29 thoughts on “Responses from visitors?”

  1. anti-feminism
    I was severely dissappointed when I read your critique of feminism. It seems to me that you have not met any of the truely remarkable females that I have. It would be a real shame if the ideas of these women are denied to the world because they have been forced into a life as a homemaker when they would be better suited to the pulic sphere. To me feminism is not about breaking down the important institution of the family, but about giving both women and men the right to choose how they live their lives. Surely a man should have as much right to choose to stay at home with his children as a women should have to pursue a career. I am a strong believer in toleration and diversity as that is how we learn the most about ourselves. I think that if you take an unsympathetic stance to feminists then you deny all the wonderful contributions that women have made to the world. Also it is worth mentioning that women make up 50% of the labour force and confining them all to a life at home would clearly not be beneficial to the economy or society. I believe that choice is a right that should be available to all human beings without fear of persecution.

    • My guess is — Rebecca aced her Sociology and Poly-Sci finals?
      “It would be a real shame if the ideas of these women are denied to the world because they have been forced into a life as a homemaker […]” (—Rebecca)

      Problem is, Rebecca, women are being forced out of a life as a homemaker—by guess who … You’re right!: the women’s libbers.

      “I am a strong believer in toleration and diversity as that is how we learn the most about ourselves.”

      You’ve certainly spat out the line your college teachers taught you all right, Rebecca, but “Toleration” and “diversity” as they are now conceived and forced on us by the establishment are naught but a cover for, respectively: 1) the official elevation of degenerateness over normalness in society with the aim of destroying whatever about it is traditional, and 2) stealth genocide of certain targeted races and ethnicities.

      “I think that if you take an unsympathetic stance to feminists then you deny all the wonderful contributions that women have made to the world.”

      Women’s lib denies all contributions women have made to the world that sprang from their femininity.

      “Also it is worth mentioning that women make up 50% of the labour force and confining them all to a life at home […]”

      Women’s lib confines them to a life away from home. Parents have responsibilities toward home and hearth. Women are no exception.

      “I believe that choice is a right that should be available to all human beings without fear of persecution.”

      Agreed: “choice” before conception is certainly a right that should be available to all human beings without fear of persecution. Once conception occurs though, sweetie, it’s life, not “choice”—sorry, but “choice” is over at that point, hun: no longer enters the picture. You must’ve seen the bumper sticker: “Choice before conception. Life after.”

      Long live Flanders!

      • What makes you suppose that
        What makes you suppose that women’s liberation movements have “forced” women out of life as a homemaker? I would probably rather die than stay at home all day long twidlling my thumbs waiting for the man of the house- my breadwinner- to come home. I’ve a mind of my own, interests of my own, and I expect to continue those on even after my children are born. I do believe that men were born with hands and feet as well, and look! How glorious! They are just as capable of raising children as women are. In fact, I believe that a more active role should be played by fathers. I believe equality is essential. Also, leave the condescending pet names out of the conversation. If you are willing to settle for a woman with no independent thoughts of her own, then fine (assuming she wants to be with you as well). I just believe that the choice is there. I’m sorry, but I do believe that the evolution’s main purpose is to offer diversity and variability amongst the species in order for survival. By this degree, the monotony of a patriarchal society can only lead to stagnation, if not destruction. By involving both men and women to partake in society’s “public” sphere, greater advancement can only ensue due to the vastly expanded breadth of knowledge, experience, perception, and power in general. It only makes sense. Now, if you concede to acknowledge anything of the sort that women are not as capable in this “public” sphere, I would have to greatly disagree. As far as understanding goes, I would have to assume, based on my experience as a college student (engineering/math) there is very little difference between the capabilities of men and women. Now, I am not saying that some women would like to stay home and care for their children, and I commend them for it. To each their own. However, I am not going to follow suit. As far as the bumper sticker “Choice before conception. Life After.’ What a lovely display of the fear evoked in some men (and women) by this spectre of feminism and the following dismemberment of the family. If anything, it will only strengthen familial bonds, keeping both men and women “responsible for home AND hearth,” not just one or the other.

        • Re: “the monotony of a
          Re: “the monotony of a patriarchal society can only lead to stagnation, if not destruction

          Some feminists really do ‘step in it’, don’t they!

          Mysterious Stranger quoted above may like to educate herself about the demographic winter facing the West, which is brilliantly illustrated by Mark Steyn’s America Alone, the demographic trends among liberal and traditionalist communities and what that says about the role of gender liberalism as a cause of the Demographic Winter (see Philip Longman The Return of Patriarchy), and also a debate on View from the Right about the effect of expanding the franchise to females: ‘How Society Defends Itself; and Is Women’s Political Equality a Good Thing’.

          The evidence that the liberalised gender-roles have contributed magnificently to Western collaps is overwhelming. As a traditionalist Catholic, I want to love my women, not ‘compete’ against them in the ‘market place.’

          • How very true

            How very true you are.

            We could also cast our thoughts on another civilisation which is masculine through-and-through, and which seems to be far more culturally stronger even in the face of our “egalitarian” and technologically stronger West.

            It is the masculine principle in all societies that makes them virile and healthy. The female principle domesticates a society. There really is no exception to this.

          • Long-winded response (sorry)
            I do still read this post occasionally, though I don’t really care all that much anymore. Anyways, I am not a femenist, I just believe that women should have the choice in what they would like to do, as opposed to being looked down upon because they choose not to stay at home to care for their children. I do not look down upon mothers who do so, but it is silly to say that a woman’s place is in the home. Speaking only for myself, I think I would make a greater impact accomplishing tasks (regardless of how pointless and mundane), than cleaning up my house. My mother worked full-time, and she was/is a wonderful mother. I am only 22, so she still has a great impact on my life. Perhaps because I do not have children, my opinion is not as impactful as some others, but I know that most likely my personality will not change much as I age. I enjoy solving problems, going to school, and having hobbies that I would like to pursue further. I find it condescending when someone tells me that “I guess you can use your engineering degree/problem solving skills when you have children (something an older woman told me while I was at school).” I did not get over $100,000 of education because I wanted to clean the house all day. Perhaps I will stay home, once I have children, until they reach school age, but if I don’t, I don’t want to be regarded as a terrible mother. Just the same, if my husband decides that he would like to stay home and take care of the kids, then that is fine by me. I just like the idea of options. Perhaps my personality is different than that of the women that you know…but I would make a terrible “domestic engineer.” I would love to educate my children from home, but as far as cooking and cleaning? My husband would probably want a divorce…it is not something that I enjoy, and no matter how much I try, I just can’t seem to want to do it. Of course, if I have to, I will, but doing it all the time would eventually just kill me inside. It does not come down to a discussion of gender roles, in comes down to what a person wants to do and where their efforts are most effectively placed. I just happen to be a girl who likes to do things outside the domestic sphere.

            I probably have yet to sway your opinion, which is fine, but I am a daughter of somebody, and if my dad told me that my efforts were fruitless, because I am someday going to be a mother, and therefore have to stay at home, I would be crushed. My endless nights of staying up all night to finish a homework assignment or a lab report all meant nothing, because I will never use it again. What is the point of school, if what your life entails is staying home and cleaning? I work hard to please my parents, especially my dad since I was around 5. Making him proud by getting a good education, doing well in school, and getting a good job, or getting proficient in mechanical engineering by getting more than a bachelor’s is important to me. Though your thoughts have good intentions, they can still have a negative impact on those around you. That is honestly all that bothers me when I read something like this column. Perhaps the goal of your efforts is to keep woman from going to school, working, voting, or achieving any goals outside the home, and if it is, then you and I are on a completely different realm anyway, and it is pointless to argue, but if your goal is really to provide the best environment for your children to grow up in, then maybe you should just try to encourage them. It seems to be the best thing…

          • Typical lefty-feminist ephemeral outburst.
            Re: “Perhaps because I do not have children, my opinion is not as impactful [sic] as some others, but I know that most likely my personality will not change much as I age […] It does not come down to a discussion of gender roles, in comes down to what a person wants to do and where their efforts are most effectively placed.

            Really? Have a read of this: Mark Richardson, ‘When Feminists Become Mothers,’ OzConservative, 13 December 2007.

            Re: “Perhaps the goal of your efforts is to keep woman from going to school, working, voting, or achieving any goals outside the home […]”

            This is a typical lefty-feminist ephemeral outburst. Whenever a traditionalist questions modernist decadence, it means he wants to turn society into the Taliban. What utter nonsense.

          • Firstly, I do not consider
            Firstly, I do not consider myself to be a “lefty feminist,” I consider myself conservative, although, I think I would rather consider myself neutral based on the things I have heard from some of you. Secondly, I do not read strictly conservative books, much like the ones each of you have recommended (and probably read over any other book out there). I am an educated young woman who has a mind of her own. Simply put, I don’t, nor will I ever agree that because I want to work, or any other woman chooses to work whilst raising children is leading to the decadence of modern society. I know plenty of women that work, and their children are not monsters. They are raised with good morals, much like I am sure your children are, they get good grades, and make good decisions. To scoff at the efforts at these women, some of whom have been forced into the situation by circumstance, is utterly disrespectful, no matter her reasons for entering the work force. If someone decides that being forced into working by circumstance is a perfectly good reason to work, then what kinds of jobs will be available to her? Secretarial positions? Nurses? Low-paying jobs that are unchallenging, but hey! they get you some money to support your family? Men, if your wife decided that she wanted to work in a certain field and that was all she had ever wanted to do, would you leave her? Or would you step in and support her decision by stepping down to care for the children? If not, why not? Financial reasons? Okay, so now, let’s say she will make more than you. Are you not just a good as a provider for your children as your wife? Perhaps one could argue that the mother is a better nurturer for very young children, but suppose your children are older than the age of 5 (school-age). Can you not provide help with homework, snacks after school, and clean up around the house if need be? Would you be willing to do that? If your answer is no, then why? Most likely the answer on this website will be because of tradition, but perhaps there are other reasons. If the answer is tradition, what makes the idea of a male provider so much more important, particularly if your wife will make MORE money than you, clearly identifying her as the most logical choice for providing for the family.

            My ideas are not “utter nonsense,” and just because I enjoy working and accomplishing tasks does not mean that I will make a terrible mother, or that my family is contributing to the decadence of society. It also does not mean that I will put a backseat to my family.

            While reading the article mentioned above, it still makes me laugh at how easily you all define someone as a feminist, if she decides that she wants to take a different route than what has traditionally occurred in the past. And, while reading the article and how feminist mothers lead to raise children that “choose to be as self destructive as possible,” or kids that drink, are promiscuous, and have eating disorders. What about absent fathers? Fathers that work so often, to provide for their families, that they neglect their kids emotionally. Maybe kids act out because their father is not there. Of course, these are speculations, however, so is everything that is mentioned in these articles/posts. So, to blame society’s modern faults on the fact that women are working AND raising kids is just another jump to conclusions that can be explained by a number of occurences, such as absent fathers, longer work weeks, longer school days, lack of authority figures, lack of forced military service, division of church and state, infiltration of church into state, Right-wing politics, left-wing politics, misunderstandings, and the list goes on and on. Choose any of those, and I am sure I can find some kind of article supporting how it is the reason for the changes we see in society today.

          • Disrespectful? No, Highly Commendable.
            Re: “Firstly, I do not consider myself to be a ‘lefty feminist,’ I consider myself conservative…

            I don’t care what you consider yourself to be, I care about what you are.

            Case in point: Nancy Pelosi considers herself to be Catholic; another case in point, Tony Blair has considered conversion to Catholicism. However, they are both about as Catholic as Luther IMHO.

            Mysterious Stranger, you are about as “conservative” as the British Tory Party today – so “conservative” it is that it has embraced “civil unions” and refuses to take any real position against the internationalist EU immigration agenda.

            Really, it’s about as simple as that; call yourself whatever you want, but if you think that traditionalists who oppose the bankruptcy of feminist doctrine are anti-woman, you fit well into the so-called “progressive” (i.e. regressive) camp.

            Our position is that there are certain social trends that have been agitated under a revolutionary banner, all of which have acted to cause disequilibrium within society. Feminism is but one of these trends, but because it effects the most vital mortar within society i.e. the relationship between men and women, it is one of the most destructive.

            I am an educated young woman who has a mind of her own.

            Sure… OK.

            You mention how some of the careerist women were forced into this by circumstance; Possibly. Though I find it difficult to image how a careerist who actively rejects motherhood, or postpones it so far into the twilight of her life that she ends up going mad upon realising that it’s too late now to have what every fibre of her body yearns for, has been “forced” into this… if she has, she has via the destructive doctrines of feminism that have been, and continue to be used as tools of indoctrination in schools and universities throughout the West – especially on girls, and these doctrines have been engineered by women, not men.

            Far from being “disrespectful” I find attacking this pathology highly commendable. But hey, maybe I’m just one of those evil conservatives… oh, I forgot, apparently, you’re a conservative too… it’s so confusing…

            Besides, I didn’t say your ideas were utter nonsense, I said that equating the traditionalist critique with Talibanesque excess was.

            Just to recap: you’re a lefty, face it.

          • see above
            I meant to come into the discussion at this point. Instead, my reply to all that has gone on here is above, at the top of the thread. Please go to it, esp you, mysterious stranger, if you care to see what I wrote.

        • Traditional sex roles and power
          I reckon she isn’t reading this any more so I’m talking to myself but ….

          My wife doesn’t sit around twiddling her thumbs waiting on me to come home. She spends her days educating and shaping our children. And here’s the real important truth: her job is literally much more important than mine is. She will have much more impact on the world than I will. Her power is an implicit power. It isn’t ego-feeding. But she loves our children more than she loves herself.

          The feminists usually say that we’re much better off not taking half the population out of the workforce. Think of all the extra talent you waste! But is this really a sound argument? How many people, male or female, really make much of a real difference, at the societal level, in their jobs? How many cure cancer or invent something world changing? Maybe we should encourage the 150+ IQ women to enter the workplace so as to not waste their talent. Fine. How many are in that category? How much of a difference does the gal in the cube across from me make? She pushes numbers around her computer and the company intranet. She opens and closes accounts!! I manipulate electrons in a computer and the final product is what? PowerPoint charts. Big deal. My wife is shaping 4 (and with God’s blessing, hopefully more) human beings. There’s your power! There’s your impact on the world to come! There’s your knowlege, experience and perception applied!

          Also, not to nitpick, but evolution can’t have a “main purpose.”

        • The monotony of a patriarchal society
          Ah, the terrible problem of monotony. Consider the following examples of monotony: No one commits adultery. No one dumps their spouse for another. No one commits felonies.

          How do you know that patriarchy is not an element that helps society be well-ordered and stable and survive for millennia without falling apart? Until you establish the insignificance or irrelevance of patriarchy in these major respects, you have no reason to think it is just some arbitrary preference from the past that we can decide we no longer prefer.

  2. family within the boundaries of management alone
    I have not read all the posts here, but it seems that Mysterious Stranger has in mind a very small family for herself. This is not unusual, so many people make things this way. A larger family would throw her back upon her biology, her role as a mother (in the perennial and traditional sense), and the need to make that man do something for the good of the family! A larger family would be better for her and for everyone else. I say this because she seems like a sensible person, even if she has not plumbed the horrid depths of feminism. She seems like the kind of person we need as a mother of a large family.

    The alternative is her trying to split the difference with a world that couldn’t give a fig for her biology, her progeny, her happiness, and her memory.

  3. Sexual Morality FAQ
    In the Sexual Morality FAQ there is a remark that appears to be intended rhetorically:

    The proof of the pudding is in the eating: Are individuals stronger now than in the past? Have relations between the sexes improved in the past 40 years? Is family life better? Are children better off?

    and it’s plain that the author thinks the answer to all these is obviously “no!” But in my experience the obvious is often false, so I’d like to see some evidence that individuals are weaker than they used to be, that relations between the sexes are worse, that family life is worse, that children are worse off… It might be helpful to start by defining stronger/weaker, better/worse in each question.

    Any takers?

    • It’s been 10 years or so
      It’s been 10 years or so since I wrote the FAQ so I don’t have statistics at my fingertips. If you’re interested in these issues the FAQ has a list of resources at the end that should be helpful. As I recall, Maggie Gallagher’s books and various articles in The Public Interest (now alas defunct and not freely available online) were particularly helpful as to the present state of affairs although you’ll see other useful things in the list as well.

      As to definitions, it’s easier to point out instances of what’s bad than define what’s good. To toss out some positive descriptions though I’d say that

      • Strong individuals are able to function well in the normal affairs of life (work, friendship, community, family life, and so on). They have a well-grounded and stable understanding of what’s good and bad, of their relations with others and other aspects of their situation, of what they owe others and what’s due them. As a result they are able to deal with others and with their own problems sensibly and realistically and with due regard to others.
      • Good relations between the sexes mostly mean they are able to form stable productive unions that create a setting in which they can make sense of their lives and give their kids a good place to grow up, meaning a setting in which they develop into strong adults who will also have good relations with the opposite sex and others.

      Other definitions? I don’t think there’s a special mystery about any of this, at least at the level of the issues the FAQ discusses. Malfunctions are usually pretty gross and in most cases it shouldn’t be all that controversial whether something has gone wrong. Every now and then though it probably does us good to try to set down definitions for basic evaluative terms like “good,” “bad,” “healthy,” “unhealthy,” “strong,” “weak,” “virtuous,” “vicious” etc.

  4. A question in re: to the Inclusiveness FAQ
    To the question “who would Jesus exclude?” you answer “who knows”. But it seems to me that Jesus is plain in asking “all” to come and follow him. And I’m not sure Christianity makes sense if we interpret him otherwise.

    Also, here’s a brain buster: if discrimination is good, and affirmative action is discriminatory, than affirmative action is good. Yes?

    Also, also, how can you stand living in Brooklyn?

    • Re-read what I say
      1. Jesus invited all to follow him. He also made distinctions among the apostles and between apostles and non-apostles. And he accepted the 10 commandments. So he thought people should distinguish parents from other people, their wives from other women, and owners from non-owners of a piece of property. So he thought distinctions among people were OK. To recognize and act on a distinction is to exclude.

      2. Not a brain buster. To say eradicating all discrimination is a bad idea is not to say that all discrimination is good.

      3. An odd question. I find it acceptable for Brooklyn Chinatown to be Brooklyn Chinatown. If I go into an Italian food store I think it’s OK to find Italian stuff there and not a cross-section of global cuisine. I would oppose laws requiring inclusiveness in such situations.

      • 1. The question is “who
        1. The question is “who would Jesus exclude”. Is making a distinction between a “husband” and a “wife”—i.e. using words—equivalent to “exclusion”? Exclusion as you argue for? Saying “he is a husband and she a wife” seems rather different than saying “she is a wife and therefore keep her away from me”.

        2. I was being facetious, but not entirely. “Not all discrimination is good”—i.e. that which discriminates against you. That’s understandable. But you see the issue: the difficulty with arguing for discrimination in the public sphere is the necessary particularity of your point of view. Why expect assent from any of the people you wish to discriminate against? And as a discriminationist who seeks to wield public policy in the service of your particular prejudices, on what grounds do you condemn the affirmative actionists who have succeeded in codifying their own animosities?

        3. Brooklyn is a polyglot community. Therefore it should be a hell, yes?

        • Why assume that normal conduct is hateful?
          1. If A is my wife and B is your wife I include A in my will and bed and exclude B.

          2. In general it’s good for people to connect with those to whom they feel a connection. On the whole they should be free to do so. What does that have to do with making animosity a public policy?

          3. ???? It’s true that a conversation in which everybody speaks a different language wouldn’t be much of a conversation. If people are able to follow their preferences and converse with those they understand then difficulties caused by the presence of multiple languages will be greatly mitigated.

          • Two senses of “exclude” (at least)
            1. It’s interesting that you would equate excluding a stranger from a will with, say, excluding blacks from lunch counters, as though those were equivalent acts, morally and practically. I’m not sure very many people would buy that. Similarly I don’t think many people would read your rhetorical “who would Jesus exclude” as “can Jesus recognize and differentiate discrete objects: husbands, wives, cats, dogs?”

            To avoid trite word games, let me ask you, “against which group would Jesus be prejudiced?” Who would Jesus hate/actively seek to avoid, sight unseen, because of their particular ethnicity? Is the answer to that question as unclear as you make it seem?

            2. That’s a fine, milquetoast sentiment. Who could disagree? I thought you were arguing that it’s good for, say, one group of people to erect apartheid conditions against another. That’s rather less warm and fuzzy.

            3. My bad; I meant polyglot as entailing multiple ethnicities. “Too much [diversity] is bad,” you say. Brooklyn is very diverse.

          • Read what I say
            1. Where do I suggest hating/actively seeking to avoid, sight unseen, some people because of their particular ethnicity? All the FAQ proposes, to the extent it proposes anything at all, is that people be able to choose those with whom they form connections. And it seems to me that relevant grounds for that choice include sex, religion, cultural heritage, marriage (discrimination on grounds of marital status is illegal), and more generally felt affinities. That’s what most people think, as their uncoerced actions show. Are they all wrong?

            2. It’s a milquetoast sentiment, but the point of antidiscrimination laws is to keep people from acting on it. So some apparently would disagree. I have no idea why you think the FAQ proposes apartheid conditions. It suggests nothing that isn’t libertarian.

            3. Brooklyn’s ethnic diversity has a variety of consequences in a variety of connections, some good some bad. It causes political problems, for example, due to suspicions and radically different loyalties, assumptions as to how people should act, what makes sense, and so on. Such things lead to corruption, payoffs, rule by irresponsible bureaucrats, etc.

            It’s probably good that somewhere in the world there be such a place. It seems bad that every place in the world be required to be like that, only more so, since Brooklyn falls far short of real inclusiveness. There are identifiably ethnic neighborhoods, businesses, etc. here, which would not be the case in a truly inclusive society, since every neighborhood and business would be required to mirror the ethnic, religious, sexual, and whatever composition of some larger area and ultimately the whole world.

          • 1. The issue is not the
            1. The issue is not the propriety of acting on one’s affinities but on one’s prejudices. It seems to me that there is a clear contradiction between Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbor as oneself and, say, doing everything one can to bar a black family from buying a house in your neighborhood. So, irrespective of the justice of particular anti-discrimination laws (and some, such as certain fair-housing laws, are more just than others) I would think it always unChristian to exclude others for no other reason than their ethnicity, or for some other reason not having to due with their personal merit. Natural, ingrained bigotry—to the extent that it’s composed of ill-will towards fellow man—seems to me like the kind of reflexive vice, like lust or selfishness, that Jesus would have us try to overcome—if not in thought than at least in action. Hard to do, but being a Christian is hard, to say the least.

            2. The FAQ strongly suggests that blacks had it better under American apartheid, although it admits that such conditions are unlikely to be re-imposed. In your article “Anti-racism” you propose the establishment of “racial” or “ethnic hierarchies”.

            Do you think that a hierarchical racial-social situation would be accepted with equanimity? Or will the powers of the state have to be employed on behalf of the dominant ethnic group, over and against those beneath it? The American South, for instance, wasn’t an especially libertarian society. State terror is an indispensable tool of the ruling ethnicity.

            3. I agree. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t. Although, as to this: “There are identifiably ethnic neighborhoods, businesses, etc. here, which would not be the case in a truly inclusive society”. Part of the joy of New York is its mishmash of strongly ethnic communities, businesses, etc., and I can detect no desire on the part of anyone to see such things disappear. Inclusiveness is the fact that all of these groups exist in relative harmony and have equal access to services and opportunities.

            Despite what you might think, I’m sympathetic to much of what you’ve written, although I also find some of it exaggerated and repulsive. At any rate, I’ll give you the last word, and thank you for your prompt responses.


          • You continue to view normal human conduct as hateful
            1. The issue is exactly the propriety of acting on one’s affinities. An affinity is a prejudice, a general tendency to form connections to some people rather than others. You assume such things are bad, that they have to do with ill-will, that they aren’t a matter of liking X but hating Y. Why is that? Your attitude seems misanthropic. The fact that people sometimes act out of hatred doesn’t mean they always do.

            For my own part, I don’t see a contradiction between loving one’s neighbor and preferring to live and work among people with similar background, upbringing, attitudes, loyalties, expectations etc. Man is a social animal. A culture is a system of social cooperation. Why would Jesus get upset if someone preferred to associate with those with whom he shares such a thing? Would be be outraged if someone acted (within due limits) on such a preference? If ethnic neighborhoods exist someone must be discriminating somehow. Does that upset you?

            2. I don’t propose establishment of racial or ethnic hierarchies but only say that the attempt to eradicate such things altogether is misguided. Some groups do better than others, there are always some people who run the show locally, stable networks of influence and authority most often have an ethnic component, and the attempt to put a total end to such things is tyrannical and destructive. You’re not going to wipe out the advantage of being Italian in Little Italy. And if you do nuke Little Italy and Italian privilege there you’ll get bureaucratic legal hierarchies instead of informal cultural hierarchies. Why is that so much better?

            3. If there is a mishmash of strongly ethnic communities, businesses, etc. then people obviously will not have equal access to opportunities. A black man does not have the same opportunity to succeed in Chinatown that a Chinaman hooked into the local arrangements does. How do you explain the fact that the Chinese do so much better than the blacks if everything’s so equal? How many blacks are there in management in Chinatown enterprises? Does it outrage you that the Chinese are hogging all the Chinatown opportunities and aren’t bringing any black people into the action?

  5. Good morning
    Re: Mkdelucas

    Jesus discriminated (Matthew 15: 21-28) and because Jesus set an example that was commanded to be spread to the world, discrimination and particularism are part of Christianity.

    Jim Kalb,

    You have excellent site here. One of the best collection of political articles in the web, and important insights are abundant in number.

    A minor critique. In “Liberalism: Ideal and Reality”, there is, I think, too much pessimism. The rationality of liberalism is full of mistakes. For example, why should liberalism (and universalism/ internationalism in politics) follow from scientific principles? Universalism of science is meant to make things in classes comparable with commensurable measures so that e.g. the best, particular alternative can be chosen (discriminated) to serve particular purpose. Thus it could said that particularism is the ultimate philosophical purpose of science, not universalism. But more importantly, science is just a tool, which chooses particular views in particular situations to achieve the knowledge that is sought. Ought doesn’t follow from the is of science. Hammer might be useful tool for construction worker that serves him well in wide variety of work assignments, but it would be mistake to transduce this goodness to political solutions: “Every political problem is a nail. Let the hammer sing!”

    In other words: Science can give large number of answers depending on what is the problem, what science field/fields is used, what qualities are studied, what research views and methods is selected, how the results are interpreted and related to the existing reality, etc. Science doesn’t make sense without many particularisms to give it a foundation. Liberal might say: “But the particularisms are ultimately relative.” No, the particular people, their abilities, their goals, particular situation, particular time, resources, equipment etc. (uniqueness of it all) create an ultimate particularism that is not relative to them. Science serves them, the particular people doesn’t serve science. The ultimate is measured according to the people.

    In the core of liberalism is the interests of individuals. Love, needs, pain avoidance, loyalty, courage, friendship, reciprocity (non-economic), social relations etc. are fuzzy concepts, that can be mostly described just with words, not numbers. Sometimes some of their aspects express themselves in quantifiable way in the market, but even then it is often unreliable and inaccurate. Thus the core of liberalism is non-rational and non-scientific, contrary to it’s claims. This makes liberal system often a playground of delusions, misconceptions, wishful thinking, personal projections etc. Because it doesn’t accept group interests to it’s philosophy (liberals use some group interests as political tools), it frequently underestimates them, exaggerates them out of proportion or has wrong ideas about them, even if we deduct political ill will and stupidity from consideration.

    • Thanks for the comments
      I agree that science doesn’t really support liberalism and the two are best seen as quite separate and in fact even somewhat opposed to each other.

      Still, people aren’t purely rational even when they try to be. In actual human life science is more than a rational scheme or neutral tool. It’s a movement or part of a movement that attempts to see how much can be done with how little. As such it’s been enormously successful in a great many settings. So people are committed to it as a cause and try to extend it beyond its proper scope.

      In particular, they try to apply its methods and outlook to human life by getting rid of local implicit standards and goods that transcend particular desires, impulses, intentions and the like. Human life is to be technologized, made transparently clear and efficient, and turned into a sort of big machine that churns out satisfactions of manifested preferences.

      That’s obviously a stupid idea, and it doesn’t work, and actual scientific results don’t support it, but people like it because it seems a way to apply the power and transparent rationality of the scientific approach to the solution of enduring problems.

      • Thank you for the comment

        It seems that this forum serves the visitors mostly as a guestbook and as a collection of your interesting articles.

        Traditional conservatives think about what could and should be done in the present situation, but as far as I know, there is no forum for intelligent and profound political conversation between them regarding the said matters. Could this forum or something you create serve as such a place? You have the abilities, opportunity is there. It depends to some extent on your possibilities, time etc. The after-moderation tasks could be delegated to trustworthy individuals, so it reduces the workload considerably. Two compartments could be enough, at least in the beginning. Articles traditional conservatives write and the comments they generate, and news/ outside information and comments. Atheists etc. with similar views could participate, but they would have to respect the Christian outlook and abstain from preaching their (secular) faith.

        Participants could be found from places like Oz conservative, View from The Right, miscellaneous Southern traditional sites etc. You know more these than me.

        I could contribute texts now and then with my slightly dyslexic English on different topics; political power and it’s methods; communities: methods and advantages, etc.

        Just thinking visibly. Feel free to skip these thoughts, if it is not suitable because of some reason.

        Anyway, I have ordered several books and I am waiting for them. When they arrive, I will order The Tyranny of Liberalism.

        • Thanks for the thought
          In the past the forum has been used for general discussion.

          I think the reason it hasn’t been used much lately is that the discussions were mostly a spillover from discussions in the comments on weblog entries, and when I stopped posting weblog entries regularly those discussions became much less connected.

          Still, the forum could always start up again if people are interested. Registered users can post new topics. Why not give it a try?

  6. Exclusiveness
    Some thoughts concerning anti-inclusiveness

    First, I commented in this way at Mangan’s:

    You are, of course, right. My intention was not in any way to imply that general distrust is an ideal situation.

    The model I talked about was based on stag hunt interaction model (E.g. Boyd and Richerson, 2008). Cooperation-cooperation: stag; cooperation-free riding: nothing; no cooperation, individual-individual hunt: hare-hare.

    Other cooperation or cooperation related models include: commons (Creating and upholding cooperation, or profiting individually while externalizing negative externalities); prisoners dilemma (The level of internalization of trust, reciprocity and cooperation through various methods); ultimatum game (Willingness to punish unfairness); dictator
    game (Altruism and fairness in the absence of punishment); etc.

    Building exclusion and trust:

    – Create membership boundaries around your community; ethnic, cultural, language/dialect, economic, security related, codes, initiation rites, rituals, etc.

    – Coordinate those aspects of life, where there is mutual advantages and mutual disadvantages to till the ground to be more propitious to cooperation.

    – Solve first and second degree free rider problems with: reputation; punishments; teaching, learning and imitating; denial of indirect bias, i.e. learning advantageous methods by imitation; rituals; initiation rites; other energy, time, resource, security and ability expending costs of membership; etc.

    – Make the good things so uniform field in the community, that the slightest free riding and bad juts out conspicuously.

    First degree cooperation is cooperation in a task, second degree cooperation is willingness to punish free riders in the first degree tasks.

    This article gives additional reasons for exclusiveness:


    While many Westerners try to please the Other, these kinds of attitudes are common and part of the normal in the outside world:


    And I go on developing the theme.

    Methods of exclusion; overlapping. Theoretical contemplation, but these qualities exist in real communities in some form or other. When talking about community, I refer in reality always to community networks, because it is almost always the form of communities:

    – Something is difficult to do or perform, only certain small percentage can do it (physically, intellectually and mentally). Strong will is required in all, either in preparations or the task or both. Tasks contain difficulties, dangerousness, risks etc.

    – Something is difficult to endure; pain; shame and hatred of outsiders against community members (intentionally evoked by community members with various methods like dress, way of talking, habits, customs, culture, names etc.); punishments, etc.

    – Required time, energy and resource expenditures are large (required time used for learning, charity, neighborly help, rituals, etc.)

    – Requirement to be in certain places in designated times (travelling to certain destinations, e.g. religious events, etc.)

    – Secrets, codes and counterintuitive thinking that only members know, are able to understand or are willing to learn. These can be renewed or new added from time to time, and then observed if members are attentive enough, able enough or willing enough to learn them, and/or trustworthy enough to keep them inside community.

    – Selections. Tests, either known to be tests by the members or tests that members are not aware of. Tests can be sprinkled in pieces among everyday tasks or used as a one block. Surprise tests or tests, to which members can prepare beforehand; in the latter case the general content can be known or unknown. Tests at certain or varying intervals. Serial tests, where reaching higher levels requires passing the previous tests.

    – Punishments as repellants to free riders before joining the community, and excluders and conformers when they have managed to join; both individuals and group doing the punishing. Gossip (mild, often used as a first level punishment); public shaming (confessing the sins in front of community, doing shameful tasks, etc.); marking the body with signs of power (e.g. slashing and mutilation); economic punishments (paying a certain sum, compensating the damages, paying certain sums at certain intervals for a certain period, losing material wealth, etc.); denial of good and advantageous things, and exclusion from one or many things in combination (learning, profit, participation, ownership, social companionships, marriage, etc.); restricting freedom by putting to jail or home arrest; exclusion from community for a time or forever; death sentence; etc.

    – Requiring members to participate in punishing. If they don’t, it is one form of free riding, which causes punishment against the free rider.

    – Acceptance of social organization; leaders; leader groups; hierarchy or relative equality or something in between; methods of internal politics and/or democracy; way of living; culture; heroes; history; etc.

    – Similarity of qualities between members (ethnicity, temperance, predispositions, language, culture, religion, dress, signs, gestures, diet etc.) Some are inborn others require learning, imitating and conformity.

    – The cooperative system is such, that it’s form prevents outsiders from participating, it’s structure, coordination and procedures doesn’t allow outsider people.

    – Reputation. This is achieved by repeated interactions between members; memories; records (compulsory in large hierarchical organizations, but can be used in small communities too); by limiting the size of community in community networks, so that all members know each other well (approximately 150 members); doing work, charity, giving neighborly help, being reciprocal, doing the good things and avoiding the bad things; etc.

    – Requiring members to acquire some things that are difficult to get; rare things; dangerous to acquire things; large quantities of common, socially constructed units, money (liberals use this); etc.

    – Gradual entry, from easier and more general to the more difficult and exclusive, perhaps records and insignia marking the grades. Full membership after long and difficult process.

    – Enduring is dependent on will and ability, but the required or part of the required could be also something that almost everybody could do, but choose not to because other alternatives are estimated to be better and/or more desirable, and the required things are evaluated to be useless/ worthless. Nonchalence towards community and it’s functions excludes also. The community can deliberately create these false mental pictures to certain or all outsiders, and not only concerning the membership requirements, but the whole community, because it creates exclusion and non-interference by outsiders.

    – Disfiguring or changing something in the body or removing something from the body, circumcision, tattoos, piercing, etc. Notice that circumcision is done to the Jews as a baby when they are not able to know about it or make decisions about it, but converts have to do it as adults, thus it is more difficult and more exclusive.

    – Air of dangerousness might surround the community. Community uses violence against it’s opponents and/or defecting members. Blood revenge, which has wide reach. Low threshold of violence. If somebody transgresses against the community, he has the whole unified community as an opponent.

    Community creates a reputation of “mad dog”, psychopath, insanity, etc.

    – Social customs and numerous rules that prevent socializing with others or are repelling to others. Diet, social interaction, marriage ceremonies, festivities, etc. Social relations are often formed when eating and/or spending free time with others and/or celebrating. When eating, the perception of other people and things is more positive, thus e.g. charity money raisings are often connected to dinners.

    – Endogamy rules. Community members marry only ingroup members, whether it is community group, ethnic group, religious group, cultural group or some combination of those. Records are sometimes used to store the information about family trees.

    – Community members spread with various methods such information to the outsiders, that outsiders thinking changes toward more incompatibility, exclusiveness and eschewing towards community members. Their perception of community members change without community members changing. The information is not necessarily related to the community members at all.

    Or community members reinforce existing trends to such direction and suppress others.

    – Community members destroy intentionally perfectly good resources in rituals (and may at the same time status compete). E.g. Indian Potlach festival.

    – Requiring members to quit doing something that is done generally in the outside world e.g; members are allowed to use only coffee and tea, not alcohol, tobacco or drugs

    – Intentional opposites to what the outsiders do (But always asking: “Is this good for the community”. Anything will not do). If outsiders are hedonists and eager consumers, the community members are austere and tough; if outsiders appreciate status in the outside world, the community members appreciate status only in the community; if outsiders are secular, the community members are religious; if outsiders eat ice cream in summer, community members eat hot food; If outsiders talk with one accent, community members use another accent; etc.

    – Community is located in faraway place, in secluded place, in secret place, in dangerous place, in rugged terrain, in difficult terrain or combination of those.

    – Combination of these generate and are required to the desired exclusion. Exclusion could be adjusted so that certain desired number and certain desired quality members can enter and stay, and the communities serve their purpose, whatever it is.

    – Exclusion protects the advantages of the community from outsiders and free riders.

    – Religions can contain all these and more, or partial selection from them and other rules. Religions are often vehicles of community rules.


Comments are closed.