Rants elsewhere

I’ve got some extended comments at other sites:

  • At View from the Right, on Popes, Catholic teachings, and open borders, and
  • At Urban Pastoral (run by a PoMo educatrix in Columbus Ohio), on feminism, antifeminism and sex.

Since I don’t know how long Gina Marie’s “Little Fascist Panties” post will be available, I’m reproducing my comments below (the discussion has to do with the short essay that leads off my Anti-Feminism Page):

Hi there,

Your discussion popped up on a vanity search and I thought I’d make a few comments:

1. It’s interesting you say the crux of my bitch is feminism. I would have said it’s a modernist epistemology that makes it impossible to deal with human issues in a human way. It’s true though that I view feminism as a very important destructive outcome of that outlook.

2. On what feminism is, I say that “opposition to gender as a principle of social order—to what is called ‘sexism’—is what unifies the things called ‘feminism.'” My piece deals with that opposition and its consequences. I think that’s as clear an approach as the subject allows. Do you have a better one?

3. “If he despises feminism for its belief that masculinity and famininity are not static and absolute entities but are constructs of cultures and societies”: I don’t. Masculinity and femininity are constructed as well as natural, just as “food” is constructed as well as natural. I don’t consider plate scrapings, a dog’s head or my cousin Bob to be food. Other people, at least in some circumstances, might. The difference in view is a social construction, although at least as to cousin Bob other things are involved as well.

4. I don’t see why “tradition” should be opposed to “nature.” Man is social and cultural, which means that human life essentially relies on tradition. It’s natural for us. Further, if human life by nature has important features that are fundamental as well as subtle and complex, then presumably we’d arrive at a practical grasp of them by the experience of living with them. Tradition is social experience crystallized in habits, attitudes and non-demonstrable beliefs to which people have attached themselves. A lot of the knowledge we need to live as human beings is available to us mostly through tradition.

5. I don’t see anything 50sish, essentialist or diametrical about contrasting primarily wanting a career and primarily wanting to be a mother and homemaker. If the contrast suggests such qualities to you the tendency to create black and white polarities is yours and not mine.

6. I agree that sexual commodification always exists in any large and complex society. It seems to me though that feminism and sexual freedom multiply it. Most men at least at some ages and in some moods view sex as largely an interchangeable and extremely desirable good that almost any woman is capable of supplying. It is said that on occasion some women treat it as a means of gaining other ends. Make sex freely transferable and eliminate transaction costs—that’s what it means to say that individual self-determination should be the rule—and such ways of looking at things will gain in importance. It seems to me that’s clearly happened. If so, then to limit the process it might help to tie sex to more things and so emphasize various biological, pragmatic and traditional connections and limitations.

7. I don’t deny that labor has value and purpose. I simply deny that economics is the science of a good life. There are other considerations.

Best wishes, and thanks for taking the time to comment,


Also, Larry leaves out my final reply to Bruce B. In the interests of completeness, here it is:

It’s a complicated relationship.

Institutional setting does make a difference in what you’re obligated to do. It’s no doubt a good thing to adopt an orphan, and I suppose we should all be benevolent toward orphans in general. Still, I don’t think any married couple is obligated to adopt one. There are lots of relevant considerations, and in many cases adoption would be a mistake. If they decide to do the deed though they should do everything they can to make a go of it and their other kids if they have any should do the same without holding back.

I suppose something of the sort could apply to immigration. My basic objection to what the Pope said (or signed) is that the actual political question is whether as a matter of public policy there should be large-scale population-transforming immigration to the West into the indefinite future, and the statement was one-sided, hyperbolic and open-ended. Unless you go through heroic contortions it’s impossible to believe it doesn’t bear closely on the political question.

As to sexual morality, the question is not whether the government should enforce traditional morality in all respects but whether, with due respect to the limited role of government, it should recognize it as a public benefit and part of the common good and act accordingly. If liberals have arguments that traditional sexual morality (like open-ended immigration) causes big public problems instead of big public benefits and that it’s not part of the common good they can present them.

I would agree that natural law is rather at odds with anti-racism as an ideology. Natural law as applicable to human beings presumably has something to do with human nature, and man on the whole needs particular connections and specific inherited culture to thrive. JP II indeed recognized and spoke of that, although so far as I know he didn’t pick up on the relationship to immigration and official multiculturalism any more than anyone else does in public life today.


2 thoughts on “Rants elsewhere”

  1. Back to the scary 50’s
    Actually their case was understated (to the point of being funny) relative to the usual response we get. Usually traditionalists are accused of wanting to take us back to the Inquisition, the Thirty Years War, etc.

  2. rants
    I read Gina’s comment, and I was disappointed. It seemed especially weak, particularly as a response to all the material assembled on your feminism page. It seemed to me that she felt satisfied with the ad hominem dismissal: “he’s a trad.”

    If I were in her place, I would abandon the personal appeal, and open full bore with the now traditional barrels of modernity. She hinted at this, barely, towards the end of her piece, when she pointed out that traditional sex roles were grounded in an agrarian economy. But, she really didn’t follow this through, as for example the Marxists did.

    I sense her appeal was primarily to “vocation.” However, if a woman desires a vocation other than that of mother, she will have to train a man to marry a woman, who will bear children, but not raise them; the good gentleman will then not only bear responsibility to support his children, he will also have to pay for hired help to raise them. This was the arrangement of the aristocracy in pre-WWI Europe, when men married woman to bear children (heirs), gain real estate, and cement alliances; servants and nannies raised and trained the children. This was the way Winston Churchill was raised, for example. But it’s not the bargain most men want to make. If it’s the only bargain available, men will discount the arrangement as a pale imitation of the original, and probably won’t give their best.

    Postmodern women fancy themselves as Pre-WWI aristocrats. Perhaps some are, either in intelligence, wealth, or appearance. But these cases are rare, and rate special treatment under any circumstances. For the vast majority, a vocation for a woman today means essentially that she will enter the market economy as a commodity, and that economy will treat her as a commodity; if and when she has children, if she is not willing to compromise her children for her vocation, her value as a commodity will be reduced, and she will fall behind her male competitor peer group.

    There is also the “sensibility problem;” women are attuned to “cooperation,” men to “competition,” and the market to “optimization.” In the end, the only sensibility that matters is the sensibility of modernity, that is, objects, like human beings, are instrumental commodities to be maximized for purposeful action. The sensibility of feminism and the sensibility of modernity don’t mix. Most don’t undertand they are being lured into the market as instrumental commodities, and not for the purpose of “furthering their potential.”

    This is a losing proposition for most women, and leads to frustration. But, they always have “trads” to unload it on.


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