Are Women The Privileged Sex?

The Privileged Sex

In my days as an undergraduate, I submitted myself to medical experiments for money. That was a low point, but there were no substantial risks. Being part of a treatment group, I occasionally stayed overnight with other members in accommodation close to a laboratory. One thing I observed in this group was that there were no females. There was not one in the group of about 20 people I stayed with. I never saw any around the facilities, apart from staff. When I put this to a researcher, I was informed that the use of women in clinical trials is discouraged, and has been for decades. The impetus for this was the Thalidomide scandal in the late 1950’s, when pregnant women in a clinical drug trial ended up giving birth to children with fin-like arms or legs. Non-approved drugs and treatments can harm males as well, but that doesn’t seem to matter as much.

Visiting Dublin’s woefully-named Mountjoy Prison as a law student, I could not help get taken aback by the radically different conditions male and female prisoners have to endure. The men of Mountjoy are confined to an actual prison.  Its a bad prison at that, one of the last in Europe where they still practice slopping out. The women, on the other hand, live in self-contained apartments superior to what many people live in at university.

Thus, women get the benefit of medicine once its safety has been verified using male guinea pigs. Much like how they benefit from the safety that requires the sacrifice of men and boys in combat. Much like how they benefit from welfare programs penned by mostly male legislators, or easier justice dished out by mostly male jurists. Examples of female privilege are abundant, now and throughout history. Why the notion that women have a tougher time of it than men has so thrived in face of these facts is quite the mystery.

Its a problem that’s recently been tackled by my one of my favorite historians, and my favorite military theorist, Israel’s Martin Van Creveld. Van Creveld’s The Privileged Sex has just been published in English, being previously only available in German. His is a thesis well worth reading.

Van Creveld contends that for every disadvantage women have endured, whether man-made or as a result of biology, they enjoy a privilege that that is equally or more important to their lives. These range from being spared the obligation to fight in wartime, to the hardest of labors in general. Too many female writers, inclined to see oppression in all places and times, ever mention these privileges (guilty males, even less so). Our perceptions of gender relations have also been skewed by popular stories concerning the alleged historical exploitation and oppression of women. Many of these are without foundation, and if seriously scrutinized turn out to be invented for political-ideological reasons. Feminists have, for instance, portrayed societies that permitted a man to have more than one wife as sexist, with a view of women as being like cattle. Yet in many places this arrangement was simply a way of looking after widows. It was the best possible way of looking out for their welfare at a time when unattached women would have had a difficult time even surviving. They claim women were persecuted in Nazi Germany, yet German women were more likely than men to vote for Hitler. Another example is the portrayal of witch-hunts as part of the general oppression of women. Yet how could these have been anti-woman, when in some countries just as many or more men were executed for witchcraft? In nearly all places men accused of witchcraft were more likely to be executed or face stiffer penalties than their female peers. Not to mention that it was overwhelmingly women accusing other women of being witches, and prosecutions for witchcraft often reached their height under female rulers like Catherina De Medici, Mary Queen of Scots, and ‘Good Queen Bess’ herself. Indeed, some authorities, like James VI of Scotland, had to abolish the general commission against witchcraft because it had become a mere vehicle to settle scores among mostly female rivals.

Similarly, we are told that women do not thrive in the fields of science and engineering because males have kept them out of these vocations. But not even Stalin was able to force females to study technical subjects. Today, officialdom is most satisfied that girls vastly outnumber boys in our medical schools. Yet very few have addressed the disastrous consequences of this. After their expensive training, in most places covered or heavily subsidized by the taxpayer, only a tiny percentage of female graduates remain full-time doctors. They largely avoid the most stressful work in hospitals. A huge proportion quickly leave the profession entirely. In Ireland, only 10% of female GPs intend to pursue full-time practice in the long-term. Some, like the journalist Kevin Myers, have estimated the figure at even less than that, remarking that this is “not a health system; it is a first day on the Somme”. Thus, we in the developed world have to make up the difference by importing doctors from poor countries that need them most.

Discourse on domestic violence is similarly dominated by a presumption that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators. For a long time, studies have been casting doubt on this perception. Erin Pizzey, the founder of the UK charity today known as Refuge, has been subjected to death threats and boycotts because of her claims that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally as capable of violence as men. Reciprocal violence is indeed the most common pattern, and a study of 55,000 US military personnel found that women are just as likely to physically assault their partners. We also know from the US Dept. of Justice’s Survey of State Prison Inmates that women are 24% more likely to kill their children than men, and 32% more likely to kill relatives, children included.

So why does the myth of the oppressed female continue?

Fans of Richard Dawkins might say it is the result of a mental gene, or meme, that predisposes people to believe in certain things. It does seem that we have a natural distaste for seeing women harmed or treated harshly. You are 200 times more likely to see a man die on screen than a woman. It is telling that Hector says to his wife in The Iliad that men would rather die than watch women dying. Its one of the reasons that even in Israel, where women are conscripted, very few serve in combat units and they are exempt from reserve duty. Van Creveld says that in his decades of teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, not one female student has ever had to miss one of his classes for this obligation that affects many of the young men. Its hard to quantify all the ways women are treated gently and paternalistically in the sphere of law and order. When police respond to an incident, women are much more likely to get off with a warning than men. This applies to every single category of offence, and is even true when factors like prior arrest records are controlled for. In Britain, women are six times as likely to be acquitted of manslaughter, and have an easier time convincing juries that they acted under provocation in cases of murder. Their charms work on male cops, jurors, and judges as much as female ones. This happened even to female Nazis on trial for their roles in the euthanasia program.

The love does not appear to be reciprocal, if only from the amount of fictional works by female authors imagining a future utopia without men, from Mary Bradley’s 1890 novel Mizora to more recent works like Joanna Russ’s The Female Man (1975) or Dorris Lessing’s The Cleft (2008). Are there any males fantasizing of a world without women? Nonsense. We like them too much.

The Complaining Sex

This brings us to something in the nature of women. Of course, feminism as an ideology should never be synonymous with being female. But there are forms of feminism that give political expression to something almost inherent in the gender. Women are the complaining sex; they seek attention and often seethe with a mysterious resentment. Freud might have put this resentment down to penis envy. Coupled with male deference, we have a prescription for disaster. Now, not all women possess the traits just described. History is replete with examples of women with nothing but contempt for those living on the privileges of their gender. The first known female commander, Queen Artemisia of Caria, Van Creveld tells us, told Xerxes that Greeks were as superior to Persians as men are to women. Queen Elizabeth I was fond of cracking what would be called today misogynist jokes.

Yet the grievances of woman appear to be as endless as they often are baseless. In the medical sphere, Florence Nightingale was perceptive enough to admit in Cassandra that many female patients are merely seeking attention. Patterns of suicide (a supreme form of complaint) in the sexes are a good indicator. Men are significantly more likely to kill themselves than women. But worldwide, women are four times as likely to attempt suicide. Perhaps they are remarkably incompetent. Perhaps they are practising the fine art of appearing vulnerable.

Is feminism related to this dynamic? Just as female patients, such as Freud’s Dora, have based their lives around imagined illnesses and relished the attention, so others find a purpose in grievances, real or imagined.

Some insight may come from the anorgasmic woman, or female frigidity. This has caused no end of anguish in men, who are expected to bear the blame. Yet frigidity is quite a often a ruse; a way to lash out at a male partner. Simone de Beauvoir was quite candid about the subject, finding the courage to address it after being ‘cured’ of her frigidity by the American writer Nelson Algreen. What de Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex on the subject of frigidity could well describe the mindset of the extreme feminist. Replace the word ‘frigidity’ with ‘feminism’ and you get the point:

Resentment is the most common cause of feminine frigidity; in bed the woman punishes the man for all the wrongs she feels she has endured, by offering him an insulting coldness. There is often an aggressive inferiority complex apparent in her attitudes… She is thus revenged at once upon him and upon herself if he has humiliated her by neglect, if he has made her jealous, if he was slow in declaring her intentions, if he took her as a mistress while she wanted marriage. The grievance can flare up suddenly and set off this reaction even in a liaison that began happily… Frigidity… would appear to be a punishment that woman imposes as much upon herself as upon her partner; wounded in her vanity, she feels resentment against him and against herself, and she denies herself the pleasure.

I will end with another quote, from Van Creveld himself, in the final chapter of The Privileged Sex: “It would be nice… if from time to time, amid the torrents of invective feminists spew at us, we occasionally heard a pleasant female voice saying “thank you, Mate”.”

With that, I and most men would be quite content to be guinea pigs and beasts of burden for the privileged sex.

See Also: Women in Combat


Preserving Freedom Can Mean Restricting Immigration

Rose Wilder Lane, who is said to have coined the term ‘libertarian movement’, makes an interesting point in The Discovery of Freedom that could well enlighten today’s immigration policy.

Like all good commentators, Rose Wilder Lane does not expatiate on the West and the rise of freedom without extensive reference to its roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions. Lane credits Abraham with the insight that “God does not control any man… a man controls himself, he is free to do good or evil in the sight of God”. She points to the important breaks the Israelites made with the surrounding pagan cultures, including their decentralized, even anarchic, governing structure. However, she also points out that the Israelites were a small group surrounded by powerful pagan empires: “The most promising young Israelites were always falling in love with pagan girls… They would have melted humbly into those pagan multitudes  if their strong men had not stood in the way and driven them back with threats, telling them that they were like no other people, that they were set apart, chosen to know the truth and hold to it. They wanted to be “like all the other nations”. But to be like any other people, they must forget that men are free. That is the truth that they held”.

For much of history, America preserved a culture of liberty not found anywhere else. When facing a flood of immigrants from places without this culture, huge efforts were put into the Americanization of these people, through schools and other outlets. This was not only an initiative of the American government. The Ford Motor Company’s absorption classes for new arrivals are legendary. Americans knew they possessed something unique, that was vulnerable, and that had to be preserved with the maintenance of a national character. Friedrich Hayek says in the Constitution of Liberty that the experiment of the United States in having such high levels of  immigration would have utterly failed without such efforts. I find it ominous that this emphasis does not exist today.

My motive in raising this is simply to say that when a nation happens to be a repository of liberal ideas, yet surrounded by illiberal cultures, it is not necessarily a liberal policy to allow vast numbers of those from illiberal cultures to infiltrate the nation and perhaps alter its character entirely. Consider this point when you see Muslim vigilante patrols harassing people on the streets of London, or Arab teens beating a visiting left-wing Israeli filmmaker in France.

See Also: Randmesty? 

Randmesty? Why Rand Paul Is Wrong About Immigration.

The Republican Party’s capacity for self-delusion sometimes surpasses even that of the Irish in a housing bubble. Nowhere is this more evident than the constant party refrains about Hispanics being such “natural Republicans“, they’re ready to hop on the bandwagon if you just cool the rhetoric about immigration. The latest piece of outrageous Hispandering comes courtesy of – it pains me to say – Kentucky’s Rand Paul.

Now, about Rand Paul. I like him. I support his agenda. I would vote for him in 2016. But he’s potentially very weak on the immigration issue. Like Peter Brimelow, I don’t think he’s thought about or appreciates the consequences of mass immigration all that much, something he has in common with a lot of cloistered libertarians. Paul went so far as to call illegal aliens “undocumented citizens” in a recent Washington Times op-ed. Uh-oh.

Recently, Rand gave a speech addressing the topics of amnesty and border security in front of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It was truly pathetic. At some points, it was unintentionally quite funny. To establish a bond of victimhood and ethnic grievance, Paul actually piped: “It was not always easy to be German American in the face of two world wars started by Germans. Intolerance is not new, and it is not limited to one language or skin color”. Oh, Rand, really?

Other choice lines:

“Growing up in Texas I never met a Latino who wasn’t working”.

“Republicans have been losing both the respect and votes of a group of people who already identify with our belief in family, faith, and conservative values. Hispanics should be a natural and sizable part of the Republican base”.

Lies, lies, lies.

Hispanics are far from conservative or libertarian

Well, the first line may not be a lie per se, but your childhood experience seeing Hispanics in construction crews or cleaning your yard aren’t the best guide to policy-making. As it happens, 65.4 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics and 68.4 percent of Hispanic immigrants are working,  compared with 69.3 percent for the country as a whole. Its not a marked difference, but its important to get past the myth of the hard-working Hispanic who actually wants to be here, unlike many supposedly shiftless, unappreciative natives.  57.4% of Mexican immigrants are on some form of welfare, which is significantly high.

The second point is so hackneyed, and so blatantly untrue, I wonder if the Republicans mouths obliged to utter such platitudes seriously believe it anymore. All it takes is a walk through East Los Angeles to observe that the Latino community is no bastion of social conservatism. Salt Lake City most Latino neighborhoods are not, and its not just confined to the female dress code. Hispanics have largely converged with the general public on social issues, and have possibly gone even further to the left. Pew Research’s Hispanic Center says that younger Hispanics support legal abortion in all or most cases, and close to 60 percent of Latinos overall support gay marriage.

What should be most worrying to a free-marketeer like Rand Paul is the Hispanic attitude to capitalism and socialism. Again, Pew Research indicates that Hispanics are twice as likely to have a positive view of socialism than whites. Amazingly, the average Hispanic is more likely to have a positive view of socialism than a self-described supporter of the Occupy Movement (so is the average black, it must be said). Fox News Latino claims that 62% of Hispanics support ObamaCare. This shouldn’t really surprise. We are talking about a people with roots in a continent that brought us Hugo Chavez, and famed for its economic populist strongmen. My view is that you wouldn’t have to change a single letter in the Constitution for the United States to become a socialist regime or Latin American style basket case republic, if the character of the people was that way inclined. And what better way to accomplish that than import tens of millions of Latin Americans? The implications of inviting millions of people rooted in a highly socialistic and collectivist culture into the United States really ought to attract more scrutiny. Unfortunately, libertarians today don’t have the guts. Even Lew Rockwell’s site, which once emphasized these matters,  seems to have completely sold out to La Raza and the Treason Lobby. What I call Official Conservatism may be even worse.

If Republican Party positions on economic and social matters are an anathema to most Hispanics, what makes anybody believe they will change allegiance if the party concedes ground on immigration? They already have the Democrats. That’s why polls show Hispanics vastly prefer Hilary Clinton to one of their own who happens to be sympathetic to amnesty, Marco Rubio.

Problems in today’s US immigration policy 

In fairness to Paul, he’s not all lost, in that he argues that the path to a green card and eventual citizenship for illegals currently in the country has to be contingent upon improvements in border security. The problem is the inevitable wrangling in the legislature as to what constitutes a secure border. My own vision of an ideal border policy involves bringing home the 10,000 troops currently stationed in Italy (Italy, for crying out loud!), the more than 50,000 troops in Germany, 36,000 in Japan, 28,000 in Korea, and stringing them along the southern border. John Derbyshire, a greater math whiz than I, says that on a three-shift basis this would equate to about one soldier per 50 yards of border, perfectly adequate for deterring intruders.

Alas, this is not going to happen.

And what about assimilating those that are already here? This is usually considered the long-term measure of success in immigration policy. We skeptics are often asked why the current wave of Latino immigration is different from earlier waves of Irish, Italian, or Jewish immigration. The process of Americanization in these cases was indeed a painful one, but ultimately very successful. Irish Americans proved capable of developing a particularly visceral patriotism (case in point: Joe McCarthy), and a number of Irish upstarts proved capable of being more WASP-y than the WASPs themselves (case in point: Buckley). American Jews, perhaps a little too eager to assimilate, ended up perpetrating a self-inflicted cultural holocaust. “God Bless America“? That was Irving Berlin. Christmas songs? The best ones were written by Jews.

The problem nowadays is that the America that placed enormous emphasis on assimilating immigrants no longer exists. As Friedrich Hayek says in the Constitution of Liberty: “That the United States would not have become such an effective ‘melting pot’ and would probably have faced extremely difficult problems if it had not been for a deliberate policy of ‘Americanization’ through the public school system seems fairly certain”. Hayek’s view is being tested today in the United States and he is being proved right.

Its helpful, at times, to think of Americanness as a religion. Lincoln said that when an immigrant feels that the Declaration of Independence “is the father of all moral principle in them”, then “they have a right to claim it is as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration”. This American model may very well be inspired by the Bible, where Ruth the Moabite woman tells her Israelite mother-in-law: “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried”.

Two trends combine to make this whole process more difficult. The first has to do with technology and increasingly lower travel costs. These enable border-hoppers to maintain contact and ties with the old country to a far greater extent than immigrants from the Elllis Island era. Its much more difficult for Hispanic immigrants to become deeply rooted in America.  Almost 80% watch Spanish-language television, half of them as their main source of TV. Most interestingly, more than half of Dominicans and Mexicans who died in New York City were buried in their countries of origin in the year 1996 (so much for Ruth’s approach).

The second trend harks back to Hayek’s point above. A cultural and political shift has occurred in the United States, and other countries, that recoils at the idea that immigrants need to be brought into harmony with the existing culture. It is a combination of a lack of national self-confidence and a pathetic non-judgmentalism. This non-judgmentalism primarily affects the elite class, a class that once saw themselves as bearing a special responsibility for the well-being of America, but is now caught up in the ideals of multiculturalism. No longer can political leaders talk like Alexander Hamilton, when he said that the success of the American republic requires “the preservation of a national spirit and national character”. No longer can a politician talk to a potential immigrant in the manner of John Quincy Adams, who told a German contemplating immigrating that immigrants “must cast off the European skin, never to resume it. They must look forward to their posterity rather than backward to their ancestors”. Such attitudes, which guided the policy of the Ford Motor Company in the absorption classes they ran for immigrant workers, would now be deemed insensitive or racist.

Not surprisingly, surveys show there is an enormous gulf between the opinions of the economic and cultural elite – including executives of Fortune 1000 companies, heads of large trade unions, newspaper editors and TV news directors – and the average American. 70 percent of the public regard reducing illegal immigration as a “very important” policy goal, compared with 22 percent of the aforementioned elite. 55 percent of the public want legal immigration to be reduced, compared t only 18 percent of the elite.

Once, the approach of American schools was to accept that a Mexican could maintain pride in his former nation’s culture – expressed in music, art, cuisine, and religion – but they encouraged the political, economic, and social values of that country be quickly abandoned. Given the Pew Research findings on Latino political values mentioned above, this was wise.

Today’s schools actually aim to de-Americanize children and actively promote minority identity politics and culture. Bizarrely, surveys carried out by the sociologists Alejandro Portes and Ruben Rumbaut in Florida have found that children of immigrants are less likely to identify as American after leaving school than when they came in. The most dramatic change was among Cubans. One-third of a particular group surveyed simply referred to themselves as ‘American’ at the beginning of high-school. By the end of high school, only two percent did, the rest preferring to identify as ‘Cuban’ or ‘Cuban-American’.

The Existential Threat 

It may not be politically correct to say this, but this trend is most worrying when we are talking about the importation of millions of Mexicans into US territory previously won from Mexico. No immigrant group in U.S. history could potentially assert a historical claim to U.S. territory. Mexicans can and do make this claim. A 2002 Zogby poll found that 58 percent of Mexicans agree with the statement, “The territory of the United States’ southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico”. 28 percent disagreed, while another 14 percent said they weren’t sure. Charles Truxillo, a professor of Chicano Studies at the University of New Mexico, said, “I may not live to see the Hispanic homeland, but by the end of the century my students’ kids will live in it, sovereign and free”. That’s what happens in a country where you have professors of ‘Chicano Studies’.

Occasionally, I’ve met folks in the US military, particularly those with roots in the Southwest, worried about about the region becoming America’s Kosovo. Yet it seems this kind of sensible strategic thinking cannot be discussed. Were not even meant to think about it. When Obama and Romney engaged in foreign policy debates last year, there were over 30 mentions each of Israel and Iran in a single session. Of Mexico, whose problems are America’s problems (look at the kind of carnage that happens around the border linked to the drug trade), there was nothing. At the same time, friends of Israel in the United States will unequivocally stand by the right of the Israeli people to retain a Jewish majority in their state, and reject the so-called right of return by millions of self-styled refugees.

Nobody cares that whites are no longer a majority in California. Nobody cares that Texas will become a swing state in a very short time. Nobody cares that Bill Clinton triumphantly claimed at Portland State University in 1998 that there would be no majority race in the United States in fifty years time, to the cheers of students and faculty. This should have been classed as a declaration of civil war, but nobody cares – yet.

Balkanisation may seem like a remote possibility now. But anything can happen in a time of economic tumult. The worst here is certainly yet to come. Just take a look at America’s unfunded liabilities.

Going Forward

With all the focus Rand Paul got at CPAC, I thought I’d highlight the brilliant points of Ann Coulter on amnesty (from 11:40 on this clip). She says the issue is now her first priority, for good reason.

If amnesty goes ahead, all of America becomes California and no Republican will ever win a national election. Libertarians would be shooting themselves in the foot, too. Get real, free-marketeers: these people will never vote for you.

About 80% of immigrants are from the Third World. In the 1890’s, 97 percent of immigrants came from Europe. In the meantime, its difficult for a European, far less likely to slip into dependency, to get US citizenship. The traitor Ted Kennedy designed this system and abolished the National Origins Formula in 1965, almost certainly with the aim of securing votes for Democrats. Since 1965, US immigration policy has been designed to attract the worst sort of immigrant. That policy places considerations like family reunification ahead of America’s economic, cultural, and even security interests.

I like Coulter’s approach. While I don’t see myself being a single-issue activist until 2016, we must insist that the amnesty and border issues are seriously addressed by all candidates in a principled,  conservative way. That means freed from the influence of political correctness, the most un-conservative and powerful Hispanic immigration lobby, or flawed notions about attracting Hispanic voters. Rand Paul is a sensible person, and I am sure he can be made compromise on the matter, whatever his natural inclinations.

After all, if Rand Paul is going to save America, there needs to be an America to save.

Libertarians and Marriage

I came across an interesting piece on the Backbencher arguing that libertarians should care about marriage in the same way social conservatives do. The thrust of it is that marriage is the best environment in which to raise children. The arguments here are familiar ones: marriage provides a more structured upbringing for the children, children from divorced families are nine times more likely to commit crimes, while the welfare state is encouraging family breakdown.

This I am in agreement with. I’ve since gotten into an interesting discussion on the matter over on Facebook. I find it funny that libertarians can talk endlessly about the nature of children’s rights or whether a child should be permitted to run away from home, but tend to balk at the idea of promoting the marvelous institution of marriage.  Sometimes, libertarians will say correlation does no imply causation in regards to the benefits married families enjoy. This is reasonable enough, though I believe the statistics bear out the pro-marriage argument. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Far too often, I believe, libertarians use the correlation-causation fallacy response or completely refuse to engage with the issue because they have serious (and in my opinion, needless) hang-ups about promoting marriage. This makes sense when one moots the possibility of using the apparatus of the state in the endeavor.  Scratch them enough, however, and you will often find an outright hostility to even endorsing marriage on a personal level. I contend that this is non-judgmentalism to the point of insanity and wider social detriment.

Benjamin Rush, a signatory of the Declaration of Independence, said that without virtue there can be no liberty. Everywhere in the writings of America’s Founding Fathers we see that they believed the success of the American project depended on the goods of marriage, honesty, industriousness, and religiosity. Today, virtue and social capital, the very things that the Founding Founders and observers like Alexis de Tocqueville said made democracy in America work, are being utterly destroyed. The great Charles Murray has brilliantly described this phenomenon among the white lower classes in ‘Coming Apart‘. I do not believe it is enough to merely retrench the welfare state while society itself is ill. There are certain norms and behaviors that are better than others in every meaningful sense, and libertarians should be doing more to promote them.

Now, I don’t want to delve heavily into the statistical benefits of being married, because I blog for recreational purposes and like hell am I going to have footnotes and graphs all over this thing. However, some specific examples are interesting to consider.

Marriage And Men: The Stats Are Sound

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the character of Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods to challenge Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, who is oppressing his people. Enkidu is covered in hair and lives among the animals. Trappers tell Gilgamesh the man/beast is ruining their livelihoods by uprooting their traps. Gilgamesh arranges for Shamhat, a temple prostitute, to seduce Enkidu by a watering-hole. They make love for six days and seven nights, until the beasts, who once saw Enkidu as their own, flee from him. Shamhat takes Enkidu to the city of Uruk, and he becomes  part of the civilized world.

It may sound quaint to suggest marriage tames men, but there is much truth truth in the manner in which Enkidu came to be civilized. On social issues, libertarians too often make the same mistakes as the leftists, in that they believe it is important to respect everybody else’s way of doing things and shun uncomfortable discussions on gender roles.

The left-leaning NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof writes something I believe applies well to libertarians:

Liberals sometimes feel that it is narrow-minded to favor traditional marriage. Over time, my reporting on poverty has led me to disagree: Solid marriages have a huge beneficial impact on the lives of the poor (more so than in the lives of the middle class, who have more cushion when things go wrong).

One study of low-income delinquent young men in Boston found that one of the factors that had the greatest impact in turning them away from crime was marrying women they cared about. As Steven Pinker notes in his recent book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature”: “The idea that young men are civilized by women and marriage may seem as corny as Kansas in August, but it has become a commonplace of modern criminology.”

The 1980’s seemed to have been a good time for studies of the effects of marriage on men. In 1981, the economist Gary Becker published his Treatise on the Family, which applies economic theory to household dynamics and emphasized the greater role specialization that occurs with marriage. In 1986, George Gilder significantly updated his book Sexual Suicide, which says the responsibilities of marriage lead young men to become more industrious, focused, and settled. Gilder was fiercely attacked and faced the usual allegations of sexism, not so much for the substance of his argument, but because of his strong emphasis that men and women are different (emotionally and intellectually, as well as physically). A lot of people call Gilder a nut. I think there’s some substance in that charge, but he’s a damn lovable nut.

Admittedly, this ‘taming’ of the young man works best in a society where options for sex outside marriage are very limited, thus giving men an incentive to marry, and marry early. However, even today, with such easy access to premarital sex and the option of cohabitation, marriage behooves the men who enter it in regards to productivity and income. The “marriage premium” was another element in favor of marriage initially identified by economists in the late-1980’s. It means married men make ten to twenty percent more money than their unmarried counterparts. While men with high earnings are more likely to attract a partner in the first place, the phenomenon has been shown to remain even after controlling for every possible socioeconomic and demographic factor. Two academics even used the example shotgun weddings as a way of diminishing the selection factor. The premium always occurs after the wedding, and I believe this is best explained by the analysis of Gary Becker and George Gilder.

Many libertarians claim the arrangement of cohabitation is superior to marriage as it appears to allow for greater choice and flexibility. I find this argument quite weak, given that marriage is voluntary, and the unfortunate but necessary mechanisms of divorce and annulment do exist. Chesterton’s quip “to admire mere choice is to refuse to choose” might well apply to libertarians here. The marriage premium, interestingly, does not reach cohabiting couples. Worse still, the children of cohabiting parents fare about the same as those raised by single mothers (according to the 2004 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development studies of Stacey Aronson and Aletha Huston, and Susan Brown’s 2004 study of the National Survey of American Families). The ‘good’ news, according to Charles Murray, is that other demographic variables do attenuate the differences somewhat, but not fully.

 So, How Can We Promote Marriage, Exactly? 

Firstly, lets emphasize once more why marriage is important. The evidence strongly indicates that the deterioration of communities is accelerated and protracted by the breakdown of marriage, given that married families, for one, form the backbone of civil associations and communities. A functioning neighborhood is characterized by happy marriages. Its the married parent who goes to school board meetings. I also recommend paying a visit to the men who volunteer to coach your local underage sports teams. Again, you will see its always the married ones.

All those benefits, and yet its hard to think of  a popular song that has extolled marriage as an ideal in recent years. Off the top of my head, only Peggy Lee’s The Folks Who Live On The Hill springs to mind, and that was 1957. Peggy herself never did very well in the marriage game, anyway.

I will now attempt to endear myself to libertarians again.

When it comes to how we promote marriage, I certainly would never entertain the idea that we can just get governments to do it through financial benefits or cultural campaigns. While the welfare state exists, I am open to tinkering with programs where they promote bad behavior. Unfortunately, mothers are often incentivized to live alone in council houses to keep their benefits rather than live with the father of her child. This is inhumane.

Some readers will be aware that I was a member of the Progressive Democrats in Ireland. The PDs once proposed some reforms to address the issue I just mentioned (bravely, or foolishly, during an election year). Such proposals went down like a lead balloon. When the Irish journalist Kevin Myers years later touted the benefits of those ideas, he was shouted down to an even greater extent than he normally is whenever he opens his mouth.  I am not optimistic about using the means of politics and lawmaking to change things. Nor do I believe such an approach is right in the first place.

Ultimately, it is up to us as individuals to promote the virtue of marriage and to be ourselves an example of virtuous living. We must as libertarians, not be tempted to be non-judgmental to the point of civilizational collapse. The sustaining of communities of morality and civility, communities that can survive social and economic breakdown, is a kind of anti-political politics that can be the most powerful force of all.

The government of the United States, for example, has failed to export democracy to the Muslim world in the last decade, even with the aid of trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of troops. Yet 100,000 Americans serve as overseas missionaries. Protestant denominations of American origin are the fastest growing religious communities in the world. Pentecostalism has expanded from a store-front church at the beginning of the last century to number 350-400,000,000 members. By some accounts, six million Muslims per year are becoming Christians. China’s Christian community, perhaps 10% of the country’s population, has largely grown out of house-churches run on an American evangelical model. Poland freed itself from Soviet rule after the resurgence of a Christian civil society. The same could easily happen elsewhere.

In the struggle for liberty, the family and civil society are fronts just as important as the political structure, because liberty cannot exist without the public goods that are strong families and strong communities.

Murray’s ‘Coming Apart’ indicates that marriage is still very strong among the new upper classes, standing stable at 83% in a town like Belmont, Massachusetts (home of Mitt Romney). In a lower-class white neighborhood like Fishtown, Philadelphia  however, marriage continues to slide. As of 2010, a minority of adults (48%) there were married. This is having disastrous implications for community life in Fishtown, along the lines of the problems described very well in Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone.

Yet non-judgementalism, Murray writes,

is one of the more baffling features of the new upper-class culture. The members of the new upper class are industrious to the point of obsession, but there are no derogatory labels for adults who are not industrious. The young women of the new upper class hardly ever have babies out of wedlock, but it is impermissible to use a derogatory label for non-marital births. You will probably raise a few eyebrows even if you use a derogatory label for criminals. When you get down to it, it is not acceptable in the new upper class to use derogatory labels for anyone, with three exceptions: people with differing political views, fundamentalist Christians, and rural working-class whites.

According to the Pew Research Center, libertarians tend to be well-educated and relatively affluent white males. I suspect most are going to live more like married folks in Belmont than Fishtown. So why not preach what we practice?

Anti-Semitism in Irish Schools: Is Trócaire Responsible?

Some of you have already heard of the Israeli columnist Sarah Honig’s ill-fated trip to the little town of Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry. In the course of her visit, she was solicited by children from a local secondary school raising funds to ‘Free Palestine’. When she questioned who they were freeing Palestine from, the children replied with “the Jews” and then explained to her that “Jews are evil” and “crucified our Lord”. Honig recounted what she heard to a nearby teacher organizing the affair, who nodded in agreement with the words of the children.

Having gone to a school in Ireland where one teacher (of Christian Doctrine, God help us) referred to Arial Sharon as a “monster” and others expressed fierce support for Palestinian national aspirations, the attitude on display in Kerry is not surprising.

Yet I must say it upsets me to no end that Honig had this experience in the South of Kerry, in a town not far from Sneem. In Sneem the founding Patron of the Ireland-Israel Friendship League is interred; the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and later 5th President of Ireland, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh. His grave was visited in 1978 by his good friend, the 6th President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, who was born in Belfast to the Chief Rabbi of Ireland. Herzog also unveiled a monument to Ó Dálaigh in Sneem Culture Park in 1985.

The pernicious influence of Trócaire may be at work here. Officially the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, Trócaire has direct access to Ireland’s Catholic schools, and it has in recent years gotten heavily behind causes like anti-Zionism, gender equality, and climate change. I have previously written about the absurdity of a former National Coordinator of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign being the Israel/Palestine Officer at Trócaire. Last October, Trócaire earned the scorn of the very sound Catholic philosopher, Mark Dooley, for their trendy left-wing ideological battles. A week ago the Dublin Labour Councillor Richard Humphreys criticized Trócaire’s highly biased education packs on the Middle East that they planned for distribution in schools.

The school in question would appear to be Coláiste na Sceilge secondary school, Cahirciveen.

Email them here:

Here are the email addresses for all local TDs:


Some of the children in question, Cahirciveen

Women in Combat


The Amazons, the mythical race of female warriors who lived on the fringes of civilization,  were said to cut off their right breasts to enable them to effectively throw javelins and use a bow. In some accounts, they could not have sex, or restricted intercourse to one encounter per year. It is telling that to be warriors, the Amazons had to give up all marks of femininity and even the organs identifying them as women.

There is truth in the myth of the Amazons. Captain Katie Petronio of the Marine Corps recently told CNN that the missions she endured over seven months in Iraq caused her to stop producing estrogen, rendering her infertile. She also admitted to only doing a fraction of what her male colleagues did.

One should be very afraid of the prospect of gender ‘equality’ in combat. What do feminists mean by it? Forty percent of female soldiers in the British army got pregnant within months of arriving in Iraq. This earned them an immediate trip home. Female British Military Police unable to get pregnant simply refused to go on foot-patrol because it was “too dangerous”. Male MPs had to do double-patrols. The Daily Star got these figures from the Ministry of Defense after a Freedom of Information request. I cannot recall the BBC ever reporting them. I have never seen a debate in Parliament on the subject. The Official Line is that Girls Can Do Anything. The madness goes beyond Britain. According to Steve Sailer (writing in 1997), for every year a coed warship is at sea “the Navy has to airlift out 16% of the female sailors as their pregnancies become advanced”.

The Israeli Example, The Nature of War, and Why The Israeli Example Does Not Apply

Somebody will inevitably bring up all those pretty girls in the Israel Defense Forces. I contend that Israel is not necessarily a success in this regard, and certainly not an example for America or any other country to emulate. I also believe that women who meet the criteria for the armed forces should still be excluded from the military as much as possible, even if the criteria haven’t been lowered to facilitate greater gender integration.

For a start, one expects that forcibly integrating combat units would have the same effect as forcibly integrating sports, given the sometimes astounding physical requisites of both endeavors. Most world-class female athletes cannot compete against world-class male athletes. In fact, the top women in most fields of sport would not even be able to compete against the top male high school equivalents. So, sensibly, we don’t do mixed basketball games.

Disparities in physical abilities are a clear indication that opening up combat units to women will not double the talent pool, as some have absurdly argued. Most women are unable to carry the standard gear a US soldier is required to schlep around at all times. Factors like this mean that the only way gender integration would work is if female combat units were to only take on other female combat units, as we do in sport. This arrangement may be negotiated, but one cannot expect armies to adhere to this.  The massing of the troops on weak points is standard practice. In the words of Field Mar­shal Paul von Hindenburg, “an operation without Schw­er­punkt is like a man without character”. Some civilized nations may indeed be persuaded to sign up to this, but the likes of the Taliban certainly wont.

But lets go beyond physical differences and presume that a military can easily have women in combat.

Martin Van Creveld, in my opinion the greatest military historian and theorist of our time, largely dismisses the argument that women are physically incapable of fighting alongside men. This I do not quite agree with, but I’ll leave my objections aside for the moment. In his Transformation of War, he provides the example of the highly effective Palmach, the elite all-volunteer strike force of the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish militia that later formed the core of the IDF. The Palmach had a higher rate of female participation and sexual integration than any military force before or since. Women were particularly valued for intelligence gathering, arms smuggling, and transmitting messages. There were plenty of women throughout the Haganah, too. Famous ‘sexpert’ Dr. Ruth Westheimer was a sniper (where her diminutive height of 4 ft 7 in proved advantageous). However, as the British left and the Arabs armies massed, the IDF was officially established and a near complete winnowing out of women began. After the war, Israeli women were confined to being secretaries, telephone operators, and the like, though they were still subject to the draft.

Now, war has throughout history been the most important male preserve. The association between war and manliness is so strong that in some languages the word for “man” and “warrior” is the same. One can go farther and say that in most societies, things are considered important to the extent that they are the preserve of men, though this is perhaps changing in certain places. Teaching and secretarial work, when dominated by men, enjoyed a far higher status than they do today. Female penetration of a field beyond a critical point will cause men to desert. This applies to war.

So what made the Palmach work?

It was all in the context. The Palmach were a small band of semi-underground insurgents facing the mighty British Empire as well as the Arab foe. With such a disparity in power, numbers, and equipment, women can be allowed to participate without undermining the significance of what the men are doing. Female participation can be rife in other insurgencies, including that of the Palestinians. In Ireland, examples can be found in women like Countess Markievicz.

Women largely vanished from important roles in the IDF for decades, training with weapons discarded by the men or those that were extremely plentiful. The reason why women continued to be drafted and receive weapons training at all is closely related to why they were welcomed by the pre-state Zionist militias. Israel was outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded by foes. The Soviet Union was around to support its enemies. Israel’s wars have been seen as wars for survival, close to home, and certainly not optional adventures or crusades thousands of miles away. Even today, with peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, Israel fears failure in a way that the surrounding Arab nations don’t. Few countries face threats of an existential nature like Israel, and certainly not the United States. However, even though its women get trained in the use of arms, very few females serve in Israel’s combat units.

In Israel, a post-1973 expansion of the army strained available manpower and created a demand for skilled operators. Women were found to make good technicians, communicators  and weapons instructors. As a result, the presence of women was increased noticeably at all ranks. On the whole the job they have done has been excellent, though women still tend to get assigned the worst positions. However, there has also been an enormous social cost to this. Jobs got considered undesirable by men precisely because they began to be done by women. Thus, these roles are not seen as a display or test of manliness, a fundamental part of the traditional culture of war, in what is a very macho culture in the first place. More women at all ranks has in fact made it tougher to attract first-class manpower.

As a side-note, it must be said that Israeli women, from the Palmach and beyond, have always performed admirably in certain crucial capacities like Intelligence. Since the time of Rahab, and Judith’s beheading of Holofernes, women do have some innate advantages in this field that men will find difficult or impossible to acquire.

Its a Symptom

That the US military is now prepared to take women into combat infantry positions indicates that its role as an actual fighting force is coming to an end. It is a symptom of the demise of the style of war that arose after the state asserted its monopoly over conflict at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, military theorists have pointed out the fact that we are living through the greatest transformation of the nature of war since 1648.

State-run armies are being made obsolete by nuclear weapons keeping the peace on the one hand, and low-intensity conflicts featuring non-state actors on the other. Against non-state opponents, the US military has lost in Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The wars that matter are now fought by gangs, tribes, and militias. They fight for pride, for God, for women, for money. Essentially, the old pre-state causes.

What can a state do with a useless army? Turning it into an equal opportunities jobs program is one option.

The student pro-life movement begins

How great it was to attend the London Launch of the Alliance of Pro-Life Students last night. Yes, active pro-life students in the UK actually exist. Founded only last February, APS has generated a fantastic amount of support and enthusiasm. That was evident at the swellegant, elegant cocktail party at the Thistle Hotel in Marble Arch yesterday.

A bunch of shrill idiots set up what they called a Posh-Party-Picket to greet us outside the front entrance. They were noisy in the extreme, but none managed to infiltrate and disrupt the soirée, which has apparently happened at APS launches elsewhere. I took the protest as good news. It shows APS is being taken seriously.

Lord David Alton gave a speech that could only described as inspiring, copiously quoting Chesterton and dropping in a little Talmud and old Irish wisdom for good measure. He made special mention of the travesty of gender-selective abortions, which has left India and China deprived of hundreds of millions of females, and western feminists in a state of remarkable indifference. Its hard to believe this man was once a Lib Dem.

The lovely Eve Farren, the South African born recent graduate who runs APS, spoke eloquently about her own journey to the pro-life cause and the difficulties faced for activists in this area. APS has been subject to terrible harassment from campus feminists and the usual suspects. Its ranged from disruption of their outreach activities to motions to make various universities officially pro-choice. How strange it is that so many campus women’s organisations care far more about promoting abortion than they do about lobbying for facilities to help students who are pregnant, or already have children. Its a sad truth that its easier for a young lady on a London campus to find an abortion than a creche.

Farren also stressed that APS is dedicated to working with reasonable feminists and pro-life groups across the religious spectrum. They even work with a group called Pagans for Life.

You couldn’t meet a nicer group of people than the folks at this gathering. They are also dedicated and intelligent. No wonder some people are so scared. I foresee a bright future for APS.

A Word On David Norris’s Book

I didn’t want to bring this up at first, because I thought all copies of A Kick Against The Pricks would end up pulped or remaindered by Christmas. Norris’s self-aggrandizing behavior, bitterness, and wishful thinking in relation to the sexuality of certain historical figures should have accomplished that better than any critic. I also simply wanted to leave the whole Presidential brouhaha of 2011 behind me. Yes, I am proud of playing a part in what many Irish people have told me was the most entertaining political spectacle ever seen in the country, though I may disagree on that point. That really hit home again when I visited Cork over the Christmas period. The final outcome may not have been ideal. Certainly, Gallagher was robbed of a victory only because Higgins was the media’s next favorite candidate. The effort to do good all seemed so futile.

Now, I am more convinced the country had a lucky escape.

One thing I respected Mr. Norris for at the height of the controversy was his condemnation of the nasty conspiracy theories that were floating about. He did this immediately after he made his exit on a Today FM interview, something which I told the people there I was most satisfied with. I made sure to mention to all journalists who asked that I thought he acted like a gentleman and I respected him for it. This was rarely reported of course, as the media would prefer a bitter conflict on matters like this. Norris made it clear he did not believe in the nonsense when he announced his re-entry to Ryan Tubridy (who referred to ‘dark forces’ rumored to be at work).

So, what a shame it was to open page 313 of A Kick Against The Pricks and see Norris blaming the whole affair on a conspiracy operating out of the Israeli embassy in Dublin. I don’t want to give this the dignity of a response, only to say that Norris provides no evidence for this point whatsoever.

My remaining respect for David Norris is gone entirely. He truly is a disgraceful tramp.

The SWP and the disturbing “Disputes Committee”.

So, it seems the Socialist Workers Party doesn’t believe in the bourgeois British justice system, and has decided to take matters into its own hands.

Just a few days ago, transcripts of an SWP conference were leaked on the internet.  They reveal that a certain leading member of the party, known as ‘Comrade Delta’, was accused of rape by a female colleague. Rather than call the police, the SWP referred the matter to a ‘dispute committee’, and freely admitted that several of Comrade Delta’s friends would be on the panel.

You may be surprised to hear that Comrade Delta was found innocent.

Now, this raises some interesting questions from the libertarian standpoint. I do believe there is room for competing systems of arbitration and justice, but I can’t help getting a feeling of revulsion in this case. Don’t think that’s just me out to get the socialists. The Conservative Party or some other group secretly handling criminal matters internally, for the good of the organisation or ideological movement, would be equally off-putting. It becomes truly disgusting when a movement sees it as alright for the accused to be judged by a group of his own friends.

Besides, how would they have punished Comrade Delta if he had been found guilty? Does anybody believe mere expulsion from his party amounts to justice?

The SWP should be subject to a police investigation, though I’m still inclined to believe that consenting adults are entitled to resolve their problems this way. What bothers me is the SWP’s secrecy. It all leaves too much room for abuse. Even in an institution composed of many good and decent people, there is a tendency to suppress potentially damning facts. I”ve written about this before.

I’d be genuinely be interested in the SWP’s ideological reasoning here.  Why keep such an important aspect of the SWP a secret? If the SWP were more transparent about this and stressed that everybody went through the system voluntarily, I might have some respect for their position. Why can’t they just say that this is what the SWP offers, and invite people to come on board if they wish? Maybe many more would be attracted to their unique courts system.

Now, there are ominous parallels with cults that have secret teachings, such as Scientology.

And any attacks the atheistic SWP have made against the Catholic Church’s internal investigations procedures when it comes to abuse look very, very hollow indeed.

Does Irish Aid fund IPSC lectures?

Irish Aid is Ireland’s official overseas development programme, part of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Since  December 6th last year the Irish Aid center (a government office) has been hosting various anti-Israel lectures, set to continue until February. Most of these lectures are given by members of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Trócaire. This includes Garry Walsh, Israel/Palestine Officer at Trócaire, who is also the former National Coordinator of the IPSC. Not one speaker could be described as friendly to Israel. Indeed, some of the lectures would seem to promote its destruction.

The Irish Aid webpage links directly to this Facebook page promoting the events. What is the extent of Irish Aid’s cooperation here? Are they just letting them use the venue? Irish Aid has given €116 million to the highly compromised charity Trócaire between 2007 and 2011. What else are they doing?