Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Male & female

Male and female are more than biological realities. They are spiritual essences and cultural ideals.

Laura Wood puts this well. So well, that I can imagine liberals hyperventilating on reading it.

Liberals take autonomy to be the highest good. This means that we are supposed to be self-determining creatures, i.e. we are supposed to create who we are for ourselves. But this means that liberals are committed to making our sex not matter. We don't get to determine what sex we are, therefore it's thought of by liberals as a negative restriction on individual autonomy.

Here, for instance, is a brief exchange I had at a men's rights forum with someone calling themselves "Atomic parrot".

Atomic parrot: The "provider" role espoused by the author of this article is as damaging to men as the "housewife/mother" role is/was to women. People are individuals, we're smarter than our biology, we need the freedom to live our lives as we see fit, not to be forced into a narrow role defined by social conservatives. Some people really don't even want kids and a family ... Live and let live, stop trying to define yourself by your gender alone.

Me: Your gender is a more meaningful aspect of who you are than your job, your hobbies or your consumer choices. It's not some kind of negative restriction, it's something that can potentially make you feel more connected in your personal identity.

Atomic parrot: I'd argue that gender is less meaningful than the choices you make - because your gender is something you didn't choose, something that just is - but what you choose and do defines you more than something you were born with.

Me: Atomic parrot, that's a clearly set out reply. It's modernist philosophy in a nutshell. I disagree with it though. The fact of something being predetermined doesn't make it less of a good. I didn't choose my nationality and yet that's important for my self-identity. I didn't choose my sexuality, but that's important too. The things we get to self-determine are mostly limited in scope: career, consumer choices, travel destinations, hobbies. What we inherit is often of greater significance, even though it's not something self-created.

Atomic parrot is an orthodox liberal. He believes that freedom is the choice to self-create. He therefore looks down on the fact of his sex because it's something that is pre-created, something that "just is," rather than something self-chosen. It loses meaning for him as a liberal, and is associated in highly negative terms with "forced" or "narrow" life paths.

What a distance there is between the modernist liberal and traditionalist conservative viewpoints. For us the fact of being a man or a woman is part of the essence of who we are. It is a deeply meaningful aspect of our personal identity, one that rightly generates some of the ideals that we live by.

But for a liberal like Atomic parrot it's something that just is, a mere fact of biology that is dangerously limiting. Freedom for Atomic parrot is not the fulfilment of our masculine or feminine selves, but the transcending of our gender, our making it not matter in our lives.

There's not much common ground here.

And where does Atomic parrot's liberalism take him? He declares that he doesn't like to date women who know whether they want children or not:

cfisi79: So, do you only date women who also aren't 100% sure whether or not they want kids?

Atomic parrot: My current GF isn't sure either - I like not having "set" expectations for the future.

This is the way that the logic of the liberal position unfolds. If a masculine role is thought to limit our autonomy, then why wouldn't a parental role? A parental role, after all, is also linked to the fact of biology. It's not a uniquely chosen life path.

And so it's no surprise that Atomic parrot should finally declare himself against a masculine role, a marital role and a parental role,

Monogamous marriage partnerships are kinda out dated at this point, especially since more and more people just don't want to have kids.

For someone who didn't want to be limited, Atomic parrot is placing a lot of significant life experiences out of bounds here.

And it's not exactly a recipe for an enduring civilisation. It's an unsustainable form of individualism, one that can't carry on for long. A philosophical dead end.

26 comments:

  1. Atomic Parrot quoted:

    "Monogamous marriage partnerships are kinda out dated at this point, especially since more and more people just don't want to have kids."

    It always comes down to this doesn't it. The freedom not to have kids. Its a pretty ungrateful position though. I guess his parents must have really wanted to have him.

    This is slightly off topic but I was thinking about this today. Everything we do in life is touched by a million relationships and a million dependencies with others. The food I eat is produced by someone else and the clothes I wear are made by someone else. These transactions are regulated to a degree by money and law, however, even these two concepts operate within a human environment and aren‘t purely mechanical. The idea that we can or even should be autonomous of others seems to me to be madness. Either you can have society or you can have autonomy. How can your realistically have both?

    Is society such a strange thing to people that they only feel they can fit in/feel comfortable by "defining" themselves against it or by being autonomous of it?

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  2. Monogamous marriage partnerships are kinda out dated at this point,

    Never mind that thousands of years of experience have proven the enduring value of such relationships.

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  3. One big difference about Liberals is that they think civilization is unshakeable. Therefore any appeal to survival value is lost on them.

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  4. I think you and Parrot both have some good points. But I think you both miss some issues as well.

    Rigid autonomy is self defeating, but so is dependence that has outgrown biological need. The genetically ordained "protect and provide" mandate for men became destructive for us the moment women and children no longer required we assume disposable roles for the survival of the species.

    To the effect that monogamy served the old code well, so did polygamy. But we don't see a really big nostalgic push to restore the latter, do we?

    This isn't, for men, anyway, so much about the choice of having children. It is about whether that choice will come back to haunt you in a family court where you will be stripped of said children, and everything else you have, at her discretion.

    Sorry, but there is nothing romantic or spiritual in that, and that is where fully half of marriages will end up.

    Masculinity has always carried the responsibility to see after women and children at the expense of men. And as a survival mechanism, it was quite effective. But in times where survival does not hinge on such sexual roles, it ultimately turns inward to harm both men and women.

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  5. "Monogamous marriage partnerships are kinda out dated at this point, especially since more and more people just don't want to have kids.

    And yet, unless men and women engage in bonds of marriage, bring up children, and thus continue civilisation, people like Atomic parrot will not even exist. Thus people of Atomic parrot's views and bahaviour, are parasites on traditional society.

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  6. Paul,

    I understand that men have lost legal protection within marriage. This was not due to the traditional male protect and provide mandate.

    For most of Western history the law upheld a father's role within the family. It was only with the rise of first wave feminism in the late 1800s that the male position within the family began to weaken. But this was due to the rise of modernist liberal ways of thinking and not a product of traditional masculinity.

    It's the same with the high divorce rate. Divorce was rare before the 1850s. High divorce rates are a product of liberal modernity. If autonomy is the overriding good in life, then high divorce rates will seem to be an aspect of social progress. High divorce rates will indicate people not being "restricted" by marriage, but freely determining for themselves who they will live with at any particular time.

    And, again, it is modernist liberal thinking that has contributed to men being considered 'disposable' within society.

    The primary demand of feminism has been to make women independent (autonomous) of men. The aim, when it comes to social policy, has been to artificially prop up a female lifestyle in which women no longer need the support of a husband or male relatives.

    For instance, it's been made possible for women to have children and be supported not by a husband but by welfare or by paid maternity schemes. Female careerism has been propped up by affirmative action schemes and by state subsidised child care. There is talk now of rejigging superannuation schemes so that women end up with the same retirement income as men regardless of lifetime contributions.

    And, yes, there is also the combination of no fault divorce and alimony.

    So have we arrived now in a brave new world where we can get along fine without a masculine contribution to family life?

    No. Wherever there is a concentration of single motherhood there is social decline. Drugs, crime, welfare dependency, low educational outcomes, passivity.

    There is talk now of a "marriage gap". Those upper class women who remain most committed to marriage, and who have the support of a husband, are moving increasingly ahead of lower class women who have less stable relationships with men.

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  7. Bravo Mr. Richardson! I love the rebuttal to Paul comment!

    “Wherever there is a concentration of single motherhood there is social decline.”

    I agree with this statement; however I think it would be more appropriate to say, “Wherever there is a concentration of single parenting there is social decline.”

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  8. Anonymous, thanks. And I agree with your revision.

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  9. Paul said:

    "The genetically ordained "protect and provide" mandate for men became destructive for us the moment women and children no longer required we assume disposable roles for the survival of the species."

    Mark referred to state provided child care, welfare support and equal superannuation regardless of contribution. All these things have to be paid for and until money starts growing on trees its men that will pay for these services. The modern agenda is reliant on men to pay for it so they still have a crucial provider role. The tax is heavier that is all.

    The divorce court may be a gotcha ambush but the husband is necessary in the building of the estate in the first place.

    Either way for the species to continue/propagate men are vital.

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  10. Atomic parrot: “we're smarter than our biology

    These kind of nonsensical non-statements are so typical of liberal rhetoric. You can spot at least one in every argument. A meaningless throwaway claim that can give you a migraine just trying to figure out the intended meaning.

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  11. Paul Elam writes,

    "But in times where survival does not hinge on such sexual roles, it ultimately turns inward to harm both men and women."

    But doesn't it?

    Taxpayers, not the government, are the providers, and as Jesse has pointed out, most of them are men. If survival in the modern age is independent of masculinity, why are so many directly or indirectly dependent upon the money of taxpaying-men?

    The facts of Nature have gone nowhere; the Left has simply veiled them for a time.

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  12. "Rigid autonomy is self defeating, but so is dependence that has outgrown biological need. The genetically ordained "protect and provide" mandate for men became destructive for us the moment women and children no longer required we assume disposable roles for the survival of the species."

    How many men can honesty say they are quite willing to take over the domestic role and abandon the provider role? It just isn't going to happen.

    I don't mind assisting in a domestic capacity, and it's difficult not to in today's anti-male world, but there is no way I want to be seen as the a house-husband.

    Only a very small proportion of hyper betas are likely to comfortable in such a role.

    Another point against the liberal idea of self-chosen identity, is the high level of mental illness among the trans-gendered, and the fact they are universally rejected as sexual partners by even the most liberal men and women ( a classic example of liberals not practising what they breach).

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  13. My current GF isn't sure either - I like not having "set" expectations for the future.


    His use of the word current here indicates he views her as temporary. She is merely a convence for him that will be discarded when a shiny, new toy comes along.

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  14. Mike Courtman said:

    "Another point against the liberal idea of self-chosen identity, is the high level of mental illness among the trans-gendered".

    An advocate would likely say that they have high levels of mental illness because they are not understood, welcomed, supported by the community. It is a seeming contradiction that people want to be defined as individuals, as they see fit, and also be supported and appreciated by the community on that basis.

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  15. Atomic Parrot's thoughts about the damaging nature of the "male provider role" suggest he has never given a gift to an appreciative woman or cooked a BBQ for a pack of hungry children.

    Social roles themselves are givens, and so can be received as gifts.

    Accept the role, and you gain a foothold of humility for further progress.

    Reject the role, especially in one's youth, and you will be the victim of your anxious and flailing attempts at self-definition.

    Clearly, "parental role" is too non-specific and gender-neutral a term. It is the rejection of fatherhood and motherhood at work in the autonomous mind. This further explains the childish and unisex behaviors of many autonomists.

    Childhood itself is an unchosen role. Perhaps indifference towards childbearing is a principled, gnostic refusal to trap another soul in the impure world of social roles and relations.

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  16. As a man who has abandoned the traditional provider role to raise my children while my wife works, I have to laugh most heartily at the "liberals" who claim to support this notion. In practice they are very quick to deride anyone who does as they advocate. I know this form long experience.

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  17. Jesse_7: "It always comes down to this doesn't it. The freedom not to have kids. ..."

    For progressives and libertarians, it generally comes down to their "Sacred Penis Rights" -- nothing, nor anyone, must be allowed to stand between them and achieving The Big "O."

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  18. "Monogamous marriage partnerships are kinda out dated at this point, especially since more and more people just don't want to have kids."

    Because, of course, truth comes with an expiry date.

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  19. Ian Hall said:

    "As a man who has abandoned the traditional provider role to raise my children while my wife works, I have to laugh most heartily at the "liberals" who claim to support this notion. In practice they are very quick to deride anyone who does as they advocate."

    Don't feel bad mate they deride everyone.

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  20. "Don't feel bad mate they deride everyone."

    Ain't that the truth. Just look at how they treat someone they think they own (say, a black person, or a homosexual, or a blue-collar worker, or a middle-class person) who dares to think "unapproved" thoughts.

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  21. "Ain't that the truth."

    They're bastards that's for sure. Of the wine glass in hand, "cutting" conversation type, lol. Unless they're a union heavy, or someone in authority, then it gets harder.

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  22. a) Is it appropriate to label people as black-and-white 'masculine' and 'feminine'? Or is it seen that within each of us a balance on both, some people are more masculine and others feminine?

    b) What is the most important determining factor with gender: external biology or internal chemicals?

    c) Chicken or the egg? Should society be active or passive in its attitude to people's gender?

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  23. Human beings are 'sexed,' not 'gendered.' Likewise with eggs, and chickens.

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  24. So then what are masculine and feminine if not genders?

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  25. "So then what are masculine and feminine if not genders?"

    Question-begging? But, of course, just as your prior post was not straight-forward.

    1) 'Masculine' and 'feminine' are the terms for the two clusters of age-and-sex-appropriate personality traits associate with psychologically normal human beings.

    2) 'Masculine' and 'feminine' are grammatical terms to denote the imputed “sex” of certain nouns in those languages in which some words are imputed a “sex.”

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