Reconsidering sexual repression

The New York Post has an interesting article up on the price of sex. Summary; more women are giving it up sooner. Between a shortage of men who are marry-up material, competition from other women, and porn, withholding sex to get commitment is no longer a workable strategy Tellingly the article says “those who don’t discount sex say they can’t seem to get anyone to ‘pay’ their higher price. Consequently, younger women are doing an awful lot of first-date or even no-date fucking, and the marriage rate is steadily dropping.

The author doesn’t think like a science-fiction fan and encyclopedic synthesist, but I do – so a really alarming second-order consequence jumped out at me. But before I get to that, some historical perspective.

Before 1960, the price of sex was held fairly high by fear of pregnancy and social stigmatization. Then came the Pill; fear of pregnancy receded and social stigmatization of unwed birth effectively collapsed with it. But in the absence of these restraints, we found out something interesting; women, as a group, want nookie now more than is good for their marriage prospects. That is, the operation of female desire is poorly matched to their most effective reproductive strategy – they’re too easily pulled into casual sex and behaviors they can fool themselves aren’t pure hedonism.

I could go off on a speculative tear about how humans ended up with such miswiring. That would take us on a ramble through evolutionary bio and might even generate an interesting theory or two. But that would be a distraction, because the most interesting consequences of this observation aren’t in the past but in the future.

The first difficult thing to accept, after the sexual revolution, is this: sexual repression and the double standard weren’t arbitrary forms of cruelty that societies ended up with by accident. They were functional adaptations. By raising the clearing price that women charged for sex, they actually increased female bargaining power and raised the marriage rate.

Most people can process that one without wincing. But this next one is a hot potato: the ideology of sexual equality made the problem a lot worse in two different ways. The obvious one was that it encouraged women to believe they could and should be able to act like men without negative consequences – including rising to male levels of promiscuity. The less obvious, but perhaps in the long run more damaging consequence, was that it collided with hypergamy.

Women are hypergamous. They want to marry men who are bigger, stronger, higher-status, a bit older, and a bit brighter than they are. This is massively confirmed by statistics on actual marriages; only the “a bit brighter” part is even controversial, and most of that controversy is ideological posturing.

OK, so what happens when women get educated, achieve economic equality, etcetera? Their pool of eligible hypergamic targets shrinks; the princess marrying the swineherd is a fairytale precisely because it’s so rare. More women seeking hypergamy from a higher baseline means the competition for eligible males is more intense, and womens’ ability to withold sex vanishes even supposing they want to. Thus, college campuses today, and plunging marriages rate tomorrow.

The question becomes: what are we going to give up? Family formation? Sexual equality? Sexual liberty? (By sexual equality I mean the presumption that women should be legally, economically, and educationally equal to men. By sexual liberty I mean both an absence of formal legal sanctions and an absence of guilt and psychological repression.) It looks very much as through we can’t have all three of those sustainably, and (this is the thought that really disturbs me) we may not even get to have more than one.

If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t. So that’s off the table. Following out the logic, the demographic future will belong to cultures that give up either sexual liberty or sexual equality, or both.

But those options aren’t symmetrical. Because, remember, the problem with today’s sexual economics is not symmetrical. It’s not women who are bailing out of the marriage market in droves, it’s men. Accordingly (as the author of the NY Post recognizes) the odds of rolling back sexual liberty are close to nil. Men don’t have to play on those terms for fundamental bioenergetic reasons (release of semen is cheap), and women post-Pill are demonstrating an unwillingness to try to make them. Because, you know, more sex (see “miswiring”, above).

I am led to a conclusion I don’t like. That is: Sexual equality is unstable. If women can’t buy marriage with sex, they’ll have to bid submission instead. This tactic also combines well with hypergamic desire – if the mean social power of men is automatically higher than that of women, more potential pairings constitute marrying up.

I don’t have a submissive wife and never wanted one. I like strong and independent women. It therefore horrifies me to reach the conclusion that sexually repressive patriarchies may after all be a better deal for most womens’ reproductive success than the relative equality they have now is. But that’s where the logic leads.

405 thoughts on “Reconsidering sexual repression

  1. Great topic. I will have some comments tonight when I get home to an excellent book I’ve just finished that’s highly relevant.

  2. If women can’t buy marriage with sex, they’ll have to bid submission instead.

    This is plainly a false dichotomy. One other very obvious thing that women can offer in exchange for marriage is children. And while this offer may not be quite as universally compelling to men as sex is, I think it’s more than compelling enough to keep society working without having to roll back half a century of social progress.

  3. Good, but some cards were palmed.

    1) We’re not at Malthusian reproductive equilibrium, and (due to discontinuous technological change) we haven’t been at reproductive equilibrium for about 500 years. Extrapolating from an non-equilibrium state is much harder. Not just might there be continuing shocks keeping us out of equilibrium (very likely, IMO), but in the absence of shocks we may very well revert to a different equilibrium state than the base state. Medieval idiocy is possible, but so are other equilibrium states, undoubtedly including many we have never seen.

    2) The sexually repressive and sexually unequal patriarchies seem to be collapsing demographically just as fast as the sexually liberal and equal societies, and indeed often faster. This indicates something missing in your analysis.

    >I don’t have a submissive wife and never wanted one.

    Agreed. Simple wives are for lesser men.

  4. >I could go off on a speculative tear about how humans ended up with such miswiring. That would take us on a ramble through evolutionary bio and might even generate an interesting theory or two. But that would be a distraction, because the most interesting consequences of this observation aren’t in the past but in the future.

    Not trying to sidetrack discussion before it begins but any chance of this in a later post? Sounds pretty interesting (albeit to someone with practically no knowledge of evolutionary bio).

  5. >This is plainly a false dichotomy. One other very obvious thing that women can offer in exchange for marriage is children.

    OK, but if that’s enough of a bid, why isn’t it working now?

    Remember, one of the facts given is that the rate of marriage is dropping. Fairly fast. It follows that whatever women are bidding now isn’t enough. Something large has to change.

  6. Franke is correct. Women can bid “fatherhood”.

    The real miss in your analysis is this: If women are freed by the sexual revolution to have sex without consequence, why are they not doing so? Why are so many of them getting pregnant by jerks who leave them?

    There is something else at play. That something is the welfare state. Women are getting pregnant outside of a stable relationship because they and their children are insulated from the consequences. Even men who are not completely callous are fathering children and abandoning them because they know they aren’t going to starve, so the guilt just isn’t there. Meanwhile fathers and stable families are taxed to pay for the deadbeats.

    The welfare state has devalued the bargaining position of all men. If he is keeping your kids from starving, almost any man can be an alpha, or close enough.

    It wasn’t the pill that did it.

  7. You beg the question. Do men really have to be coerced into marriage?

  8. I guess what I am saying is women cannot find a husband because they are not bidding high enough (or looking too high up the pecking order), and they are not bidding high enough because they don’t want a husband that badly.

    All those nice Alpha males on telly are going to make sure their children get fed regardless. Why settle for a beta?

  9. >You beg the question. Do men really have to be coerced into marriage?

    Nothing was said or implied about coercion. Improve your critical-reading skills!

  10. Is it possible that, under this scenario, people are still (mostly) willing to get married, but just do so at a later age because of decreased incentive to do so early? If the mean marriage age were to suddenly increase by, say, seven years, we’d expect to see a decrease in the marriage rate for around seven years before it levels off. With a gradual increase rather than a sudden one, the leveling off could be even slower.

  11. Then there’s family court and how men – fathers – are royally screwed by divorce. That is another effect. Divorce ought to be much harder than bankruptcy (both are breaking contracts).

    But I think you have equality wrong. No two people are equal. They should be narrowly before the law, but barring identical twins, they won’t be equally clever, strong, healthy, attractive, charming, or anything else you care to name.

    What the nuclear family gave was two roles. The man was the provider, but the woman was the CEO, CFO, president and the rest of the household. It was and is easier that way (you can’t carry or naturally feed your offspring). The roles were complimentary. reciprocal. Not domination/submission. My mother was the stronger personality in many ways, but our family was the 1950′s stereotype in most things. Thinking back, I’m glad it was mom that argued I should have more science and math courses. Dad wasn’t a pushover but was more into negotiation.

    Also there are two kinds of “liberty” – the freedom to be recognized as a human being and to take responsibility of self control, or one of license and anarchy. Men weren’t as promiscuous when the women were still insisting. Having an equal vote, to have equal careers, and the rest is different than doing whatever you feel like (and we don’t accept people who feel like stealing or vandalizing following through). Yet women cannot overcome the biological differences. They aren’t going to be stronger, nor be fertile for 6 decades. But some people are short or tall, naturally skinny or fat, smarter or slower. We simply say they are equal before the law and that they have to find their niche. You can feel guilty or a victim or repressed if you are a man under 5 feet tall, but are you going to demand everyone else literally get on their knees?

    Men are bailing on both sides. Those who want to be promiscuous can have all the milk without buying the cow. Those that want a wife and mother for his children can’t find one, and even finding a candidate then means risking the horrors of divorce later (I know several this happened to – the wife files, and gets everything – the judiciary is traditional to the point of being matriarchal). What you call repression was (and still is) a system for forcing men to act responsibly – a divorce could only be for abuse, abandonment, or adultery, and would result in alimony. If it were truly patriarchal, then men could more easily abandon their wives and children. Enforcing responsible behavior isn’t repression, it is the opposite. You used the word “community” in an earlier post. The community has an interest in having stable families – forming and continuing. Because the children will grow up and become adults – either responsible or licentious.

    I will throw one more example – “date rape”. Or “if she changes her mind three weeks from now, it’s rape”. Formal legal sanctions? We can’t even define consent in a way such that when a woman says “yes”, that it is consent. Note Julian Assange. (Women: inviting strange men home into their bedroom isn’t a wise idea unless you want sex) This admixture – pro-woman sexual anarchy – is what is destructive. But some will use the term “slut” when describing libertine women.

    The hypergamy (your definition, I think it has a different meaning where I’ve seen it elsewhere) was and is taken care of by age differential. Women have the biological clock, men don’t. Women fare best by marrying a man a few (or many!) years older since they will have ascended the various social ladders.

  12. I guess I could summarize the counter argument with property rights – are you more free without the repression of property, ownership, and police to deter thieves and robbers, or are you repressed because you cannot take whatever you see and desire at the moment? Reserving sex for marriage between responsible adults isn’t repressive in that sense. Some structures and strictures make society ultimately more happy by delaying the gratification or limiting it to a context. Chesterton called “Tradition” “The democracy of the dead” – wisdom gained over generations ought not be so easily dismissed.

  13. >Reserving sex for marriage between responsible adults isn’t repressive in that sense.

    No, but the social and psychological machinery required to pin that reservation in place is. I would be delighted to be informed of a counterexample, but my knowledge of cultural history is pretty extensive and has not presented one.

  14. The other option, probably equally terrifying for ESR is that we will breed for religiosity (assuming there is a hereditary component to it).

    Look at the demographic statistics, who breeds a lot?
    Mormons, Orthodox jews, christian fundamentalists, the more devout Christian Evangelicals, conservative muslims.

    Yes, there is some correlation here with submissive wives, but its not one to one.

  15. While I believe your overall analysis is correct Eric, you have made one small but important error, and that is assuming that most men come up ahead when sexual freedom is the rule. This is not true.

    Female hypergamy means that the alpha males will have more women than they know what to do with, but the corrolary is that there are fewer women to go around for the average beta male providers. The beauty of a regime where monogamous relationships are the rule is that a woman is ensured (more or less) for every man. The only men who suffer are the alphas who are effecitively denied harems. But society gains because there is not a surplus population of sexually frustrated men.

  16. >Then came the Pill; fear of pregnancy receded and social stigmatization of unwed birth effectively collapsed with it.

    Ben was right that welfare had a lot more to do with it. Notice that the unwed mother-ship started at the low-class (welfare-recipient) end of the socio-economic spectrum and gradually moved upwards into the working-, then middle-class.

    Also, tz’s point about the anti-male bias in family (and to some extent, rape) law has strongly reinforced many males’ “natural” desires.

  17. > But that’s where the logic leads.

    The logic also shows that Cathy Raymond married down, not up.

  18. > The question becomes: what are we going to give up? Family formation? Sexual equality? Sexual liberty?

    Family formation will change, not disappear. If your assumptions are correct, I would expect to see more polygyny (legal or not). Assuming legal polygyny, sexual equality can be maintained by a legal framework that permit plural marriage in both directions, regardless of the relative frequency of occurrence.

    However, I think that your broad assertion that women are hypergamous is probably off-base, or if correct is more social than biological.

  19. If I understand your argument correctly, I think you have left an option out.

    Hypergamy is not exogenous. It is also a trait in the “gene pool”. It exists on a continuum just like other traits.

    So it’s entirely possible we will breed hypergamy out over a few generations.

    Logically, if women (with this trait!) have a shrinking pool of mates, sure, they may fail to reproduce. But that creates selection pressure that favors women without this trait.

    I believe we are seeing this now, as women have priced themselves out of the market. Not the sex market, but the marriage market. There are plenty of guys good enough for sex, but not good enough for marriage. That’s hypergamy for you. They fail to breed, but that only diminishes the trait.

    You say “If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t.”

    Or, as I posit: “Or elements -within- our own culture that don’t possess the trait (hypergamy).

    Subtle but important distinction.

  20. >you have made one small but important error, and that is assuming that most men come up ahead when sexual freedom is the rule

    Actually I don’t assume that at all. In one of my posts on “game” I basically argued the opposite.

  21. Small correction. I conflated two seperate issues.

    Issue 1) elements in our culture vs elemets outside our culture

    Issue 2) your argument neglected to consider that it was hypergamy that could be removed (as opposed to “Family formation, Sexual equality, or Sexual liberty”)

  22. Women don’t have to marry in order to reproduce. If there is no apparent downside to getting a sperm donation from Mr. Hunk they will do that.

    The underclasses are doing that, and the white underclass is not immune.

    http://www.aei.org/event/100281

    Children need a father. They don’t need a Mom’s Boyfriend of the Month. I think that for heterosexual people who want a high quality biological legacy marriage will become more explicitly contractural. This will protect the man and ensure that his role is not taken for granted.

    I don’t know how we get there from here. Maybe we can help the fundamentalist Christians take marriage away from the state. I suspect that the Gay Marriage movement has done us all a favor.

    Hypergamy is the woman’s urge to mate with a relatively superior male. The bell curve won’t go away just because marriage does. The criteria by which the decision maker judges superiority may change. What ever those criteria may be, the woman will try to find a man to farther the right of her on that curve. I see no selective pressure. Even if Mr. Hunk is only a sperm donor, the woman will choose someone superior in her eyes.

  23. It’s not men bailing out of the marriage market, it’s women: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-05-31-men-study_x.htm

    Women today do not consider marriage & sex to be a transaction in which the woman “gives it up” and the man “gets it.”

    The falling fertility rates among educated women are because the workplace doesn’t support having a family at all. If you are a woman and wish to have children, you must give up a significant percentage of your chances to be at the top of your field. You can still do it, if you’re a super achiever. But the average smart woman cannot have a family and a very successful career.

    I don’t think men want submission any more than women do. Your basic premise is flawed.

  24. Conflating marriage – “family formation” – with parenthood is an error. Affluent women don’t need husbands. Relationships between parents of both genders and their children are important; between sex partners, maybe not.

  25. >So it’s entirely possible we will breed hypergamy out over a few generations

    Most original thought in the thread. Well done!

    I’m skeptical, however. It’s a deep-rooted preference that I don’t think will be easily selected out.

  26. Cathy Raymond definitely married down. She could have married a guy who could grow a real mustache, but she married Eric instead.

    /me ducks.

  27. What if “being outbred” isn’t such a terrible thing after all? For example, historically, rural areas have had a higher birthrate than cities, and cities were constantly being outbred by the country, yet never dying out thanks to a constant flow of population migrating to the cities, consisting of second sons and generally those who didn’t have terribly good prospects in farming. Could a similar long-term dynamic be possible here? First cultures get the technology to improve health care to the point where infant mortality and moretality in general falls enough to produce a population explosion, but, after some lag, education and average income catch up, a middle class is formed, and society becomes more culturally liberal, just as the population growth rate falls.

  28. Another possibility: polygamy.

    To be honest, now that gay marriages seem to be on the way in, there really is no principled reason to exclude multiple marriages. And there are growing constituencies who would be happy with polygamy. (Frankly, I think it will end in tears; major Jewish authorities abolished polygamy in Europe a thousand years ago, for good and compelling reasons.)

  29. Hi Eric,

    There’s another factor that may be in play here: the age of adulthood continues to climb. Note that the article refers to research that states “the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds who are married has shrunk by an average of 1% each year this past decade — down to 46% now.” While that was the age our generation was getting married — I’m about two years younger than you — I can tell you that my children in their 20s more closely resemble the way we were in our teens. It’s important to remember that the idea of adolescence is relatively recent; in the 19th Century teenagers raised babies and crops, and the Greeks talked of fighting by “beardless youth” — because if you could swing a sword, you did. Just as those ages are now considered pre-adult, I wonder if the 20s will come to be considered the same. When you add to that the extension of life expectancy, it would seem hard to tell the outcome definitively for another couple of decades. Marriages in the 30s and children in the 40s?

    cjf

  30. >If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t.

    Culture is memetic, not genetic.

  31. >Another possibility: polygamy.

    That is true, but I don’t know of any society in human history that was both polygamous and treated women with what you or I would consider basic decency. Modern polyamorists are a different phenomenon; did you intend to point at that?

  32. >Marriages in the 30s and children in the 40s?

    Can’t happen, I don’t think. Too few women have a long enough fertile period.

  33. @ fake account: It seems to me that whether a woman has, or has not, succeeded in “marrying up” depends upon her criteria for assessing wealth and status. The drive to do so may be universal among homo sapiens, but whether a woman may be deemed to have succeeded in her own eyes, as well as in the eyes of others, will depend on how each defines “marrying up” in the first place.

    In my own case, I believe that I “married up” when I married Eric for a number of reasons. The most important, to me, is that he is brighter and comes from a wealthier socio-economic background than I do. In addition, he is taller, stronger, a bit older, and has attracted more interesting and intelligent friends than I ever succeeded in doing on my own. I have no idea from your post why you think I married down, or how you can make any kind of judgment on the subject as you don’t know anything about me, but if your post is simply a synonym for “I think esr is, as usual, full of shit,” leave me out of the discussion, please.

    @ Russell Nelson. Very funny. :-)
    Frankly, I’d prefer it if Eric had no mustache at all, but I know the reasons why he grew it, and why he keeps it, and I’m content to live with him continuing to wear it.

  34. The Jewish culture encourages marriage and encourages children. And Jewish mothers are stereotyped as very strong willed people.

    That’s really the fourth option – rewarding the formation of families or penalizing the non-formation of families (Jewish parents tend to do both).

    Just change the tax rates so that married couples got a far lower tax rate than singles, along with raising the tax rate of singles. This would put pressure on both sides to get married.

  35. >Culture is memetic, not genetic.

    Not a good counter. The most effective and dominant mode of cultural transmission is through biological families. Culture groups which dsfavor breediing are therefore at a very severe selective disadvantage with respect to those that encourage it. Pretending otherwise is a fast way to talk yourself and your culture into the graveyard of history.

  36. @esr
    >Can’t happen, I don’t think. Too few women have a long enough fertile period.

    But you’re assuming people are rational actors here. One would think the history of “romantic” marriage would show such decisions are based on anything but. What will that do to the birth/replacement rate? The same thing it is doing now: lower birthrates among the groups discussed here, and higher among recent immigrants and so forth.

  37. @ tz re: The definition of hypergamy–Wikipedia gives much the same one esr is using in his post–it even uses the phrase “marrying up”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergamy

    @ esr: I think you’re leaving a big component out of your reasoning. You’re assuming that the marriage rate is dropping solely because men aren’t interested in marrying at the “price” women are willing to “bid” in the marriage market. But I don’t think that’s all of the story. I think–based admittedly on anecdotal observation–that women are choosing not to marry, or at least to marry much later, in part because the Pill and subsequent developments of contraception make it relatively easy to have sex without conception. You’re right that most women don’t have a sufficiently long fertile period to guarantee pregnancy with “marriages in the 30s”, but the fact remains that many women–or at least professional, educated, intelligent women–are going this route. Are they having fewer children? Absolutely, and some of the statistics you’ve cited in other blog posts confirm it. My point is simply that the decline in marriage is not just due to the inability to entice men into giving up their (sexual) freedom.

    Then there’s the hypergamy issues implicit in the fact that there are now more women attending college, and achieving baccalaureate degree, than men see, for example, http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2005-10-19-male-college-cover_x.htm

    But that’s also an issue for another post entirely.

  38. >he is brighter

    I largely agree with Cathy’s account, but because I respect her intelligence I feel a need to add to it a bit. I think she tends to overestimate the capability difference between us because of a personality difference. Cathy is not an intellectual; that is, while she is very bright (IQ in the high gifted to borderline genius range) her mental life is not organized around grappling with ideas in the way mine is and she derives much less primary reward from doing so. Also she’s a more linear, less lateral thinker than I am. She reads these differences as “Eric is brighter”, but I think they’re less differences in problem-solving and analytical capability than personality.

  39. ESR,

    I think you’re reading half the picture. Fundamentally…I don’t hear the evidence from the hunter-gatherer position: Sex At Dawn, etc. Here’s my line from a month or two ago, around the same topic…in summary, (a) I think your line on direction is overconstrained by the status quo, and (b) read the book.

  40. The main criterion for marrying up seems to be status, real or apparent. A dominant or dominant seeming man has much more success with women than less dominant men.

    Thug dominance seems to do the trick.

  41. Ben Said:

    > women cannot find a husband because they are not bidding high enough (or looking too high up the pecking order)

    Reminds me – wasn’t there a study where they had men and women determine which gals/guys (respectively) were more, less, average attractiveness?

    IIRC, the results were such that the men women considered “average” were well up there, in the 80th percentile, while IIRC men were pretty much spot on.

  42. > Mastiff Says:
    > major Jewish authorities abolished polygamy in Europe a thousand years ago, for good and compelling reasons.)

    The main reason AFAIK was to blend in with monogamistic surrounding Christian societies.

  43. >>You beg the question. Do men really have to be coerced into marriage?
    >Nothing was said or implied about coercion. Improve your critical-reading skills!
    I actually think that under the Hayekian concept, one may call what esr describes as coercion xD

  44. Rereading my comment has me shaking my head. Good idea, bad articulation. I was in a hurry to get to martial arts.

    >So it’s entirely possible we will breed hypergamy out over a few generations

    >>I’m skeptical, however. It’s a deep-rooted preference that I don’t think will be easily selected out.

    True, but marriage/family formation is deeply rooted too. It could be a case of irresistible force vs. immovable object.

  45. >Culture is memetic, not genetic.

    >>Not a good counter. The most effective and dominant mode of cultural transmission is through biological families. Culture groups which dsfavor breediing are therefore at a very severe selective disadvantage with respect to those that encourage it.

    Great point, but a horrifying realization. That is going to take me a while to chew on.

    The real danger then, is not in the gene pool, but in the meme pool.

    We’ve probably already done severe, lasting damage.

  46. >Not a good counter. The most effective and dominant mode of cultural transmission is through biological families.

    I’m pretty sure that horizontal transmission dominates vertical. I remember reading about studies that show that peer groups influence attitudes more than parents, at least after adolescence. I know a lot of second-generation immigrants, and they’re much more similar to me than to their parents.

  47. Speaking of being outbred by other cultures. Do you and Cathy have children? If not, why?

  48. > The question becomes: what are we going to give up? Family formation? Sexual equality? Sexual liberty?

    I think this is the wrong question. Which group of individuals does “we” refer to here? You’ve claimed that women may choose at most two options from from family formation, sexual equality, and sexual liberty. It’s important to remember that it’s women who are faced with this choice.

    > If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t. So that’s off the table.

    Individual women may choose to be submissive; I suspect that many won’t. And if they choose SE and SL over FF, so be it — that’s their right. Our culture can make no claim on their reproductive potential, because a “culture” does not belong to any category that we may assign moral claims to.

  49. @Catherine Raymond

    the “price” women charge for marriage is dropping and quantity of marriage is dropping. That points to a demand drop not a supply drop in the market for marriageable women. This suggests its men not women who are choosing to avoid marriage.

  50. I am not sure if the inferences here are more or less flawed than the premises.

  51. @Doc Merlin:

    The price women charge for sex is dropping. This is due to an increase in supply, which is the result of technological change reducing the cost of production.

  52. @pete:
    I agree.

    However, drop in price in the market for a good lowers the demand for the its substitutes.
    This is why the demand for *marriage* with women is dropping.

  53. “The real miss in your analysis is this: If women are freed by the sexual revolution to have sex without consequence, why are they not doing so? Why are so many of them getting pregnant by jerks who leave them?”

    A lot of this behavior seems completely voluntary, but biology plays a part. There are pre-programmed ideas that tend to pop into people’s heads. They seem to originate in your own mind and personality, but it’s really blind instinct. Two of them are a tendency for women to want to believe the guy when he says he loves them forever and ever, and (much worse), “If I get pregnant with his child, then I’ll *really* tie him to me.”. (No, you won’t.)

    These instinctive ideas lead directly to reproduction of the genes involved, and so they remain in the population. Those with more responsible control over their behavior don’t breed as much, and their genes drop out.

    Sorry, you just can’t keep evolutionary bio out of this.

  54. @LS:
    You have it a bit backwards there. 2/3rds of the breakups its the woman leaving the man. In most (not all, obviously) of these cases it really looks like the woman is choosing to leave the man and raise the child on her own.

  55. @LS Is it really true that “so many” women are getting pregnant by jerks who leave them? Some women have always been in that boat; do you have reason to believe that the numbers are increasing? Seems to me declining birth rates suggest that the rate of women settling for heels who will fuck them and leave them is also dropping.

  56. >Do you and Cathy have children? If not, why?

    We do not. I won’t discuss the reasons, as they involve privacies that are not mine to breach. I will say that I do not think they are relevant to this discussion.

  57. @Catherine Raymond

    While the birthrate is going down, the unwed mother rate and out of wedlock birth rate are both going way up.

  58. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is divorce. At least in the US, husbands get utterly ass-fucked in divorce court. Hence, many men have no intention of exposing themselves to the risks.

  59. >I am led to a conclusion I don’t like. That is: Sexual equality is unstable. If women can’t buy marriage with sex, they’ll have to bid submission instead. This tactic also combines well with hypergamic desire – if the mean social power of men is automatically higher than that of women, more potential pairings constitute marrying up.

    I reach a different conclusion: we can expect a reduction in hypergamy. Studies have found that the happiest heterosexual marriages are those where the husband is slightly less physically attractive than the wife; it is hypothesised that this is because the woman’s greater physical attractiveness compensates for the man’s greater socio-economic power. This suggests to me that hypergamy is subject to supply and demand: if higher-status mates are available and attainable, why would you choose a mate of equal or lower status? It looks like the long-run equilibrium will be one in which the majority of marriages are isogamous.

  60. Islam includes a patriarchal culture, a strong re-enforcement mechanism (sharia law), and comparatively high reproductive rates. Many Latin cultures also incorporate similar traits (male macho and Catholic Church proscription of artificial birth control). Planet Earth is a crucible of cultural evolutionary selection, of which, various reproductive characteristics are in constant competition. In addition, medical science and widespread health care availability have all be eliminated large scale population shocks via pestilence. Game theory modeling is proving to be the only effect means of evaluating future trends and consequences.

  61. OK, but if that’s enough of a bid, why isn’t it working now?

    Remember, one of the facts given is that the rate of marriage is dropping. Fairly fast. It follows that whatever women are bidding now isn’t enough. Something large has to change.

    It is dropping, at least in part, because, as I conceded, the new bid isn’t as universally compelling as the old one. But what you’ve claimed is “If we give up family formation it’s game over”, and you haven’t finished making that case, because none of “family formation”, “sexual equality”, and “sexual freedom” are binary propositions. On what evidence do you believe that the marriage rate is, or is destined to become, so low that a culture of sexual equality and sexual freedom is unsustainable?

  62. Can you please put your apostrophes in the right place.

    If an individual woman possesses something, it is that woman’s.
    If an more than one woman: women possess something, it is women’s. There is no such word as womens'. The apostrophe does not move past the s in this case because the s does not indicate the plural.

    —–

    I was talking with Monsterette 2 about this the other day. She was telling me about a feminist teacher, and I was trying to explain that much of what feminism calls “oppression” is in fact a special status afforded women due to the mathematics of reproduction:

    Individual males are expendable, while the supply of pre-menopausal females is often the limiting factor in the overall population of a group. A woman can only have so many children over her lifetime but if there aren’t enough men to go around, the strongest males can double up and take extra mates. Females will often gladly accept the role of junior wife to a powerful man (in a culture where polygamy is allowed). Arguably, this also strengthens the gene pool by letting the best providers father more children, spreading the genes that made them better providers.

    So “oppression” and “inequality” comes down to this basic rule: Pre-menopausal females are not allowed to do dangerous things. They gather fruits near the shelter while the males hunt and defend the perimeter. Nature allows men to be the guinea pigs, but doesn’t play around as much with women. In virtually every measurable characteristic, women have a smaller standard deviation than men do. The average IQ of men is only slightly higher than that of women, but the far larger s.d. means that there are both more male geniuses and morons than there are females in each group. Women who carry a gene that would cause color blindness if passed to their sons are tetrachromatons, with even better color perception than normal.

  63. First of all, let me say the the article you cite is hardly worth the citation. Consider this:


    More than 25% of young women report giving it up within the first week of dating. While researchers don’t have a baseline to compare it to, interviews they have conducted lead them to believe this is higher than before, which increases the pressure on other women and changes the expectations of men.

    25% of which women? The 57% over represented in college? Are they supposed to be representative of the population? We are to believe this is an increase based on what? Vague anecdotal evidence? What does “dating mean”? Etc. It is just a piece of vacuous titillation to allow the newspaper to use the phrase “give it up.”

    Nonetheless, I do think your comments are interesting. Given that sexual equality and sexual liberation are not going away soon in your construct the challenge is to the family. There is no doubt that the child per capita is decreasing in western countries, but it is a mistake to think that increasing populations in more primitive societies necessarily means they will be more successful. Consider, for example, the population of the Muslim Middle East is more than 50 times larger than that of Israel, and yet Israel has produced vastly more innovation, technology and advances in its 50 years than the the Muslim Middle East has in the past 500 years.

    In terms of the family itself: the west adapts as it always has. Perhaps the nuclear family is not a structure that suits it real well. So we have adapted other structures: unmarried parents (of different or the same gender); single parents; state supported children; a new kind of serial parenting — short marriage, divorce, post divorce parenting, remarriage and step children. These are different than traditional structures, but a winning society adapts to the changing circumstances.

    The west might be getting relatively smaller, yet its per capita capability is much larger, and could readily grow exponentially. However, the real problem in the west is not the gathering hoards, it is our decadence, our self loathing, our deliberate self sabotage, or abandonment of all that is good about ourselves because of its own very success. Suicide is our problem, not homicide.

    There’s lots more I could say on this whole topic, particularly on the relationship front (given that I’d guess I am one of the few regulars here who is not married and consequently has a more direct practical visibility into such things.) But I have rambled on long enough, and insulted enough people for one comment.

  64. I tried to project this line of thought out into the future, and what came back was a great big “insufficient data”. It will still take a few generations for these patterns to play out, and within the time span in question things like honest-no-kidding vat-grown humans may become possible, and that throws everything out the window.

    But if we ignore that, the result does seem obvious, which is that the memesets that encourage marriage and fidelity will return over the next 50-100 years as they outbreed everyone else. After all, they are all still around in the gene/meme pools and still selecting away. Barring a technological reversion, that will probably remain the stable point again, because until such a reversion occurs there will never again be a “first generation to have true birth control”.

    I rather frequently wonder what other things our great-grandchildren will look back and ask us what we were thinking, not because of some amenity we lacked, but things we inflicted upon ourselves.

    A goodly number of those memesets have absorbed the sexual equality idea, the ones that have not are being outcompeted due to their inability to efficiently exploit their workforces, and unless the physical advantages of males suddenly become much more important again, which is again a “barring a technological reversion” statement, I don’t see that going anywhere. In a technological society, they are equal in a way they sort of effectively weren’t in a more barbarous society. It isn’t just pretty words, it’s a reflection of the fact that a woman can drive a backhoe as well as a man can, and either of them will do more work than a squad of men with shovels.

    I think we may be seeing the early phases of this already. I feel like I’m seeing more people talking about fatherlessness as a problem, especially as it is slowly-but-surely penetrating even the more liberal sides of society that “woman and minorities are hardest hit”. There’s really only one solution to that problem, and that’s replacing at least some of the old sexual liberty strictures, though few people are quite ready to say that yet.

  65. Once upon a time, early humans, like other great apes, had visible estrus cycles. However, then the early human brain got really big, and early women figured out they could avoid having sex when they were fertile, and thus avoid the deadly dangers of pregnancy, while still satisfying themselves and their partners by having sexual intercourse at other times. The result was a great population bottleneck that resulted in the numbers of early humans dwindling, until the birth of Mitochondrial Eve, a woman who had no visible estrus. Unable to avoid having children like other women, the lineage of Mitochondrial Eve reproduced greatly, while other women chose personal survival over reproduction. As a result, all humanity was descended from the women who could not easily arrange to have sex without getting pregnant.

    Then, millions of years later, human beings invented a number of reasonably safe and reasonably effective methods to restore the ability of women to again arrange to have sex without giving pregnant. Since this was a technological development, it could not be selected against directly. Instead, evolution selected against the women willing to use these methods. Early on, this seemed to favor religious belief, since many religions frowned upon the methods, but the content of religious belief wasn’t genetic in nature; as time passed, the religious groups stopped reproducing, just like other women. Thus first Catholics stopped reproducing at high rates, and then Mormons, and then Muslims. The result was the Great Bottleneck of the 21st Century, when the population of humanity stopped rising, and then started to decline.

    Of course, the forces of evolution could not be denied. There were a multitude of methods to prevent reproduction, so mutation that caused aversions to one or more were not particularly good at getting favored enough to be useful. Instead, women with mutations that caused them to actively desire to reproduce left disproportionate numbers of descendants. Though these mutations were rare, they became less rare with every generation, there being such an efficient filter keeping down the numbers of non-reproducers.

    The result, of course, we all know today. Did you know, girls, that in the 20th Century, it would actually be considered abnormal for a ninth-grade class to have even one pregnant girl in it, rather than a quarter of you? Yes, you laugh, but it really wasn’t funny. Teen pregnancy was stigmatized. Only “bad girls” had babies before they graduated high school. In the early part of that century, they even had to leave home, because it was considered shameful, something that had to be kept secret, even punished. Recreational sex was even banned, because it might result in pregnancy. Even in the latter part and into the 21st century, it was treated as a problem, something that only dumb girls did. Instead, you waited until you were out of college, and then a few years of work, and then you might squeeze in maybe two kids when you were in your thirties already. Oh, sure, some women still have kids in their thirties now, but imagine not having your first until then, or being treated as a deviant if you dared have one in your teens. That’s how things were in the old days. Thank goodness for three centuries of progress, hey?

  66. OK, back now.

    I recommend the book “Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough” by Lori Gottleib. If you remember reading the “Marry Him” article in Atlantic monthly a few years back, yes, this is an expanded version by the same author. She is a 41-year-old never-married woman who has watched the quality of the men available in her dating pool fall steadily every decade of her life.

    And it’s not just perception. To quote from the book quoting the Census: for singles 30 – 44, there are 107 single men for every 100 single women. For singles 45 – 65, there are 72 single men for every 100 single women. And it’s actually worse than that, because younger men marry younger women, and older men marry…younger women.

    So the most rational mating and reproductive strategy for a woman is to grab the best man she can find in her twenties, or at the latest her early thirties, and hang onto him. The younger she is, the more options she has and the more power she has in the relationship. After all, whether the feminist lobby likes it or not, a lot of female appeal is physical/sexual and a lot of male appeal is wealth/power, or at least financial stability. Females strengths decline with age, while male strengths increase with age (OK, granted that the latter is not inevitable, there is far more opportunity for a man to increase his wealth and income with age than for a woman to increase her sex appeal and beauty with age).

    Unfortunately, women in the modern West have been socialized away from the traditional culture model that push them to withhold sex until they tied down a partner permanently in marriage and “providerhood”. They have become extremely picky in choosing a long-term mate (this is a core theme of “Marry Him”) to the point that no man can really qualify, and if anything they get pickier with age as their options decrease. This is not a rational strategy, but to overcome it requires a level of maturity that few women (or men) have in their 20′s, and figuring it out too late is just that…too late.

    On the other hand, a strong, traditional cultural matrix can provide a replacement for the missing maturity and force these women into a strategy that is not only optimal for reproduction, but will actually make them happier in the long term, assuming that the social scientists Gottlieb interviews are correct. They report that women who “settled’ for a “good enough” husband early are at least as happy as those who waited, and usually happier. Gottlieb herself notes that while her married friends may grumble about their spouses at times when out with their girlfriends, the reality is that none of them would change places with the singles their age.

  67. @esr:
    “I am led to a conclusion I don’t like. That is: Sexual equality is unstable. If women can’t buy marriage with sex, they’ll have to bid submission instead. This tactic also combines well with hypergamic desire – if the mean social power of men is automatically higher than that of women, more potential pairings constitute marrying up.”

    “I don’t have a submissive wife and never wanted one. I like strong and independent women. It therefore horrifies me to reach the conclusion that sexually repressive patriarchies may after all be a better deal for most womens’ reproductive success than the relative equality they have now is. But that’s where the logic leads.”

    I see several ways this could go:

    1) The West fails to change, and birthrates continue to fall until the society collapses and is replaced by a higher-birth-rate culture. This looks very probably in southern Europe (Italy, Greece, etc.)

    2) Japan fails to change, but continues to restrict immigration. The result is a race to increase automation and robotics fast enough to replace the declining labor force, while the population inexorably ages. It’s hard to picture a good end to this unless rejuvenation is developed.

    3) With a nation or region, some groups maintain post-1960′s sexual culture and decline while other, more traditional sub-cultures maintain high birth rates and gradually replace those groups. Look at birth rates among Hispanics and Mormons in the U.S.; it seems likely that the proportion of society made up of members of these groups will rise steadily over time.

    4) The healthiest possibility that is consistent with both demographic stability and women’s equality and dignity would be for women to give up hypergamy. This will not happen without a lot of conscious reflection and discussion, and it could only come about if women decided that they wanted husbands and children badly enough to compromise on their ideal of an alpha male. So far, what seems to be happening in some communities (e.g. U.S. inner cities) is that women are having children by males of lower income/status, but not marrying them. It’s possible that we could see a world where women want marriage and partnership badly enough to be willing to be the primary breadwinner.

  68. “Is it possible that, under this scenario, people are still (mostly) willing to get married, but just do so at a later age because of decreased incentive to do so early? If the mean marriage age were to suddenly increase by, say, seven years, we’d expect to see a decrease in the marriage rate for around seven years before it levels off. ”

    Later marriage guarantees lower birth rates. At some point, the rate is unsustainably low. I think that our current tendency for well-educated women to marry in their early 30′s is probably not sustainable for this reason, unless we see breakthroughs in reproductive medicine that extend female fertility.

  69. “What ever those criteria may be, the woman will try to find a man to farther the right of her on that curve. I see no selective pressure. Even if Mr. Hunk is only a sperm donor, the woman will choose someone superior in her eyes.”

    Yep. See article below about donors who have anywhere from 70 to 150 children.

    “Critics say that fertility clinics and sperm banks are earning huge profits by allowing too many children to be conceived with sperm from popular donors, and that families should be given more information on the health of donors and the children conceived with their sperm. They are also calling for legal limits on the number of children conceived using the same donor’s sperm and a re-examination of the anonymity that cloaks many donors.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/06/health/06donor.html?pagewanted=all

  70. major Jewish authorities abolished polygamy in Europe a thousand years ago, for good and compelling reasons.)

    The main reason AFAIK was to blend in with monogamistic surrounding Christian societies.

    That may well be the real reason, but Rabbenu Gershom Meor Hagolah, who first enacted this ban, left nothing in writing to say why he did so. Later tradition made up (probably) a story about his own experience with two wives and bitter rivalry between them, that led him to conclude polygamy was a poisonous institution. It was one of a series of enactments that seem aimed at enhancing peace in the home and community, so this traditional explanation made sense.

    I think the theory that it was really about avoiding Christian persecution arose in the 19th century, when US persecution of Mormons was in the news, and Ashkenazi Jews started to wonder whether they would be subject to the same thing if R Gershom had not banned polygamy. The fact that his enactment was accepted throughout Christendom but had not made many inroads in dar-al-Islam seems to give circumstantial support to this theory.

  71. the article you cite is hardly worth the citation. [...] It is just a piece of vacuous titillation to allow the newspaper to use the phrase “give it up.”

    Very good point. This is the New York Post we’re talking about; a paper that (I know for a fact) employs no fact-checkers, and is reputed to be written to a fourth-grade reading level.

  72. Fertility is negatively correlated to wealth, actually, the “energy” invested in children. To get more children, make people poor. There is no relation between sexual mores and fecundity.

    This is not only a correlation, but a causation. See:

    Lifetime reproductive effort in humans
    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1682/773.short

    The solution for the women’s problem is simply to drop their standards. All men want to hook up with a porn-model. They all settle for real women. All women want to marry a prince, they all settle for real men. Meanwhile, the competition for eligible men/women will heat up.

    It might be hard, but women have to learn to love men that are not up to their standards. Just like men have to love women that are not up to their standards. (I know that both standards are childish, irrational, and unrealistic)

  73. There could be some other things going on. I’ve heard, and it seems plausible to me, that people whose parents divorced are apt to be very cautious about marrying.

    A solution which hasn’t been discussed is making marriage more satisfying.

    Assume Love takes an interesting angle on making marriage better. It’s addressed to women by a woman, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t apply to men as well– the general premise is that unless there is clear abuse, start with assuming that the other person means well rather than assuming that they’ve got a malign motivation.

    Gottman has done some interesting research on what makes marriages work or fail. Love languages, which addresses what people need to feel loved– the preferences vary for individuals, and something that can foul up marriages is people offering what they want for themselves rather than what their partner wants.

    On the other hand, there seems to be a common assumption that if women leave men, it must be that they can be supported by a divorce settlement or the government, and the women must not have had any good reason for leaving. Is it possible that at least some of those husbands weren’t good to be around?

  74. @ESR
    “If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t. So that’s off the table. Following out the logic, the demographic future will belong to cultures that give up either sexual liberty or sexual equality, or both.”

    Not necessarily. The influence of what we may call memes is virtually equal to or might even have surpassed the influence of genes. In other words, while a culture that might give up family formation does not produce more children, if said culture can exert a good enough influence on other cultures, ’tis not ‘game over’. In fact, I think this might be a good thing, because then other cultures are more likely to grow towards giving up family formation, which would mean less people on earth. (And yes, that’s a good thing. We have waaay too many people – it makes everything unnecessarily complicated. This might be the most effective way to deal with what only appears to be getting a bigger problem.)

    Nevertheless, I doubt some of your assumptions in the first place. For example, I’m not so sure whether the fact that less people are getting married ain’t a much more complex ‘problem’. A few other things I can think of that may affect this issue are: a.) because of the growing rate of divorces, marriage has been getting a bad name, and people prefer to ‘try’ their relations out first before getting married, and b.) it may simply be a case of we-are-not-going-to-do-what-our-parents-did; I suspect that more and more people are thinking “I love X, why in the name of all that is holy should I tell the whole world that I am going to commit myself to X for the rest of my life?”, which leads me to c.) since marriage more or less is committing yourself to another person for life, I can see why many wouldn’t want to – this does not necessarily mean that such couples cannot have and raise children successfully.

  75. Very good point. This is the New York Post we’re talking about; a paper that (I know for a fact) employs no fact-checkers, and is reputed to be written to a fourth-grade reading level.

    Given the current journalistic climate, i’m of the opinion that you’ve just described the majority of successful media outlets in the world. Probably even whatever one you have a preference for.

    In particular to your points…

    Fact-checkers would probably qualify under the “unnecessary costs” department. A quick google for “media fact checkers” brings back an about.com link that states that in most newspapers it is the reporter’s job to fact check with the editor’s job to catch mistakes. The wikipedia article states that most papers don’t do so.

    In regard to “fourth-grade reading level”… when 20% of your reading base is incapable of reading at a fifth grade level(statistic from National Institute for Literacy, Fast Facts on Literacy, 2001), it makes a certain kind of sense to pitch it at a fourth grade level. You don’t get people looking at your advertising by making them feel stupid and your advertisers don’t give a crap what your paper says so long as it doesn’t make them look bad.

  76. >If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t.

    Lots of desirable things seem to drive down the birth rate and marriage rate. Education drives down the birth rate, allowing lower-educated cultures to outbreed us: does that mean that education is unstable? Is a rise in longevity unstable, (because that also drives down the birth rate)? Is industrialization unstable?

    In one sense, I suppose, these things could be ‘unstable’ (in the sense that they lead to assimilation) on two conditions:

    1: that they drive the birth rate low enough to make independent survival of the culture practically impossible, and
    2: ‘other cultures’ will remain sexually-regressive, uneducated, short-lived and agricultural as they continue to outpopulate us.

    1 might be true (though I doubt it), but 2 has been proved empirically false over and over and over again.

    In any case, the subtext in your post is that sexual liberation leads to a birth-rate that is low enough that Western hegemony will be overturned by higher-reproducing cultures elsewhere. That could be true (again I doubt it), but loss of hegemony is not the same as annihilation, which means that none of these reproduction-reducing traits is ‘unstable’. Perhaps, from an American viewpoint, it’s impossible to understand how a culture (or economy) could be simultaneously small and stable. But for the rest of the world it’s not so hard to imagine. Perhaps the America of the future is educated, developed, socially progressive, and very small. Like Sweden, or Holland.

  77. As an addendum: it’s worth remembering that shortly after industrialization in Western Europe, it was America that was outbreeding England by an enormous factor, and English people had these sorts of worries about being outbred by the Americans. And the difference in birth rates did give America a huge advantage, making it far richer and more powerful than England! But did it lead to a runaway process in which everyone in the world became American? Obviously it didn’t. These things are self-limiting, provided we’re talking about homo sapiens and not caricatured assimilationist muslimans.

  78. There is no doubt that the child per capita is decreasing in western countries, but it is a mistake to think that increasing populations in more primitive societies necessarily means they will be more successful. Consider, for example, the population of the Muslim Middle East is more than 50 times larger than that of Israel, and yet Israel has produced vastly more innovation, technology and advances in its 50 years than the the Muslim Middle East has in the past 500 years.

    Well, sorta. There is at least one domain where the number of young males matter. The model can work but it presumes that you’re willing to go the route of Israel and conscript everyone. That’s assuming that you have a society that permits that AND there’s someone who supports you so that you aren’t driven into the sea by overwhelming numbers (as in no one can afford to be successful in other arenas when spending 24% of their GDP on defense without subsidy or rapid military conquests).

    The US is highly successful because we have a reasonable immigration rate. We don’t need to breed quickly so long as it’s still advantageous to live here and people want to come. Preferably the best, brightest or at least simply the ones with sufficient gumption to get up and make the journey.

    Cathy’s option #2 works to some degree. There’s a reason why Japan seems to be into robots and we’re spending significant treasure in developing UCAVs. It can work fine as long as there are still SOME young folks and you can make robots actually work.

    I recall reading an opinion piece that Europe was far more militarily conservative because they understand that they don’t have sufficient males of military age to be spending them casually whereas, we can afford to be much more militarily aggressive because we do have sufficient population to support foreign wars. The piece went on to talk about how the middle east nations with larger young male populations could also be more prone to war for those reasons. Eh, not buying the whole thesis but the author did have a point.

    Too much population has it’s own military problems….but nothing a war or two can’t solve…

  79. Perhaps the America of the future is educated, developed, socially progressive, and very small. Like Sweden, or Holland.

    Well, I hope not. Sweden and Holland are very nice countries and prosperous but there is an advantage for my kids to grow up in a superpower (aka empire) vs not.

    Loss of hegemony was not the same as annihilation in the 20th century but opportunities for individuals declined. I suppose as a hedge I can make sure my kids learn Mandarin but…

    But did it lead to a runaway process in which everyone in the world became American?

    No, but it’s a world where American culture dominates…

  80. “The healthiest possibility that is consistent with both demographic stability and women’s equality and dignity would be for women to give up hypergamy”

    “I like strong and independent women”

    Don’t you see the solution? We all have to become more like ESR…

    It is an evolution I already see happening. Couples where the man is younger and/or makes less money than the women are getting quite common around where I live. The only other thing we need is for medical scince to advance sufficiently so that women can easily bear children in their late 40ies and 50ies without increased risks. There is something to be said for starting a family after you’ve paid of your mortgages…

  81. Cathy Said:

    > 2) Japan fails to change, but continues to restrict immigration. The result is a race to increase automation and robotics fast enough to replace the declining labor force, while the population inexorably ages. It’s hard to picture a good end to this unless rejuvenation is developed.

    Heinlein’s fan would love to see rejuvenation come about because “it had to.” However, Japan is big on consensus, and less individualistic. Wouldn’t Japanese women be more willing to accept a role as homemaker (including marrying young and having 5-6 kids) for the greater good of society? Am I making a caricature of Japanese culture, or might this happen in desperate times.

    Moving my thoughts back to the USA, with a generation of high (10-15%) unemployment, high education, and collapsing government services home schooling might be embraced by more mainstream people. The generation after that will learn to “make their own job” because they won’t see the government or corporate job as stable. Their idea of making their own job will involve working at home, setting up shop in the basement, garage or barn. Such a setup will allow plenty of time to raise children, especially in an economy where being so busy your turning work away is unheard of. Lets not forget the home will be a multi-generational household so grandma and grandpa can raise the kids, work part time, and do the book keeping.

    So in conclusion, perhaps we can arrive in an info-industrial society that models post medieval pre-industrial agricultural, where kids can be less of a burden and more helpful.

  82. I have enjoyed reading the various arguments and discussions this post has created. To be honest, however – and it may be an unfortunate diversion into schadenfreude on my part – I find it interesting than an atheist has logically concluded what was recommended in the Christian Bible nearly 2000 years ago. My personal belief is that modern Christianity has twisted Paul’s original intent in his writings on marriage and the roles men and women are to take, specifically that men should love their wives sacrificially while women submit to their husbands, and Christian’s should not try and get out of their responsibility for that mistake, but it does seem you’ve reached the same conclusion.

  83. There’s a point that apparently only Jessica Boxer alluded to, which is that a complete traditional family may not be necessary to support sustainable birth rates. Other commenters say “children need a father” – this assumption has remained largely unchallenged in this thread. Should we be so sure of it?

    Women seem biologically to want to be mothers; do men equally strongly want to be fathers? I’m optimistic that our society with sexual equality and sexual liberty will develop new modes of supporting the raising of children, and the status of their mothers (including through continued careers), to continue enough breeding.

  84. >an unfortunate diversion into schadenfreude on my part

    Oh, great, another gibbering religious loon.

    I realize that hoping for critical thinking skills from such as you is largely a lost cause, but for the possible benefit of others I will point out that there is a large difference between (a) a religious diktat hanging in mid-air, and (b) a justified conclusion which is causally connected to other kinds of knowledge and part of a theory with testable consequences. What is most broken about religions in general isn’t their specific prescriptions but the process of belief formation behind those prescriptions.

  85. But did it lead to a runaway process in which everyone in the world became American?

    No, but it’s a world where American culture dominates…

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see it as a catastrophe for other countries that American culture became dominant in the 20th Century, since nobody’s culture was entirely (or even substantially) assimilated. And I won’t see it as a catastrophe (for Americans) if American culture declines while arab or asian cultures become dominant in the 21st. You don’t see Swedish people languishing about, lamenting the fact that they were once the cultural and scientific capital of the world… there is no right to world domination.

  86. @Jacek Kopecky

    Yes, children do need their father.

    A father’s role is very different from a Mother’s. He wears a different set of hats. For example, one of my hats is sparring partner. That is, my children have to cope with me. I’m more difficult to deal with than my wife, sometimes intentionally. That will be useful in the real world.

    No, I’m not rationalizing. The rise of the thug culture in the growing American underclass is evidence that the absence of a biological father makes a huge difference in outcomes.

    Unwed motherhood is also strongly associated with poverty.

    The link I posted earlier is a talk by Charles Murray entitled the State of White America. Since whites are used as a baseline by all sorts of social scientists he thought it would be useful to take a look at it.

  87. On the issue of World Domination, I would like to point out that we have less than 5% of the world population. With demographics, we have much less than 5% of the world’s military service age men. Many of those men wouldn’t make good soldiers and many who would cannot be spared.

    Ted Fehrenbach noted that you can fly over land, you can bomb it into oblivion, but you don’t own it until you can stand a 17 year old kid with a rifle on it. We don’t have enough 17 year old kids.

    I suggest that we don’t want world hegemony. It’s expensive and unnecessary. We want to be prosperous and influential. We want it to be obvious suicide to attack us.

    Empire and factionalism killed the Roman Republic.

  88. @Bob
    “Empire and factionalism killed the Roman Republic.”

    Not sure what you mean. But the Roman Republic gave way to the Empire because the main part of the population was excluded from power. Which they then took back by backing the Emperors (not smart, but they did it anyway). The Roman Empire seems to have collapsed largely because of depopulation and epidemics (former caused by the latter).

  89. # Jacek Kopecky Says:
    > Other commenters say “children need a father”

    No, they don’t need a father, but it sure helps.

    > do men equally strongly want to be fathers?

    Obviously some men don’t want to be fathers (that is post copulation fathers), but some women don’t want to be mothers. So we are talking averages here.

    A question to ask here is nature or nurture? My personal opinion is that the desire for parenthood is largely meme based, so the answer to your question surely depends on which society you are referencing. In most successful societies there are strong memes encouraging commitment of a father to child — societies evolve these memes for a good reason.

  90. Empire and factionalism killed the Roman Republic.

    Mmmm…the question is that if it had not would something else had killed the Roman Republic with more immediate finality? Another empire?

    I know my posts appear very tangential but it addresses the relevancy of the assertion:

    “If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t.”

    If we’re outbred by other cultures does it matter? If not then the rest doesn’t much matter. Men and women can do whatever they want family wise.

    If it does, then in what way does it (population) matter? Military strikes me as one obvious one. You don’t just need 17 year old kids with rifles for world domination. You also need 17 year old kids with rifles to make sure you’re not the one getting dominated. Being in Sweden, Holland, Belgium is all very well…unless you have a rabidly expansionist France, Germany or Russia next door.

    If you fail this scenario, then the game might literally be over for your culture.

    The next obvious is economic strength.

    With respect to value of western culture (and specifically the American one) the value to humanity as a whole it strikes me as very positive. I’m not sure you get to this point in history (in terms of human technological advances at the rate it advanced in Europe and the US) without it. That statement strikes me as a bit of hubris but culturally which other ones seem to value individualism and advancement as much as ours?

    Would it have been catastrophic if another culture had dominated instead of the European/American one? Not in the sense that humans cease to exist but I also don’t think we’d be as far along as we are.

  91. David Engel Says:
    September 27th, 2011 at 9:37 am

    > I find it interesting than an atheist has logically concluded what was recommended in the Christian Bible nearly 2000 years ago.

    Do you really advocate a Biblical approach to sexuality and marriage? Or do you advocate the cherry picked, misinterpreted into a modern light version that the church teaches?

    For example:
    1. Do you advocate polygamy? After all, David, “a man after God’s own heart,” had hundreds of wives.
    2. Do you advocate concubines? Same goes for David.
    3. Do you advocate leverite marriage — the obligation to marry the widow of your dead brother to raise children with her? After all, God was so mad at Onan for his failure in that respect that he killed him.
    4. Do you advocate the need for a woman to show bloody sheets as evidence of her virginity on her wedding night, and if she fails to do so, do you advocate the right of the man to immediately cast her out?
    5. Do you advocate that a woman’s rapist should be obliged marry her after the act, to compensate her for the loss of her virginity?
    6. Do you believe a man has the right to kill his wife or daughter should they engage in fornication?
    7. Do you believe that homosexuality is as the sin of witchcraft, and, do you believe that justice demands that these people be stoned to death?

    Or perhaps you want to go to the New Testament?
    1. Do you think that a father should control who a woman marries, largely without the involvement or consent of the woman, as Paul advocates in 1Corintians 7?
    2. Do you accept that, outside of church leadership, polygamy is considered acceptable, as is implied in 1Timothy?
    3. Do you believe that the truly pure priests and pastors should choose not to marry or have any sexual relations, and that they are better people for making that choice, as explicitly described in 1Corinthians 7?
    4. Do you believe that a woman who has sex outside of marriage is in fact a whore, which is the plain meaning of the word “fornication” in both Greek and Hebrew?

    I suspect you don’t advocate any of these ideas. Consequently, I suggest you read your bible beyond your pastor’s talking points.

  92. @Cathy “2) Japan fails to change, but continues to restrict immigration. The result is a race to increase automation and robotics fast enough to replace the declining labor force, while the population inexorably ages. It’s hard to picture a good end to this unless rejuvenation is developed.”

    Aside rejuvenation, in such extremis situation one could see a combination of exowomb (or possibly even an obligation for appropriately-aged and healthy women, if the technology isn’t there yet) and “very early preschool” (ie. basically from birth), with government-approved indoctr… sorry, education curriculum. The Possibilities, including possibilities for mischief, would be …interesting.

  93. @Winter

    The Roman Republic had an empire before they had Emperors. The process of empire led to the extreme stratification of society. The extreme stratification killed the Republic.

    The end of the Roman Climate Optimum destroyed agriculture in North Africa. This had a great many nasty consequences, including famine and epidemics.

    Having an empire benefited very few Romans.

    I want to the USA to last a long time, not just in name but in nature. It’s going to be tough.

    Congress doesn’t do its job.

    The President doesn’t do his job.

    The press doesn’t do its job. They cover politics the same way they cover sports. Who’s ahead, who’s behind, who’s rebuilding. Listen to their terminology.

  94. @nigel

    I like the Swiss model. We have good geographic barriers to invasion.

    President Lincoln worried a great deal about how to keep Great Britain from intervening in the U.S. Civil War. Britain historically has acted to keep Europe from uniting against her. It would be a logical extension of that for Britain to want North America divided. Britain’s intervention would have been a disaster.

    The U.S.A. was not generally recognized as a Great Power before the Spanish American War.

  95. @Bob:
    hats can be filled by many heads. Is the association between poverty and unwed motherhood staying strong, or perhaps eroding? William B Swift mentioned how unwed motherhood has been going up the social ladder…

    @Jessica Boxer: I agree that “there are strong memes encouraging commitment of a father to child — societies evolve these memes for a good reason”; but sometimes changes undermine good reasons. It may be that today’s world’s great mobility (it’s easy for people to move away – much easier than when the next town was a day’s walk – and so it’s easier for people to leave their families) and global communications (which may reduce the impact of people moving away) and probably other factors reduce the sustainability of cohabitation of father with his children. When something becomes less sustainable, we work around it, right? We surely don’t seem to be moving towards stronger memes encouraging commitment of a father to the child (I may have missed something, though).

    I’m no sociologist, but I’m in that age when such questions are of great interest to me.

  96. “Unwed motherhood is also strongly associated with poverty.”

    Be careful; it’s not clear which way the causality arrow points. Women living in poverty have low opportunity costs to motherhood, and it is one of the few ways they can take on an adult role in their culture. Some may also view it as a way to have someone love them unconditionally.

    Affluent women, on the other hand, have enormous opportunity costs associated with motherhood. Even women who wants kids typically have very few (1 – 2) for this reason.

  97. “Heinlein’s fan would love to see rejuvenation come about because ‘it had to.’ However, Japan is big on consensus, and less individualistic. Wouldn’t Japanese women be more willing to accept a role as homemaker (including marrying young and having 5-6 kids) for the greater good of society? Am I making a caricature of Japanese culture, or might this happen in desperate times.”

    If this were likely to happen, it would already be happening. Instead, young Japanese women are refusing to marry or bear children, despite significant negative views of this behavior by Japanese society in general. See the Economist a couple of weeks back; they had a major section on this topic.

  98. @Jacek

    It takes an extraordinary woman to replace a father.

    Unwed motherhood pulls women down the socioeconomic ladder from wherever they start. Everything is much harder alone. Children are an expensive and time consuming hobby.

    @Cathy

    I would suggest that unwed motherhood makes it much more difficult to escape poverty.

    Do affluent women live to work or work to live?

  99. @Bob:
    “I would suggest that unwed motherhood makes it much more difficult to escape poverty.”

    Many women in poverty likely feel they will never escape anyway, so they maximize their utility function within the constraint of remaining impoverished.

  100. Well, I had a clever theory that we could square the circle here by ending up with increasing age asymmetry in marriage – that is, that what you end up with is most women marrying significantly older men to satisfy hypergamy without excessive hits to sexual equality.

    After googling for some data, it doesn’t seem to bear this out, though; the average age gap seems pretty consistent in the West at around 2-4 years over the last century. Interestingly, many of the charts *do* show a discontinuity of younger marriages with smaller gaps in the 1960s that reverts more-or-less to historical trend afterward.

  101. @Cathy
    > Instead, young Japanese women are refusing to marry or bear children, despite significant negative views
    > of this behavior by Japanese society in general.

    There’s additional problems there too; even married, couples simply don’t have time or opportunity for sex any more. Often they live with one or the other’s parents, and that doesn’t leave much privacy. Love hotels are the popular remedy, but then you add cost and, again, a lack of time, due to jobs pressuring them to work exceedingly long hours every day (no one wants to look like the lazy one who leaves first, so they just… stay).

    When you add factors like the hikikomori phenomenon, and the aggregate of other seemingly-unique Japanese cultural afflictions, it’s no surprise the birth rate there has dropped so rapidly.

  102. Japan is a fascinating experiment of cultural mores and sociology. Someone should be gathering data on it and sorting out error bars.

    Russia is another fascinating experiment in reproduction collapse. When a country has to give birth-bounties to get people to marry and have kids…and is willing to do so…and still has its population shrinking by 0.5% per year, there’s a lot of statistically useful data there to gather.

    China has also discovered that the one child per family policy is creating unwanted social consequences….

  103. Ken Burnside Says:
    > Russia … has to give birth-bounties to get people to marry and have kids

    Isn’t that because all the pretty ones are bought by American Imperialists?

  104. After all, David, “a man after God’s own heart,” had hundreds of wives.

    No, he didn’t. Just 18.

  105. >The influence of what we may call memes is virtually equal to or might even have surpassed the influence of genes.

    Depends on the time scale you are discussing. Over the short term, memes win handily. But as the time scale progresses, genes become increasingly important, first because of their influence over memes (for example, the inborn biases and instincts we possess).

    Over thousands of years, and especially over millions, genes come into their own again- both because it is impossible to maintain a uniform culture over long spans, so the more consistent, slower changing genetic background tends to dominate. And more importantly, especially over the longer spans, because evolution tends to “lock in” cultural practices that do get maintained long enough (for example, lactose tolerance).

    Also, the selection for people who do still have children may be very strong; depending mainly on how many choose not to reproduce. Here’s hoping it doesn’t eventually lead to The Marching Morons or Idiocracy.

  106. Do you believe a man has the right to kill his wife or daughter should they engage in fornication?

    Where’d you come up with that one?

  107. @esr Another potential solution to hypergamic reduction of marriage/kids is increasing male engagement/success in elementary schools. I think the statistic that 57% of college students are women is interesting (63-70% of graduates by some accounting).

    Smart women don’t like marrying dumb guys (because they generally aren’t as good providers). Dumb guys don’t like to marry smarter women (because they’re intimidating).

    So why male engagement in elementary school? Depends on how much you buy this argument:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/ali_carr_chellman_gaming_to_re_engage_boys_in_learning.html

  108. Then, there is the real joker in the deck when discussing the future. Technology. Even without a Singularity, artificial wombs, genetic engineering for preferring children, extreme reproductive life extension, any one of these, much less in combination, would and will cause incredible differences between what we currently/historically think and what will happen.

  109. >>Do you believe a man has the right to kill his wife or daughter should they engage in fornication?

    >Where’d you come up with that one?

    I don’t know their source, but isn’t that in Leviticus? As well as modern day Afghanistan?

  110. Do you believe a man has the right to kill his wife or daughter should they engage in fornication?

    Where’d you come up with that one?

    I don’t know their source, but isn’t that in Leviticus?

    No.

    As well as modern day Afghanistan?

    What’s that got to do with the Bible?

  111. I find it interesting than an atheist has logically concluded what was recommended in the Christian Bible nearly 2000 years ago.

    Here’s what that means.

    Remember the scene from Idiocracy where he tells the people that plants need water (as opposed to Brawndo the Thirst Mutilator) and tries to reason with them and eventually gives up and claims he can talk to plants, who told him they want water?

    That’s pretty much how it worked thousands of years ago. “Because God said so” is far more convincing than “Populations which adhere to X set of sexual mores tend to fare better than populations that adhere to Y set”.

    Speaking of Idiocracy, Thanks in part to much lower breeding rates among the intelligent, on average we’re getting dumber by about 0.8 IQ point per generation. Food for thought.

  112. If a meme lasts long enough it can exert selective pressure.

    Growing crops has changed agricultural people. People whose ancestors came from farming regions have much lower rates of type 2 diabetes than those whose ancestors were hunter/gatherers or pastoral.

    Most mammals lose the ability to digest lactose around the time of weaning. The ability to drink milk into adulthood appeared in Humans a number of different times, most notably in northern Europe and parts of Africa. People of Asian or Native American descent are notably lactose intolerant. The ability to digest milk gives its posessors a huge advantage.

    Gregory Cochrane and Henry Harpending make a good case for continued human evolution in their book The 10,000 Year Explosion.

  113. @Jeff Read
    > Speaking of Idiocracy, Thanks in part to much lower breeding rates among the intelligent, on average we’re
    > getting dumber by about 0.8 IQ point per generation. Food for thought.

    Citation needed, especially for how that 0.8 is arrived at. It makes sense from a surface inspection, but I suspect it’s crap. Please enlighten.

  114. My turn for a pet grammar peeve:

    If you have to measure it, with a measuring cup or a bushel basket, write more or less. If you can count it, write more or fewer. If you’re counting measuring cups or bushel baskets say more or fewer.

    Thank you! Thank you! I’ll be here all week. Try the veal special!

  115. “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20: 10).

    “lf a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.” (Deuteronorny 22: 22).

    “If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband and a man fmd her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city, and the man, because he had humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the Held, and the tnan force her, and lie with her: then the matt only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter.” (Deuteronorny 22: 23-26).

    It seems that killing your adulterous daughter was a Roman tradition law.

  116. @Jeff Read

    That would make high intelligence and ambition in a woman an evolutionary handicap.

    Ouch.

    On the “God says so” front, I suspect that people in India who had too many beef dinners found themselves less able to plow and plant and the fields they did plant were less fertile. God obviously said “Don’t eat your tractors!”

  117. You might want to be careful cutting-and-pasting from OCRed text. That “rn” in Winter’s version of Deuteronomy is supposed to be an “m”. Note that I am only bothering to point it out because it is a general problem with OCR, and it can sometimes be a significant problem.

  118. # Milhouse Says:
    > No, he didn’t. Just 18.

    Ah, so your goal is to draw the discussion into a rabbit hole of details without addressing the substance of the point? Are you, or are you not an advocate of the whole biblical philosophy on human marriage and sexuality? Am I a whore because I have had sex before marriage? If your brother dies, are you going to marry his widow to provide her with children? Do you think homosexuals are deserving of death?

    Do you accept it all, or do you demand the right to pick and choose the bits that appeal to you, and then claim your opinion is not just your opinion, but the words of the living God?

    In answer to your other question, please see Deuteronomy 22:22ff. Oh, and BTW, one of those wives was obtained by what amounted to ordering a hit on her husband. Apparently justice was served when David fessed up, and wrote a couple of songs. Personally, I think a more aggressive punishment might have been appropriate, but hey, I’m not the God of the whole Universe, so what do I know.

  119. >Nope, IQ is rising world wide

    The Flynn effect is a testing effect, it affects IQ scores, but does not indicate an actual increase in g. And even the Flynn effect have disappeared in many Northern European populations in the past decade.

  120. @Wiliam B Swift
    “The Flynn effect is a testing effect, it affects IQ scores,but does not indicate an actual increase in g.”

    I believe that neither IQ nor g are reliable measures of intelligence. What they measure is your ability to succeed in school.

    And if there is an intelligence, it is not fixed. Retiring and go fishing is the best way to lower your intelligence by a large fraction.

    You should listen to Flynn, he is quite eloquent, and knowledgeable.

    http://hulk03.princeton.edu:8080/WebMedia/flash/lectures/20081007_09_publect_flynn.shtml

  121. @JonCB: the Wikipedia article correctly observes that newspapers don’t typically have fact-checkers, but fails to mention the most obvious reason; there’s not enough time between reporting/writing and print deadlines. (Let alone Internet publication.)

    The article does point out that the ability to report and write accurately enough that the fact-checkers would hardly ever find anything that needed to be changed becomes an important part of the reporter’s qualifications. Too many published corrections is likely to be a career-killer.

    Line editors are encouraged to be super-skeptical about things that don’t sound exactly right; and copy editors are full of local knowledge about how people spell their names and suchlike stuff. They’re the backstops.

    If you object that errors do still get in the paper, I agree; but it’s a very small number compared with the numbers of things that could be wrong.

  122. # Nancy Lebovitz Says:
    > A solution which hasn’t been discussed is making marriage more satisfying.

    Since making marriage more satisfying means that the spouses must apply the necessary effort to do so, the way to make that happen is to increase the cost of marital failure. However, exactly the opposite trend is going on. Divorce is easier, the world is bigger so alternatives are more easily obtained, and there is enough wealth that marital failure is an option. So this doesn’t seem likely, except as an individual choice.

    > On the other hand, …is it possible that at least some of those husbands weren’t good to be around?

    Right, but there is another reason too: namely that women CAN leave their husbands. For most of human history it has been a practical impossibility for a woman to leave her husband legally, and financially it would be disastrous unless he was a net drain (think drunken bum, or pusillanimous jerk.) Western society has grown so rich that we have a lot more options. Unfortunately, most of the women in the world aren’t so lucky.

  123. Ouch. Cathy Raymond is one of my prototypes for strong, independent, intelligent, equal-in-every-way – and to me, desirable – women. To find out that the demographics and the way humans are wired has her as one of an unstable, and dying, breed is a great disappointment.

    Russ: >fwap< I actually think Eric's mustache fits his Zen master persona well. So there.

  124. @pkh @Mastiff

    Polygamy is no solution, it screws up sexual equality. See Muslim-Arab countries. Hypergamy with polygamy results in 1 rich dude having 4 wives. This results in power imbalance in general (80% of rich people are women) and society generally counterbalances is by reducing the individual power and freedom of women in order to set the collective power of rich women at 50%. This is roughly what happened in Muslim-Arab countries.

    (Note: sexual repression and polygyamy generally was inherited in Arab countries from pre-Islam periods, and Muslim countries that are free from Arab influence, don’t have the same kinds of sexual equality problems. See: Indonesia having a female head of state. This is not to say there are no problems with Islam, I am simply saying this specific problem is more of a pre-Islam inheritance and probably tied to polygamy as such.)

    Plus if you have the poorest 40% of men no chance to mate… that is a dangerous and explosive situation.

  125. I agree with tz’s comment.

    At present, women have a hard time finding a good husband, and men who want a wife can’t find one either. About two thirds of divorces are initiated by women, and women tend to get everything including the kids – so why would a man who wants to be a husband and father get involved with an American woman?

    I’m all in favor of confident and reasonably assertive women, but things have devolved to a point where women have all the power in relationships, and the only thing men can get is the blame. That is not healthy for society.

  126. @Shenpen: Even in polygamous societies, most men don’t have more than one wife – and those who do are more likely to have 2 or 3 than 4.

    Most women are willing to accept a slightly less prosperous man in exchange for being an only wife. (Of course, to be binding this would presuppose a society in which the first wife had some say as to whether her husband could take a second wife.)

    Our current “solution” is to force every man to pay for all children through taxation, and let the women decide who they want to hang out with, without having to care whether men are getting value for their forced contributions. This has its own problems.

  127. @Jessica maybe you are taking these things in a too strict and literal ways: cherry-picking is pretty much the essence of religions. Basically every sane, non-fanatical, down-to-earth religion interprets holy books through a filter of a long tradition of interpretation which is in turn is filtered through common sense and life-experience and social and historical circumstances, which leads to what could be called from a literalist point of view cherry-picking, or from a more practical point of view to a set of religious institutions which merely take a holy book as their input, and not their output, of judgement. Religion is fundamentally a phenonmenon of life and practice like cooking, not that of theory, like science.

  128. >Nope, IQ is rising world wide:

    Probably not, and if it is the increase is unlikely to continue long in historical time. You failed to read far enough to learn that the Flynn Effect ran out of steam in the early 1990s, at least in some first-world countries where they were looking for it. I suspect it may continue for a while in places where childhood nutrition has not reached first-world levels.

  129. @Alan you use the adjective “most”, I used the adjective “rich”, or could have used the adjective “high status and power”. Sultans had wives in the number of hundreds. This is the level where the power imbalance originates, not the average chum.

  130. # Alan Says:
    > At present, women have a hard time finding a good husband, and men who want a wife can’t find one either.

    People get married all the time. People hook up all the time. People start and stop dating all the time. This just isn’t true. I think the real cause here is simply that women tend to delay matrimony to focus on careers, and then in their late twenties and early thirties begin to panic about their fecundity. At that point they find someone to marry. But unfortunately, you are a lot less flexible when you are 35 than you are when you are 25, and so joining houses is much more difficult.

    > About two thirds of divorces are initiated by women, and women tend to get everything
    > including the kids

    I think there is a lot of mythology about this. Women do tend to get a big share of the assets, but they also tend to get a big share of the responsibilities too. According to this article men are actually richer after divorce than before, and women never get back to where they started. (Note this article is about the UK, and it is from the Guardian, which is the NYT of the UK, so caveat emptor.)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jan/25/divorce-women-research

    I think the truth is probably that divorce is a financial disaster for all but the very wealthy, and that, on average, women get the short end of the stick. However, I also think it is true that the degree a man gets screwed is pretty much proportional to how nice a person he is. But that is just my impression. It is even less reliable than the Guardian.

    > – so why would a man who wants to be a husband and father get involved with an American woman?

    Because he wants a stable happy relationship, and home optionally with children? Same reason men have always got married.

    > but things have devolved to a point where women have all the power in relationships,
    > and the only thing men can get is the blame. That is not healthy for society.

    That is completely wrong. I don’t think women even want all the power in the relationship. Women are far more attracted to powerful men. Most of the women I know, myself included, have been culturally conditioned to seek a man who will take the lead, someone who is assertive and confident. However, for sure they will push you to see if you are a push over. Push overs are not attractive.

    However, I do agree with you that the media pushes a particular picture of men: the “Who Loves Raymond” type of guy. The “men are always wrong”, the “women control men through sex”, the “men never help around the house”, the “men does the honey do list to keep the little women quiet” men. I don’t know where that comes from, but I promise you there are NO women who what that kind of man. On the contrary, these kind of men sort of disgust me.

  131. “pusillanimous jerk” = best phrase in this thread!

    Regarding traditional dual parent roles (mother and father): I have only my direct experience to observe here. Mentioned before that I started life on the bottom. In that time, much of the tragedy I saw did occur in and around single parent households. The few people I saw rise to at least a baseline level of existence (regular job, family life, no crime, absence of the thug mentality, etc.) all shared a common trait – these kids did not come from a “broken home.” Also, the ones that did well in school had both parents who were together, and strong enough to help their kids rise above the social pressures of “thughood” and to succeed through education and not music or sports.

    The very, very few that made it to the “upper class” also shared this trait.

    In my own direct experience, I became a single father when my daughter was three (my wife passed away). And while my nuclear family and a very close friend who might as well be my brother have all been together to be part of her life, helping to raise her emotionally, academically, socially, etc (particularly my mother), this has not filled the gap or compensated for her own mother. There is no way to know what the alternative would have been without them, but I see very clearly that I as a father could not and cannot fill the very important needs met by a mother. Being of the military bent and possessing a martial nature, and being of a facts-driven mentality, what I suppose some might term as an “alpha type” (whatever), I can only research and theorize on the needs I do not fill for her. She does struggle with a number of issues that I believe can be traced to this.

    The minus-one-parent issue cuts both ways, though granted there are many more single mothers than single fathers (a trend that seems to be shifting slightly). I am not advocating for the traditional parenting model by the way – I think that if certain cultural memes were overthrown, there are other models that could work quite well for children. Just throwing some personal observance into the mix here.

    Regarding polyamory – I think that for a limited subset of people, this model is beautiful. However, I think it takes intelligent, disciplined, and self observant people who have a healthy dose of curiosity, philosophical leaning, and introspective attributes to truly make this work. If the government wasn’t in the business of forcing traditional marriage models on us, we might be able to start collecting useful data on this.

    I agree with the comment that you cannot factor evo-bio-psych out of this analysis – just because the PC implications of this big scary science are less than comfortable for a lot of folks does not mean that it is not a primary driver of social paradigms.

  132. Eric, what about the various forms of group marriage Heinlein talks about, most notably in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress?

  133. @Jay Maynard

    Eric, what about the various forms of group marriage Heinlein talks about, most notably in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress?

    Imagine how very nasty a divorce could get with all those respondents…

  134. Jay Maynard says: “Eric, what about the various forms of group marriage Heinlein talks about, most notably in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress?”

    I’m glad you brought that up – I was going to refer to that and the model in Stranger in a Strange Land (Harshaw’s household and the evolution into the Church of All Worlds community) but decided I’ve been long winded enough for the day.

    But I echo your question to Mr. Raymond – what about these with respect to the points of the post and the evolving discussion? Or is that perhaps a topic that is better made external to this thread?

  135. >But I echo your question to Mr. Raymond – what about these with respect to the points of the post and the evolving discussion? Or is that perhaps a topic that is better made external to this thread?

    Oh, yeah. Poly is a whole ‘nother topic. You said “Regarding polyamory – I think that for a limited subset of people, this model is beautiful. However, I think it takes intelligent, disciplined, and self observant people who have a healthy dose of curiosity, philosophical leaning, and introspective attributes to truly make this work.” I agree, and speak from direct observation of many poly relationships both successful and failed.

    There may come a time when poly is more than an elite option. The cultural resources for that to happen don’t yet exist, though poly practitioners are working hard at trying to build them.

    If and when mass acceptance occurs, I strongly suspect that line families as in TMiaHM will in fact prove to be one of the more successful and popular forms. OTOH, it is pretty clear that “nests” as described in SiASL don’t work very well. The more successful forms of poly all seem to be constellations of pair bonds rather than complete graphs. Successful fours, as an example, generally tend to be two couples each member of which has a secondary bond to the compatible partner in the other pair.

  136. # WCC Says:
    > “pusillanimous jerk” = best phrase in this thread!

    I believe it is actually the name of a technique from Krav Maga :-)

    BTW, your description of your life make me think that you’re that guy Will and your daughter is Stephanie from Red Jacket Firearms.

  137. @esr
    The Flynn effect taping of in the early 90s?

    What a coincidence.

    That was the time Europe switched to a volunteer army. The Flynn effect was always studied using the IQ tests on new recruits.

  138. The Cinderella effect makes me doubt how well alternative childrearing arrangements will work.

    Step-parents tend to favor their biological offspring. Orphanages, where the care-givers are unrelated to any of the children, historically have been neglectful if not downright abusive. Russian orphanages are notorious.

  139. @ Jessica Boxer, RE: “BTW, your description of your life make me think that you’re that guy Will and your daughter is Stephanie from Red Jacket Firearms.”

    Alas, no. My name is in fact Will, but my daughter’s name is Kate. And she’s 12. In the future I plan to develop and produce firearms and other tactical systems and gear based on this things I have learned from elements of my winding, twisting, and just weird life. But no, I’m not that guy.

    RE: Krav Maga – Ah, KM – IMO, best system for offensive defense that can actually be used in a real situation. SEAL CQD is probably the best overall, but it is designed for offense or combat force projection and for use while geared up. Barrel strikes hurt. Also, the ability to rapidly dial it up/dial it down instantly is a problem for many people who cannot train to the level required. If interested, google Duane Dieter – he built the fundamentals of the system.

    Sorry, I know this comment should be extraneous to this thread. But, you hit on a subject of passion for me. I blame you ;-)

  140. The line marriage form seems to be a quite logical system for allowing women to satisfy the desire for hypergamy, to have children when they’re biologically most suited at minimal long-term opportunity cost, and to have the children grow up in stable, financially-sound household.

    Whether that means it will ever take root, I wouldn’t care to guess.

  141. So let’s look at what people have come up with as an alternative to ESR’s conclusion that sexual repression and inequality may become necessary again.

    1. Childbirth without family formation: This seems highly likely as a possibility to me. In fact, as others have pointed out, it’s probably already happening. Women are choosing to be single mothers if they can’t find a hypergamously satisfying man. If this goes on it seems like we will need sexual equality more than ever. Women need to make a lot of money in order to support their children without a man. I think this is a plausible, likely scenario that manages to avoid ESR’s unpleasant conclusion, although it’s still not ideal since having only one parent tends to be unpleasant.

    2. Extending fertility to older years: For obvious reasons, women become less hypergamous as they age. If they settle for lesser men as they get older, they can have children then. The big barrier to this is menopause, which makes it an iffy strategy, but there may be some way to delay its onset in the future.

    3. Eliminating hypergamy: ESR has argued that eliminating hypergamy memetically is probably very difficult, though it still might be worth a shot. Another solution that occurs to me, however, is to eliminate hypergamy on the supply side. In the future we may be able to use genetic or memetic techniques to reduce the supply of undesirable males. I do not have enough information to determine how likely this is.

    4. Life extension: It seems like we’ll get there eventually, the question is more “can it be done before a demographic collapse?” Again, I don’t know.

    5. Immigration and assimilation: This strategy has worked quite well for America, though, as ESR used to write fairly frequently about, Europe is having more trouble with it. Also, if the immigrants assimilate fully, it’s only a stopgap.

    6. Alternative means of reproduction: Ditto for life extension, it seems like we’ll get there eventually, the question is more “can it be done before a demographic collapse?” Maybe it will and we’ll end up in a Robin Hanson-esque world where the primary method of reproduction is uploading copies of yourself onto a computer.

    So there we go, six methods of avoiding eliminating sexual equality while still having reproduction. Some of them involve futuristic technology, but others do not. Personally, my money is on lots of #1 and #5 for now, maybe with a little #2, and #s 3, 4, and 6 appearing in the future. Since #1 seems most plausible to me in the short run, I say that we really need to support sexual equality, so that women can make enough to afford to support children on their own.

  142. Note that in the previous post when I said “In the future we may be able to use genetic or memetic techniques to reduce the supply of undesirable males.” I meant, “make undesirable men more desirable,” not “kill them” or anything of that nature.

  143. >RE: Krav Maga – Ah, KM – IMO, best system for offensive defense that can actually be used in a real situation.

    For some years now I’ve had it mentally marked “the form to learn next” once I think I’ve squeezed the juice out of MMA.

  144. “The Cinderella effect makes me doubt how well alternative childrearing arrangements will work.”

    As far as I am aware, adoption and step-parenting are very rare among non-human animals. A more common pattern is for males to try to kill infants who are not their descendants.

    Of course, you can find all sorts of strange patterns among other species. The female Siamese Fighting Fish will eat her own eggs immediately after they are fertilized unless the male succeeds in keeping her away from them. Talk about a contra-survival strategy!

  145. @ESR, RE: “For some years now I’ve had it mentally marked “the form to learn next” once I think I’ve squeezed the juice out of MMA.”

    It is definitely worth incorporating in my experience. I brought this in after mastering or learning, respectively Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do (very similar to Aikido – Korean version), Tang Soo Do, Hwrang Do, Kum Do (Korean style of what you may know as Kendo), Karate (Shotokan), Bujinkan systems, and Wing Chun. I have used KM more than once unfortunately and can attest to the effectiveness of the system.

    After KM I brought in Jeet Kune Do, another good, adaptive system. Not as much applicability to an out-of-training-hall system as one might think, but against an experienced martial artist, highly effective.

    For weapons other than firearms, my preferred choice is Filipino systems – picking up a stick-like object in the street or other areas can be a devastating defense (Arnis/Escrima). For real world bladework, I like Sayoc Kali. Brutal and effective.

    The best aspect of MMA in my opinion is the combination of strikes and grapples – bringing together the devastation of Muay Thai and Western Boxing, and the effectiveness of grappling and holds, particularly the Gracie system of Jiu Jitsu is also highly effective in the “real world.”

  146. @Evan: You missed one — Polyamory. While converting to a polyamorous society is possible, it’s not altogether likely except amongst intellectual elites, as esr pointed out.

    # is already happening, yes, but in the long-run it won’t work. Ask any single parent how difficult being a single parenti, especially if they have multiple kids, juggling a career, etc. This is as difficult for women as it is for men. As for sexual equaliy, I co-authored a paper on the gender pay gap. Having children is the biggest reason why women make less than men. Most women take time off of their careers to have children and this leaves them with less on-the-job experience, which translates to less pay.

  147. @Cathy

    I don’t think I proposed having say, a Shetland Sheepdog rear human children, though I think a Sheltie would do a better job than a Cocker Spaniel.

    I think the issue is that for Western Civilization to live long and prosper it must produce and socialize succeeding generations of citizens. As marriages are delayed or broken and birthrates fall this becomes problematic.

    Child rearing is difficult and expensive. The people most likely to do the best job are the birth parents and their relatives. Grandparents seem to do the best job of the parental substitutes, but it’s expecting a great deal of them. As marriages are delayed and parents are older so too are grandparents.

  148. RE: Cathy says: “As far as I am aware, adoption and step-parenting are very rare among non-human animals.”

    As an aside (sorry Mr. Raymond, I keep doing this – last one, eh?) I was at a training evolution earlier this month updating some Tracker quals, and the Ranger instructing had an interesting story. He was working with one of the federal natural regulatory agencies, assisting them with some black bear thing or another. They were trying to get black bear mothers to adopt orphaned cubs, but the mothers kept killing them. Then they discovered a new tactic – they would go out and spray a potential mother’s nose with something (can’t remember what it was – not exactly the focus of the training) and spray the cub with it. Then they would place the cub with the mother while she was sleeping and it worked – they mothers would adopt – they were killing the cubs because of the “foreign” scent, but when that scent was masked, all good.

    Seems like humans love to evolve social paradigms. A social model for the wild! Let’s get cracking on our own, and repurpose the resources being used by the many, many (necessary?…jeez…) fed regs. Just being facetious here.

  149. WCC Says:
    >Sorry, I know this comment should be extraneous to this thread.

    My understanding of Eric’s rules is that firearms and fighting systems are never off topic.

  150. “Thanks in part to much lower breeding rates among the intelligent, on average we’re getting dumber by about 0.8 IQ point per generation. Food for thought.”

    One wonders if sexual selection pressure could, over long time-scales, reduce human female intelligence without reducing male intelligence, a la Niven’s Kzinti.

    I suspect that intelligence is not sufficiently sex-linked on the chromosomes for this to be possible in humans. That is, I think that any adverse selection pressure on women’s intelligence would also impact their male offspring due to the chromosomes being the same in both cases. But, I am certainly no geneticist.

  151. @ Doc Merlin

    It’s not clear to me why it should be relevant that the teen birthrate is up even though birth rates in general are flat. I assume you believe that fact is indicative of the decrease in the “price” of sex, and it may be, though I suspect that other factors (ignorance of/lack of access to contraceptive technique, tolerance of unwed pregnancy) are as or perhaps more significant.

  152. >As an aside (sorry Mr. Raymond, I keep doing this – last one, eh?)

    Your digressions are usually more interesting than most people are on topic. So don’t stop on my account, just keep the quality up. :-)

  153. >My understanding of Eric’s rules is that firearms and fighting systems are never off topic.

    Hm. On reflection, I think you may be correct :-)

  154. @Cathy

    One wonders if sexual selection pressure could, over long time-scales, reduce human female intelligence without reducing male intelligence, a la Niven’s Kzinti.

    I certainly hope not, though it might make producing a large number of daughters cheaper, and might make men more likely to marry them. It might also make men more likely to see women as interchangeable. Not my daughter!

    There is some evidence of a sex linked effect on intelligence. The standard deviation in any particular trait, including intelligence, seems to be larger in men than women. There are more super geniuses and human potted plants among men than women. The slightly higher average intelligence of men probably reflects the minimum measurement floor.

    There is huge variation in intelligence among dog breeds, but it doesn’t seem to be sex linked. Given strong selective pressure great changes can happen practically overnight. Witness the almost universal ability to drink milk into adulthood among northern Europeans.

  155. Also, the 4.3:1 ration of Autism Spectrum Disorders indicates a strong sex link to personality.

  156. 1) The trend to lower fertility is extremely wide, deep, and long.

    Fertiilty in the U.S. declined by 1/3 from 1800 to 1850, and by over 1/2 again by 1940. There was a temporary revival in 1945-1965, but decline resumed. In 2000 the level was 20% below the 1940 nadir, though there has been another slight revival since, and is barely above replacement levels.

    Fertility is below (often far below) replacement levels throughout Europe and the former USSR, and in Korea. Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.

    Fertility has declined by 30% to 70% in the last 25 years in many Second World nations, including most of the Moslem world; it is below replacement in Iran and Algeria, near replacement in Turkey and Indonesia, and down 40%-60% in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco, and Iraq. It is below or approaching replacement throughout Latin America. Only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa is this trend not in effect.

    Which is to say that this trend is driven by something more powerful than the change in sexual mores in Western culture. Even intensely religious nations are following it.

    2) ESR, you referred several times to “sexual repression”. ITYM “sexual inhibition”. Repression is the denial that a desire even exists; inhibition is pressure to refrain from acting on the desire – which includes but is not confined to repression. Inhibitions also include religious prohibitions, moral codes, social sanctions, laws, superstition, and rational fear of consequences. There are many traditional cultures in which female sexual activity was restricted by inhibition, but (unlike the Christian West) desire was not repressed. These cultures have also changed substantially – whether the changes are similar to those in the West in nature and effect is “beyond the scope of this essay”.

  157. Eric,

    Are you familiar with /Sex and Reason/, Richard Posner’s book on this matter? I think you would enjoy it. Although Posner is not a science-fiction writer, his thoughts are similar to yours, and he finds similar insights through his law-and-economics lense. But since he offers a book-length exposition, his treatment is more in-depth than blog articles can be. (IIRC, David Friedman discussed it a number of times on Usenet. If you want a preview before you read, searching Google Groups for the title and Friedman’s name should deliver it to you.)

  158. “Women seem biologically to want to be mothers; do men equally strongly want to be fathers?”

    Not when they’re young, and think that they’re immortal. As they get older and realize that they’re not, they look to immortalize themselves through their children….

  159. Pingback: Daily Pundit » Family formation? Sexual equality? Sexual liberty? Pick Any Two

  160. >Are you familiar with /Sex and Reason/, Richard Posner’s book on this matter? I think you would enjoy it.

    Probably. I might not find much of it very surprising, though. David Friedman, Richard Posner and I share substantial sources and portions of our conceptual toolkits. Neither David nor I are ever very surprised when we discover we’re reaching parallel conclusions. Richard Posner is tied to conservatism in a way David and I are not, but he’s too bright to be a prisoner of it; thus, he parallels our thinking and vice-versa more often than one might expect from political labels.

  161. Mark Steyn writes and talks a lot about this topic of demographic decline. He has even given himself the title of National Review’s in-house demography bore.

    It seems pretty grim for our civilization if people are not having kids. An aging graying society is a less dynamic one, one less willing to do things like space exploration; to say nothing of the pressure it puts on entitlement programs like social security.

    Still I maintain hope. I feel that the current low birth rate will at some point reverse itself. It is almost always wrong to take a current trend and extrapolate it into infinity. From what I have read, birth rates in the 1930s were quite low. Then after the end of WWII, the birthrate exploded. At some point this will probably happen again.

    It is a disturbing to realize that Muslim families in Europe have 4 kids on average; while the old Europeans have 0-1. We are someday going to wake up to a Muslim Europe; instead of London it will be Londoninistan. I for one do not look forward to this.

    I know people who frequent this blog are probably not favorably disposed to the Catholic Church, but they may be onto something with the traditional belief that children are a gift from G-d and a blessing, and to have more of them. Europe and America would benefit from this.

    As Mark Steyn likes to point out, the future belongs to those who show up for it.

  162. “Sexual equality is unstable” is academic babble. I expect better from you.

    Do we have sexual equality when most CEOs and top politicians are male? Do we have sexual equality when men having consensual sex are subject to at least 18 years of sex payments, backed up by the threat of imprisonment? Do we have sexual equality when about five mothers are legally awarded child custody for every father awarded child custody?

    Talking about sexual equality has become pointless. Call it whatever you would like. Does the claim that sexual equality is unstable really mean anything?

    Was sexual equality/inequality unstable in the U.S. in the 1950s? Is sexual equality/inequality unstable in China now? What it unstable in Rome under Augustus? And what about Ovid’s Art of Love?

  163. Although it has been touched on in the comments about divorce, what has not been stated explicitly here is that marriage itself has changed and changed to a less valuable thing. Due to no-fault divorce (that came in in the seventies) marriage as practiced in the sixties and before no longer exists in the USA, thus women cannot offer that marriage at any price. This may be the main reason for the lack of family formation rather than those that Eric listed. If so, the cure is simple (but not politically easy), just bring back marriage that cannot be dissolved on a no-fault basis by just one of the partners.

    Also, do not permit the “best interests of the children” to control ever. This is a code phrase for “the court will do whatever it wants with no regard to the rights of either the children or the parents”. With the certainty that, in a divorce, the person at fault will come off worse, people will be willing to marry again because marriage will offer something beyond just shacking up.

  164. One more thing to do. Bring back bastardy. If the mother is not married, the child would have no legal claim on its father. I suspect that this would both reduce out-of-wedlock births and increase family formation.

  165. @LS

    Not when they’re young, and think that they’re immortal. As they get older and realize that they’re not, they look to immortalize themselves through their children….

    Which is why one of the nastiest things women do to their soon-to-be-ex’s is take the kids away from them, and use them as pawns in power and keep-away games.

  166. Douglas Galbi Says:
    > Do we have sexual equality when most CEOs and top politicians are male? etc…

    I think you need to realize that equality before the law does not mean equality of outcomes. Women and men tend to want different things, and arrange their lives in ways to receive those things, whether they be CEO jobs or babies in the home.

    > Bring back bastardy

    Seriously? Please explain what is wrong with expecting a man to pay for the consequences of his choices, just as a woman has to? If a guy borrows a woman’s car consensually, and wrecks it, is it reasonable for her to expect him to pay for the repairs?

    I’d refer you to my earlier comment, where I cited an article showing that divorce tends to have better outcomes on average for men than women. By no means is the divorce system perfect, but I detect a disturbing amount of misogyny here.

  167. It seems that killing your adulterous daughter was a Roman tradition law.

    Roman law let a father sell or kill his children for any or no reason. Children were a man’s property, with which he could do whatever he liked. What has that got to do with the Bible, which has no such provision? And in what way do you imagine the quotes you provided support your proposition?

  168. Ah, so your goal is to draw the discussion into a rabbit hole of details without addressing the substance of the point?

    No, my goal is to point out that you’re making stuff up out of whole cloth, and have no clue what you’re talking about when it comes to the Bible.

  169. In answer to your other question, please see Deuteronomy 22:22

    I’m perfectly familiar with it. In what way do you think it supports your absurd claim?

  170. Do you accept it all, or do you demand the right to pick and choose the bits that appeal to you, and then claim your opinion is not just your opinion, but the words of the living God?

    No, I don’t pick and choose. But unlike you I actually know what those words are, and have access to the large body of knowledge to which the written text is just the Cliff’s Notes. I also don’t depend on translations, as you do.

    Oh, and BTW, one of those wives was obtained by what amounted to ordering a hit on her husband.

    He was the king, and the fellow disobeyed a direct order. That would have got him the death penalty had he been brought up on charges, but David thought it wouldn’t look good, so he’d handle things informally, and arrange a hero’s death for him instead of an ignominious execution. It backfired, majorly, and he was punished severely.

    but hey, I’m not the God of the whole Universe, so what do I know.

    Exactly. You’re not, so you don’t know.

  171. # Milhouse Says:
    > No, I don’t pick and choose. But unlike you I actually know what those words are,

    How curious. I was originally addressing my question to a Christian, but I assume from what you say that you are Jewish, and are referring (in part anyway) to the Talmud. There is a body of that epitomizes the idea that if you torture the data long enough it will confess.

    > He was the king, and the fellow disobeyed a direct order.

    Yes, here is one of these great tortuous explanation. The guy comes back from battle with messages for the king. The king tells him to go sleep with his wife. (He does this to give himself cover in case he knocked her up while her husband was off putting his life on the line in battle loyally for that same king.) He, being a loyal soldier and comrade to his brothers refuses this comfort and sleeps in the street. And for this heinous crime – sleeping in the street — he is due the death penalty? And of course, good Kind David, to spare him the embarrassment of a trial puts him back in the worst part of the battle and orders his supporting troops to pull back and leave him alone, unprotected and certain of death. That is one merciful King! Oh, and in the meantime the king is screwing the poor guy’s wife back home in his big fancy palace? If you believe that explanation, I got a bridge for sale.

    But Milhouse is right, I forgot God did not actually forgive him after he “fessed up and wrote a few songs” as I earlier said. No, actually David’s true punishment was that his beloved son died. So God’s idea of punishment was to kill an innocent child because it would be especially hurtful to David. That is a curious notion of justice. But I’m sure the Talmud and other traditions have about a million words twisting in the wind to explain what that is just too.

    If you’re just going to throw around claims that I know nothing about the Bible, I’m sorry that is not an interesting discussion to me. If you are actually willing to explain how you can possibly square the outrageous practices and claims of the book with respect to sexuality and marriage then I’m listening. To put it another way, I’m not interested in a meta discussion, just a discussion.

  172. Jay: you missed. I ducked, remember?
    Catherine: It’s the Eric Conspiracy, of course. Alas, my son is still ineligable, even at age 19. He’s getting there, though. At least he has to shave once a week now.

  173. @Scott
    Four states actually have the option, called “covenant marriage”. In none of them does any significant fraction of couples choose that form.

  174. I largely agree with Cathy’s account, but because I respect her intelligence I feel a need to add to it a bit. I think she tends to overestimate the capability difference between us because of a personality difference. Cathy is not an intellectual; that is, while she is very bright (IQ in the high gifted to borderline genius range) her mental life is not organized around grappling with ideas in the way mine is and she derives much less primary reward from doing so. Also she’s a more linear, less lateral thinker than I am. She reads these differences as “Eric is brighter”, but I think they’re less differences in problem-solving and analytical capability than personality.

    You should write a post on your thoughts on cognitive style and its importance visavi raw intelligence.

  175. Another and related thing: for example I admit I am sometimes guilty of thinking in sexually objectifying ways about women I don’t know personally, just see in a bar or something. I think this is an expression of male dominance-seeking behaviour and it is not really a good thing: it took me 33 years to have a really good loving stable relationship, because this time I knew her mind (e-mails) before I saw her body.

    However, dominance-seeking behavior is IMHO related to other, more desirable behaviors like ambition, courage, “drive” – because ath the end of the day they all come from testosteron. Every succesful scientist, engineer, businessman I know about is rather dominant, they have this “my way or wrong way” mentality: Steve Jobs etc.

    So I am afraid that by meeking down and become like a typical non-dominant liberal-feminist dude one could also lose these abilities, and it would not be a good thing, because it would lower achievement.

    So either we can have underachieving, timid, not driven, low-ambition males, like the average young liberal Redditor with their nice-guy-ness but passive lifestyle of pot and console games, or the kind of males who achieve, have drive, but are also rather dominant, sometimes repressive, and often objectifying. Low-testosterone or high-testosterone…

    Does any of you see any sort of a solution?

  176. Shenpen: You could encourage ambition in other people. You can be assertive without being aggressive. Compromising doesn’t mean being a push-over.

  177. @Shenpen

    Another and related thing: for example I admit I am sometimes guilty of thinking in sexually objectifying ways about women I don’t know personally, just see in a bar or something.

    Don’t feel guilty about reflexively thinking for a few moments in precisely the way it is necessary for you to think to propagate the species. Do feel guilty if you act upon that urge in an inappropriate way.

    Furthermore, I suspect that women whom you see in a bar are taking actions designed to generate that thinking, so not sexully objectifying them just a little is almost insulting them.

  178. ESR says: “There may come a time when poly is more than an elite option. The cultural resources for that to happen don’t yet exist, though poly practitioners are working hard at trying to build them.

    If and when mass acceptance occurs, I strongly suspect that line families as in TMiaHM will in fact prove to be one of the more successful and popular forms. OTOH, it is pretty clear that “nests” as described in SiASL don’t work very well. The more successful forms of poly all seem to be constellations of pair bonds rather than complete graphs. Successful fours, as an example, generally tend to be two couples each member of which has a secondary bond to the compatible partner in the other pair.”

    I am inclined to agree with you. It really seems that the nest-success of the CoAW in SiaSL is more attributable to the abilities and resources of Mike, who through these, essentially makes their effort possible. It would have been interesting to see some detailed follow-on to see what happened under Harshaw’s guidance. There have been attempts at something similar, but I am not familiar with any that were successful. The flower children developed some interesting ideas but few followed them through. What is left over from that era tends to be…I dunno. But I blame the New Agers on them ;-)

    I think this model could work in a large family type atmosphere, but that brings us around to the line families in TMiaHM. So, yeah, agree that if mass acceptance can occur, and I hope it does, this is one of the more likely scenarios.

    Regarding the polyamory “rule of fours” – in the relationships I have observed, these couples are the only ones I have seen as successful. Adding another pair, even for the brightest and most disciplined, just seems to exponentially increases the interpersonal complexities. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been any successful relationships with this many folks, I just have not been privy to any of them. In my observance, the fours, who also had relatively open relationships and very high degrees of honesty and sharing were some of the happiest and most fulfilled people I have met. It does seem that the secondary bond is necessary though. One interesting observation in one of the relationships I’m speaking of, the men also had a bond. It was non-sexual in nature though, nor could it be attributed to “brotherly-love.” It was almost a sempai-kohai type of thing, though that only applied to certain aspects of their lives (martial arts, computer science, and their bent on what they laughingly referred to as “scientific-paganism”) – in general they were equals.

  179. It is a disturbing to realize that Muslim families in Europe have 4 kids on average; while the old Europeans have 0-1. We are someday going to wake up to a Muslim Europe; instead of London it will be Londoninistan. I for one do not look forward to this.

    It seems the norm that immigrants tend to have more children than the natives. If you see this still happening in the 3rd generation you might have a point. The probability that Europe will go from Christian to Muslim seems highly remote (as in I’d bet large sums it wouldn’t happen in my lifetime) but even if it does, will it matter?

  180. Seriously? Please explain what is wrong with expecting a man to pay for the consequences of his choices, just as a woman has to? If a guy borrows a woman’s car consensually, and wrecks it, is it reasonable for her to expect him to pay for the repairs?

    There’s nothing wrong with expecting a man to pay for the consequences so long as he has a fair say in the decision process whether to terminate the pregnancy. He should never be able to force the woman to have a baby against her desires but he should have the option of saying “I don’t want a child and want an abortion”.

    At which point his liability is for the cost of an abortion and not for 18 years of childcare. He also foregoes any and all parental rights. It would then be the woman’s option to have an abortion or to have a child without his support.

    But that’s not how it works.

    Personally, I believe that abortion is almost always the wrong choice (saving the life of the mother being the right choice). It’s just that sometimes the rest of the choices are worse and you’re stuck with a bunch of wrong choices. Not having that option would be worse than the misuse of the option.

  181. @esr & wcc

    There may come a time when poly is more than an elite option. The cultural resources for that to happen don’t yet exist, though poly practitioners are working hard at trying to build them.

    Given that we’re culturally driven toward the nuclear family the first step would be to see more widespread adoption of joint families as seen in some asian cultures. A line marriage is essentially a joint/extended family except with the non-related adults having sex with each other.

    Logistically/financially this makes sense but outside of Hindu joint families this doesn’t seem to be common practice anymore even among cultures with more multi-generational families than ours. Answering why this isn’t more common before adding sex and jealousy into the mix seems wise.

    Anything works well in fiction. The author has full control over the outcomes. Frankly, the probability of FTL travel seems higher today than getting polygamy to work well except in very limited scenarios. For one thing you need a reasonable solution for what to do when a particular pair bonds for whatever reason. For a more senior partner to demand sex (maliciously or not) from one of the pair bonds likely will result in the need for food tasters and dueling guidelines.

  182. @Jessica Boxer you point to a UK study that shows men are better off after a divorce than the women (on average); I live in Europe and have lived in the US a bit and I believe there is a large difference between the two continents in this respect. Alas, I don’t have a US study to back this.

  183. I’m interested to hear how the true believers here think that different outcomes to those feared by Eric might be achieved in practice.

    How does an-Statist expect to influence policy in such an area?

  184. @Cathy

    Yep. See article below about donors who have anywhere from 70 to 150 children.

    There’s no way it will be ever be a real problem. Sperm donation will always be cheaper using unskilled labor.

  185. @TomM If you want discussion and debate vs flames then not using terms like “true believers” and “statists” would be a start. Frankly, as near as I can tell, there are few folks in the US that would self-identify as a statist. There are, however, a bunch of folks that call other people statists because they disagree with their political position. Both the left and right exhibit statist behavior to achieve their desired ends and neither side strikes me as particularly less so.

    Frankly, the outcomes feared by Eric strike me as remote or even nonsense. I mean, good God, it’s based on an article from the New York Post. No policy is required to address it even if you were a “true believer” of whatever bent.

    From the European perspective we’re probably all considered on the right and are extreme individualists in addition to being complete nutjobs. I have no idea what asians think of us other than probably that we’re nutjobs. At least we haven’t, yet, taken to lobbing shoes at each other in Congress.

  186. Men don’t have an incentive to make children and a family because it costs an arm, leg, and his balls, and the government owns the children, and the wife. Collectivism has redefined hypergamy to politically correct social standards, which are emasculating. No wonder women can’t find any men. Even my 105 IQ Belgium farmer friend has this figured out, when he said the men turned into women, and the women turned into men. Men and women are not equal. Men are much more competitive and are tuned to the handle the wild of nature. Collectivism wants to insure away all the wildness, and turns the society into mush. I am optimistic, because the longer nature’s wild side is suppressed, the more ferociously it returns.

  187. >Another and related thing: for example I admit I am sometimes guilty of thinking in sexually objectifying ways about women I don’t know personally, just see in a bar or something. I think this is an expression of male dominance-seeking behaviour and it is not really a good thing:

    You’ve let some of the sillier cant in feminism mess with your head. It’s not “dominance-seeking” to objectify women in bars, it’s just male. You’re wired to fuck any woman who looks compatible because your minimum bioenergetic investment in reproduction is low; women are choosier because their minimum investment is higher. Confusing this with “dominance-seeking” reverses the actual causality – males dominate so they can fuck women, not the other way around.

  188. nigel Says:
    > so long as he has a fair say in the decision process whether to terminate the pregnancy.

    The plain fact is that when a self aware, self determined adult freely takes an action he needs to be willing to suffer the consequences of it, whatever they may be. Often in two party situations the rights and responsibilities are asymmetric. This is certainly the case here. The risks for a woman are far higher, pregnancy is a very costly process in terms of the impact on her body, and on the impact on her future desirability as a mate, and a commitment of a very large percentage of her resources for a long period of time. The man’s risk is much smaller — an annuity payment for 18 years.

    The idea that a man should have a get out of jail free card, simple by proposing a solution that will, for many women, be simply impossible, and rarely a good idea (as you yourself acknowledge) is simply to pretend he is taking on the consequences of his actions without actually doing so. For example, if you are driving down the street and you loose control and crash into my ten year old child, and as a consequence the child suffers severe medical trauma. You are certainly on the hook to pay the kid’s medical expenses. You do not have the right to say “let the kid die or pay for it yourself.” You also do not have any real say in the medically appropriate choices the parent and the doctor make on behalf of the child.

    By no means am I saying that custody and child support systems are perfect. But you and others are arguing the basic principle not the particulars. In the matter of principles, I think they are largely correct. If you make the baby, you pay for the baby.

    Accidents happen (though they happen far more commonly when people are careless), people pay the consequences for accidents all the time. Relatively speaking, in a childbirth scenario, distant daddy gets the easy end of it.

    Here is a question for all you tom cats out there. If it were possible to have a vasectomy performed in such a way that it could easily and with low risk be reversed at a later date, do you think that such an operation would be common for men in their early 20s? I wonder if the inability to conceive, even if temporary, would be impactful on a man’s sense of manhood. Would our society allow such a thing? Would it impact the birth rate even more?

  189. @ Jessica Boxer, RE: “Here is a question for all you tom cats out there. If it were possible to have a vasectomy performed in such a way that it could easily and with low risk be reversed at a later date, do you think that such an operation would be common for men in their early 20s? I wonder if the inability to conceive, even if temporary, would be impactful on a man’s sense of manhood. Would our society allow such a thing? Would it impact the birth rate even more?”

    Not being a tom cat (I think…) perhaps I’m not qualified to answer this, but:

    Many of the men I know would be perfectly willing to take on that operation you described. As for me, hell I’ve been waiting on the development of “the pill” for men forever! ;-)

  190. And yes, I suspect it would affect the birthrate. Just as there is a community developing among men that take a dim view of marriage (in the US), whether their reasoning is sound or not, in that view, the same risks are inherent, or even more prevalent, in having children. I wonder if one of the more modern memes WRT “manhood” is not so much the ability to conceive children, but the ability to simply engage in the sexual act.

    If unwanted pregnancies could be preventing easily, with little or no risk to the man changing his mind later, I suspect that the opportunity would be welcomed. But of I course, this is just idle speculation on my part.

    Another potential draw to the “operation” (or the pill for men) would be the absence of the necessity of using a condom (where pregnancy prevention is the concern over STD propagation, not necessarily wise, but there it is). Many men I know use them but don’t like them, as regardless of what the propagandists say, they have a negative impact on the experience for some.

  191. The idea that a man should have a get out of jail free card, simple by proposing a solution that will, for many women, be simply impossible, and rarely a good idea (as you yourself acknowledge) is simply to pretend he is taking on the consequences of his actions without actually doing so.

    Why would it be simply impossible? Yes, the risks are asymmetric which is why I stated that the father should never have the option of insisting on a full term pregnancy. But the health risk of abortion is far less than that of pregnancy for the mother. On what physical grounds can a woman object?

    Your second analogy is very telling. The man loses control and hits a kid…whereas in the consensual scenario we’re discussing the kid jumped out in the street as a willing partner.

    Here is a question for all you tom cats out there. If it were possible to have a vasectomy performed in such a way that it could easily and with low risk be reversed at a later date, do you think that such an operation would be common for men in their early 20s? I wonder if the inability to conceive, even if temporary, would be impactful on a man’s sense of manhood. Would our society allow such a thing? Would it impact the birth rate even more?

    Why would you stipulate tom cat? Is there a minimum partner count to be a tom cat? Or are all men tom cats? the latter is probably more likely true than a subset of men.

    Freedom from unwanted pregnancy is greatly desired by guys but frankly any guy NOT using a condom while engaging in casual sex with many partners is a moron. There’s no telling what they would opt for.

  192. RE “Freedom from unwanted pregnancy is greatly desired by guys but frankly any guy NOT using a condom while engaging in casual sex with many partners is a moron. There’s no telling what they would opt for.”

    In today’s sexual climate, agreed. Risk analysis certainly provides ample reason to do so.

  193. # Nigel Says:
    > Why would [abortion] be simply impossible?

    Many reasons, the most obvious of which is that they believe it is murder, or that every doctor near them think it is murder. Whether you agree with their point of view, if that is their strongly held conviction, then it is indeed impossible for them.

    > Your second analogy is very telling. The man loses control and hits a kid…

    I’m sorry, but I struggled to come up with a decent analogy, they are hard to find, since it is a pretty unusual situation. But imagine you are practicing coitus interruptus, and the man looses control… Can we take it from there? Or we are both driving, and due to a combination of carelessness on both our parts, the kid gets injured. Then the same applies, except that the liability is joint and several to us both. In either case, it doesn’t change the outcome significantly.

    > Why would you stipulate tom cat? Is there a minimum partner count to be a tom cat?

    It is an attitude not a number. Holy cow, I must have touched a nerve for you. Cool your jets.

  194. # WCC Says:
    > In today’s sexual climate, agreed. Risk analysis certainly provides ample reason to do so.

    Nonetheless, sometimes one double or triple wraps for freshness, don’t you think?

  195. RE: “Nonetheless, sometimes one double or triple wraps for freshness, don’t you think?”

    To borrow a favorite phrase of one of my Senior Chiefs (often uttered while looking at us and shanking his head) “oh god…oh my god…”

    Thanks Jessica. Now I have coffee up my nose. But the laugh you gave me was well, well worth it. Thanks 8-)

  196. Wow I’m the king of typos today. Shaking**

    I imagine shanking one’s head would be somewhat painful…

  197. Pingback: Instapundit » Blog Archive » ERIC S. RAYMOND: Reconsidering Sexual Repression. “I am led to a conclusion I don’t like. That i…

  198. > “Daniel Franke Says:
    > September 26th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    > If women can’t buy marriage with sex, they’ll have to bid submission instead.

    > This is plainly a false dichotomy. One other very obvious thing that women can offer in exchange for marriage is children. And while this offer may not be quite as universally
    > compelling to men as sex is, I think it’s more than compelling enough to keep society working without having to roll back half a century of social progress.”

    An interesting claim, and you think a society that has the children and marriage rates that your proposal subscribes won’t be bred out of existence inside of 10-15 generations? Or are you ok with the concept that your plan will be effective in some cases, lower the marriage and birth rate, and end as a failed society?

    The question isn’t “what can women do that might work in some cases” but “what can women do that will work with the same marriage % rates as they had under the old system”.

    Are you claiming that your proposal meets or exceeds this criteria? That the criteria isn’t a valid one? Or that you’re ok with a proposal doomed to failure for the society that adopts it? How do you think this keeps a society working, while also lowering the marriage and birth rates drastically?

  199. The Woman Racket by Steve Moxon. The reason why feminism will result in the death of the West. Everything explained. Read it.

  200. “Due to no-fault divorce (that came in in the seventies) marriage as practiced in the sixties and before no longer exists in the USA, thus women cannot offer that marriage at any price. This may be the main reason for the lack of family formation rather than those that Eric listed. If so, the cure is simple (but not politically easy), just bring back marriage that cannot be dissolved on a no-fault basis by just one of the partners.”

    I used to think this, until I read somewhere that during the 1950′s (when no-fault divorce did not exist) there were a significant number of divorce cases that stipulated exactly the minimum abuse for a “fault divorce” — something along the lines of “struck twice with the flat of the hand under such and such conditions” or something crazy like that. It was very obvious from the uniformity of the claims (unfortunately, I can’t remember where I read this) that the two parties were really agreeing to a consensual divorce, and simply masking it by pretending fault.

    That made me realize that it’s not enough to have legal restrictions on divorce if they are not accompanied by significant social disapproval. To significantly lower divorce rates, I think we’d have to return to a social world where divorcees are shunned, whispered about, scorned, etc. This is much more difficult to bring about, would be even less popular than eliminating no-fault divorce, and would likely have negative side effects.

    The 1950′s have been held up as the golden age of marriage, but not many people realize that divorce rates were actually higher all through the 1950′s than was the case in the 1920′s.

    http://www.thecurseof1920.com/P8%20Divorce%20&%20Curse.htm

  201. Yo. “It’s not women who are bailing out of the marriage market in droves, it’s men”

    Not right. Women have successfully bailed out of the duty of family formation. They still want to get married, they still want the white dress and the big party, they just don’t want the obligation of staying married. Men as husbands are expendable, and a woman raising children by herself is no longer a “broken family”. It’s what is normal for today. Consequentially, men have picked up on this and do not want to get married without the formation of a family, that can’t be dissolved because the wife unit no longer needs them around.

    Sexual liberty implies freedom to dissolve marriage without responsibility. Sexual equality implies that the double standard (female chastity is important, male chastity not so much) has to go to. Either you have family formation without sexual equality or sexual liberty, or you have what we have now. And the Muslims have spelled out our doom, as the moving finger writes on the wall, because for fourteen centuries they have enforced the moral rules of family formation and punished sexual liberty and sexual equality for women. And they show no signs of changing.

  202. Note that I am NOTendorsing the full article linked to in my previous post, and in fact I would discourage anyone from wasting time reading it. It simply provided the quickest link I could locate to the graph of divorce rates over time. I’ve seen this data elsewhere (divorce rates higher in 1950′s than 1920′s).

  203. Many reasons, the most obvious of which is that they believe it is murder, or that every doctor near them think it is murder. Whether you agree with their point of view, if that is their strongly held conviction, then it is indeed impossible for them.

    Why does the woman’s morals have more weight than the man’s? Because we’re no longer in the MUST have a child but WANT to have a child. Strongly held conviction does not make for a physical reason. Abortion is a valid and legal solution to an unwanted pregnancy.

    It is an attitude not a number. Holy cow, I must have touched a nerve for you. Cool your jets.

    It’s not a nerve so much as I’m trying to make you see your biases. There was this whole long thing about where words have meaning and while largely I just roll my eyes about that it is true that word selection are emotional indicators. Why not just ask guys what they think? Of course, we’re actually pretty much all tom cats by nature…but that’s besides the point.

    Guys that only want to pay for an abortion vs a child is not skipping out on their responsibilities. Back in the day where abortion was not medically safe or legal then you man up and marry the girl. Today?

  204. I’m a Mormon engineer and amateur philosopher with a librarian wife and our four children in fecund Utah County, investing a big chunk of my time in training the community’s *many* kids to become responsible adults, watching the rest of Western civilization collapse all around us (cf. London riots, Europe’s immigrant values clash, Greek economic decline, etc.) with horror and dread…

    …so BOY am I really getting a kick out of these replies.

  205. “it encouraged women to believe they could and should be able to act like men without negative consequences – including rising to male levels of promiscuity.”

    Obviously the male and female levels of promiscuity must always be identical. (Ignoring the negligible impact of homosexuality in both sexes) If a man is fooling around with a woman, then a woman is fooling around with a man.

  206. Drawing on the famous article:

    http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html

    Which argues that social skills (a.k.a. EQ) are time and effort-intensive to develop and are thus to some extent mutually exclusive with traditional academic/professional/intellectual achievement, I think here is what is happening.

    Traditionally, high-achieving, low EQ males (betas) paired off with low achieving, high EQ females to achieve a mutually complementary pairing that was understood to be so by both parties. As the pool of high achieving, low EQ females expands (often driven in my experience by a high-achieving male parent, see Stanley Anne Dunham), the supply of high EQ females contracts, leaving more high-achieving betas high and dry, as high-achieving, low EQ females try to emulate traditional males in family formation (as they do in all else) by pairing with a low-achieving, high EQ mate.

    Unfortunately, high EQ males are far less interested in family formation than high EQ females, and those that are often find themselves ultimately unsatisfying to their high-achieving wives due to their relatively low social status. Society knows (or knew, that knowledge too is atrophying) how to value the low-achieving, high EQ female for her family/community-making skills. This is not yet available for males and looks unlikely to develop. So high EQ males end up as players instead, and family formation suffers.

    The ultimate irony, and this was my experience before discovering game, is that many high-achieving, low EQ males were raised by high-achieving mothers (first wave feminists) and thus seek out high-achieving women for mating/family formation. What we find in such a quest makes a brick wall seem welcoming for reasons touched on above but far from obvious. Since I’ve learning to look toward the high EQ, low-achieving women instead, a world of possibilities has opened.

  207. To borrow a favorite phrase of one of my Senior Chiefs (often uttered while looking at us and shanking his head) “oh god…oh my god…”

    Wisdom passed down from senior NCOs is often quite valuable. To paraphrase one such gem politely there are also those targets you shouldn’t engage even using someone else’s equipment.

    ObDis: Was not ever in the military.

  208. Doh…there should be a blockquote around that first sentence above (original by WCC).

  209. You’ve overlooked the possibility — really, probability — that Mother Nature and Papa Natural Selection solved this problem long ago. The solution is called sexual dimorphism in status-consciousness. Men and women inherently tend to get different levels of reward from similar social status signals. Some signals are much more valuable to men, and some are much more valuable to women.

    For example, for much of human history the status as Preserver, including veto power over huge changes, was highly valued by women and less valued by men (who valued the status of Hero, individual vanquisher of monsters, higher). Enter sex roles: the men are the adventurers, spear-carriers, talk the loudest around the tribal fire. The men are the preservers, advisers, keep quiet around the campfire but have veto power back in the teepee. It’s a stable arrangement because each sex *feels* like it has the better end of the deal, that it is dominant in the areas where dominance really counts.

    Part of the problem of the modern era is the gradual and by now overwhelming intrusion of the interfamily and intertribal arenas into what used to be faily clearly female dominion. For example, affairs of business and salary used to be a modest part of family finances — now they are central. War and peace between nations used to be dramatic but punctuated, while day-to-day diplomacy was dominated by interfamily competition and alliance. Again, a severe contraction of areas of traditional female dominance.

    Not surprisingly, with their traditional areas of dominance evaporating, women have insisted on remaking the traditional areas of male dominance, and we have the vast gradual effeminization of politics and commerce over the past century. Who now talks of winning, combat (real or metaphorical), adventure, dominance — the usual male language — in those fields? It’s all about consensus, inclusiveness, preservation, No Child Left Behind — the usual female language. This is not to say the male influence has evaporated, far from it. But the area is now a No Man’s Zone between struggles for male and female dominance, and this permeates into our politics, into our debates about philosophies, even into our debates about the language used to describe things. And it is, as you say, highly unstable, because it does not comport with standard male-female duarchy.

    The tranditional solution is still available: we could re-embrace sex roles, and re-certify men and women as by default dominant in certain areas of our lives, rebuild the psychological walls of mirrors that allow each sex to think, privately, that it has the better end of the deal, and is dominant in the areas that *really* matter.

    But I am skeptical it can be done *consciouisly*, when we have so little positive results from any kind of conscious social engineering. What will most likely happen is that our particular culture will be replaced by some other culture which has not yet abandoned the strengthening walls of sex roles. A much more moderate Muslim culture, maybe, distasteful as that may be. We, in the liberated West, are likely living in Rome in 250 AD. Deeply proud of our culture, vaguely aware of the barbarians multiplying outside the walls, but vaguely trusting that the long march of our historical dominance and increasing cultural sophistication are somehow casually linked, so that we will, somehow, prosper.

  210. “It’s not women who are bailing out of the marriage market in droves, it’s men.”

    This seems to be contradicted by your other point: ” what happens when women get educated, achieve economic equality, etcetera? Their pool of eligible hypergamic targets shrinks”

    It is unlikely to be simultaneously true that men are deserting the marriage market in droves AND that women are unable to find sufficient men of high enough “status”. It’s more likely that the men not getting married are ones who are not of sufficiently high status for the women. In other words, I suspect that many of those single men would like to get married but have difficulty finding a woman who does not look down on them because she makes more money than they do.

  211. Pingback: A First Order Problem | Be John Galt

  212. Nigel says: “Freedom from unwanted pregnancy is greatly desired by guys but frankly any guy NOT using a condom while engaging in casual sex with many partners is a moron.”

    The problem is that sex makes us morons. We can’t approach it rationally. We’re wired not to.

  213. The Shakers believed there was nothing rational about sex. So they did away with it.

    Good thing they didn’t wait around for the pill, wherein one wife became all wives.

    And finally, Shakespeare would have told Romeo & Juliet quite differently post-1960′s: His balcony collapsing from the sheer weight of panting womanhood, and her tree from unnatural selection.

  214. >>You have it a bit backwards there. 2/3rds of the breakups its the woman leaving the man. In most (not all, obviously) of these cases it really looks like the woman is choosing to leave the man and raise the child on her own.

    Indeed. The stats I’ve read reveal 70% of divorces are filed by women. In my case my wife (we have three kids) filed for divorce. It wasn’t my idea and I was wiling to do/try all I could to make it work and to provide for my family. I’m in my mid 40′s but I’ll be damned if I get married again. Why should I? For mere companionship? A dog or cat are better at that, frankly. So I can be yoked like an ox to a millstone? Screw that… So long western civilization… it was fun while it lasted.

  215. You’re ignoring the evidence of your own eyes. We’ve chosen to abandon family formation. Out of wedlock births, single parent families, and deliberate single parenthood as a lifestyle choice are all increasing.

    This has been known for some time. Arab leaders have boasted that they will conquer the world through the wombs of their women. They are outbreeding us by a significant margin and will continue to do so. Repressed women have far more children than free women. Societies that repress women outbreed ones that don’t.

    None of this matters. There is a great race going on. On one side are the singularitans, and on the other are the mad mullahs. Sometime in the next thirty years one side will win and own the future. We’ll all become transhumans, or good muslims with submissive wives. In either case, being outbred won’t be an issue.

  216. Women cannot bid “fatherhood” because the divorce laws are tilted to favor the woman, and men know it. Men can lose their income, their home and their kids in a divorce, and they gain nothing by marriage they cannot have from co-habitation. It’s all downside risk with no payoff. And since sexual liberty isn’t going to be reversed, you have to eliminate the downside risk.

    Change the family laws so that no-fault divorce is nearly impossible, and that if it happens men keep everything – the kids, house and income. The woman won’t go anywhere under those circumstances, and the kids will be guaranteed a two-parent home.

    Meanwhile childless women should have no right to alimony or the man’s property. They’ve fought for economic equality – let them have it.

  217. As Dave said, we’re not at Malthusian equilibrium. I don’t think we’ll ever be, or ever WANT to be at any sort of social equilibrium. Considering all that that sort of stasis implies, I think it would be a good thing for libertarian-minded types to do everything in their innovative power to keep us out of those traps.

  218. While certain women do seem to have difficulty attracting a man to marry, others have no such difficulty.

    So far the upcoming generation in my family are getting married in their twenties or thirties. So far family sizes averages 2.7, which is not completed family size.
    Most of those still unmarried are currently attending school.

    Obviously there are cultural groups that are counter cultural.

    What do these young families look like? The young women are lovely, confident and capable. They can excel academically, milk cows, drive tractors, bake, garden & practically anything else they turn there hand to. The young men are also attractive, capable, well educated and are very good with children. They all enjoy family life.

    The question is, what is sex for? Its biological function is in creating a bond between prospective parents, while having the obvious reproductive function. We can over ride this biological function now. However, cultures that do so, may experience an evolutionary dead end.

  219. My point is zero-sum equilibrium and shake-out sucks for a whole lot more reasons than the kind of women produced by those circumstances. It’ll be the least of your concerns.

  220. Consider, for example, the kind of men that would be produced in a world where invention, and consequently economic and capital growth has apparently stopped, and the only way to make room for your children is to crowd out, and or kill the others.

    Or the consequences for individualists in a world where the *relative proportion* of different types of people is for whatever arbitrary reason the paramount concern (as opposed to the absolute numbers of inventors/enterpreneurs/scientists ect).

  221. Instead of submissive, why not different? That is, roles that women hold and roles that men hold?
    The west wasn’t built on submissive women (by west, I mean the farming/ranching culture that arose in the US western states). The right to vote for women occurred out west before it did in the eastern states.
    But women, overwhelmingly, did do work that men didn’t (and vice-versa). But this isn’t enough to make women submissive.

  222. Daniel Franke said: “I think it’s more than compelling enough to keep society working without having to roll back half a century of social progress.”

    Where is the evidence that what we’ve experienced (in regards to social and sexual equality) can be described as “progress”. Haven’t the observable outcomes demonstrated that it wasn’t “progress” after all?

    WATYF

  223. I love women, but they are a monumental waste of time and money. THAT’s the reason many of us guys are out of the marriage pool for good: The deck is stacked against us legally. In the quest to protect, “the weaker sex” the legal penalties for guys getting married just got completely out of hand – to the point of insanity in some jurisdictions. Then there’s our broken social model.

    In our not-to-distant agrarian past, a wife an kids were an ASSET for a man. The wife ran the house, and minded the kids. And, who was the first one to put the kids to work? THE WIFE WAS. Later on, they got big enough to help dad out, and eventually they took over for him, and then cared for him in his dotage. That was a pluperfect model of life, and it was a reality for my grandmother’s generation.

    Now, a wife and kids are a LIABILITY for a man. The wife doesn’t run the house or mind the kids: She works too, so all that work and care has to be outsourced. Outsourcing not only costs money, it weakens family ties. The kids aren’t under any perceived social obligation to help out anymore either, so their mouths just suck down money until you have to send them to college, which is just a budget buster today (And not worth it, speaking as a guy with a master’s degree).

    We broke our social model, and all the kings horses and all the kings men…

    Anyway, I have my deal and I’m happy pursuing my dreams without any company. I’ll leave it to you geniuses to figure out the fix. Since females haven’t been raised right in over a generation now, the number that are marriage material is exactly zero from my perspective.

  224. Encouraging marriage for males:
    Sexual outlet –> porn and readily available sexual partners (of either sex) makes this a very difficult proposition.
    Head of household –> female equality (comments here otherwise aside) is not something that most men value
    Fatherhood –> kids are more annoying (backtalk) and less useful (no farm) and less fun (helmets for scooters really?) than eva
    Divorce –> lose your shirt whenever she feels like it

    Encouraging marriage for females:
    Providership –> don’t have a man, get in touch with Uncle Sam
    Companionship –> why settle for one when there’s so many around. Call me a slut and you’re the bad one
    Father for the kids –> thanks Hillary for clearing that up about the village thing

    Govt policies (welfare), legal policies (divorce laws, child “protection” laws), societal norms (women > men; children > men) seem to be very difficult to rollback.

  225. May I be blunt? Most the women I know have desperately insane ideas of their current marketability and no idea what the men (their self-proclaimed object) are looking for. Neither the chick mags nor the feminists are saying anything intelligent. (That article from the woman advising her peers to settle for marriage diagnosed part of the problem, but only a part.)

  226. In terms of “(a) a religious diktat hanging in mid-air, and (b) a justified conclusion which is causally connected to other kinds of knowledge and part of a theory with testable consequences. What is most broken about religions in general isn’t their specific prescriptions but the process of belief formation behind those prescriptions.”

    If the religion happens to actually be true then there is no such problem as per part (b) – so your statement is just begging the question, atheist style…

    As for the post below…do note that neither most critics of the Bible nor most pastors, to be honest, have much understanding of the culture and context of the times when the Bible was written, so it can difficult to just literally read a passage and say you are good to go – you don’t have to be some expert, but the Biblical statements you mention below were written in the context of Ancient Middle Eastern culture and sociology, so your conclusions are not really that accurate…just to pick on random example, here is a very quick response about #3 in your Old Testament section… http://www.tektonics.org/lp/onanbash.html

    Nothing wrong with legitimate criticism – just try to first understand what you are criticizing…


    > I find it interesting than an atheist has logically concluded what was recommended in the Christian Bible nearly 2000 years ago.

    Do you really advocate a Biblical approach to sexuality and marriage? Or do you advocate the cherry picked, misinterpreted into a modern light version that the church teaches?

    For example:
    1. Do you advocate polygamy? After all, David, “a man after God’s own heart,” had hundreds of wives.
    2. Do you advocate concubines? Same goes for David.
    3. Do you advocate leverite marriage — the obligation to marry the widow of your dead brother to raise children with her? After all, God was so mad at Onan for his failure in that respect that he killed him.
    4. Do you advocate the need for a woman to show bloody sheets as evidence of her virginity on her wedding night, and if she fails to do so, do you advocate the right of the man to immediately cast her out?
    5. Do you advocate that a woman’s rapist should be obliged marry her after the act, to compensate her for the loss of her virginity?
    6. Do you believe a man has the right to kill his wife or daughter should they engage in fornication?
    7. Do you believe that homosexuality is as the sin of witchcraft, and, do you believe that justice demands that these people be stoned to death?

    Or perhaps you want to go to the New Testament?
    1. Do you think that a father should control who a woman marries, largely without the involvement or consent of the woman, as Paul advocates in 1Corintians 7?
    2. Do you accept that, outside of church leadership, polygamy is considered acceptable, as is implied in 1Timothy?
    3. Do you believe that the truly pure priests and pastors should choose not to marry or have any sexual relations, and that they are better people for making that choice, as explicitly described in 1Corinthians 7?
    4. Do you believe that a woman who has sex outside of marriage is in fact a whore, which is the plain meaning of the word “fornication” in both Greek and Hebrew?

    I suspect you don’t advocate any of these ideas. Consequently, I suggest you read your bible beyond your pastor’s talking points.

  227. Nigel Says:
    > Why does the woman’s morals have more weight than the man’s?

    Because the man can’t get an abortion.

  228. Pingback: Families, Sex Equality, the Sexual Revolution | Junior Ganymede

  229. “Takeaway point, fertility differentials are largely the result of more unplanned births among less educated women.”

    So, Cyril Kornbluth was prophetic?

  230. Shenpen Says:
    @Jessica maybe you are taking these things in a too strict and literal ways:

    Not in this context.
    Jessica was responding to someone insinuating that the answer to Eric’s intellectual exercise was in the text of the bible.
    One can’t honestly claim on the one hand that the bible (or any other religious text) can or should be used as driver for personal or societal behavior
    in cases like this and on the other, cherry pick what you like and ignore the rest.

    People cherry pick from religious text all the time to justify the most egregious acts imaginable.
    Why not, instead, look at the text literally, as a whole and determine whether it is fit for such a task or
    whether it should be deemed useless (or worse) and excluded from conversations like this one.

    Given the history of woman’s rights under societies that base their legal systems and moral codes on the texts from the big 3 monotheist religions,
    I think it’s quite fitting that a woman demand of someone making these claims, answers to those questions.

  231. Just a thought, but what if they get marriage with, I don’t know, love and companionship. It used to be assumed that women don’t want sex, this simply isn’t true. But it’s also not true that men don’t want partnership and affection.

  232. @PC Geek:

    As for the post below…do note that neither most critics of the Bible nor most pastors, to be honest, have much understanding of the culture and context of the times when the Bible was written, so it can difficult to just literally read a passage and say you are good to go – you don’t have to be some expert, but the Biblical statements you mention below were written in the context of Ancient Middle Eastern culture and sociology, so your conclusions are not really that accurate…just to pick on random example, here is a very quick response about #3 in your Old Testament section…

    Be very careful here. If you take the idea that the Bible was written in the context of Ancient Middle Eastern culture and sociology to its logical extreme, you will have no choice but to throw the entire thing out, most especially the entire New Testament. For example, if you compare the story of Jesus to other contemporary stories, you’ll quickly realize it to be the mythology that it really is. You sure you want to go there?

  233. what are we going to give up? Family formation? Sexual equality? Sexual liberty?

    Radical life extension will make family formation as obsolete as the horse and buggy.

  234. You left out one big factor in the loss of power by women and the demise of marriage. Relatively inexpensive machines powered by electricity that do house work.

  235. “This is plainly a false dichotomy. One other very obvious thing that women can offer in exchange for marriage is children.”

    At a time when the state appears willing to be the father, why would women want marriage?

  236. Because the man can’t get an abortion.

    Geez, maybe all these really jaded guys in the thread have a point.

    It doesn’t matter that we can’t get an abortion. If women want equality then equal choice for BOTH partners should be part of the package. And we’re not even talking equal choice here but simply the woman taking responsibility for her decision to keep the child rather than the more rational choice of terminating an unwanted/unsupportable pregnancy.

    MY morals would drive me to make the irrational choice but that’s a personal decision. One I shouldn’t be allowed to drag my unwilling partner kicking and screaming into when a reasonable alternative that is medically safer than carrying to term exists.

  237. BPSouther Says:
    > cherry pick what you like and ignore the rest.

    BP, I was going to respond to PC Geek, but you put it so well, I don’t think I’ll bother.

  238. # nigel Says:
    > If women want equality then equal choice for BOTH partners should be part of the package.

    I never said I wanted equality, equality is a myth. My feminist inclinations demand equality before the law, and also think that some ways society is organized tend to be favoring of men. But that is neither here nor there.

    > And we’re not even talking equal choice here but simply the woman taking responsibility for her decision

    See this is what I think is being missed here. you seem to imply by this statement that if a woman decides to keep the child that somehow the man is the sole person taking on any responsibility or burden. But that is clearly nonsense. Is the burden split exactly in half? I have no idea. I doubt it though, almost certainly the woman takes on a much larger share of the consequences of the dalliance.

    I’m not sure how you quantify the woman’s contribution monetarily (beside her actual financial contribution) but she clearly has many other obligations beyond that most simple one of dollars and cents. The plain fact is that the commitment she is making is most of her time, damage to her body, and a large reduction in her attractiveness to a mate. The idea that the guy is the sole financial contributor just doesn’t bear the cold light of the evidence of what actually happens.

    So I don’t know what you are talking about. If society actually adopted the ridiculous idea you have proposed, then all that would happen is that all those fatherless babies would become wards of the state. This I know for sure, I didn’t get your girlfriend knocked up, so I don’t know why I am paying for it.

  239. Eric,

    I have enjoyed your stuff for years (and years, and years, going back to PDP11s, and VAXen, and pre-Sparc Suns). Try this on for size. Be kind, this is cocktail napkin diagramming.

    Years ago I remember some jamoche stating to his daytime TV host: “Here’s the game in two questions: How much money can a woman’s beauty buy? How much beauty can a man’s money buy?” Whoever the host was (Douglas, Donahue, Winfrey,…) scoffed. But really, it’s true. All the feminists will SCREAM that it is not only not true but demeaning. Which really makes it even more true. And funny too.

    In one of His greatest practical jokes, God decided to give women their divine endowment up front. They can invest or spend their “beauty account” however they see fit. God’s divine endowment to men is, for lack of a better term, the ability to form capital. Men can invest or spend (or squander) their “capital formation account” however they see fit.

    Imagine the two divine endowment graphs. Let the x-axis be chronological age, and the y-axis be value. The female graph starts with a high y value and a low x value and ends with a low y value and a high x value. The male graph start with both a a low x and y value, and ends with both a high x and y value. You can visualize this by recalling the classic Economics 101 Supply and Demand curves.

    A couple of barroom observations. A woman loses value by “spending” her beauty on being a slut. A man does not lose any value by being a slut because sluttiness is immaterial to his measure of value. A man loses value by “investing” his capital unwisely. This can take a number of forms: being a drifter or ne’er-do-well, remaining uneducated, having a debilitating addiction, etc. In each case, unwise “spending” or “investing” for college age men and women is basically funny and very forgivable, but QUICKLY becomes not funny and unforgivable for each decade they persist.

    So, in the last generation or two, who has changed their spending and investment habits? Women!!! After centuries of finding and refining an investment strategy that works, along come smartasses like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan who tell women that their divine endowment will never run out and can be spent without risk or even thought for the rest of their lives. Uh, nope, it can’t.

    What is the right investment strategy for women? Spend a little, don’t splurge. In fact, think of it as investing as well. Therefore the time to invest is when your account is at its highest value. Admit that you’re looking to invest in something that will carry you to “happily ever after” long after your divine investment has run low. It might be that goofy, shy capital formation account at the end of the bar. No, not him. The guy with the FOGHAT t-shirt. With the proper contract, he can ride your investment curve on the way down, and at the saddle point you can ride his investment curve on the way up. Yeeehaah! SLOW RIDE!!!!!

    Peace,
    Nola

    Postscipt: To address Eric’s lament of the posslble demise of sexual equality, I posit that there never was sexual equality. It is in fact completely unfair. But it is in its way also unfair that a woman can (in an ideal situation) never again worry about capital formation if she has great tits and creamy thighs (properly invested of course).

  240. One other thing, I am absolutely shocked at the wave of ill informed, angry, frothing at the mouth misogyny going on here. This blog is usually full of intelligent thoughtful people. It is making me pine for the days of Shelby.

  241. >One other thing, I am absolutely shocked at the wave of ill informed, angry, frothing at the mouth misogyny going on here. This blog is usually full of intelligent thoughtful people.

    Effect of the Instalanche, I fear.

  242. @ David Baker. Yes, that’s right. The Shakers chose total abstinence, and have died out as a result. Do you think this is an advisable course of action for all of humanity to adopt?

  243. @Jessica Boxer:
    For example, if you are driving down the street and you loose control and crash into my ten year old child, and as a consequence the child suffers severe medical trauma. You are certainly on the hook to pay the kid’s medical expenses. You do not have the right to say “let the kid die or pay for it yourself.” You also do not have any real say in the medically appropriate choices the parent and the doctor make on behalf of the child.

    The reality in the US is that a person in that situation would not pay much for the long-term care of the child. First, insurance would probably cover most if not all of those costs. Any costs beyond insurance would be a matter of a civil suit. A mother in such a case would almost certainly get a generous reward from a court, but then they have to actually collect on that. Collecting on civil suits is NOT easy, unless the target is wealthy with a lot of tangible property, or doesn’t care to avoid collection. If you sued a man of average means, once the case were settled they’d simply declare bankruptcy. A person of average means would have little in the bank (or they could arrange to have little in the bank), and their main assets would be retirements savings, their home, and maybe their car. All of those assets are fairly well protected in bankruptcy, and then their debt would be completely discharged. Bankruptcy won’t affect any criminal punishment, but that doesn’t really do the child any good.

    Contrast this with child support and there is really no comparison. Child support cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, and is fairly easy to collect. In most states all it takes is an accusation that it isn’t being paid and the state will immediately garnish wages. If somebody attempts to evade this they are subject to all kinds of state-sponsored punishments.

    I’m not saying that men shouldn’t be responsible for children that they father. However, the analogy you offer really isn’t a good one. I think the biggest issue with modern marriage/divorce isn’t so much that men have to be responsible for their kids, but that courts tend to award children and support to mothers, and this largely eliminates the incentive for mothers to stick around if they can find something better.

    @esr – in terms of women not bidding enough, I agree with an earlier post that suggests that they simply aren’t allowed by our society to do so unless they forego marriage. You suggest that women will need to submit more, but how can they do this in a society that gives them the ability to unilaterally dissolve a marriage and receive long-term support after doing so? The only way I can see is for women to enter relationships and not marry, and in fact try to contractually give up some of the rights society offers them. They might not even be able to do this, since courts could choose not to honor the agreement.

    I’m not arguing that women should submit as you suggest, only that I don’t see how they can actually do so in a practical way. Once a man has children he is at a legal disadvantage, and anything the woman has “bid” up to that point is just words once this happens.

    Another note regarding a subtopic that was going around – @esr – for all your talk of cultural memes here I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss religious observations or solutions. Regardless of their grounding in fact or lack thereof religion has been a part of culture for thousands of years and is still fairly well entrenched. That means that it is successful in propagating itself. It should not then surprise us that teachings of successful religions are in fact capable of dealing with SOME of these issues. The issue will be around technological change, however, as contraception hasn’t been around for thousands of years.

    Finally, much of this argument seems to presume that humans are rational actors. Perhaps it is in the interest of men and women to do certain things to propagate their genes. However, that doesn’t mean that this is what men and women are programmed by evolution to do. If you ignore the last 100 years or so, the way you propagated genes was by having sex. People are still doing that, so the biological urges are working just fine. The problem is that what used to be a successful evolutionary strategy no longer is, and people aren’t going to be wired to adjust to that.

  244. If you start looking at all of this from a completely different side of things, you have some very scary results, possibly. The Big Scare that has been focused on here is the population collapse, where people as a whole just decide to reproduce below replacement rate and we die off as a species. That may be possible, but I doubt it. My guess is that as populations drop, people will naturally feel more inclined to have more children (don’t think religious/non-religious cleavage, think urban/rural cleavage for US politics). No real data to back it up, other than that urbanization has been shown to correlate with limiting the number of children.

    Another interesting thing to look at is the side-effects of hypergamy. A number of authors have written about the combination of polygamy and poverty in the Middle East, in effect resulting in a large number of young men who are unable to get married in part because they are unable to get a job. The women go elsewhere. As a result there are a large number of professionally and sexually frustrated men, possibly contributing to the pool of terrorist recruits, etc. It is possible that the hypergamous approach in the West could have a similar outcome. If the above is true and the 80th percentile of appearance is viewed as average then < 20% of men will have a large number of options at reproduction, a good middling number will have a single spouse, and a collection will have no options. When the no options group starts to exceed single-digit percentages you can have a big change in society. And, unlike the Middle East, much more of the West is actually educated. This leads to possibilities of large numbers of frustrated and disillusioned males who are just as frustrated, but now able to read and *understand* chemistry textbooks. This could lead long-term to greater social unrest and violence in the West as well.

    Please pick this apart – I'd prefer to be proven wrong than to find myself living in a slowly-dying society where there are daily school bombings.

  245. Well, it’s pretty straightforward if you compare the populations who still enjoy a higher stability and replacement rates with those who don’t, and ask how they differ.

    There aren’t any populations which got to an agreeable long term state-of-affairs by sacrificing family formation.

    But there ARE some who got there by sacrificing a particular liberty; namely, the liberty to avoid the burden of having children.

    And while having more children doesn’t seem to require a sacrifice of equality in the sense of a humiliating slave-like submission, it’s fair to say that the woman tends for whatever reason to do more child-caretaking in such families. That may smack of inequality…though it may also be that she’s more interested in it, or feels more competent for the task, or that her income per hour is lesser and can be sacrificed more easily than her husband’s. You never know, so it’s iffy to label that as “inequality.”

    Anyway, I think the answer exists in our society, and is being practiced already, and has something to do with how often you’re willing to have sex in a fashion that risks pregnancy. (Or, to put a more accurate spin on it: How often you’re willing to have sex which you HOPE might lead to a pregnancy.)

    A woman can be on the pill…but for around a third of all women (depending on whom you ask) it significantly reduces libido. No surprise there; most women are more “ready-to-go” when fertile than at any other time in their cycle. And it’s aggravating for a woman to have sexual relations when her libido is low, if it’s because she’s pressured into it for some other reason. It’s not the best way to make her feel full of romantic affection, so to speak.

    Likewise, a man can use a condom…but that typically makes sex less pleasant for men both in the actual sensations and because the psychological reward triggered by contact with the woman isn’t present, leading to a reduced sense of well-being after orgasm. And because she isn’t exposed to the chemical cocktail of semen, the woman doesn’t get as big a hit of well-being and bonding neurotransmitters either. So the whole thing is less prone to producing those effects in the brain which lead to what we call “bonding.”

    Add that to the obvious “economic effects” discussed above, wherein premarital promiscuity and marital infidelity are not so risky, and everyone (1.) has an incentive to go around shagging whomever however, and yet (2.) is not actually getting “bonded” into a real, exclusive, permanent relationship by all that sex.

    One of the reasons that religious folk of certain kinds have more sex and more satisfying sex is that they’re typically already married and are okay, for cultural reasons, with having more children than the average person of a secular mindset.

    That means they get to have sex the old-fashioned way, biochemically speaking. They get the full bonding experience: Sex with the woman when she’s fertile and really hot-to-trot, and without the libido suppression of the pill, and with the full two-way chemical cocktail exchange and its associated bonding effects.

    This accounts for at least part of the discrepancy in divorce rates between the quite-religious-and-fertile folk, and the irreligious (with the mildly religious 0-to-1-child-families falling inbetween).

    Some may cite the statistic that the religious divorce as often as the general population, but this is a misleading statistic: The religious get married far more often than the irreligious, who typically live together in lieu of formal marriage. You can’t have a divorce (to be counted) if you don’t actually marry. But comparing the stats of “living together or married” breakups collectively among the irreligious, to the “living together or married” breakups among the religious, we find the latter much lower, and…wait for it…the more children, the lower the divorce rate. All those Catholic couples with children coming out of the kitchen cabinets in the Monty Python sketch? They don’t divorce. (Not just Catholics; Evangelical Protestant Christians show the trend too, and Orthodox Jews.)

    So I suspect the solution is not for women to “bid” their way into being submissive little mice. (That MAY work…but who in the world would WANT it to? How drab!)

    It may be, instead, that the couple has to have five or six children by trying — in a casual way — to have five or six children, because they are perfectly willing to have five or six children, because they think of children as an unqualified good, and even feel that children are an unqualified good.

    To put it more briefly: The solution is to not have a DINK worldview, but to have a worldview that somehow glories more in toys on the floor than vacations in Tahiti.

    I know. The toy-covered floor and babysitting costs and cleaning up vomit at 2 AM doesn’t sound all that appealing to me. But something about their worldview makes it worth it to THEM…and the result is couple bonding and family cohesion.

  246. Morgan Greywolf,

    Look up ‘the Monomyth’ and C.S. Lewis. There is a reason humans desire certain things over and over and over again in different millenia and cultures of vastly different sorts. Or as Blaise Pascal put it ‘there is a hole in the heart the shape of God’.

    As to your idea that we would have to cast out all the Bible if we really took things in context…..I’m going to go with Louis L’Amour who said that his characters would have been just fine on the boat with Odysseus. From Adam, the Father of Man to Morgan Greywolf, we’re all pretty much alike. Or as Rudyard Kipling put it…

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    There are specific contexts to Biblical demands, and from those you can reason out general principles, and stating that the particulars of history makes the Bible or the US Constitution useless is not a bridge I want to buy.

    Nice try, tho’.

    One solution to making marriage more palatable to males has not be explicitly suggested, although the it has been hinted at. Dowry.

  247. It seems to me that what women should be bidding is their willingness to get pregnant, bear children and raise them. Prior to birth control, bidding sex was a proxy for bidding childbearing, because one naturally led to the other. The effect was that he societal norm of holding out sex in exchange for marriage gave women a powerful edge in mate selection.

    Now that women have the ability to choose whether sex leads to childbearing, birth control turns out to be a double edged sword. It empowers women to have casual sex, but it also makes sex into cheap coin that they now need to use to get the attention of potential mates.

    But it seems to me that the willingness to actually bear and raise children is still precious coin to women, and that’s what they need to sell explicitly to men. You have sex to satisfy your urges, but you get married because you are ready to have children. Perhaps we haven’t recognized a shift to this new societal norm.

  248. Mr. Raymond is quite wrong. It IS game over. We ARE being outbred by other cultures — in the US by Mexicans who have kids in the late teens, and have a tiny fraction of the median household net worth vs. Whites. In Europe, Muslims are simply conquering. You can’t have France if half the population is Muslim and simply takes what it wants because it has all the young men. All the robots and automation won’t hold France for you if its filled with Muslim young men.

    Here in the real world, we already know what is happening. Nuclear family formation is OVER. For Blacks, that collapsed in the 1970′s, with illegitimacy at 24% in the early 1960′s moving to over 70% nationwide and 90% in the urban core. For Blacks, family quite literally means a single mother with two or more kids by different fathers (over half of all Black births to women with an existing child are by another father).

    Charles Murray at AEI (it is there on their site and also I think on YouTube) gave a speech on White America. His point, was that the upper 20% in income are still marrying and having kids, illegitimacy at 4-5%. For the middle class, it is 20% and rising. For the White working class (lower 20% in income) it is 40% and rising.

    Among Hispanics the illegitimacy rate rose from 17% in 1980 to over 50% today.

    I repeat THE NUCLEAR FAMILY IS OVER. And this choice is made by women, of their own free will.

    THEY WOULD NOT HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. Period.

    Women would rather have sex with Alphas, the strong, dominant, A-hole types (thug model among Blacks and Hispanics, Hipster-jerk among White middle class), than marry some “icky” beta male who being EQUAL IS REPELLENT. Women would rather have sex and kids with Alphas who do not commit than a family with a Beta Male. Who provides money but is just too icky sexually. We already know this is happening, Blacks collapsed first, then Mexicans (that’s really who we are talking about in the US), and now all but Upper Class Whites.

    I’d say this for two reasons. First, Upper Class White men are hypergamously attractive. They are the masters of if not the universe a goodly part of it, and therefore sexy. Perhaps not Mr. Big of Sex and the City, but a reasonable facsimile. Secondly, marriage allows pooling of two great incomes to be greater. A mini-dynasty. Complete with Hampton’s beach house.

    For those outside the upper income, thugging it up is a reliable way to be sexy to women. Much of the violence in Black/Hispanic communities is precisely for that purpose — for men to be sexy and thus hypergamously attractive. Nothing says superior like killing someone else.

    What this means is a fairly rapid technological collapse (because you get merely thug guys reproducing, and that is the only way to get sex and kids — thug it up — for middle/lower class Whites) and takeover by Mexicans in the US and Muslims in pretty much all of Europe. Western, White civilization simply dies. Very rapidly. Being as it is quite dependent on technology, and thus lots of highly trained, nerdy guys to run and create new technology. Our technological stasis is probably a function of lots of women, eschewing engineering type men for hunky bad boys and popping out lots of illegitimate kids.

    This is irreversible, women will never give up their bad boys nor the ability to have sex with them whenever and wherever they want. Which inevitably leads to single mother poverty and disaster. America’s future lies probably somewhere between the Congo and Michoacan, while Europe’s is probably Cairo with Snow. In both cases, the European peoples and civilization will vanish, utterly and completely. America will be nearly completely dominated by people speaking Spanish, who consider themselves Mexican, and are Mestizo (but mostly Indio). Europe, by folks from North Africa who will speak various dialects of Arabic and worship Allah. Gone, and gone forever, will be Shakespeare, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Mark Twain, Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle, and every other aspect of that culture. Because Mexicans don’t give two damns about it and Muslims even less.

    Thought experiment: What if America was entirely comprised of Compton (now majority Mexican) and South Side Chicago? That’s our future.

  249. @Jessica
    >> Bring back bastardy

    >Seriously? Please explain what is wrong with expecting a man to pay for the consequences of his choices, just as a woman has to? If a guy borrows a >woman’s car consensually, and wrecks it, is it reasonable for her to expect him to pay for the repairs?

    >I’d refer you to my earlier comment, where I cited an article showing that divorce tends to have better outcomes on average for men than women. By no >means is the divorce system perfect, but I detect a disturbing amount of misogyny here.

    While your points have been more-or-less covered by previous comments, I will just say that while bastardy may have drawbacks, I do believe that it would discourage out-of-wedlock births and encourage family formation. Of course if that would be worth the drawbacks is a matter of opinion and in my view beyond the scope of the thread.

    @Cathy Says:
    @September 28th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    >“Due to no-fault divorce (that came in in the seventies) marriage as practiced in the sixties and before no longer exists in the USA, thus women cannot >offer that marriage at any price. This may be the main reason for the lack of family formation rather than those that Eric listed. If so, the cure is simple >(but not politically easy), just bring back marriage that cannot be dissolved on a no-fault basis by just one of the partners.”
    >
    >I used to think this, until I read somewhere that during the 1950?s (when no-fault divorce did not exist) there were a significant number of divorce >cases that stipulated exactly the minimum abuse for a “fault divorce” — something along the lines of “struck twice with the flat of the hand under >such and such conditions” or something crazy like that. It was very obvious from the uniformity of the claims (unfortunately, I can’t remember where I >read this) that the two parties were really agreeing to a consensual divorce, and simply masking it by pretending fault.

    >That made me realize that it’s not enough to have legal restrictions on divorce if they are not accompanied by significant social disapproval. To >significantly lower divorce rates, I think we’d have to return to a social world where divorcees are shunned, whispered about, scorned, etc. This is much >more difficult to bring about, would be even less popular than eliminating no-fault divorce, and would likely have negative side effects.

    >The 1950?s have been held up as the golden age of marriage, but not many people realize that divorce rates were actually higher all through the >1950?s than was the case in the 1920?s.

    I am not surprised that the divorce rate in the 1950′s was up. That decade after all was just after WWII, think PTSD. I would point out however that your point was that the two parties were agreeing to a divorce, rather than the current situation where one party wants a divorce (with no penalty for breaking the marital contract) and the other does not and the divorce happens anyway..

    I don’t think that no-fault divorce by mutual agreement is a big problem for family formation. I do think that unilateral no-fault divorce is.

  250. @Catherine Raymond said: The Shakers chose total abstinence, and have died out as a result. Do you think this is an advisable course of action for all of humanity to adopt?

    Forgive me, I was being cute (I’m part of that unruly mob who barged in on the Instapundit panty raid). But no, I don’t solicit to the Shakers’ asexual absolutism – they were as crazy as church mice.

    Shakers aside, the subject and discussion are intriguing, although difficult to classify as intellectual given the nature of carnal affairs. But I’m not an intellectual and it’s difficult imagining myself as one – particularly when in the throws of passion (sex). However, I’ve thought a great deal about “the pill” over the years and have come to a radical conclusion; it was a curse, wrapped in an alluring pink ribbon. Just the kind of thing a man would come up with, which then backfired when loosed upon the population – and turned women into public property.

    But I’m not without solutions, the foremost being restricting prescriptions for the pill to MEN ONLY. (I’m still working out the details;)

  251. @Catherine Raymond
    “It’s not clear to me why it should be relevant that the teen birthrate is up even though birth rates in general are flat. I assume you believe that fact is indicative of the decrease in the “price” of sex, and it may be, though I suspect that other factors (ignorance of/lack of access to contraceptive technique, tolerance of unwed pregnancy) are as or perhaps more significant.”

    The teen birthrate isn’t up, its down, way down. However, the unwed mother rate is up as is the divorce rate.
    I don’t think its necessarily indicative of the price of /sex/ changing; there are other indicators for that. I think its indicative that the price of marriage is changing.

  252. @Cathy:

    One wonders if sexual selection pressure could, over long time-scales, reduce human female intelligence without reducing male intelligence, a la Niven’s Kzinti.

    Not likely. It takes about 50 times as long for selection to work on male/female differences as it does on ordinary non-sex-linked genetic differences. (In humans; I have no idea about other animals.) Under heavy selection, we probably see non-trivial evolutionary changes in about 1,000 years, and definitely within 10,000. But 50x that is a lot longer. That’s why, for instance, pygmies are a lot shorter, but the pygmy male/female height ratio is about the same as in other human lineages.

    I probably read that in Cochran and Harpending’s excellent The 10,000 Year Explosion, but I don’t remember for sure.

    Btw, remember the Kzinti genetically engineered their females to be that way, using half-understood Jotok technology. One of Donald Kingsbury’s kzinti stories presented that in a rather horrifying way.

  253. Great comments, one and all…. it has been edifying in the extreme…many thanks. The invention of birth control and the sexual revolution prove yet again the veracity of the law of unintended consequences, or stated differently, the sword of technology cuts both ways. For every problem a new technology solves, it creates another one, perhaps several more. Perhaps it has been stated elsewhere, but it bears repeating that birth control isn’t the only force that turned traditional relations between men and women upside-down and profoundly changed family life thereby. Scientists, engineers and inventors are partly to blame. Labor-saving devices made farming a less-labor intensive undertaking (though try suggesting that to my father-in-law, who farms!), hence reducing the necessity for large numbers of children and/or farm and ranch hands. As labor shifted from the farm and into the cities and factories, technology again made human manual labor less necessary. A man was no longer required to stack boxes or unload trucks, a woman could do the same job with a forklift. Cars and aircraft of old had manual, unpowered steering and controls, necessitating strength; now, power-assisted controls mean that strength – male strength – is at much less of a premium.
    Ours is a built, technologically-advanced society – largely conceaved, designed and built by men. However, now that work is done, and women find that men aren’t as necessary as they once used to be. Perhaps, men should wish for our infrastructure to collapse and wear out, for then we’ll be genuinely needed again to rebuild it. I am joking, but only just. The larger point is that feminism as a force could not have arisen in a technologically-backward society; it required a civilization advanced in these things as a prerequisite.

  254. “So the most rational mating and reproductive strategy for a woman is to grab the best man she can find in her twenties, or at the latest her early thirties, and hang onto him.”

    One word in that sentence stands out as being the biggest challenge for women.

  255. @whiskey: Quite a long rant, but notable in its extremeness.

    I understand your concerns, but the Western civ. is actually 1 billion people+, and such a mass cannot “utterly and completely vanish”, if only for population inertia. Meanwhile, the fertility rate in Muslim countries continues to drop like a stone. Iran and Turkey are already under standard replacement levels, especially in the urban areas, while Egypt, though having about 2,8 children per woman, has also atrocious healthcare and is actually around its own replacement level.

    A scenario of continent-wide Lebanonization and Balkanization, with a patchwork of Islamic and native communities, is much more probable for Europe, and is already under development. The major Euro cities are quite visibly fragmented into neighborhoods by ethnicity.

  256. BTW The alpha/beta theory, a pet product of Roissy, seems rather overhyped to me. It obviously works on baboons, but human society is much more complicated than that. Women’s tastes vary significantly.

    Another thing is that a lot of young males miss a masculine figure in their development, the fathers being absent. This produces enormous amounts of the stereotypical “Nice Guys”, who just do not know how to be men.

  257. >Egypt, though having about 2,8 children per woman, has also atrocious healthcare and is actually around its own replacement level

    Egypt has even larger and nearer-term problems. It’s nowhere near self-sufficient in food, and as foreign-currency earnings from the tourist trade and other exports have tanked its reserves have already passed danger level and are still falling. They’re looking straight down the barrel of mass starvation in the near future, with consequent civil disorder and political ugliness. And there’s no obvious solution other than Malthusian megadeaths; effectively the entirety of the Nile bottomland is already cultivated.

  258. esr: Indeed. The population of Nile valley has pretty clearly exceeded the carrying capacity.

    Similar problems, though not as pronounced, seem to be in progress in Iraq. The water levels in Euphrates and Tigris are seriously threatened by dam engineering in Turkey and Iran, and contemporary Iraq is not strong (militarily) enough to deter these two neighbors from messing with their vital water supplies.

  259. I’m glad Eric has come around on this. Old school social conservatism may be aesthetically unappealing, but it works.

    Aristotle weighed in on the proper role of women in society two and a half millenia ago. His position has stood the test of time.

  260. Federal support/subsidies have radically altered how lower income women approach sex. Today we “pay” more, (more support), the more children a woman has. A satire of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzspsovNvII
    As with any good satire, there is a lot of truth in this video.

    Rolfe

  261. “If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t. So that’s off the table.”

    Wow. Eric, do you get out much? Do you Ave a deep distaste for demographic data? Do you believe only the idyllic rhetoric of the left and mentally block thoughts about consequences?

    Far from off the table, this is history. Even policy.

  262. Tennwriter Says:

    There are specific contexts to Biblical demands, and from those you can reason out general principles, and stating that the particulars of history makes the Bible or the US Constitution useless is not a bridge I want to buy.

    Nice try, tho’.

    I’m not sure why you felt the need to bundle the US Constitution in with the Bible to make your point but there is an important distinction between the two that is relevant to this discussion. The authors of the constitution knew that it was not going to be sufficient to cover all future cases and made sure to make it malleable. The Bible, (like with most all other religious text), on the other hand, is supposed to be the final word from an all powerful and all knowing God. There is no article V in the Bible.

    What Morgan was saying, if I read his post correctly, is that you can’t have it both ways. It’s not intellectually honest to dismiss the passages in the Bible that would never sell in this day and age as products of the times in which they were written and at the same time claim that our legal system, schools, laboratories, and moral codes should be governed by the them.

    It’s exhausting to hear, over and over again, that legislation on issues like abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, and the theory of evolution should we written according to what is written in these books and then hear the same people tell us that slavery, polygamy, infanticide, and bans on eating animals with split hooves were products of the times and “obviously” shouldn’t apply in this day and age.

    If truth has to be, as you say “reasoned” out of that book, then how is it any more useful than any other piece of literature or mythology that allow us to explore human through the eyes of history?

  263. Correction:

    If truth has to be, as you say “reasoned” out of that book, then how is it any more useful than any other piece of literature or mythology that allow us to explore human NATURE through the eyes of history?

  264. One word in that sentence stands out as being the biggest challenge for women.

    Rational?

  265. Guys – Do your homework and find a nice hot old fashioned girl who has a life goal of being wife and mom. They are plentiful in Red States. Then have at least 4 kids. Be a good Dad and Hubby and hope the Singularitans win the great struggle for the future.

    *If you don’t want kids, there is no reason to marry. Period.

    Gals – Make a decision to have a career OR a family. Despite persistent claims to the contrary you cannot have both. If you pick family, find a guy who shares your vision, do your homework, then settle down and have at least 4 kids. Be a good Mom and Wifey and hope the Singularitans win.

    *If you don’t want kids, there is no reason to get married. Period.

    This entire thread is otherwise a waste of my bioenergetic investment in reading it, but it has been marvelously entertaining, especially the posts about fighting styles. To wit – WCC and Ms. boxer clearly have some intellectual sparks flying, but in the real world it would never work out. Internet discussion threads are the ivory towers of overly serious intellectual posturing but in real world practice guys like T&A and girls like power in a socioculturally appropriate form. There are only enough exceptions to prove the rule. Everyone just needs to choose sport fucking or raising a family and get on with it. Both choices have joy and pain associated.

    That said, I am profoundly happy to be alive at this point in human history, and especially here in the U.S. because we enjoy the luxury of being able to discuss all these ideas with a few dozen very bright people. At least for a while yet. Happy trails to all!

  266. I never said I wanted equality, equality is a myth. My feminist inclinations demand equality before the law, and also think that some ways society is organized tend to be favoring of men. But that is neither here nor there.

    So, essentially unfairness is okay as long as it’s perpetrated against guys?

    > And we’re not even talking equal choice here but simply the woman taking responsibility for her decision

    See this is what I think is being missed here. you seem to imply by this statement that if a woman decides to keep the child that somehow the man is the sole person taking on any responsibility or burden. But that is clearly nonsense. Is the burden split exactly in half? I have no idea. I doubt it though, almost certainly the woman takes on a much larger share of the consequences of the dalliance.

    No guy with kids believes that the workload is even. We know it isn’t. But so what? It was a decision the woman made to accept the burden of child rearing as opposed to a outpatient procedure and going on with her life.

    I would say that if the decision is entirely hers then the burden should also be entirely hers unless the male volunteers to take some of the workload. No say=no responsibility.

    Here’s my analogy: A guy and a girl get together. They decide to live together but the decision as to where is entirely up to the girl. The guy wants to rent an nice little apartment for $1500. This is a reasonable choice given their finances and stage in life. Instead the girl insists on buying a $220,000 house in her name with an 18+ year mortgage. They break up after a month.

    Which is more reasonable? The guy should be responsible for $1500…the cost of an entire month rent. Or the guy, who against his wishes, needs to shell out $110,000+ over 18 years for a house he has no legal right to inhabit and doesn’t own? But hey, he gets to visit the house once or twice a month.

  267. Another thing is that a lot of young males miss a masculine figure in their development, the fathers being absent.

    I agree with this.

    This produces enormous amounts of the stereotypical “Nice Guys”, who just do not know how to be men.

    How did you get from there to here?

  268. Egypt has even larger and nearer-term problems. It’s nowhere near self-sufficient in food, and as foreign-currency earnings from the tourist trade and other exports have tanked its reserves have already passed danger level and are still falling. They’re looking straight down the barrel of mass starvation in the near future, with consequent civil disorder and political ugliness. And there’s no obvious solution other than Malthusian megadeaths; effectively the entirety of the Nile bottomland is already cultivated.

    They are increasing their production of wheat and corn. They can avoid Malthusian megadeaths by reducing corruption and a more rational division of wealth, continuing to reclaim desert and insisting on borrowing from Germany at good rates…if for nothing else to help pay for the removal of millions of WWII german land mines that keep desert reclamation in some areas too costly to do.

    The odds that we’re going to let Egypt devolve into mass starvation and civil disorder are remote. We give them $1B a year in military assistance. Sending $1B worth of wheat and corn would be cheap to maintain a mostly friendly Arab partner that is willing to work with us in the region.

  269. Nigel: the connection seems pretty clear to me, given the practical results I see around.

    In the middle- and upper-class people around me, the correlation between stereotypical “Nice Guys” and “Guys Who Lacked A Masculine Figure In Their Development” seems to be strong enough to suspect a causation link. Yeah, I know that plural of “anecdote” is not “data”.

    But I do not have any profound theory for psychological-level explanation of the phenomenon. It seems to have some interesting exceptions, such as: guys with 2 or more older sisters.

  270. BTW, in the Arab world, megadeaths seem to be more realistic than reducing corruption. Since about antiquity.

    I am not even sure whether *any* culture can successfully reduce corruption, say, threefold, within less than about 100 years. I am not aware of any real historical example.

  271. “I don’t have a submissive wife and never wanted one. I like strong and independent women.”

    (I’ve changed wife to spouse, because many women share your above statement, and also, I think gay folks would have the same thinking. But… it all seems to me that we know what we don’t want and don’t know what we want here… so I have a a few questions…)

    When you say: I don’t want a submissive spouse — what do you mean? You don’t want your spouse to be a kinky freak dressed in chains and leather? Or, you hate the idea of your spouse going along with what you want in general? (hey, maybe you’re just reasonable and have great ideas!) Would the occasional argument about something tedious, like say, a full bin (etc) help? ;-)

    And what is ‘strong’ — a spouse who can carry your suitcase? Wrestle you into submission (mentally or physically)? A powerful heroic person who will ‘rescue’ you from yourself and nag you to sainthood? Or a spouse who doesn’t need looking after and manages fine without you, just drop them a line once in a while?

    About the independence request– marriage by definition is an agreement to depend on each other and the core idea of why you enter this kind of partnership for life. So I’m puzzled why you’d want to be married but stay independent — what do you actually mean when you say: ‘independent’?

  272. Nigel: You’re assuming Egypt will *stay* friendly after the current upheaval settles down. With the Muslim Brotherhood gaining more power by the day, that’s a dangerous assumption to make.

  273. Egyptian population is probably not particularly friendly to the USA anyway. The USA is being seen as a crucial ally of Israel, and Israel is synonymous with The Enemy in the Arab street.

    The top dogs were another story. In this regard, the current political development in Egypt is a long-expected self-correction.

  274. # nigel Says:
    >So, essentially unfairness is okay as long as it’s perpetrated against guys?

    So you don’t see a difference between unfairness and inequality then?

    > It was a decision the woman made to accept the burden of child rearing as opposed to a outpatient procedure and going on with her life.

    I understand that you think of abortion as “an outpatient procedure”, but that is because you are not the guy with the vacuum tube in his vagina. If you think abortion is a simple, trivial decision, as you intimate here, you quite simply don’t know what you are talking about.

    If you think, after an accident, you have complete control over the remediation costs of that accident because you are paying, you also don’t know what you are talking about.

    I notice that in your putative fisk, you omitted any comment on the fact that I, along with all taxpayers, are paying for the babies Mr. Deadbeat Dad made. But I will presume that is because you don’t have an answer.

    > A guy and a girl get together…. Instead the girl insists on buying a $220,000 house

    This analogy is utterly flawed. A house is a benefit not a burden.

  275. @Jessica Boxer:

    “I understand that you think of abortion as “an outpatient procedure”, but that is because you are not the guy with the vacuum tube in his vagina. If you think abortion is a simple, trivial decision, as you intimate here, you quite simply don’t know what you are talking about.”

    But it actually, literally is an outpatient procedure. The patient doesn’t stay in a hospital for the surgery. It is done in a clinic and the patient typically leaves the same day.
    For the record I regard abortion as killing a human being, but my sense of anal-retentiveness couldn’t pass that up.

    > A guy and a girl get together…. Instead the girl insists on buying a $220,000 house

    “This analogy is utterly flawed. A house is a benefit not a burden.”

    I disagree here. A house ties you to a location and makes it much more difficult to pursue job opportunities that require relocation. Its also a massive expense. It has benefits don’t get me wrong, but the costs are truly massive.

  276. [Be very careful here. If you take the idea that the Bible was written in the context of Ancient Middle Eastern culture and sociology to its logical extreme, you will have no choice but to throw the entire thing out, most especially the entire New Testament. For example, if you compare the story of Jesus to other contemporary stories, you’ll quickly realize it to be the mythology that it really is. You sure you want to go there?]

    You really shouldn’t get your “comparative religion” education from internet “documentaries”. All that nonsense about it being a copy of Mithras and Horus is just that… nonsense.

    WATYF

  277. # Doc Merlin Says:
    > But it actually, literally is an outpatient procedure.

    Yes, I didn’t express myself well, clearly what I objected to was Nigel’s gross trivialization of the costs and consequences of abortion. For some people it is as impactful as a colonoscopy, for others it is a suicide inducing trauma.

    > I disagree here.

    The woman, allegedly gets a free house. That isn’t a benefit?

  278. “If we give up family formation it’s game over; we’ll be outbred by cultures that don’t. ”

    There’s a third alternative, which is parasitism. The key is your use of the word culture If current breeding patterns are more a consequence of memes than genes, then one possibility is that wealthier but less fecund cultures will co-opt the cultural education of the offspring of more fecund cultures. When I look at the cultural aspects of education and the mass media in the United States, I see indications this is already being attempted, and not necessarily unconsciously.

    “That is true, but I don’t know of any society in human history that was both polygamous and treated women with what you or I would consider basic decency. ”

    Keeping in mind that there may be some differences on what constitutes basic decency: I largely agree, but an interesting possible exception is Mormon polygamy in the 19th century, which bore little resemblance either to earlier Western polygamy, contemporary non-Western polygamy, or even the “Mormon fundamentalist” polygamy seen today. One interesting data points is that it was far easier for a polygamous wife in territorial Utah to secure a divorce than for a polygamous husband. The thinking seems to have been that a husband should not be allowed to easily escape the obligation to support a wife, but a wife who felt abused or mistreated in any way should have considerable bargaining power over her husband. Whether it actually worked out that way is an interesting question, but given the demographics of a polygamous society (in which wives were in greater demand) it’s not impossible that it actually worked that way.

    Another interesting data point is that it was not unheard of for one or more of the polygamous wives in a family to seek higher education or enter a serious business venture. I know of at least one case of a polygamous wife traveling back East to secure a medical degree, for the expressed purpose of improving midwife skills within her community. In other words, there was some specialization of roles within a polygamous family that offered more opportunity to develop individual aspirations than one might expect.

    I myself would prefer not to have such a marriage arrangment, and there is much to indicate that most of the Mormon participants, female and male, found polygamy disagreeable but participated out of strong religious motivations. However, the caricature of 19th-century Mormon polygamy as sexual slavery is more than a little off.

  279. [> I find it interesting than an atheist has logically concluded what was recommended in the Christian Bible nearly 2000 years ago.

    Do you really advocate a Biblical approach to sexuality and marriage?]

    You should. What exactly is being concluded in the original article? That we can’t have social equality and still maintain a society? That’s in line with the Bible. That we can’t have sexual equality and still maintain a society? That’s in line with the Bible. That family formation is critical to society? That’s in line with the Bible.

    [Or do you advocate the cherry picked, misinterpreted into a modern light version that the church teaches?]

    I think you’ll find that your version is a little more “cherry picked”…

    [Do you advocate polygamy? After all, David, “a man after God’s own heart,” had hundreds of wives.]

    Yes, David was described as a “man after God’s own heart”. He also committed murder and adultery. According to your logic, God is thereby advocating murder and adultery.

    [Do you advocate concubines? Same goes for David.]

    See above.

    [Do you advocate leverite marriage — the obligation to marry the widow of your dead brother to raise children with her? After all, God was so mad at Onan for his failure in that respect that he killed him.]

    Only if you think that Christians are bound to adhere to Jewish Law (they are not). Of course, this practice wouldn’t be a bad thing in areas where it was merited. The fact that the practice is unfamiliar to you does not make it “wrong”.

    [Do you advocate the need for a woman to show bloody sheets as evidence of her virginity on her wedding night, and if she fails to do so, do you advocate the right of the man to immediately cast her out?]

    See above (re: Jewish law). Although, despite the fact that this isn’t “required” in Christian doctrine, the *idea* behind it is exactly what’s being supported by this article: the need for sexual “value”. Something that men can’t just get on any street corner and which society in general holds in high regard. You’re so busy focusing on how “unusual” the practice is (to you personally) that you’re ignoring the spirit behind it.

    [Do you advocate that a woman’s rapist should be obliged marry her after the act, to compensate her for the loss of her virginity?]

    Cite? I think you’re confusing scriptures about consensual sex (Exodus 22:16) with scriptures about rape (Duet 22:25). A rapist is put to death (under Jewish Law), not given the girl as a prize.

    [Do you believe a man has the right to kill his wife or daughter should they engage in fornication?]

    Again, see above. All of the “death sentences” of Jewish law do not apply to Christians.

    [Do you believe that homosexuality is as the sin of witchcraft, and, do you believe that justice demands that these people be stoned to death?]

    See above. Do you not understand that there is a difference between the Christian belief and the Jewish belief?

    [Or perhaps you want to go to the New Testament?]

    That would be a good idea if you’re talking about Christianity. :o)

    [Do you think that a father should control who a woman marries, largely without the involvement or consent of the woman, as Paul advocates in 1Corintians 7?]

    Again, the practice being unusual to you does not make it wrong, nor do the statements made by Paul in 1 Cor 7 make it a “command” for all Christians. In fact, if you read the whole chapter, Paul spends a lot of time pointing out that he is speaking for himself (and not for God) on several of these matters. He is basically saying, “I think this is best, but do what you think is right… it’s not sin either way”. Much of his view on these matters (especially the part about remaining unmarried) was based entirely on his belief that Christ was coming back, literally, “any minute now”. He was, obviously, wrong about that, and this should be taken into account when evaluating statements he made to a 1st century Christian church about his views on marriage. Taking this to it’s logical conclusion, if all churches took 1 Cor 7 as a command from God, Christianity would have died off almost instantly, due to a near complete lack of human propagation (unmarried people typically didn’t have children back then).

    Of course, the widespread practice of “marrying for love” (as opposed to arranged marriages, which you are questioning here) has only been around since about the 19th century (and even later in non-Western countries). You’ll note that since the advent of this practice, marriage has failed a lot more and the birthrate has declined below the replacement level in many Western countries. It’s almost as if the old way was better at maintaining a society. :Op

    That is not even to say that arranged marriage was “required” or even “commanded” back then. There are several examples of Biblical couples who simply met and later married.

    [Do you accept that, outside of church leadership, polygamy is considered acceptable, as is implied in 1Timothy?]

    This is simply poor logic (as with your “David” example). If you think 1 Timothy 3 is “implying” that polygamy is OK for anyone outside of church leadership, then you also have to conclude that 1 Timothy 3 is “implying” that anyone who isn’t a church leader is free to be “intemperate, imprudent, not respectable, inhospitable, addicted to wine, and pugnacious” and that it’s fine if they aren’t “free from the love of money” and it’s totally OK if they don’t “manage their own household well, keeping their children under control with all dignity”.

    Just because Paul is laying down what a church leader should embody, that doesn’t mean he’s saying anyone who isn’t a church leader doesn’t have to embody any of those same things.

    [Do you believe that the truly pure priests and pastors should choose not to marry or have any sexual relations, and that they are better people for making that choice, as explicitly described in 1Corinthians 7?]

    See above. Your understanding of Paul is severely lacking.

    [Do you believe that a woman who has sex outside of marriage is in fact a whore, which is the plain meaning of the word “fornication” in both Greek and Hebrew?]

    Yes. So is a man, since that same word is used for both sexes.

    [I suspect you don’t advocate any of these ideas.]

    You suspect wrong. Anyone who objectively looks at human history and sees the trends of mankind (especially the current ones) would have to agree with many of the structures of human relations that are set out in the Bible and see the wisdom in them. Male authority, sexual inequality, high value on female chastity, marital purity, abstinence until marriage (etc, etc) are all being validated (yet again) despite a widespread attempt to make them seem “silly” and “archaic”, if not outright “evil”. But it is the societies that cling closest to these ideals that will survive. Post-modernism and secular hedonism are evolutionary dead-ends, and that is becoming more and more apparent with each passing decade.

    Of course, that’s not to say that your characterizations of the Bible’s ideas on human relations have been accurate. :o)

    [Consequently, I suggest you read your bible beyond your pastor’s talking points.]

    I suggest you read the Bible past your internet-acquired talking points.

    Now… to be fair, I will point out that I agree with you to an extent about what modern churches teach. They have, in many cases, openly (or implicitly) embraced egalitarianism and other such failed concepts. There is no shortage of churches that are being pulled in the direction of feminism or gender equality. But much like Western society, those will go the way of the dodo as it becomes more obvious that those ideas are complete crap. :^D

    WATYF

  280. @PC Geek:

    “1. Do you advocate polygamy? After all, David, “a man after God’s own heart,” had hundreds of wives.”

    NO NO NO, he had 8. Your point is still made however.
    from wikipedia:
    Michal, the second daughter of King Saul;
    Ahinoam the Jezreelite
    Abigail the Carmelite, previously wife of Nabal
    Maachah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur
    Haggith
    Abital
    Eglah
    Bathsheba, previously the wife of Uriah the Hittite.

  281. [NO NO NO, he had 8. Your point is still made however.]

    His point still fails logically (I didn’t bother mentioning his empirical failure, because, as you point out, it isn’t really relevant)

    WATYF

  282. # WATYF Says:
    >David … According to your logic, God is thereby advocating murder and adultery.

    No, actually, God punished him for his adultery and murder by killing his baby, remember?
    No such punishment for lots of wives and a whole bunch of sex slaves.

    > Only if you think that Christians are bound to adhere to Jewish Law (they are not).

    Yes, I remember that whole scaffold of deception. You are at least grandfathered into the basic morality.

    > the *idea* behind it is exactly what’s being supported by this article: the need for sexual “value”.

    Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don’t think Eric was advocating that a woman have to demonstrate her virginity on the night of her nuptials with blood sheets. The suggestion, and your feeling it is in some measure laudable kind of speaks for itself.

    >… Again, see above. All of the “death sentences” of Jewish law do not apply to Christians.

    Right, but you agree with their basic moral soundness though, right? Or did God change his mind about right and wrong and the seriousness of the punishments appropriate? So you agree that all the homosexuals and lesbians, the adulterers and fornicators, and witches are worthy of death? Right?

    So, to keep this short lets praise Jesus, and go to the Kaine Diatheke shall we?

    > Again, the practice being unusual to you does not make it wrong,

    It doesn’t matter what I think. I think it is a massive edifice build on what is obviously a quicksand of stupidity and myth. But we are talking about what you and people of your belief system think.

    So you favor a system where a girl’s right to self determination in the realm of marriage is taken away and given to her father? (And no doubt once daddy is done with her, her right to self determination is that transferred to her husband.)

    >Much of his view on these matters (especially the part about remaining unmarried) was based entirely on his belief that Christ was coming back, literally, “any minute now”.

    Yes, indeed, a fact about which he was plainly wrong. And yet you have decided to build your life on the foundation of a book that has, as you just indicated, a key premise in regards to the immediacy of the parousia, that is 100% provably wrong. That seems rather a silly decision to me. But heck, we are in crazy land here, so why not pile on with some more insanity too.

    >This is simply poor logic (as with your “David” example). If you think 1 Timothy 3 is “implying” that polygamy is OK

    I’m afraid not. Polygamy is mentioned without any indication that it is immoral, whereas the other things are noted immoral explicitly elsewhere. It is your logic that is flawed.

    And just for the record, I have absolutely no problem with polygamy, as long as everyone is on board. But my daddy ain’t putting me in that snake pit without my consent. (Actually my father is dead, but you get my drift.)

    > See above. Your understanding of Paul is severely lacking.

    That would be tu quoque I believe.

    >> Do you believe that a woman who has sex outside of marriage is in fact a whore
    > Yes. So is a man, since that same word is used for both sexes.

    Actually, it isn’t. But lets not quibble Greek grammar here. It must be tough for you living in a world almost exclusively filled with whores.

    > Anyone who objectively looks at human history …

    I think not. Thank god for modern thinking where women have the right to self determination, and sex is liberated and free of the control from people like you. I weep for any daughters you might have.

  283. > The odds that we’re going to let Egypt devolve into mass starvation and civil disorder are remote. We give them $1B a year in military assistance. Sending $1B worth of wheat and corn would be cheap to maintain a mostly friendly Arab partner that is willing to work with us in the region.

    Are you suggesting adding $1B in food assistance or changing the $1B from military assistance to food assistance?

    Of course, giving them cash lets them choose and I’m not convinced that they’d choose food.

    Why, exactly, is letting them devolve, or rather, choose between military capability and food, a bad idea? Israel isn’t going to attack them, so what does Egypt’s military spending accomplish? Why should we pay for that benefit?

    Yes, Egypt’s military arguably defends it from internal and external “not Israel” forces, but how are they better off if they take over a starving country? Aren’t we better off if those forces have to actually provide for their people or risk revolt?

  284. Yes, David was described as a “man after God’s own heart”. He also committed murder and adultery. According to your logic, God is thereby advocating murder and adultery.

    God advocating murder? That’s in line with the Bible. (1 Samuel 15:2, Deut. 13:12-18, I could go on)

  285. Jessica Boxer Says:
    September 28th, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    >One other thing, I am absolutely shocked at the wave of ill informed, angry, frothing at the mouth misogyny going on here.

    >See this is what I think is being missed here. you seem to imply by this statement that if a woman decides to keep the child that somehow the man is the sole person taking on any responsibility or burden. But that is clearly nonsense. Is the burden split exactly in half? I have no idea. I doubt it though, almost certainly the woman takes on a much larger share of the consequences of the dalliance.

    The woman CHOOSES not to have an abortion, THAT THE MAN IS WILLING TO PAY FOR, therefore the man is subject to 18 years of indentured servitude. That is your idea of just? It is entirely the woman’s choice in your mind, and too much in the US legal world.

    Even worse, in some states, if a man is married to a woman who then cheats on him, and he can can prove that the child isn’t his, he STILL have to pay child support.

    Sorry, I’m going to quit bothering with comments here any more. There are too many vicious, stupid, or both comments to wade through for the worthwhile ones.

  286. @Jeff Read RE: “God advocating murder? That’s in line with the Bible. (1 Samuel 15:2, Deut. 13:12-18, I could go on)”

    Jeff, this guy will argue that is the Jewishness of the old testament and not applicable to the new testament and Christianity.

    Amusingly enough, the new testament apparently gives the gov’t exclusive murder and “judgment of the wicked” rights (Romans 13).

    The new testament engages in the common passive-aggressive approach of protestant Christianity by largely avoiding mention/avocation of direct involvement of violence and saving it all up for the terrors of the afterlife for us unrepentant sinners and other baddies: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/nt_list.html

  287. # nigel Says:
    >So, essentially unfairness is okay as long as it’s perpetrated against guys?

    So you don’t see a difference between unfairness and inequality then?

    The level of inequality for women (in the US) is fading fast. Sufficiently that I don’t worry for my two daughters. Given that then the issue of fairness should prevail, no?

    I understand that you think of abortion as “an outpatient procedure”,

    Because it is.

    If you think abortion is a simple, trivial decision, as you intimate here, you quite simply don’t know what you are talking about.

    It should never be a simple trivial decision for either father or mother. However, only one actually gets to make a decision at all. The other just gets to pay for it.

    Given that we just went through the pros and cons of having the next child, yeah, I do know what I’m talking about. My primary concern is the health of the mother…but that covers all aspects including physical, financial and psychological.

    The fact that you have a vagina and I don’t does not automatically mean you have more of a clue than I do. My suspicion is that abortion and childbirth has more personally touch my life than yours. I bet you’ve never watched your wife start hemorrhaging like crazy during labor with the OB looking at you with a deer in the headlights look. I bet you weren’t adopted vs aborted.

    …[your] gross trivialization of the costs and consequences of abortion. For some people it is as impactful as a colonoscopy, for others it is a suicide inducing trauma.

    And you’re trivializing the opportunity costs for having a child out of wedlock with or without paternal child support for the mother. Not to mention that the risk of carrying to term.

    There are 0.567 maternal deaths per 100,000 abortions vs 7.06 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. According to medical literature there’s currently no research support for post-abortion syndrome or post-abortion PTSD and no significant differences in long term mental health.

    What does have medical data is that postpartum psychosis occurs at a rate of 1-2 per 1,000 live births and a 5% maternal suicide rate and a 4% infanticide rate. Postpartum PTSD IS recognized as a disorder.

    I notice that in your putative fisk, you omitted any comment on the fact that I, along with all taxpayers, are paying for the babies Mr. Deadbeat Dad made. But I will presume that is because you don’t have an answer.

    Because after the abortion there is no baby? Or after the adoption the new parents pay for the baby? Or the mother has sufficient financial resources to care for the baby she wants? Or she’s already on welfare and we’re already paying?

    If you’re willing to force the man, with no say in the matter, to pay, I have no sympathy that you may have to pay but don’t want to. I personally chalk it up to one of those things I prefer not to pay for in order to get what I do want paid for.

    You call him a deadbeat dad. He’s doesn’t want to be a dad and probably wont be one as opposed to just a sperm donor.

    > A guy and a girl get together…. Instead the girl insists on buying a $220,000 house

    This analogy is utterly flawed. A house is a benefit not a burden.

    Either you don’t own a house or your husband is doing all the work in upkeep. I can assure that both children and houses are a benefit AND a burden. Both offer net positive benefits and both are sometimes inordinate burdens at certain ages or financial conditions.

  288. nigel Says:
    > Because after the abortion there is no baby? Or after the adoption the new parents pay for the baby?

    You forgot the option that I am offended by: daddy offers to pay for abortion, mommy raises hands in horror because abortion is murder. Daddy snickers at his good luck. Tax payers pay for baby.

    Penis in vagina sometimes results in baby. You both make a baby, you both pay for a baby. When she’s jumping in the sack with you, she does so with the understanding that the prevailing customs and laws apply. If you don’t want to take that risk either keep your pants zipped, or agree ahead of time what you plan to do should such a result come about or get your vas deferens clipped. Otherwise, she is making her risk assessment based on a deception — an implication that you accept the prevailing failure remediation system when you don’t.

    I get your position. I think it is reprehensible. I think any decent man would have the cojones to man up and pay for what he has made. I think any man who says “suck it out or you don’t get a penny” is a horrific scumbag. I console myself with the fact they your offensive idea will never see the light of day.

  289. …historically, rural areas have had a higher birthrate than cities, and cities were constantly being outbred by the country, yet never dying out thanks to a constant flow of population migrating to the cities…

    No longer a reliable phenomenon. Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland have all suffered population declines since 1950, ranging from 20% to 48%. Back in 2009, there was talk of managing the decline of 50 US cities by bulldozing abandoned areas and concentrating the urban zones.

    I think this urban decay has been largely driven by bad government, people have been voting with their feet.

  290. You forgot the option that I am offended by: daddy offers to pay for abortion, mommy raises hands in horror because abortion is murder. Daddy snickers at his good luck. Tax payers pay for baby.

    What’s your opinion of the scenario where daddy raises hands in horror because abortion is murder while mommy goes to the clinic?

  291. Men should still want to get married to have children and have a stable family environment. Stats still show that married men are more happpy and more stable than non-married men. But this incentive has been undermined by our divorce laws, where the man is almost always screwed. Women can get a divorce for almost any frivilous reason, and when they do the divorce laws totally favor them. This turns marriage into a proposition where the benefits (long term family) are speculative, and the risks (getting screwed your whole life after divorce court) are huge. Until the divorce laws are changed so the risks for divorce are just as great for women as they are for men, men will have no reason to take the huge risk involved in getting married.

  292. # Christopher Smith Says:
    > What’s your opinion of the scenario where daddy raises hands in horror because abortion is murder while mommy goes to the clinic?

    I think that is a really good question Christopher. My answer is that I do not know what is right in those circumstances.

  293. You forgot the option that I am offended by: daddy offers to pay for abortion, mommy raises hands in horror because abortion is murder. Daddy snickers at his good luck. Tax payers pay for baby.

    Mommies that believe abortion is murder can opt to adopt out. Daddy can be liable for any cost of adoption services too if any. Including any medical expenses and temporary child care until the adoption occurs. It’s likely to be a rather large sum if mom is uninsured but that still strikes me as fair.

    Tax payers pay for baby only in those scenarios where the mother opts to keep the child but does not have the financial means to do so. Daddy is not the one snickering in this scenario.

    Penis in vagina sometimes results in baby. You both make a baby, you both pay for a baby. When she’s jumping in the sack with you, she does so with the understanding that the prevailing customs and laws apply.

    Prevailing customs and laws change. It was different in the 30′s and 40′s and 50′s and 60′s and 70′s and 80′s and 90′s and 00′s and 10′s.

    So long as all parties understand the current customs then you should be happy right?

    If you don’t want to take that risk either keep your pants zipped, or agree ahead of time what you plan to do should such a result come about or get your vas deferens clipped. Otherwise, she is making her risk assessment based on a deception — an implication that you accept the prevailing failure remediation system when you don’t.

    If she is having unprotected sex her risk assessment is flawed anyway.

    One accepted failure remediation system is abortion. One you seem to vehemently disagree with. That’s fine. If it were my daughter at a young age I’d counsel otherwise. There’s too much life to miss having a child at too young an age.

    I get your position. I think it is reprehensible. I think any decent man would have the cojones to man up and pay for what he has made.

    Is he a decent man if he is compelled to do so against his will? Paying for an abortion (or alternatively birth and adoption) is manning up if you’re 16. Arguably, he not really a man yet anyway…

    Manning up also has evolved over the years.

    I think any man who says “suck it out or you don’t get a penny” is a horrific scumbag. I console myself with the fact they your offensive idea will never see the light of day.

    Perhaps. Perhaps not. Never is a long time.

    Horrific scumbag eh? Weren’t you the one admonishing to cool your jets? If the abortion part horrifies you then choose the adoption scenario.

    Oh wait, that completely screws with the concept of having the baby and getting to keep it on someone else’s dime.

  294. >My answer is that I do not know what is right in those circumstances.

    Jessica, I’ve been thinking this through from a game-theoretic perspective. And I think the answer is that we need to go back to a system in which, under law and convention, the responsibility for unplanned pregnancy rests solely on the woman.

    I know this will sound harsh, retrograde, and sexist. But it has to be that way, because putting the man on the hook lowers the woman’s asking price for sex. And if the NY Post is right (which I think it is, broadly speaking, even if some of the details might not stand challenge) then one of the central problems of our sexual economy is that women are setting their asking prices too low.

    It seemed compassionate, over the last 60 years, to reduce the risk women are exposed to from sex by requiring men to carry more of the burden (use condoms, pay child support, etc.) In fact I won’t say “seems” – it was in fact compassionate, and it is difficult to fault the motives of people who fought for it. But the law of unintended consequences is a bitch, and it looks like we’re now in a behavioral trap created by the mismatch between female desire and female optimal strategy. In hindsight, risk reduction was probably not a good idea, on the whole, though we didn’t know it while experimenting.

    For saying this, likely I’ll be congratulated by some smarmy idiot for returning to a conservative or even “Biblical” position. Let me just chop that idiot off at the knees in advance. Conservatism, to put the best possible face on it, is a respect for the “organic wisdom of institutions”; less respectfully, it is overt or covert reliance on some sort of religious dogma. It is not “conservative” to suspend judgment until we can say “OK, we did the experiment, and pre-1960 norms turn out to work better”. Conservatives wouldn’t experiment in the first place.

  295. What’s your opinion of the scenario where daddy raises hands in horror because abortion is murder while mommy goes to the clinic?

    Doesn’t matter. It’s not his body or his health at risk. Any guy (or gal) who’s going to be horrified about abortion should either practice abstinence or use multiple modes of birth control.

    Abortion IS killing babies. It doesn’t take long for the fetus to start looking like a baby on the sono. It’s absolutely terrible and mostly avoidable.

    The problem is that we’re hell bent on making sure it’s not easily avoidable by the demographic most at risk. An unwanted pregnancy at 36 is not as big a deal…and honestly I don’t really care if you force daddy to pay up at that age…or even 26. Under 20 an unwanted pregnancy is a tragedy for all involved. Asking kids to grow up at that age just sucks and you’re looking at nothing but bad choices except for the reasonably affluent.

  296. nigel Says:
    > Mommies that believe abortion is murder can opt to adopt out. Daddy can be liable for any cost of adoption services too if any.

    I think that is fair, assuming it is possible.

    >So long as all parties understand the current customs then you should be happy right?

    Yes. And obviously they may make a different arrangement if they wish.

    >If she is having unprotected sex her risk assessment is flawed anyway.

    As you know, people who take significant precautions also get pregnant.

    > One you seem to vehemently disagree with.

    I don’t believe I ever vehemently disagreed with abortion. In fact, I think I was pretty careful not to state my personal opinion on abortion at all. I opposed a man using a threat of default on his obligations to leave a woman the impossible choice of destitution or abortion.

  297. “I don’t believe I ever vehemently disagreed with abortion. In fact, I think I was pretty careful not to state my personal opinion on abortion at all. I opposed a man using a threat of default on his obligations to leave a woman the impossible choice of destitution or abortion.”

    Right now women have a legal call option and a legal put option. Men don’t have a either. This is the base of the imbalance. A large part of this is simply biological and accounts for dissimilarities in makeup.

    However, culturally if we want european genes to continue to spread (This value, that I am not going to argue for here) we need to create institutions that increase security for couples. Marriage was once a way of “tying yourself to the mast” for the couple, to ensure that the man couldn’t simply abandon the woman/children, /and/ that the woman wouldn’t leave the man. Right now only half of that equation is operative, which is contributing to the collapse of the family and of first world birth rates.

    Unlike our host, though, I do not believe that we need a massive cultural shift with regards to gender equality. I think the vast majority of the problem can be fixed merely by removing most of the government supplied “social safety net.”

  298. “I think the vast majority of the problem can be fixed merely by removing most of the government supplied “social safety net.” ”

    Not bloody likely. The genie is out, and you can’t stuff him back into his bottle. I’ve mentioned before that sex makes us stupid. Very few people are thinking of the consequences when they have the prospect of sex before them. Removing the safety net will likely lead to many more abortions and many more kids raised in orphanages.

  299. Eric, thanks for bringing me back on topic, I tend to meander. I thought about your comment, and was formulating a few thoughts, and then I realized that I was confused about your original post. In there you define sexual equality and sexual liberty, but you do not define “family formation”. What exactly do you mean by that? If the goal is to simply have more babies that is an easy thing to achieve, but I think you are going for something more than that. Family means a lot of different things these days, and I’d be interested if you could bracket it a little.

  300. Pingback: Repression « Forks and Hope

  301. >In there you define sexual equality and sexual liberty, but you do not define “family formation”. What exactly do you mean by that?

    Exactly what it sounded like. To thrive, children need stable families anchored by long-term relationships between at least one man and at least one woman (of course there are exceptions; the point is that they are exceptions). Boys particularly need a senior male as a stable presence, otherwise they don’t socialize well; fatherlessness is a very effective predictor of criminal deviance.

  302. Of course its not conservative to ‘do the experiment, and then go back to norms’. What it is is admitting conservatives were right in that case (even if you caveat for yourself ‘right but for the wrong reasons’). I will never mistake you for the conservative. Perhaps next time before we completely mess things up for several decades, we can just cut straight to ‘the conservatives are right.’ Imagine how wonderful a world it would be if Conservatives were driving their moon jeeps in to town, with their laser rifles casually stowed in plain sight…instead we’re stuck with THIS world.

    BPSouther,
    The Bible and the Constitution were both written in a specific historic situation, and should be interpreted based on that (in part, it does get more complicated, I understand, but I’m only a layman. Unlike say Libertarianism, you can’t claim to have mastered the Bible after fifteen minutes exposure.) Constitutionally, this position is called Originalism.

    One understands the word ‘militia’ better with a bit of history instead of taking the modern meaning of the word ‘militia’. So to with the Bible.

    Morgan Greywolf was contending, if I read him right, with two points. 1. We’re not allowed to use historical information in our understanding of the Bible. (this is obvious nonsense, and deserves a Bronx cheer.) 2. The Bible is but a repetition of older myths. (to which I point out the Monomyth. I can add to that by also pointing out that Japheth=Jupiter is likely enough.)

    You contend something different, that we have to follow the whole of the Bible in order to follow any of it. To which I must agree.

    But…(and its a big, but fair but..) as the Bible was intended to be taken.

    King Herod ordered all the innocents slaughtered. Goliath of Gath sneered at the Living God. Lucifer said hath God said? and then Eve replied by embroidering on what God said by adding that you were not to touch the fruit (it was only one was not suppose to eat. Humans have a demonstrated tendency to add to Holy Teaching.)…..I think we can both agree that in none of these is the Bible meaning for its adherents to 1. Kill toddlers. 2. Make fun of God. or 3. Add to what God demands.

    So we have to read the Bible as it was meant to be read.

    Much of the Old Testament is FYI, the rules of a Genunine Theocratic Government. Its also the rules for a Tribal Society. And there is many further complications….

    BP….its not an accident that colleges hand out doctorates in Biblical Studies, m’kay?

    This ain’t Libertarianism or even Constitutional Law. Its vastly more complicated at the deep end of it.

    WYATF can probably explain this point a lot better than I. I am, after all, just a layman, and not that deep of a student. I don’t read Greek or Hebrew. I haven’t memorized any books of the Bible. I don’t have a doctorate. I haven’t been doing expository teaching of one or the other books in the Bible for a couple decades or more….and people like that are not the intellectual leaders. Why? Cause the really bright guys are even smarter and more educated.

    There is a reason, one suspects, that Newton wrote more on spiritual things than on material things.

    As to ‘reasoned out’, I overstated that. Mea culpa. On the one hand it is God’s Word, but OTOH, we are to use our Reason (which while fallen and limited is of use). You seem to be leaning toward the ‘God has to come down and tell me in crystal clear words exactly what I am supposed to do.’ Its a ‘I didn’t expect there would be math on this test’ approach to God.

    Doesn’t work like that for a number of reasons, I think.

    One reason, I think, is similar to the koan. The working out of the right answer is part of the training in itself.

    Another is related, but not the same. A martial artists can tell you what to do, but obviously, you really have to get out there in the dojo, and do the katas, and eventually to gain real mastery, you have to step out and face someone on the mat. The koan may develop understanding, but the kata and the mat develop consistency, and strength, and faith.

    Hopefully this helps you see things in a new light. See ya’ around the intartubes.

  303. >Perhaps next time before we completely mess things up for several decades, we can just cut straight to ‘the conservatives are right.’

    Right, that would be the world in which we still practice chattel slavery, infanticide, and cannibalism.

  304. “Right, that would be the world in which we still practice chattel slavery, infanticide, and cannibalism.”

    Delicious, delicious property babies.

  305. esr Says:
    > Jessica, I’ve been thinking this through from a game-theoretic perspective. And I think the answer is that we need to go back to a system in which, under law and convention, the responsibility for unplanned pregnancy rests solely on the woman.

    We can increase the number of people in western society pretty easily — ban contraceptives should do it. However, your goal rather is to see an increase in the number of reasonable, emotionally stable, well education children.

    I think that is an extremely important distinction, because even if more primitive societies do out breed us, that does not necessarily mean they out succeed us, and eliminate us and western civilization. The plain fact is that one strong westerner is much more productive than many from a primitive society. This is pretty simple to see by comparing the innovativeness of the whole middle east, with, say, the innovativeness of Omaha, Nebraska. It leaves the corn huskers looking pretty good. So even if primitive civilizations grow at exponential rates, western civilization can still out compete them by growing our per capita capability at exponential rates. What defeats the west is not a lack of sex, it is our own decadence, our own self loathing, our own loss of self, where we give up what has made us great.

    Nonetheless, we still have to have some babies to make it work, and we evidently need to nurture them. However, do we really need to do it the same way we always have? Do we need to nurture then the way our distant primitive ancestors did? Our society has adapted a variety of new parenting techniques, homosexual marriage, divorced parenting, extended family parenting, single parenting, government parenting. Not all are good, but that is the nature of evolution.

    Looking just at the traditional method, Eric’s concern is that the ready availability of sex and the over choosiness of women prevents pair bonding. You suggest one way to drive more couples into marriage, by reducing the availability of sex through fear, but that is, as you plainly imply in your comment, pretty unfair. Why not look for other ways?

    One way to reduce the cost of commitment is to reduce the cost of renaging on a commitment. So one simple approach would be to make it mandatory that, if you seek the states imprimatur on your marriage, you must also have a pre-nuptial. That way, the manner and cost of exit would be well known up front. This seems to be one of the main whining points from the guys on this comment thread. Other possibilities would be to allow different types of marital arrangement, such as gay, poly and so forth. Also you could make adoption much easier than the brutal mess it is right now. And finally off the top of my head, how about giving kids a decent, honest sex education rather than the politically correct nonsense we have today.

    Of course on that last point, for the success of society we would need to do a way better job at education, but that is a whole other thread.

    In response to the particulars of your idea, it seems to me it is hardly fair to impose an unfair and inequitable burden on an individual (a woman) for the benefit of a society. That is not the sort of idea I typically favor.

  306. ESR,

    >Right, that would be the world in which we still practice chattel slavery, infanticide, and cannibalism.

    Please, you know better than that… F.e. Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism supported the abolishion of slavery and made a pretty good plan how to do it a good 100 years before it actually happened… Cannibalism? When was the last time you saw Russel Kirk bite someone’s ass? :)

  307. Shenpen, unlike libertarianism, conservatism is very culture-specific.

    Islamic conservatism endorses chattel slavery, Chinese rural conservatism endorses infanticide, and if Fijian conservatism existed, it would endorse cannibalism (well, their own euphemism was “long pork”).

    The Anglos in USA and UK often forget that dominance of their own version of conservatism was achieved by force of arms, thus they consider it “natural”.

    Even here in Europe “conservatism” may take quite ugly faces.

  308. >Even here in Europe “conservatism” may take quite ugly faces.

    No, here it simply doesn’t exist. This is a big grievance of mine. There are the idiot populist-nationalists, and then you only other choice are conservatives-in-name-only, basically liberals slightly more moderate than others. Eastern Europe, like Czech and Hungary has some good conservative think-tanks and publications, but they are all like 90% the time reading American authors, and 10% the time reading British ones, because there is almost nothing from Western Europe to read in this branch of political thinking. Every time I find an author and think I have finally found authentic Western European conservatism, it turns out that the guy is an extreme right-wing nut, even though having some good ideas, but also way, way too many unacceptable ones: Joseph de Maistre, Carl Schmidt, Juan Donoso-Cortes. Or the other way around it turns out they are just like moderate anti-communist liberals like Raymond Aron and his Commentaire. Show me a German or Italian or French Burke or Buckley or Dalrymple and will be extremely grateful.

  309. ESR,

    >Right, that would be the world in which we still practice chattel slavery, infanticide, and cannibalism.

    C’mon Eric you know better than that. It was Lincoln’s Republican party that ended slavery; Edmund Burke supported abolishing it as well as Shenpen pointed out.

    And it is the libs who support infanticide as long as it is framed as “choice.”

    I love this stupid meme that conservatives want to live in the 1950s. Where or where did someone like William F. Buckley want to live back then, around the time he wrote God and Man at Yale? The 1920s?

    You may not like us much, but increasingly you move towards our way of thinking.

  310. Well, one must take into account that Euro nations have developed from hereditary monarchies and ultra-nationalist republics (a la France 179x), so their version of conservatism will be almost always influenced by the “King and the Nation” thinking.

    Aside from Adenauer + de Gasperi, I can’t really think of any significant non-nationalist conservative from the Continent. Especially the smaller nations have been always defined by their survival struggle against the larger neighbors(-oppressors).

  311. BTW I tend to think that the uniqueness of Britain as the mother of the currently free world used to be in its relative safety from foreign invasion. Countries like that can afford many civil liberties unavailable to those who live in constant state of war or at least preparation for war.

  312. Sorry, I hijacked the thread a bit. So, about ESR’s proposed solution: it would not work, because it is easier for modern women to use contraception or abortion than to raise the price. It would not lead to women and men actually wanting to get married and have kids.

    My proposal:

    - Economic incentives (tax, welfare) heavily in favor of marriage and kids against divorce and single-motherhood. One excellent but not yet implemented idea from my homeland is family taxation: you add up the total income, divide it by the number of people (i.e. parents and kids) and use that as a basis for income / payroll tax calculation, not the individual’s income. Social security / pension dependent on SS payments of kids. Make it a legal duty of kids to support parents unless they can prove they were abusive. Generally make it a good investment for financial security.

    - Review divorce laws and practices in order to make males fear divorce less. Rethink alimony. Fathers should probably get custody of boys. Etc.

    - Instead of immigration, encourage adoption from third-world countries?

    - Investigate why the heck are real estate prices so high in pretty much every desirable city to live in all over the world. The only reason we don’t plan kids yet is that we cannot afford a house in Vienna and kids in an apartment is IMHO not good for them. I am not saying subsidize houses or something, first let’s just figure out why are they so expensive. Perhaps, encourage telecommuting so that people can work from some village where houses are cheap?

    Unfortunately most of these are very statist ideas but I was under the assumption the general current system stays in place. Of course it cannot, but I cannot make plans for whatever comes aftere as I have no idea what it will be.

  313. Real Estate Prices … well, my guess is that this is result of multiple factors:

    a) land is expensive, as millions of people want to flock into several interesting urban areas. Natives from small villages, immigrants. This is even worsened by the process of aging of Europe. Old people can’t afford to live an hour’s drive from the nearest hospital, so they will naturally tend to move to larger cities, where health care is readily available;

    b) the real estate bubble – very visible in, say, Prague.

  314. >BTW I tend to think that the uniqueness of Britain as the mother of the currently free world used to be in its relative safety from foreign invasion. Countries like that can afford many civil liberties unavailable to those who live in constant state of war or at least preparation for war.

    Good direction. I am planning to write a big article about it somewhere, that libertarian-ish cultures tend to form in places that don’t have much of a historical experience of a “besieged town” mindset i.e. waged wars mostly abroad or not at all: America, Britain, Switzerland. Another and related precondition is that the distribution of the most basic kind of property (land) must be natural and just (homesteading) in order for people to accept a propertarian culture, and this also typically happens where there are few wars fought at home and even the general pattern of settlement is not defensive. (Sorry for hijacking again.)

    Also, Anglo-American cultures have a strong culture of common sense and with that a certain moderation and skepticism and down-to-earth-ness in thinking. Hume, Adam Smith, Burke. Somehow Aristotle and Cicero had a stronger effect on them. Unfortunately Europe has the tendency to be too emotional, either in a kind of “guts” way which results in extreme nationalism in fascism, or in putting too much emotional energy in worshipping an idea that pretends to be expression of perfect rationality but is not: Jacobins, socialism, etc. Somehow we suck at asking the “But will it actualy work, based on our former experiences?” questions they are good at. I absolutely love how at the time of American revolution they read through the classical authors and calmly designed an improved version of classical republics with a lot of careful consideration for fixing their faults. By contrast most European revolutions were just a mad rampage in the name of romantic slogans.

    Sorry for the hijacking again.

  315. Shenpen Says:
    September 30th, 2011 at 8:27 am:

    > Investigate why the heck are real estate prices so high in pretty much every desirable city to live in all over the world. The only reason we don’t plan kids yet is that we cannot afford a house in Vienna and kids in an apartment is IMHO not good for them. I am not saying subsidize houses or something, first let’s just figure out why are they so expensive. Perhaps, encourage telecommuting so that people can work from some village where houses are cheap?

    The reason they’re so expensive is that often we DO subsidize them. People tend to want to live in areas that already have lots of people (there is no housing price crisis in the middle of the Nevada desert). That means lots of demand, and fairly limited supply. People tend to choose the most expensive area they can afford to live in, because it usually is the area most convenient to commuting to work.

    So, people will bid the most they can afford for a home. If you have couple A and couple B and couple A makes one dollar more per year, chances are they’ll end up getting first choice of their home, and couple B will have to settle for something less desirable. If you offer up subsidies then chances are both couples get the same subsidy, and they both add it to their bids, and now the only thing that has changed is that the person selling the home is that much better off and the taxpayers are that much worse off. If you make access to credit that much easier then the only change is that both couples bid higher, the seller of the home is better off, and couple A ends up in that much more debt.

    The only way to lower housing prices is to increase the effective supply of homes.

    Your last sentence actually would do the trick. The problem is that businesses tend to be VERY conservative and are very reluctant to allow telecommuting. Many jobs don’t work in that model at all (people who actually handle physical goods in some way).

    Housing is a bit unique in that the total supply is basically fixed. Now, there is untapped supply in the form of more remote areas to live in, but eventually it becomes a zero-sum game unless we obtain new living space (acceptance of living in multi-floor buildings or colonization of other planets or something).

    Other products have much more flexible supply. While Apple would love to see people bidding higher than retail on iPads, in the end they don’t want to sell an iPad to the highest bidding of couple A or B. They want to sell one to both of them, and maybe one for their kids to use as well. For manufactured products the ideal price point is rarely the most that ANYBODY would pay, but some compromise that trades off profit per item with volume. When you’re selling your house you have one item to sell and you want every dollar you can get for it.

  316. I live 12 km beyond Prague, I could telecommute very well (and, seldom I do), but the infrastructure here sucks. One small grocery store with very insufficient supplies, and that is all. People with children find that the local kindergarten is ridiculously full and they have to drive their children to Prague, where parking is awful, etc.

    Basically, unless you’re gardener here, you”ll die of boredom.

    Public transport is infrequent, and if you travel by car, you need to take into account the traffic jams on the inbound highways, and you must abstain from drinking.

    Any wonder why people prefer an in-city apartment that is three minutes of walk from the nearest metro station and seven minutes of walk from the nearest grocery supermarket?

  317. Shenpen Says:
    > Please, you know better than that… F.e. Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism supported the abolishion of slavery

    You need to read the context more carefully. Eric was replying to someone who wants to keep with the old ways. “Conservative” in that context means “resist change — stick with the old ways”, not the political philosophy with the same name. Burke and Buckley were radicals.

    (FWIW, I am not a conservative, though I agree with some of their ideas.)

  318. Housing is a bit unique in that the total supply is basically fixed. Now, there is untapped supply in the form of more remote areas to live in, but eventually it becomes a zero-sum game unless we obtain new living space (acceptance of living in multi-floor buildings or colonization of other planets or something).

    Inaccurate in a few ways:

    - Detached single-family housing can be replaced with higher-density housing such as detached multi-family or apartment buildings.

    - The so-called “US housing bubble” was really only a bubble in about 15 cities—all of which had put in place severe land-use restrictions, most frequently of “open-space” or minimum-lot-size types, frequently both.

    - Even for a given level of housing, demand can be quite elastic. I’m 27 and occupy a two-bedroom home, using one as an office for consulting. Were I not self-employed, or if I lived in an area with significantly higher housing prices, I’d probably either live in a smaller home or have a roommate.

  319. A conservative wants to be careful not to throw out the baby along with the bathwater.

    A liberal wants to be sure to get rid of the bathwater.

    A reactionary wants to keep the bathwater.

    A radical wants to get rid of the baby.

    ..for various definitions of baby and bathwater.

  320. # Bob Says:
    > A conservative wants to be careful not to throw out the baby along with the bathwater.

    A Marxist takes the baby and the bathwater into a back room, never to be seen again.

    A libertarian says “Its none of your business what I do with my baby or my bathwater”

    A green wants to recycle the bathwater.

    An AGW advocate wants to make the baby take a cold bath to reduce its carbon footprint

    A Jedi tests the water for midichlorians, and whisks the baby off to Coruscant.

    A Buddhist reincarnates the baby as the bathwater.

    A Christian claims the baby, the tub and the water are in fact one not three.

    A Wahhabist delivers the baby and bathtub to a local hospital, with ten pounds of C4 attached to the bottom

  321. Christopher Smith Says:
    September 30th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    >>eventually it becomes a zero-sum game unless we obtain new living space (acceptance of living in multi-floor buildings or colonization of other planets or something).

    >Detached single-family housing can be replaced with higher-density housing such as detached multi-family or apartment buildings.

    Sure, and that would be acceptance of living in multi-floor buildings, which I suggested.

    >Even for a given level of housing, demand can be quite elastic. I’m 27 and occupy a two-bedroom home, using one as an office for consulting. Were I not self-employed, or if I lived in an area with significantly higher housing prices, I’d probably either live in a smaller home or have a roommate.

    Both of these points touch on some of the big issues here – preferences.

    People would rather put themselves in a huge amount of debt than share a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. Nobody wants to live in apartment 437 if they can remotely afford a single family home.

    Ok, it isn’t nobody – it is only 85% of the market. However, that is the situation as it presently stands.

    Ultimately I think the reason comes down to libertarianism. I can play my TV as loud as I like and nobody will knock on my door. I can hang out my underwear to dry in my back lawn and nobody can complain. Once you live in a big building suddenly you have an extra layer of government, essentially. If you live with a roommate in an apartment building then you have two extra layers of government, one of which will actually legislate how you dress when you walk to the bathroom in the morning.

    I don’t see any easy solutions here – basically it boils down to culture. More telecommuting would ease things, but as another poster pointed out, nobody wants to live in the middle of nowhere.

  322. Here is an interesting news piece that popped up today that seems relevant to our discussion (I’m not advocating this particularly, I just thought it was relevant and interesting):

    http://news.yahoo.com/til-2013-us-part-mexico-mulls-2-marriage-232608285.html


    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico City lawmakers want to help newlyweds avoid the hassle of divorce by giving them an easy exit strategy: temporary marriage licenses.

    Leftists … proposed a reform to the civil code this week that would allow couples to decide on the length of their commitment, opting out of a lifetime.

    The minimum marriage contract would be for two years and could be renewed if the couple stays happy. The contracts would include provisions on how children and property would be handled if the couple splits.

    The last sentence being perhaps the most important.

    As I said above, one way to increase the number of commitments made is to make it easier to break out of the commitment at a later date.

  323. There is an additional negative consequence of the trigger of “sexual liberation”, which is supposed to be the invention of “The Pill”. Well, supposed consequence… Take all the following with a bit of salt.

    First, birth-control pill works by tricking body into “pseudo-pregnant” state (into thinking that it is pregnant). It is human body protection against multiple pregnancies that does the real work.

    Second, subconscious attraction is based on the smell. People are normally attracted via this mechanism to people which are second-cousins distance genetically (with respect to immune system) from them. That is supposed to be optimum for having healthy children.

    Now with pregnancy this subconscious attraction changes to people in the close family, with respect to genetical differences. Surrounding oneself with close family was at that time best strategy for care for pregnant women.

    Now take those two fast together: with the pill, women are attracted to people who are close genetical match, and this subconsious attraction vanishes when women goes of pill. All together this might mean that because of human biology introduction of birth-control pill as widely used method for contraception led to increasing number of divorces :-P

  324. >You need to read the context more carefully. Eric was replying to someone who wants to keep with the old ways. “Conservative” in that context means “resist change — stick with the old ways”, not the political philosophy with the same name. Burke and Buckley were radicals.

    That is exactly correct.

  325. >Burke and Buckley were radicals.

    In a temporary sense yes, but from the viewpoint of the history of ideas not. If you just call anyone a radical who happens to be unpopular in their own age how can you plot any kind of trend of a historical change of ideas incl. f.e. the most important ones, the basic theories of the goodness or malleability of human nature?

  326. I mean basically it would mean Stalinists in Russia in 1989 were conservatives if we thought this way. Bin Laden, too. The problem with this terminology is ignoring the general changes and trends in the history of ideas: that change isn’t simply just change, but change from a certain set of ideas to a certain set of ideas.

  327. Or it can be that I am using the terminology in a wrong way. I could switch to Eliot’s usage: “classicism”. I would like to, too. But my general experience is 90% of the time generally “conservatives” are criticised, classical ideas are ignored, too, hence my attachment to this terminology.

  328. @Shenpen
    “I mean basically it would mean Stalinists in Russia in 1989 were conservatives if we thought this way.”

    They are referred to as conservatives. Even today, In Russia, “a conservative” means “a communist.”

  329. Pingback: ESR on sexual repression « Quotulatiousness

  330. Forgive me for not having the time to read all 339 comments preceding mine, but I found this piece interesting and provocative. Just coming off of a 3-day Rosh Hashanah/Shabbat stretch, something occurred to me: In the Orthodox Jewish community, one simple principle is maintained that makes hypergamy possible for ALL women. It only affects a single aspect of life, yet automatically gives all men a higher status than all women, regardless of any given woman’s financial, intellectual, or any other superiority. It’s detested by all the “progressive” “modernizing” “enlightened” versions of Judaism, as well as by all the bien-pensant secularists, and I think it just might be a lifeline. This simple, community-preserving secret? Women don’t count in a minyan (the quorum of ten necessary to perform certain acts of worship). (BTW, I write this as woman, raised in a secular background, with an extensive secular education.) This maintains just enough male superiority to satisfy women’s and men’s needs, without the reduction of women to chattel found in some other traditional communities, and allows us to be equal in other spheres of life. I was told that the Torah answers all human questions, and every year I see more evidence of that…

  331. @ the permanent newbie

    Wow, thats a really interesting, endogenous, cultural solution to what esr posed. I wonder how many other religions evolved similar things.

  332. # Doc Merlin Says:
    > Wow, thats a really interesting, endogenous, cultural solution to what esr posed. I wonder how many other religions evolved similar things.

    No it isn’t, it is a terrible solution. Women are biologically programmed to seek men of higher status because they want to improve the chances of success of their progeny. Entirely artificial impositions don’t provide that at all. It is at best an ugly cultural hack, and at worst a patronizing insult. The purpose of hypergamy is to partition the crowd of mates into desirability groups (you guys ever say — that chick, she is a 9, or at least an 8), this patriarchal Jewish silliness just makes partitioning harder.

    Oh, and BTW, this whole “hypergamy” thing, lets just be clear, it isn’t women only who seek the climb the social tree, men are just as attuned to such matters as women. For sure, the metrics they use are different, but we are all programmed to be social climbers. The flip side to the problem Eric mentions is that men are much more choosy about mates too; however they don’t measure in dollars and cars, they measure in boobs and butts. Men are all about hypergamy too.

  333. “It only affects a single aspect of life…”

    No, Orthodox Judaism is permeated by it. The men study Torah, woman’s place is in the home. The best illustration to this is the song, ‘Tradition’ from “Fiddler on the Roof”.

    Please don’t tell me that women can study Torah, too. Yes they can, but it’s optional; the men are *supposed* to do it, every chance they get. Women get to do it when they have time, in between cleaning the house, raising the babies and koshering the meat, etc.

  334. As an Orthodox Jew myself, I can state another insight into how Judaism tempers women’s natural hypergamous nature. Divorce can only be initiated by a man. Being a pragmatist rather than an ideologue, I never had trouble with this, but I was curious as to why it was the case. Being that Judaism is based on revelation, any ultimate reasoning escapes mortal minds, but “aha!” moments are still possible, and praiseworthy.

    It is easy to see the consequences of women being able to initiate divorce, as with the onset of no-fault divorce in the west, divorce rates naturally skyrocketed (no surprise). However, what may have surprised many who don’t care to recognize fundamental differences between men and women, is that women initiate the vast majority of divorces. And the reasoning, to men, is often incredibly superficial.

    There are other laws pertaining to marriage that address this nature too. “Wife-swapping?” Yes, it’s so 1970s, but it’s obviously an ancient issue too, as once a divorced woman marries another man, her former husband is forever forbidden to her.

    This is a deep subject, and my comment is obviously short.

    ESR, I have to praise your willingness to rise above personal preferences and follow the logical trail wherever it goes, no matter how uncomfortable.

  335. Shimshon Says:
    >This is a deep subject, and my comment is obviously short.

    Sorry Shimshon, I don’t think it is a deep subject at all. From my perspective it is simply partial slavery. The ability for a man to trap and control a woman in a relationship she doesn’t want to be part of is horrendous. For the law to be an accessory to this is just profoundly unjust. Of course, as you know, the Torah is not exactly a strong opponent of slavery anyway, so perhaps that is OK with you.

    If it was a bilateral arrangement, that would be one thing, but for it to be unilateral is so dreadful I don’t know where to start. For you to give us your “glimpse of the mind of God” as “chicks be crazy, they’ll divorce you for any irrational caprice” is, perhaps, even more outrageous. Might I point out at that many men dump their wives for truly horrible reasons too. There is the old saw of the guy who traded in his forty year old wife for two twenty year olds.

    True feminists seek equality before the law. If your God’s Torah disagrees, then I’m afraid he demands something that is entirely contrary to the sense of justice he has putatively written into my soul.

    >divorce rates naturally skyrocketed (no surprise).

    But you have a deep underlying bias here that divorce is necessarily a bad thing. But we let people escape from their mistakes all the time, why not if they make a mistake in marriage? Why not if the marriage was good for a while, then went to hell? For the kids perhaps? But kids in a deeply unhappy marriage are hardly going to have a healthy childhood anyway.

    I’m sorry, your Torah might give a system that worked in a primitive land, for a primitive people; it is not useful today at all.

  336. Jessica, once children is involved, divorce IS a bad thing. Sure, there are exceptions, but I have seen more than a few divorces, mine included, and they are almost invariably a tragedy.

    Agunot, as tragic as that problem is, is really a small number versus total number of divorces. And the batei din themselves say that male agunim are nearly as common as agunot.

    As far as slavery…like I said above, the problem of agunot is real, but it is exceedingly rare. Very, VERY few men would ever hold their wives hostage like that. You can deny it all you want, but women unquestionably initiate most no-fault divorces. And the reasons are often, but not always, quite trivial.

    The arrangement is indeed bilateral, as no Orthodox woman or man goes into such a relationship without knowing both of their respective obligations. Again, MOST cases. The exceptions do not nullify that the arrangement works.

    Finally, Jessica, you are putting up your mere decades old feminist pursuit of some sort of pure equality of the sexes that has never really existed in all of recorded history, versus a system that has survived for over THREE MILLENNIA. I don’t know what your background is, but you clearly have a chip on your shoulder. ESR explained clearly that he is firmly in the modern equalitarian camp, but when analyzed from a strictly rational perspective, that system of values literally has no staying power. It will always peter out, not so differently from the way various celibate Christian sects petered out in America.

    You are displaying a purely emotional response, regardless of the logic put forth by one of your own. I made a statement of fact that women initiate most no-fault divorces. There is no question I personally believe that they are a net negative. I believe the available information backs up that value judgement. You bring up a situation which is most often a net negative, draw out a much rarer case (physical abuse, and the like, presumably, which, again, can be turned around more often than you think or may even be aware of) , and extrapolate from that rare (but sometimes very real) situation, and say that divorce can be bad, but otherwise if you (that is, me) say it is good, THAT is a bias, but to say that divorce isn’t otherwise bad, as you do, is not a bias. Sure it is, as it flies against all available evidence.

  337. Shimshon Says:
    > Jessica, once children is involved, divorce IS a bad thing.

    Life is about choices. The choice is not perfect family or divorce it is an ugly family situation or divorce. Sometimes the latter is better.

    > Sure, there are exceptions, but I have seen more than a few divorces, mine included, and they are almost invariably a tragedy.

    You need to get out more. I’ve seen several divorces where everybody was better off afterward.

    > Agunot, as tragic as that problem is,

    You know, trying to baffle us all by using Hebrew terminology doesn’t get away from the plain fact that “agunah” is a fancy word for slavery. I am sure some slaves did live happy lives. That doesn’t mean they weren’t slaves.

    You dismiss this “problem” as readily as one dismisses an unfortunate propensity to acne, It isn’t, it is a moral outrage.

    > You can deny it all you want, but women unquestionably initiate most no-fault divorces.

    I do not deny it. It is a plain matter of fact, in the USA anyway.

    > And the reasons are often, but not always, quite trivial.

    This is what I object to. It is a totally ridiculous statement. Do some people divorce for silly reasons? Probably. Do most people divorce for substantial reasons? I’m sure they do. Are women more capricious in that respect? You offer no evidence of that at all, which is unfortunate, since it is the foundation for your claim of the worthiness of agunah — men, you seem to tell us, make better decisions about divorce that flaky chicks.

    What I will tell you is that far more women divorce because of fear of violence. If I ever found myself in such a position, I would hope not to be chained down with an archaic marital system, and an unsympathetic beth din full of unimaginative, inflexible old men. Thank God modern women don’t have to beg for their lives and safety from those more concerned with preserving an out of date, inflexible culture an religion than protecting the people within it.

    > The arrangement is indeed bilateral,

    That is true, but it doesn’t make it any less repulsive.

    > Finally, Jessica, you are putting up your mere decades old feminist pursuit of some sort of pure equality of the sexes that has never really existed in all of recorded history, versus a system that has survived for over THREE MILLENNIA.

    This is such a silly argument it is hard to know where to start. For most of American history black people in the south were considered chattel, property whose very lives were at the whim of their masters. Black women were powerless to prevent their rape by their “masters”, black men were beaten to within an inch of their lives for having the temerity to work slow, or sass the boss, or eat to much from the common pot.

    Then some Johnny-come-lately do gooders come along and try to upset the apple cart. The system had worked for hundreds of years, and they want to turn it upside down. What arrogance! What condescension. How uppity for them to think that this system that had existed for ever, should be replaced by an egalitarianism that never had existed in history.

    Which is to say, a long lived wrong needs righted even more quickly than a short lived wrong.

    > I don’t know what your background is, but you clearly have a chip on your shoulder.

    You come on this blog, populated by the passionately rational, and claim that marital slavery is a good thing, and then when you receive the outrage you are due, you attribute it to a “chip on the shoulder.” The problem with thinking here is with you Sir, whose mind is so buried in an culture that so devalues honest inquiry outside of the characters of an ancient book, full of myths an fairy tales, that he can’t even see the how a female goy might be utterly appalled but such an insult to equality, integrity and logic.

    > You are displaying a purely emotional response,

    Really? I thought my analysis was pretty systematic. Nonetheless, one wonders how to be unemotional over someone who advocates such inequality and slavery. There is a great deal I admire about the religion of the Jews, this is not one of them.

  338. “Being that Judaism is based on revelation, any ultimate reasoning escapes mortal minds, but “aha!” moments are still possible, and praiseworthy.”

    @Jessica Boxer: The thing to understand here is that Orthodox Judaism is extremely logical, given its axioms and its method of deduction. It is quite foreign to you, and even to me (a completely secular and nonobservant American Jew). They buy in to it. You would be repelled by it.

    The quote above is a good example. When a rule is obviously arbitrary and stupid, they believe that their poor human intelligence simply cannot see the details of the Almighty’s ‘vast eternal plan’. You (and I) would simply conclude that if our poor human intelligences can see that it’s an arbitrary and stupid rule, it *cannot* have come from God; it must be one of those taboos that creep in to every culture from time to time. Just let them go. There are only a few million Jews in the world; there are more than a billion Muslims in the world with the same attitude. (You should expect that – both religions originated in the same part of the world.) They can be a much bigger problem, from sheer numbers alone.

  339. Pingback: The genesis of “slut shaming” at Haemet

  340. The ability for a man to trap and control a woman in a relationship she doesn’t want to be part of is horrendous.

    The ability for a woman to trap and control a man in a relationship (baby) he doesn’t want to be part of (fatherhood) is horrendous.

    Oh wait. If a woman does it, it’s okay. LOL. Yes, yes, you’re about to indignantly claim “but that’s different”.

    But hey, the woman is willingly getting married “with the understanding that the prevailing customs and laws apply (in this case orthodoxy). If she didn’t want to take that risk of being trapped in marriage she shouldn’t say yes or pick a different religion. Otherwise, he is making his risk assessment based on a deception — an implication that she accepts the prevailing divorce system when she doesn’t.”

    If those words seem familiar, it’s because you wrote them in the other context.

    I bet you dollars to donuts many orthodox women have the ability to make their husbands miserable enough to trigger a divorce anyway. If that doesn’t work there’s always rat poison. Or leaving orthodox for a more permissive variant.

    Nonetheless, one wonders how to be unemotional over someone who advocates such inequality and slavery.

    I dunno, perhaps he touched a nerve and you should cool your jets? Too funny. You just said his culture sucks, is based on fairy tales and called his wife a slave with the implication she’s a raving idiot for buying into such a “repulsive” system. He probably smells of elderberries too…

    Funny, I think you’re the only one outraged here. A non-emotional response would be along the lines that it strikes me as a system that works well only for a small subset of people already inclined to adhere to rather strict observances…it doesn’t seem to me that system that would work well for the population as a whole. If for no other reason that while the number of (reported) “unfortunate” outcomes is (believed) small in your selected set of believers, the number of “unfortunate” outcomes (violence, unwilling marriage, etc) would likely be excessive in the general population.

    There’s lots of stuff that can work reasonably if you apply it to a smaller pool of people inclined toward such a system already. Open marriages, group marriages, orthodox marriage, extended families, hindu joint families, etc. Nuclear families is the model most cultures moved toward despite some logistical shortcomings and increased burden on the two primary adults.

  341. nigel Says:
    >The ability for a woman to trap and control a man in a relationship (baby) he doesn’t want to be part of (fatherhood) is horrendous.

    If you don’t know the difference between a man’s responsibility to his innocent baby, who is unable to exercise his right to self determination, and the right of an adult woman to determine the course of her life, I despair of having enough common ground to hold a discussion with you.

    Nigel, at first I thought you might have some interesting points to make, now you are just being silly and dripping with contempt and some sort of bitterness. You’re not fun to talk to anymore.

  342. If you don’t know the difference between a man’s responsibility to his innocent baby, who is unable to exercise his right to self determination,

    Jessica, your assumption is that it’s already a baby and therefore someone needs to be responsible for it. That it WILL be a baby is a given and I’m willing to make the threshold date rather low for such an event but that’s neither here nor there unless you are an anti-abortionist. In which case we should take abortion off the table entirely for both man or woman…killing a baby is killing a baby and should be illegal.

    IF you are anti-abortion, that’s fine. I respect that belief and we could have ended this quite a while ago. Instead, you seem to want your cake and eat it too.

    and the right of an adult woman to determine the course of her life

    The woman did determine the course of her life if she picked both religion and husband. Why do you think she did not? That you hold her to a very low opinion comes out in way you describe her beliefs but she most certainly did determine the course of her life. More importantly, she can continue to do so…there is cost (changing religions or at least getting kicked out her current one) but certainly in the US we’re not going to keep her from initiating a divorce just because she’s an orthodox Jew.

    I despair of having enough common ground to hold a discussion with you.

    Well, if you tried to be a little more internally consistent that might help a bit…it’s not that hard. If we’re allowed abortion at all, it’s not a baby. Ergo, no responsibility. If it’s unfair when the shoe is on the woman’s foot, it’s unfair when it’s on the man’s foot. Etc.

    Nigel, at first I thought you might have some interesting points to make, now you are just being silly and dripping with contempt and some sort of bitterness. You’re not fun to talk to anymore.

    Did I poke fun at you? Sure did. And it amused me to do so. Not sure why you think folks that read this blog are too stupid to realize you’re obliquely calling them names and that there won’t be some comeuppance at some point. As such, this was very very mild.

    Dripping with contempt is calling ideas you don’t agree with repugnant, horrific, reprehensible, scumbag, repulsive, appalling, etc. At most I’ve poked some holes in your logic without saying anything nasty or casting very negative value judgements about your position. Why? Because I’m not so contemptuous as to assume you’re too stupid to realize that if I do so that I’m also saying some not very nice things about you for holding repugnant, horrific, reprehensible, scumbagish, repulsive, appalling beliefs.

    Like I said with Eric, it doesn’t bother me when he called me various things (hey, its the internet) but doesn’t make him look very good doing it . In his case, I felt bad about that.

    I am curious though, do you generally find people with repugnant, horrific, reprehensible, scumbagish, repulsive beliefs okay as long as they are still fun to talk to? ‘Cause I find I don’t really want to bother with that sorta thing no matter how great a conversationalist they are.

  343. Any attempt to ‘fix’ the problem (working under the assumption that women can’t be fixed), will have include fixing marriage, or more directly: fixing divorce laws. Men don’t stay away from marriage because p—-y is cheap (plenty of men would like to find a decent woman and have a family), they stay away from marriage because divorce is so expensive.

  344. Jessica, would you prefer I go on for several paragraphs bemoaning the tragic situation of every single “chained” woman, before I make a factual statement that it is exceedingly rare?

    Every one of your statements, every single one, is about your feelings regarding a particular fact, not the fact itself. I could have written an entire book on the problem, with serious arguments as to the real tragedy it is for those who are affected. But no matter what, at the end, when I make that statement of fact, that the problem is, numerically speaking, exceptionally rare, you will belittle me still, calling me an uncaring jerk, just for stating the obvious. There are a hundreds of cases in Israel, with a Jewish population approaching SIX MILLION. That is not being dismissive of the issue. That is putting it in perspective. You, on the other hand, make it sound like there are agunot on every street corner, begging to be liberated from their plight.

    Then, you make assertions you can’t back up. “What I will tell you is that far more women divorce because of fear of violence.” That’s simply a howler, one of many. You believe it, because it feels right to you. It’s not the reality, by far.

    Your bias is clear (calling it “slavery” is pure bias). And yet you seem to place yourself among “the passionately rational” populating this blog. No, the truly passionately rational follow the truth wherever it takes you, and however uncomfortable it makes you feel. If you follow your feelings, you are as irrational as they come. Even though I disagree with ESR on a good many things, he clearly deserves the approbation of “passionately rational” for being willing to follow his observations and inferences to the only correct conclusion, regardless of his discomfort.

    Your feelings control you. “That is true, but it doesn’t make it any less repulsive.” To you. You are repulsed. Those are YOUR feelings, and they are far from universal, even among the women you believe are victims-in-the-making. You are allowed to be repulsed. ESR basically said his own sensibilities are repulsed by his conclusions. But he is man enough to admit that his personal feelings might actually just be…personal feelings, and have no long-term staying power.

  345. Pingback: On Reading « Ironical Coincidings

  346. “If you don’t know the difference between a man’s responsibility to his innocent baby, who is unable to exercise his right to self determination, and the right of an adult woman to determine the course of her life, I despair of having enough common ground to hold a discussion with you.”

    Wait… this looks symmetrical. A woman can end the baby’s life or chose not to take care of it, but the man can’t. This sounds like you have made the man sell a put and a call option to the woman. Its not very equitable, and this is what the men here are complaining about. So long as this and the other put options women have on men exist, men will be very hesitant to enter into marriage and family.

  347. I think you have neglected a major contributing factor: the welfare state as it exists in all western countries.

    Before the welfare state, women had a strong incentive to withhold sex until their mate reliably promised at least to marry them if they got pregnant, because the law didn’t protect women otherwise: the law recognized what all men still do, that sex alone is not an agreement to provide child support. (Birth control and especially abortion make this even more morally true, since a pregnancy does not create a support burden unless the woman chooses afterward to turn it into one.) Indeed, the purpose of marriage was to formalize this pledge in front of lots of witnesses.

    But today, women have all the choices and men have to pay even if they’ve been tricked (she lied about birth control, etc.), and child support (whether from a man or from the welfare department) pays a lot more than it costs to raise a child. Result: many women now get pregnant as a substitute for earning a living. In some ethnic groups a majority of children are born this way.

    Like all welfare state schemes, the bureaucrats whose jobs depend on keeping this situation in place will do so until they run out of other people’s money. After that, and it will happen sooner than you think, America’s economy and politics are going to look like a ’70s banana republic.

  348. # Shimshon Says:
    > Every one of your statements, every single one, is about your feelings regarding a particular fact, not the fact itself

    This sort of claim while rhetorically effective, doesn’t advance the discussion in a helpful way.

    > make it sound like there are agunot on every street corner, begging to be liberated from their plight.

    I find this a curious statement from an orthodox Jew. To the best of my knowledge there is no religion on earth as meticulous about details of their ritual and spiritual purity as the Orthodox Jews. I am reminded of the commands in the Torah that one should not boil a kid in its mother’s milk. On this commandment is built an edifice of great size lest an orthodox Jew should by any accident violate this rather strange restriction. I am not sure if this is admirable or not, however, I am sure it shows a deep commitment to doing what they perceive to be right whatever the cost.

    You seem devout, so no doubt you are meticulous in keeping your dairy and meat apart. And yet you dismiss the plight of hundreds of Israeli women, chained in a slavery from which they have no exit. To say it is exceedingly rare does not seem a particularly compelling argument from one who would never drink a glass of milk while eating a roast beef sandwich. One wonders what is the probability of that milk and that beef coming from the same source?

    An honest religion seeing such a problem would flex and bend and adapt to deal with the injustice they are perpetrating, regardless of how few. But the bayit din hardly is a place where we can expect reason to take precedence over books, thousands of years out of date.

    > Then, you make assertions you can’t back up. “What I will tell you is that far more women divorce because of fear of violence.”

    I suspect you misunderstood me. If you read in context you will see that my meaning was far more women are subject to marital violence that men are subject to marital violence.” Do you question whether that is true or not?

    > Your bias is clear (calling it “slavery” is pure bias).

    No it isn’t, it is just plain semantics. Slavery is at its very core the denial of self determination. You might be offended at the word, I, on the other hand, am offended at the institution.

    > “passionately rational” for being willing to follow his observations and inferences to the only correct conclusion, regardless of his discomfort.

    On this matter, as I have commented extensively above, I think Eric is mistaken. I do not believe that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, which is the essence of the argument. It is indeed a seductive argument, but, I fear, there are few that have lead to more suffering than that one.

    And there is an important difference here. Eric looks at the data, and comes to a conclusion. You do not. You look at the data in light of a book and an oral tradition and then shape the facts to fit this 3000 year old culture. The fact that your are right occasionally is no more surprising than the fact that a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    The implication that, because Eric agrees with one small point of your religious text that somehow it validates in anyway the whole is just silly.

  349. Sorry Shimshon, I have a typo, I meant to say: “far more women are subject to marital violence than men are subject to marital violence.” I hope that clarifies my intent.

  350. Jessica, I am NOT discussing the (very real) plight of these women (and men, which you seem to miss, as women can, and do, refuse to accept the divorce document, keeping their husbands chained). I am not arguing for utopia. YOU are. You keep implying that a single instance of a problem negates an ENTIRE SOCIETY’S VALUES.

    The alternatives to Orthodox society are known.

    In one corner, we have the Catholics, who deny divorce entirely.

    In another corner, we have Islam, where, unlike your imagined slavery in my world, a man can cast his wife off on a whim, and just tell her he divorces her (3x, I guess to make sure he REALLY means it).

    In yet another corner, you have the secular world. Where women have “achieved” so-called sexual equality with men. The result is, in a very quick nutshell, men see absolutely no reason to commit to women, because they can get what they want from them without having to give anything in return. Further, secular society degrades the status of men to such a degree that there are far more cases of men who are forced (talk about REAL slavery!) by the state to provide for children they didn’t even father than there are agunot in the entire world! Do you mourn for these men, who might never be able to father children of their own, because they are literally enslaved to support children that are not even theirs? That’s just ONE issue. There are MANY problems with modern secular society, but I am not picking on any one issue like you are, and knocking it because of that.

    You are not discussing things with me, because you seem to insist on some sort of utopia that never existed in all of recorded history, and will never exist either. There are trade-offs to ANY values a society adapts. ESR happens to recognize that the trade-offs in a “patriarchal” society are better-adapted to the long-term survival of such a culture. That’s all.

    Are there problems? I never said there weren’t! I never denied problems, and I never belittled them. I said, that when looked at in perspective, those problems are, in the context of the ENTIRE society, composed of MILLIONS, absolutely minute. They are addressable. Believe it or not, in this particular subject, judges are not indifferent to the suffering of the individuals involved. They do try to resolve each and every case, but some are just intractable, and can take years and years to end.

    Castigating that culture or its values doesn’t change anything.

    A hundred years from now, the equalitarian-feminist society will be on the same ash-heap as communism, while traditional societies will still be going strong.

  351. “far more women are subject to marital violence than men are subject to marital violence.” Do you question whether that is true or not?

    Some men support groups cite various studies to show that the rate of marital violence is far more equal than most folks think.

    2005 Ireland NCC Study:

    15% of women and 6% of men suffer severe domestic abuse
    29% of women and 26% of men suffer domestic abuse when severe and
    minor abuse are combined
    13% of women and 13% of men suffer physical abuse
    29% of women (1 in 3) and only 5% of men (1 in 20) report to the Gardaí

    2001 MRCS Report (Ireland)

    “where domestic violence occurs, mutual violence accounts for 33% of cases, female perpetrated violence accounts for 41% and male perpetrated violence for 26%.”

    2003 ACCORD research (Ireland)

    “women were perpetrators in 30% of domestic violence cases, men were perpetrators in 23% of cases and mutual violence accounted for 48%”

    Boyle and Todd (UK)

    “The incidence of domestic violence was 1.2%. The lifetime prevalence of domestic violence was 22.4% among men and 22.1% among women.”

    BBC Here and NOW MORI Poll (UK)

    “One in five (18 percent) of men have been victims of domestic violence by a wife or female partner as opposed to 13 percent of women by a man.

    One in nine women admit to having used physical aggression against a husband or male partner (compared to one in ten men)”

    History of Domestic Violence among Male Patients Mechem, Shoger, et al (US)

    “Almost 13% of men in this sample population had been victims of domestic violence committed by a female intimate partner within the previous year.”

    http://www.amen.ie/Papers/15270.htm

    That men under report even more than women makes sense to me. Most guys simply wouldn’t tell anyone. It would be too embarrassing. It’s also true that men are typically larger and do more damage. A punch does a lot more than a slap. A shove from a 180 lb guy does more than a shove from a 90 lb woman.

    Some of these are surveys and police statistics show far more women report domestic violence. Whether you believe that men under report to the degree required to make up the difference depends on your biases.

    One statistic is more objective. The spousal murder rate was fairly close in the US…around 1.3 wives murdered for every husband according to a 1976 study. The gap has widened in the last 35 years with male death rates dropping more than female death rates.

    http://psych.mcmaster.ca/dalywilson/WhoKills.pdf

    Would I dispute that far more women are seriously harmed by men than vice versa? Nope. Guys are bigger and other than female predilection for throwing heavy objects the type of violence is more likely to cause significant injury. And guys are naturally more violent than girls tempered slightly by the societal training that boys aren’t supposed to hit girls.

    Would I question that far more women are subject to overall domestic violence than men? Yep. Women are more handicapped by size, training and throwing like girls than actual desire for spousal injury looking at the data. Coupled with the far less likely chance of actual injury I can believe that a woman is more likely to throw a slap than a guy throw a punch. If reported the guy gets laughed at for reporting the slap and thrown in jail for throwing the punch.

    Do I think that actual data would change your opinion on the matter? Probably not. You never responded to the maternal health risk of carrying to full term vs abortion data. Just an inconvenient fact to gloss over I suppose.

  352. Shimshon Says:
    >Jessica, I am NOT discussing the (very real) plight of these women (and men, which you seem to miss, as women can, and do, refuse to accept the divorce document, keeping their husbands chained). I am not arguing for utopia. YOU are.

    I’m not arguing for utopia, just the elimination of various aspects of hell.

    >You keep implying that a single instance of a problem negates an ENTIRE SOCIETY’S VALUES.

    Not at all. The inflexibility of a particular society to deal with an important issue (important to the victim anyway) is certainly a proxy for the culture as a whole. At the very root is a basic assumption that an old book, and an oral tradition (which is ironically a written down tradition) is the canonical source of all moral decision making. The fact that this book is old, and consequently cannot realistically take the measure of modern problems is at the heart of this issue. Perhaps in a primitive society divorce was of sufficient import that a woman had to accept having the crap beaten out of her, or being stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, because they can’t find her husband’s dead body, but today that is no longer the case.

    So, this one problem is illustrative of a broader topic. And it is your implication that the fact that Eric apparently agrees with one aspect of your old book, somehow offers his imprimatur to the whole that is the real source of space cadet extrapolation going on here.

    Nonetheless, for last week, shana tova umetukah, and on Friday, if you so desire, l’shanah haba’ah birushalayim.

  353. nigel Says:
    > Some men support groups cite various studies to show that the rate of marital violence is far more equal than most folks think.

    Yes, keep saying stuff like that, it really boosts your credibility.

  354. @ Jessica Boxer

    Actually he’s right. Every recent study seems to agree with him.

  355. In another corner, we have Islam, where, unlike your imagined slavery in my world, a man can cast his wife off on a whim, and just tell her he divorces her (3x, I guess to make sure he REALLY means it).

    It gets even sillier than that. Similar to Japanese “love hotels” who offer beds by the hour, Islamic society has opportunistic imams who will marry you to that enticing prostitute you found for a few hours, let you do your business and then divorce the two of you afterwards. Fucking brill.

  356. # Jeff Read Says:
    > Fucking brill.

    No pun intended I presume? Nonetheless, I actually think it is great. I think any hack that allows people to circumvent the brain numbing stupidity of religion is largely a good thing. Of course, that is also because I am in favor of legalizing prostitution. I often wonder how any feminist who says of abortion: “her body, her choice”, can then subsequently oppose legalized prostitution.

    It is interesting to think how the inevitable reduction in cost of commercial sex that would come about as the result of legalization would affect Eric’s calculus in his OP.

  357. Jessica, it’s not a “nice hack”. Hacks of this sort are necessary band-aids to get around limitations imposed by the deep problem of religion in the first place — and they tend to favor the wealthy and well-connected. The Catholic Church forbids divorce but allows the loophole of annulment. Henry VIII got four marriages annulled; lesser couples probably have to meet more stringent criteria than he to receive the same benefit.

    Class issues aside, I said the situation was silly precisely because Islamic proscriptions are so at odds with human nature (particularly Arab nature[0]) as to necessitate such “hacks”. Anyway I agree with you that prostitution should be legalized. There is no hypocrisy in the rad-fem perspective; radical feminists know that they would deny women some choices, like the choice of getting a job as a stripper or whore, and have absolutely no qualms about it –because they feel that these choices negatively affect all women by creating a market for exploitation. Left wingers are closet control freaks. Who knew, amirite?

    [0]Arabs notoriously tend to be horny, much like their Mediterranean neighbors, the Spaniards and Italians — which would make Islamic sexual repression and the attendant blaming and victimization of women even more risible if it weren’t so tragic. I am acquainted with a rather strikingly attractive woman who was stationed in Saudi Arabia while serving with the Air Force during Gulf War I; she tells me that Saudi men were frequently and shamelessly leering at and hitting on her.

  358. # Jeff Read Says:
    > Jessica, it’s not a “nice hack”.

    I said it was a hack, not a nice hack. Nonetheless, I very much agree with your sentiments. There are a number of ways that people hack their religion to make it more acceptable, as always happens when an insane rigidity ossifies any system dealing with human behavior. This is not, in fairness, restricted to religion. Many of the comments you make might equally apply to our income tax system for example.

    > she tells me that Saudi men were frequently and shamelessly leering at and hitting on her.

    And that is different from Omaha, NE exactly how? :-)

    (BTW, the more observant reader might have notice my second mention of Omaha. I think it is on my mind because I have been watching all four season of “The Big Bang Theory” over the past few weeks. Absolutely hilarious. Highly recommended.)

  359. @esr

    It is not “conservative” to suspend judgment until we can say “OK, we did the experiment, and pre-1960 norms turn out to work better”. Conservatives wouldn’t experiment in the first place.

    So, who is responsible for cleaning up the mess afterward? Or is anyone here suggesting we’re not in a mess at all, and that the current state of society-wide affairs is better now than previously? Can we even clean up the mess, or a has genie been let out that can not be put back? Human societies are not mechanical or even electronic systems with reasonably predictable outcomes. You can’t do an experiment and then reset the conditions.

  360. @Matt Minton:

    The mess cleans itself up. The populations that have been infected with anti-natalist memes will self destruct and be replaced by populations that have resisted them. Thus Mormons, fundamentalist christians, orthodox jews and conservative catholics will gain population in the US. In europe, conservative Muslims will have the same function.

  361. @Doc

    Perhaps, yes, at the macro level, but what of the destruction caused at the micro (individual) level. Untold resources have been frittered away over the last 50 years to find out that, oh, yeah, it really was a better system. People’s lives have been, in some cases literally, destroyed. I have serious ethical problems with this.

  362. Yes, keep saying stuff like that, it really boosts your credibility.

    As expected, no rebuttal regarding data, just an ad hom. I guess you’re feeling somewhat ganged up upon since so many disagree with you.

    /shrug

    Data speaks for itself and requires no other forms of credibility. In fact, most data is best looked at with a very critical eye. There’s a lot of potential weaknesses in the research and the conclusions drawn but the sources are cited and folks can make up their own minds. It’s clearly stated from “men support groups” which means the studies cited likely have a bias toward their own needs. That’s no different than studies cited by women support groups will suffer from a similar bias…

    Like most things the truth likely lays somewhere in the middle. Spousal violence is going to be male dominated but not to the degree some folks believe. Thus, arguments presented like “far more women suffer than men” ARE subject to question when asserted as truth.

    Passionately rational folks might agree with that assessment. Others? Not so much.

  363. @Matt Minton

    Given it’s not really an experiment why would you have serious ethical problems? It’s not like there’s some secret organization out there playing with societal norms to see what happens.

    Some things are worse, yes. A lot of things are MUCH better. Societal norms of the 50s and 60s were great if you were white male. I would wager far more lives saved from misery than destroyed. Far better that society was able to evolve than to remain static. Static societies never are anyway and rarely prosper when external forces exist.

  364. Nigel Says:
    > As expected, no rebuttal regarding data, just an ad hom. … Data speaks for itself and requires no other forms of credibility.

    That is just plain silly. Data does not speak for itself, as anyone familiar with statistics and propaganda knows. For example, I imagine I can find many studies funded by big oil that say there is no such thing as AGW, and I can find many studies funded by big government that say there is such a thing as AGW. Meta data is crucial to the understanding of “studies”. As you yourself equivocated on the source, one wonders where you’re confidence in this data come from.

    The plain fact is that “studies” and “data” in casual conversation are for the most part useless, especially when there is evidence of a biased source, or when some political contra common sense conclusion is being pushed. This is simply because statistics are chaotic. Tiny changes in the initial conditions dramatically impact the results. Of course, in carefully considered science data is extremely useful, but only so if great efforts are taken to validate it. The question as to whether it is worth validating is often answered by the meta data.

    I might add, even in carefully considered science, data dealing with human behavior is notoriously difficult to manage. For example, something that one would think would be pretty concrete and readily measured as “how many times are guns used in the defense of homes” is profoundly controversial in criminology circles, studies varying in answer by several orders of magnitude.

    The “men’s movement” is a lot like feminism, ironically. Many of the basic premises are sound, and do address injustices perpetrated against men. However, as often is the case, it quickly moves from the sensible to the radical, and thence to the crazy. Again, feminism isn’t any different in that sense. I think women should be treated equally before the law. I do not believe all sex is rape. (Though in fairness McKinnon never actually claimed that.) The feminist movement reaches all the way from sensible demands to raw misandry, and the men’s movement also reaches from sensible demands all the way to raw misogyny.

    There is a saying that if you torture the data for long enough it will confess. People with agendas love to use data fresh from strappado to advance their points of view.

    > I guess you’re feeling somewhat ganged up upon since so many disagree with you.

    I’m a libertarian; I detest religion; I’m a Windows programmer posting on ESR’s blog. I’m used to being in the minority. Echo chambers are boring.

    >Some things are worse, yes. A lot of things are MUCH better. Societal norms of the 50s and 60s were great if you were white male.

    On this point I agree. I doubt there are too many people without a religious agenda who would want to rewind fifty years.

  365. That is just plain silly. Data does not speak for itself, as anyone familiar with statistics and propaganda knows. For example, I imagine I can find many studies funded by big oil that say there is no such thing as AGW, and I can find many studies funded by big government that say there is such a thing as AGW. Meta data is crucial to the understanding of “studies”. As you yourself equivocated on the source, one wonders where you’re confidence in this data come from.

    It’s not silly if the authors provide the raw data and the method in which it was acquired. Can you cherry pick data to advance a specific cause? Sure thing. Can you structure data gathering to produce the desired values? Sure thing. But typically organizations built to help individuals in times of crisis aren’t going to falsify data, they’re just going to highlight the results of studies that favor them. Determining the validity requires not replicating the studies but a literature search to determine if the results are common or outliers.

    The data comes from various government orgs and from some academic papers.

    The presumption is that when providing a challenge (“Do you dispute this?”) then when data that does dispute whatever “this” is can be refuted by a larger, more comprehensive body of knowledge that explains why the opposing data is incorrect or localized (relevant to the US only or Ireland only for example).

    Your assertion is likely based largely on police reports of domestic violence where the ratios are quite high. There’s all sorts of problems with that. How can you be sure what you stated is true? These studies are based on self reporting (whether by phone or in the ER) where the ratios are a lot closer. There’s all sorts of problems with that. But how can you be sure that they aren’t closer to reality?

    I’m not touching AGW. I believe that climate change is occurring based on the studies I’ve skimmed. I don’t think it matters much why, just that we should strive to mitigate the effects with as minimal disruption as possible. I’m also open to the idea that the rate of climate change isn’t as dire as folks suggest but the recent physical effects have been very striking and obvious. Given that tipping points do exist, it would behoove the human race to apply whatever corrective action is desired before “mitigating the effects” becomes a herculean task.

  366. Ah, I failed to address my main point…it doesn’t matter really what my semi-anonymous credibility are if I can point to reasonable studies that suggests your assertion is incorrect. Folks that agree with my positions likely assign me higher credibility than folks that disagree anyway.

    Granted, if I’m a crackpot constantly pointing at conspiracist sites the odds that folks will investigate further are reduced but the data itself (or studies if you will) requires a passionately rational individual to at least determine if they have merit and if so, some rational reason why they don’t apply irrespective of the crackpot that brings them up.

  367. Ok thanks for your thoughts Nigel. As I said fifty comments ago, I am thankful that your idea on how to deal with accidental pregnancy will never get implemented, though no doubt the present situation is messed up.

    However, today I am feeling kind of mortal, and this jejune discussion doesn’t seem so interesting anymore.

  368. In the USA if current trends continue in 100 years Anabaptists and Hasidic Jews will constitute the majority of Americans.

  369. @Floccina
    “In the USA if current trends continue in 100 years Anabaptists and Hasidic Jews will constitute the majority of Americans.”

    Don’t forget the Mormons.

  370. College student here. I definitely agree that women are setting their standards retardedly high, but there’s another problem that goes along with that. Guys are horny, and if we can’t get our first choice we keep working our way down the rankings until we find a woman who’s willing to sleep with us. Unfortunately, thanks to hypergamy and that 80th-percentile skew, that pretty much leaves the “crazy bitches,” the stupid, and the physically deformed. The saying goes, “hot, smart, sane: pick two.” This in turn gives rise to all the wailing and gnashing of teeth on 4chan, Reddit, and the rest of the Internet. I don’t think we’re headed for Idiocracy, but I do think that we need to stop building up the “every girl is a princess” fantasy.

  371. I think sexual repression is an over-rated notion. I never have had a woman, and I don’t feel I missed a thing. I have heard to many sad stories about men who have had women and about women who have had men. Having a woman is like having a bloated browser with useless gadgets. It’s a love-hate relationship that I don’t need.

  372. You will have sex or not survive. By survive I mean pass on your genetic code, because that is how you will live beyond the limit of your puny human body. Quit over-analyzing sex: you get some or you don’t, either way it’s all up to you.

  373. > esr Says:
    > Conservatives wouldn’t experiment in the first place.

    I love this quote.

  374. Regarding fears about the low non-Hispanic birth rate in the U.S.A.:

    When parents gain the power to choose to not have children, then two or three generations later (the time it takes for the original generation of parents to die off) practically the entire population will consist of people who want to have children.

    Assuming the currently-shrinking population in the U.S.A. doesn’t pass some lower-bound point-of-no-return, that population should then start to bounce back within a few generations.

    Changes in that new population vs the present population:

    1) Practically everybody will want to have children.
    2) Quality of children will be more important than quantity. Remember these people had birth control available so they had exactly the number of kids they desired.
    3) Except for a subset of the population descending from religious parents that do not believe in birth control.

    Did I miss anything?

  375. @ Shawn Yarbrough

    Having fewer children does not mean higher quality children.

    1) It results in lower variance of genetic quality within a family, so there will be fewer kids that are above the standard deviation for that family.
    2) As Bryan Caplan has discovered from twin studies the nurture effect of parents beyond a very basic levels is TINY.

  376. Cathy Says:

    > I recommend the book “Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough” by Lori Gottleib.
    > If you remember reading the “Marry Him” article in Atlantic monthly a few years back, yes, this
    > is an expanded version by the same author. She is a 41-year-old never-married woman who
    > has watched the quality of the men available in her dating pool fall steadily every decade of her life.

    The Atlantic is on a roll.
    This time with a 39-year-old.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/8654/?single_page=true

  377. I don’t buy this paradigm that “Women withhold sex because they want commitment and men try to get as much sex as possible without committing.”

  378. @Jessica Boxer

    The quote was made by Dworkins and later ascribed to McKinnon the actual quote was
    “Intercourse is the pure, sterile, formal expression of men’s contempt for women,”
    close enough to “all sex is rape” surely?
    Peter

  379. It’s saddening to know that many women don’t value the importance of sex anymore. It proves how hard times are now. :(

  380. I haven’t gone into the statistics seriously enough to be especially confident that this model of human sexual behavior is true, but it makes enough sense that I can label it as “roughly true.”

    How do you live in a world where “reproductive success” and sexual/social equality can’t coexist? Well, in my case, you decide that reproductive success doesn’t matter. I’m not strongly motivated to have a lot of children. I’m not strongly motivated to “marry up” either. I care about professional success and personal autonomy.

    I don’t believe that *individual* women have an obligation to make reproductive choices that benefit the demographics of the US or the West; it’s still my womb, last I heard. This essay reads as though it’s societies that make decisions, rather than individuals. But there is no “we” that decides when to have sex or how many children to have.

  381. >This essay reads as though it’s societies that make decisions, rather than individuals. But there is no “we” that decides when to have sex or how many children to have.

    No, and I’m a libertarian; I wouldn’t want it otherwise.

    The grim thing about this analysis is that it suggests that in the long run individual preferences won’t matter as much as you or I would like. Societies in which the individuals put a higher average value on reproduction will outcompete and survive societies in which individuals put a lower average value value on it. The future will belong to those who show up for it.

  382. >The future will belong to those who show up for it.

    Yeah, I agree with that. What’s good for an individual in the short run may not be good for the population in the long run. Sometimes you have to choose one or the other.

  383. Why marry? Why do we have a sexual problem? I don’t get why you think it has to be pro evolutionary. I for my part choose be happy and resign my evolution. I have no interest in human survival. I have interest in love. If a righteous human is a extinct human then so be it.

    Even if I my stance is shared by just a tiny fraction of all individuals, what do I care if I fail to reproduce myself as long as I live the way I feel good and just about it? (I don’t need my own genetic descendants to be happy)

  384. Actually at the worldwide plane, but what of the destruction caused at the micro (individual) level. innumerable resources have been frittered away over the last 50 years to find out that, oh, yeah, it really was a better organization. People’s lives have been, in some cases accurately, destroyed. I have grave moral harms among this.Thanks

  385. You really ought to separate facts from stereotypes concerning women. Also, most couples prefer cohabitation to marriage anyway.

  386. You are so stuck on rigid gender roles that you can’t see your own biases…though you’re trying, you are being extremely sexist.

  387. I have been depressed about sexual repression most of my life because I grew up in the Midwest in a fundamentalist Christian environment.
    One excellent solution available to men who are surrounded by prude, repressive women is to experiment with homosexuality. Gay men can usually satisfy a “straight” male much better than a woman who is obsessed about staying “morally pure.”
    Ironically, it is the repressive churches that are causing the women to be prude and encouraging men like me to have gay sex.

  388. “Female hypergamy means that the alpha males will have more women than they know what to do with, but the corrolary is that there are fewer women to go around for the average beta male providers. The beauty of a regime where monogamous relationships are the rule is that a woman is ensured (more or less) for every man. The only men who suffer are the alphas who are effecitively denied harems. But society gains because there is not a surplus population of sexually frustrated men.”
    How does society gain by allowing weak, genetically inferior “Beta” males to reproduce and add inferior genes to the gene pool? Furthermore, how does society gain by
    severlely limiting genetically SUPERIOR Alpha males from reproducing with multiple females, creating a greater magnitude of genetic variability among his genetically superior offspring?

    Oh, I get it, despite your own words (Alpha and Beta) you seem to think all men are created equal, lol! Well buddy, we’ve learned through science that were not really “created”, we’re more or less “biologically manufactured” from the genetic “blueprints” of two people. And the genetic compatability of those two people determines our reproductive fitness. Since no two persons’ genetic make up will be exactly the same, we are therefore, NOT equal. And weaker men should not be afforded equal rights, including the right to a woman to reproduce with.
    The fact of the matter is, there are SO MANY genetically inferior individuals over populating the globe and over consuming its resources that the superior, reproductively fit individuals, find it difficult to sift through the trash to find someone appropriate to breed with. Its sickening

  389. OK, partly coupling up is about women “bidding” for men to marry them. Yes, women do want to marry up. But a very large part of the reason many young men don’t want to marry is their awareness of the likelyhood of a tragic outcome for them. They have seen their parents divorce, or their friends’ parents. The mother got custody of the kids, the house and child support; and the dad got the bills. Most liikely the mother initiated the divorce, and she took from the father her loving, his sex life, his contact with his kids, and his money. So when young men consider marriage, they see a 50/50 chance of a horrendous tragedy down the road. That makes them reluctant to commit themselves to such a risky relationship.

    When fathers get to keep the house and their kids, and divorcing women get thier freedom and visition rights, we’ll see the eagerness of young men to marry come right back to pre-1950s levels.

    Dale

  390. Now that the book “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster” by Jonathan V. Last has been published, we’re starting to see more discussion of this issue.

    The graph in the article below (see link) is pretty powerful and makes ESR’s point. Fertility rate is strongly correlated with gender inequality.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/02/lets-not-panic-over-women-with-more-education-having-fewer-kids/273070/

    ESR, any interest in returning to this topic?

  391. Pingback: What if it really was like that? • bring back unix

  392. Just throwing this out on an old post. I think one very critical thing is being missed. The last generation has been one of wage suppression: outsourcing, free trade…. That wage suppression has hit males harder than females. It may not require a change in the ideology of equality but rather techniques to raise male status in particular making sure that there are large number of high paying male jobs.

    For example in the United States there are a huge number of infrastructure projects which are construction jobs we are choosing not to do. Going back to a mid century infrastructure policy to catch up would create something like 5m additional high status men for a generation. Raising military pay and making marrying a soldier would have a similar effect. Laws designed to drive up the cost of farm labor. Among the more educated men are drawn disproportionately to engineering and programming jobs, jobs that have been aggressively outsourced through trade. Put in place harsh restrictions to make that difficult.

    I think the problem may be fixable by changing the economy not the sociology.

  393. Societies in which the individuals put a higher average value on reproduction will outcompete and survive societies in which individuals put a lower average value value on it.

    That isn’t precisely true. There is a problem with that analysis in that it assumes that societies are in a pure numbers game. Were that the case the planet would be dominated by bacteria with a few insects and nothing else.

    Survival matters a great deal. There are 40m Irish in American and 8m Irish in Ireland. Only a tiny fraction of the Irish immigrated. That’s what a difference in survival rates and success fates does in about 5 generations. Consider how few of the humans living 50 generations ago have any living descendants. In any reasonable numbers it may be the top or 2% or so that win the breeding game. Everybody else’s children don’t make the 50 generation test. Now 50 generations for humans is a very long time, that’s today to the end of the dark ages.

    You are making the assumption in this essay that merely having children has much effect on who wins long term. There is a bit of a demographic shortage right now. But it is recent and mostly seems to be a result of societies adopting economic policies which make the cost of having children quite high and the benefits quite low. Societies which have flexible economic structures might very well be able to adjust their populations more effectively around need and thus have far more of their people win that 2% breeding game.

    For example. Females in conservative cultures that are repressive might find males from liberal cultures more advantageous to them. Pursuing their own self interest they may marry out and thus allowing the liberal males to breed with genetically superior females. That kind of asymmetry will very quickly reverse a larger number of children per female in the more conservative culture.

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