Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Role reversal gone wrong

Beth Mathison is a Tasmanian businesswoman and the new face of a domestic violence campaign here in Australia. She is being presented as a victim of "financial abuse" by her former partner:
But for 20 years, she was financially trapped, controlled by her abusive partner. It was this relationship which ultimately led to her losing everything.

But what are the details of her case? She admits that she grew up "in a bubble of private schooling and scholarships." So no financial abuse there. She then quickly became successful in business:
I lived in a very beautiful castle, where I had staff working seven days a week looking after my personal needs while I also ran a game park business. I worked intensely seven days a week, had everything I wanted.

Her Scottish castle

She lost the castle when interest rates rose and her business collapsed. Looking back she believes she was a victim of abuse by her partner of the time:
"My motivators were my natural entrepreneurial spirit and a driving desire to take on new challenges, and it was these motivators that Bob used to great effect to control me," she explained.

"They always resulted in me being the only one who worked, often seven days a week.

Bob, it seems, did not go out to work and so did not contribute to the finances. According to new guidelines on domestic violence, this makes him an abusive partner.
The guide lays out what constitutes financial abuse -- a wide spectrum which includes refusing to help with household expenses

(In the guide to "financial abuse" one of the indicators of abuse is "refuses to contribute financially to their partner".)

Further blame is heaped on Bob because after Beth divorced him she had to pay him spousal maintenance:
It took Beth five years to find a better job and divorce her ex-husband, which also cost her $150 a week in spousal maintenance because he refused to work.

I hope readers know where I am going with this. If you are a man you will be scratching your head because usually it is men who are in Beth Mathison's position. Usually it is a wealthy husband who buys the grand home, has a so-called trophy wife who doesn't go out to work and who therefore doesn't contribute to the finances, and it is usually the husband who, on divorce, has to pay the wife large sums in alimony and child support.

What Beth Mathison discovered is that the masculine role in life is not as privileged as she might have imagined it to be. A man can go out to work, earn the money and yet look back on a marriage or relationship feeling that he was the one who was exploited.

The response to Beth Mathison's situation is confusing. How can "not contributing to the finances" be defined as domestic violence? This would put the traditional family outside the law. And why is there only sympathy when a woman like Beth Mathison is put in the same position as tens of thousands of men?

In other words, if we are supposed to sympathise with Beth Mathison, shouldn't we then sympathise with what the majority of men go through when they are divorced by their wives?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sliding down already?

Five years ago I wrote a post on the homosexual marriage issue in which I tried to explain that it is only within heterosexual relationships that limiting marriage to two people makes sense. That's because a man and a woman can be thought of as two distinct fitting or interlocking parts that combine to form a fruitful (a fertile) union. But once you think that you can have a marriage between two men or two women then there seems to be little reason to believe that you can't have a marriage between three men or three women.

The warning here is that if a society embraces homosexual marriage, then it is on a slippery slope to marriage between more than two people.

It's not easy to predict how long such effects might take. But already we have news from Colombia that a marriage between three men has been given legal recognition:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Wall Street Journal on the European elites

A quick, interesting item. The Wall Street Journal has published a post by Douglas Murray titled "Europe’s Elites Seem Determined to Commit Suicide by ‘Diversity’".

It's hidden behind a paywall (see here if interested) but the key part comes toward the end. Douglas Murray believes that the European elites have a sense of guilt and that they think of their own tradition as being tired and played out. He goes on to write:
All these instincts, when put together, are the stuff of suicide. They spell out the self-annihilation of a culture as well as a continent. Conversations with European policy makers and politicians have made this abundantly clear to me. They tell me with fury that it “must” work. I suggest that with population change of this kind, at this speed, it may not work at all.

...Over recent decades Europe has made a hasty effort to redefine itself. As the world came in, we became wedded to “diversity.” As terrorism grew and more migrants arrived, public opinion in Europe began to harden. Today “more diversity” remains the cry of the elites, who insist that if the public doesn’t like it yet, it is because they haven’t had enough of it.

The migration policies of the political and other elites of Europe suggest that they are suicidal. The interesting thing to watch in the years ahead will be whether the public join them in that pact. I wouldn’t bet on it.

I don't think he is entirely right in identifying why the elite acts as it does, but the good thing is that an establishment newspaper has been willing to directly state the problem, namely that the European elites are determined to commit cultural suicide and that it is up to the public to resist them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Albert Goodwin

Always good to discover a new artist. Albert Goodwin (1845-1932) was an English landscape painter. Below is his painting Sunset, Venice (1902).

Or, you might prefer Westminster Sunset.

The next fortnight

My apologies, but due to a heavy workload I've had to turn off comments for the next fortnight; posting will continue but will be lighter than usual. This is definitely a temporary measure - I look forward to resuming both comments and longer posts in two weeks time.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Germany march

850 German patriots marched in Berlin today. The march was organised by the Identitarian movement. The banner's main slogan reads "Future for Europe" and underneath it says "Identity. Love of homeland. Patriotism." The march was five times larger than a similar one held last year.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

To love and to serve

Liberals sometimes express their ideal as being the individual pursuit of happiness. But such a pursuit is likely to leave many people feeling uncommitted in life, as if they were merely treading water rather than plunging in. Perhaps that's because humans have a powerful impulse to love and to serve, so much so that this is felt to be one necessary part of a truly committed and meaningful life.

I don't think we can ignore this impulse to love and to serve, as it is an aspect of life that needs to be carefully ordered. It very easily goes wrong.

With men, the easiest focus of this impulse is to love and to serve a wife. The service here is not to something intangible, but to a person who is real and immediate, and who draws love not only by her own individual feminine attractiveness, but by a man associating her with a perceived feminine essence of beauty and goodness. A man feels elevated in his own feelings when making this kind of commitment, particularly as in doing so he draws on, and exercises, his own stronger masculine qualities.

So how does this go wrong? You get a hint of the problem from what went wrong in the Middle Ages. The literary tradition of courtly love was about men becoming lovesick for a noblewoman and pledging their service to them as a way of winning the lady's love. The men were expected to grovel and abase themselves as part of the process. The outcome depended on the whim of the lady - she held the upper hand throughout.

A commitment to serve can be thought to give power to the person being served. In modern marriage, this can mean that a man's willingness to commit to marriage and to work to provide for his wife and children can be perceived by the woman to make him "beta" - and therefore sexually unattractive, making for a less than happy outcome for both husband and wife.

The solution? One part of the solution, in my opinion, is for men to have other outlets for the "love and service" impulse and not to rest everything on the marital relationship. A man can love and serve God, his nation/people/country, and his local place/community. Saint Thomas Aquinas thought that the focus on the larger communal life, in being oriented to the common good, was the highest natural fulfilment of men:
Whereas the residents of the village better serve their individual interests, the goal of the political community becomes the good of the whole, or the common good, which Aquinas claims (following Aristotle) is "better and more divine than the good of the individual." (Commentary on the Politics, Book 1, Lesson 1 [11]). The political community is thus understood as the first community (larger than the family) for which the individual makes great sacrifices, since it is not merely a larger cooperative venture for mutual economic benefit. It is, rather, the social setting in which man truly finds his highest natural fulfilment. In this sense, the political community, even though not directed to the individual good, better serves the individual by promoting a life of virtue in which human existence can be greatly ennobled.

The further advantage to a man of dedicating part of his life to the larger community he belongs to, is that it practically repudiates the impression that he is merely a servant to his wife.

However, for this to work, it needs to be built into the social arrangements. Despite not finding "servant men" sexually attractive, women still tend to jealously guard their monopoly over men's time and resources. It's difficult to ask a solitary man to break through this alone; better if it is normal within a society for men to spend part of the week doing church activities, or contributing to some sort of cultural or political organisation.

And what of marriage itself? It's common for men to think that women will appreciate the sacrifices they make by going out to work to provide money for their wives and children. But women are strangely unaffected by this. In a woman's mind, this is just something that men do. Maybe this is women not wanting to think that their husbands are doing "servant" work as this would make the husband unattractive. Or maybe it reflects the long human prehistory when men went out to hunt, leaving women's minds focused on their relationships with other women and with children.

Sacrificing as a breadwinner does not rebalance the marital relationship. It might be thought that the solution then is for women to also love and serve their husbands. It's true that this would help. It also seems to be true that Western culture used to encourage women to do this: think of the advice to wives to cook something nice for their husbands, or to give him a warm and welcome environment for him to return to after work.

On the other hand, women are more likely to be focused on a "love and serve" relationship with their children rather than their husband. It's noticeable that a husband's love for his wife is likely to be constant, as you would expect when someone makes a commitment to love and to serve. Similarly, a mother's love for her children is also usually constant. But a wife's love for her husband is likely to be inconstant - a woman might even say things to her husband such as "I don't even like you right now".

What would help most is if the roles of husband and father had more power, authority and prestige associated with them. Then a man could love and serve his wife and children without the negative implication that he was thereby submitting to his wife, rather than leading in a masculine way.

But this cannot be a pretend role, a role that we pay lip service to, whilst the same old dynamic continues on as before. A husband has to be trusted to exercise real authority within his family and he should not be undermined by family laws which make it extraordinarily easy for his wife to strip him of children, home and income.

We could decisively reject some of the egalitarian ethos. My own father used to sit at the head of the table; be served first; and read family prayers. The point of this is not power for its own sake, but to embed the dignity of the office itself - which is necessary for a system of marriage to work. It is a pushing back against the strong forces eroding a man's position in the family, including a wife's perception that her husband is there to serve her and is therefore lowlier than her, and that she is in the position to easily control him, which kills her respect and passion for him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Credit to Bolt

Andrew Bolt is the most prominent right-wing journalist here in Australia. He has a large audience, writing for the Herald Sun newspaper and hosting a pay TV commentary show.

He is not a traditionalist but a kind of right-liberal. This is most obvious in his attitude to communal identity. He has written that he considers himself Australian but only reluctantly:
Yet even now I fret about how even nationality can divide us.

To be frank, I consider myself first of all an individual, and wish we could all deal with each other like that. No ethnicity. No nationality. No race. Certainly no divide that's a mere accident of birth.

Liberals want us to be self-determined, therefore something that is predetermined like our ethnicity becomes something negative for the individual to be liberated from. That's why Andrew Bolt once declared his support for:
The humanist idea that we are all individuals, free to make our own identities as equal members of the human race.

And he is intellectual enough to take this liberal principle to its logical conclusion, namely that we should only identify with our own self. He writes about how he once tried to identify with his Dutch ancestry but rejected this because:
I was borrowing a group identity rather than asserting my own. Andrew Bolt's.

You would think, given this dramatic adherence to liberal principles, that Andrew Bolt would not be of great interest for traditionalists in Australia. Yet because he has a courageous personality he raises issues that many others will not. Last week he wrote one of the best newspaper columns I have ever read in the Australian mainstream media. The first part dealt with a physical attack on him launched by two members of the Melbourne antifa. You can see footage of the attack in the video below:

Bolt defended himself remarkably well and he wasn't backing down when he wrote about the incident in his column:
TO ALL those who called me with sympathy for being attacked on Tuesday by masked protesters: stop it.

Sympathy is for losers. And we must be losers no more.

So I want your high-fives instead. I want you to laugh at the CCTV footage of the haymaker I gave one of the three men who jumped me and blinded me with a thick liquid outside a Carlton book launch I was to speak at.

Their sort has ruled the streets for too long, particularly in Melbourne.

The main part of his column was a strong argument to close the borders to avoid the terror threat. It's worth reading in full, but here are some highlights:
But did Khayre’s rampage finally shock our politicians into admitting the truth?

Did they finally concede they’d run a refugee program that put Australians in danger?

As if. Here is the response of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull: “There are some very, very grave questions … How was this man on parole?”

Wrong. The gravest question of all is actually this: why was this jihadist in Australia in the first place?

Why did our politicians let in Khayre and hundreds, even thousands, of people much like him?

Stop blaming the judges and the police and everyone except the damn politicians who have opened our gates to exactly the mayhem they now pretend to tackle. Our politicians have been wilfully, dangerously, recklessly blind to the danger they’ve imported in their narcissistic urge to seem kind, no matter what the cost to the rest of us.

...So why are we running a refugee program that again and again puts Australians in danger? That brings in terror?

Wouldn’t it be both safer and cheaper to help refugees where they are right now — overseas — rather than pay millions to bring over a lucky few and cross our fingers they’ll fit in?

Monday, June 12, 2017

The man who invented Wonder Woman

I haven't seen the film, nor did I ever read the comic books, but I'm aware that the character of Wonder Woman is supposed to be a feminist icon.

And that's not so surprising given her origins.

It turns out that the creator of Wonder Woman was one William Moulton Marston. He was a product of that long first wave of feminism that ran from about the 1860s to the 1940s.

Marston lived together with not just one but two feminist wives:
Olive Byrne met Marston in 1925, when she was a senior at Tufts; he was her psychology professor. Marston was already married, to a lawyer named Elizabeth Holloway. When Marston and Byrne fell in love, he gave Holloway a choice: either Byrne could live with them, or he would leave her. Byrne moved in. Between 1928 and 1933, each woman bore two children; they lived together as a family. Holloway went to work; Byrne stayed home and raised the children. They told census-takers and anyone else who asked that Byrne was Marston’s widowed sister-in-law. “Tolerant people are the happiest,” Marston wrote in a magazine essay in 1939, so “why not get rid of costly prejudices that hold you back?” He listed the “Six Most Common Types of Prejudice.” Eliminating prejudice number six—“Prejudice against unconventional people and non-conformists”—meant the most to him. Byrne’s sons didn’t find out that Marston was their father until 1963..

The character of Wonder Woman was intended from the start (the early 1940s) to celebrate the power of the New Woman:
In February 1941, Marston submitted a draft of his first script, explaining the “under-meaning” of Wonder Woman’s Amazonian origins in ancient Greece, where men had kept women in chains, until they broke free and escaped. “The NEW WOMEN thus freed and strengthened by supporting themselves (on Paradise Island) developed enormous physical and mental power.” His comic, he said, was meant to chronicle “a great movement now under way—the growth in the power of women.”

More simply, Marston gave this reason for the creation of Wonder Woman:
Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.

There was some push back in the 1950s. There were complaints that female comic book characters, like Wonder Woman, had been stripped of any positive family role:
They do not work. They are not homemakers. They do not bring up a family. Mother-love is entirely absent. Even when Wonder Woman adopts a girl there are Lesbian overtones

As a result the comic book industry adopted a code of conduct which included the following:
The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.

That might sound over the top, but when you read the back story of men like Marston, you understand why even in the 1950s the older values needed to be explicitly defended.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ordinary female vice

There's a post from one of those mumsnet sites that shows how a woman gives in to some specifically female vices. If I were a church leader I would use documents like this to draw a distinction between right and wrong behaviour in women.

Here is the post:
6 reasons why my husband should be my "punching bag"

Have you ever had the kind of fight with your husband where you’re being somewhat irrational and highly emotional and completely exhausted? You know, the kind where you just keep going around in crazy circles until he finally says something like, “What am I supposed to do, be your punching bag?” I have. Quite a few times. It goes down like this: My husband did, or didn’t do, something that made my life a little bit harder at a time when I’m just barely treading water (like, he shaved and left little hairs all over the bathroom that I had to clean up). I call him out and he says I’m upset “over nothing” (his words) but really I have every right to be mad. So, YES, dear husband, you should be my punching bag — and here’s why:

1. My hormones are making me crazy. Let’s be clear: I’m not talking about my period here. As you know, I recently had a baby and unless you’ve ever experienced pregnancy and postpartum (especially postpartum) hormones — which, of course, you haven’t — you just can’t understand what it’s like. In a nutshell, I feel a bit insane. Actually, sometimes a lot insane. I have high highs and low lows. I can be laughing and feeling happy one minute and crying the next. I can loose your sh*t over something really unimportant and not be able to stop myself. (And no, I’m not alone — ask around.) Sometimes these feelings make me lash out at you. And since these crazy hormones aren’t ruling your body, I think you should just take the lashing.

2. I have a baby on the boob all day long. You wouldn’t know this, but breastfeeding is ridiculously hard. It means that I have another person attached to me all day long. It robs me of my energy. It makes me super hungry. Considering how much you whine when you have a little cold, there’s no way you’d last a day after nursing all night long. So, the least you can do is let me take my frustration out on you once in awhile.

3. I resent the crap out of you. I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. I resent you. And — sorry, there’s no way to say this nicely — sometimes I don’t even like you. Too often, you’re like an extra kid around the house that I have to take care of, except not as cute. You get to leave the house to work. You always find time to exercise, and you get to shower every day. You even spend 20 minutes in the bathroom all the damn time. On top of taking care of our children, I also run the house, buy the food, make the food, clean up the food, keep track of the schedules, deadlines, bills, and every other mundane detail of our lives. Aside from going to work and helping with the kids, you don’t have to do anything. And I resent you for it. So you should have to pick up the slack by taking a verbal punch from me every now and again.

4. I have no energy for niceties. Sometimes just listening to you talk drains the little bit of energy I have left. I respond and it might sound like the b*tchiest sentence ever. It’s not meant to be. It’s just that I literally don’t have the energy to sound nicer. Things come out fast, hard, and blunt. Whatever takes the least amount of effort to say is pretty much what comes out of my mouth. It’s also often why I say things that make no sense or forget things entirely (it’s called Mom Brain — look it up). So if I say something or respond to you and it doesn’t sound the nicest, just take it and move on.

5. I’d prefer to lose my sh*t on you than on the kids. Some days are so hard that someone has to be my release valve. On those days, it’s a definite that I didn’t get to leave the house alone, and I probably also didn’t get any time to myself (you know the baby hates to nap). If I’m going to lose it, better that it is on you than on the kids. You can take it — you’re a grown up that should be able to remember what I’m going through and where it’s coming from. You can remind yourself that it’s the hormones talking.

6. You expect me to have sex with you. On top of everything else, you still want to have sex. I’m somehow supposed to get in the mood, and feel and be sexy, and have intimate and romantic time with you. So if sex is what you need, a punching bag is what I need. Fair trade?

While I understand the concept of being someone’s punching bag is probably unfair and unappealing, as it turns out so are many aspects of motherhood. You didn’t get postpartum depression. You aren’t still fat with no time to work out. You aren’t treated like a short order cook by your toddler. You don’t have the life sucked out of you by a baby. So let’s call being a punching bag your husbandly duty, and I’ll do my best to drop the punching bag routine…just as soon as I’ve gotten more than two hours of sleep at a time.

Women are tested most when they have small children. It's definitely the case that some women react to the pressures involved the wrong way, by directing negative feelings toward the person doing the most to help them, namely their husband.

But it's one thing for a woman to have vicious thoughts and feelings appear at this time and another to give in to them, as this woman has done. It's a test of feminine character here - a woman of strong character will recognise how irrational and low-natured these thoughts are and do her best to subdue them.

Finally, the post is another reminder to men not to put all that is best within themselves into the relationship with their wife, as there are women who are simply not receptive to this. Men were always supposed to put some of their better qualities into their civilisational role - their role of upholding the larger tradition they belong to and acting in concert with other men to achieve this.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Professor's "solution" for white working-class American communities

Justin Gest thinks he has a kindly solution for the plight of white working-class American communities. It's to make their passing "as comfortable as possible".

It's noteworthy that he won't even consider the option that these communities might have a future. He talks as if some inevitable, agentless force of history were putting these communities on a "path to death" rather than the specific policies of their own government.

There is a "no future clause" built into liberal modernity that academics like Justin Gest are happy to embrace:

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Salon flips out over Identitarian campaign

I saw this on my Twitter feed:

The leftist Salon website has noticed the European Identitarian campaign I wrote about last month. What is happening is that there are ships being operated by various NGOs which are picking up illegal immigrants from the coast of Africa and, in contravention of international law, ferrying them to Europe (they are supposed to be taken to the nearest African port).

The Identitarians have launched a campaign to operate a vessel of their own, a bit like the Rainbow Warrior, to block the NGO ships. The campaign has, to the consternation of Salon, quickly raised funds. (At our last meeting of the Melbourne Traditionalists we raised money to send off to this campaign.)

In their hit piece, Salon quotes one of the Identitarians as saying:
This massive immigration is changing the face of our continent. We are losing our safety, our way of life, and there is a danger we Europeans will become a minority in our own European homelands.

The Salon piece then continues:
The group writes that “humanitarian NGOs traffick hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Europe and endanger the security and future of our continent. They are responsible for the mass drowning of thousands of Africans in the Mediterranean.”

As The Observer recently reported, the group has raised nearly $100,000 in less than three weeks through an anonymous crowd funding campaign. The group says it plans to pay for vessels, travel costs and film equipment. Italian Identitarians claim they have been offered ships and support from people with boat driving licenses.

The Identitarian statements sound reasonable enough to me. And, as I wrote in my original post on the campaign, it is a template changer - it marks a shift toward a more activist response to what is happening in Europe. And this, I expect, is what has caught the attention of the leftists at Salon.

Go Gorgo!

Good to see a young Australian woman joining the ranks of the alt right women of YouTube. She goes by the moniker of Gorgo. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Unhinged liberal parenting

Let's say that you're a liberal and you believe that the highest good is a freedom to be self-defining. What does that mean for how you parent?

In a previous post Mark Moncrieff (of Upon Hope) observed that,
I think the most important word here is the word "raise", children need to be raised. But "being free to be whoever they want to be" implies that children can raise themselves.

It's a good insight and led me to respond as follows:
That's a good way of putting it. And you can imagine why this is so. If you are a liberal and you think that there are no objectives purposes in life and that people should just "be themselves" however they see fit, then there is little purpose to parenting your child - there is nothing definite to raise them toward. Parenting just comes to mean accepting unconditionally. Not imposing anything. Giving the child confidence to "be anything you care to be". The parents are just there to ferry the child around as a kind of support crew, rather than transmitting culture, identity, purpose, wisdom, values.

As it happens a news item appeared last week to illustrate concretely how this works. A Canadian mother is raising her son to be gender fluid. Look at how she explains her decision:
I want my son to grow up knowing he has a voice. Grow up knowing he can do and be ANYTHING he wants to be in this world.

Because I am the parent he needs me to be, he knows ... That me and his father will love him without fail.

Some days he says he wants to be a girl with a vagina and we simply tell him, “When you’re an adult, you can certainly make the decision to change to that if you wish”. ...We support our child in whoever they are and look forward to seeing how their gender expression manifests as they age.

Here we have the logic of liberal parenting set out openly. First, the belief that the highest principle is one of being self-determined or self-defined, as when she says that she wants her son to "Grow up knowing he can do and be ANYTHING he wants to be in this world."

This leads her to the idea that her role is not to interfere with who the child becomes, but instead to take the "support crew" role ("We support our child in whoever they are").

The assumption is that the child will become "the best version of themselves" by himself alone; that he will, in Mark Moncrieff's words, raise himself while his parents look on with interest.

One final point. The father is partly at fault here. Mothers have an instinct to give unconditional love to their children, fathers have a stronger instinct to socialise their sons toward a successful manhood. The father in this case is not even trying.

Father and son

Wentworth Miller on race

Wentworth Miller is a British-American actor. He is a bit of everything when it comes to race, to the point that he has described himself as a racial Lone Ranger. He has also described himself as being caught between two communities, black and white. He seems to realise the disadvantage of his position in the following quote:

What he says about race is even more true for ethny - for a group of people connected not only by kinship but also by a shared history, language, culture and religion.

It's one of those aspects of life that liberalism is dissolving - at least for Westerners. It is a loss of one of the rewarding and inspiring experiences of human community and identity.