Here They Go Again,” of 28.5.2015.
  6. There still remain, in contemporary society, many jobs that require physical force, coping with dirt, and/or facing danger. The number of women who take up these jobs is almost zero; often enabling men with less formal schooling to make as much, or more, as better-educated women do.
  7. The drive, on pain of becoming one of nature’s duds, to get pregnant, deliver and raise children. It is true that the age at which women have their first child is going up. Nevertheless, about four out of five women will have one or more of them at some point in their lives. And invest much time and energy in raising them, of course. That explains why women, who during their early years at work often earn as much as their male colleagues, tend to fall behind later on. Also why, the more “successful” a woman, the fewer children she is likely to have.
  8. More and more men seem to be going GALT. They do not go to college, do not look for a career, and refuse to marry. As used to be the case in much of pre-modern Africa, and often remains the case today, they form temporary liaisons with women—this is called “hooking up”—before leaving them to raise whatever children they may have on their own. Whereas they themselves flutter from one woman to the next. The outcome, in the words of author Ruth Sidel, is “women and children last.” Left without male protection, such women are the poorest, least successful, part of the entire population.

In sum, women may be outperforming men at school. But definitely not where it matters, i.e. life. So it is, and so it is likely to remain for all time to come.

He and She

Some years ago I told a friend of mine, a female librarian who unfortunately has died since, that, for the first time, I was taking an interest in women. She looked at me and said: “It is time, don’t you think”?

Seriously, how did a military historian like myself ever start writing about women? The answer is twofold. First, during the 1990s, at the latest, the presence of women in the military, its causes, its significance, and its implications reached such a crescendo that it became impossible to ignore. Second, leafing through the works of the great military theorists I noted that none of them had anything to say about women. Yet women form half of the human race and by no means its least important half. Clearly there was a gap there, and one which, in Men, Women and War, I set out to fill as best I could. 4141F05E81L

Delving into women’s history, I found it fascinating. So much so, in fact, that since then I have devoted a considerable part of my work to that topic. Follows a brief summary of some of the things I think I have learnt.

First, when Steven Pinker and many others say that the characteristics of people of both sexes are in large part biologically-determined rather than socially-constructed they were right. Second, when Margaret Mead said that in all known societies what men do is considered most important and that, should women enter a male field in any numbers, the field in question will start losing both its prestige and the rewards it can offer she was right. Third, when Freud said that a great many women suffer from penis envy—whether biologically or socially based—he was right. After all, as I wrote in a previous essay posted on this website, what is modern feminism if not the greatest outburst of penis envy ever? Fourth, when Thomas Aquinas said that men can do anything women can (except for having children, of course) but not the other way around he was right. Fifth, when Plato said that, though no field of human endeavor is absolutely closed to the members of either sex, in all fields men are better on the average, he was right.

Another very important thing Plato said is that, whereas men and women are similar in some respects, they differ in others. The most important thing they have in common is their humanity, the qualities that distinguish them from animals. Including, above all, their big brains and the things they make possible. True, men have ten billion more brain cells than women on the average. But nobody knows what they serve for.

The most important differences—all of which are statistical and mean little if anything in the case of each individual—are as follows. First, women have less testosterone than men. That makes them less aggressive, less competitive, and less inclined towards dominance than men. Second, their bodies are weaker, less able to absorb shocks and blows, and, unless properly taken care of, less resistant to dirt and infectious disease. Until urbanization started changing things from about 1800 on, the outcome was a considerably shorter life expectancy. Third, women conceive, become pregnant, give birth, nurse, and, as with all other mammalians, are mainly responsible for raising the young. Whereas men do not and are not. Fourth, since men are able to have countless offspring whereas women cannot, society is better able to bear their loss than that of women. The enormous investment women make in their offspring, plus their relative physical weakness, also explains why, as Diderot said, women are less able to find delight in the arms of strangers than men.

To repeat, the differences are statistical. Hence they only go so far in dictating the fate of each individual. They are, however, sufficiently significant to explain many things concerning the way human society has always functioned and, presumably, will continue to function. Indeed there probably is no aspect of life, whether private or public, so isolated that sex and gender will not play a role in shaping it. First, in no known culture has there ever been a situation where all persons male and female, shared all activities on an equal basis and received the same rewards. Second, in all known cultures men did the lion’s share of hard, dirty, or dangerous work. Third, in all known cultures men were responsible for feeding women and not the other way around. Some, the above mentioned Margaret Mead included, saw this as the most important difference that set humans apart from other animals. Fourth, in all known cultures it was men who held the great majority of whatever public positions existed. Though some societies, one of which is traditional Judaism, trace descent by way of the female line, no known one has ever been governed by women. Finally, the higher the positions in question the more likely that they would be occupied by men.

The objective of modern feminism has been to abolish these distinctions. Though not to the point where many women are prepared to marry and support men; several sets of statistics show that women who make more than their husbands are more likely to get a divorce. Depending on how one looks at it, the effort can be said to have been either a success or a failure. It has been a success in the sense that, watching old movies, one is always surprised at the fact that, among important decision makers, there are few if any women. Far more women now work outside the home and have careers than previously, and many of the legal hurdles that used to limit their participation in public life have been removed. The same applies to the kind of laws that made husbands the “heads of the family.” The introduction of the pill has also done away with many sexual restraints, enabling women to sleep around or, as the current phrase has it, “hook up” with men much as men themselves do.

As feminists never stop complaining, however, a society in which absolute equality prevails is as far away as it has ever been. Moreover, such advances as women have made

came at a high cost. Leaving the home, many women have lost their freedom and turned themselves into “wage slaves” just like men. Working women are heavily concentrated in the service sector, including the one known as “household services.” The outcome is that they now do for strangers what they used to do for their own families. They also pay taxes as never before. Since working outside the home means having to spend more on such things as clothing, transportation and help, whether most of them really end up by having more disposable income is doubtful; at least one highly successful female researcher, Elizabeth Warren, has warned against “the two-income trap.”

Judging by the number of best-sellers which claim to advise women on how to efficiently manage their time, no group in the population is more stressed than working mothers. These problems are literally killing them; whereas, for almost two hundred years before 1975, the gap in life expectancy between men and women kept growing in favor of the latter, since then it has been declining.

One reason why progress, if that is the right word, has been slow is that a society based on equality between the sexes might result in more divorced women losing custody over their children and being obliged to support their ex-husbands. It might also lead to the justice system treating women as harshly as it does men; increasing the penalties it imposes on them and executing them much more often than is actually the case. At present even military women only enter combat if it suits them. However, a truly equal system might oblige them to do so. All this explains why, judging by the failure to pass ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), many women are not at all certain whether equality is really what they want.

Even so, the attempt to separate sex—the biologically-determined identity of men and women—from gender—the roles they play in society—has led to a very sharp decline in fertility. That applies to all developed countries except the U.S and Israel. In the latter, to quote a popular song, “her eyes are tired but her legs are quite good looking.” So great is the decline that societies such as those of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan, South Korea and Singapore either are obliged to rely on immigrants to fill their labor force or simply appear to have no future.

Looking at Europe, what reliance on immigrants may mean, probably will mean, is becoming more and more clear with every passing day. As to having no future, it was that great feminist, Carroll Gilligan, who said that the essence of feminism consists of women looking after themselves first of all. With such an attitude, will there even be a future?