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January 22, 20187106Views

Family Politics – Privatising Choices & Collectivising Outcomes

Alexander Shaw analyses the landscape of family politics and the relations between the sexes in the the post-war West

Rakish popularism is crashing through the boundaries of acceptable discourse like a Panzer tank through a picket fence. Let us ask why.

Over a million British children are currently growing up without a father. One in five German households is now a single parent family (mostly in the former GDR). The situation is similarly grim across the developed West.

Single mother households, now exceeding the post-war bulge, are still on the rise. This vast number does not include households where the mother’s influence, with society behind her, has completely eclipsed the father’s authority in their children's lives. This may not end well.


Wartime Governance Creates a Wartime Population

A society which exists in a state of war must shift its priorities away from investing in social institutions like stable families and adapt to its condition of instability and population erosion by producing:

  1. Sons who defend
  2. Daughters who re-populate

It should come as no surprise to anyone that humans have evolved a biological mechanism which causes this adjustment to happen automatically. When there are fewer men in a society (wartime), there are obviously not enough men for all the women to have husbands – which means that many of the first generation of war-children grow up with a semi-absent or completely absent father.

Children who grow up without a father are, as a demographic:

  1. Violent men
  2. Promiscuous women

Without a father present, girls reach puberty earlier and sleep around more while men are more likely to seek the immediate rewards of crime and derive a personal identity from a group (whether it be a team, gang, party or military) identity. This perpetuates the wartime breeding strategy to the second generation; daughters who aren't predisposed (or, in wartime, perhaps have no incentive), to make the complex set of calculations involved in selecting a partner for his long-run stability instead repeat their mothers' ordeal and end up raising the next generation of fatherless children and around we go.

The collapse of Classical Antiquity serves as a good documented historical example of this type of ecology. Faced with endless invasions and insurrections, few of the late Imperial leaders knew their fathers. While their sisters hectored, bullied, and even offered themselves in marriage to invaders, from Constantine to Justinian (and later still in the East), a strong militia stood as the counterpoint to a de facto rule of endless concubines, domineering matriarchs and their eunuchs.

As evidenced by the record of history, a society can maintain itself in this cycle for at least some decades. When it has used up its peacetime capital and maxed out on credit, a strategy of governance that prioritises the provided for rather than the provider becomes centripetal– - requiring the flow of resources from ever wider peripheries to feed the shortages it creates for itself at its center. If it can't achieve this by means of warfare the resources cease to flow, the governance collapses and the society is forced to return to horizontal provisioning (provisioning contracts between lower institutions, civil society and individual people).

To take a more recent example, the First World War killed about 2% of the whole British population (so – as a horribly vague personal estimate – 4% of males and 8% of men corresponding to women of childbearing age).

The same war had a much more devastating effect on the German population. 3-4% of both the German Empire and the Austrio-Hungarian Empire were lost. I imagine that translates into something like a fifth or a quarter of men corresponding to women of childbearing age.

That would mean not only a fifth of those girls being unable to find husbands, but many of the rest having an absent or semi-absent partner, leading to more and more absent fathers. This in turn drives demand for a bigger and bigger state machine to act as surrogate husband and father, shifting resources vertically in a ham-fisted attempt to provide for and manage the surge of war children being produced.

We've probably enjoyed a longer period of peace and prosperity than any society anywhere ever. But here's the thing: we have adopted a wartime breeding strategy.

Yet, we are not at war. Absent fathers are not actually dead. They remain a productive (if reluctant) part of the tax-paying civilian workforce. An explosion of global capitalism, credit spending, and subsequent rocketing of public and private debt have all helped to push the envelope a mile further than nature would have allowed, to enable hitherto unthinkable engorgements of households based on hitherto unthinkable ideals.


The Symbiosis of Welfare and Contraception

Brilliant theories abound from sociologists of every stripe as to how we got into this demographic crisis and how we might get out. Many may be true, but there is a biological explanation upstream of all of them.

A wealthy society might have got away with some excesses of our state welfare system had it remained accountable to nature’s mandate of a one-to-one relationship for sexual pairing and the production of children.

The great promise of contraception was that it would enable women to play with fire safely (to have sex without the commitment or risk previously implicit to women of creating a baby), foregoing the inconvenience of self restraint and discernment in mate selection. The natural counterpart to this was men's active competition to earn and to gather surplus resources to provide for families (men compete, women select – and it’s worth mentioning that most men who have ever lived have no living descendent today, whereas most women do). A great deal of wealth surplus to men’s individual requirements is no longer conducted according to the long-term needs of children but to the immediate wants of women.

The ability to select one man for pleasure and another to create a family constitutes perhaps the single most drastic injunction mankind has ever served upon its own biological and social condition at its foundational level. Separating the act of sex from personal investment and responsibility means ‘high value mating material’ is now defined as ‘ability to sleep around without committing’.

The impact on marriage and child-rearing has been catastrophic because, despite elements in our society working all-out to persuade people otherwise, the individual man and woman's value to each other are based on differing criteria and invariably peak at different times in their lives relative to each other and those around them.

Stable marriages (producing stable children) have sights set on far horizons. The modern sexual economy, with its minute-by-minute matching, is more like a prep-school football match or the floor of a commodities exchange. It is a noisy mob, vying to get as near as possible to the valued target of the moment, where the urgent action is taking place. If at any stage one or other party finds their stock has risen or fallen in relation to their current partner, there is really no incentive to stick around. Nobody wants to regulate a market which already works in their favour, so only people whose value to the opposite sex is comparatively low and has no chance of rising would seek social and legal protection of a relationship, such as is offered by marriage.


A Tourist Sums It up

A very loud American woman in her mid-thirties was overheard in my local cafe in Italy. She was telling her girlfriends about ‘Dave’. Dave had been ‘such a clingy guy’ at college. Alas, however, other guys she dated all turned out to be ‘assholes’. So after some years she decided she'd selflessly give Dave a go. They married and (under her brilliant supervision, of course) he blossomed into something quite successful. Then, goddamnit, ‘he cheated on me!’ Marriage over. Dave gone. Now she was going through her ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ tour in some sort of effort to ‘find herself’ (perhaps on Dave’s money?) Her girlfriends nodded and cooed in sage empathy with her plight.

On the other end of that story, of course, is Dave; I visualised some pallid suburban accountant who watched his princess humiliate herself with a series of frat-house jocks before finally being allowed to sip the dregs of his romantic fantasies, only to realise he could go for a younger model whose expectations of men had not been set by the string of Genghis Khans and Captain Von Trapps who had calibrated the expectations of his brattish wife.

I can't list here even a fraction of the social dynamics – and tragedies – which flow from this situation except to point out that the bulk of that woman's male compatriots – the Daves of this world and those who don’t want to be like him – have just voted for a president who, by his utterances, appears to understand their stone-hearted quest to confront such callous female hegemony while apparently being too shy to tell the pollsters. It seems to me American women have been voting Hillary with their pens but Trump with their bodies.

Another complaint is that men who correspond to older women wanting commitment are giving up on marriage entirely. It's not hard to see why.

Many pioneers of post sexual revolution marriages lost devastating divorce suits, custody of their children and the majority of their personal wealth to bring you that data. They could have just listened to a bit of Edwardian advice: 'don't pay full price for a cake with a slice cut out of it'; ergo, don't be like Dave. In a perfectly logical risk-reward assessment (for which they are fashionably shamed as being weak, scared little boys – or pathologised as suffering from Freud's 'Madonna-Whore Complex’), men are increasingly reluctant to risk half their life’s equity on social contracts which they can see are more than likely to fail.

The acknowledgement of this dynamic by modern ‘feminists’ would empower them to make an informed choice between a life of polygamy or a life of exclusivity instead of complaining that their similarly liberated menfolk are either wimpy or assholes (the Wimp-Asshole Complex being the inevitable end-product of telling women they can have two things that have become mutually exclusive). But, in our environment of great material abundance which can disguise the shift of resources towards female interests (and pay off the 'assholes' with free love), we appear to have doubled down on the idea that women are in fact victims.

While the solution must come from the bottom-up (the re-construction of nuclear families), a wartime governance, by design, makes it as difficult as possible for bottom-up solutions to hold any sway over the ham-fisted, slap-down meddling of the state and its noisy client media machine.


How Is This Relevant to the Modern West?

Invasions or upheavals of societies have spelled the end of the men's genetic legacies, but not those of women. Women are generally not conscripted to front-line service and are protected at the expense of the last collective coin and drop of blood as the means of building up the population again.

While perhaps only a minority of a society's men will be left alive to become the (absent) fathers to wartime children – for women the wartime scenario and the collapse of the institution of nuclear families actually spells wider breeding options – especially if an invasion occurs. Invasion might even result in the assimilation of fertile women into the new ‘tribe’. Understanding that what is good for them is good for the whole society and vice versa, women have less to fear from an upheaval than men, provided that they accept the new governance.

However the cost of the pressing war-society's need to enforce ends rather than support means ushers in dogmatic utopian concepts such as 'human rights', which necessarily beget more and more expensive micromanagement and administration to support them. Policy is eventually driven by fear of immediate consequences rather than a quest for justice or prosperity which might advantage society. Enter the ‘better red than dead’ brand of negotiation. Enter forms of social control which attempt to dress individual needs as collective needs, right from the political ‘better together’ slogans to individual self-interested appeals-prefixed rhetorical devices such as 'I think it's embarrassing that...' or 'It's sad that...' or 'I have a right to…'. Enter micromanagement, and the old woman spying on the block and inferred accusations on those unwilling to commit support.

All this can be rationally argued at each step. It ends in affirmative action, boardroom quotas and every social and legal benefit-of-the-doubt where a woman claims a man has failed to serve and provide. We increasingly hear tired claims of sexual abuse from jilted women; claims which will undermine the credibility of the legal system at great cost to genuine victims. As for the children, a generation has been rammed into academic travel-lodges because our tanking economy can't possibly give them employment or purpose. Thus abusing our civic institutions is just another way of spending society’s accumulated capital.

And it is society's capital that is abused – not exclusively that part of it which the state controls.

Christian churches are often co-opted by the tanking female. The road-to-Damascus epiphany and return of the burned-out party-girl to the altar rail may be a sincere change of heart, but it is hard to take someone’s claim of conversion seriously when it just happens to serve the continuation of a self-centred social control strategy. Dwindling Western congregations are increasingly comprised of ageing women; if churches existed to excuse the sins of men and impress obligations upon attractive girls, the pews would be packed with young men instead. Mann markt die absicht und ist verstimmt.

I don’t judge any group here, and certainly don’t say men as a whole are oppressed more than women. You can't promote the interests of one sex over the other without both suffering some form of systemic injustice. The point is that people are being swept blindly along by the forces of a market they don't even acknowledge exists. Until now, the predictable, gradual decline has not been enough to risk the turbulence of reform for the promise of greater long-term prosperity.

But now the resources are blown, it must come to an end. Not ‘must’ in the sense of ‘ought’, but ‘must’ in the way of water flowing downhill. It is beginning to happen.

The trouble with collectivisation is that people don't invest in what isn't exclusively theirs. A paradox starts to emerge in which the female need for personal liberty erodes the male need for exclusivity – and thus male incentive for investment in the generation of wealth to run households collapses altogether.

We have to ask: how can a population better suited to war than to civilian life be given an incentive to generate wealth again?


How Does This Transpose into Policy?

Since the 1960s, private and public debt has accumulated to such an extent in the West that a shift in interest rates by just a fraction of a percent now could tip us into chaos. Since the 1980s, the decline has been managed by state holding facilities for legions of angry and unemployable youths. Our universities are now powder kegs, packed with latchkey brats who have had more resources thrown at them than any other generation in the history of the planet and yet are ready to 'tear the whole system down' should any government refuse to push the debt-envelope a bit further in order to keep their credit-driven, free-love economy on the road.

So the calibration of our policy must get finer and finer, the room for manoeuvre less and less, the movements of governments more and more predictable. We are living not in a dictatorship in the positive sense of a leader impressing upon us what we must do, but rather an environment of increasingly tight parameters of what we are able to do while retaining our stability.

The answer, then, is that this doesn't transpose into policy very much – but to the extent that it transposes into popularist posturing and shouting of political slogans, it explains everything.


Liberty vs Exclusivity

According to the Associated Press, it seems that the male/female Trump/Clinton vote was split by a yawning 13 percentage points – easily enough to have swung the entire election one way or the other.

Amazingly, the gender imbalance has barely been subject to any press scrutiny at all. Any other demographic divide this wide would have been agonised over until theories were brought forward to explain them and policies to correct them. Not this, though. The reasons that underpin it are simply too socially sensitive for any mainstream newspaper to tackle.

I find it helpful to define the two camps not as 'left' and 'right' but as 'feminine' and 'masculine.' This definition allows those who use it an insight which can explain many of the apparent internal contradictions of each camp. For instance, someone might continually evoke the plight of children in order to call for more help to be extended to migrants, while simultaneously approving of a woman's right to procure a late term abortion. Another 'pro life' individual might on the other hand ruthlessly argue for the abolition of that right of the mother, yet be in favour of cutting public health spending in order to afford more battleships and warheads.

The first person is in fact entirely consistent in their desire for a state of diversity, wider inclusion and free personal choice – a big state to handle the cost of their enjoyment of the two, whereas the second is consistent in their desire for accountability for individual choice and protection of investment.

The two distinct groups are stuck in the same boat, yet their interests are irreconcilable. The problem is that, in a democracy, the state must acknowledge that the customer is always right. When governments inevitably fail to provide for both sets of divergent needs in the society, then everyone 'loses faith in democracy.' Call it the 'You give, I Receive Complex', if you like.

Although the pendulum seems to me to be swinging back towards a structure of insulation, it is important to see the figurehead of the state as being only a symptom of the condition (I'm not even going to say 'disease' – because, to the expense of those for whom it is a disease, it is pure opportunity for others). The state is not immoral, but amoral, insofar as it only reflects the ecology of the society that put it there.


Don't Shoot the Messenger


There’s a great trial on. On the prosecution, we have the interests of free love, privatisation of choice and collectivisation of outcomes. On the defence, we have a demand for ownership of outcomes (accountability). The defence does not yet have inquisitors and a sympathetic media machine. Until recently, they had almost no voice at all. But – for those who are tuning in – they are now delivering their opening statements.

I take the example of a student at Durham University called Louis Richardson, who was accused of raping one of his female contemporaries. It was obvious to any journalist or lawyer who was familiar with a string of similar cases brought against men – ranging from quiet businessmen like Alexander Economou to Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans – that Richardson was on the wrong end of a false accusation (specifically one of the ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ variety). University campus accusations – most notoriously that of Emma Sulkowicz (the ‘Mattress Girl’) – are not uncommon and, as Mattress Girl's ‘plight’ continues to arouse feminist sympathy even after it has been shown to be fraudulent, it is not hard to see why.

Until the moment Richardson was declared innocent, months later, his reputation was dragged through the mud. For a decade or more, I should think that any Google search of his name will only link him with a rape trial.

Richardson’s ordeal proved itself merely to be the symptom of a much deeper cultural problem. Completely blind (or effecting to be) to the dynamic unfolding behind his trial, a feminist columnist for the Daily Telegraph called Radhika Sanghani picked up on Richardson’s story. She used the unconfirmed – and later debunked – accusations against him as an example of our misogynist culture. Richardson’s photograph still adorns that article on the website of a national broadsheet. To date, no apology has been forthcoming from that columnist or The Telegraph. Such is the presumption of male guilt that there is simply no need for them to do so. Such is the assumption of female victimhood that Richardson’s accuser remains anonymous.

If our establishment press and its followers knew the Pandora’s box they have opened, I don’t think they would be so surprised about the rise of ‘misogynist assholes’ like Donald Trump. Looking into the Richardson case, I discovered a seething urge to crush the culture in which vile establishment pundits can step out in broad daylight having been congratulated and paid for the ideas they spin.

Some of the people who are driving the political change we see today are seriously, seriously angry at having suffered ordeals which would make Richardson’s look like a walk in the park. Many of them have little to lose and, whereas war children don’t make great civilians, they make pretty good soldiers.

In trying to grasp the nature of what we are dealing with, I soon found myself in the cyber-company of an American writer named Daryush Valizadeh and his band of (it has to be said, refreshigly merry) men.

Daryush Valizadeh is a notorious pickup artist who has authored a series of books explaining how to pick up girls in various countries. Perhaps more interestingly though, he runs a couple of social commentary websites which are among the few places online where a balanced, or at least counter-balanced, social commentary exists (they have been packed with a little more than their usual joie de vivre since the US election). It makes perfect sense that a pickup artist should be at the centre of this battle, of course, because, rather in the way that you might expect a pilot to lead an airforce or a doctor to become Minister for Health, a pickup artist is qualified by his vested interest in understanding the mechanics of male-female relationships.

Little surprise, then, that Valizadeh (along with another pickup artist called Julian Blanc) has been been denied entry to Western countries (including the UK), on the basis that they threaten the fabric of civilised society. In a way, I suppose they do – or at least the part of it that the urban status quo deals with. These men are vilified not because anyone who has read their work believes they are dangerous, but because they have diagnosed exactly the situation we are in and, should our society weigh for itself the balances, those who peddle the predominant political and media narrative know they shall be found wanting.

But when the Devil is the only person offering an accurate diagnosis (and I don’t think these men are the Devil), we are judged by our reaction to that diagnosis, not by whether we chose to ignore or accept the situation we are in.

Obviously, we are not ruled by averages. We rule ourselves through our choices – and as a result there is always a minority who are antisocial enough not to fall into this demographic trap. But we must at least acknowledge the averages, their causes, their effects, and the parameters of our own agency in order that we don't allow ourselves to be swept along passively into the disaster that has become our cultural normality.

If you have that courage, try at least not to shoot the messenger. This is to tell you to do less, not more; but by cutting out what is perceived to be chivalry, it will require courage nonetheless. And, if you have more courage yet, if you are not afraid to lose your job and be shamed as a sexist or a misogynist or so many of the things that people who quietly voted for Trump were labelled with, go a little further still and stand up against people like like Radhika Sanghani.

And if it made you uncomfortable to read of some of the dynamics I have described then confront your inner feminist and, for the sake of society’s real victims, evict her immediately.

Alexander Shaw



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