Which Mindset is Twisted?

“And, above all else, these angry Western men detest feminism.”

Mary Harrington, “It’s Horrifying how some Young Western Men are so Alienated by Woke Culture that They Even Admire the Taliban’s Twisted Mindset.”  Daily Mail (August 28, 2021)

“Feminism was one of the biological factors involved in the downfall of the [Roman] empire . . . . No civilization has ever been able to survive after the natural biological differentiation of the sexes was weakened.” 

Paul Popenoe, The Conservation of the Family (1926)

“The only groups in the United States reproducing at rates far above replacement are located in certain rural areas . . . remote from those educational and cultural influences which are symbolic of social progress.” 

Paul Henry Landis, Population Problems (1943).

The author of my first epigraph agrees with Orthosphere commenter a.morphous that unfeminized Western men are quietly cheering the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan because the bearded blitzkrieg represents a small victory for patriarchy.  She makes the usual progressive error of projecting her leftist love of abstractions onto the right.   Whether we are young or old, angry or jolly, alienated or adapted, unfeminized Western men love particulars, not abstractions.  In the case at hand, we love our own particular people, both male and female, and advocate patriarchy as necessary to their welfare. 

So long as our own people is staggering under the multiple maladies of foul feminism, however, we are not in the least bit consoled by the thought that the beacon of patriarchy is burning on a dusty hill on the other side of the world.

Feminism is, essentially, the doctrine of female autonomy.  It proposes that females should be free to direct their own lives, or at least that females should be no less free than males.  As a practical matter, this of course means that females should be free to accept or refuse the traditional and biological role of the female, which has always and everywhere included a dedication to childbearing, housekeeping, and the preparation of food.

Some liberated females who refuse the traditional and biological role of their sex neglect housekeeping and food preparation, and so become what our grandfathers called slatternly women.  Others hire flunkies to do their boiling, mopping and scouring.  Still others persuade a humble hubby to wear the apron and clean the house.

But childbearing they cannot delegated to hirelings, or turn over to a humble hubby, so childbearing is something many liberated females neglect to do. 

The simplest objection to feminism is, therefore, that any human population into which this diseased doctrine spreads will soon shrivel and eventually die.  Feminism is, to be sure, part of a larger complex of sterilizing doctrines, but it is of primary importance because it defeats the breeding instinct in the female.  It can do this directly by instilling an Amazonian distaste for men.  It can do this indirectly by waylaying young females in work, study and play during their most fertile years.  But the effect is in every case the same.  Once feminist doctrine spreads through a human population, that population will shrivel to half its original size in less than two centuries, and will all but disappear not long after that.

By way of comparison, it would take covid about 250 years to cut the population of the United States in half if it remained, throughout those two and a half centuries, as lethal as it has been for the past two years.  By a back-of-the-envelope calculation, feminism is as about lethal as covid. 

And this strikes me as one very good reason for Western men to “detest feminism.”

* * * * *

The author of my second epigraph is Paul Popenoe (1888-1979), once a noted eugenicist and proponent of strong families and traditional gender roles.   When he first rose to prominence in the 1920s, Popenoe’s eugenics was rooted in progressivism and science, but he became increasingly allied with the religious right when progressives embraced the doctrine of sexual autonomy after the Second World War.   Popenoe’s Wikipedia entry states:

“As Popenoe maintained his traditional values (chastity before marriage), changes in popular culture such as feminism and sexual revolution challenged his approach. At the same time, thought leaders in the helping professions tended more and more to favor self-fulfillment over preservation of the family. That led Popenoe to ally increasingly with religious conservatives even though he was not religious himself.”

Even in 1926, when Popenoe wrote the lines in my epigraph, many were arguing that formal education and general culture should diminish rather than accentuate sexual differences.  Androgynous education was already the fashion, especially in the elite women’s colleges.  As Popenoe observes,

“Bryn Mawr offers girls four courses in Sanskrit, but none in mothercraft.  Wellesley offers six in geology, but none in mothercraft.  Mount Holyoke offers eight in astronomy, but none in mothercraft.  Smith offers 17 in mathematics, but none in mothercraft.  Vassar offers 18 in Greek, with three extra in Greek archaeology, but none in mothercraft.”

The predictable result of this educational program was that a great many elite females became discontented and unskillful mothers, or sterile careerists and barren old maids.  Popenoe had much more to say about the sterilizing feminist toxin that was, even one hundred years ago, freely circulating through American culture.   For instance, the decline of farming placed fathers out of sight in factories and office buildings, leaving most boys trapped in feminized forcing houses where they were bossed by women and surrounded by girls.  

“Part of the maladjustment in modern marriage is due to the lack of normal sexual development, mentally more than physically, in boys and girls.  The latter are subjected to feminist theories, while the former are brought up by their mothers and by women teachers, and get little contact with men . . .”

Coeducation diminished mental differences between men and women; but it also, and more importantly, diminished awareness of those mental differences.  Popenoe said that coeducation created the illusion that the minds of males and females are more similar than they actually are, and that this illusion greatly hampers the formation of stable, happy, and fecund marriages.

“The lack of differentiation in education, especially in the later years, and the endeavor of many girls to assimilate the ways of boys as far as possible, has an indirect evil influence on family life, by concealing from boys the real differences in the mental life of the two sexes . . .”

These evils were exacerbated by a popular culture that was already, in 1925, amused by gender-bending and unisex androgyny

“As to models for boys, Sir Galahad is not the best hero.  In a minor way, plays like L’Aiglon, The Blue Bird, Peter Pan . . . in which girls habitually play the role of boys, have an undesirable influence.   Even worse is female impersonation on the vaudeville stage by physically defective males.”

Popenoe readily acknowledged that some boys are girly by nature, just as some girls are not girly at all.  But, in opposition to the increasingly androgynous culture, Popenoe argued that formal education and popular culture should encourage sissies to be more masculine and tomboys to be more feminine.   In Popenoe’s words,

“Education should be directed towards bringing out the best and most characteristic features of each sex, rather than reducing them both to a common level of primitive, unspecialized animality.”

Education did not, of course, develop in the way Popenoe advocated, but rather moved with increasing speed in the opposite direction towards unisex androgyny.

Popenoe was hardly alone in fearing that feminism would undo civilization by emasculating men, unsexing women, dissolving the family, and sterilizing the population.  A likeminded writer of the same era explained that feminists advocated unnatural female autonomy, and that a wide diffusion of feminism would eventually cause extinction of the race.   This was in 1912, and the writer, a man named Harold Owen, would have been inclined to leave feminists alone if feminists had been inclined to leave normal women alone.*  Owen called these normal women “the race type” because they accepted the self-sacrifice of childbearing and home keeping as a duty they owed to their race.

Owen called feminists a “menace” because they would, if unopposed, spread their toxic doctrine of female autonomy to the self-sacrificing mass of normal women.

“It is all, in fact, a struggle between the race type and the revolting individual, between the woman who . . . conforms her life to Nature’s intentions, and the woman who rebels against her lot, wishes to consult absolutely her own individual interests . . . and who joins a movement designed to impose her own views of woman and life upon all other women.”

Feminism was a proselyting doctrine that would not rest until every normal woman had been feminized, until every normal woman believed that childbearing and home keeping was not a duty, but a choice, and an unfashionable, dowdy and degrading choice at that.   When every normal woman believed in choice, Owen said the race would begin to die.  This is why he believed it was madness to tolerate, much less appease, the feminists.

“The thing that concerns those men and women who have not arrived at that point of de-civilization and of decadence from normal social standard, is merely to take very good care indeed that we do not upset the whole social balance for the sake of those who reject our social standard, so far as the relations between men and women are concerned.”

But, deep down, Owen understood that normal men and women would not “take very good care” to preserve the social balance because normal men and women are short-sighted and could not see the terrible costs of female autonomy that would have to be paid after many, many years.  And it felt so generous to give the feminists all they asked for.

“Where the danger lies is that many right-meaning but undiscerning people may mistake the revolt of the abnormal woman as the signal of ‘progress,’ whereas it is really the signal for retrogression and the sign of decadence; and they may be lead to give a sentimental assent to all those tendencies which, if they recognized them, they would most abhor.  For I need hardly say that the effect of an assent to the women’s movement, and the cultivation of every activity by women which would lead her away from the home, would in the long run have its effect on the race.”

* * * * *

The author of my third epigraphy is Paul H. Landis, a famous rural sociologist of the mid twentieth century.  In 1943 he wrote,

“The only groups in the United States reproducing at rates far above replacement are located in certain rural areas . . . remote from those educational and cultural influences which are symbolic of social progress.” 

Today, every boondock and bucksnort in the United States is subject those educational and cultural influences, so the sterilizing toxin of feminism is now at work, wasting the population, from sea to shining sea.  The only groups now reproducing at rates far above replacement are those too recently arrived for the toxin to have taken effect, but their immunity is short-lived and their demographic doom is certain. 

Feminist America is a place people come to die.

In 1920 the French physician Jules Hérincourt wrote a book called The Social Diseases.  These social diseases were diseases that were so widespread that they “affect the future of races, and threaten the very existence of society,” and Hérincourt said they were four in number: tuberculosis, syphilis, alcoholism, and voluntary sterility.  Of the later he wrote:

“Sterility . . . appears to be the logical consequence of the feminist doctrine, which tends to transform woman into a sort of third sex, a monstrous and unexpected creation of our modern civilizations.  The influence of this disastrous doctrine has manifested itself to begin with by a deficient birth-rate . . . . It will manifest itself more and more frequently in future by complete sterility.”

One does not have to be a secret soul-mate of the Taliban to think that a deadly doctrine is a disastrous doctrine.  It does not require a “twisted mindset” to understand that extinction is an evil that good men will try to avoid.  All that is required is a sense of social duty and freedom from the myopia that prevents too many people from seeing the really long-term consequences of their selfish acts.  It does appears that the Taliban are at present meeting these requirements and that we are not.  Should we both continue in our present ways, Time will in a very striking way show which of us is laboring under a “twisted mindset.”

 

*) Harold Owen, Women Adrift: The Menace of Suffragism (1912)

58 thoughts on “Which Mindset is Twisted?

  1. Well said. The fact is that God designed men and women to be different; therefore, to attempt to erase these differences is to oppose God’s ordinances.

    You may also wish to read Matthew Cochran’s commentary on the evils of feminism over at The 96th Thesis.

  2. William McDougall, British psychologist from the early 20th century who taught at Harvard, sounded similar themes in his series of lectures delivered in 1921 in Boston, Is America Safe For Democracy?:

    [M]odern feminism is withdrawing more and more of the best of the women from marriage and motherhood.

    In a footnote, quoting another writer:

    [T]here seems no other prospect, if the full feminist ideal be realized, than the entire extinction of British and American intelligence within the next two or three generations.

    The great towns are vortices which suck in the best of the population; and, from the racial point of view, they destroy it, for they destroy its natural fertility.

    The residua in the villages continue to be drained more completely of their best elements; the towns sift out the best-endowed of these immigrants and pass them up the social scale to be sterilized by success.

    (I love that phrase, “sterilized by success”).

    Harvard graduates… have less than two children apiece on the average… With the graduates of women’s colleges the case seems to be still worse. … The Harvard graduate has on the average seven-tenths of a son, the Vassar graduate one-half of a daughter.

    • Thanks for the citation. This way of thinking was very common 100 years ago, but is now anathematized as crimethink under the name of eugenics. There are a lot of reasons for the change, but I think one is the decline of smart farmer’s sons in our intellectual class. Farmers understood breeding, and farmer’s with smart sons who went on to become university professors really understood breeding.

  3. By a back-of-the-envelope calculation, feminism is as about lethal as covid.

    I’d modify this to about two to three times as lethal as covid: legal abortion is the fruit of feminism.

    • Significantly more lethal than that; abortion since Roe v. Wade in the US alone has killed 64 million people according to official statistics, and that doesn’t count the women who die during or because of the procedure, nor all the other (lethal and less-than-lethal) knock-on effects for abortion alone. It’s our own Great Leap Forward.

      Meanwhile about 1% of that number have died with COVID-19.

      • There have been, on average, 1.3 million abortions each year since Row v. Wade, roughly double the covid death rate. My calculation simply looked at overall population decline with a TFR of 1.6. My figure understates the body count of feminism because it only measures decline, and does not count dead bodies that would have caused the population to increase.

    • For the future of the race, Covid is of no significance whatever, since it has barely any impact on people of reproductive age. It could be many times worse and would still have no demographic impact. No pestilence since the Black Death in the fourteenth century, and for that matter no war since the Thirty Years War, has been severe enough to cause a European population to decline.

      • Quite so. At this university the most students are refusing to wear masks, to the great consternation of most professors. I’m tempted to tell my colleagues that we’ve put the young people through hell to keep ourselves safe, so it’s hardly surprising that some of them are angry.

      • You could bend a few brains by pointing out that inheriting houses from those killed would cause a population boom, as youngsters would feel financially secure and so willing to breed!
        Panicking about demographics is a very old, and invariably futile, hobby. Both over and under population self-corrects: without either extinction or famine.

      • I’m not panicking because demographic doomsday will be a long time coming. Do you think the people who nowadays run around screaming about sea-level rise are panicking? The sea will rise more slowly than the population will decline, and we can adapt to that as well.

      • The only problem with rising sea levels is that Pacific island nations are treating their homes as disposable because they don’t expect them to last – a self-fulfilling prophecy.
        The willingness of people to buys seaside mansions demonstrates how few people really believe that rising sea levels matter.

  4. Feminists not having children will not make humanity disappear, that’s not how natural selection works. If half of all women decide not to have children, then *all* of the next generation will be descended from those women who *did* choose to have children. Feminists can breed *themselves* out of existence, but not the race.
    There is a problem of them lying to other women. The women who have been told that they can have it all and then find out too late that no, they can’t have children, are justified in being furious. *Their* voices are the ones who we should be ensuring are heard.

    • I understand the logic that contraception and abortion should select for philoprogenitive women, but fear the philoprogenitive instinct is unequal to feminist prejudice. There is also the problem that contraception and abortion select against intelligent women. I agree with your last line, but anyone who speaks against feminism will learn what it means to speak against the grain of the cultural discourse. I don’t mean speaking to the choir as I have done in this post, but speaking to people (especially young women) with a sturdy prejudice in favor of feminism.

      • thank you for your courteous reply:
        terrifying as the propaganda arm of feminism is, it would need to extinguish *every* desire for children to succeed – which we know it has not, as people still keep having children.

        Contraception and abortion select against women with higher education, but that isn’t the same thing as intelligence. Objectively, intelligence is the trait that allows you to make the decisions that cause you and your kin to thrive! I counter that what they select against is a lack of sales resistance; that we should see over the coming generations an immunity to propaganda caused by only those women possessing some immunity choosing to have children.

        I agree that feminism is solidly entrenched, and lashes out savagely at any who dare criticize it; and doing so is fraught with danger (I prefer to snipe, throwing a comment and then fleeing). But feminism also devours itself; and excellent article on how each generation of feminists fights the others was quoted in another article on this site, here is the link:

      • I think there is more than education at work here. Contraception very clearly selects against men and women who are conscientious and have low time preference, both of which correlate with intelligence. Abortion selects somewhat differently because it tends to be a backstop for people who failed to use contraception, or failed to use it correctly. I think we must be honest with ourselves and see that natural “sales resistance” to feminism often comes with other undesirable traits, and that many of the women who swallow feminism hook, line and sinker are, in other respects, high quality human beings. One thing I admire in the early-twentieth-century eugenicists was their honest recognition that, once there is contraception, having no population policy is a population policy. A liberal population policy that leaves everything to individual choice determines the future character of the human population just as surely as the most rigorous eugenic policy.

    • This is (perhaps) true in a general sense, though there are quibbles one could bring to the table. But even if granted, it is naught but cold comfort. There may be people left after the evil of feminism burns itself out through reproductive maladaption, but will they be my people? Probably not.

      And even if they will, I can mourn the wreckage of countless young families along the way.

      • Cold comfort indeed. Will my people make it through this evolutionary bottleneck; and if they do, will they come out the other end with the traits that make them my people. A certain and altogether unique respect for the female is one of those traits, in my opinion. I do not wish to destroy the good thing that metastasized into the sterilizing cancer of feminism.

      • Your people will be nested sets of people, each set having fuzzy boundaries. You will recognize them as your people rather than define your people beforehand. This means that, when you are with them, you spontaneously feel, “these are my people.” That’s all. This implies no hostility or contempt for those who are “not my people.” As a practical matter, it tends to combine biologic and cultural factors. Your people look somewhat similar to you, feel somewhat similar to you, think somewhat similar to you.

      • I’m from the (urban) Midwest, and I spent several years in California. I remember the first time I went back to the Midwest. I was in Chicago on business, and while walking down the street, looking at all the not-so-stylish Polacks, Wops, and Micks walking by me, I said “I’m home!” My (native Californian) friend explained that I wasn’t from Chicago. No, no, these are my people! They look nothing like Californians! They look the way people are supposed to look! My friend was perturbed. And then I went to Bende (in person instead of through the mail) to get sausage.

      • Dr. Bill @ I once had a similar experience walking down a street in Bavaria. The though came unbidden into my head that these people look more like a Smith family reunion than the people I see in the grocery store back home. The Bavarians were not exactly my people, but neither did they feel like strangers. I was born in the midwest and know what you are saying about coastal culture. I don’t dislike coastal Americans, provided they don’t put on airs (which they find it hard not to do), but I’m not really one of them.

      • I would say much the same thing, although I am not especially proud of my bookish misanthropy. I have sometimes wondered how much a brain stuffed with book-learning is like the distended paunch of a glutton of the table. I benefit when I read a dead author, but I do nothing for the dead author in return. Listening to the dull story of a flesh-and-blood human often benefits both of us.

      • most of our ancestors liked being famous, so by remembering them, we do provide something they valued, even if they cannot benefit from it. And of course by caring for the nations, cultures and churches they valued, we can benefit what mattered them.
        But yes, there is a ‘bloat’. To quote the good book (irony intended), “knowledge puffs up, wisdom builds up”

    • “If half of all women decide not to have children, then *all* of the next generation will be descended from those women who *did* choose to have children. Feminists can breed *themselves* out of existence, but not the race.”
      All the people who don’t have children are descended from those who did. Ideologies are mind viruses, they are not inherited.

      • This gives us some cause for hope, but not sufficient cause for us to rest easy. The philoprogenitive instinct may be partly heritable, but it is clearly conditioned by the cultural context. We will not succeed if we simply make babies and then send them to be educated by feminist old maids.

      • The threat of being brainwashed is always there of course, but there is good news there as well. As the public schooling system has been corrupted, more and more parents go elsewhere: when i was a child, only 1 in 5 Australian children went to a private school, the number is now 1 in 3; and homeschooling has gone from something wackos did to being a serious alternative.

      • No, you are neglecting that past generations were bullied into having children whether they wanted to or not. We are seeing the end of that, as family trees that should never have existed wither and die.

  5. Feminism is, essentially, the doctrine of female autonomy. It proposes that females should be free to direct their own lives, or at least that females should be no less free than males. As a practical matter, this of course means that females should be free to accept or refuse the traditional and biological role of the female, which has always and everywhere included a dedication to childbearing, housekeeping, and the preparation of food.

    So you believe that females should not be autonomous; that is, that they should be compelled against their will to bear children and all the rest, no matter what they as individuals might desire for themselves. They need to have their lives directed by others.

    I do admire the forthrightness of this position, at least.

    But feminism has already happened. Women have tasted freedom; they won’t want to give it up to go back to being domestic drudges. You are implicitly proposing a kind of a Handmaid’s Tale patriarchal counterrevolution, which would be the only way to reverse this trend.

    Again, props for being straightforward about your reprehensible views. My own position is that if the species requires enslaving half of its individuals in order to propagate itself, it doesn’t deserve to survive. Fortunately that isn’t really the case.

    • No one is actually autonomous because we all have, and most of us in fact honor, a debt to society. The feminist claim for female autonomy does not claim that females can choose to drive through red lights or that they can choose to forego paying taxes, but is only a claim to exercise “choice” in the performance of duties unique to females. You may argue that individual humans owe no duty to society, although that would not comport with your other social plans. Once you admit the reality of social duties, however, there is no reason apart from egalitarian dogma to insist that every individual has the same duties. In fact, I think most people would agree that we have a duty to serve society according to our gifts, and I cannot see why the gift of a sharp mind should be treated any differently than the gift of a fecund womb.

      I do not actually propose that any women be forced to bear a child against her will. What I do propose is that voluntary sterility be generally seen (and represented) as a selfish and mildly antisocial act, like alcoholism, or throwing loud parties, or living on welfare. I propose that the long-term consequences of mass voluntary sterility be stated clearly and loudly, and that ignorance and wishful thinking be ridiculed and shamed.

      I’d be interested to hear your demographic theories in which feminism does not lead to TFR <2, and TFR <2 does not lead to extinction or social collapse. This should not be a partisan issue. In fact the alarm was first raised by progressives on the left who understood that progress requires a sufficient number of the right people. In fact, those old progressives understood that we are autonomous in some limited degree only because we are dutiful in some much larger degree, and they rightly saw that childbearing was as great a duty as any.

      • It’s true, nobody is really autonomous. We are radically dependent on each other. However, as humans we like to imagine that everyone has a degree of autonomy, in a legal or social sense if not in some absolute metaphysical sense. And I fail to see any reason why women should not have the same degree of autonomy as men – that is the feminist position that you were arguing against.

        You mentioned “duty to society”, a concept which is just as suspect as autonomy, but to the extent that it is real, everyone has the right (and the duty) to determine for themselves what that duty is. That’s how duty and autonomy interact. Having a womb does not obligate one to reproduce, any more than having a strong back obligates one to go to work picking lettuce.

        If you want to try to convince females that they have a duty to reproduce – if that is your duty as you see it – well, knock yourself out. That is perfectly consistent with female autonomy. Although maybe you should post your anti-feminist tracts in a place where more women are likely to read them.

        That is, if you are actually trying to convince them, not coerce them. But I doubt that’s the case, because your writing is clearly about women and not addressed to them.

        I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about demographic collapse, it’s not even close to the top of the list of problems on my plate, or that of humanity in general. If I was worried about it, I’d encourage governments to provide more material support for parents. Having a child is extremely expensive in the United States; and that is the kind of thing that could be easily ameliorated with direct grants, along with taking public schooling and daycare seriously. Most women, even feminists, want to reproduce and making it easier to do so is not complicated, although it may be expensive or politically difficult.

        To that end, I’m an advocate of Demeny voting which increases the political power of children and parents: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demeny_voting . About as likely to happen as the restoration of the monarchy, but an interesting thought experiment at least.

        [ I must end this exchange here, having some duties of my own to perform elsewhere. I thank you for your efforts to save humanity from extinction.]

  6. a. morphous
    One correction: The very nature of duty means that it is not up to individual determination. Duties by their very nature, are imposed. I may not recognize the normative duty not to kill my neighbor, but the duty exists nonetheless. Or it doesn’t. My thoughts and feelings on the subject are ultimately irrelevant.
    That you fail to see any reason why women should not have the exact same degree of autonomy as men, in this regard at least, is a natural outgrowth of your lack of solidarity with your own people, or rather, with people in general. That’s up to you. It’s pretty clearly you do not recognize any duty of ethnic solidarity. This attitude is reprehensible, but, again, that is your affair. I admire your forthrightness in admitting that, if women have to be subordinate to men in any way, in order to continue propagation of the species, you’d just as soon see the species die out. Since the past was rife with such subordination, it’s really too bad we got this far.
    Just like everywhere else, even in Kabul a broken clock is right twice a day.
    I for one heartily endorse the notion of Demeny voting. It would seem to recognize at least in some small measure that children represent a resource and value for a nation (tribe), rather than currently—viewed as a luxury.

    • Thanks for responding to the crackpot liberal notion of duty. A duty you can choose is not a duty. It’s a choice. Some nineteenth-century utopian communities allowed members to choose their duties. Most members felt it was their duty to play the piano and discuss politics. Almost no one felt it was their duty to chop firewood or weed the garden.

    • If you are a slave, your duties are imposed by your master. If you are a free person, your duties are those you have chosen for yourself, and you perform them willingly and gladly.

      Real world situations are of course more complex than that simple polarity, Some duties – those towards one’s immediate family, mostly – are shaped more by biology than by choice. In our society, duty to one’s ethnic group is pretty much by choice, unless you find yourself in a prison yard.

      But to the matter at hand: you posit that women, by virtue of their biological capabilities, have a duty to bear children, a duty either towards the human race in general or to an ethnic group (probably would be good to be more specific about that).

      This duty is imposed on them by some unnamed master – God, I guess. They don’t have a choice, because that is not the nature of duty.

      Unfortunately women have decided that they aren’t going to be slaves to this duty. They do want a choice, about childbirth and much else. And to a large extent they have succeeded in freeing themselves from this imposed duty.

      I think that’s fantastic, but what can I say, I’m pro-freedom, I think it’s great when people have more choices and can act on their own initiative rather than as slaves. Sorry if that’s weird to you folks.

      I admire people who do their duty as they see it. I have a considerably lower opinion of those who make it their business to try and tell other people what their duties should be.

      • I agree that the path of duty is often unclear. I agree that performance of a duty is an act that, like any act, requires volition. I agree that there are many people who should spend more time doing their duty and less time telling other people to do theirs. I am personally, despite many years as a Boy Scout, only moderately dutiful. But the question, as I see it, is whether duties are objective, or whether they are one of those things that “only thinking makes it so.”

        The word duty means a tax or a debt, as is evident from the duty free shops in airports. I take a duty, therefore, to be an act the omission of which is morally discreditable. If there are such acts, some people will certainly choose not to perform them. And in most cases I can do nothing but think “that was a morally discreditable omission.” On your thesis, however, it would seem that choosing not to perform a duty must always be creditable, since my duty is what I say it is. Admitting, as I said above, that the path of duty is often unclear, this seems to me like saying I owe only those bills I choose to pay.

        The problem with duties, as you rightly observe, is that they are unchosen debts. The very notion of an unchosen debt offends the liberal sensibility, but it seems to us conservatives that one cannot live without incurring unchosen debts because we are social creatures who spend at least a quarter of our life in a state of near absolute dependency on others. It is morally discreditable to default on this debt.

        I do not think the duty of childbearing is universally incumbent on females, since some are naturally unfitted for motherhood. Our society has always made a place for spinsters and nuns, just as it has made a place for conscientious objectors in war. Not a comfortable place, perhaps, but a place nevertheless. But no society society could survive if an unlimited number of conscientious objectors were free to return their draft notice with “no thanks, LOL” scrawled at the bottom. And no society can survive if an unlimited number of voluntarily sterile females do what amounts to the same thing when it comes to bearing children.

      • the comparison of deserters to spinsters is not fair. By refusing to serve, so called ‘conscientious objectors’ increase the danger to those who serve. A spinster on the other hand *increases* the resources that can be dedicated to the children of those women who choose to have children.
        A society cannot survive the ‘conscientious objector’ plague, as it will spread with each generation, ultimately destroying the nation. The problems of not having children though are self-correcting, as by definition the entire next generation will be from those who chose to have children.

      • We may suppose that the desire to bear children is partly hereditary, but the triumphs of feminist sterility show that it a woman’s desire to have children is in some very large degree cultural. Childbirth is painful, childbearing takes a toll on the body, and child-rearing is expensive, difficult, and sometimes unrewarding. It is not hard to understand why young women choose sterility since the benefits are private and the costs are socialized. Natural selection certainly favors individuals who do not practice contraception, but it does not favor aversion to contraception unless that aversion is heritable.

        And as I said earlier, what are almost certainly heritable, and almost certainly selected in an environment of freely available contraception, are negative traits like impulsiveness, high time preference, low intelligence, etc.

      • Temperament is partly heritable, and temperament disposes one to some opinions rather than others, but making babies for your enemies to educate is a mugs game.

      • But no society society could survive if an unlimited number of conscientious objectors were free to return their draft notice with “no thanks, LOL” scrawled at the bottom.

        Funny though, if enough people do that on both sides, society would not only survive but flourish.

        I’m reminded hat my character was formed by the antiwar movement of the Vietnam era; people who quite specifically refused a duty that society was trying to impose on them. They were right to do so, and somehow the nation survived, and went on to engage in more futile and ill-thought-out imperial wars.

        But whether you think they were right or wrong, the point is that they chose their duties. Once people can do that, you can’t really go back – the ones who did allow themselves to be drafted into the military also made a choice.

        Freedom is irreversible. Once it is established that things can be different from how they are, one can never go back to the old inevitabilities. Certainly concrete freedoms can be taken away, but the ideas can’t be erased.

      • You are right to note the fundamental similarity between feminism and the anti-war movement in the 1970s. The same individualism broke out again in the Reganism of the 1980s. If the duties of childbearing and soldiering are chosen, so must be the duty of taxpaying. Individualism marks the decadent phase of a civilization, and the decadent phase is always the most agreeable to live through. One performs only the duties one feels like performing and demographic collapse, barbarian invasion, and bankruptcy are far off on the horizon. I agree that not much can be done about this because it is very hard to kick the individualism habit. But the day eventually comes when individualism turns round and kicks you.

      • “if enough people did that”? society would not flourish. The tyrannies that shoot those who refuse to serve would swiftly overwhelm the democracies foolish enough to tolerate treason.

      • Huh usually people like you accuse the sixties generation of being too communistic; but now you are accusing them of the sin of individualism, of failing to put the needs of their country or ethnicity or whatever before their own, as duty requires. That’s probably closer to the truth actually.

        But, and I repeat myself, they turned out to be right, to be fully justified. The nation wanted them to go to war, they did not. In part to preserve their own skin, in part because they saw the war as. a horrendous act perpetrated for no coherent reason on innocent foreigners. They put their own judgement and interest before the needs of the state.This was obviously a good thing in this case.

        I would think that individuals putting their own needs and moral judgements above those of the state would be the kind of thing conservatives would applaud. But to you, it reflects a breakdown of order, akin to feminism in how it challenges the existing power structures of society, which are necessary for its survival. In your imagination, it can only lead to extinction, because the only way society can perpetrate itself is through war, and the only way the human race can propagate itself is by forcing women into servitude.

        I know this is supposed to be a right-wing blog but your notions of the relationship between society and the individual would not be out of place in a Soviet appartchik. Stalin also took a dim view of decadent individuals who dared to put their own interests before the needs of the state.

      • After reading us for all these years, you should begin to see us as individuals and not “you people.” You are a leftist, but I know you well enough to know you are not just a stereotypical leftist. My opinions tend to be conservative, but I did not come off the assembly line at the Rouge River plant of the Conservative Myrmidon Corporation. My opinions regarding the Vietnam War are complicated, although my general opinion is that the Twentieth Century would have been better if Woodrow Wilson had choked on a fish bone.

      • Acknowledged, everyone here is a unique individual with their own views and style. You are all special.

        One of your specialties involves evading the point, which makes for a rather boring and unsatisfying conversation. A pity because the topic of duty was kind of interesting.

        We can agree on hating Woodrow Wilson though.

    • There is a sense in which some duties are chosen: for example, when one takes vows (in marriage, for instance), when one agrees to a contract, or even when one makes a simple promise.

      The liberal might want to reduce all duties to duties freely consented to. But consent cannot be the ultimate ground of moral duty because this would be to make binding consent something itself not consented to, i.e., an imposed duty. (Suppose a man does not consent to the idea that his consent is binding).

      At any rate, it’s true enough that society could not function for a nanosecond if people did not at least implicitly recognize some unchosen obligations.

  7. Allow me to chime in.

    “That is, if you are actually trying to convince them, not coerce them. But I doubt that’s the case, because your writing is clearly about women and not addressed to them.”

    Every successful society coerces their people in ways that help this society. Both men and women. Women are coerced to have children. Men are coerced to support women and children.

    Our society takes another option: freedom for everybody! If the liver wants to be the heart, why not? If nobody wants to be the liver, why not? This makes the society suicidal. Other societies that coerce people will replace it.

    When I was a kid, in my European hometown, women were still subtly coerced to reproduce. We had a good demography: not spectacular, but above replacement. After that, we learned liberalism, progressivism and female autonomy. We have one of the lowest birthrates in the world and our population halves every 40 years.

    Does this mean that the human race is going extinct in my country, as you say? Not at all! Another culture (one that coerces women more) is replacing us. 30 years ago, there was no person from this culture in my hometown. Now they have entire neighborhoods. They had to build a new mosque 10 years ago, because the first one had become small.

    “Although maybe you should post your anti-feminist tracts in a place where more women are likely to read them.”

    No need to do that. The problem is self-correcting. People from more traditional cultures are replacing our culture. In average, left-wing people have less kids than conservative people. And nobody is more conservative than traditional cultures.

    So feminism is self-correcting, like the end of the Roman Empire, like the end of the Abbasid Caliphate, when women were judges. Some years later, when the patriarchal Turks conquered Bagdad, a woman could not walk in the street without a man.

    The future belongs to patriarchy and the liberals will be a footnote in the books of history. More information in “Shall the religious inherit the earth” by secular researcher Eric Kaufmann.

    I used to see this as a catastrophe. I wanted to save Western civilization. Not anymore. Now I see as a liberation. Western civilization is not worth saving. When you mutilate children only to appear virtuous, you are the spawn of Satan and you have to go.

    You want to go against Mother Nature, against biology to support your narcissistic fantasy of “I do whatever I want without limits, like a god”? Well, good luck with that. Mother Nature is a b*tch and always wins.

    • You are no doubt correct about population replacement in the medium term. The same thing is happening in real time where I live. But Hispanic culture is not immune to feminism (or consumerism), and the apostles of both doctrines get to work on them as soon as they arrive. Islam may be made of sterner stuff, but it is hard for anyone to resist individualistic hedonism. These doctrines are a sort of intellectual junk food that humans crave until the doctrines kill them.

    • the collapse of the current insane perversion of western civilization is a good thing, yes.
      The fall of the West to Islam is not.
      The third path – returning to the roots of the Western world, the dance between Christianity and Judaism – is the happy alternative.

    • I want to save Western civilization, or at least the essential matter of it. Unfortunately, the Western civilization I want to save has been dead for 600 years, and took its mortal wound around 100 years before that.

      But I don’t give up hope and accept other civilizations as my own, for the very simple reason that they are wrong, and Western civilization is right.

      How to save such a civilization? It’s fairly simple, really. You do the only thing that works: focus on the salvation of souls and the spiritual (and temporal) care of those around you, as much as you can. Then let God sort civilization out.

      • We conserve our cultural environment for the same reason we conserve our physical environment: it is the environment to which we are adapted. I don’t think Western civilization travels well, and personally deplore all efforts, past and present, to export it. I’m like a polar bear who fiercely supports the conservation of pack ice and seals but would not impose these things on the tropics.

      • Rhetocrates, this comment is interesting to me. I think using the phrase “Western Civilization” might be to do the idea a disservice. You can learn something about the ailment by learning about the cure. The cure you mention (and which I agree with) is to focus on the salvation of souls and the spiritual and temporal care of those around us. If the cure is spiritual then the thing we are saving is spiritual.

        I think Christian Civilization might be a better turn of phrase, then. Christianity has transcended the West and the West has abandoned Christianity, so while “Western Civilization” pays homage to the cradle of civilization, it doesn’t describe the current residents. Maybe the prodigal west will return to Our Father when the hour is late, we shouldn’t stop waiting for it, but I think the emphasis on West is to the detriment on the Christian values it is supposed to imply. It also allows for Christianized people from around the world to take up the burden of civilization, be they Western or not.

        You are right to say that the burden of civilization properly rests with God, though. All we can do is address those around us. If to love thy neighbor just is to bear the burden of civilization, then consider we Christians duly burdened.

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