Saturday, November 18, 2017

Inspirational Orbán

One nation that is holding out against its own dissolution is Hungary. Its Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, gave a speech this week to a congress of his political party, Fidesz. It is, in the main, one of the great inspirational speeches from a major political leader.

I say this, even though it is difficult to categorise his speech politically. Is he a Christian and nationalist right-liberal? Or a traditionalist? At the very least, he is shifting the Overton window back toward something close to a traditionalist politics.

One reason I hesitate to label Orbán a traditionalist is that he excludes race as a foundation of national identity. I have written before (here and here) that I disagree with those who think that a communal tradition can be founded on racial self-interest alone. Orbán goes entirely the other way. He provides a rich foundation for a communal identity, but excludes what realistically ought to be there, namely a common ancestry.

I will now hand over to the extraordinary Hungarian PM:
...we should realise that the spirit of the age is not the same as the prevailing media trend. We should realise that the soothing melodies pouring out of the speakers of powerful global corporations and global political organisations – siren voices encouraging breezy irresponsibility, frenzied consumption and boundless self-indulgence – are not at all the same as the spirit of the age. Under the soft blanket of dreams laid down by the global elite, one finds the cold, hard reality of life. We see tens of millions of Europeans working hard and struggling day in, day out to keep themselves and their families afloat. We see how they yearn for security and order. We see how they cleave ever more firmly to their cultural identity, and fight every day for every square metre of their normal European life. This is the true spirit of the age. So we should refocus our vision, and we’ll see that in fact the spirit of the age is on our side: it is on the side of hardworking and responsible Europeans who provide for their families, love their homelands and insist on their Christian roots. We are in a majority – in an overwhelming majority. It is only a question of time, and we shall prevail not only in Hungary, but in the whole of Europe; indeed, we shall prevail in the entire Western world.

This is also well understood by globalist elites, the bureaucrats who serve them, the politicians in their pay, and the agents of the Soros-type networks that embody their interests. They understand it well, and therefore they’ve invented the magic word “populism” to describe all that is national, popular, Christian and civic. But they repeat this magic word in vain, their incantations are in vain, and their political voodoo is in vain: reality, flesh-and-blood people, real-life instincts, real human desires, dreams and hopes will conquer the globalist elite still ruling Europe today. And they will make Europe – and within it Hungary – great again. Of course not all of this is self-evident: this is not Marxist historical materialism, in which world history has an inevitably predestined goal. There will be a battle here. Will be? There already is! And in this battle the European debates of the next decade will centre on identity: the identities of people, of peoples, of countries, and even of continents.

...But there’s a new, modern genre of politics which has never been seen before. At the centre of this stands the individual who is wrenched out of their cultural, national, religious and gender identity, and reduced to an aggregation of their instincts. This new type of human being for a new age is the embodiment of “Homo brusselicus”. Drawing on our experience, we should declare our conviction that in Europe policies which set aside the natural order of life and deny national communities the right to life – regardless of the educational sophistication and moralising good intentions of those policies’ authors – have always led to barbarism. We should declare that to our mind the most important bond between human beings – beyond the laws of biology – is the spiritual bond which we call “nation”, and which elevates us all to participants in a shared culture and shared tradition. And we should also declare that we have inherited a unique and great national culture. Our national culture makes us what we are. Our national culture means that to this day Hungarians have the ability to face the truth, the capacity for self-respect and self-awareness, and can also understand their situation and mission. We believe that the Hungarian spirit can support anything and survive anything. As our ancestors said: “It sometimes loses its voice, but it does not die”. This spiritual and intellectual strength enables us to bravely address and calmly consider answers to the questions which terrify others, as they tower over our wider motherland of Europe. Our great forebears knew this and wrote about it. And in those days it was even customary to say that this unique Hungarian spirit – and the Hungarian way of thinking stemming from it – created the possibility for the Hungarians to live among civilised peoples. And it was also this that gave us the moral strength without which a lonely people such as ours, swept here from faraway lands, would hardly have been able to survive for a thousand years. How could we possibly give this up?

My Friends,

...There is only one way that European unity can survive: if we accept one another’s differences; if we show mutual respect for one another; and if, instead of a United States of Europe, we create a free alliance of European nations. There is no other way.

And now I’d like to talk about what we should protect and why. It is well known that we Hungarians have no desire for empires – and especially not for their viceroys. We don’t like it when imperial viceroys seek to determine the fate of the nation instead of us. Today an empire is threatening us once again. We stand in the way of a plan which seeks to eliminate nations, and seeks to create a Europe with a mixed population. We stand in the way of a financial and political empire which seeks to implement this plan – at whatever cost. Let’s not beat about the bush: in order to implement the “Soros Plan”, across the whole of Europe they want to sweep away governments which represent national interests – including ours. In recent years Soros’s NGOs have penetrated all the influential forums of European decision-making. They are also present in the backyards of some Hungarian parties. They operate like the activists of the Department for Agitation and Propaganda of the old Soviet Communist Party. We old war horses recognise them by their smell. Although the Soros troops use somewhat more refined methods, they nonetheless want to tell us what to do, what to say, what to think – and even how we should see ourselves. For a long time the situation was simple and clear: there were men and women, mothers and fathers, Hungarians, Germans or Russians – and Christians or Muslims, for that matter. Today they want to force us into a world in which these natural and clear outlines have been erased. Such a world has no definite points of reference, it is unclear who is a man and who is a woman, what family is, and what it means to be Hungarian and Christian. They are creating a third gender, they are ridiculing faith, and they regard families as redundant, and nations as obsolete.

Let’s speak to the point. Migration is not the goal of the Soros Plan, but merely its means. Millions of people in desperate situations in Africa and the Middle East are being encouraged to come to Europe; indeed they are even being transported here, in order to debilitate nations and deliver the coup de grâce to Christian culture. Let’s also talk candidly about the fact that the Soros Plan also seriously endangers the security of our everyday lives. In Europe’s immigrant countries, acts of terrorism have become regular occurrences, crime rates are increasing, violence against women has escalated, and anti-Semitism is emerging again. This is what we must prevent, and this is the threat against which we must defend the country. So when we say that we must defend Hungary, we declare that we must defend work, our families, security, the authority of our laws, our achievements and Hungarian culture. And we must also defend our future. What we did not tolerate from the Soviet Empire we shall not tolerate from the Soros Empire. We shall defend our borders, we shall prevent implementation of the Soros Plan, and eventually we shall win this battle.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

One reason we lose

So a portion of the alt lite is now trying to police the use of transsexual pronouns. They are insisting that Blaire White, a biologically male YouTuber, be called "she" and be considered a woman.

Roaming Millennial, for instance, claimed that because Blaire White "passes perfectly as a woman" that she should be considered one. Rita Panahi is similarly insisting that Blaire White be called "she".

The situation, then, is that liberals assert something very radical, namely that our sex is not something biologically predetermined, but that you can have a male body and be a woman. The mainstream right, which builds support by claiming to be the opposition to the left, comes to embrace the leftist position and helps to entrench it.

And the question is why? In part, it's because much of the mainstream right, even the alt lite, is right liberal rather than a genuine alternative. But it goes further than this.

Liberals are believers. For them, liberalism is about building freedom and equality and justice and is leading humanity to its ultimate end point of moral perfection. They accept that all this might take time, but they do not like setbacks, and if they do ever lose, they just keep pushing back until they win. They are serious.

The right are players. They see themselves as being on "team right" as part of the political "game". They have "concerns" about aspects of leftism. But it doesn't run much deeper than this. If they are accused of not being nice, they will collapse their principles.

Is it not obvious why society moves leftward over time?

It doesn't have to be like this. The right should be something very different. The right-wing personality should not see politics as a game but as a defence of truth, of the good, and of a natural order of being that is the real source of an enduring moral community. When this is assaulted, then the right ought not only to match the tenacity of the left, but have an even greater determination to push back and to win.

Clarity matters, but so too does seriousness. Some of the leaders of the movement are players. They do not really know what they are defending and how significant the cause is. They will collapse all this in order to show themselves to be "nice" or "respectful" which only really proves how unserious they are. They cannot match the left when it comes to belief in what they stand for.

Clarity and seriousness are necessary to match it with the left and to hold to the same long-term political tenacity.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A rich vein of insight into the liberal mind

Lisa Wade is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Occidental University in the United States. She is a leftist feminist who worries about the direction of America under President Trump. Her article on this is interesting, not only for the radical conclusions it draws but also for its insight into the liberal mind.

Before I begin on her article, though, I thought it useful to point out the way the Lisa Wade defines feminism. I have previously argued that feminism is liberalism applied to the lives of women. Lisa Wade agrees:
When prompted to define feminism, Wade answered that she considers feminism to be “the desire that our choices in life and feelings about ourselves are dictated by who we are, not our sex.”

“I just want everyone to be themselves,” she said.

Liberals have this worldview in which being a man or a woman is not being ourselves, because these are predetermined qualities and the liberal individual is supposed to be an autonomous, self-determining individual. So being a man or a woman is not supposed to matter. As masculinity and femininity imply that we are influenced in who we are by our sex, they too are thought of negatively as "prisons" or "limitations" that not only curtail our freedom, but in the leftist view have an even more sinister role of enforcing privilege and inequality.

Which brings us to Lisa Wade's article. She begins by noting that liberals have a faith in an arc of moral progress:
The first thing that must go is the belief among progressives that we are on some fateful journey to a better place. We know that America’s grand democratic vision of “all men are created equal” didn’t initially include all men, or any women, and that we have never granted the promised equality. Yet many of us still hold fast to the idea that America is a great nation, managing the cognitive dissonance by envisioning the country as on a journey toward perfection. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, echoing the abolitionist Theodore Parker, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

It is important to take this in. It is an example of how Western intellectuals "immanentize the eschaton." Rather than seeing history as recording the rise and fall of civilisations, with each civilisation struggling to avoid its decline, the leftist/liberal believes that he is participating in and helping humanity progress towards its ultimate end point of moral perfection. He believes that such a thing is possible and that it gives meaning to history and to those pushing the way forward to "social justice." This helps to explain the sometimes cult like nature of Western liberalism, in which individuals cling to a set of beliefs that to an ordinary observer would seem self-destructive.

But here's the catch. This faith in progress depends on society heading ever further along liberal lines toward the bringing down of men and of whites as "privileged" classes. But the success of President Trump shows that progress is not running in the direction it is supposed to. Therefore, thinks Lisa Wade, the older half measures adopted by the progressive left have to be jettisoned, as they aren't powerful enough to keep the revolution on track.

According to Lisa Wade, the liberal left once thought it sufficient, to achieve equality, for men to adopt their feminine half and women their masculine half:
Implicit in the metaphor is the idea that we will have reached gender equality when men and women alike embrace both halves of their humanity: masculinity and femininity. As a nation, Hochschild argued, we are halfway there. To fully revolutionize gender relations, we just need to get moving again.

Thirty years is a long life for a metaphor, and it’s still here because it’s been useful and descriptive, reflecting a lived reality. But we are in Trump’s America now. The metaphor of the stalled revolution, however useful it has been, posits a linear past and future. It assumes that stall is equivalent to stasis: that we are still in the driver’s seat, the path is still there, and we’re still aiming at something good. The metaphor doesn’t allow for the possibility that the world has shifted around us, setting us on a path that we may no longer want to be on. It certainly doesn’t contain the prospect that we are—that we have been—moving toward something terrible.

Lisa Wade senses (hopefully correctly) that the revolution has not just stalled, but that there is a reaction taking place in society. So the assault on the privileged class, namely males, can't any longer be anything so "soft" as "embrace your feminine half and become androgynous." No, it has to be something sterner, it has to be a total rejection of and attack on masculinity in its entirety:
The quaint balance of masculinity and femininity that the metaphor promised is no longer desirable, if it ever was. Instead of advocating that women compete with men on masculine terms and men mix in just enough femininity to distance themselves from the most toxic versions of masculinity, we need to start being honest about what being a man has come to mean. Trump’s rise has made it terrifyingly clear that his toxic version is not at all peripheral to 21st-century modern masculinity. It is central. It is authoritarian. And it is lethal.

If we’re going to survive both President Trump and the kind of people he has emboldened, we need to attack masculinity directly. I don’t mean that we should recuperate masculinity—that is, press men to identify with a kinder, gentler version of it—I mean that we should reject the idea that men have a psychic need to distinguish themselves from women...

In fact, we should be as suspicious of males who strongly identify as men as we are of white people who strongly identify as white...

We are here in Trump’s America in part because we have been too delicate in our treatment of dangerous ideas. The problem is not toxic masculinity; it’s that masculinity is toxic...It’s simply not compatible with liberty and justice for all.

If we are going to finish the gender revolution, then, we need to call masculinity out as a hazardous ideology and denounce anyone who chooses to identify with it.

People wonder why the West has gone the way it has. I would point out that one reason is that our intellectual class has adopted the worldview set out here by Lisa Wade. She isn't hiding anything, she has laid it all out for us.

It is not easy for an intellectual to give up what is effectively a quasi-religion. I would hope, though, that as the decline becomes ever more obvious that an increasing number of Western intellectuals will query the idea that liberalism is a philosophy that leads to social or moral progress.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Girls & gridiron

Kellogg's is pushing for more American girls to play American football. The campaign is not supported by D.C. McAlister. Her effort to explain why is, I think, well done.

Her first argument is that football has traditionally been a male space that boys need for their own development:
First of all, why in the name of “equality” do women insist on invading man spaces? There is a camaraderie among boys that is necessary for their development as men, and this is fostered in all-boy sports. It’s a kind of initiation into manhood — something that must be done by men in a male-only environment. Injecting females into the mix dilutes the experience, robbing boys of training in masculinity and male bonding that they desperately need.
The loss of male spaces has had a significant effect on society. When you put boys together in schools, or sporting clubs, or cadets, then some of the distinctively male moral instincts begin to emerge, such as loyalty, courage, strength and honour. Society is impoverished when these are no longer generated within male spaces and so wither away.

Her second argument is one that I have made myself in arguing against women in combat roles. It is contradictory to train men to be physically aggressive/violent towards women in sports, but then to expect them to see physical violence towards women as abhorrent and unmanly:
Second, I find it ironic that in a time when we’re hearing a lot about domestic violence (especially by football players), sexual harassment, and sexual assault, we have no problem training and encouraging boys to plow down girls on a football field. It’s insane...

But it’s a sport, some might say. Just a game — no big deal. Such a response ignores the power of sports in developing our character and our psychology...

...When you put a girl on a football field, you are training boys to go against their natural (and good) instincts not to hit girls. Part of growing as a man is to learn how to properly treat women, to protect, respect, honor, and cherish them. Not to beat the crap out of them in sports or anywhere else.

Her third arguments is that having girls play violent sports with boys disrupts the sense of complementarity between the sexes:
You are teaching the boy that women don’t need men to protect them — or worse that they can be just as aggressive with women as with men. And you are teaching the girl that she doesn’t need a man. That she’s strong all on her own, if not stronger than a man, and that she doesn’t need a damn thing from him.

This rips apart the fabric of our society as men and women no longer complement each other but compete against each other. Instead of benefiting from each other’s strengths and supporting each other in our weaknesses, we are fostering a hyper-individualistic mindset that says, “I don’t need you!”

Converting from civic nationalism

Traditionalists are ethnic rather than civic nationalists. We believe that a "people" becomes so through a shared ancestry, history, language and culture. Liberals are either civic nationalists or else internationalists. The civic nationalism that dominates most Western countries claims that anyone can become a citizen as long as they assent (at least during the citizenship process) to some liberal values. Civic nationalism usually involves mass immigration from around the world, as it permits anyone to claim national membership - there are no limits to who is eligible.

Lauren Rose is an American YouTuber. I don't know much about her politics, but she is articulate in explaining why she abandoned her belief in civic nationalism.



If you'd like to read more on this topic, there is a chapter of my e-book which goes into more detail here.

Monday, November 06, 2017

He's be happy if his daughters changed sex?

Tim Lott is a Guardian columnist. One of his offerings is a piece titled "Why I'd be happy for my daughters to change gender." That's a radical assertion given what a sex change involves, and Lott does acknowledge that there would be significant hurt involved:
How would I feel if one of my daughters turned out to feel she were a male, and wanted surgery to reassign her identity?

I would, admittedly, be worried that this might cause her physical and mental distress.

So why then be happy? He explains this way:
All the same, I am perfectly happy, in the liberal tradition, that people should have any gender identity they want, or any sex that they want...

It is clear that from the hysterical reaction to Can I Tell You About Gender Diversity? by elements of the rightwing press, that transphobia is a real enough phenomena. So to be clear I am not in favour of simply tolerating it – the idea of gender fluidity should be thoroughly welcomed, for all its complications, as an extension of the range of human possibility.

It's Liberalism 101. What matters to Tim Lott is an individual freedom to pursue our subjective wants, i.e. a freedom to self-determine who we are, rather than being bound to predetermined qualities like the sex we are born to or to our natural telos (ends/purposes) as men and women.

However nice it might sound, Lott's liberalism leads to a grotesque outcome. He feels obliged to announce that he would be happy if his daughters went through a shocking medical procedure and spent their lives as biological women identifying as men. It's an extraordinary thing for a parent to announce their happiness at such an outcome.

The emphasis can never be on unlimited subjective wants. That's not how you arrive at the best kind of individual life. It's better to think in terms of a life that is successfully ordered or integrated, which then gives us the opportunity to stand above our desires and to judge their merits and how they might or might not deserve to be acted on.

When Wonder Woman goes SJW

The image below is from a recent Wonder Woman (issue 30) comic book (you might have to click on it twice to make it legible):



One part of our culture is still tumbling leftward. The "bad guy" in the comic is standing up for an ideal of women as feminine and sweet and he also opposes the disempowerment of men. The rainbow coalition opposing him complain that this is "mansplaining" and one of the women punishes him for this by punching him in the face.

I was curious as to who might have written something like this. The writer credited with the story is Shea Fontana. She has a Twitter account which gives you some idea of her personality:









Clearly, Shea is nothing like a tough Amazonian warrior. From reading her Twitter feed she seems to be very much oriented to a feminine world of children, pets, home, fashion, and things which appeal to her as being cute.

And yet she wrote a comic book story in which the man who defends this aspect of womanhood gets beaten up as a "mansplainer".

So there is a disjuncture here between the person she really is and the views that she promotes in her work. It seems that you can be a feminine woman in your personal life, but publicly you must defend the "wonder woman" ethos of tough, independent warrior woman.

I will simply point out that this is another fail within liberal culture. The one thing that liberalism promises is that you can "be who you want to be" but the reality is that there are things you are supposed to be in a liberal culture that individuals are under significant pressure to assent to. And in such a culture you are not supposed to be a feminine woman or a masculine man (as you are not supposed to follow predetermined sex roles).

It seems to me to be a low act to promote to young girls a view of womanhood that you yourself do not, and would not, choose to follow in your own private life.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Sketching manhood

What makes up the inner life of men? I would argue that there are at least three major aspects of this inner life. 

The first is a focus on building strength. This can be physical strength, as measured by muscularity, speed, skill and endurance. But it can just as readily involve the building of self-discipline; the exercise of control over emotional reactions; or an ability to exercise good judgment. Success can be measured by demonstrating prowess or mastery in some field of endeavour, particularly when this requires strength of character.

The second is the drive to gain, or retain, honour, reputation and integrity. The place of honour is less prominent than it once was, most likely because it is cultivated within masculine spaces that no longer exist. Even so, I can recall at the boys school I attended that there was an unwritten code of honour that was very effective in encouraging an unflinching attitude to life. And, even today, most men would still have a sense of dishonour in, for instance, gross acts of cowardice. Social reputation is also less important than it once was, perhaps because we live in large, anonymous cities. It is still the case, though, that men do not want to be shamed within groups that matter to them - they want to keep their reputation unblemished. Integrity is, perhaps, the most important as we carry this with us always and as it relates to standards of who we are, and how intact we are, as moral creatures.

Finally, there is the experience of being responsive, connected and committed in our lives. This is the "poetic" experience of life in which we find a transcendent meaning in the beauty of women, or in our responsiveness to nature, or in the arts and architecture, or in our faith, or in our connectedness to people and place. We perceive there to be significant goods in life, which then inspire love and which then draw from us our deeper commitments, including a sense of duty to protect, to uphold and to serve, and to fulfil our social roles, whether these are directed to our family (as husband and father) or to our larger communal tradition.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Feminists losing the terf war

It doesn't matter how outlandish a liberal innovation might seem, if it fits with liberal principles then it will be pushed onto society regardless - if, that is, there is no effective opposition to liberalism itself.

Here's an interesting example. There is a push on now to have people accept the idea that men can give birth to children. It is beginning to become politically incorrect to talk about "pregnant women" as this excludes women who identify as men but who nonetheless get pregnant.

Seems kooky, but look at the following Facebook thread:

This is a debate between radical feminists who insist that you need to be biologically female to be a woman (they are called "terfs") and other leftists who reject this as "transphobic."

The significant part of the debate is that a professional organisation for midwives (the Midwives Alliance of North America) has already committed itself to the idea that men can give birth ("suggesting that only women can give birth is not welcome here").

The midwives association repeated this view in another thread:



The "terfs" who insist that being a woman is based on biological reality are warned by the midwives alliance that "comments that say that men can't give birth are transphobic and will not be tolerated."

There is so much that could be said about this. The twistedness of liberal morality is apparent in this discussion. Liberal morality is built on the idea that we should be free to choose our identity and our own subjective goods, but that we should allow others to do the same. Therefore, there is no objective moral order for individuals to orient themselves to, but instead the point of morality is to show how tolerant you are of others choosing as they will.

But it all gets mired in a contradiction. On the one hand, if a woman declares that she identifies as a man you are supposed to be tolerant and accepting of her decision to identify this way. But this then means that someone who points out, as a basic fact of reality, that there is a biological aspect to being a woman, will be told curtly that their speech will not be tolerated. So a morality of "tolerance" ends up being, by all previous standards, remarkably intolerant.

You can tell that if things go as they usually do that the terfs will lose this battle. If, as per liberalism, we are to be free to self-determine our own identity and pursue our own subjective goods, then it is difficult in principle to say to someone biologically female that they can't identify as a man and become a "pregnant male." To oppose this is, in liberal terms, bigoted, prejudiced, phobic, hateful, discriminatory and all the rest of it.

In the past, the only opposition to the liberal left came from the liberal right (the "establishment conservatives"). The liberal right would sometimes initially oppose these kinds of things (as "going too far") but once they got traction, then the right liberals would fold and would eventually end up defending the new status quo.

It's interesting now to see something different emerging. There's a section of the alt right which is now doing what a genuine opposition would have done decades ago, and actually push back in a determined way against the left liberal project. It is still too small to win in the wider society, but it is carving out a political space where the older dynamic no longer runs as it used to.

So perhaps we won't see, in a few years time, a liberal speech code outlawing the use of the term "pregnant woman" as hate speech. Maybe the usual pattern of politics will continue to lose ground.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Jordan Peterson - the path is narrow

I've posted below a short video of a lecture by Jordan Peterson. It is bracingly countercultural. The liberal assumption is that we live in an existential vacuum in which we are free to choose in any direction. Jordan Peterson's experience as a clinical psychologist is that this is not so, and that there is a moral order that the individual cannot transgress without consequences:

Joep Beving

The top two positions in the Australian classical music chart are held by a living composer, the Dutchman Joep Beving. It's such a rare event that I thought I would share a video of one of his compositions:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cardinal Sarah defends homelands and cultures

Cardinal Sarah, who hails from Guinea in Africa, has given a speech in Poland supporting that country's stand against open borders:
Every nation has a right to distinguish between genuine refugees and economic migrants who do not share that nation’s culture, Cardinal Robert Sarah has said.

Speaking at the Europa Christi conference in Poland on Sunday, the African cardinal noted that the country refuses to accept the “logic” of migrant redistribution that “some people want to impose”.

In comments reported by Polish magazine Gosc, Cardinal Sarah added that while every migrant is a human being who must be respected, the situation becomes more complex if they are of another culture or another religion, and imperil the common good of the nation.

This is at least tending toward the reformed refugee policy that I have long advocated: that there should be a common fund to finance refugee resettlement, but that to avoid economic migration and to protect existing cultures, refugees should be resettled in the nearest safe country that is most similar in terms of both living standards and culture/ethnicity.

The most striking comment made by Cardinal Sarah was this:
The ideology of liberal individualism promotes a mixing that is designed to erode the natural borders of homelands and cultures, and leads to a post-national and one-dimensional world where the only things that matter are consumption and production.

The quote deserves to be read carefully, as it clearly suggests that Catholics not only can, but ought to, defend "the natural borders of homelands and cultures."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

When the world turns

I saw the following tweet a few days ago that sums up perfectly the liberal attitude to our biological sex:



It's got everything in the space of a tweet.

The liberal starting point is a belief that what gives life meaning or dignity is a freedom to self-determine who we are (identity) and to pursue what we will (subjective goods). Therefore, as a logical follow on, our predetermined qualities (our sex, our race, our ethnicity) are thought of negatively as limits on our freedom.

Free yourself, shouts the liberal, from your manhood or womanhood, from traditional roles, from moral norm and standards, from your communal tradition, from your history and culture, from sexual complementarity, from traditions of beauty in the arts and architecture, from your faith. Strip yourself bare and be free! Be illimitable!

But the liberal cry is a dissolving one that makes us and what we have in common smaller, less meaningful and increasingly marginalised.

And there are people who are tiring of it. Youssef Sarhan's tweet drew over 3000 comments, nearly all of them critical. The world is turning, at least a little, away from liberalism as an orthodoxy.

Below is a selection of the responses to Youssef Sarhan. Some were from men, but many were written by women in defence of manhood:











One response had an interesting philosophical angle:



There's something to this. It is more usual to accept that we have a created nature and to seek to complete this to its highest and most developed form and to enact it within, and for the benefit of, a human community. If we reject this, as "limiting," we are suggesting that we can remake reality, and do so better than what we were, by nature, created to be. It suggests that we are not creatures existing as part of an order of reality, but uncreated and outside of it, like gods of the spheres. There is a hubris to this, alongside the loss of what is to be found when we are placed within a meaningful order of reality, rather than lost outside of it.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Another step in the descent of liberal culture

There have been a couple of images doing the rounds lately on social media. The first is of a satanic-style drag queen reading books to young children in a public library in the U.S.:



The second is of a poster being displayed at train stations in Toronto, Canada, with the campaign title "The sex you want" and showing a picture of a homosexual threesome:



The instinctive reaction most people will have is that exposing children to these images is an attack on their childhood. And yet public authorities clearly believe the opposite - that it is either a good thing, or at least harmless, for the images to be displayed to children.

I understand the position of the public authorities, even if I think it is wrong. The liberal idea, dominant in our society, is that the individual autonomously determines his own goods and identity. But, as all desires are equally desires, they all have to be acknowledged as equally valid, as long as they don't claim primacy over others (which, for liberals, is the sin of "supremacy" or discrimination, intolerance, bigotry etc.) So the public authorities, following this liberal credo, don't really have a principled way to object to the imagery, without exposing themselves to charges of hypocrisy or inconsistency or lack of principle.

It seems we are witnessing another step down in liberal culture. Liberal culture had previously compromised by rating materials for their sexual content and allowing parents some control over what their children were exposed to. Apparently the aim of being inclusive toward transsexual and homosexual culture (making it normative) is now overriding the older compromise - it is now thought progressive to habituate children to these things.

And yet there is damage being done. The message being given to children is that sexuality is to be freely pursued in any direction and that there are no sexual impulses to be restrained or held in check. They are being exposed to forms of sexuality that are at the end point of what happens when restraints or modesty or checks give way.

This is especially problematic for those children who will later seek to form heterosexual relationships. Within homosexual culture, it does not matter so much if the emphasis is on fleeting sexual encounters for their own sake. But a heterosexual culture can't work this way. A heterosexual culture has the more difficult aim of bringing together men and women for stable, monogamous pairing, with the aim of raising children successfully and carrying on an intergenerational family tradition. This requires both men and women to integrate the sexual aspects of their relationship with other purposes relating to the good of children, family and society.

In short, sexuality has to be ordered toward higher purposes. A man cannot just follow his libido if he is to commit to a lifelong role of husband and father within a family and secure the material well-being of his wife and children and help to socialise his children toward a successful adulthood of their own. Similarly, a promiscuous woman damages her ability to pair bond with a man and to form a respectful and loving emotional relationship with a future husband.

If children are allowed to mature without being precociously sexualised, and within a culture that orients them toward marriage and family, then they are likely to reach early adulthood without having lost the innate qualities that might allow them to successfully pair bond with a person of the opposite sex.

And that's the sense in which we instinctively believe that it is possible for children to be corrupted, and that children need to be protected from certain types of sexualised content. We don't want our children to lose what is supposed to be intact within them, emotionally and psychologically, that allows them to successfully marry. It is our job to at least get them to independent adulthood, and the age of marriage, without this having been lost.

This requires not only good parenting, but also agreed upon social norms and standards within public life. And this is where liberalism is increasingly undermining the role of parents in the raising of their children.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Building up our houses

I've often thought that one thing missing in modern life is older women passing down healthy social mores to younger women (what can you pass down when the social creed is "do whatever you will"?).

So I was pleased to see an example (via Dalrock) of a woman trying to pass on some good advice about marriage to other women. Her name is Heidi Stone, and I know little about her except that she appears to be an American Protestant Christian.

She begins by noting how many marriages are failing in her social circle. She then points out to her female readers that divorce often does not lead to a happy future relationship:
Remarriage for women, as we age, becomes less and less likely. Should we get started talking about the cost of child support? On both sides? What about how alimony can financially cripple either party’s ability to provide for a second family. It doesn’t happen or it takes too much of the paycheck.

Simply? It makes sense to just stay married. Especially for us, ladies. Especially for us.

That’s you and me, darlin’. You and me. We’ve already invested our perky selves, baby-making hips, and the “looks cute in a two-piece” years. We’ve given them to the man we wake up to and the children we make dinner for and unless we are careful, that investment might not pay off.

I know I want to reap the rewards of that investment.

I’ve earned those rewards. There is no way I want to jeopardize where I end up and how I live because I didn’t have the courage or willingness to pursue my marriage and family with integrity now. Before the hurricanes and menopausal tornadoes.

See, to be blunt, we don’t fare well in the re-marriage market as only 25% of women who are divorced in their 30’s-40’s actually remarry. Men will generally marry at a rate closer to 50% but, even then, they aren’t looking at our Match.Com profiles. They tend to marry women far younger than themselves the second time and, well, that rather gives a raspberry to both our aging marketability and our chances at second time marital bliss.

So only 25% of women who divorce in their 30s and 40s will remarry, and only 7% of single women aged over 50 will ever even cohabit again with a man:
The people most unlikely to find a partner and settle into a new long-term relationship are women aged over 50, with only 7 per cent moving in with a partner.

If a woman "invests" her youthful beauty and fertility in marriage, then she maximises her chances of being in a loving relationship with a man in her later decades (in the second half of her life). If this is ignored, then many people will live alone from middle-age. In trailblazing feminist Sweden 52% of households now consist of only one person:
Why, then, does Sweden stand out when it comes to the high number of single households? Trägårdh says that Sweden is a "radically individualistic" country with a social structure that enables people to live independently - that is, to avoid having to rely on one another.

"It has something to do both with values and with the types of institutions we have created in Sweden in more recent decades," explains Trägårdh.

"Individual autonomy has been important for a long time here, as well as the idea that relationships - even in family and love - should be voluntary. And our institutions guarantee the possibility for relationships to be voluntary, for individuals to make the decision to leave a relationship if they so wish."

The emphasis in Sweden is on the liberal aim of maximising individual autonomy by making it easy to dissolve marriages and to live independently of anyone else - but they have succeeded so well in this aim that a majority of households now have just one person (in comparison the percentage of single person households in nearby Poland is 24%, in Singapore it is 11% and in India 3.7%.)

The next part of Heidi Stone's advice is equally good. She asks women to think about the mistakes that wives sometimes make that bring down their own houses:
This is to the sisters who bulldoze their own security and future. Shingle by shingle. Tear by manipulating tear. Guilt trips by angry blaming.

Every day, systematically destroying their homes, one snark, one bitterness, one resentment at a time the foundation crumbles until there is nothing left to preserve. Nothing left to fight for or hold on to.

I don’t have to make a list, we are familiar with the usual suspects. Anger, resentment, bitterness, defensiveness, and arrogance. No one needs to be convinced those elements are at the heart of poor choices. Toxic to our warmth and hospitality.

But we justify. We excuse our failures. When we are at church thinly masking our dishonor of our spouse with a carefully worded prayer request or trying to explain our behavior to our friends… Maybe we spend too much time searching for a friendly ear when we believe we’ve been horribly “wronged”.

But there really is no limit to the depths of ugliness in the human heart. Have you thought about how disrespect and comparison, victimhood, and slander can pull down your house?

Men are brought up to think that failure or success depends on their own efforts, their character, their strength. But the fate of some marriages is decided not by the actions of the husband, but within the mind and soul of the wife. The marriage rests on her ability to manage her thoughts and emotions, so that she does not dwell on the negatives, or hold on to grievances, or seek to belittle, or slide between a sensitivity to being patronised and a feeling of superiority.

Is it not one task of a human culture to help women to inhabit the better part of themselves ("our warmth and hospitality") rather than the more destructive parts? Is it not important for men to take an interest in this, given that men seek emotional and physical intimacy with their wives but are unlikely to genuinely achieve this if women cannot overcome the kind of failures that Heidi Stone describes?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Can Catholics be loyal to both Pope Francis and the Church?

The Catholic traditionalist writer Bonald has found a disturbing quote from Pope Francis:
Dear friends, I cannot fail to express my concern about manifestations of intolerance, discrimination and xenophobia that have appeared in various parts of Europe. Often this reaction is motivated by mistrust and fear of the other, the foreigner, those who are different. I am even more worried about the disturbing fact that our Catholic communities in Europe are not exempt from these defensive and negative reactions, supposedly justified by a vague moral obligation to preserve an established religious and cultural identity. The Church has spread to all continents thanks to the “migration” of missionaries convinced of the universality of the saving message of Jesus Christ, meant for men and women of every culture. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been temptations to exclusivity and cultural rigidity, but the Holy Spirit has always helped overcome them by ensuring constant openness to others, viewed as a positive opportunity for growth and enrichment.

I have bolded the most extraordinary part. Pope Francis believes that there is no moral obligation to preserve a Catholic religious identity in Europe. He states this as the man entrusted to lead the Church. He believes it is a moral thing for Europe to become Islamic, as this shows openness to the other.

This puts ordinary Catholics in a difficult position. If they remain obedient to Pope Francis, they are gravely disloyal to the Church.

There are of course serious objections to the moral view of Pope Francis. First, it is uncannily similar to a secular liberal political philosophy. In liberal philosophy, there are no substantive goods. What matters instead is my own will and my own choices. However, for the system to work I have to accord to others a similar freedom to follow their own will and their own choices. Therefore, the moral thing in a liberal system is not to discriminate against others, to be tolerant, to be open, and to be nonjudgemental. If a liberal wants to signal his virtue he can do so by demonstrating that he is most open to the person most other to him, which most liberals today assume to be Muslims. Pope Francis is signalling virtue just as a liberal would, rather than as someone who believes that there are objective goods to uphold in life, as you would expect a Catholic to do.

The second objection relates to something else that Pope Francis has said on the issue:
The only continent that can bring about a certain unity to the world is Europe...China has perhaps a more ancient, deeper, culture. But only Europe has a vocation towards universality and service...We can speak today of an Arab invasion. It is a social fact...How many invasions Europe has known throughout its history! It has always known how to overcome itself, moving forward to find itself as if made greater by the exchange between cultures.

Bonald answers as follows:
Depending on how you read it, it is either insulting to the West or insulting to everyone else. What is this “vocation towards universality and service” that only Europe is burdened with? Why can’t Europe be happy as one people among many? Are our artistic heritage and distinct customs not as satisfying as those of others? Is it arrogance, that we can’t bear that any other people should excel in their own ways that we don’t? Either way, a “vocation towards universality” sounds like a spiritual defect. On the other hand, if it means a striving toward transcendence, toward objective truth, what would Francis be saying about other civilizations? That the Muslims and the Chinese hold to their beliefs and their morals not because they think them true and right, but just because they are theirs, as a means of collective self-assertion? But this is preposterous!

Unfortunately, the pope gives no justification for Europe’s unilateral “vocation towards service”. Why do we exist to serve other peoples rather than vice versa? Why does this “exchange between cultures” seem to go only one way?

I'd like to add something along similar lines. The Jesuits do often emphasise the idea of service. But if service is at the heart of a moral life, as per Jesuit beliefs, and only Europe has a vocation toward service, as per Pope Francis, then it is given to Europeans to be moral actors, whilst everyone else is there to be acted upon. This hardly seems to give everyone an equal human dignity.

Finally, the Pope's account of the moral purposes of man seems very thin, to the point that it seems more like an ideology than a sophisticated theology. To suggest that I have no particular loves, no identity, no cultural attachments, no personal duties, but only an abstract, universal duty to serve the other, treats me like a cipher, like a cellophane man, as if I were not gifted with any place or genuine personality of my own, as if I had no created nature of my own to develop and fulfil together with those I have the closest and most profound relationships with. I cannot believe that those who have been stripped down in this way really have the most to give to anyone either near or far. When we disembed people we usually disorder them and render them unfeeling to genuine and lasting loves and attachments. A certain plane of the human experience is lost to them and is difficult to recover. A theology should not have any such corrosive effect, it should aim to deepen rather than to detach. This is not achieved when a singular belief in service for the other is employed to scorch the ground beneath it, to clear a path for universality - which will not even be the universality of the Church but of some other tradition. A more sophisticated understanding is necessary to avoid this harm, one that does not begin and end with just one type of moral act as representing the sum of the good.

Monday, October 09, 2017

A photo for James Kalb

I saw the photo below and immediately thought of the American traditionalist James Kalb:



James Kalb could put this photo on the cover of his next book. It illustrates so well something that he often discusses, namely that liberalism reduces the good to desires or preferences but since "all desires are equally desires" they become equally valid. Hence this young woman not caring if her daughter is a princess, a doctor, a teacher or a slut - something that is absurd and yet to the liberal mind represents a moral position.

If you are interested in the ideas of James Kalb it is worth reading his essay "Out of the Antiworld" (see here). A relevant excerpt is his discussion of what follows from the rejection of an objective moral order:
The result is that nothing can be held to have a natural goal or reason for being, and the only meaning something can have for us is the meaning we give it. In such a setting, wanting to do something is what makes it worth doing, and the good can only be the satisfaction of preferences simply as such. Morality becomes an abstract system that has nothing substantive to say about how to live but only tells us to cooperate so we can all attain whatever our goals happen to be.

Given such a view, the uniquely rational approach to social order is to treat it as a soulless, technically rational arrangement for maximizing equal satisfaction of equally valid preferences. That principle claims to maximize effective freedom, but it narrowly limits what is permissible lest we interfere with the equal freedom of others or the efficient operation of the system. Private hobbies and indulgences are acceptable, since they leave other people alone. So are career, consumption, and expressions of support for the liberal order. What is not acceptable is any ideal of how people should understand their lives together that is at odds with the liberal one. Such ideals affect other people, if only by affecting the environment in which they live, and that makes them oppressive. If you praise the traditional family, you are creating an environment that disfavors some people and their goals, so you are acting as an oppressor.

The result is that the contemporary liberal state cannot allow people to take seriously the things they have always taken most seriously.

It is worth noting that the things this mother allows her daughter to be fit well into the limited framework suggested by James Kalb, namely career and private indulgences. The daughter is not really being liberated to all that our identity, our moral nature and our spiritual life have to offer. And even the relatively worthy aims of being a doctor or a teacher are sullied by being put on the same level as that of being a slut - one is thought to be as good as another.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

If we can change our sex, why can't we change our race?

The YouTube video below is from an English morning TV show. It shows an interview between the hosts, Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, and a German woman, Martina Big, who has begun taking medicines and undergoing surgery to transform herself into a black woman.



The hosts of the show have previously run interviews in which they supported primary school children making the decision to change sex. They claimed that people can be "gender fluid." This fits in with the liberal belief that what matters is that we self determine who we are rather than this being predetermined by qualities we are born into like our sex.

So you would think that the TV hosts would support Martina Big in wanting to be "race fluid" or transracial. It is difficult to see how what she is doing is any different in principle from those seeking to change their biological sex.

But in the interview Philip Schofield is clearly strongly opposed to what Martina Big is doing. He cannot find a liberal reason to oppose her, so instead comes up with a traditionalist one. At 4.15 he says to Martina Big, as a criticism of her:
But you understand that race and colour is much more than skin deep. It's heritage and pedigree and tradition and history and struggle. It's all of these things that you can't hope to get anywhere near with three tanning injections.

He expresses the thought very well. But it goes directly against the older liberal narrative. For decades Westerners have been told the exact opposite, that to identify with their race is wrong because race is only skin deep and therefore meaningless, with the accusation that those wanting to preserve their race are merely prejudiced.

What is happening here? There are several possibilities. First, that what Martina Big is doing is just too much for Philip Schofield to accept right now, but that he would change his mind later as the logic of liberalism rolls onward and public opinion changes. The second possibility is that blacks still have too much status as a "victim class" within the liberal world view for liberals to think that a white person might be allowed to access that identity (and escape from "oppressor" to "oppressed"). Another possibility is that Philip Schofield understands at some level the double standard that the leftist version of liberalism aims to dissolve white identity, but is not meant to undercut other identities in the same way - so that healthier traditional ideas can still be applied to the other races.

So the final question is this: is it likely that transracialism will be accepted in the future the way that transsexualism now is?

If white liberalism lasts for another 20 years then I think it will be accepted. After all, white women were once thought to be a high status victim class within the liberal worldview. But when it came to a showdown between feminists who wanted to keep the category of woman for biological women and transsexuals, the transsexuals won. Eventually, it is likely that those claiming to be transracial will be thought to have a higher political claim than those defending minority racial categories.

However, it doesn't look likely that white liberalism is going to survive the sea change in politics that is on the horizon. The changing demographics in the US is encouraging the radical left to base itself more squarely on the assertion of racial interests against the current white majority. The radical left has already started to demand that white liberals surrender to this new agenda. Many liberals will comply, perhaps some will break toward the right.

I'm not sure, in other words, if liberalism has that much more time to roll forward before it crashes into barriers it created for itself.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Frederick Hart

Frederick Hart was an American sculptor whose working life spanned the mid-1970s to the late 1990s. He appears to have been politically liberal in his youth, but nonetheless stands out as being a countercultural traditionalist in his art philosophy. He wrote:
I believe that art has a moral responsibility, that it must pursue something higher than itself. Art must be a part of life. It must exist in the domain of the common man. It must be an enriching, ennobling, and vital partner in the public pursuit of civilization. It should be a majestic presence in everyday life just as it was in the past.

Here are some of his sculptures:





Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Swedish feminist supports polygamy

There were complaints in Sweden when a Muslim refugee brought his three wives to live with him and a house worth $2,000,000 (AUD) was bought by a local authority for them all to live in.

He found support though in a Swedish feminist who finds much to admire in polygamy:
The feminist artist and writer Ulla Lundegård cannot understand why it is so outrageous that Muslim men bring more wives when they come to Sweden.

"Why do we place so much emphasis on the fact that this man has three wives? And why are you talking with disgust that the municipality has to get an apartment for all of these? You also have the right to live, right?" asks the 65-year-old feminist.

She states that we must not let our "prejudices and established tradition-bound norms" stand in the way of how enriching it may actually be for a Muslim man to have a whole set of wives.

"The children have three mothers with different qualities and ages that can penetrate when needed. They can even share their love for the man and live in the same house! It's more than any of us can imagine."

The Muslim family constellation with several wives can in fact be much more exciting than the boring Swedish couple relationships:

"It may even be that they live a much more interesting life than many Swedish couples do after thirty years. Women may even have fellowship with each other," writes Ulla Lundegård.

Feminists have spent decades criticising the Western family as being an outmoded patriarchal institution, and yet Ulla Lundegård cannot speak highly enough of the Muslim institution, claiming that it is a much more interesting way of life than is found in the West, that it is based on the sharing of love and that it is mere prejudiced adherence to tradition to oppose it.

In many of her newspaper columns, Ulla Lundegård blames society's ills on the patriarchy and yet the Islamic version of marriage gets a free pass. Why?

I can only speculate about this. First, leftists often follow the idea that it is Western men who have created institutions to create an unearned privilege for themselves at the expense of others. If true, this would mean that non-Western institutions don't have the same kind of political guilt attached to them as Western ones.

Or, perhaps, it has to do with liberal morality. Liberals tend to believe that it doesn't matter what a person chooses to do morally, that the moral thing is a freedom to choose as we will. So in one sense liberal morality is libertine and transgressive. However, the liberal system does ultimately generate a moral code. If the point is that I can choose in any direction, as long as I don't restrict the right of others to similarly choose, then what matters morally is that I respect choice, am non-discriminatory, tolerant, open, inclusive and so on. Therefore, if I am a liberal and I want to virtue signal, I will want to show that I am the most open and inclusive to whoever is most "other" to myself - which in practice is often thought to be Muslim immigrants. Therefore in preferring a Muslim tradition to her own, Ulla Lundegård is signalling her virtue in terms of a liberal moral code.

(This helps to explain why liberals seem culturally suicidal. Why, for instance, would German liberals welcome millions of young Middle-Eastern men to their society when this will mean a transformation of Germany from a liberal society to a Muslim one? Perhaps one reason is the aspect of liberal morality I have just described, that it becomes virtuous in a liberal moral code to be most open toward the group most "other" to your own. To survive, liberals would have to go against their own morality - most would prefer to bow out "morally" rather than survive.)

Another possible explanation is that polygamy might have some appeal for Western feminists. A lot of these feminists will be entering old age minus any kind of relationship. Perhaps the thought that polygamy offers the opportunity of several women sharing a high status male might appeal to them (I doubt it would appeal as much though to the first wives of these men).

Finally, there is the liberal mindset that the choices that we make are not what matters, that choices are equally choices (as James Kalb puts the liberal view), that they are merely subjective preferences, so that the critical thing is not to have tradition or "prejudice" determining choice, but to throw it all up in the air. There is no sense here that some choices are more likely to lead to an integrated life, in which the social, biological/natural and spiritual aspects of reality are best harmonised, nor that tradition can represent, at its best, a collective working out over time of what is necessary for success in the lives of individuals and communities.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Breitbart confuses conservatism and liberalism

Breitbart is usually an interesting source of news and commentary for traditionalists. But the editors really got it wrong in their story about the life of Hugh Hefner. Titled "Why Conservatives Should Celebrate Hugh Hefner" the story begins as follows:
Hugh Hefner, legendary founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy, died Monday at the age of 91. He was an icon in liberal Hollywood, and a self-declared conservative foe. Yet there is much for conservatives to celebrate in his life.
.
He was the kind of person American conservatism seeks to enable — the self-made man; the radical, pajama-clad individual; the author of his own destiny. And he idealized women as women, in a way the left no longer allows.

This is a species of liberalism. Professor John Kekes defines liberalism this way:
...the true core of liberalism, the inner citadel for whose protection all the liberal battles are waged [is] autonomy … Autonomy is what the basic political principles of liberalism are intended to foster and protect.

And what do liberals mean by autonomy? According to Professor Raz,
A person is autonomous if he can become the author of his own life...Autonomy is an ideal of self-creation, or self-authorship

In the right liberal tradition, emphasis is put on the idea of autonomous individuals becoming self-made in the market. So Breitbart is pushing a right-liberal ideal when it praises Hefner for being "the self-made man; the radical, pajama-clad individual; the author of his own destiny."
.
A genuine conservatism/traditionalism doesn't look at it this way. We believe in objective standards of the good by which a man can be measured. So being "self-made" is not the important thing, nor is being the author of our own destiny, nor is being radically individualistic (you can be all these things, as Hefner was, by peddling porn - what is this supposed to prove?)

It is more important to ask about the character of a man, a character tested by a man's efforts to lead and support a family, by his loyalty to his tradition, by his industry and resilience, his foresight and judgement, his hospitality and conviviality, his courage in the face of adversity, by his piety/spirituality, his magnanimity and by a host of other virtues.

Friday, September 29, 2017

A bank redefines marriage

The corporate world is increasingly jumping on board liberal causes. Recently for instance the ANZ bank has come out in support of same sex marriage. The bank posted tweets in support of same sex marriage; after some criticisms in response to this they followed up with this tweet,:



I left this response:



Which led me to think about the nature of marriage. It seems to me that marriage is, in part, an anchoring institution. As you get older you become aware that the distinctions between men and women are not only a source of attraction, but also a source of difficulty in keeping relationships between men and women stable.

Men do need, at the deepest level, a physically and emotionally intimate relationship with a woman. However, this is not easily achieved. Even with the best intentions, there are any number of differences in the way that men and women perceive and process relationships that can bring about a failure to hold things together.

So why not then just accept a whole series of relationships throughout life? One reason is that we are given a period of time in our youth when our passions run high so that a bonding with another person might be well secured, leading to a stable companionship in later middle age and beyond.

This period of life doesn't last forever. If we don't take advantage of it to bond with one person, but instead experience repeated relationship failure, then relationships later in life become very difficult (for instance, after the age of 50 only 7% of single women will ever again cohabit with a man).

So marriage serves its purpose when it anchors our commitments in our youth, enabling a lifelong relationship between a man and a woman, in spite of the inevitable frictions that arise in joining together the male and the female.

Marriage is also an institution of transmission, and as such its anchoring role takes on added importance.

Through the institution of marriage, we transmit in a stable way a bloodline, a family heritage and history, property, and culture and values. It is how we reproduce ourselves across generations, it is how we honour our forebears, it is how we enact our instinct to impart something of ourselves to our children and grandchildren. Here too marriage is an anchoring institution, without which there can be no secure transmission across generations.

What all this means is that it is in the nature of marriage that commitments be stable and exclusive. Without this marriage loses its value and meaning as an institution.

Modern liberal societies have already significantly undermined the institution of marriage. Many people now see marriage only as an expression of love so that if love is no longer felt the marriage is readily dissolved. There is no longer an anchoring of the relationship.

Similarly if marriage is only an expression of love then it is not intended to carry on a family tradition in a stable way across generations. It need not be fruitful, it need not be grounded in a larger, meaningful enterprise that not only helps to bind the spouses together, but which also ties together their own identity and life purposes to the role of the marriage.

So the question then is do we uphold the deeper traditional understanding of marriage as an anchoring institution, and as an institution of transmission, if we include within it the marriage of two men or two women.

I believe the answer is no. Although it is true that some homosexual men and women have enduring relationships, in general the culture of homosexual relationships is not based on an exclusive anchoring of two people together. Male homosexuals often have open and promiscuous relationships, and polyamory is also common within a homosexual subculture. There is also a tendency for sex to be understood in purely hedonistic terms within the homosexual subculture.

This helps to explain why queer theorists are just as likely to talk about the need to subvert the norms of heterosexual marriage as they are to seek the right to be included within it.

If marriage is just about equal rights, specifically the right to marry anyone we love without any discrimination, then as a matter of logic we have to accept easy divorce, polyamory, as well as same-sex marriage. But marriage then becomes something radically different to its original meaning and purposes. It is not hard to see that this new understanding of marriage will leave many people adrift in life.

If anything, we need to go the other way and restore something of the original culture of marriage rather than continuing along the liberal modernist path.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A strange pathway to transsexualism

Helen Lewis of the left-wing magazine New Statesman wrote a story last year about why so many teenage girls don't want to identify as girls:
Among internet-literate teenagers, gender has become the primary way to challenge the mores of older generations. I know four journalists – London-based, middle class – whose children have announced that they do not consider themselves to be girls. It seems too many to be a coincidence.

Helen Lewis makes two main points in her story. First, she pushes the liberal idea that masculinity and femininity are arbitrary constructs that limit individuals and that should rightly be overthrown. However, she is concerned that young people challenging sex distinctions might think that they have to commit themselves to becoming transsexual.
We should welcome young people challenging gender, an arbitrary system that has acquired the status of immutable human nature

...But separating dissatisfaction with the social constraints of gender from body dysphoria is vital. Because we have smudged together the categories of “transsexual” and “transgender”, is every youngster who questions their gender – and, frankly, every youngster should, because gender is restrictive bollocks – getting the message that they must bind their breasts or tuck their penis?

Liberals are committed ideologically to the idea that sex distinctions are restrictive prisons. It stems from their underlying belief that individuals should be autonomously self created. Our sex is something we don't get to create for our self and therefore it is held negatively to be limiting to the individual.

If, however, you don't have the liberal starting point, you are more likely to see sex distinctions positively as an important aspect of identity, and as a pathway of self-development. The point is to try to perfect our sexed nature, rather than to liberate ourselves from it.

Helen Lewis goes on to make an interesting admission about her own attitude to her sex:
In the year to March 2015, the Tavistock in London – the only specialist gender clinic in the country for under-16s – saw 697 children. This year, it saw 1,419. The largest surge has been among girls aged 14 and over and it is this group I feel most personal affinity for, because, if I were growing up today, I would be among them. A few years ago, I found a textbook from my junior school, with three sentences that floored me: “My name is Helen. I am nine years old. I am skinny.” And the truth was, I was skinny. I had a bowl haircut and wore culottes. Then puberty hit and I piled on a few stone in a year. Taut pink skin turned to lumpen fat and mottled flesh. And everyone had an opinion about it. I was trapped inside a body that didn’t feel like mine any more.

Many of my school friends felt the same way. Some tried to escape through vomiting or starving. Others were part of that charmed cohort who became lissom, beautiful, golden; their parents felt a different sort of ­worry and they were treated to sermons about getting into strange men’s cars.

I won my body back by defacing it; at least, that’s how my parents saw it. An earring, then two. And another. Then piercings that no one could see: nursing each one like a wound or a child. Salvation through pain: a metal bar through cartilage that couldn’t be slept on for a month. A tattoo that hurt like hell. Pink hair, ebbing to orange in a shower that looked like Carrie. And finally – finally – a body that felt like me.

I tell my story not to belittle anyone else’s, or to imply that they have chosen the wrong path. If you cannot live in your body, then change it – and the world must help you to do that.

What she seems to be describing is that moment in time in our teenage years when we develop into our adult bodies and we become aware of where we stand in the dating pecking order (what is sometimes called our SMV).

Apparently she was a little on the chubby side and therefore she felt bad about her adult body and rejected it. She could not live in her body, not because nature really intended for her to be a boy, but because she did not rank herself amongst the most sexually attractive of women.

I'm not quite sure how to respond to this. It strikes me as an all or nothing attitude: either you are born perfect or else you reject your body and deface it so that you feel like it is your own. I can't help but feel that if she had cultivated what was beautiful within and without that she would have developed towards something much higher and greater than being just another pierced and tattooed young woman.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

AfD leader speech

I thought readers might be interested to hear a speech by one of the leaders of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD). I believe his name is Jörg Meuthen, a professor for political economy and finance. It is difficult to tell from his speech what his political philosophy is, but what is clear is his commitment to the future of the German people. It is a very positive development that someone as intelligent and well spoken as this man has joined the patriotic movement.

Toward the end of his speech he refers to a point of controversy within the AfD. Some members do not wish to form a coalition with the other parties, preferring to try and win a majority. Others believe that it is realpolitik to compromise in order to be part of a coalition. This is a tough dilemma for an outsider to comment on, but my own political instincts tell me that for the time being the party should stick with its clear message and continue to build its political support.

Monday, September 25, 2017

A step forward in Germany

The German election results have just come through. In an ideal world, Germans would have voted Angela Merkel out of office, given her commitment to open borders. That didn't happen, but her position has considerably weakened and the nationalist AfD has entered the German parliament and has become the third largest party. Here is a comparison of the results of this election with the last one:



As you can see, Merkel's share of the vote has dropped to below one third and the AfD broke through to win 95 seats in the Bundestag. Merkel will now be forced to govern via an unstable coalition.

The hope is that the AfD continues to build its influence over the next few years. Even if it does not get enough seats to form a government of its own, the more political ground it wins, the more pressure there is on the other parties to adapt their policies to try to appeal to AfD voters.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Trump is right on refugee reforms

For years I have advocated a new refugee system in which refugees would be resettled in those countries nearest to their home countries, not only geographically but in culture, religion and living standard. The resettlement would be financed through a fund paid into by the wealthier nations.

The advantages of such a system is that it would cut the numbers of those claiming to be refugees (as there would be no incentive for economic migrants to claim to be refugees) and it would also allow most easily for assimilation, both for the refugees themselves as well as the host nation.

Donald Trump gave a speech recently to the United Nations in which he advocated similar reforms:
We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process. For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region.

Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region and we support recent agreements of the G20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach. For decades the United States has dealt with migration challenges here in the Western Hemisphere.

We have learned that over the long term, uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries. For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reform and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms. For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are born overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.

Here is footage of President Trump addressing the U.N. on this issue:

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Why can't male sacrifice be acknowledged?

I was in a classroom with some senior students discussing the topic of relationships when I made the, to my mind, innocent comment that "men make sacrifices on behalf of their wife and children." It prompted a spontaneous, incredulous outcry from the girls "No, they don't!"

I tried to explain that a man spending most of his time and energy going out to work to provide for his family represented a sacrifice. My explanation didn't go down well. Some of the students just wanted to acknowledge female sacrifice. Others looked gloomy and upset and the word "sexism" was heard. I had clearly said something that I wasn't supposed to say.

So why can't we acknowledge male sacrifice on behalf of women and family?

One possible explanation is that it doesn't fit in with current liberal political beliefs. Liberals see society as made up of unique individuals in pursuit of their own self-interest or their own subjective goods. So perhaps if you are a young liberal woman who believes in the pursuit of your own individual goods, it is discomfiting to acknowledge that someone may be sacrificing on your behalf. Also, if liberals do act for a more universal good it is for a certain liberal understanding of "equality," but the liberal assumption is that if inequality exists it is because men get to choose to do what they want at the expense of others. So the idea of male sacrifice doesn't fit well with this liberal outlook.

But I don't think that these aspects of liberal politics really explain the situation. I personally have heard a woman say that male efforts at work to provide for a family count for nothing "because that is just what men are supposed to do."

And I am not the only one who has come across this attitude. Rollo Tomassi has written a post titled "Appreciation" which includes the following:
I think what most men uniquely deceive themselves of is that they will ultimately be appreciated by women for their sacrifices. Learn this now, you won't. You can’t be because women fundamentally lack the ability to fully realize, much less appreciate the sacrifices a man makes to facilitate her reality. Even the most enlightened, appreciative woman you know still operates in a feminine-centric reality. Men making the personal sacrifices necessary to honor, respect and love her are commonplace. You’re supposed to do those things. You sacrificed your ambitions and potential to provide her with a better life? You were supposed to. You resisted temptation and didn’t cheat on your wife with the hot secretary who was DTF and ready to go? You were supposed to. Your responsibilities to maintaining a marriage, a home, your family, etc. are common – they’re expected. They are only appreciated in their absence.

This is the totality of the feminine-centric reality. Men only exist to facilitate the feminine reality, and any man who disputes this (or even analyzes its aspects) is therefore not a ‘man’. It just IS.

I should note that Rollo Tomassi begins his post by describing what a good marriage looks like - he is no more anti-marriage than I am. But I think he is correct not only in his observation about the difficulty women have in appreciating male sacrifice, but also in his explanation of why this exists - that it relates to women's ingrained expectation that men exist to "facilitate feminine reality" - i.e. the "feminine imperative" is so strong that women unthinkingly see men as existing to uphold feminine reality (and if they do not, or if they even question it, they are simply not "real men").

If this is so it is ultimately damaging. It is demoralising to men to think that none of their efforts will ever truly be appreciated, that their sacrifices count for nothing in the minds of women.

So what is to be done? I'm not sure to be honest, but I can throw out some ideas.

First, there is the alpha option. Women do go for the kind of man who has the drive to pursue things on his own terms and who draws others into his slipstream (I think the expression is that he invites a woman along for the ride). It is possible, in other words, for men to have a change in mindset, in which they develop their own masculine powers and virtues, as an accomplishment that has its own rewards and its own meaning in terms of a life telos, with the appeal of this to women being more of a follow-on outcome.

Second, the feminine imperative doesn't have to be as strong in society as it has become. There were once institutions that weren't dedicated to this imperative to the degree they now are. There were also clubs and fraternal organisations for men - male spaces - so that the role that the feminine imperative dictates for men wasn't necessarily as total as it is today.

If I could order society better, I would not tie up men's lives in the service of women as much as they are now. Realistically, the breadwinning role would still take up most of men's time and energy. But we could aim to free up as much time as possible for men to undertake a more public oriented role, alongside other men, designed to allow men to develop intellectually, spiritually and creatively, and to enjoy the esprit de corps, the fellowship, that comes from working alongside other men to contribute to the wider community and culture.