Saturday, October 31, 2015

Marriage & a traditionalist counterculture

I thought Suzanne Venker made a good point in a discussion on why modern marriage is failing:
If women no longer expect or even want men to “take care of” them — since women can do everything men can do and better, thank you very much, feminism — perhaps the flipside is the assumption that women don’t need to take care of husbands, either. And if no one’s taking care of anyone, why the hell marry?

Her argument makes sense. It means that if we want to restore a culture of marriage we need to think through ways in which men and women can return to complementary gender roles (if we set up society so that men and women don't need each other, then sexual relations are likely to deteriorate.)

However, I don't think her argument explains everything. There are women out there who do want men to take care of them but who still carry the assumption that they don't need to take care of their husbands in return. How do we explain this phenomenon?

It possibly has to do with a misunderstanding of love itself. If you were to ask young women today what love is I expect that many would think of the physical or emotional sensations evoked by a passionate feeling of romantic love (butterflies in the stomach, not wanting to be apart etc.). What's missing is the understanding that genuine love instils a settled commitment in the will toward both fidelity and a desire to "do well toward", i.e. to serve and uphold.

This latter understanding of love has bit by bit leached out of Western culture. It was once applied not only to conjugal love (marriage); but to our wider families; to people and place; to our culture and tradition. It survived longest within a culture of family life, where love and commitment remained twin concepts at least for my parent's generation.

I think what survives now amongst the more responsible educated women is the idea that they should stay married out of a commitment to their children, i.e. that their children would be hurt if they abandoned their marriages. It's the last bit of culture that still supports marriage (at least within certain socio-economic groups) - and if that goes, then perhaps the whole thing collapses.

So how might a traditionalist counterculture push things back in the right direction? First, marriage can't be seen in isolation. If it is good to love, and if love is connected to loyalty, commitment and service, then that is true as well of our love for our own people and culture. A counterculture would need to promote as part of an ideal of personhood this understanding of love and of the higher nature of men and women.

Second, a counterculture would need to reassert standards. In liberal theory there is no morality per se, nothing inherently right or wrong, or higher or lower. What is moral in liberal theory is the act of defining your own good. This does then generate a kind of morality, in which it is thought wrong to oppose the "define your own good" ideal, so that the worst things are to discriminate, to be judgemental, intolerant, fundamentalist and so on.

A counterculture would need to erase this whole way of thinking about morality and instead reassert as a standard or ideal what is higher within human nature. How can you ask people to act to uphold the good, if there is no good, except for the act of choosing and not discriminating when it comes to the choices of others?

Finally, if there is to be change, it is likely to be carried through by a cultural elite - elite not in terms of money or political correctness, but in level of culture and character. To create such an elite will most likely require select entry schools and then some kind of supporting institutions.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Barrister speaks out against bias

Michael Challinger, a Melbourne barrister, has seen the family court system abused many times. He gives the following example:
My client Tom was at work when the police turned up. They served him with an intervention order, took him home and told him to pack a suitcase. If he returned home, or contacted his wife or children, he'd be facing two years' jail. He'd had no inkling this was coming.

The order was an interim one, granted ex parte. That means the court issued it in his absence, having heard only his wife's side of the story.

In theory, Tom could go to court and argue his case, but a hearing date was months away. With his wife now in sole possession of the family home, her lawyers came on heavy about a divorce and a property settlement. They hinted that if he played ball, he could start seeing his kids again.

It is difficult for men to contest the allegations:
Most men simply can't afford to keep paying out indefinitely for lawyers. They can't keep taking days off work. They can't stand not seeing their children for months on end, so they come to terms with the applicants. They consent to orders without admitting the allegations and then try to negotiate some child access.

Those who dig their heels in and contest the applications don't fare much better. Often, the paperwork doesn't even particularise the case they have to meet. Tom's application claimed he was "abusive and controlling". How? When? In what way? He'd find that out in court.

In any event, the act defines family violence so widely, it includes the sort of friction that occurs occasionally in even the happiest family: heated argument, raised voices, the silent treatment. I've seen an application succeed where the husband criticised his wife's cooking and (on a separate occasion) slammed a door. You can always find something a man's done wrong.

How to reform the situation? First, the definition of domestic violence needs to be tightened. It needs to be something more than a heated argument or the silent treatment. It should involve physical violence, or the real threat of violence. Second, men who do have an ex parte decision made against them should be guaranteed a court hearing within a specified period of time (a month?). Third, the paperwork should detail the specific accusations made against the men. Fourth, if a woman is found to have fabricated an accusation it should be considered negatively when parenting orders are finally made.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Beauty & empowerment

Amy Molloy is 31 and is about to be married. In her youth she dressed in a sexually provocative way:
In the past I have followed a 'less is more' rule when it comes to dressing. Like most teenage girls I went out in as little as my parents would allow and, for a while during my early twenties, my favourite clubbing outfit was a lace leotard with nothing underneath it.

But now she is trying to justify to herself dressing a bit more conservatively. She has told the Daily Mail a somewhat unlikely story about how she was at a farmers market in North Sydney and was warned by a man that her revealing gym clothes were putting her in danger and that she should clear out. She thanked the man and left.

One thing that stood out to me is that Amy Molloy sees only the options of dressing prudishly or sexually provocatively. She leaves out the option of dressing in a beautiful/sexually appealing way. And the question is why?

One possible answer is that she belongs to a generation of women who have been encouraged to reject modesty. By modesty I mean a sense of reserve that aims for love, for family and for one man rather than an indiscriminate, public display of sexuality. Modesty stands in the way of the modern girl ethos which is not oriented to family commitments or even to a stable commitment to a man, but instead to autonomy, independence, career and self-actualisation (understood as the assertion of the solo ego in the world). It is these qualities which are thought to make a young woman empowered, and so young feminist women naturally assume that it is empowering to be immodest and to assert themselves in an overtly sexual way, i.e. sluttily. Young feminists associate the slutwalks with power.

But is sluttiness empowering? Consider what Amy Molloy was doing just before the incident in North Sydney:
For the past 30 minutes, I had been talking loudly on the phone to a girlfriend about why a guy she'd met on Tinder hadn't stayed the night after having sex with her.

Who is the empowered one in this exchange? The man who gets the easy one night stand or the woman who wonders why he doesn't hang around after?

And there's another sense in which women are disempowered through immodesty. When women are dressed for beauty, they have the power to deeply impress and therefore positively influence men. This is a higher power because it is something that affects the inner spirit of men - it doesn't have to be dragged out of men through the force of law or the threat of punishment or through indoctrination. It is sincere and voluntary.

There is a second reason why Anne Molloy might have disregarded the appeal of beauty as an option for women. Beauty is something that we all know and experience in our lives. Nonetheless, moderns find it difficult to acknowledge the reality of a good like beauty. Moderns are inclined to think in terms of an immediate physical reality with nothing embedded in it, which means that beauty doesn't register as a higher truth for them the way that it did in more traditional cultures.

That's one reason why writers like Anne Molloy discuss the issue of feminine attire either in terms of gender politics or health and safety. These are considered "real" in a way that beauty isn't. Anne Molloy is about to marry; she clearly feels that she should tone down her public display of sexuality; but to justify this she turns to the idea that there is a personal health and safety benefit in doing so - hence the story of the man who warned her that the drug dealers at a North Sydney farmers market might rob or attack her because of her lycra gym pants.

I find it interesting that postmoderns do like to experience beauty (the clothes shops in trendy Fitzroy are full of classic 50s dresses), but only allow themselves to do so "ironically". They want us to know that they don't really believe in the particular good whilst still wanting to enjoy it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Annie Teriba

Annie Teriba is a lesbian student activist of Nigerian descent at Oxford. She has spoken out passionately against rape, but publicly apologised recently for having had non-consensual sex with another woman:
Miss Teriba had been a darling of the Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) — a separate body to the Union debating society — which oversees student issues for the university.

She spoke for OUSU with considerable vigour as Oxford’s ‘lesbian, gay, bi and transsexual women’s representative’ at a countrywide level during meetings of the National Union of Students.

One of the issues she spoke most passionately about was the problem of sexual aggression against women. Indeed, she had unflinchingly asserted the wildly controversial (and utterly unproven) statistic that ‘one woman in four’ at Oxford can expect to be raped.

The interesting thing about this is that lesbian feminists usually claim that rape is caused by the patriarchal desire of men to control women through violence. If that is so, then there would be no reason for Annie Teriba to rape another woman as she has no investment in the patriarchy but claims to be an opponent of it. In other words, Annie Teriba is helping to disprove her own theory.

Another interesting thing: Annie Teriba is yet another radical feminist who feels abandoned by her father. She is in the company here of feminist luminaries such as Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem, Jill Johnston, Eva Cox and Rebecca West.

Annie Teriba has written a poem about her feelings of paternal abandonment, a poem in which she blames white men for her black father not being there for her. It is titled "Interring. Or, White Boy, What Have You Done With My Father's Bones" and includes he lines "no, this is how do black fathers mistake home for shackle; and wade?" and "Black men have always been sacrifice to their paperface gods" and "who will teach me to love myself when my father is a village in ruins?".

The poem does, it seems to me, show some talent, but the content of it gives away not only an offensive racial politics (the politics of white blame), but also points to personal psychological issues as a driving force in Annie Teriba's politics ("how I can be empty and yet so full of grief").

In radical leftist student politics there is an element of personal psychological disorder. You can see this in an incident from earlier this year in which organisers of a student feminist conference asked people not to clap in case it triggered anxieties amongst those attending but to instead use jazz hands to show each other support.

Monteverdi - Lamento della Ninfa - Kirkby

I hadn't heard this piece until recently. Best to start at about 1:35.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Song of Sebastien Jallamion

Tiberge at Gallia Watch has posted an item which shows how crazy things are getting in France. A policeman named Sebastien Jallamion has been punished by a court for political commentary he made on an anonymous Facebook page. He has also been suspended from his job. During his police disciplinary hearing he was rebuked for having criticised the leader of ISIS following the beheading of a Frenchman. A member of the committee said to him "Are you not ashamed of stigmatizing an imam in this way?"

It led me to compose this little response written from the viewpoint of that committee member:

Song of Sebastien

Are you not ashamed Sebastien?
You have spoken against evil
You have defended your countrymen
You have acted with courage as a free man.

And here I sit in a committee room
risen within a servile state
where truth and character is as small
as the statutes I bring to condemn you.

Are you not ashamed Sebastien?
If you were not here but had stayed unseen
I would not be discomfited by thoughts
of the greater man I should have been.

PS I notice there is a petition in support of Sebastien Jallamion here.

Horrible Bosses - of the EU

Fjordman has a good post up at Gates of Vienna. It has some recent quotes from EU leaders, spelling out what they believe ideologically. As you might guess, the beliefs are disastrous.

He begins with Federica Mogherini, who is, in a sense, the EU’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. She rejects the very possibility of culture clashes, or of Islamisation, or even the existence of different power blocs in the world, as being incompatible with the new EU identity which is based on plurality and openness.

It's similar to what I wrote in the comments to a reader recently: Western liberals don't necessarily want to be dominated, but they have adopted a set of moral beliefs and a way of creating meaning in life which then commits them to the hope that the world exists in a certain way. In other words, they are not starting with reality, they are starting with ideological commitments, and they then act in the hope and belief that the world exists in a way that fits into these commitments.

For Federica Mogherini this means hoping that there will be no power blocs in the world, no clash of civilisations, and no serious point of conflict between Islam and Western liberalism. This is what she finds herself committed to ideologically.

This is how she herself puts it:
“The very idea of a clash of civilisations is at odds with the most basic values of our European Union — let alone with reality. Throughout our European history, many have tried to unify our continent by imposing their own power, their own ideology, their own identity against the identity of someone else. With the European project, after World War II, not only we accepted diversity: we expressed a desire for diversity to be a core feature of our Union. We defined our civilisation through openness and plurality: a mind-set based on blocs does not belong to us. Some people are now trying to convince us that a Muslim cannot be a good European citizen, that more Muslims in Europe will be the end of Europe. These people are not just mistaken about Muslims: these people are mistaken about Europe — that is my core message — they have no clue what Europe and the European identity are. This is our common fight: to make this concept accepted both in Europe and beyond Europe. For Europe and Islam face some common challenges in today’s world. The so-called Islamic State is putting forward an unprecedented attempt to pervert Islam for justifying a wicked political and strategic project.”

It's worth noting, too, the "identity" that Europeans are now supposed to adopt, which is a suicidal non-identity. Europeans are now supposed to believe that their identity is based around having no particular identity, only an openness to the other.

An equally horrible EU boss is Frans Timmermans. He also manages to define away the existence of Europe as a place with particular cultures and peoples. He sees it instead as a kind of stage for the expression of liberal politics: the EU is being imagined as liberal theatre. According to Timmermans:
The rise of islamophobia is the one of the biggest challenges in Europe. It is a challenge to our vital values, to the core of who we are. Never has our societies’ capacity for openness, for tolerance, for inclusion been more tested than it is today. Diversity is now in some parts of Europe seen as a threat. Diversity comes with challenges. But diversity is humanity’s destiny.

Timmermans is not saying that tolerance, inclusion and openness can be virtues in certain circumstances. He is making the radical claim that they are vital values which constitute the core of what a European is. He believes that diversity - by which he means the loss of communal cultures - is humanity's destiny.

Finally, there is Vera Jourova who wants to curb freedom of expression on the internet to limit criticism of what bosses like herself are doing (Fjordman has the details of this).

So what is to be done? At a higher level, the liberal ideology itself needs to come under sustained attack. We should be writing books and pamphlets which systematically criticise it (as James Kalb has done).

There is also the option of reasserting our own particular identities in defiance of the elite's efforts to promote a universal liberal identity.

Punishing the elites politically is also a worthy aim, although it means supporting genuinely non-liberal groups, rather than giving unthinking support to the mainstream right.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Sydney Trads Symposium - Frank Salter

The Sydney Trads have come up with a great idea, which is to run a symposium discussing the place of conservatism in Australian politics following the replacement of Tony Abbott as PM.

I haven't read all of the contributions yet, but have just read Frank Salter's. It is generally very good. I won't give too much away, but his starting point is to reject the idea that the Abbott Government was a consistently conservative one. His way forward is for conservatives to build social movements, which he describes (briefly) as "a networked infrastructure of researchers and writers, magazines, websites, forums, seminars, news and documentaries."

Open border activist stabbed by...

In the German city of Dresden a young man who campaigned for open borders has been stabbed in a random attack by a group of North African immigrants:
Twenty-nine year old ‘Julius G.’ involved himself in political activism while reading his degree in industrial engineering Technical University of Dresden. Now he may have fallen victim to his own politics, as the refugee advocate was attacked while waiting for friends in Dresden’s Neustadt, known as the city’s ‘left wing’, or ‘alternative’ quarter.

Germany’s Bild-Zeitung reports police were called to Pizza 5 on Alaunstra├če on Saturday after a group of six to eight men jumped the student in the early hours and stabbed him twice in the back, leaving him in a serious condition. A police spokesman said: “Several police vans searched the surrounding area, unfortunately without success. According to witnesses, the attackers were said to be North Africans”.

West-German ‘Julius G.’ who has been a student in Dresden for five years told Bild: “I don’t know why I was attacked.

“I waited opposite the pizzeria for two friends who were buying something to eat after we had left the pub and were on our way home”.

The student didn’t think the motivation was robbery, as nothing was taken after the stabbing. Explaining he campaigned for the rights of refugees, he explained: “it makes me very sad that I was attacked by precisely this group”.

It is also being claimed (not confirmed) that a "no borders" activist was raped by a group of Sudanese men in Italy.

There is probably low value in reporting these stories, as they are unlikely to influence official policy. The issue ought to be contested at the level of principle. The stories do bring out, though, a certain kind of na├»ve thinking by the open borders activists.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Bendigo protests

Overseas readers might be particularly interested to learn about events yesterday in Bendigo, a regional city here in Victoria with about 100,000 residents.

One of the unusual things about Bendigo is that despite being largely Anglo-Celtic in demographics, it is being fought over by the world's religions. It has a magnificent Catholic Cathedral; a great Buddhist Stupa is being built there; and the council recently approved a proposal to build a mega mosque. Why Bendigo? It's difficult to fathom, given the small number of Buddhists and Muslims in the area (there are supposed to be about 35 Muslims in Bendigo). Presumably both groups envision that they will one day expand in a major way into the area.

The local residents did not object to the Great Stupa but there has been a campaign to stop the mega mosque. Yesterday a protest rally of about 1000 faced off against a counter-protest of about 500, with almost 500 police separating the two groups:

Here is a picture of some of the pro-mosque supporters:

You can see that there is something of a class divide here. The three women above look like well-heeled, middle-class types. I don't think, though, that they are deep thinkers. The woman in the middle is holding a placard saying "Church, Stupa, Mosque - What's the difference really?" which is an extraordinarily blase approach to a serious issue.

After all, there are two possible outcomes. One is that the Muslims who come to the mosque will gradually be influenced by liberalism and adopt liberal values. The other is that they won't and that middle-class Australian liberals will find themselves submitting to Islam instead. I'm guessing that the three women have never really considered the second option.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

What are the risks?

I read a piece in the Daily Mail about a talented young woman who took her own life despite the best efforts of her family to help her. A very sad story which I wouldn't normally comment on here, except that the statistics at the end caught my attention, namely that in Australia over 2500 people commit suicide each year and over 60,000 make an attempt.

This reminded me of my recent post on domestic violence in which a mother of daughters claimed that "I worry about the most lethal and emotionally devastating threat to each of my girls — being in a relationship."

The mother was claiming that being in a relationship would expose her daughters to the lethal threat of domestic violence. She used the oft repeated, but false, claim that "Recent statistics show domestic family violence claims more Australian women’s lives and causes more ill health than all other well-known preventable risks."

Obviously this isn't the case. About 100 women a year in Australia are killed by their intimate partners (i.e. via domestic violence). Of these about 90% occur amongst an unemployed underclass.

In Australia women are 1 in every 3 of those who commit suicide. That means that about 830 women will commit suicide in Australia each year. Women are 60% of those who attempt suicide, which means that 36,000 women will attempt suicide.

So what is the greatest risk to women? It is not harm by a male partner, but self-harm. Women are 8 times more likely to be killed by self-harm than by domestic violence and 360 times more likely to attempt self-harm than to be killed by an intimate partner.

Of course it is a worthy aim nonetheless to try to reduce the number of deaths by domestic violence. It is a pity, though, that the issue should be framed as one of men oppressing women. The statistics are that 50% of those assaulted in domestic violence cases are male; 30% of those injured are male; and 25% of those killed are male. In 2010 28 men were killed in Australia by female partners.

So women are the majority of victims but men make up a substantial minority. So why focus on women alone as victims?

The answer is that it fits into a certain ideology. According to patriarchy theory, men use violence against women in a systematic way in order to uphold a gender supremacy. The theory claims that masculinity itself was created on the basis of this violent suppression of women. Logically, if you believe the ideology, you will think that the solution to domestic violence lies with all men changing their attitudes toward women and abandoning masculinity and privilege.

We should be encouraging those participating in domestic violence campaigns to drop the ideological approach in favour of a more practical outlook. And a test of this is whether the campaigners are willing to see domestic violence in general as a problem, and not reduce it to a male oppressor/female victim scenario.

There does exist a group attempting to influence the debate called One in Three. I especially like their page dealing with misleading statistics.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The insurrection of the mind

Tiberge at GalliaWatch has an interesting post up about Philippe de Villiers (his wonderfully Gallic full name is Philippe Le Jolis de Villiers de Saintignon).

Villiers is a leader of the Movement for France Party; a member of the European Parliament (though a Eurosceptic); and he was a minister for culture in the Chirac administration. He also established a popular history theme park called Puy du Fou, intended to promote patriotic feeling (it gets 2 million visitors a year).

He has written a book about his political career. In an interview about the book he made comments that most readers of this site are likely to sympathise with:
Politicians refuse to find solutions because they are sold to globalism that necessitates the destruction of all vital attachments.

Behind the lies I saw high treason. This unheard-of conjunction between the interests of some and the ideology of others. On the one hand the search for a planetary market, and on the other the ideology of a nomad, rootless, de-sexed, atomized.

Ever since May '68, the "no borders" of the liberals joined with the "no limits" of the libertarians to unseal all cornerstones.

The globalist elites that I am denouncing knocked down all the sustaining walls of France.

I'd like to highlight the following as well as it so directly contradicts the liberal ideology that currently rules the West:
The drama France is experiencing is twofold: they have attacked the family, and the family of families that is the nation. The latter is a heritage. It must be restated: the nation is received, it is not chosen!

We must confront the globalist elite who have not ceased to destroy the real people, the national community, the long memory, the family, and finally France.

I have bolded the most relevant part. Liberals believe in the autonomous individual, in which freedom is thought to mean having the liberty to self-create, self-define or self-determine. But a traditional communal identity is not self-defined; it is something we are born into. Therefore liberals have set themselves against traditional identities. Villiers is challenging the reigning ideology head on when he insists that we should accept the nation as something received rather than as something chosen individually.

Villiers suggestions of what to do next are worth considering:
They want to fabricate urban manipulable atoms, it is up to us ... to work towards the insurrection of the mind!

We must increase the number of isolates of resistance, create non-government schools that develop straight thinking and ensure transmission, re-affiliation, and rooting.

We must defend the sacred nature of life, and filiation as a mark of identity, the nation as heritage, the borders as anchors and the French dream as a window on the world.

We have returned to the days of the catacombs and each of us must guard his little spark, so that the flame does not ever go out. Those who no longer have hope are those who no longer have a solution.

If we could get just a little bit more organised we could perhaps do more to promote and publish the ideas of men like Villiers. It is fortunate that Tiberge runs her site or else English speakers would have little chance at all of accessing thinkers like Villiers.

(There is more at the original post by Tiberge which I encourage readers to visit.)

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Imagine that

John Lennon's song Imagine was voted in 1999 as having Britain's favourite lyrics. Which is a sad thing as the lyrics are so awful.

We are invited in the song to imagine that there is no heaven; that people live only for today; that there are no countries; no religion; no possessions; and one global culture.

It is an anthem for a denatured individualism. So I was interested to read that a new book by Dominic Sandbrook has concluded that Lennon was not a peace-loving visionary but selfishly individualistic and a hypocrite.

According to Sandbrook Lennon's "driving thought was only ever: 'Me, me, me'" and that his career was marked by an "astonishing degree of self-absorption." Sandbrook notes that "Even his most admiring biographers struggle to justify his cruel streak."

And the hypocrisy is mind-boggling. Lennon dreamed of a world without possessions. Yet he chose to indulge in a millionaire lifestyle on a magnificent country estate in England. When living in New York, his partner Yoko Ono had a refrigerated room built in their luxury apartment to store her collection of fur coats. This inspired Elton John to send Lennon the following ditty:

'Imagine six apartments / It isn't hard to do / One is full of fur coats / The other's full of shoes.'

He seems to have been one of those men whom the poet Sir Walter Scott criticised as being "concentrated all in self".

We do have shootings in Australia

We had a shooting yesterday as it happens. A 15-year-old "radicalised youth" from Iran visited the Parramatta mosque before attacking the Parramatta police HQ and shooting dead a civilian IT worker there.

Sydney has also seen the rise of drive by shootings; there were three in one night some weeks ago. Update: It's been confirmed that the shooting was an act of terrorism, although the latest report says that the gunman was from Iraq.

Oregon shooting

Very sad to see news of the shooting in Oregon. There is only patchy information about the gunman so far, but it appears that he graduated from a special high school (Switzer Learning Academy) that caters for students whose emotional issues prevent them attending a regular school. In other words, it is likely that he had longstanding mental health issues. Disturbingly he appears to have singled out Christian students during his attack.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

You have to choose your freedoms

There's a report in today's Herald Sun that the Government is planning to make all religious clerics take out an annual licence. They would face a state registration/training system similar to that applied to school teachers.

Under the plan the state would effectively set the norms (the educational/professional development standards) under which religions would operate.

Here's the thing. It is obvious that the Government is keen to do this to try to rein in the more radical Islamic imams. In the process, though, all churches are being brought further under the sway of the state.

One political point to draw from this is that classical/right liberalism has again failed in its approach. The "freedom" of open borders has led, in practice, to a more intrusive state. In other words, there is a contradiction between the right liberal policy of open borders and the (supposed) right liberal policy of a small and non-intrusive state. You can't have both - you have to choose between them.

My prediction is that right-liberals will choose to become statists.