Sorry, Ansari: a praxeologist looks at the latest scandalette

This is an expanded version of a comment I left on Megan McArdle’s post
Listen to the ‘Bad Feminists’ in which she muses on the “Grace”-vs.-Aziz-Ansari scandalette and wonders why younger women report feeling so powerless and used.

It’s not complicated, Megan. You actually got most of it already, but I don’t think you quite grasp how comprehensive the trap is yet. Younger women feel powerless because they live in a dating environment where sexual license has gone from an option to a minimum bid.

I’m not speaking as a prude or moralist here, but as a…well, the technical term is ‘praxeologist’ but few people know it so I’ll settle for “micro-economist”. The leading edge of the sexual revolution give women options they didn’t have before; its completion has taken away many of the choices they used to have by trapping them in a sexual-competition race for the bottom.

“Grace” behaved as she did because she doesn’t have a realistic option to hold out for romance before sex; women who do that put themselves at high risk of not getting second dates, there are too many others willing to play by the new rules. So she has to do sex instead and hope lightning strikes.

Couple this with the fact that as women get on average more educated there are fewer hypergamically-eligible males at every SES, and you have the jaws of a vicious vise. It’s especially hard on high-status women and low-status men. The main beneficiaries are high-status men, who often behave like entitled assholes because the new rules tilt the playing field in their favor even more than the old ones did.

(That last is not aimed at Ansari, who seems to me to have behaved quite like a gentleman, acceding to every request “Grace” actually made. It’s not his fault he couldn’t read her mind.)

I don’t have a fix for this problem. As you imply, if women were able to coordinate a retreat to withholding early sex they would regain some of their lost bargaining power, but I don’t see any realistic possibility of this today. The problem is that the refuseniks from such an agreement trying to form, and the defectors after it formed, would be rewarded with more sex with high-status men, which is exactly what every player on the female side is instinctively wired to want.

I’ve noted before that, as separate issue from hypergamy, women seem to be wired to want more sex on more casual terms than is actually good for their prospects of landing a parenting partner. This makes the defection problem more difficult – it means that coordinating a change wouldn’t just be fighting instrumental rationality with too short a time horizon, but some kind of holdover from the environment of ancestral adaptation that makes women irrationally willing.

So the fix, if there were one, would have to be imposed on all women. Good luck with that; religion has lost the power to do it and there is no other institution even positioned to try. Ironically, the most vociferous opposition to such an imposition attempt would come from…feminists. And there’d be little help from high-status men, either.

This all makes some sense of the extreme repressiveness of many traditional societies, including our own until recently. The old ways had features we now find ugly and unacceptable, but maybe that was the best adaptation they could manage to a hard problem! It is unlikely we can go back…”How ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm”, and all that. But what do we do to go forward?

245 thoughts on “Sorry, Ansari: a praxeologist looks at the latest scandalette

  1. Do you have a link to the comment itself, or am I going to have to go best 2 falls out of 3 with Discus?

    (The followups there should be fascinating)

    • >Do you have a link to the comment itself, or am I going to have to go best 2 falls out of 3 with Discus?

      That’s weird. I can no longer find it.

      • I can almost guarantee you that your comment was caught in the language filters unless you went through some effort to obfuscate trigger words. Including “sex” and “sexual.” Accented characters and deliberate misspellings are the typical dodge, but some people use various html dodges – the regex matcher we call Nanny is quite simple-minded.

        There is no appeal and no way other than obfuscation around it. You can see the wide variety of Nanny dodges in other comments there.

        • I wondered if Discus had something like that as I have had posts disappear. But since most of my posting are when I am not quite sober, I was never sure.

        • so the “soci‍alist” trick to avoid equating a political system with boner pills might work there too.

          Tyop Alert: “women seen to be wired to want more sex” seems like it ought to be “seem”.

          • Nanny does not have a Scunthorpe problem – one of the trigger words is “Jew” – but both “Jews” and “Jewish” pass.

            (Why the one triggers is an often-sked question, never answered)

  2. > But what do we do to go forward?

    Abundant, cheap, high-status male sex bots . And a complete ban on female sex bots. :P

        • Unlike Lake Woebegone, in the real world not everyone can be above average. And the next time your sewer backs up, try calling a lawyer or a doctor.

        • f they were worthwhile, they wouldn’t be low-status.

          Or male.

          So in that regime, what investment do low-status males have in the society? When they are entirely excluded from the sexual/social portion of life?

          I submit that it is exceedingly dangerous to thus alienate a quarter of the men in our culture. However low-status they are, they are still men. They can fight, they can use weapons, they can labor and pay taxes. They can hurt the women and high-status men who make such a show of despising them.

          Hold them in contempt as much as you want, but you are a fool if you disregard the threat they represent.

          • Low status men have lots of sex with lots of low status women. They don’t take part in caring for the progeny either. The decline in religion and the accompanying loss of sexual reticent has produced a tidal wave of out of wedlock births and associated poverty in lower and working class women. Upper class women have largely continued to hold the view that marriage should come before pregnancy. Abortion are easy to obtain but the residual religious sentiment has made this unpalatable to large swathes of the culture so often grandparents of bastard children are forced to provide care.

            • All those out-of-wedlock births are not results, but causes, of the loss of sexual reticence and of religion. The cause of those births is threefold: (1) the welfare system, which enables all those single women to make what they consider a good living by breeding; (2) the child support enforcement system, which eliminates their need to insist on marriage; and (3) the lack of good male birth control other than the condom, which would enable men to avoid problem (2).

      • Exactly. Making sexbots that appeal to men is technically challenging, but we can easily imagine a technology capable of producing robots with an appealing physical appearance and reasonably engaging behavior.

        But to appeal to women a sexbot needs to be high-status relative to its owner, and it’s hard to imagine any way to accomplish that. The mere fact that she can give it orders will cause its appeal to rapidly decline, regardless of its appearance or performance. I can’t see women buying machines that aren’t programmed to obey their orders, so the whole idea is a non-starter.

        Instead, we’re probably going to see a sexual marketplace where more and more men decide to buy sexbots instead of dating, while the women continue to chase high-status men. Which means the women will have to compete with sexbots as well as other women, creating an even more brutal competitive environment than the present one.

        • >Instead, we’re probably going to see a sexual marketplace where more and more men decide to buy sexbots instead of dating, while the women continue to chase high-status men. Which means the women will have to compete with sexbots as well as other women, creating an even more brutal competitive environment than the present one

          That’s the outcome I foresee as well.

          I think the most likely post-sexbot equilibrium is that the future mating market will put a very high premium on women who are sufficiently agreeable with and and deferential to men that the combination of those traits with being, er, real, will outbid sexbot algorithms. There’s room for a range of outcomes here because not all men have the same utility function, but over most of the range traditional femininity – including submissiveness to men – will make a huge comeback.

          This projection has nothing to do with what I personally want, BTW. Anybody who described my wife as “submissive” would be begging to have his or her ass kicked. By the selfsame wife, who recently achieved a master’s sash in the martial art we both train in.

          • I expect all of that, but I also expect a more explicit separation of the market for sex from the market for having children. Which is good for anyone who wants one but feels forced into providing the other instead.

          • Are you assuming that women will put a high premium on “no sex-bot” relationships? I suspect a common pattern in a sex-bot future would be “husband, wife, sex-bot mistress/concubine.” That would fit into a tradition-shaped hole, and would match male genitals being sized for 1.5 mates.

            My thought is that having a concubine-bot on the side will lower most men’s demand for their human women to be deferential, compliant, and submissive – sexually, and in general by extension. On the other hand, a woman looking for a man to accept her exclusively, without a concubine-bot on the side, will have to make that high bid of being agreeable with and and deferential to men. Because the man will want a supply 1.5 mates worth of willing and even eager sex from her, without that willingness also signaling a high chance of her cuckolding him. Which works out to her being under his thumb in general.

        • > to appeal to women a sexbot needs to be high-status relative to its owner,

          So, it has to be needlessly expensive, like a designer handbag?

  3. @esr: (That last is not aimed at Ansari, who seems to me to have behaved quite like a gentleman, acceding to every request “Grace” actually made. It’s not his fault he couldn’t read her mind.)

    I’ve seen a lot of this over the years. Part of the problem is that the critical parts of the mating dance are non-verbal, and what either side really wants is not likely to be explicitly stated up front. (Indeed, a lot of the “really wants” may be unconscious, and only surface when one party feels dissatisfied because they aren’t getting what they want, but had not consciously thought through what they were looking for.)

    A late friend of mine was talking about signed contracts, where it was explicitly stated by each party as to what they wanted to get from the relationship. In his case, it was lots of sex, so the negotiation would reduce to “I want lots of sex from you. What do want from me in exchange to make it something you are willing to provide?”

    The question is why Grace wasn’t explicit about what she wanted from Ansari. My suspicion that being upfront with a prospective mate about just what you want is something women aren’t raised to do and find difficult when it’s required (assuming they can verbalize it to begin with.)

    (I was in a relationship years back where the woman I was involved with would blow up in an hours long screaming match over something I had done and shouldn’t have, or had not done and should, but never stated just what it was. Queries got a “You don’t know?” reply, and that was one more reason to be upset with me. I met her parents, and concluded that was how her mother dealt with her father, and my former girlfriend had internalized “Oh. That’s how you deal with the man in your life!” beginning at a pre-verbal age. Making clear that was not how to deal with me was an ongoing challenge.)

    I’ve noted before that, as separate issue from hypergamy, women seen to be wired to want more sex on more casual terms than is actually good for their prospects of landing a parenting partner.

    There’s a variety of finch in the British isles that has evolved a solution for this. The female is promiscuous, and mates with more than one male, but expels the semen of all but the one she wants to fertilize her eggs. Each of the males who mated with her thinks he might be the sire, and participates in finding food and defending the nest. I suspect some of the poly relationships may be attempts to solve that sort of problem, though who the father is is likely to be known.

    This all makes some sense of the extreme repressiveness of many traditional societies, including our own until recently. The old ways had features we now find ugly and unacceptable, but maybe that was the best adaptation they could manage to a hard problem!

    Part of the question is just what problem was being solved. It may go broader and deeper than the specific case discussed.

    Whenever people live together in a society, there must be agreement on acceptable behavior. We call the agreement “culture” or “morality”. We call the written down version “law”. But the agreement exists, or the society does not survive. And all societies have controls to enforce behavioral norms. The controls may be internal or external (and a control internal in one society may be external in another), but they will be there.

    Many things we find inexplicable or outright unacceptable arose because they at one point aided the survival of the society which practiced them. The nature of the problems confronting the societies often revolved around control of reproduction, which meant control of women who could bear young, insuring that happened in a manner acceptable to and insuring the survival of the society. But survival of the society was paramount. The effect on individual members of the society was largely irrelevant. Our society, with a focus on the individual, tends to find that especially hard to comprehend.

    >Dennis

    • >Many things we find inexplicable or outright unacceptable arose because they at one point aided the survival of the society which practiced them.

      Careful. You’ve stumbled into or at least near a fallacy here. There is no “society” to decide what the rules are going to be; all the thinking goes in inside individual human minds. Before you can say that rules evolved to aid the survival of the society rather than individual members, you need an account of how the goal “survival of society” is expressed by individual preferences and the strategy towards it then executed by individuals.

      • Oh, nonsense. There is always a society. “Society” is a collection of individuals, and the ongoing expression of that collection of individuals.

        I did not say above that a discrete entity called “society” formulated the rules – only that following them aided the continued existence of the collection of individuals that made up the society.

        Part of the issue is that the importance of the individual differs between societies. Consider China, where the family is the critical social unit, or Japan, where the individual derives just about everything from the group they are part of. What an individual thinks is likely to be far less important in such a society unless the individual is at the top of the status heap.

        I have no idea what individuals first came up with some of the practices we find inexplicable, or what they were thinking when they did it. I don’t think that can be known. I can only judge by results – the society still exists – and ask what problem the rules were intended to solve.

        As mentioned above, the problem was likely control of reproduction.

        An example is the practice of clitoridectomy in some sub-Saharan cultures. In those cultures, you are a member of a family, your family is part of a clan, and your clan is part of a tribe. The most important thing to know about you is what family you come from. Family descent is patrilineal, so the question is “Who is your father?”

        Bastardy is a major problem in a culture like that, and can destabilize the society. So the cultures that practice clitoridectomy are consciously and deliberately reducing the pleasure a woman can take in sex, to reduce the reasons she might have sex with and become pregnant by a man not her lawful husband, and have offspring whose paternity is unclear.

        Along similar lines, consider the practice of stoning to death a young woman who has sex before marriage in some parts of the Middle East. In those cultures, networks of families perform services that tend to be the province of local government here. Marriages are political and economic alliances between families, and virgin daughters are trade currency used to form desirable alliances. A girl who is not a virgin when married is debased currency, and a destabilizing factor in her society. (And note that marriages may be arranged when both bride and groom are too young to have an opinion on the matter, even if anyone asked.) The feelings of the bride and groom are irrelevant. The family is what matters.

        And what you grow up in is what it right and proper to you, regardless of how it appears to us. Nnedi Okorafor (who self-identifies as an Igbo, though she was born and raised here), has a character in one of her books that comes from a culture that practices clitoridectomy. She is part of a high-tech culture now, and can choose whether to have it done. She has to think about it. Refusing the procedure is more than just declining to have it done. By making that refusal, she is divorcing herself from her family, clan, tribe, and culture, and saying “I am no longer of that people!” I’m not sure we can truly comprehend what that means to someone like that, but I can understand that they would need to think about it.

        >Dennis

        • >There is always a society.

          OK, so what?

          Before you can say “behavior X is in place because it aids social survival” you still have that explanatory gap to bridge. It’s exactly like the group selection problem in biology; species don’t evolve, germlines do. When you say “a species evolves” or “society wants” you’re conjuring a spook.

          In biology we actually have a good answer to how individual utility functions compose to something that mimics group selection; we got it from Robert Trivers’s demonstration that reciprocal altruism is predicted by germ line distance. There is no such answer for social behavior yet – that’s more like an intractable Nash-equilibrium problem.

          • @esr: There is no such answer for social behavior yet – that’s more like an intractable Nash-equilibrium problem.

            Agreed. I’m not trying to explain how practices like those I mentioned came about, and I’m not concerned with bridging the explanatory gap. (I don’t believe that can be done at present.)

            I merely say “These practices exist. They exist for a reason. What might the reason be, and what purposes are they intended to serve?”

            I see them as attempts by the groups that practice them to address problems, and knowing what those problems were, and how the practices address them are critical to understanding the existence of the practices.

            The fact that the groups that do these things still exist and still practice them can be seen as evidence that the practices at least did not harm the existence of the group, and can be seen as evidence they contributed to the survival of the group in its present form.

            >Dennis

            • Societies, or cultures, which work out a system which works continue, and those that don’t, don’t. So if we have old fashioned, Christian based, middle class values, and see society thrive, and without those values birth rates plummet, that society without is not going to continue for very long. Too much individualism destroys the society. Too much straying from those classic rules results in Europe–their population is being taken over by people who follow rules of a society, Islam.

              • This is exactly where the notion of a “society” breaks down.

                The idea of a “society” being formed and maintained as a unified effort is wishful thinking. Various individuals engage in behaviors intended to cause or preserve situations they like, and to discourage those they don’t. This results in spontaneous order. But in any given so-called community there are many such efforts going on, and some of them are trying to thwart each other. This produces a sort of churning mechanism which is exactly how improvements in human interaction take place.

                Giving one of these efforts a presumptuous title like “government” and helping it suppress others means it will accumulate more and more power in a one-way ratchet toward more misery and inefficiency, until eventually it has to be, and we hope it is, overthrown. Lather, rinse, repeat.

                This is why it is better to leave social organization in the marketplace rather than making it part of government. Individuals can always walk away from a market organization they no longer want to be part of.

            • I don’t see it as deliberate conscious collaborative attempts at social engineering, that’s a modern utopian sickness.

              Individuals made decisions that influenced their groups in the ancestral environment. Some groups grew, some died. That’s it.

              Cultures that decay don’t regenerate. You don’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, you buy a new tube. Or maybe, if you *prune* savagely enough, you can get back to a viable core.

          • Just as one general tool in the box, societies that are higher trust can expand faster because fewer resources are spent on transaction costs. This seems applicable to the current question on a few levels:

            – Higher trust in one’s own paternity would increase willingness to acquire and provide resources.

            – Higher trust in fidelity would decrease costs of mate-guarding.

            – Societies able to form large power structures can and do flat-out genocide those that don’t; e.g., Rome vs. the Celts.

            Not sure how to account for these, but the last in particular is a very strong evolutionary pressure for social cohesiveness; ask anyone in Baghdad in 1258.

          • I would say there is an answer: statistics. A germline whose members helped each other was statistically more likely to continue than one that didn’t. It’s not that germlines evolved, it’s that they survived and reproduced.

      • Society is the meme. The selfish meme. We have genetics and epigenetics, but some socities worked better with monogamy, others with weaker rules. In many places the individual was dependent on the tribe, so had larger in-group preferences.

        This is a debate point on the alt-right. Did the colder climes require a different model of individuaism v.s. groups and different dynamics. It is all called racism, white supremacy, or nazism, but those aren’t arguments.

        Agrians must have different time preferences and behaviors than hunter-gatherers. HGs move across an ecosystem and have little property. Ags clear the land and have to have property rights. But are still a community. They have to have enough to survive the winter without eating next years seed corn or the last cow.

        Even Easter civilization, from Byzantium to Japan was a different, conformist civilization – rice is cultivated differently than wheat.

        Survival of the fittest, either genetically or memetically, or both.

        Idiocracy has a rather acid opening where a high-IQ couple have zero offspring while an 80 IQ redneck has hundreds.

        I really don’t understand those who demand I believe in Darwin, yet when I point out the smartest people – mostly white Europeans – are turning into a genetic dead end because they have no children – while those with less than nice cultures or high average IQs are most of the billions added in the last few decades there is a huge backlash.

        You may not like it but Richard Spencer is a Darwinian.

        • “Survival of the fittest, either genetically or memetically, or both.”

          Isn’t that a tautology? Survival of the fittest means the fittest survived, so whoever survived must be more fit than those that didn’t survive.

          • No, it’s not a tautology, because “fittest” can be evaluated based on adaptation to the environment, independently of rate of survival. So the real content of “survival of the fittest” is that “the organisms that are best adapted to their environments are the most likely to survive”.

            • Sure, but how do we decide which organisms “are best adapted to their environments”?

              Isn’t it by looking at which ones (that is, at which species) survive longest?

              (Surviving, that is, in the particular environment in which we’re judging their relative fitness for survival.)

              • We evaluate which organisms are better adapted to their environments by looking at the functional requirements for survival in those environments and evaluating how well different organisms meet those requirements.

                As a simple example, consider the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In an environment where antibiotics are heavily used, antibiotic resistance obviously makes an organism better adapted to its environment. You don’t need to look at which bacteria survive to know that; you can predict it in advance. Which is exactly what many biologists did, decades before antibiotic resistant bacteria became a problem. They didn’t have to wait to see which bacteria survived; they could predict, purely based on functional requirements, that antibiotic resistant bacteria would evolve.

            • If you are too stupid to breed or keep your baby, that is a pretty clear evolutionary indictment.

              But hey, she got to take a vacation on Santorini. And she has an MBA to keep her warm at night. That has to matter evolutionary somehow, right? Doesn’t she get a participation medal?

      • (That last is not aimed at Ansari, who seems to me to have behaved quite like a gentleman, acceding to every request “Grace” actually made. It’s not his fault he couldn’t read her mind.)

        Speaking of inexplicable/unacceptable: this Claw maneuver Ansari performed on Grace is the act of no gentleman. It is a gonzo pr0n technique, on the level of the donkey punch. It is actually quite violent, unpleasant and un-er0tic, and no one on this board has ever done it or submitted to it, or you would understand. Maybe Ansari was raised by adult entertainment wolves, but while he apparently did take No for an answer, you may as well say that he stopped tearing off chunks of her flesh with his teeth when she asked in words, but not when she screamed or bled.

        • I would say that you are being doctrinaire with your “act of no gentleman” comment.

          What if the lady asked for it, literally?

          Hearsay, I agree (eliminates the “she was telling you what you wanted to hear” counterargument, however), but my wife told me of a “girl’s talk” conversation with a girlfriend that had moved into a discussion of anal sex. My wife, to say the least, is not a fan, and her friend was arguing for the proposition, describing the act as pleasurable for her. My wife disagreed, saying she preferred her sex with the portion of the anatomy designed for it. At this, her friend described what I believe to be the act described, calling it a bowling ball, and claiming it to combine both pleasurable sensations, and told my wife to request it to see (implying that she had done so herself).

          So, I think that our host’s description of Ansari as a gentleman is valid.

          • Accusing Ansari of violence is unwarranted. I don’t see where anything he did was beyond the pale. He stopped when told no. However if the woman’s account is to believed, if he did on 5 occasions place her hand on his junk after she removed it each time, then the term “gentleman” is being defined down.

            Maybe it’s the sign of the times, but it used to be that gentlemen didn’t rush into one night stands anymore than ladies did.

            • >Maybe it’s the sign of the times, but it used to be that gentlemen didn’t rush into one night stands anymore than ladies did.

              Sorry, I don’t believe this. Men exhibiting more R-type behavior has been consistently observed in every culture, and the bioenergetics explain clearly why we should expect this to be so.

      • “There is no “society” to decide what the rules are going to be; all the thinking goes in inside individual human minds.”

        I’d say that’s also the solution to the problem of “how do we find an alternate solution”; there is no need to drag all of society to some new equilibrium. Subsocieties will form, many of which already exist, and will grow or shrink as they figure out the solutions or not.

        I mean, I’m sure as I say that it’s obvious, but I think for a moment you may have been thinking about society as too hopelessly gone down its current path.

        The most radical of radicals will still be gone, but they’ll be increasingly marginalized over time because it will slowly become clear that the 1960s sexual revolution offer is superficially appealing, but in the long term, a bad deal. Personally, I’d lay my money on something recognizably like “traditional morality”, but modified to handle the availability of male and female contraception (for example, a system where it is more understood and accepted that “teenagers will be teenagers” but still terminating in recognizably traditional marriages for the bulk of society; this also addresses the way we’ve detached physical sexual maturity from adulthood). But it is possible the contraception change will cause a phase change into something completely different.

        My guess that they may not be as determinative as they seem like they may be today is the fact that evolutionarily, they’re going to select against their use; the world of today may be an anomaly from their initial introduction that may burn itself out over generations and stabilize on something less effectful than they are today, rather than rewriting the contracts from scratch.

    • “I was in a relationship years back where the woman I was involved with would blow up in an hours long screaming match over something I had done and shouldn’t have, or had not done and should, but never stated just what it was. Queries got a “You don’t know?” reply, and that was one more reason to be upset with me. I met her parents, and concluded that was how her mother dealt with her father, and my former girlfriend had internalized “Oh. That’s how you deal with the man in your life!” beginning at a pre-verbal age. Making clear that was not how to deal with me was an ongoing challenge.”

      What every female human should be taught is to SPEAK what she wants to communicate to her prospective or actual mate. If he does something upsetting *that she did not tell him* would pi$$ her off, then don’t go throwing a fit about it. TELL him precisely what you’re irritated about. If he forgot your anniversary or something every man ought to be taught not to do/forget, well then he does deserve some female ire. But if you sent him to the store to get some sugar and after he’s left the house you remember you’re out of butter – don’t fly off the handle about him not getting some butter too. Most men (and I are one) tend to be very literal creatures when following instructions because we’ve been taught (and learned from experience) that going outside the directions often has negative consequences. So we won’t bring home butter when not specifically asked to, even if we know there’s only one stick left in the fridge.

      • I remember the days when my tolerance for such bullshit from women with epic boobs was at its peak. Fortunately, I have since learned when to walk away.

    • tl;dr, but my guess is the what “Grace” wanted was exactly the kind of interpersonal bond that the old system of dating used to foster prior to initial sex. I.e., some sense that she was more to her partner than a sperm receptacle.

      • >tl;dr, but my guess is the what “Grace” wanted was exactly the kind of interpersonal bond that the old system of dating used to foster prior to initial sex. I.e., some sense that she was more to her partner than a sperm receptacle.

        Well, of course. That’s my guess too. Female K-type strategy and all that.

        You seem to be assuming Ansari developed no such feelings. Why? And why did “Grace” assume this, if she did? It’s not clear from her account, which is so self-centered that it ironically fails at introspection, and certainly fails at giving us any sense of Ansari’s feelings. Objectively he seems to have tried to treat her as kindly as he knew how, but we cannot tell whether this was from general good manners or particular tenderness.

        The account is consistent with a “particular tenderness” model in which Ansari had an emotionally moving experience which did not cash out to a continuing relationship because “Grace” obliviously aborted that possibility. We can’t know, because Grace was either incapable of reading how Ansari felt or not actually very interested in knowing it.

        I hear you say “What!? How could she not be interested?” Trust me on this, because I speak from direct observation: women who do the starfucker thing are even more prone to self-deception about their sexual motives than Jane Average Female, and that is (sadly) saying a great deal. While Grace was (probably) wanting romance with her forebrain, her hindbrain may well have been thinking “Sperm collection from alpha accomplished, now I should run off and have romance with a nice reliable beta who’ll raise the kid.”

        Of course, there are other possibilities. My actual point is that “Grace” is manifestly so lacking in awareness or clues that she may very well have gotten what she actually wanted, but failed to notice.

    • “My suspicion that being upfront with a prospective mate about just what you want is something women aren’t raised to do and find difficult when it’s required”

      In my experience, if a woman has to explain something to a man, she sees that as a failure of “sensitivity” on his part. I’ve labored to explain this to The Bride of Monster, to the point she’s convinced that “My balls aren’t made of crystal” is my favorite thing to say. It is not; it’s just that she keeps acting as if she thinks they are (to be precise, what I’m really saying is that in general, women’s brains allow them to integrate data points that seem to the typical man’s brain completely uncorrelated, and thereby reach conclusions that men consider illogical, and may as well be some kind of ESP or clairvoyance at work).

      I’m also cognizant that I am almost certainly an undiagnosed Aspie, which means I’m even worse at this than most men, but I also have some “lateral thinking” attributes that allow me to appreciate what women’s brains are doing even when mine can’t keep up with the gy(m)nastics.

      Bottom line is that if a woman can dispense with the notion that a man is “insensitive” if he can’t figure out what she wants, and just fscking tells him straight out, more often than not, he’ll do his best to give her exactly what she asks for, and she can actually be happy. Unfortunately, asking women to do that seems as outrageous as asking men to read their minds in the first place.

      • >In my experience, if a woman has to explain something to a man, she sees that as a failure of “sensitivity” on his part.

        Yes, I had to think about this for a long time before I understood it. They don’t want mindreading; it’a actually subtler than that.

        What women want is a demonstration that you have modeled their utility function well enough to predict their preferences as or before they manifest. If you don’t, their best case is that you’re “insensitive”; the worse case is that you know what they want but don’t give a shit or are actively being cruel. The possibility that you care about what they want but need to be told what it is seems to be very difficult for them to wrap their non-androgenized brains around.

        I think this is related to the concept of Becker altruism in economics. You are a Becker altruist when someone else’s utility is an input to your own. Running in every woman’s backbrain seems to be a definition of “love” as “he is a Becker altruist with respect to me.” Which is not a bad definition, actually – it’s their belief that we men ought to be able to execute Becker altruism without overt communication of preferences that’s arguably wacky.

        When a woman expects you to have modeled her utility function accurately, and you react with “I can’t read your mind!”, you have (according to her instincts) missed the point. She wanted you to not have to read her mind, either. You should “just know” – that is, you should already be maintaining an accurate predictive model of her preferences by having observed her closely. The extent to which you do this is the measure of love.

        Women, you see, actually do this – a substantial amount of their memory and processing time is devoted to maintaining preference models of other people. Men do it too of course, but not with anywhere the level of effort and persistence women put into it even for casual friendships, let along lovers or spouses. For an average male the effort level is not even close. Our background processing is doing other things, like updating landmark maps of the places we travel. Fill in obvious EAA backstory here.

        • The problem (or *a* problem, anyway) is that women seem to not have any honest idea of their OWN utility function.

          • >The problem (or *a* problem, anyway) is that women seem to not have any honest idea of their OWN utility function.

            Well, yes. The instinctive mating strategy of the typical female is built around self-deception about how much she’s willing to cheat. Optimality is for her to present convincingly as a faithful woman to the lord while occasionally fucking the gardener; that way she captures both immunoglobulin diversity and stable co-parenting for her offspring. Because conscious deception of this magnitude is relatively easy to spot, human females long ago developed the wired-in habit of obfuscating their utility function even from themselves.

            None of this is breaking news if you’ve you’ve been paying attention to the evolutionary biology. Concealed ovulation is a clue! The consequences generate a huge amount of misery, but our germ lines don’t care about that.

        • “Running in every woman’s backbrain seems to be a definition of “love” as “he is a Becker altruist with respect to me.” Which is not a bad definition, actually”

          Holy shit, that’s pretty much the exact definition of love I came up with on my own, though this is the first time I’m hearing about Becker altruism.

          • Heinlein:

            Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

            He published this in Stranger in a Strange Land, which he initially wrote in the mid 50’s. So not at all a new idea.

            • >He published this in Stranger in a Strange Land, which he initially wrote in the mid 50’s. So not at all a new idea.

              I have a strong suspicion that Heinlein directly influenced both Trivers’s thinking about reciprocal altruism and the Chicago-school economists. Certain turns of phrase keep recurring.

        • Men should ready Eric’s comment above carefully. This is an incredibly good description of what I and many other women subconsciously expect from men, because we get it every day from other women.

          It takes a constant effort to remind myself that this is not a reasonable expectation on what to receive from my husband, even though it is obvious to me that he tries to provide it.

          To men who think that Eric is exaggerating here: he’s not.

          Here’s the key line again:
          [She expects that] you should already be maintaining an accurate predictive model of her preferences by having observed her closely. The extent to which you do this is the measure of love.

          The only thing I would change is to replace “love” with “intimacy”. “Love” could imply “I want you, even if I don’t understand you.” “Intimacy” is closer to “I understand you.”

          • >The only thing I would change is to replace “love” with “intimacy”. “Love” could imply “I want you, even if I don’t understand you.” “Intimacy” is closer to “I understand you.”

            Fair enough. “Intimacy” is close to the sense of “love” I was intending. “Investment” and “loyalty” are nearby concepts.

          • You just have to read chick lit to observe that the man who gives a woman what she says she wants is rated lower than the man who gives her something that she didn’t know, until that moment, she wanted.

            De-lurking to say kudos to Eric for expressing it so clearly. Few men seem to get it; even a sizeable majority of women don’t. So they’re both left wondering why she’s so disappointed.

            • that should have been ‘sizable minority’, though maybe I’m being too generous and it really is a majority

            • Three times that I know of my father bought my mother something that she was ADAMANTLY angry about.

              For about 3 days.

              Then if you tried to take it away she would have come close to violence should you have tried to remove it.

              She divorced him anyway.

              • *reads through that, gobsmacked*

                I’m female and I wouldn’t put up with that. From anyone.

                Point to note though: menopause does some serious mindscrewing with a woman’s brain. I have already repeatedly apologized in advance to my husband for any breakdown in sanity that happens when it hits me in the future. He seems understanding, but I fear the coming of that anyway. So I keep saying sorry now, because if I go down the nutcase route during that time, I might not be able to.

        • Which is not a bad definition, actually – it’s their belief that we men ought to be able to execute Becker altruism without overt communication of preferences that’s arguably wacky.

          I think what it breaks down to is that:

          1) Deduction of preferences is proof of work: If a woman makes her preferences clear, a guy can easily fake Becker altruism while it suits him and abruptly leave her in the lurch when the relationship is no longer beneficial. If he’s expected to figure them out, then the work needed to pass as a Becker altruist is too costly unless her utility actually is an input to his own. Unfortunately:

          2) Men lack the I/O and/or parallel processing bandwidth necessary to make it look like they’re actually investing to a woman’s satisfaction, even if they are.

          3) Large chunks of the male population in any society tend to belong to honor cultures in which forthrightness is expected, and especially so between people that are Becker altruists with respect to each other (possibly because of 2). Therefore, not only do guys expect their wives/girlfriends to be forthright about their preferences, but failure to do so is seen as a sign of mistrust (and it could be considered downright insulting of a woman were to realize and actively voice 1) to a man not already aware of it), especially given that:

          4) Defectors and non-participants in male honor cultures tend to be more likely to engage in casual sex with women that they are not Becker altruists with respect to, so for a woman to voice 1) to her SO would be likely to be taken as equivalent to him calling her a whore.

          An additional point that I think is accurate but which I’m less confident of is:

          5) The type of guy that you’ve called the “standard nerd” seems to be more likely to have 1) figured out than the average male, but has even less I/O / parallelism bandwidth, and thus has trouble putting that understanding into practice.

        • >You should “just know”
          That can either be done literally via telepathy or metaphorically by running TBoM-Sim and reading out its internal state, but it amounts to the same thing.

          > that is, you should already be maintaining an accurate predictive model of her preferences by having observed her closely. The extent to which you do this is the measure of love.

          But it’s ultimately a Kafkatrap. Every time it seems I have been able to accurately predict her preferences, that just means I’m “taking her for granted”, so she alters her preferences. Fortunately, she’s not the type to run out to the salon to change her hair color, and to the clothing stores to swap out her entire wardrobe, as part of that reinvention, but I’ve seen enough of that to know it’s a thing.

          And at that point, of course, if I don’t retroactively update that preference model, I’m back to “insensitive” again.

          I also don’t think it’s entirely a matter of “effort and persistence”. I honestly think our brains are wired differently, due to the obvious EAA backstory.

          • Yes, this social behavior duet can have divergent outcomes depending upon the mindset of the woman. If her preferences are reasonably static (read habitual), then both partners can adapt and create a win-win outcome. If, however, the woman is forever raising the bar with escalating preferences, then it really just becomes a master-slave dynamic. In my experience, women with low self-esteem tend to fall into the latter category. This heuristic really falls apart if one on the participants is truly insane.

      • I’m not sure the issue here isn’t “ask culture” vs. “guess culture” as much as anything else. (Look it up.) I’ve had women from both cultures, and the women from the “ask cultures” were much easier to deal with.

  4. If Syphillis ends up becoming resistant to the last few antibiotics, I think we will have the experiment, or some new virus like HIV that is infectious but asymptomatic for a long period. Oh, and the Victorian era was caused in part by Syphillis. An uncurable deadly STD would alter the equations back to chastity and monogomy – adultery would have the potential of being deadly to one’s spouse.

    Another thing is contraception and abortion. Women’s costs were higher in they were the ones to get pregnant.

    Beyond that, the demographic suicide will be more of a problem. Right now, outside of religion, you have to try to form families from the badly used merchandise department, and all the contraception (unnatural hormones mainly – which can have lasting effects on fertility), STDs, and waiting until the mid 30s means this will be an evolutionary dead end. The Mormons and trad Catholics and Evangelicals will win because they will show up.

    And that is also important. In some kind of transgender lite for the culture, society has decided only the male path is to be valued. You have to look very hard to find a traditional Mommy portrayed with the brood of children. Originally it wasn’t even merely romance, the society aimed at forming nuclear families. Fathers would protect daughters (including shotgun weddings). But now 40% of babies in the USA are born to single mothers. Then there’s the Man-Fault divorce so even if you form a family, when the wife isn’t being emotionally fulfilled (remember the culture everywhere is saying she has grrl power and should be fighting dragons and racing rats), she divorces, but keeps the kids, and tries to live on child support with whatever job she could find.

    But you can compare all the stressed out complaints of the feminists that are trying to have it all with the Mormon Mommy bloggers celebrating their children’s first words, walking, or some encounter. And I think the Amish tend to be happier as well.

    Were families in the 1950’s happy? yes. But they were repressed! The ancient story of Eve repeats, she lives in paradise, but a snake convinces her to do the only thing that will get her banished – and Adam followed her.

    The only reason you might not recommend going back to something like that is because you’ve been taught for the last four decades that it is horrible in some way even though people were much happier. Not unlike Europeans are somehow being convinced that a large influx of young, male, Muslims is somehow wonderful for their countries.

    • > An uncurable deadly STD would alter the equations

      I came out of a long term relationship in the mid-90s, before it was clear and generally known how extremely rare heterosexually transmitted HIV was in the West. I was terrified.

      • As an EMT I was more terrified of Hepatitis than HIV. My class was among the first hammered about protecting yourself. That got me investigated by Army CID for refusing the “services” of the post bike.

        • Huh?
          What is a “post bike” and what “services” does it provide that would expose you to hepatitis? And what is criminal about refusing such service?

          I actually was dignosed with hep (A, this was a half century ago) probably acquired eating something in Anjong-ri. Luckily, I’m not a carrier.

          • What is a “post bike”

            The “post” is the military installation where he worked. The “post bike” is what everyone on the post rode.

            • Thank you. My stint was in the days of $0.20/gal gas, so we just grabbed the jeep or the 3/4 ton. The only people on bicycles were… actually, I never saw a papa-son actually riding; they were pushing it and the bike would be loaded with a ton of stuff.

              Avoiding the bike only makes sense if you avoid doorknobs, too. :-)

              I never understood the MP mind, so I guess that CID could find *something* suspicious about that behavior.

              • Umm, ‘town bike’ (substitute ‘post’ as indicated) is an expression. It doesn’t refer to a literal bicycle but to some thing the whole town has ridden at one time or another. Get it now?

    • An uncurable deadly STD would alter the equations back to chastity and monogomy

      Hmm. I don’t think it did last time. At any rate, we didn’t see anything you might call neo-Victorianism emerging in the late eighties and nineties. People might have been a little more careful, but I think the most you could say is that it led to greater carefulness and perhaps a greater reluctance about casual sex, not to any systemic change in how it was regarded.

      • Hypothesis: there was no neo-Victorianism because the costs were not comparable.

        How affordable were Victorian condoms, and how well did they reduce STDs?

        How good was the Victorian safety net for unwed mothers?

        How good was the Victorian safety net for bastard children?

      • Not quite true. There was an Act-Up that denied HIV caused AIDS. There is still barebacking because they have enough successful antivirals for the moment even though treatment is six figures.

        There are two unfounded assumptions.

        1. the USA economy will not go Venezuela and always be able to pay for even the most expensive STD

        2. Medical science and technology will find a cure or at least treatment for anything and everything.

        If either of these prove untrue, we will be back to the Victorian age. Perhaps not instantly, but the Darwin Awards will be a thing.

          • That was a reasonable hypothesis back when Deusberg proposed it. It isn’t any more. In particular, if it were true then suppressing HIV should have no effect on AIDS. Also there ought to have emerged a significant contingent of people with AIDS but not HIV.

      • Actually, it does. Jews on the whole had a better than average resistance to the plagues simply because the requirements of the Jewish ritual laws kept things more sanitary in several respects, some non-obvious. For example, we’ve seen several strains of flu that started out in swine and jumped species.

        Of course, that better than average survival rate had a better chance of sparking a pogrom, but overall it was still a benefit.

      • Sure. Find a map of Africa coloured by the percentage of the population that practises Islam, and one for the incidence of HIV. There’s a marked inverse relationship (yes, some of the trend is due to other factors & second-order effects, but the maps are too cleanly matched to ignore the big picture).

      • Our species is unique in that we adapted complex language skill and then used it to reprogram our young with “acquired wisdom” that afforded them enhanced survival skills. As any parent knows, conferring wisdom to one’s children is no easy task and hence religious practices evolved as a more efficacious mechanism to accomplish this. The extant religions are the ones with the greatest success at transferring useful survive and thrive knowledge.

  5. An uncurable deadly STD would alter the equations back to chastity and monogomy – adultery would have the potential of being deadly to one’s spouse

    To quote the lyrics of a popular club song from back when HIV was still “an incurable deadly STD”:

    People are still having sex.

    Lust keeps on lurking.

    Nothing makes them stop.

    This AIDS thing’s not working.

    Not only did casual sex continue, but this was the era when people started to normalize and become more flagrant about risky sexual behavior like anal sex (particularly, but not exclusively, of the male-male kind). It’s only now that AIDS has become largely manageable through antiretroviral cocktails, that the nation’s young are taking a step back and becoming more circumspect about their sexual habits.

    • Hetro, non-IV users were never threatened seriously threatened by AIDs and this was clear to anyone familiar with the literature in the late 80s and early 90s (this is when I was in college and sexually active. Not that it felt that way at the time, but apparently more active than normal).

      Also in certain sub-culture HIV+ status became a badge of belonging.

      • Something that is getting to be more known are cancers of the oral-nasal tract and other parts of the head, caused by HPV contracted by oral contact with parts of other people’s bodies the mouth wasn’t meant to contact.

        Just saw something the other day about a new, antibiotic resistant strain of gonorrhea, with pictures of people’s infected mouths and throats.

        In other words, don’t put your mouth on someone else’s crotch, and don’t ask or let them put their mouth on yours.

      • It’s ‘AIDS’, not ‘AIDs’. The ‘S’ stands for ‘syndrome’, it is not there to form a plural.

        Also, in the early- to mid-1980s we college attendees who paid attention to the publicly available science knew enough to determine that the threatened epidemic of heterosexual AIDS was a phony story, what today we would call Fake News. Any intelligent, informed person could see that Oprah Winfrey was an AIDS hysteric not an AIDS epidemiologist. I suspected that she was trying to drum up an AIDS panic among normal people to aid the socio-political agendas of her personal network of homosexual contacts. Winfrey wasn’t the only media celeb who spouted that nonsense, just the one with the biggest media soapbox at the time.

  6. There is an additional factor that piles on even more frustration for the hapless young lassies.

    I have had recent cause to study craigslist personal ads, and one of my findings is that the participation ribbon culture of self-affirmation and self-esteem has, at least among some corners of society, borne the expected fruit.

    There appear to be a lot of women on-line who rank themselves much higher than any man would rank them. This perceived value mismatch in some cases seems to lead to desperate measures that feed into the positive feedback loop you mention. For example, most “bbw” on craigslist are “b” but nowhere near “b”.

    • I find it especially interesting that you mention BBW, because this was a huge problem back when I was in high school & college. At the time, the dividing line between “BBW/Thic” or “Fat” was whether or not you had rolls at standing rest; in other words, if you were standing in a regular position and had a flap of fat somewhere on your body, you were “fat”. Personal preference might lead you to one category or another, or to one end of the category or another, but there was no particular stigma attached to your preferences for, or status as, one category or another. Any bullying was recognized as bullies being bullies, and thus an entirely different issue with a different solution.

      This started to change in my junior year of high school when fat SJWs started insisting they were “BBW/Thic” and getting excessively violent with people who didn’t obey. The final death of the functioning sexual mores we had was near the end of my senior year of high school, when a pair of fat SJWs badly-and I mean really badly-beat up a sophomore girl for trying to tell them there wasn’t anything wrong with being fat.

      I don’t know what the official school response was, because no official announcements were made and nothing drastic enough happened that it was obviously noticeable. I do know that the sophomore girl’s boyfriend found out about it the next day, and gave the SJW pair an option: “You can meet me out back and we’ll fight like adults, or I can knock you down and beat you like dogs.” They weren’t smart enough to pick the adult option.

      College was worse. Not as violent, but many more SJWs.

  7. The problem is that the refuseniks from such an agreement trying to form, and the defectors after it formed, would be rewarded with more sex with high-status men, which is exactly what every player on the female side is instinctively wired to want.

    Ah, but what does “high-status” mean?

    Status is a social phenomenon. You’re high-status if, and only if, society treats you as if you’re high-status. So, if there’s a general social movement that winds up scorning men who (are publicly known to) have casual sex as creeps and perverts, well, soon enough, the refuseniks/defectors are just having sex with low-status creeps and perverts.

    One symptom of such a social movement would be, say, articles like the one attacking Mr. Ansari.

    • So, if there’s a general social movement that winds up scorning men who

      Yes, shaming has worked. It tends to work better on women than men. It tends to only work on men of mediocre to lower status (those motivated to conform to the marital mold). Men with a better-than-average skill with women tend to have an elevated status even if such a thing is nominally frowned upon.

      tl;dr Women are the ones with the most to lose here, whatever remediation is possible is more likely to be effective there.

    • >Ah, but what does “high-status” mean?

      Emitting hard-to-fake signals of having power and money. Having muscles also helps.

      I’m not making this stuff up. Behavioral-psych studies of this sort of thing aren’t too uncommon and they get broadly consistent results.

      You can try reducing the status of men who have casual sex, but this has never worked very well – in part because having lots of conquests is itself a status booster.

      • And what is “power”, or “wealth”? Why, yet again, social phenomena.

        My point is not that these things don’t exist or that you’re making this up. It is that, unlike (say) youth or fertility, they are not something that inheres to an individual; they are things society attributes to a person. Making a 50-year-old woman into a 20-year-old woman requires technology beyond what we can do. But by collective action, society could anoint J. Random Hacker as the new President of the United States and owner of Donald Trump’s property effective immediately.

        Now, let me grant that collective action is difficult to deliberately prompt or coordinate, often impossible. That does not mean that from the perspective of analysis we should treat it as fixed. It’s hard-to-impossible to cause solar flares; this does not mean that you can ignore them when studying the Sun.

        And, well. Let us assume, for a moment, that it is the collective desire of (high-status) women that men who have casual sex are considered low-status. What countervailing force exists that would have prevented that from becoming a social norm? Well, fairly obviously, it is not in the interest of high-status men to deny themselves (the opportunity for) casual sex. As long as the ultimate level of social power is held by high-status men, they will refuse to (seriously) sanction other high-status men for engaging in the behavior they themselves wish to be able to engage in.

        So, then, we’d expect that high-status men who have casual sex would continue to be treated as high-status by other high-status men, and thus the status will be preserved. Indeed, the ability to engage lots of casual sex will be evidence of (and thus, a cause of, given the way these things work) of high status among men.

        But now, what happens if other social shifts have stripped the men of the commanding heights of power? What happens if women get their hands on enough power to ruin individual high-status men over the objections of high-status men as a group? Why, then, the social norm itself would shift. And the shift of the norm would then shift the personal characteristics that make a man high-status, and thus the target of female hypergamy.

        So, how many Title IX tribunals, how many HR departments, how many daytime talk shows amount to enough social power to ruin high-status men over the objections of high-status men? The answer was “not enough” in the early 1990s, followed by a retreat. Is it “not enough” today? And if not, will it still be “not enough” come the next try in 25 years?

        • Steven “And what is “power”, or “wealth”? ”

          Power is telling someone to do something not of direct benefit to them and they do it. Extrapolate for a general definition.

          Wealth is assets in the top 1% and an income of >300% of average.

          This is what women respond to, and they are not social constructs.

          • Power is telling someone to do something not of direct benefit to them and they do it.

            No, that is what power allows. A person can have power without exercising it.

            What it is, is a social construct. People with “power” do not have a psychic ability to take control of people’s bodies and cause them to take actions, nor the ability to impose rule by personal physical domination beyond a handful of people. As every successful coup — and every successful democratic transition — in history demonstrates, it is extrinsic to a person, not intrinsic.

            Wealth is assets in the top 1% and an income of >300% of average.

            And as every successful socialist revolution should clearly demonstrate, continued possession of those assets is entirely a matter of social convention. Wealth is extrinsic, not intrinsic.

            Male desire is primarily focused by evolution on intrinsic attributes of females, not extrinsic ones. So no social change can (greatly) change a female’s sexual desirability to males, because no social change will make her younger or clearer-skinned or wider-hipped or whatever. Social change can alter neither what the man wants from the woman nor whether the woman has what he wants.

            Female desire is primarily focused by evolution on extrinsic attributes of males, not intrinsic ones. So social change can (greatly) change a male’s sexual desirability to females; stripped of or granted wealth and power by a social change, a man’s desirability to women changes. Social change can not alter what the woman wants, but it certainly can alter whether the man has what she wants.

            So, if society were to change such that a philandering male found himself shunned socially, barred from any office of responsibility, sued or fined into poverty, and unable to find anything but menial employment (if any), then as a consequence of that social change, philandering males would be less desired by women. Not because society changed what women want, but because society changed which men get to have what women want.

            Whether such a change can be brought into effect is hard to say (it would be unprecedented), but we’re certainly seeing a social movement right now that is pushing things that way, aren’t we?

            • Jordan Peterson puts it this way: Women have “outsourced” the determination of what constitutes a good mate to the male hierarchy structure. Whatever the rules of that hierarchy may be, the height to which any given male is expected to rise within it governs his desirability. Note that she’s not entirely looking at his current status, but it, and his father’s status, are good predictors of his future status, upon which she’s making a long-term wager by finding him sexually attractive.

              • I found where Sam Harris had the exact wording as Peterson had committed it to writing (emphasis mine)

                That’s the archetypal hero. That’s first, a way of behaving; second, a representation of acting; third, a way of organizing society around that action and representation; fourth, a society that then selects, through masculine competition, for the best contender to that representation; fifth, what is selected for by women, who peel off the top of the masculine competition. They outsource the impossible cognitive task of mate selection to the male dominance hierarchy. A hero emerges at the top of the competition. He gets all the girls. Human females are mother nature, the selection apparatus, the choosy maters (that female chimps are not).

  8. > So the fix, if there were one, would have to be imposed on all women.

    You can work on the male side too.

    Chivalry was for both men and women.

    > Good luck with that; religion has lost the power to do it and there is no other institution

    Catholic girls start much too late, sooner or later it comes down to fate–I might as well be the one…

    Of course, the reason that only the good die young is because bad ages you.

      • Look at people who’ve done time, run with a gang (including outlaw motorcycle gangs) etc.

        They are *way* older than their years would suggest.

        Age will strip you of your innocence, experience will wear away at naivety, but it doesn’t make you more likely to engage in “bad”.

  9. A problem that will solve itself in a couple of decades or so when attractive, affordable sexbots hit the market. Oh, I’m talking about all the beta males that are scorned nowadays. Women of course will be screwed…. figuratively that is.

  10. Dr. Jordan Peterson poses this dilemma to modern liberated women (aka, strong women) ; He posits that women are better off seeking a strong competent man who (in the context of marriage) would in the long term be a superior mate or pick a weaker man, who they could dominate, but who might be in the long term be a less satisfactory mate.

    • The founder of a home for unwed teenage mothers in Boise, Idaho always told the girls “The boring guys will stay. The exciting ones will leave you.”

      • That is orthogonal to what Peterson is talking about.

        One can be strong and competent (which are near the same thing in Peterson’s terms) and still be “boring” in the eyes of the sort of teenager who would wind up in that home.

    • In “Red Pill” circles, they frequently describe women marrying low-status men for financial support, and fucking high-status men behind the provider’s back.

      • Red pill circles seem to be full of people suffering heavily from Dunning-Krueger Syndrome.

  11. If women co-ordinated a retreat to witholding sex, more low-SMV women would be able to marry equivalent males.

    There’s two sides to the problem, how low-value men can get women to procreate with is also part of the equation. Low-value but decent and virtuous women is precisely who they’d marry, and barring the social-media induced fantasy illusion that lower value women have a hope in hell of marrying up, these two groups would find each other and be relatively happy.

    There’s already starting to be a backlash against the “sexual revolution” as younger women (having seen the disaster zone around them) are more and more starting to raise their value by returning to traditional self-control, because snagging a decent man is still better than aiming for a high value man but never getting one.

    The long and the short of it is that the idea that sex is a toy, for pleasure, was a mistake. On the contrary, sex is a nuke, NOT a thing to be engaged in primarily for pleasure, and has to be handled very carefully – and people are going to realize it more and more going forward. Sexbots will actually help this, as the physical pleasure aspect of sex can easily be handled by them, so human beings will return to the idea of marriage as a business contract and long-term relationship (hopefully with deep emotional rewards at the end of it, but with the main focus on it being a contract for the purposes of procreation).

    • I see two major problems with sexbots:

      1) The design of sexbots will evolve according to a fitness function of sexiness, of course; which means they will be designed to increasinly resemble sapient human men and women. Once they cross a certain threshold of verisimilitude of sapience, we’ll have to start thinking about giving them rights…

      2) If you are a man and make use of female sexbots, you will automatically be flagged as a creep.

    • The mistake wasn’t using sex as a toy. It was stopping using it as a toy. Using sex as a bargaining chip was a giant mistake. You should never bargain with something that both sides love to do and would gladly do for free.

      Imagine just how much fun hasn’t happened because some fools started using sex as something to try to use to manipulate people into doing things, instead of something you should do for fun.

      If men and women want to find mates, here’s a radical idea: base who you want to marry around something other than wanting to bang that person. Their personality, for instance.

      Fortunately the “sexual marketplace” model of relationships has never been as common as people claimed. Men and women do not really act that way. Women want to have sex with men because they are romantic, physically attractive, and fun. Men want to have sex with women for the same reason.

      The idea that women don’t really want to have sex and are just using it to get men to do things for them is BS. Most women just really like sex with men and have no ulterior motive.

      The idea that men are using romance to get sex is BS too. Men do engage in casual hookups with women, but they generally make it understood ahead of time that a casual hookup is all they want. The majority of the time a man is romancing a woman, it is because he is in love with her and enjoys spending time with her in nonsexual contexts.

      • > If men and women want to find mates, here’s a radical idea: base who you want to marry around something other than wanting to bang that person. Their personality, for instance.

        Bingo. As an aside, maybe this makes me a hopeless romantic, but on a day-to-day level I don’t think anything good will come from consciously playing the status game I see described in the comments here. I bet plenty of “low status” mates have endearing characteristics that have nothing to do with wast-to-hip ratios or lovemaking prowess.

        • What happens if you have an involuntary revulsion to an aspect of being low-status? Like the other person being overweight. To the point that you could fake attraction, but you know that you’d involuntarily flinch seeing them first-thing in the morning?

      • > Most women just really like sex with men and have no ulterior motive.

        They really like sex with men, just not as often as men like sex with them.

  12. There is one significant difference from the past that is being overlooked here — today it is absolutely possible (using DNA testing) to know who a child’s father is. That means that a single woman with one or more children can, under the right set of laws, easily use government power to collect child support from all the men who fertilized her, no matter how high their status. Although they do not yet seem to have realized it, young women could throw away their birth control (while claiming still to be using it) and go out on a series of one-night stands with high-status men, cruising for future income. Now high-status men would be forced to start behaving like victorian maidens, being very careful that they trusted the women they were dating before having sex. Result: a re-creation of something like traditional courtship but with young women always trying to seduce young men rather than the other way around…

    • >Now high-status men would be forced to start behaving like victorian maidens, being very careful that they trusted the women they were dating before having sex. Result: a re-creation of something like traditional courtship but with young women always trying to seduce young men rather than the other way around…

      I am informed that something not unlike this scenario is playing out in some areas of professional athletics. Athletes are aware that they are magnets for gold-digging sports groupies whose plan is “get pregnant, then sue the rich football/basketball/baseball-player for child support”. Some are learning to be careful and a culture of defensive restraint may be spreading.

      • I recently learned the term “spernjacking”, which refers to a woman inseminating herself with semen from a condom that a man has discarded, or simply sabotaging the condom with a pin before sex. It surprised me that this has apparently occurred often enough to have a name.

      • New conspiracy theory: this is what’s holding back things like Vasalgel/RISUG!

        In the real world, of course, I rather suspect the only thing holding them back is the FDA-gonna-FDA effect: I doubt the kind of women who relish the sperm-trapping opportunities inherent in their sex’s monopoly on set-and-forget birth control have the necessary variety of influence, but it’s still an amusing idea to toy with.

    • In at least two cases a woman has written some random name for the father then the State essentially opened a phone book, picked the first matching name and said “Yous da daddy. Pay up!”

      The case in California, the guy was in prison, could prove he’d never met the gal and had a DNA test to prove he wasn’t the father, but the woman judge in charge of the case wasn’t willing to let FACTS get in the way of her stupidity. Dunno if the poor fellow was ever able to get things sorted out.

      When a judge is not only that dumb but then doubles down on stupid after being proven to be wrong, that should instantly be the end of that judge’s career.

      • It’s a coordination problem. Kill the child. Kill the mother. Kill the judge.

        Have that happen a few times and watch the legal environment change.

        • To be fair, it’s not the child’s fault.

          I believe that Jim Bell proposed a solution for the judge though.

          Might have been a different Jim Bell.

          Do you have a URL for that? Google doesn’t want to make it easy for me.

  13. “Good luck with that; religion has lost the power to do it and there is no other institution even positioned to try.”

    I didn’t know there was a shortage of men in traditional religions.

      • Mormons and Orthodox Jews seem to be having trouble finding enough men, at least according to Dateonomics. Utah has very high rates of cosmetic surgery. So what you say seems true.

        This is unfortunate because men tend to be the ones who pay the bills of the church too.

        • I read that article, and didn’t have to read between the lines (much). There is no shortage of men. There is a mild shortage of DESIRABLE men. Hypergamy never rests, even in religious circles.

          That article (Datenomics) was excellent in one respect, it gave me the clue to cracking the polygamy puzzle. I cranked out a population simulation, and holy smokes, a lot of human sexual history started to make sense. The clue was: age difference. After running the simulation, I could see why monogamy is such a corrupting influence on society, and why it creates so much chaos and instability.

          • Another teaser: monogamy creates a situation where either a lot of women go without mates, or else sexual dimorphism is drastically reduced, leading to much sexual unhappiness for everyone.

            • Historically there are 104 or 105 males born for every 100 females.

              At 18 it’s about (from memory) 102 men for 100 women.

              So no, it’s not a lot of women going without mates. It’s a small percentage of men who wouldn’t get mates.

              Of course, when you mix in various other things it’s pretty much a wash.

              • You are thinking in static terms. Population dynamics play out over time. And you aren’t taking sexual dimorphism into account. Make your own simulation to see what happens, or wait until I have time to make an effort-post on the topic. Tangled graphs aren’t intuitive in their development, so I understand that people aren’t leaping to agree with me.

          • @Mycroft
            ” I could see why monogamy is such a corrupting influence on society, and why it creates so much chaos and instability.”

            These are empirical questions. As it is, the empirical evidence shows that polygamy is the more corrupting practice leading to more chaos and instability.

            https://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2015/07/marriage-and-civil-rights

            Polygyny increases competition among men and the pool of unmarried males, which contributes to greater violence, risk taking, and substance abuse in society (if the top 10% of males take an average of three wives, 20% of men will be unable to marry). Complex plural families—composed of multiple wives and children related as half-siblings—are prone to jealousy and conflict. Even accounts sympathetic to polygamy identify jealousy as a big problem, and diminished genetic relatedness is a risk for sexual abuse. Polygamous families are characterised by much higher levels of violence and stress in the home, as well as worse health outcomes for women and children.

            • A full answer has to wait until I have time for the effort post. But, I saw this article last week. It based on a lot of supposition and assertion. NOT on scientific observation and fact. It takes a few actual observations in a corner of the world, then starts with the leaps of logic. It isn’t worthy to be quoted as science on the topic of polygamy.

              • You want more Science?

                Polygyny: Cooperation vs. Competition Among Wives on Child Health
                https://ageconsearch.tind.io/bitstream/205722/2/6585_Polygyny-Cooperation%20vs%20Competition%20among%20Wives%20on%20Child%20Health.pdf

                Although the prevalence of polygyny has decreased in the world in recent years, polygyny still remains as a frequent family structure in West Africa. Using 2006 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) from Mali, we investigate the effects of polygyny on child health. Using the gender of the firstborn as an instrumental variable for marrying an additional wife, we find that a child’s nutritional status in terms of height -for- age and weight -for- age z-scores is worse in polygynous households compared to monogamous households. Second, we analyze the effect of mother’s rank among co -wives on her own child’s health and find that mother’s rank has a statistically significant effect on a child’s nutritional status. However, the effect of mother’s rank changes across different institutions of polygyny: depending on the ethnic group, the co- wife relationship could be more collaborative than competitive. The findings suggest a more nuanced view of polygyny than currently found in the literature: the effect of the inst itution of polygyny depend upon the rules governing behavior within the institution.

                Polygyny and Child Growth: Evidence From Twenty-Six African Countries
                http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13545701.2014.927953

                Using household data from twenty-six African countries, this study examines the correlation between four measures of polygyny and child growth. External validity is added to existing small-sample evidence by investigating this correlation across many countries and by controlling for, as well as exploring, sources of heterogeneity at the regional, country, household, and maternal level. Household fixed-effects models indicate that the children of monogamous mothers have significantly greater height-for-age z-scores than children of polygynous mothers. Also, a low ranking in the hierarchy of mothers and the ratio of married women to men are negatively correlated with child height. The correlation varies widely across countries and is strongest for multigenerational polygynous households.

                Why Would She? Polygyny and Women’s Welfare in Ghana
                http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13545701.2014.992931

                This study examines whether polygynous marriages are beneficial to women in Ghana. While some scholars claim that women benefit from such marriages in terms of higher consumption or leisure time, others believe that such relationships can be oppressive for women, as compared to monogamous relationships. Using household data from the 2005/6 Ghanaian Living Standards Measurement Survey V and the 2008 Ghanaian Demographic Health Survey, this study finds little evidence to support the view that women experience economic benefits from these unions. Polygynous women in Ghana tend to be more accepting of and experience more domestic violence, and they have less decision-making power within the household than women in monogamous marriages. Thus, there seems to be more evidence to support the view of polygyny as an oppressive institution rather than the outcome of a woman’s rational choice.

                • What point are you trying to make, Winter? Using a few reports from Africa? Shame on you. For most of history, most of the world was polygamous.

                  • But for most of history and most of the world, there eere no anthropologists who could study what really happened. Instead of what some people wrote down as what they wished to be true.

                    • The leaps of logic in your cited “science” shows that nothing has changed from the times when people “wrote down what they wished to be true.”

                      Look, there is no need to continue this right now. I show you enough respect to acknowledge that the issues involved aren’t obvious or trivial, it takes some real science and digging to figure this stuff out. Throwing pop-science links at me isn’t helpful.

                      As with Fermat’s theorem, the amazingly elegant proof doesn’t fit in the margin of this document.

                      When I have time to put together an effort-post, I will.

                    • @Mycroft Jones
                      “it takes some real science and digging to figure this stuff out.”

                      All science starts with observations of the real world.

                      @Mycroft Jones
                      “Throwing pop-science links at me isn’t helpful.”

                      Real data from real people living real lives is not satisfactory? Not even as a starting point? Makes me wonder what kind of “science” you would accept?

                    • @Winter your “science” has a few bits of real data and a bunch of leaps of logic. I’ve already gone through a lot more evidence than what they’ve provided, and ground it out without “leaps of logic”. I don’t have to “start” with those pop-science articles because I’ve already gone far beyond them.

                      Putting it in a form I can share on the internet, that is a hell of a lot more work, that is why I haven’t done it yet. But it is on the list to do.

                    • @Mycroft
                      “Putting it in a form I can share on the internet, that is a hell of a lot more work, that is why I haven’t done it yet.”

                      But putting your data in a comprehensive form, aka, publishing, is a hell of a lot of work. Always. And if you have real data that you collected from real people that does makes things even more difficult. That is why all of the pundits skip that part and rely on hearsay and stuff other people wrote who also did not collect real data. In the end, most of what the pundits write boils down to echos form an echo chamber.

                      The few bits of real data are often all there is. And it will be a real challenge to collect more. Or are you going to travel through a few dozen countries asking lots of women about the private part of their family life?

  14. If only there was some institution we could establish that would allow for an exclusive right to sexual intercourse by assuring both parties that such intercourse could only be engaged in if there was a serious, lifelong commitment. In addition, this institution could include an iron-clad guarantee that the woman and any offspring that might result from said sexual intercourse would be provided for in an appropriate manner for life, in the case of the woman, or until maturity in the case of the offspring. In exchange, the woman would agree to act as a helpmeet and companion to the man involved and take a primary, though the not exclusive role in the raising of the offspring. It might even involve the transfer of property to the offspring and the handing down of customs and traditions.

    We could call it… Marriage.

    • That’s crazy talk!

      But that option is available now, and like any optional agreement it’s only as good as the word of the parties involved.

      • The peoblem is that things line no fault devorce meen that marriage can’t work like its supposed to.

        • It’s effectively an honor system. But an honor system that offers financial rewards for cheating.

          Which is why you pick your mate VERY carefully these days. But it is possible.

        • That’s what pissed me off about those on the right claiming that gay marriage devalued marriage.

          They are largely the same people who were voting for no-fault divorce in the 1970s, and almost none of them were willing to get rid of it.

  15. These kinds of societal dynamics are being actively modeled and studied; and the ultimate goal is sufficient real world fidelity to allow for permutation investigation. In other words, once your model reasonably approximates current conditions, then theoretically you can experiment with different social forces and estimate the effect on future populations. However, two phenomena are making this endeavor highly intractable. The first is that affluence and modernity have rendered hardship nearly extinct and now almost everyone lives long enough to reproduce, e.g. natural selection is no longer driven by survival/robustness improvement. The second is that change is now occurring at hyper-speed (think smart phone addiction and pandemic memetic infection). Methinks the sex dance dysfunction may be a harbinger of much bigger problems.

  16. How does this jibe with the fact that Millennials seem to be having less, not more sex? Though it makes some sense. When the mandatory opening bid from women has to be ‘putting out’ and they don’t want to do so, they just don’t play the game.

    This seems like the female cartel that Megan envisions, but again, there are two problems: defectors and porn.

    I would further stipulate that the existence of porn has ‘taken the bloom off the rose’ when it comes to the romantic stories that women tell themselves about a relationship. Men have been taught to do graphic things like that ‘Claw’ by porn and women are appalled. Feminists, of course, take the titillation of the taboo and characterize it as ‘the norm’ for men, just to fear monger.

    A large part of this is a technology problem. But it is also a Feminism problem. What Feminists are selling is not necessarily what women want.

    • It’s also a lower trust environment.

      Look at, say, Title IX kangaroo courts. It’s not SAFE to stick it in teh crazy, and they’re ALL crazy. Or potentially so, on any given day.

      When you can’t necessarily trust the other party in a sexual encounter not to ruin your life for any, or no, reason….. You might have less sex.

  17. It seems that even the enlightened so-called “Bad Feminists” still don’t get it, and are avoiding the elephant in the room – the casual sex revolution and dating apps allow women to have sex with men WAY ABOVE their sexual market value (mainly determined by 2 functions, beauty and youth in case of women). In the era of hookup apps, a 5/10 plain Jane can easily get 6’2 jacked Chad Thundercock who is way better looking than her to pump and dump her, but of course since her value is lower than him, he’ll treat her like shit and will put in the least effort. Mean while, average Joe is getting 0 play from “looksmatched” girls, only getting girls who are way uglier than him. Don’t believe me? Google some Tinder Experiments, and you’ll see men and women get completely different results.

    The result is the top 10% of men in the dating pool are banging unlimited quantities of girls uglier than them for sheer variety while not committing to any of them. And for women they get access to guys way better looking than they normally would get, but guess what, they just won’t commit.

    The solution is obvious, though likely hardly practical – Women need to lower their inflated standards. A 5/10 should aim for a 6/10 male, not 8/10 Chad Thundercock, if she wants something more than a pump and dump. She’s just batting out of her league here. I’m willing to bet that plenty of men around her SMV range would enjoy being the perfect gentlemen to her. That would also appease the hordes of sexless average Joes who would easily have gotten married with a girl of roughly equal SMV in the traditional 1950’s, but get nothing in the free-for-all sexual market of today.

  18. >I think I can speak for all of your readers when I say BLOG MORE!

    I am currently investigating the option of moving my little obscure blog to Steemit because people there can be paid by readers. I think this would work 100x as well for ESR. I think Patreon also has some kind of per-blog-post payment option as well, Scott Alexander used to use that? Both are relatively easy looking ways for people to influence ESR’s incentinve inputs more towards writing and less towards programming. I would suggest try the Patreon per-post thing first as you already have an Patreon acc.

    (In most other technical professions 60 years old doyens tend to move entirely out of doing hands on work and just organize, teach etc. The problem with programmers is that they *like* to code. I used to have a boss where we had keep asking him would you please stop coding for a while and actually manage your business? Finally he hired someone to do that and went back to coding. Programming has a similar short dopamine feedback cycle as gambling. Pretty literally addictive.)

  19. There is a basic problem with the concept of rape. Remember, in very old times, it was considered as a crime against a woman’s “owner”, husband, father, even if she personally consented. Obviously enough, women had little say in formulating that sort of definition. As things moved towards the modern direction, the concept and definition of rape was more and more centered towards the actual victim, and more and more took women’s actual opinions and emotions in consideration. However we are not yet fully there when it is 100% based on how the victim feels about it albeit getting close. And there is a very basic problem with that:

    Remember the classic libertarian “force or fraud” concept. Obviously, rape has usually been understood in the force category. Recently, there are some women saying there is such a thing as fraud rape, like a man lying about his social status and income before the sexual act. Of course almost everybody dismisses it, and rightly so, one could as well say that women wearing make-up is also fraud-rape of a man because it disguises her real looks. In other words, currently most everybody understands that sex is that kind of unusual game where force is out, but some amount of fraud, or deception, is part of the rules. And even this is not the real problem, albeit getting close.

    The real problem is that in this new environment ESR described a lot of men had to learn how to simulate far higher status than he has in the short term, usually enough for just one night. That is Game. That is the PUA stuff.

    And later on when women find it out, they are often angry. In fact, they often feel sort of violated even though the act was entirely consensual. This is where the arguments come from that consent gained with fraud is no consent. This violated feeling simply comes from the basic logic of hypergamy, it is about getting some top quality seed so finding out the seed (which actually landed in a condom but whatever) was mediocre triggers some very real, very biological, very evolutionary shock and pain. It is absolutely real.

    And this is really something nobody has any idea what to do with. More and more men will Game i.e. simulate being an interesting playboy-criminal. Because hypergamy currently runs high and they have no other options. You can’t ban it, because it would be extremely unfair to men. Still, finding it out later on truly causes a biologically well-grounded pain for women, and the argument that fraudulently gained consent is not consent has enough precedence in other fields human behavior to be considered to hold water. The counter-argument, that some games, from seduction to poker, accept deception as rules of the game, is also good, but not 100% tight.

    I don’t really think fraud-rape is really going to be a concept anytime soon. But it is true that women do feel pain and regret about having fucked men who were far less alpha than they looked like, and it is true that this deception is indeed fraudulently gained consent. But that is not really a concept, just force-rape and threat-rape and incapacitated-rape are currently concepts, so these women wonder if they got raped. They didn’t, but that is the closest concept they have to a sexual act they strongly feel should not have happened.

    And this is what nobody has a solution that, except for a full on restoration of patriarchy.

    As long as people go out, get drunk, dance, and it can lead to immediate sex, women will employ deception about their looks (make-up) and men about their status (Game). Game is really male lipstick. In fact, a lot of men were horrified looking at their “date” in the morning light, without make-up. But men laugh it off, having done an ugly girl is not a trauma. Because on the evolutionary level it is just some wasted seed and seed is cheap. But obviously women work entirely differently. Pregnancy from low quality seed would be really bad.

    • I don’t really think fraud-rape is really going to be a concept anytime soon.

      Rape of deception is already a crime in certain jurisdictions. In California, if you gain a woman’s consent by impersonating someone else and then have sex with her, it’s rape. In Israel, a man was convicted of rape because he was a married Arab posing as a single Jew and had sex with a woman under those pretenses. In England a woman was convicted of rape for pretending to be a man and having sex repeatedly with another woman. (How she pulled that off, I’ll never know.)

      • @Jeff
        “if you gain a woman’s consent by impersonating someone else and then have sex with her, it’s rape.”

        The reason for that is clear in the “fairy tale case”. If a man somehow impersonates the husband and has sex with her, the woman certainly would felt raped. Such things are described in mythology etc., e.g., Malory’s account of the conception of Arthur.

        But loosening up that game to include cases where the woman “knows” her partner, but not his/her personal details sounds like a corruption of the law to me. In its root, the modern conception of rape is a matter of force where a person is overpowered by violence or intimidation. The other cases are more a matter of contract law. I do not think that women would want rape to become a breach of contract law.

        • This is not the correct analogy. Fraudulent attraction (for the purposes of sex) is the rule; honesty the exception.

          Leveraging the weakness of male visual-centricity, the use of cosmetics, dyes, contact lenses, and other alterations to appearance are fraud.

    • And this is really something nobody has any idea what to do with.

      Price the risk into the risk/reward model.

      You say women had no input into deciding that rape was a crime against their owner. Are you sure? It’s one solution to this exact problem. Women are reliably fooled by Game. Men are not nearly as gullible. Women, however, will know exactly who their owner would let them have sex with. Making rape about the woman’s owner gives women a hack around their own gullibility.

      If it wasn’t constructed at women’s behest, it was constructed with women’s best interests in mind; maybe out of real empathy, but at least out of a sincere need to negotiate a settlement.

  20. What I’ve learned from Ansari’s situation is why many celebs hire hookers instead of just fucking available groupies.

      • Yes, that exactly, when you consider that costs aren’t always denominated in dollars (or pounds or Euro or…). Indeed, those costs that aren’t are likely to be far more relevant to someone who has a lot of money, but for whom loss of social status could be devastating.

  21. This is the sort of weaponization of sex against men that’s becoming more and more common. http://reason.com/blog/2018/01/18/a-false-accusation-and-an-unfair-investi

    The sex was consensual, there were multiple witnesses to that, whom the school declined to talk to. But 10 days later she decided to really screw the guy.

    But “M.K.” lying wasn’t Alphonso Baity’s only problem. The school administration sent an e-mail to everyone at the school about why he’d been expelled.

    Crap like this has got to end. Title IX is not at all about this, but after being abused to eliminate various sports and other things that attract mostly male students, the SJW’s have been forging it into a cudgel with which to clobber men for *anything* they deem to be the slightest affront to any female, merely on her assertion at any time that some male student has perhaps caused her some upset feelings, or she willingly engaged in sex with one or more guys then got upset when her friends called her a slut, so consensual sex becomes “assault” or “rape” and the school administration springs to action with a figurative noose to lynch the guy.

    In a just world, “M.K.” would find herself expelled and labelled as an untrustworthy, backstabbing liar, Alphonso Baity would win his lawsuit and effing *own* the school, and whomever participated in sending the email to everyone should get a nice big fine and jail time for slander and libel, and find him or her self persona non-employable in academia.

  22. From an economic perspective, women’s problem with the sexual market is the Tragedy of the Commons problem. The solution will be the same as it has always been for this particular economic problem.

  23. It’s really refreshing to see Eric blogging as he used to a few years back, so fearlessly and so honest. It’s very much in the spirit of hacking! We are living in an era where every freedom we used to have is curbed in the name of the very same freedoms, so much so that seeing candid discussions like this has become an anomaly. Please continue.

  24. > (That last is not aimed at Ansari, who seems to me to have behaved quite like a gentleman, acceding to every request “Grace” actually made. It’s not his fault he couldn’t read her mind.)

    Um. if you read her account carefully, Ansari’s behavior was anything but gentlemanly. Sure, he behaved like a good male feminist or ‘ally’, and he did abide by conventional consent norms: the catch is that this is not nearly “good enough” in a dating context! Really, he was just as much of a boor as McArdle implies in her article, but the problem is _not_ that he was neglecting traditional courtship! The real issue is that he was (blatantly) doing that _and_ that he had no ‘Game’, no real appeal to her beyond the obvious thrill of _socially_ affiliating with someone impressive. Speaking from a purely social and “mating-dance” perspective, Ansari had no business trying to push hard for sex in that context!

    Now, to be sure, he’s no sexual harasser or assaulter, and the way he’s being treated is, to a significant extent, unfair. But this shouldn’t cause us to overlook the extent to which his troubles are, in many ways, entirely self-inflicted.

  25. ” But what do we do to go forward?”

    there’s much more awkwardness to come than awkward dates. sex-bots, artificial wombs, genetic engineering, rampant body-modification and industrialized fertility in general, plus blockchained smart-contracting (in dating, see http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/01/18/practically-a-book-review-luna-whitepaper/) are sure to bring about much more disruptive change than anything that has happend so far.

    the very categories through which we think the problem right now are at great peril.

    • I’m no fan, but who’s to say he didn’t ask several times? You’re taking Grace’s gossip as fact. Why? Did you really find her character to be credible?

  26. If you don’t see how pressuring a woman for sexual favors she doesn’t want to give, when you are alone with her as a man, is not only not gentlemanly, but borderline or actual sexual assault, you must be completely mindblind. Hint: unless she’s packing heat or built like Brienne of Tarth, her being alone with a man trying to get something out of her is inherently a threatening situation.

    • I think the word you should use in that first sentence is “threatening”, not “pressuring”. And your second sentence is a great example of proving too much.

    • And yet it’s the brutish rapey conservatives who think women should be armed.

      How does your head not explode?

      • >And yet it’s the brutish rapey conservatives that think women should be armed. How does your head not explode?

        Doublethink is a requirement for leftists. In the novel “1984”, believing and affirming false-to-fact propositions and mutual contradictions while knowing they are spurious was the test of loyalty to the Inner Party.

        Today in the real world it’s the test of virtue and solidarity with the actual existing Left – emitting politically correct nonsense while knowing on some level that it is nonsense – is an essential form of signaling.

        • Except Jeff seems to think his positions are rational.

          Not religious dogma and cant with the god filed off, mixed with tribalism.

          Or worse, surrender to the boot on your face, in the form of cognitive self-mutilation, sold as virtue.

    • That’s ridiculous. Asking a woman several times is not borderline sexual assault.

      And why do you think he was so persistent? Because that play had never worked before? I bet it’s because in his experience, such persistence got the results he wanted more often than not.

      But please stop equating things like persistent attempts to persuade with literally raping someone. That’s part of the problem.

      • > And why do you think he was so persistent?

        Because she got nekid in his apartment.

        Sometimes no mean maybe.

        Trigger warning–bad country music:

      • And why do you think he was so persistent? Because that play had never worked before? I bet it’s because in his experience, such persistence got the results he wanted more often than not.

        It. Doesn’t. Matter.

        But please stop equating things like persistent attempts to persuade with literally raping someone. That’s part of the problem.

        Rape is sexual assault. Groping is also sexual assault. Ansari didn’t forcibly rape the woman, but he did grope her — and kept doing it even when she told him to stop and gave nonverbal signs that such contact was not wanted. Under law — depending on jurisdiction — any consent she may have given to the penetrative sexual activity she engaged in may be considered to have been given under duress, making Ansari a rapist. Note how when she wanted to leave, he chased her down and tried to force his fingers down her throat again. You don’t see how this is threatening? You don’t see how this can negate consent? What planet are you on?

        Irrespective of whether a rape charge is filed or sticks, what Ansari did was horribly wrong and not to be sanctioned. His career should be ruined.

    • “If you don’t see how pressuring a woman for sexual favors she doesn’t want to give”

      According to the account I read, she took off her clothes and began fellating him.

      To swipe the punchline from an old joke, I think most of us would consider that the equivalent of a formal introduction.

      • According to the account I read, she took off her clothes and began fellating him.

        According to Grace’s account, he undressed her. And began touching her breast and kissing her in a way that made her feel profoundly uncomfortable. That’s sexual assault. If true, Ansari should be in prison.

        • Bollocks. Had she been ‘profoundly’ uncomfortable she would have left, or struck him, or yelled at him to leave her the eff alone. That’s how ‘profoundly’ uncomfortable people behave unless they are physically restrained, which she was not.

          I’m beginning to think it’s not a coincidence she pulled this stunt on a small, unthreatening man rather than a big muscular one.

        • Yes, everyone knows that random clickbait websites are a much better tool for dealing with rape thsn the police ever will be.

  27. Nope.

    Women have control over whether sex occurs.
    It is not a competition ‘race to the bottom’, it an individual choice on standards and values.
    If you value yourself more highly, you don’t give yourself away cheaply.
    Do not complain about other women giving it away cheaply, it doesn’t affect your value until you choose to go that route.
    Respect yourself, demand respect from the men you meet and date. You will find a man who has similar values and will see you as someone to hold in high regard. A partner for life vice a playmate for the moment.

    • The idea that if you value yourself highly you don’t give yourself away cheaply doesn’t make any sense. If you are valuable, doesn’t that mean you deserve to have fun?

      You aren’t actually giving anything away. After you have sex you have everything you had before you had it, plus some happy memories, you are actually better off than you were before. It’s not that it doesn’t affect your value until you choose to go that route, it’s that it doesn’t affect your value at all.

      The idea that men don’t hold women they have sex with in high regard is a terrible lie. There are some men like that, obviously, but that’s not because most men are like that, it’s that 3.5 billion people will, by the law of averages, have some terrible people in them.

      • “After you have sex you have everything you had before you had it, plus some happy memories, you are actually better off than you were before.”

        “Better off” if you don’t count some minor inconveniences such as an incurable STD or a pregnancy, you mean?

        • Pregnancy means progeny. If you do the right thing, and you both are adult about it (a big if) that is a good thing.

            • No, it’s not an assault on reality. It’s how large parts of western culture worked for a LONG time.

              • Putting the fun in dysfunction.

                Your two part ‘if’, shall we say, is theoretically a very good thing. If it holds true.

                And we know about theory and practice. So in the real world, no. Sex resulting in progeny can be quite unfortunate indeed.

        • Didn’t we recently discuss ruining your ability to effectively pair bond by engaging in too much casual attachment-free sex?

  28. This all makes some sense of the extreme repressiveness of many traditional societies, including our own until recently. The old ways had features we now find ugly and unacceptable, but maybe that was the best adaptation they could manage to a hard problem!

    This is related to Chesterton’s Fence:

    In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

    WRT the feminists desires, we may have incomplete understanding of the need for the fence. We see the benefits to the High Status Male, even (especially?) in the old societies, but overlook the benefits to women, focusing only on the costs / impositions.

  29. The problem isn’t that the amount of romance you can “buy” with sexual favors has gone down. The problem is that people are treating romance as something you “buy” with sexual favors at all.

    A woman trying to buy romance with sex is like a billionaire trying to buy it with money. That’s not how humans work. A guy who is romancing you to get in your pants and a trophy wife who is romancing you to get in your wallet are both not being romantic. Romance is a form of friendship. It comes from having things in common with people and wanting to spend time with them as an end in itself. Sex is only a small part of it.

    The “race to the bottom” Eric is describing is a feature, not a bug. It helps women identify unromantic men who just want sex. Then women can avoid those men (or bang them if the women aren’t interested in romance either). The woman who wanted romance might be sad if she mistakes an unromantic man for a romantic one, but isn’t it better she knows the truth?

    Don’t blame the Sexual Revolution for killing romance. Unromantic men have always been around. The Sexual Revolution has just caused them to stop hiding.

    • “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,”

      Damore didn’t suggest that. He suggested that “our colleagues” draw from an exclusive group on the right tail of the IQ distribution (probably 2+SD) that is not equally balanced between the genders. A woman with an IQ of 140 is just as “biologically suited” to be a Googler as a man with the same IQ, but she’s outnumbered about 3:1 due to the lower deviation among females.

      And the same is true on the left tail. Men vastly outnumber women in the <60 IQ cohort, which is a major factor behind their relative populations in correctional facilities.

      (None of this is new to long-time A&D readers, of course.)

  30. Women obviously have a choice. Individual decisions does not rely on group think. Thus, it goes back to what you want in a date. You play by the rules of your own values. If you date a cad, caddish behavior follows. It’s not even about holding out. A “proper” man won’t want to have sex on the first date. He won’t return for seconds. Thus your argument that a high status man will call back after having sex doesn’t follow. He likely won’t. Even if he does, how can she be wife material?

    So modest women will likely marry, while loose women don’t.

    • >A “proper” man won’t want to have sex on the first date. He won’t return for seconds.

      What makes you believe this? I’m a counterexample. I was excellent marriage material as a young man – bright, upper-middle-class SES, headed towards a good STEM career, no drug or alcohol issues, enough muscles to be exciting – but I never turned down sex as an opener. OK, I was careful who I took those pitches from – girl had to be bright enough that we’d have a conversation, and I was normally prudent enough not to stick it in the crazy, but that’s a different matter from automatically dismissing women who threw early sex at me as unmarriageable sluts.

      Some women who begin the negotiations that way are trash. Many aren’t. I’ve known both kinds, mostly avoided bedding the trash (there were one or two exceptions where I misjudged the girl) and it’s not simple. Hooking a guy with sex is not a tactic restricted to women who are slaves to their appetites or have shitty self-esteem or daddy issues or whatever; women who you can take home to your family and be proud of do it too, occasionally with admirable directness.

      Prudence is one thing, prudishness is another. A no sex on the first date rule risks throwing away eligible women who are strongly attracted to you; where’s the sense in that?

      • “but I never turned down sex as an opener.”

        That’s the difference. She already revealed herself as loose. I meant to say the proper man would not insist on sex. Otherwise, he’s a cad.

        I didn’t write for the benefit of men. It was for women. Since we know how men are, women risk a lot. It’s not a dating strategy for women to sleep with a lot of men if the intent is to have a relationship or marriage. I’m not going to further waste my time to elaborate on your various strategies from the male perspective. So what?

        • >She already revealed herself as loose.

          Not necessarily. “Loose” is when your sexual behavior is disconnected from or contrary to your long-term interests – that is, you lack either the wisdom or the capability to exercise self-restraint. A woman offering early sex may be loose but is not necessarily loose.

          >I meant to say the proper man would not insist on sex.

          More defensible. I didn’t. Relatedly, I wouldn’t even touch a woman if she was drunk or stoned.

      • > but I never turned down sex as an opener.

        I never did either. I wasn’t quite the “catch” you were, but I did ok.

        > OK, I was careful who I took those pitches from

        I wasn’t.

        > girl had to be bright enough that we’d have a conversation,

        Usually.

        > and I was normally prudent enough not to stick it in the crazy,

        I was a Marine. Took me a long time to figure out what crazy was.

        I’ve been faithfully married for 22 1/2 years, and was completely faithful for the 3 years between getting engaged and getting married.

  31. > As you imply, if women were able to coordinate a retreat to withholding early sex they would regain some of their lost bargaining power, but I don’t see any realistic possibility of this today. The problem is that the refuseniks from such an agreement trying to form, and the defectors after it formed, would be rewarded with more sex with high-status men, which is exactly what every player on the female side is instinctively wired to want.

    Such a witholding used to exist and it was largely enforced by women. The refusniks/defectors existed then, as well as their motivations, but they didn’t prevail.

    What’s changed is that there are now more defectors and fewer enforcers. One might be able to blame the pill for the former but the latter has other causes. The latter might be reversible, but it will take women to do it. The question is probably whether jealousy and envy can trump certain aspects of feminism.

  32. Good article, but I want to add an observation. You wrote “women get on average more educated”. I think this misses the mark on three points.

    First, too many women aren’t getting degrees in fields such as engineering, physics, computer sciences, or nursing where they could realistically expect to pay back the loans. Instead they’re getting degrees in fields such as feminist theory, critical theory, or French literature, where they’ll have no hope of landing a job that enables them to reasonably pay back the loans. That makes them a terrible marriage prospect for the guy who went to trade school and is making $75/hr as a welder. In fact, he’d rightly suspect she’s a “gold digger”.

    Second, men aren’t interested in womyn. That is, we avoid like the plague women who look down their nose at us for being “less educated”, especially when the “education” is in a junk field.

    Third, most of this “eduction” is in fact indoctrination into extreme Left ideology. That results in severe limits on conversation.

    The result is that men want nothing more from these women than sex. Which limits their prospect to Pajama Boys. But that’s a different discussion.

    • Or the women are merely credentialed, but *think* they’re educated.

      Which is a real problem, and not just w.r.t. dating, falsely overestimating one’s market value, and hypergamy.

    • “First, too many women aren’t getting degrees in fields such as engineering, physics, computer sciences, or nursing where they could realistically expect to pay back the loans.”

      Strange, in my country (the Netherlands) I see medical and law school swamped by women (2 to 1). Same for anything related to psychology. Seems to be fields where a girl can make a living. Especially as our students do not have to take out crushing loans to get an education.

      “French literature”

      Btw, you can make a decent salary here as a teacher French, English, Dutch, or German. These are all standard high school subjects over here.

      “Third, most of this “eduction” is in fact indoctrination into extreme Left ideology.”

      I get the impression that you do not know what an “extreme left ideology” is. But it certainly does not hold for medical and law school, psychology et al., nor for health sciences and anything related to language studies.

      • The Red Scare stuff is particularly silly when you stop to consider that the Netherlands, along with other Western European countries, probably has at least one actual communist in its parliament. And seems to be doing just fine.

        • It seems in modern times the old kind of leninism even provides inoculation against the new kinds of leninism. The method of the far left stays the same but the focus groups can change quite a lot. I strongly recommend these posts, they are easily the best that came out of the “reactor” in the last 2-3 years:

          https://bloodyshovel.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/biological-leninism

          https://bloodyshovel.wordpress.com/2018/01/21/leninism-and-bioleninism/

          • I read the blog until I saw:
            “China, the second power in the world, in place to become the first in a few years, is a Leninist state.”

            That is about as accurate as calling China a Trumpist state. “China First” is not Trumpism, nor is it Leninism. If he would have written “nationalist” or even on the road to “fascism”, that could be defended. But unearthing (pun intended) the Lenin bogeyman is pure propaganda. But this blog does really show the cluelessness of Americans about the world.

        • You’re talking about countries that could have most of their population dropped into a major US Metro area and no one would notice, except that the population would be a LOT whiter. Which, of course, is changing in some of those countries, and now they’re starting to see the sorts of problems that a lack of assimilation brings.

          Besides, we’ve got Bernie Sanders the self described National Socialist in the Senate. And there’s Sheila Jackson Lee, but she’s as much Crazy and Communist.

          • “You’re talking about countries that could have most of their population dropped into a major US Metro area and no one would notice, except that the population would be a LOT whiter.”

            Any problems with non-white people is of your own making. People from Africa have lived in the US even longer than the US exists. If you are unable to solve these problems after all these centuries, then it is a mark of incompetence for the people of the US.

            • The policies Bernie Sanders advocated are considered baseline requirements in civilized countries — universal health care, social safety nets, an actual functioning justice system, etc. By any reasonable standard, Sanders is a centrist.

        • “probably has at least one actual communist in its parliament.”

          Actually, there is a complete party. The Socialist Party originally was a Maoist party. They have 14 (/150) seats in the “House”, 9 (/75) in the “Senate” and 2 (/26 Dutch seats) in the European parliament.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialist_Party_(Netherlands)

          I think they can still be called communists. Beside them, we have the Greens and Labor. These are both distinctively to the left of Berni Sanders.

          If you go to the South of Europe, e.g., France, Italy, and Greece, you get larger Communist parties.

  33. “the Victorian era was caused in part by Syphillis.”

    Umm, rubbish. Syphilis appeared in Europe in around 1500, three centuries before Victoria was even born. That intervening period saw extended periods of sexual license – the Restoration in England, for instance, the France of Louis XIV and XV (both of whom had official mistresses), and Regency Britain. (Look up “Victoria’s wicked uncles”: her predecessor, WIlliam IV, had ten acknowledged bastards, George IV was one of the most notorious lechers in Europe, and.the Dukes of Cumberland and Sussex were fairly infamous as well.)

    • Rich, you are right about the Victorian era not being caused by syphilis.

      On the other hand, I have seen a convincing case made that, when you look at statistical changes in sexual behavior over time, the “sexual revolution” happened not in the 1960s but in the early 1940s and was tied to the availability of penicillin as a syphilis cure (there have been a previous reliable one since 1910 but it had serious toxic side effects).

      • the “sexual revolution” happened not in the 1960s but in the early 1940s

        And in a classic case of overdetermination, I expect the war provided opportunities for situational mores to become more settled; some of the themes from Catch-22 suggest this, if one can take anything so direct from it.

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  35. A couple of things which could be done:
    1. Any woman getting pregnant has one week to inform the father, he has one week on whether to accept responsibility for the child, or reject it.
    Woman can either have the child and be completely responsible for it, or get an abortion. Her body, her choice.
    2. Elimination of ‘no fault’ divorce, which is effectively ‘higher income spouse is at fault’ divorce. Make marriage a contract, the cheater is determined to have broken the contract and ceases to receive any of the benefits. Instead they must provide some consideration per the contract, loss of financial support etc. Party that upheld their contractual responsibilities continues to receive the benefits. Needs to be disincentives for cheating.
    3. Every child is genetically tested for paternity, if the husband isn’t the father– he owes no support, and it’s a violation of the marriage contract.

    • > 1. Any woman getting pregnant has one week to inform the father,

      One week from *when*. Now, without building a massively intrusive state

      > he has one week on whether to accept responsibility for the child, or reject it.

      Or what?

      > 2. Elimination of ‘no fault’ divorce, which is effectively ‘higher income spouse is at fault’ divorce.

      I disagree with the second half of the sentence, but can agree with the first, except:

      > Make marriage a contract, the cheater is determined to h… Needs to
      > be disincentives for cheating.

      Getting the state more involved in peoples lives is not the answer.

      > 3. Every child is genetically tested for paternity, if the husband isn’t the father–
      > he owes no support, and it’s a violation of the marriage contract.

      This interferes with the choices of individuals. There are a small number of people who don’t mind if their partners pass themselves around like a desert tray. If they’re comfortable raising someone else’s kid as their own, why get the state involved?

      Which is to say “it’s not cheating if both sides are ok with it.”.

      • “There are a small number of people who don’t mind if their partners pass themselves around like a desert tray.”

        And there is AI, and IVF with donated eggs/sperm, and surrogate mothers (w/o donated sperm/eggs), and step children, and adopted children, and probably a lot of other options. There is even three way parenthood where the egg body is not from the genetic (nuclear) parents.

        “Bastards” is such a narrow category to evaluate children.

    • @grayswindir
      I think you do not “get” the reason society recognizes marriage. This is a deal where a couple gets considerable privileges from the community (including the state) in return for taking up the burden of supporting children born into the marriage and to each other. If you cannot accept that burden, do not marry. If you renege on your part of the “deal”, the community will force it upon you. The community has absolutely no interest in whatever other “deals” the partners in that marriage make between each other, e.g., about being monogamous or birth control.

      If you are not married, you are still liable for the consequences of your actions. A child needs support, and if possible, both the mother and the father will be charged for it. If you are tricked into fatherhood, you should take it out on the mother, not the child. It still is your child and you have to support it.

      And, yes, I do know the US courts are dysfunctional. But that still is not the fault of the child.

      @grayswindir
      “1. Any woman getting pregnant has one week to inform the father, he has one week on whether to accept responsibility for the child, or reject it.”

      Child support is for the child, not the mother. The courts do not care how a child is conceived. They only care about where support is to come from. And that is from both its “legal” parents. Which do not have to be its natural parents.

      @grayswindir
      “2. Elimination of ‘no fault’ divorce, which is effectively ‘higher income spouse is at fault’ divorce. ”

      If you cannot handle a divorce, do not marry. There are plenty of other options.

      @grayswindir
      “3. Every child is genetically tested for paternity,”

      Every child born in a marriage is the child of that marriage. If the father is not the biological father, there might be roads to disavow the child, but they should be short-lived. Again, if you cannot handle marriage, do not marry.

      • > If you are tricked into fatherhood, you should take it out on the mother

        In what way can a man “take it out on the mother” without being punished legally?

        It seems harsh to “punish the child” for the sins of the mother, but there’s also a thing called “moral hazard”. If women are allowed to use fraud to make a man a father who does not wish to be, and the payoff is that the man will be on the hook to support the child for life, it incentivizes that behavior. Take away the payoff and the behavior is no longer incentivized.

        • Men are free to take care that their semen does not reach an egg. If you feel there are women who commit “fraud” in this respect, change the law. But I have a definite hunch that any such change in the law will not be to the advantage of the child.

          • Should governments be allowed to go after men who have donated to sperm banks for child support, even when the conditions for their donations stipulated that the recipients would bear all such expenses, and leave him with no such obligation?

              • Arguably, a man who donates to a sperm bank is not “knocking a woman up”. She’s doing knocking herself up by asking for artificial insemination.

                Under this legal regime, no sane man will ever donate to a sperm bank. The only sperm donations will therefore be from insane men. Great.

        • If you’re that determined not to pay for a child, don’t have sex with a woman. Sex leads to babies. Deal with it.

          I’ve seen that line used against women many, many times and it’s about time it was applied to men who, after all, are supplying half the input required to make that baby. If you don’t want to support the result of your actions don’t carry out that action. Simple.

          • When that line gets used against women, it’s almost always in the context of an anti-abortion argument. But even if abortion were 100% outlawed, women would still be allowed to put their newborn babies up for adoption. Anonymously, even. So why shouldn’t men be able to do the same?

      • It’s kinda funny that once again after decades of “Women’s Liberation” the answer is still to hold men responsible for the actions of women.

  36. You are holding a variable as a constant, which is that we remain a free society. That often closes off consideration of viable options because a priori they are rendered invisible.

    One option out of the described trap is significant voting defection from liberal democracy in favor of dictatorship by the female population dissatisfied with the race to the bottom. The new political arrangements will then get them out of their vicious social trap as the dictatorship will be required to promise and then make new rules regarding acceptable expressions and arrangments regarding sexuality in order to have enough of a power base to end freedom (such as it is in the West).

    This is analysis, not endorsement. I happen to hate this scenario, but can see how desparation would lead some political entrepreneur on the make offering it as an option and finding a working coalition willing to push him to power.

    • I am anti-democracy, but going from democracy to nondemocratic rule in one step is pretty bad. I mean, this is why nearly everybody today thinks democracy is better than the alternatives: because the alternatives we see in the modern world, the modern dictatorships are actually failed democracies, that is, democracies who managed to vote for someone who was asshole enough to discard his promises and generally accepted rules and refused to step down. So our modern alternative to democracy, modern dictatorship, is just the usual “the political class are scum” written even larger. THIS is why modern dictatorships have all the ills of modern democracies but even more: even more corruption, even more waste etc.

      But that is not how the Kings emerged. Not from democracy but from anarchy. This is a key difference. They didn’t subvert an existing order: they created order where none existed.

      That means we need to from democracy to anarchy first. I hate it. But we have to. Anarchy will teach all the “I am so oppressed” types what happens when there is no order around to protect them. Then when things are sufficiently shitty and people are sufficiently fed up, kings or a King will emerge. Who create order, who create peace, who have true authority without anything like an election because plain simply within the sphere where their authority reaches there is peace, order, and people can focus on working, living and getting rich instead of protecting their lives and stuff. And outside the sphere there is still violent chaos. So people will want to get inside, it will be not that kind choice like “who should rule us?” which is democracy’s entirely wrong question, but more like “where that guy rules things go well, let’s get in or sort of extend his rule here”.

      So that is that. Authoritarian rulers who subvert democracies are usually assholes. Authoritarian rules who create order in an anarchy are far more likely to be great guys.

      • There is, however, the problem of succession – when the man who made a decent political order passes away, how does one ensure that whoever takes his place will maintain what he built? Failing that, how does one remove a replacement who can’t, or won’t, govern properly? The special advantage of elections is, remember, that bad rulers can be gotten rid of without resorting to murder or armed rebellion.

        The fundamental question of politics is not who should rule, it’s what the rules should be; and the deepest divide is between those who want a rule of law, and those who want a lawless ruler.

        • The rule of law is literally impossible because a piece of paper does nothing, only humans make decisions. Thus, the rule of law means the rule of law-interpreters: judges. A recent example of the rule of judges was the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage: it is quite strange to interpret the US Constutition this way and quite strange that nobody done so for like 200 years and suddenly when they issue got popular it was interpreted so – but who cares, The Sovereign Hath Spoken, the debate is over.

          So no, it is not what the rules should be, that is not really much more than the masturbation of intellectuals. What the rules should be goes hand in hand in who and how interprets the rules.

          So ultimately it can only be who should rule. When judges, such as the SCOTUS, have the highest, non-overridable authority to interpret the rules (and that is pretty much what sovereignty is), judges rule.

          So the actual question is whether judges make better rulers than say generals or politicians.

          I say, very often yes – there is probably a reason why this rule of law system is so succesful, and the reason is probably that judges make quite good rulers. They are basically law geeks. That’s not too bad.

          The rule of judges system has one fundamental weakness. Judges are very educated people. That is an attack vector. Put an ideological virus in the university education system and 30-40 years later you get a SCOTUS or other judges who interprets the law according to that. You saw what this 1968 type student radicalism thing they were into did to the Clintons. What did it do to the judges? I wonder.

          In other types of lawsuits this jury thing, being judged by your peers thing sounds like a useful antidote to that, i.e. the common sense of common people counter-balancing the judge. Maybe use this in constitutional law as well and you get a fairly stable system. How would it look like if constitutional decisions would also include a randomly selected jury?

          When I am talking about Kings I emphasize that they must emerge from anarchy, not democracy. But from the chaos after democracy breaks down. In that situation you need a military type, not a judge.

          • So uh, you didn’t answer the question.

            When the good king dies, what happens then? Do we cross our fingers and hope his son is as good? Do we throw the society back to chaos and anarchy, wait for another king to emerge, and hope he isn’t like Napoleon? I think you’re going down a dangerous path. Per Jordan Peterson, things like Hitler happen when there’s too much civilization, when there’s too much of a perceived need for order. Sowing chaos among the people in the hopes that a benevolent angel-king will arise and set things right by ruling by decree only opens the door for a malicious opportunist to pose as the angel-king. As we’ve seen in history with, for example, Napoleon.

            Questions like these are why we had an Enlightenment in the first place. Think of “rule of law” as an abstraction. Like all abstractions it is leaky. Therefore, we should attempt to minimize the leaks. But just because an abstraction leaks doesn’t mean you throw the whole sodding thing away. It’s like — files are a leaky abstraction, sure, but unless you’re an embedded programmer or a radical insane Forth-head, you don’t just say “eh, I’ll do without” and dispense with files entirely.

            The judges who “rule” are bound by the same laws as the rest of us, in principle. If Ruth Bader Ginsburg is caught doing 70 in a 55 zone, she’s going to be on the hook for a traffic ticket just the same as the rest of us. And even the SCOTUS is not the final arbiter of the law. Whenever the court hands down a decision in matters of law, Congress is free to overrule them by passing new laws, as long as they do not violate the Constitution itself. (Nine times out of ten, when the SCOTUS denies cert or upholds a lower-court ruling being challenged, the gist of their opinion is “if you have a problem with the law as written, you need to take that up with Congress, not us; we don’t have the power to change this.”) The Court is the supreme interpreter of the law as far as the government is concerned; another principle intrinsic to American governance is that the people have the right to disobey bad laws (civil disobedience), acquit people convicted under bad laws (jury nullification), or even overthrow the government.

            (One drawback of the American system that constitutional monarchies don’t have is that aside from the arduous process of passing a constitutional amendment, the USA has no way of peaceably overthrowing the government — whereas the Queen of England, for example, may dissolve the Parliament.)

            Of course, principle and practice are two different things, and imho American government as such doesn’t have the capability to protect people equally under the law. But I’m afraid this may be a cultural thing. If the common people aren’t common people but “temporarily embarrassed millionaires”, we reason that they are not in particular need of protection by the law, so we do not use the government to protect them specially the way, say, Scandinavian states or even Canada do.

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  38. You suggest that women are losing out in the new arrangement. I don’t think so.

    When men have all the power, they lock women in harems. When women have all the power, they put themselves in brothels.

    Chastity and monogamy was a deal made between males for males. What the beta males got out of it was wives and children. What the alpha males got out of it was soldiers and taxpayers. What the women got out of it was being hit with a stick. Civilizations where the alpha males of the state apparatus made a different deal tend to disappear from failure to reproduce, and inability and disinclination to engage in war and conquest.

    For the deal to work, any unowned women have to be pressured into an arrangement where some man owns them, and if pressure fails, forced. In monogamy, that man is usually a beta, and women seriously dislike this arrangement. They would rather spend their youth, their beauty, and their fertility partying hard.

    To see this arrangement in full flower, reflect on the Australian authorities in 1797 promoting monogamy with a cat of nine tails against women who would otherwise have a quite alarming amount of sexual choice.

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