I’m still sorting through the many comments I got on the Anti-Reactionary FAQ. Many of the criticisms were excellent. I would like to update the FAQ to reflect them eventually, but that would be a never-ending process, and disrupt some people’s project of creating a counter-FAQ – it’s harder to hit a moving target. But I want to respond to a few broad categories quickly, especially since they may help reveal more of a coherent picture than the question-by-question style of the FAQ.
I’m not mentioning major factual errors here. Some people pointed out a few good ones – for example, the text of the Cyrus Cylinder I used seems to derive from a 19th century forgery. These have already been corrected where they occurred.
I. Fifty Year Trends
One of the better critiques is that I focus too much on fifty-or-so-year trends – which often show improvement in key social indicators – rather than comparing our own society to preindustrial village society. This is an important point, because I’ve been accused of confusing Reactionaries and garden-variety conservatives before, and go-back-thirty-years versus go-back-to-preindustrial-villages seems like part of that distinction.
My defense is that a lot of Reactionaries have made the claim that fifty years ago was better than today, and the counterclaim is worth defending (it’s also highly relevant for whether our civilization is on the verge of imminent collapse). Still, I accept the point that, even though divorce, suicide and crime rates are declining at present, they’re probably much higher than in 1100s rural Austria or whatever.
This raises a key question that was too broad (and which I understood too late) to get in the FAQ. If these social indicators got worse from 1100 to now, but have been getting better for the past thirty years since good statistics are available, at what point did the trends change direction? And why?
Let me ask a stronger version of that question: between about the sixties and the eighties, crime, divorce, suicide, abortion, promiscuity, drug use, STDs, and unhappiness were all trending upwards. Between the eighties and the present, all of those things have been trending downwards. Why?
I have seen very little discussion of such an important question. Probably the best research on this question has been that linking lead to crime rate. Lead is known to decrease intelligence and increase impulsivity, and its levels peaked and then declined at about the right time. Some research has tried to link lead to teen pregnancy as well. It could conceivably hold for all the indicators involved except for divorce rates (which hit at the wrong time). Other research suggests the baby boom (more concentrated youth creates a “youth culture” that promotes rebellion), the explosive increase in the drug scene around the 60s, or some kind of disruption to norms about sex and the family caused by the availability of STD-curing antibiotics and easy contraception.
Whatever the reason, it seems like if the current trend is down, we should panic before it destroys us all; but if the current trend is up, one can argue things are already improving, we’re doing something right, and we shouldn’t jinx it.
II. The Upper Class/Underclass Gap
Some people criticized my defense of modern sexual norms by saying I was putting too much emphasis on how they have worked pretty well for upper-class suburban whites, but am failing to consider the dysfunctionality of modern culture among lower-class urbanites and the uneducated.
I agree that problems with divorce, out-of-wedlock birth, STDs, et cetera are worse among lower class and uneducated people.
Assuming we want to correct that by enforcing some kind of value system on them, we have two models. Number one, the value system of 1100s rural Austria. Number two, the value system of the wealthy people in the suburbs just down the street.
1100s rural Austria had a lot of things going for it in terms of enforcement of sexual norms. Due to land inheritance and dowries, parents had extremely strong control over their children’s future and disinheritance was nearly a death sentence. There were no drugs besides alcohol, no contraception or abortion to save you if you slipped up, and no penicillin to cure any STDs you might catch. People of all ages worked all day, and although work was broken by festivals these were community gatherings rather than “idle time”. There were no TV shows or novels, and people were socialized mostly at church. But probably the most important thing was that reputation was almost inescapable – most people spent their entire lives in the same small village interacting with the same small group of people.
It’s hard to see how to export that kind of environment to the modern underclass. Pol Pot tried something like it, but it didn’t go very well. That leaves the upper-class people down the street who are doing pretty well in exactly the same technological environment. Can we export their values?
It’s possible the answer is no. It’s possible that progressive values are the sort of thing high-IQ, low-impulsivity people are naturally good at, but which low-IQ, high-impulsivity people naturally fail. But two thoughts on that.
First, IQ and impulsivity are not absolutely fixed. I am the furthest thing from one of those wishy-washy people who say everything is socially determined, but even within most things being biologically determined there is a lot of wiggle room. The iodization of salt and the banning of lead have cut a big chunk into the rich-poor IQ/impulsivity gaps already. There’s a lot more room to improve these kinds of factors, and a lot of progressive programs are trying to do exactly that. As technology increases, we’ll hopefully be able to do more. It’s worth noting that poor kids are the only ones still exposed to a lot of lead – perhaps that has something to do with it?
But second, the same values that work so well for upper-class people might also work well for lower-class people, if only they had them. This is one reason I included 22.214.171.124.1 in the FAQ (the other was because it’s a cool number). Many people criticized me for calling some lower-class values ‘reactionary’, as if I was just playing with definitions. But a corollary of that might be that if progressive values work for the upper-class, maybe they would work for the lower-class as well if only they would adopt them.
Here’s where I’m coming from. Suppose that culture experienced a technological/economic shock with the Industrial Revolution and Demographic Transition. This somehow caused the rise in divorce, suicide, drug use, et cetera from the 60s to 80s cited above. Gradually, the shock wore off and everyone started to adjust. They developed new values and institutions that contained the damage and operated well in the new conditions. The gradual development spread of these new norms caused the decrease in all those social ills noted from the 80s to the present.
The upper classes are “early adopters” in terms of technological and material change. They’re going to be the first people trying contraception, the first people trying new fancy leaded gasoline, the first people sending their daughters off to college.
The lower classes are late adopters. They’re going to go through the same thing the upper classes did, but they’re going to be time-delayed. If this is true, they’re going to have to learn the same things the upper classes did about the new norms and institutions, at which point they, like the upper classes, will reverse the negative trends and start a positive trend.
Right now the lower class is kind of time-frozen, because the natural upward trend of real wages has been arrested for the past few decades and I expect values change to be closely associated with change in material conditions. I would expect if real wages continued to increase, then the lower class would gradually undergo the same kind of institutional changes the upper class went through, adjust to their new conditions, and end up with the same progressive values as the upper class.
Or maybe I’m totally wrong. But it seems making the New Orleans ghetto like the Boston suburbs should in any case be easier than making the New Orleans ghetto like an 11th century Austrian rural village. I haven’t even heard good plans about how to do the latter. All I’ve heard is “let’s put a king in charge”. As if system of government had anything more to do with 11th century Austrian purity norms than speaking Middle High German did.
III. Sluttiness and Consequentialism
I got a lot of flak over these two sentences: “Contraception prevents out of wedlock births. Protection and antibiotics prevent STDs. So the old reasons [for disapproving of sluttiness] no longer hold.”
The flak was mostly for saying contraception preventing out-of-wedlock births and STDs, when in fact there are still a lot of both around, and out-of-wedlock births are at historically high levels. Many people brought up point II above – that these problems have only been “solved” for upper-class suburban elites.
First a boring objection. Statistics on out-of-wedlock births include both unintentional pregnancies and happily cohabiting couples deciding to have children. Unintentional pregnancies alone are harder to measure, but seem to follow the declining-since-1980s trend mentioned above. Most STDs do as well. It depends on exactly which disease you pick – syphilis is at historic lows, but chlamydia is a growing problem.
But to me the more important objection is that even if true, this isn’t Reactionaries’ real objection. There is a serious debate going on in the Reactosphere about whether a self-respecting man can marry a slut. If the above were the Reactionaries’ real objection, the answer should be obvious – ask her if she has any illegitimate kids, ask her to take an STD test (as a gentleman, you can offer to take one yourself as well), and then if she has no kids or STDs, no problem.
Given that this obvious solution hasn’t caught on, I’m going to continue thinking Reactionaries’ problems with sluttiness transcend the possibility of kids and STDs, and my argument in 5.1.1 holds.
IV. Equality of Opportunity vs. Equality of Results
Before complaining about this part, please read at least the first half of Social Justice For The Highly Demanding of Rigor.
V. Tone Arguments
Not intentional! Or rather, the only instances of snarkyness or meanness that were intentional were the sentence at the bottom of 1.1 and the entirety of 5.7. Konkvistador recommended comparing this to my non-libertarian FAQ and I agree. I just have a hard time writing about things without making wisecracks. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
I only write these sorts of things about philosophies I have a lot of respect for. I have never written an anti-creationist FAQ or anti-homeopathy FAQ. I have strong libertarian sympathies and I have strong reactionary sympathies, and that is the main reason I get very annoyed when I hear people I otherwise sympathize with saying things I think are dumb and going what I feel is too far. I thought I made this clear in Section 6.1.
VI. The Cathedral
I keep being accused of not knowing what the Cathedral is. Perhaps these accusations are true. I will admit that the offhanded references to “Ivy League professors meeting under the full moon” are snark (see above), but perhaps even when I try to be serious I don’t get it quite right.
But let me try to sidestep that critique by pointing out a serious flaw in the Moldbug post that inspired the entire Cathedral concept.
Moldbug notes that there are three reasons for agreement. One, everyone agrees because they are being forced to agree – for example, the Spanish Inquisition rooting out heretics. Two, everyone agrees because the truth is obvious – for example, people agreeing the sky is blue. Three, everyone agrees because of a self-organizing consensus of social norms – for example, women going around topless in public is unacceptable in Western society.
He asks why there is so much agreement among Ivy League colleges on their particular brand of liberalism. He throws out the first possibility – there is no obvious Inquisition. He throws out the second, because he says the sheer degree of their agreement is implausible – honest truth-seekers sometimes differ, but there is minimal difference between for example Harvard and Yale’s African Studies department. This leaves the third possibility, which he calls the Cathedral:
In a [society with true intellectual freedom], for example, we should see intellectual inhomogeneities between competing institutions. Harvard and Yale should mostly agree, because reality is one thing. So should the New York Times and the Washington Post. But there will always be sclerosis, stagnation, drift. Competition, not just among ideas but among institutions, is essential to the Popperian ideal. We should see these institutions drift away from reality. And we should see the marketplace of ideas punish them when they do, and reward those which do not.
Do you see this? Because I sure don’t. What I see is a synopsis.
From my perspective, not just Harvard and Yale, but in fact all major American universities in the Western world, offer exactly the same intellectual product. Which institution is more to the left, for example? Harvard, or Yale? You can pick any two mainstream universities, and you will not be able to answer this question. It’s a sort of intellectual peloton.
This seemed suspicious ever since I first read it, and I’ve since placed my finger on exactly why.
What percent of Harvard professors do you think prefer wine to beer? What about Yale professors? Now what about Columbia professors?
I don’t have a clue what the actual numbers are, but I bet all three colleges are within a few percentage points of each other. Why? Because large samples drawn randomly from the same population tend to converge.
Moldbug’s point makes sense only if there is a single top-down authority deciding on the politics of Harvard, and then another deciding for Yale, and then a third deciding for Columbia. But if the schools are just selecting professors based on number of publications or something, then the differences in individual professors’ opinions will be drowned out by the Law of Large Numbers, and we would expect the “consensus position” of each school, insofar as one exists, to be similar.
Why is the distribution of professors drawn from so liberal to begin with? This is another one of those things we have data about.
“Still, I accept the point that, even though divorce, suicide and crime rates are declining at present, they’re probably much higher than in 1100s rural Austria or whatever.”
Re-read your Pinker. The trends are quite good over longer time scales.
Pinker makes a strong case for murder. I don’t believe he makes any case for crime in general (eg robbery), divorce rates (I am not easily surprised anymore, but if medieval divorce rates were higher than our own I will freak out), or suicide.
On Pinker, see this.
I am all for dissing Pinker, but the arguments in your link will not convince anyone here. There are much better arguments against Pinker:
Pinker is a dilettante who did not do proper research. Putting the Yanomami into the category “hunter-gatherer” is an epic-level screw-up that should have gotten him fired.
I wouldn’t be surprised if his data on medieval murder rates contained similar mistakes.
I’m not sure that came out quite the way you intended.
One thing about, say, suicide rates: I think it is very difficult to get honest comparisons. When suicide was a mortal sin and/or a social disgrace, a man might go out with a shotgun, blow his brains out, everyone knew it was a suicide, but it was recorded as a hunting accident.
One reason for elevated levels of suicide may simply be that nowadays such deaths are reported more honestly.
Maybe not medieval divorce rates, but best as I can tell, the divorce rate among Hazda hunter-gatherers is quite high (and no, I didn’t get the data from Pinker).
I have read Social Justice For The Highly Demanding of Rigor. I’m not disputing that anti-black racial discrimination is a thing that happens, or that anti-woman gender discrimination is a thing that happens. My concern is that people have given up on providing equality of opportunity and moved straight to providing equality of outcome (affirmative action, “disparate impact” law), which creates this whole cancerous societal mass of hypocrisy and resentment, and leads to burning alive as witches people who naively try to judge people on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.
First of all, I can see affirmative action as going either way. It could either be a hamhanded attempt to produce equality of results (quota systems seem especially vulnerable to this accusation). Or it could be a subtle attempt to produce equality of opportunity by opposing one bias with a contrary bias in the hopes that they even out. The more sophisticated affirmative action laws (“if a white man and woman/minority are equally qualified in all other ways, hire the woman/minority”) seem more like this.
(Oh wow, I just realized that the most laws-of-economics-compliant form of affirmative action would be a small tax on hiring white males, with the size of the tax pegged to the strength of observed racist bias in any given year/industry)
As for cancerous societal masses of hypocrisy and resentment, I support not having those.
What if the employers’ bias is in order to compensate for the educational system’s bias? If an employer knows that a black man will get more qualifications in average than a white man with the same aptitude, if they have to choose between a black man and a white man with the same qualifications they will guess the latter has a better aptitude.
I’ve heard arguments against affirmative action that might get people into places they are ill prepared for (usu. w/ implication that remediation needs to be directed at younger people).
There’s also the prior probability, if one thinks of qualifications as evidence to update on.
The whole argument over “whether a self-respecting man can marry a slut” seems to instantly put reactionaries into the realm of insanity for me. I truly do *not* get it at all.
What, you literally don’t understand sexual jealousy? Are you serious or just signalling?
I’m bothered that slut is ambiguous between ‘people who are sexually promiscuous’ and ‘people who cheat on their partners’ — there are plenty of people who are promiscuous when single (or in open relationships etc.) but but once they’re in a monogamous relationship they stay faithful to their partners. I would be bothered if I found out that my girlfriend cheated on me, but (so long as I know whether she has STDs or children) I really don’t care about how many people she banged before, other than as a curiosity.
I literally don’t get sexually jealousy with women about sex before I started pursuing them sexually.
I also have a sort of neostoic ethos where my emotions, particuliarly my negative emotions like jealousy, are my responsibility. Blaming other people for my emotional state sounds insanely irresponsible to me.
When separated from its evolutionary origin, sexual jealousy starting from the moment a “committed relationship” with a woman forms is just as arbitrary as sexual jealousy spanning a woman’s whole past life.
When considered from its evolutionary origin, sexual jealousy starting from the moment a “committed relationship” forms is MORE arbitrary than sexual jealousy spanning a woman’s whole life. It literally makes no sense except as a modern moral fashion.
That is why some of the more extreme progressives try to do away with the concept of sexual jealousy altogether. I may not agree with their starting assumptions, but, fuck, at least they are trying to remain consistent, not just blindly copying what everyone else around them does. They take their beliefs seriously.
Me too. I don’t pretend that my adaptaitions built by the blind idiot god are any sort of basis for moral beliefs. That’s what’s fucked up and arbitrary.
What a woman does before she meets me has nothing to do with who I am. Because it can’t. Forming this whole sluts are bad thing as jealousy seems stupid as hell when people are also saying how bad they are as marital partners. That’s what I can’t take seriously.
What other basis for moral beliefs could you have other than adaptations built by the blind idiot god? The whole sum of your entire being was built by such.
Let me try again to explain why what you just said is just generally sloppy thinking.
I could, after much thought reach a conclusion about an ideal strategy for reproductive success. And this strategy could end up being something like, highly organized serial rape, or dating someone for a couple months under a false name and providing them with fake birth control, or one night stands, or even staying a virgin until I’m married to very fecund woman, whatever. The point is, even if I know this strategy is most successful for my genes, there’s no reason at all why this is automatically the thing I’m going to do, because I and my genes are different things. I can and do have values that are different from my genes, and act based on desires, that while founded in adaptations, are not necessarily adaptive now. But that doesn’t matter, because my will to act on my desires (rather I embrace or deny my impulses) has practically zero relationship to how many copies of my genes might be around after I’m dead. It’s just silly to assume that.
My ethos. This ethos is partially built by an adaptation, like how English fits a set of parameters that already exist in human brains as young children, but they don’t have a 1:1 correlation with reproductive success, and can even be antiadaptive. I’m not sure how my ethos actually matches up to the current environment, but even if you could prove to me that my ethos was anti adaptive, I would just be the evil genie AI built my genes, that knows it underlying values, but doesn’t care.
If that went over your head, read this:
http://lesswrong.com/lw/xu/failed_utopia_42/ and this:
We all know that we are adaptation executers, not fitness maximizers. We all also know that our adaptions are crude attempts by the blind idiot god at maximizing fitness. Preferring to marry pure women as opposed to slutty women is such an adaptation. These are all “is” facts. Nothing above contains the an “ought” or “should”.
My impression is that progressives like to rationalize their morality using a deontology which both appeals to “fundamental rights” and “not harming anybody else” (where “harm” is creatively interpreted to yield precisely the moral intuitions which the arguer in question already holds, much like Yvain’s observation that utilitarianism requires a complicated superstructure which can be manipulated to give whatever results you want).
For starters, I don’t think my values are like that. But sure, be suspicious: I’m not the one trying to convince you to hold my values or adopt my point of view. My taste for evangelism wasn’t strong when I was religious and sure as hell isn’t my primarily goal now.
If you do want to convince of my point of view, though, your going to have to appeal to value I actually hold, not just snark about values I may or may not have, or appeal to the values of the blind idiot god, which is just a veiled and dubious attempt at appeal to nature.
This involves actually learning about other people, and why they feel the way they do. Reading a history book and feeling like society adopted value for bad reasons isn’t going to cut it.
But you have to admit that things that are not evolution have an effect on people’s sexual desires. After all, there are quite a lot of people who do not experience any sexual jealousy about their partner’s pre-them sexual partners (even if they experience it about concurrent sexual partners). If human men evolved to be jealous of their partner’s previous sexual partners, then there are quite a lot of men influenced by a thing that is not evolution to not experience that jealousy.
My question here is, given that sexual desires are influenced by something other than evolution, how do you know that *your* desire was the one produced by evolution, instead of the desire of The Guy Who’s Sexually Jealous Of His Partner’s Concurrent Sexual Partners But Not Her Previous Sexual Partners, or The Cuckold Fetishist, or The Polyamorous Person Who Doesn’t Really Experience Sexual Jealousy?
And, like, expand it to other sexual preferences. I like guys who ramble at me about their intellectual interests; did that evolve? One of my boyfriends is into girls with round cheeks; did that evolve? I have a friend who likes romantically passive, feminist men; did that evolve? And if so how do we explain all the people who don’t like round-cheeked rambley romantically passive feminists?
I am seriously not trying to argue you out of your virgin fetish. It’s great! Marry a virgin! I’m glad you have the self-knowledge to realize that your jealousy of your partner’s previous sexual partners would sabotage your relationship; more people need that sort of self-knowledge. I am just less clear on where “I, personally, jaimeastorga2000, want to marry a virgin” becomes “therefore men evolved to be into virgins, all men everywhere are secretly into virgins and lying when they say they don’t care, and all women should be virginal and we’re allowed to say horrid things about women who aren’t.”
Like I said, the things I mentioned are facts about the world, not moral facts, so the question is how do we respond to them. Ah, but you don’t agree that they are facts at all, do you? Let’s start there.
Sexual jealousy in the general sense is extraordinarily widespread throughout the animal kingdom. I recommend a book called The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People. This is only to be expected; as a male, avoiding committing resources to a promiscuous female, mate guarding her against voluntary or involuntary extra-relational sex, etc… are obvious adaptational strategies to increase your fitness. Incidentally, the same book also explains the cuckold fetish; animals are aroused and driven to mate with their females immediately after they have finished mating with other males, because this gives them a better chance to impregnate her instead. That some people in the modern world voluntarily do this seems to me like a simple misfiring of the adaptation, much like masturbation is a misfiring of the pleasure adaptation originally intended by evolution to promote sex.
Other fetishes, such as girls with round cheeks, can be explained in other ways. One obvious one is that evolution is not something that happened in the past but something that is always happening, constantly, and that Azatoth is always throwing out new fetishes, discarding the majority, and retaining the few that increase fitness (in the unlikely event that no singularity, nanotech, brain uploading, or genetic engineering pans out in our distant future, I would not be surprised to see a widespread aversion to condoms take hold). Or perhaps they are byproducts of some other adaptations. I mean, I hope we can all at least agree that evolution is true, and that gays exist, so it’s not like the blind idiot god has a perfect track record for optimizing genetic fitness. At best it’ll waste resources on superfluous stuff, and at worst it will do actively harmful things because they are outweighed other benefits, even though there is an obvious (to a human) solution which would fix things up but which Azatoth cannot see because it is outside its local optima.
Now, let’s go back to the whole “and all women should be virginal and we’re allowed to say horrid things about women who aren’t” thingy. If we say that a man is built by evolution to value marrying a virgin wife who will never have sex with him, this is not necessarily simply a “fetish”; something that just gets him off during sex. It can be something he feels a deep need for even during his refractory period, something that he sees a wholesome, something that makes him satisfied and happy, something that seems right and beautiful like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or the sounds of children playing in the streets or his graduation ceremony after years of hard work at university. Conversely, sluts are something he sometimes uses for fun, but the idea of marrying one is repulsive unto him, like the idea of murdering his neighbor.
And, well, maybe this guy doesn’t want the whole “virgin bride” concept to be just another fetish accepted by society which a minority of people have and talk about online and swap stories about in Literotica. Maybe he grew up in a world where people followed this beautiful (to him) tradition, or at least kept a pretense of it, and the fact that it is being tossed by the wayside makes him sad. Or, maybe, if the shift has gone on long enough, he has trouble finding a wife like this, and he knows that even if he does, other men in his position may not be able to do so, or that his children will be unable to do so if the trend continues. He knows that people respond to incentives, and that making life hard for sluts reduces their number, while subsidizing them increases them, and, well, maybe he supports policies which create a world which he finds virtuously beautiful and values more than the ugly hedonistic slut world he currently finds himself living in.
And this is all besides the “practical” arguments about the destruction of the nuclear family, the rise of welfare, the decline of fertility, the shortening of time horizons, the lack of incentives to produce, etc… that’s been pretty well covered by others. What I am trying to convey in the above paragraphs is that a preference for a world in which marriage is a sacred institution with a virgin bride undertaken as a life-long commitment before God and the community can be a terminal value, just like not wanting people around you dropping dead left and right from bullets in a war zone can be a terminal value, completely apart from any “practical” benefits you might derive from not living in a war zone (“practical” benefits are those that satisfy other terminal values in indirect ways). And, of course, the opposite is true as well; I know that there is a rich Sci-Fi tradition of “free love” and polyamory which some people have grown up with and value. And maybe those later people also have a value to obey the Christian God, which motivation moves them more than their speculative fiction values, so they struggle to live what they consider a righteous life and much angst ensues. And maybe a guy who finds the anti-slut concept wholesome has a value about allowing people to do what they want as long as they are not harming anyone, so he swallows his own revulsion and makes attempt to show support for promiscuous women while personally avoiding them as relationship material, perhaps thinking himself small-minded and bigoted and flawed for this preference. Or maybe they just find allies who think like them and try to change the world into a world they value more.
Past relationships, at least those more than 9 months in the past, are extremely unlikely to produce children that you spend resources on in the mistaken belief that you’re their father.
Sure, it’s possible for there to be evolutionary pressures where past partners matter, too. But that hardly seems like the only possible source.
I’m hardly an expert, but what looking I have done suggests that serial monogamy is a common pattern in contemporary hunter-gatherer societies.
Some people don’t experience sexual jealousy. Hi. I am no more interested in whom my partners have sex with than I am in whom they play trivia games with. (Which is to say: if I don’t get to play trivia games with them, or if they are neglecting me for trivia games with other people, I will get jealous, but as a general rule my only feeling is happiness that they’re happy.)
Only if you don’t believe that past behavior is an excellent predictor of future behavior.
But again, not distinguishing between “slut” as sexually unfaithful and “slut” as promiscuous but potentially honest in keeping monogamous commitment. Perhaps, from a Bayesian perspective, valuing chastity is protective against cheating, although to which extent is not clear. But as a terminal value, if it’s just a matter of predicting future behavior, the personal virtue of keeping your commitments is far more relevant and wide-ranging.
It’s not just in honoring commitments, but as a tendency to succumb to sexual temptations, ability to overcome one’s own sexual urges, etc.
If your impulses trump your commitments, it doesn’t really matter if genitals are involved are not.
The more I talk to people like this, the more I think being puritanical isn’t so much a matter of disliking or under emphasizing sex, as being overly fixated and over emphasizing it.
It is an imperfect predictor of future behavior, and unfortunately there is a dearth of widely applicable better predictors. I am not particularly concerned with this issue since I’m only really interested in the subset of women I can hash this sort of thing out rationally with… but that seems to be a very small subset (though a survey of this blog’s readership would imply otherwise, of course).
People like to use the metaphor of “test driving a car before buying it” for having a premarital sexual relationship, but I wonder how many of them have actually shopped for a used car. The fact that “used car salesman” is spoken with the same level of contempt people used to reserve for “tax collector” and the huge market for companies like CARFAX should give you a better picture.
That’s not to say that all you’ll ever get is lemons (after all, virtually every vintage car is a used car by definition) but that there are enough lemons that you’re a fool to wander around a used car depot when you could get a brand new one with just a little more legwork.
Why is the metaphor to “being used” in this scenario about sex? Why not experience? Or age? Or education? Or exposure to fringe politics? Or exposure to religion? Or one of a hundred other things?
I liked it better when people were interested in doing this empirically. Metaphors suck.
The numbers on sexual partners and divorce are already out there, while the stats on how infrequently men manage to retain either their children or freedom in a divorce are found with a few seconds on Google.
But even though that is sufficient on it’s own, the argument isn’t just about that. There are important factors to how successful a relationship is that are less amenable to measurement, such as issues of character and culture. It’s hard to express but very vital (in both senses of the word).
The numbers that show that for most women more premarital sexual partners decreases divorce risk? Those numbers?
It only says that if you ignore the first column. ‘Slut’ doesn’t just start at your first gangbang.
To be clear, are you arguing that we should tell women to have less sex before marriage or no sex before marriage?
Ideally none, but that’s really unrealistic to expect on a population scale. If you want most people to show up at 5 on the dot you need to tell them the party is at 4:30, and since you can’t have negative numbers of sex partners abstinence just seems like a lost cause.
A better solution might be for arranged marriages set up at about puberty, to keep people more-or-less honest without denying the reality of the human sex drive. Plus it would return marriage to the domain of the family rather than the individual, which is a huge benefit in terms of stability. Indian arranged marriages are in adulthood and they only have a 1.1% divorce rate, so I think starting earlier might be enough to counteract our cultural baggage about promiscuity.
But really, even just resetting the clock a century on the culture of sex/marriage would probably knock out most of our family problems by itself. It’s not a hard fix, just one that’s political suicide to suggest.
Thank you for admitting that telling women not to have sex before marriage is a bad solution.
There is reasonably strong reason to think that Western society only exists because we do not organize our families like the ones you idealize. Arranged marriages are highly associated with things like inbreeding, clannishness, less altruism towards non-family members and corruption:
And on corruption:
Caveat: I don’t know what would happen if you could separate inbreeding from arranged marriage.
I’ve only ever heard conservative Catholics use the “test drive a car before buying” analogy.
I don’t know about that. I do think that it’s probably a *terrible* idea for people to get married after having minimal exposure to romance and sexuality.
So sexual incompatibility is really a thing. I wouldn’t have guessed it was actually a big obstacle in some marriages but I was wrong. Point taken.
On romance, I couldn’t say, but sexuality? There is absolutely no evidence that I have ever seen which suggested that people with no sexual experience had less successful marriages than people with lots. Even when controlling for religiosity. If there is an effect, it’s in exactly the opposite direction: people with lots of sexual experiences tend to have failed marriages more than people few to none. e.g. from the 2006-2010 NSFG, women who were raised with no religion, currently had no religion, and had 0-1 premarital sex partners had a 64.71% unambiguous success rate on first marriages, whereas women who were raised with no religion and had 2+ premarital sexual partners had a 55.29% unambiguous success rate on first marriages (note: difference is not statistically significant, possibly due to small subsample size). There’s also the BYU study which found that marital sexual satisfaction was inversely related to the number of premarital sexual partners a person had.
In summary, your position has no basis in the evidence. You could, at best, argue that extensive premarital sexual behavior does not actually relate to reduced future marital success, when divorced from its relationship to promiscuity (I, personally, wouldn’t; the subsample is too small to extract much meaning). Arguing the opposite – that extensive premarital sexual behavior improves the odds of a successful marriage – is just baseless speculation, contradicted by the information available.
Should be “when divorced from its relationship te religiosity.” Blech.
Have you guys never heard of Jo
Have you guys never heard of John Ruskin? Or, fuck it, gay people? What the hell? Totally and obviously, sexual incompatibility is a thing. It’s not massively common, but it’s definitely common enough that I don’t want anyone to have to suffer through it.
Other parts of relationship incompatibility are emuch more common. I do know people who waited until marriage, and for whom that pressured an earlier marriage that turned abusive.
The evidence does not back up the case that premarital sex is an effective preventative for sexual incompatibility, given that sexual satisfaction seems to be less for married people with more premarital sexual partners.
Gay people have a problem that is not solved by having sex. The underlying problem – lack of self-awareness regarding their qualitative experience of sexual desire – is not magically corrected by penis-vagina touching. Plenty of gay people have heterosexual sex for years before realizing something is wrong.
There are also people who had premarital sex, and the fact that their partner was a good lay convinced them to marry, or the fact that their partner (or they themselves) got pregnant convinced them to marry, etc, and then kablammo, the person turned into an abusive shit. I’d like to see some evidence regarding which case is more common.
People with unrestricted sociosexual orientation have more premarital partners and less marital sexual satisfaction. If you want to try and show that premarital sex causes anything, then you have to control for the obvious external factor.
1. For selecting potential mates, “sociosexual orientation” is an extremely important factor and it can be seen rather easily in terms of premarital behavior and values. After all, expecting your spouse to change in a good way after marriage is well-known to be an incredibly bad move.
2. There is some non-zero chance that premarital sex does cause these things, which is substantial and worth consideration. Even if the odds are only, say, 30%, that’s a 30% chance of substantially improving your future marital health. Like cryonics, it’s worth it.
3. It is difficult to extract values from behavior because they feed into each other. When people have dissonance between the two, it is generally corrected by changing values rather than behavior (this principle is used in, for example, hazing). So a woman who behaves in a highly chaste way will more likely have a marriage-positive sociosexual orientation, not just because marriage-positive sociosexual orientations lead to chaste behavior, but because behaving in accordance with a marriage-positive sociosexual orientation is not the natural state and she needs a justification.
There’s an equally non-zero chance that the relationship goes the other way – that for unrestricted-SSOs, abstaining from premarital sex may reduce the chance of a successful marriage (but that in the uncontrolled studies, this factor is swamped by the restricted-SSOs who have less premarital sex and less divorce). Only controlled studies could answer this question, and I’ve yet to see any.
The evidence should bias one more towards premarital sex having deleterious effects on future marital health, than the opposite. In order to think that it shouldn’t, had studies found the opposite result – that premarital sex, not controlling for SSO, is correlated to healthier marriages – that would not be evidence in favor of premarital sex leading to healthier marriages (see e.g. Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence). Which, I do not.
Sorry, that should be: “In order to think that it shouldn’t, one would have to think that, had studies found [blah blah blah]”
Right, so maybe they just have values that I would consider terrible and evil.
Regardless I don’t know why anyone would give such thinking the time of day. Reactionary writing is very flowery I guess.
They would give such thinking the time of day because they are more open-minded (read: virtuous) than you.
I don’t see being “open-minded” about babyeating as virtuous. An actual conflicting value like Konk said would just leave us at an impasse.
Even in the story you allude to they gave the baby-eaters the time of day! They learned valuable things from communication with the baby-eaters, which ultimately saved human civilization!
>Right, so maybe they just have values that I would consider terrible and evil.
Consider stepping outside your current values for a minute. How arbitrary are they? How likely are they to be permanent and fundamental?
Consider that many reactionaries started out as progressives, and later decided that some non-progressive values are actually kindof cool.
I think reactionaries primarily oppose sluttiness because the higher your wife’s number of sexual partners, the higher your risk of divorce (which is the worst thing ever for a man, in their view). They even have some chart proving this–I don’t have it on me, but I could look around for it if you’d like. Just google “sexual partner divorce risk” on google or something though, I don’t imagine it’d be hard to find.
I can see how non-amicable divorce could easily be the worst thing ever to happen in a particular man’s life: someone takes your children away from you (women get custody in about 90% of cases iirc); kicks you out of your home; demands you pay them for the privilege; and can have you put in jail if you don’t pay.
I certainly wouldn’t argue that divorce is a cakewalk, but the key word there is ‘non-amicable.’ Not every single divorce ever is a horror story. Enough are to make me think marriage is not a good idea (your mileage may vary), but not enough to convince me that “sluts” are going to destroy society.
My parents had an amicable divorce and it still sucked for everyone involved: my mother got into a hasty second marriage that fell apart in a year, my father fell into a period of obvious depression that lasted for a full decade (to give you an idea of how bad it was, it was something like three years between when the rat and fly problems in his house started and when he got around to doing much of anything about them) and still probably isn’t over yet, and I got stuck having to move between two houses literally daily for six years. And eventually I had to pick a side of the family and cut off contact with the other except on a few holidays just to get back some semblance of stability in my life.
Eesh, that’s a nasty story. I’m sorry for what you went through. Respectfully, though, I’m not sure sluttiness would be the cause of your woes. As coffeespoons reminded me, Scott actually did find that reactionary graph, and the correlation between promiscuity and marital instability isn’t that strong. There’s a jump from 0 to 1 partners, but after that the numbers are lower until you get to really high n-counts, where it jumps up again. I’m inclined to believe something else is going on there.
I was responding to ‘non-amicable’, not ‘sluts’. I wouldn’t want to minimize the risk of non-amicable divorce when preparing to marry; I’d want to minimize the risk of divorce in general.
Scott made a good case in the last post for it not being true that more sexual partners means a higher divorce rate.
In the previous post I made points regarding virgin/non-virgin as a meaningful differentiation in typology of potential marital partners (I absolutely agree that slut/non-slut is a nonsensical categorization with little-to-no existence in objective reality). Initially, this post was going to be statistically backed up comparison of non-religious men and women who waited until marriage, as compared to non-religious men and women who had successful marriages, and where I pointed at the numbers while wiggling my eyebrows suggestively.
Unfortunately, I can’t prove to my satisfaction using the NSFG 2006-2010 data set whether or not the difference between virgin and non-virgin brides/grooms in terms of marital success is due to a combination of religiosity and conscientiousness, because the number of people who both have no religion and waited for marriage is pathetically small (also possible confounding problems, e.g. highly religious people who lost faith and that wound up ending their marriage). Comparing the waiters versus non-waiters in a variety of categories intended to measure non-religiosity (including No Religion raised, No Religion current, and Not Important At All in my daily life) fails to find statistically significant differences between categories. I could keep chewing through the numbers until I land on one I like enough, but it’d feel like cheap bullshit. A comparison between e.g. No Religion waiters and all other waiters found significance, so it does seem that there is definitely some role of religiosity in this regard.
The numbers I did crunch seemed to approach statistical significance the wider I cast my net (e.g. the p-value for the difference in marital success between “waited for marriage” vs. all else is larger than the p-value for the difference in marital success between “waited for marriage plus engaged” vs. all else is larger than the difference in marital success between “waited for marriage plus engaged plus living together” vs. all else for women who were raised without religion, but none of them are p < .05), but never reached statistical significance, likely due to the fact that it is a minority of a minority of women who are non-religious and wait until marriage. So I can't say that the numbers made me completely change my position, since it does seem to me as though it’s a function of the tiny subsample that is people who aren’t religious and wait until marriage. I am, however, much less certain of my position than I once was.
Well, anyway, maybe you found this post interesting. It was interesting to make.
It’s funny. Seeing someone arguing with reactionaries in good faith makes me somewhat uncomfortable. Something keeps telling me that there is no way a person would debate the fine details of blood-sucking with blood-sucking aliens, unless he’s a secret agent of the aforementioned blood-sucking aliens.
Your political opponents are not evil mutants.
My political opponents have alien morals and use alien logic. What’s the difference?
The difference is that we are human, and therefore by definition cannot be using alien morals or alien logic, unless the biological differences between you and every reactionary are sufficiently large, which I doubt.
The alien is, definitionally, foreign. As virtue ethics and deductive logic are at the core of Western thought going back to the Greeks, I’d argue that the Progressive mindset based on a (Near) Eastern conception of Sin and the role of the scholar in society is much more alien.
Of course that’s not your actual point; the real word you were looking for isn’t ‘foreign’ but ‘evil’ (funny how close those always get linguistically).
So are Reactionaries Evil? Some of us certainly; I personally follow Nietzsche’s admonishment to live so that future generations have the capacity to be more beautiful and more evil than we are today. But for the most part no, I’ve seen just as many Reactionaries trapped in Christian or pseudo-Christian slave moralities as you’ll find in a similarly sized sample of Progressives.
No blood sucking aliens here; just people who’ve made a realization about modernity that you find unpleasant to consider.
Also, many reactionaries seem to be ex-Progressives, especially Mr. Anissimov and Moldbug.
So you only tolerate People Like Me? You only treat as human People Who Think Like Me? You only give rights to People Who Believe What I Believe?
Now where did I hear notions like that before?
I did wonder why Scott was giving so much time to refuting reactionary views, given that there are only a tiny number of reactionaries. If he wants to argue in a civil manner with followers of an ideology that progressives find repugnant why not argue with fascists? Fascism still has many more followers globally and has been much more important historically, and there probably are some fascists in the world who’d argue in a civilised manner.
My guess is that Scott thinks that there is some value in some of what the reactionaries say, and that’s why he’s writing these posts?
Or maybe it’s just that fascism is too repugnant. I would find it more difficult to steelman fascism than reactionary views myself, given what happened between 1933 and 1945.
Fascism would be very hard to steelman unless it’s easier than I’m guessing to get around its reliance on constant war, but there’s always Franco.
Someone is going to have to explain Evola at some point too. At least Mussolini could write. (Surprisingly well, actually. Before he took over Italy, he ran a newspaper.)
To clarify: I was actually thinking of Scott steelmanning early Mussolini/Franco style fascism – he wouldn’t have to steelman Nazi beliefs about Jews. Mussolini wasn’t an anti-semite before the alliance with Hitler – I don’t think he was even particularly racist for his time.
No, it’s the “find value in what reactionaries say” one. I think they get a lot right everyone else gets wrong, and so I’m disappointed that they concentrate disproportionately on the dumbest 10% of their philosophy.
There are, to be sure, civilized and intellectual fascists but their style of thought is typically so romantic/poetic/metaphorical that it doesn’t lend itself to a Scott-style debunking. What clear and falsifiable claims about the world are being made in The Myth of the Twentieth Century by Alfred Rosenberg or The Lightning and the Sun by Savitri Devi or that My Nationalist Pony blog?
It is natural for Scott to engage with the rationalist reactionaries, such as his LessWrong brethren.
Scott, excuse me if this has been already covered, but what do you think is valuable in reactionary ideas?
Meanwhile, if anyone is interested in a very good hour-long discussion about teaching and learning tai chi and qi gong, it includes a discussion of a cultural shift since the 70s which makes it much harder for students to pay attention to what their teachers are teaching– it’s a situation where the loss of the idea of appropriate authority is quite costly.
A better (though not perfect) metric that should be pretty easy to get stats about is the number of mothers aged below 18.
On the overclass-underclass gap: If there is a constant rate of social change and a constant rate of adoption, then we get a steady state scenario where the lower class is *always* behind the times. This is much worse than having a transient and then a new normal. Also, what if the underclass is just worse at adapting to change?
On the Cathedral: I think that the issue is clouded by the confusion of Reactionaries, who often seem to conflate very different and opposed factions of the Cathedral with each other. (it would be instructive to look at cases where new professors, admins, etc. are bitterly opposed by a further-left faction.)
Also, if the claim is correct, then it just goes into the problem of culture war, in which a single subculture has monopoly over an asset.
BTW, are there any female reactionary bloggers?
For HBD (scientific racism) see hbdchick and FeministX. For a hard-to-categorize reactionary try Rachel Haywire – google “Faithful members of the far right fringe, do not despair!” for her stirring call-to-arms. The handy “Visualizing the Dark Enlightenment” chart gives some more female bloggers which it classifies under ethno-nationalism, Christian traditionalism and femininity.
As a meta note, history suggests that almost any unusual political philosophy will have overrepresentation of both men and Jews (re Nancy below). This doesn’t seem to be particularly correlated with truth-value or good policy outcomes. Having female or Gentile adherents doesn’t tell you much about the value of the belief system.
This is however a good overview, and hbdchick is particularly worth following.
Why should they be drawn randomly? That isn’t the nature of intellectual communities on the Internet; the most interesting thinkers seem to interact disproportionately with those of like opinion. Unqualified Reservations in its heyday was a thriving little community with completely different ideas to Mises.org, LessWrong or blogging professors such as Tyler Cowen.
I think that mild but pervasive coercion, Moldbug’s spontaneous Gleichschaltung, is a significant cause, although Internet and academia differ in other suggestive ways.
I agree WRT mild but pervasive coercion being ubiquitous, though I’m not sure whether it has always been so and am also unconvinced that reactionaries are against it, though some Progressives, like Mill, made it their central focus.
I think that the University of Chicago, and Saint Johns University are prominent examples of academic institutions coming out of intellectual traditions that diverge from modern Progressivism over a century ago. Their correlations with The Cathedral seem relatively emergent, while correlations within Harvard and Yale, for instance, seem to reflect the recognition of a shared dominance hierarchy.
By “drawn randomly” I mean “drawn by people who weren’t specifically selecting for that thing”. For example, college professors are drawn randomly with regard to wine/beer preference, because no one asks about that when hiring them.
By that definition, drawn randomly is just the assumption that the President of Harvard isn’t optimizing for professors who hold some political view (the Official Political View of Harvard), while the President of Yale is optimizing for professors who hold some other political view (the Official Political View of Yale).
In re nostalgia for the middle ages: Are any Reactionaries Jewish?
Moldbug is Jewish, and so is David Friedman, another unusual political philosopher who wishes to (and does!) resurrect medieval institutions. Lawrence Auster, Paul Gottfried and Steve Sailer, all paleoconservatives on the verge of reaction, have Jewish ancestry.
Or had, in Auster’s case.
*sigh* However, Friedman, at least, doesn’t want autocracy.
Jews are vastly overrepresented in basically all ideological/intellectual endeavours. Because they are awesome.
I’ve thought a little about whether centralized government is better or worse for minorities than less centralized government, and concluded that there’s no clear pattern.
Sometimes the government is worse than the public (Nazism). Sometimes the public is enthusiastically abusive (picnicking crowds at lynchings). Sometimes big government restrains local government (Federal government ends Jim Crow, Napoleon in re Jews).
Also, they mostly seem to favor some time between the Rennaisance and WWI, not the middle ages.
I was one of the people objecting to some of the 50-year trend graphs as being short-sighted (we are dealing with trends going back at least to the New Deal and quite possibly as far back as the Reformation) but that doesn’t mean tacit acceptance of their conclusions either.
The attempted murder rate has increased but been masked by medical technology (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1124155/), and while other violent crimes have fallen since the mid nineties that trend is swiftly revering (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/survey-marks-2nd-year-crime-increases-20669881). The timing of the big decreases is also a bit funny, since it seems that crime started to take a dive right around the era of “draconian” anti-crime ideas like the three-strikes laws/stop-and-frisk/mandatory minimum sentencing/broken window theory/etc came into common use. This explanation also predicts the drops in drug crime and property crime right about the same time.
Suicide is a tricky case, as Scott should know; we’re better now than ever at keeping self-harm nonlethal even as new drugs allow us to perform more effective interventions before a person tries to kill themselves. Even so, it’s interesting to see which groups are most driven to suicide now; men have always led in the statistics, but it’s kind of funny that the most ‘privileged’ slice of society seems to be the one feeling the greatest despair. Wouldn’t a progressive narrative predict that us content fatcats should be living the high life while poor urban youth and oppressed women are jumping off bridges out of hopelessness?
Divorce rates are indeed slowly falling from their highs in the 1970s, but a) the divorce rate is still at historic highs and b) the proportion of children growing up in a broken family is higher than it has ever been marriage rates themselves are lower and the number of children per family has drastically fallen. The nuclear family, itself a progressive replacement of older traditional extended families, is now itself a collapsed institution. Welfare-dependent Single Mothers and fathers tied to alimony payments are the new norm, alongside even more radical types of “relationship” which some of us have seen firsthand.
In essence, there’s really no call to say that any of these “decreases” are a sign that things are looking up; a holistic view of the data shows that we’re sinking rapidly even as our technology struggles to keep us afloat. That’s not to say we’re looking at a total collapse in the next year, or even in the next few decades, but that the overall trend of society is pointing towards a fairly grim future.
Nitpick: women are more likely to attempt suicide, while men are more likely to commit it, in large part because women use more inefficient techniques like poisoning. Source. As you point out, it’s a bit silly to count someone who would be dead if not for modern medicine as a non-suicide; therefore, one ought to be a bit more cautious than you were before claiming that men are suffering more than women are.
Also, poor people *are* at higher risk, although it’s true that both youth and urbanity reduce your risk of suicide. (I’m not sure how many progs claim that people who live in cities are oppressed, though?)
Urban youth is the PC way to say young black men, or at least it was a few years ago. The lingo changes pretty quickly and I was mainly just trying to have fun with my diction there.
I am pretty sure that “young black men” is the PC way to say “young black men.” I think the phrase you are looking for is “the thing Nice White Liberals say when they are trying to get away with being racist without anyone calling them on it.”
@ozymandias: No. Consider the use of phrases like “urban youth” in crime-related newspaper articles.
With that said, race-conscious neoreactionaries should keep in mind how rare truly bad behavior still is in the US. While a rate of 99.3% decency is worse than 99.9% decency, and leads to obvious patterns in the distribution of outlier events, one should almost always avoid punishing the 99.3% for the failings of the 0.7%. I am currently visiting a large US city with a considerable black population, and my encounters with that population have not really made me feel threatened at all.
I don’t suppose you have more information on attempted suicides? Your link only devotes one line to it, and it’s unclear where the numbers come from (they don’t appear in any of the tables, and the whole page doesn’t cite sources).
I could be wrong, but isn’t it just the expansion of the family model traditional for the English?
If by “traditional for the English” you mean “middle class Victorians” then yes.
More extended family models are more common historically and amongst poorer people.
Question for Reactionary men: Would you be willing and stay faithful to a woman who isn’t enthusiastic about sex (doesn’t hate it, just not much enthusiasm or drive) in order to improve your odds of a stable marriage?
Sexual enthusiasm is fun, but just like romantic love it waxes and wanes. Any successful relationship needs to start with the assumption that the honeymoon period will end and quickly establish a routine which minimizes strain. Even in relationships lasting less than a year you can feel the point where sex gets “stale” and it starts to takes more effort to get to the same point you started at, and that’s not even dealing with the big female libido-killers like childbirth and menopause.
So while obviously looking for a long-term partner who is enthusiastic about having sex with me (different than generalized enthusiasm for sex) is a big priority, realism demands that the lifetime goal is ‘contentment’ not ‘ecstasy.’ Every marriage hits unenthusiasm at some point, so people who are serious about marriage need to be ready for it.
@Nancy: I’m only partially a reactionary but, for what it’s worth, I have been faithful to my wife and I have every intention of remaining so unto death, whatever problems our sex life might run into.
Perhaps more interestingly, it is a staple of ‘manosphere’ thought that ‘low drive’ in women is often a misdiagnosis (see, in particular, Athol Kay). The real problem may be that the man is failing to be an engaging sex partner. Women generally want to have sex with confident, competent and physically fit men but with marriage, these qualities often decline. This is sometimes referred to as “betaization” and, on this theory, needs to be consciously resisted if a couple is to have a successful love life. Principles and methods from the “pick-up artist” community are to be applied.
I can’t say I can personally vouch for all this PUA/game stuff and I suspect it doesn’t fully apply to us Scandinavians (and so may not have as strong a basis in biology as is sometimes implied). The PUAs seem to have noticed this too, judging from Roosh’s travel guides. Based on his experiences in Iceland he writes: “Be careful: game is neutralized here” and he was not pleased with Danish women at all (“Don’t Bang Denmark”). And he hasn’t even tried Sweden, which is usually regarded as most feminist of all.
Thanks for your answer. I can’t help wondering whether paying attention to what you and she enjoy in addition to just being the right sort of man would also be helpful, but I may be misreading you. Or I might just be wrong.
Roissy says he was misquoted, and once he figured out that Icelandic women don’t tolerate self-aggrandizing men, his game was just fine.
What Do Women Want?” by Daniel Bergner argues that women have a sex drive which is pretty much like men’s, and what looks like low sex drive is actually low tolerance for monogamy.
One of my female friends was prescribed testosterone (I forget for what) and was pleasantly surprised with what it did for her sex drive.
My current belief is that I don’t know what’s going on, seasoned with a suspicion that a lot of people know much less about women and sex than they say they do.
@Nancy To be sure, specific information about what my wife wants is more valuable than general information about what most women want. Which is not to say that the latter is no help in figuring out the former. My point was supposed to be that material on what Nordic women want would be more helpful to me than US-based observations.
I think we may have some confusion between Roosh and Roissy and Denmark and Iceland. But from what I’ve read of Roosh’s material, he reached the conclusion that game didn’t work in Iceland – but was also completely unnecessary. He found out that there were plenty of attractive women interested in casual sex. It’s just that they didn’t require any elaborate seduction strategy and trying to run it on them left them bored or confused. His Danish experience was apparently less pleasant, though I’m sure it was not monk-like.
That’s what I get for not clicking on links– I assumed Roosh was a nickname for Roissy.
As Ozy points out, suicide attempt rates are higher among women. I don’t know how much import to put on this statistic since there are good theories that suicide attempt rates are driven by different mental processes than suicide rates (ie actually want to die vs. make dramatic gesture)
But it’s also worth noting that the five states with highest suicide rates are Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota. The five states with the lowest suicide rates are New York, Massachussetts, Delaware, New Jersey, and in last place, the District of Columbia.
This is a new thing and the time course is unrelated to availability of guns in those areas, which would be my first guess.
This isn’t really consistent with it being progressive values that lead to suicide per se, but sounds like it might be amenable to the same analysis I give divorce rates above. In fact, some good studies suggest divorce rates are driving the change in teen suicide rates, which is the only subset of suicide rates that seem like they might be increasing/stable rather than declining.
Re: crime – as you point out, assault rates have been going down along with murder rates. The increase in past two years is likely a recession effect, although it’ll be interesting to see if it continues.
*Starting a metaconversation from a point that keeps eating a thread*
What’s with this whole idea that some weird form of natural law falls directly out of evolutionary biology? I haven’t made any buts about me finding it really goofy: you simply can’t get an ought out of an is that way. I could of just as easily said that utilitarianism falls directly out of bits of economics like diminishing returns and such, but that takes certain underlying assumptions other underlying assumptions, just like caring about the reproductive adaptiveness of certain behaviors does.
Is this part of reaction? Because this whole line of thinking absolutely drives me nuts.
There’s a Rudyard Kipling poem which does a pretty good job explaining the idea, “The God of the Copybook Headings” which I’ll link to here (http://www.kipling.org.uk/poems_copybook.htm).
While Kipling is talking more about the received wisdom of ancient civilizations than modern scientific knowledge, the basic idea is the same; we have a highly reliable source of information about human nature (whether gained through millenia of trial-and-error or centuries of meticulous research) which we can either choose to ignore in favor of passing political fashions or use to make our society more enduring.
We never tried to argue that sexual jealousy isn’t a thing, but you don’t need evolutionary biology for that. You seem to be arguing that jealousy is a good thing, because it’s adaptive somehow. Firstly, it’s possible that it was adaptive in the ancestral environment and isn’t now, like the violent behavior experienced among hunter gatherers, or that, regardless of adaptiveness, it’s a dark impulse that people should try to control if they are able (and, in fact, some people are perfectly able.) The latter was known 2,000 years ago: love is not jealous.
I’m all for certain social norms to curb jealousy, to a point. Having norms for monogamy as the default complete with built in assumptions of cheating as betrayal, seems like a not too bad idea. Other systems as something extra, that, in practice, both parties of a monogamous pair agree to, also doesn’t seem like a bad idea, even if it isn’t for every body. Even if it would blow up in most people’s faces.
Weird norms where a man can control a woman before he’s met her, out of possible jealousy, are completely incomprehensible to me. The best that makes sense to me, is the dissemination of common knowledge that some people want to marry virgins. That’s already a thing, it’s just that a combination of of their rarity and anonymity makes most people (men and women) consider them not worth it.
It seems like if you want to change this trend, you would try to put pressure on the sexual market. Offer reverse doweries to virgin brides. Acquire high status through riches or celebrity and put out an ad. Make a social network or a corner of a social network that only allows and highly prizes virgins. Slut shaming from your own corner of the internet seems both meanspirited, and unlikely to work.
The only problem I can forsee, is if your plan works too well, and people start lying about it more. There isn’t an easy solution to that, Even in multimillennia old societies, with heavy social injunctions against women, proof of virginity was a very tricky problem. The most likely thing to help, unfortunately, is child brides, as mentioned earlier in another thread.
This is a common theme in political discussions. Sometimes we talk about which actions we can, individually, take. Sometimes we talk about which actions we can, as a small group, take. And sometimes we talk about which actions we could take if we were politicians, or if we could control the behavior of the whole of society. We switch around these levels of agency all the time without noticing, and it leads to much confusion (for example, in a political debate about policy Y, someone else might say “that’s a silly idea, it would never fly because the people from the other party would never go for it, so why don’t we go with my compromise of policy X instead” and I’m thinking “well, in the real world, you are not a politician and you can’t introduce policy X either, so how is a discussion about introducing policy Y any more silly?”).
We should probably make an effort to keep these different levels of agency separate. I think what a lot of people are arguing is that a society which shuns sluts and divorced women, and which makes life hard, etc… creates a very different world than a society which doesn’t, and that they would prefer it if the socio-political trends which led to modern sexuality could be stopped and reversed. This policy goal is separate from possible means of achieving it as a political group, which is in itself separate from what you would do as an individual to maximize your outcomes in the modern world (most of the individual-level advice I’ve read seems to fall into Roissy’s “enjoy the decline” idea, with some other people suggesting that you look for a bride in a third world country).
Imagine if you will, waking up as a celebrity or as the chief executive of G16 country.
Maybe there are some policies you could enact that could change things a little. Maybe prizing virginity so openly looks a little eccentric, but harmless in a rich celebrity.
Now imagine talking about women who have any sex outside of marriage as sluts, and watch people who might even sympathize with you, turn on you. You not only make all the people who identify as feminists mad, but almost all the sluts (95% of the US female population!) and and all the people who love them.
A lot of people agree with your values, even if they don’t practice them. Most people aren’t atheist, quasi utilitarians who dabble in polyamory and believe in the singularity. Most Americans, at least, are Christians, who could see where your coming from, but shaming them and calling them names seems like the poorest rhetorical strategy imaginable.
Oh, I almost forgot to talk about the object level! Silly me.
I was under the impression that neoreaction was fundamentally a political movement. No one has actually tried to make it seem like it’s a bad idea for an individual to prefer virgins. Going to a developing nation isn’t a bad idea, though I don’t think it’s necessary quite yet, as there’s definitely a “purity culture” among Christians in the US. I’m living in the Philippines right now, and while virgins aren’t exactly lying on the ground, I do get the impression that they are much more common here.
What this tells me is that any political plan which has “Step 1: Become a celebrity/chief executive of a G16 country” is probably not going to be optimal for achieving the already mentioned policy goal.
Much like LW-style rationality, neoreaction can be seen as having epistemic and instrumental components. If you assume that the descriptive parts are true, then it helps you to form a more accurate picture of the world, better enabling you to predict its course and the consequences of your own actions. What you do with that information is between you and your utility function, but since men often desire similar things, such as a stable and sustainable society or a happy marriage, there are recurring trends of advice aimed at achieving these goals, at different levels of agency.
Let’s take the manosphere as an example, since we are talking about relationships so much. So in one corner you might see the PUAs discussing how to individually have lots of sex or how to keep their wives attracted to them through the years, and in another you might see the MRAs trying to form a political movement to affect change through democratic channel and rescue the institution of marriage, and in yet some other corner are people who think trying to work within democracy is a waste of time and instead think about how they would design a political system which worked well from the ground up (if you are lucky they will also have some ideas about how to get from here to there). And all these people are inspired by the same epistemic map of reality which differs from the mainstream’s, and which teaches them about the sexual market and hypergamy and pre-selection and so on and so forth. And, of course, the same people may participate in more than one corner.
No, but a lot of people are saying we should stop at that. That it’s fine if some people have their personal “virgin fetish”, no different from a nurse fetish, as long as they don’t go around imposing it on everybody else.
It’s not as simple as “marrying a virgin bride will guarantee you eternal happiness”. It helps, of course, but then you get into the practicalities of things. If you bring her back to the U.S., for example, now you are faced in a society in which divorce is a trivial inconvenience, which offers her huge incentives to go through the trouble of that trivial inconvenience, where it is socially acceptable and even encouraged to undertake said trivial inconvenience, etc… and now you get to spend the rest of your marriage seated under the sword of Damocles. Or maybe her home culture has strong anti-divorce incentives, so you decide to stay there? Well, now we are back at the “I really wish my home society would just do that” square.
It’s the cultural ethos you should be interested in, which will stay in a person who wherever they go, or however the laws might change, unless they are especially pliable. Here, divorce isn’t a thing. There’s annulment, which is expensive, and estrangement, which will happen if your abusive to your wife, but she’s too poor for an annulment.
The strong family ethos means divorce and annulment are for wacky, eccentric celebrities, and estrangement is viewed is extremely trashy.
On the other hand, if you aren’t ready for the massive amount of work it’s going to take you to attain the status and move the social mores (Not just blogging, real community involvement, in companies, churches, and local politics, plus the formation of your own in person social groups and communities, etc.) then moving to another country that better suits your values sounds like an extremely good plan.
Disagree. The vast majority of people are very, very, very pliable. The obvious example here is racial segregation in the U.S., which ended within living memory, yet people who grew up with it and considered it normal now uniformly treat it as beyond the pale.
It’s only a small minority of nerds who take their ideas seriously enough to carry their ethos across times and societies. The vast majority of people will hold whatever views are necessary to fit into their current social circle, and invent elaborate rationalizations after the fact to justify it. Of course, this is not a conscious process; from the inside, it just looks like they have seen the errors of their previous ways.
Yes, this is certainly a plausible individual plan. You also have to take into account what you lose, though, such as the obvious technological drawbacks of moving from a first world country to a third world country, or of leaving your family behind, or perhaps betraying a sense of loyalty to your nation. And, per another common reactionary thesis, the fear that your new home is just lagging behind, and that it will soon resemble your old one (if not in time to affect you, then in time for your children or grandchildren to feel it).
Goddamn, this fucking control-all-women-in-everything vibe is definitely the most sickening and fascist thing here.
Monarchy? Racism? Weaksauce.
Talikng about relying on your spouse’s legally under-protected status to keep a “relationship” together… being under the impression that she’d gladly disregard you and bolt when faced with the opportunity? Freaky, freaky, freaky, just incredibly messed-up!
PS: found a nice, conscise comment on the two most-named PUA/antifeminist bloggers here:
Roissy appears worse because his bullshit has more followers, but as others have noted, his site has the unexpected effect of actually de-programming a lot of people from game. It’s not just the flowery language and mixed metaphors (actually, ‘mixed’ is being too generous, it’s more like a metaphor puree), his general philosophy will lead most readers who still possess a modicum of sanity to draw the following conclusions:
1. If the world is like Roissy describes, then I want to kill myself
2. If following Roissy’s model is the way to salvation, then I want to kill myself even more.
Thankfully, the real world is nothing like Roissy’s softcore collapse porn, and it’s pretty easy to conclude that he and his followers have lost the plot entirely.
Roosh’s approach, however, is more annoying, because he presents himself as some sort of “everyman,” and he thinks that his frustration with American women represents that of the average dude. No; Most American men with a shred of common sense are doing fine. In addition, Roosh doesn’t seem to be very bright or openminded when it comes to discussing American women. He has lived in ONE motherfucking American city in his adult life, and he draws all sorts of conclusions about US females based on it. Just drive 40 miles North to Baltimore and you’ll see a world of difference in interests and attitude.
Also on the latter’s brief, unpleasant encounter with Scandinavian socialism:
AAAAW!!!! The mean feminazis hurt my weeniie
I wish all rapists’ stories ended that way.
Whoops, I got my bloggers mixed up. “Enjoy the decline” is Captain Capitalism’s phrase, not Roissy’s. Roissy’s phrase is “poolside, getting a tan.” Then again, both express the same idea.
@Multiheaded: Believe me, I am NOT happy about living in the world Roissy describes. Realizing that God doesn’t exist, that heaven is a lie, and that we live in an uncaring universe? Weaksauce. Realizing that the PUA worldview was correct was easily the hardest truth I have ever had to face. But what is true is already so, owning up to it doesn’t make it worse, and not thinking about it doesn’t make it go away.
It’s been a while, but perhaps this post from Sunshine Mary can help. It’s called “The Response to Reality”.
Whoops, “Anonymous” post on January 22, 2014 at 4:33 pm was by me.
The point of evolutionary biology is not to tell men what desires they ought have, but to explain what desires they already have.
Yeah, riiight. Go ahead, explain femdom or something else common-but-“deviant”.
Just-so-story: possible advantage from marrying a high status wife? Possible correlation of “bossiness” with traits like intelligence/ health/ status. Hostage syndrome, which is often explained by the evolutionary advantage of associating with those fitter/ higher status than you.
What I actually think: Mostly adaptive pattern matching subroutine that allows humans to associate things with sex, creates fetishes and mores that couldn’t have possibly existed in the ancestral environment. For every person who says that modern US men are attracted to slim young and often virgin girls because it signifies youth and therefore fertility, there are people saying that are ancestors were attracted to plumper women with children because that was proof of fertility at a time when food and fertility were scarce.
I’m not an evolutionary biologist, but I know enough to know that evolutionary biology is actually a difficult science, not some thing that I’m liable to trust with some non expert over the internet, especially when the whole reason they brought it up was as an attempt to prove their pet sociological theories, whatever those might be.
Ok, I find most of this reasonable, except: “creates fetishes and mores that couldn’t have possibly existed in the ancestral environment”. How do we make guesses about the cause and effect of such things in the ancestral environment with such certainty? You can always make an even wilder just-so-story to trump a previous onem e.g. that it was a sign of high status in men to be able to defer to a partner and refrain from open coercion towards her but still keep her. But we can’t actually tell.
Mostly adaptive pattern matching subroutine that allows humans to associate things with sex, creates fetishes and mores that couldn’t have possibly existed in the ancestral environment.
So… create an extremely harsh regime of persecution and (clever) propaganda against (broadly understood) rape, and hope that makes sex with less-than-enthusiastic consent unwanted in a couple generations? It’s unusual to find a proposal that much of human behavior might be determined by nurture on account of nature.
I wasn’t thinking of femdom as an example of a fetish that would be impossible. Somethingm like, balloons or handcuffs would be a much better example.
I’m not sure if your plan could work. Nothing is sexy like sex. The reverse might be possible: I can’t help but feel it would be desirable if the number of people with a consent fetish would outnumber those with rape fantasies.
As I already commented in the first post, you didn’t provide good evidence against the contention that sluts don’t make good wives, because number of sexual partners before marriage is not a good measure of sluttiness without controlling for age. A 16 year old who has had three sexual partners is not equally as slutty as a 32 year old who has had three sexual partners.
All they are is divorce statistics. Forget the evidence for a moment: it won’t matter unless you know what you’re looking for. This is a perfect example: he brought the evidence, and you deny it because of possible confounding factors.
Let’s start with something simple: “What is your rational basis for *sigh* sluts making bad wives and what are your expectations given this is true?”
I don’t think sluts make bad wives.
Ah. Completely misread your post. I’m an idiot. Sorry.
This is how I feel about sexually liberated people.
>Assuming we want to correct that by enforcing some kind of value system on them, we have two models. Number one, the value system of 1100s rural Austria. Number two, the value system of the wealthy people in the suburbs just down the street.
Er, why are these the only two models? Why not include the value system of 1950 suburban America? If you’re going to make it an issue of which system of values is easiest to convey/impose it seems like there are more realistic options that Reactionaries would consider better than the status-quo.
“The upper classes are “early adopters” in terms of technological and material change. They’re going to be the first people trying contraception, the first people trying new fancy leaded gasoline, the first people sending their daughters off to college.”
You see, here is part of my objection to regarding the ‘lower classes’ as some kind of exotic zoological specimens (obligatory disclaimer: I’m lower class myself; two maternal great-grandparents may have been lower middle class, but all the rest of my family on both sides are common as muck).
You mention later on in the same paragraph as that from which I have excerpted the above the point about real wages, but I feel you have insufficiently stressed the point: why are the upper classes ‘early adopters’ over the lower classes? Because they’re so much more open-minded, or because they have the disposable income?
Sir John de Briggs may be able to send his daughter off to college where Jack Briggs has to send her to the mill, not because the Honourable Maria de Briggs is smarter and more open-minded than Mary Briggs but because Mary Briggs has to earn a living. And Sir John may well be sending his daughter off not so much to get an education as to enable her to mix with the suitable young men who will be her suitors.
Contrariwise, it’s easier to drop out and turn on when you have the safety net of family support behind you and when you’re ready to stop being a bohemian, there is always someone that Daddy knows where you can get a job with their business; it’s harder when you’re depending on getting a job in the local box factory which has just shut down because the multinational that tool over the company can manufacture the same product cheaper in its overseas plant in India or China. Both Maria and Mary may have had flings and made mistakes, but Maria’s mistakes won’t weigh around her neck like an albatross the same way Mary’s mistakes will.
From “The Secret of Father Brown” by G.K. Chesterton:
I guarantee that you and your parents are not “lower class” in the sense that that term is used by reactionaries (“Dalits” to Moldbug), based on (1) your ability to write coherently and (2) the fact that you refer to relatives with jobs.
I don’t think I actually disagree with you about upper classes being early adopters due to disposable income, and your comment seems like a fully general attack on all science while falsely pretending there’s another kind of science that it approves of.
I also resent the idea that scientists never study themselves or their peers scientifically. I’m vastly vastly more scientifically interested in myself and my peers than any other group, possibly to the point of narcissism. That’s why I study psychology, psychiatry, genetics, et cetera.
So in all these comments about premarital sex and divorce, why does everyone seem to be assuming a causal relationship, when there is an obvious third factor (sociosexual orientation) influencing both?
Class: how sure are you that you know what “new values and institutions” the upper class developed? Charles Murray, in Coming Apart, argues that upper classes have old fashioned values, but they don’t preach what they practice, eg, they aren’t tolerant of single mothers. Of course, if you can’t agree on what values and institutions people have, it’s pretty hard to agree on how to copy values and institutions, or even to be sure you’re right once you do agree.
Murray is talking about marriage and divorce, not about having lots of sexual partners at age 20. So, yes, there must have been some change. But I think this conversation has gotten sidetracked by people who have beliefs more specific than they should.
“What percent of Harvard professors do you think prefer wine to beer? What about Yale professors? Now what about Columbia professors?
I don’t have a clue what the actual numbers are, but I bet all three colleges are within a few percentage points of each other. Why? Because large samples drawn randomly from the same population tend to converge.
Moldbug’s point makes sense only if there is a single top-down authority deciding on the politics of Harvard, and then another deciding for Yale, and then a third deciding for Columbia. ”
Actually this is nothing like wine. You would expect different intellectual climates in different places. Take economics: You had the Chicago school that was distinctly different because of the intellectual force of a Milton Friedman and others. One would expect conservative and liberal thinkers to garner followers and persuade people around them, creating ‘schools’ of thought in different places.
And it is manifestly not true that the sharpest minds are of the left, as some smug liberals like to claim. The blogosphere is evidence of the falseness of that.
What then is happening? It is easily seen that the left forecloses on debate by using terms like hate and intolerance, witchhunts that are reminiscent of the old church. When such terms are applied the number one living scientist in their respective fields, Napoleon Chagnon and James Watson in anthropology and biology respectively, ordinary faculty and university professors haven’t got a chance. You only have to burn a few heretics at the stake percentage-wise to get everyone else to fall in line.
I think accepting your hypothesis doesn’t explain this either. Even if the Cathedral is real, we would expect some people to be more leftist than others – in fact, it’s certainly true that there are some professors who are radical leftists and others who are “moderate” leftists by academic standards. Or you can be leftist in different ways – Marxist, anarchist, welfare socialist, Maoist.
If you think that the effect of intellectually forceful leaders should be able to create inhomogeneities, why isn’t Harvard Leninist but Yale Maoist, or anything like that? Or why isn’t Harvard far-left and Yale super-far-left?
I find all of this quite fascinating.
But I’m afraid that I’ll never reach actual understanding of the Reactionary position because I simply *do not think* that things like “out of wedlock births” and “divorce” are BAD THINGS.
Of course 11th century Austria had almost no divorce. Divorce wasn’t legally permitted, and the closest legal thing (annulment) was expensive and not available “on demand”; also the negative social-reputation consequences for simply upping and leaving were so bad for most people that they could effectively mean death. Which meant that once you married someone you were STUCK – if he beats you, rapes you, rapes your children, sleeps with hundreds of women and gives you syphilis? Tough shit. Stuck. No way out. Divorce is AMAZING.
But being “allowed” (socially, as well as legally) to simply shack up without declaring your relationship to the state; that’s even better. Now I don’t have to go through the hassle and expense of getting a divorce – I can JUST LEAVE. Wow, getting myself out of a shitty relationship has probably never been easier.
>But I’m afraid that I’ll never reach actual understanding of the Reactionary position because I simply *do not think* that things like “out of wedlock births” and “divorce” are BAD THINGS.
Do you consider higher rates of violent crime (especially rape), higher rates of drug and alcohol addiction, higher rates of mental illness and suicide, lower odds of academic achievement and career success, higher chances of winding up homeless or in prison, and lower degrees of bonding with friends and lovers bad things?
Would you be surprised to know that growing up in a single parent household leads to every one of those things, at least on a population scale?
(I would normally go to the sources and crunch the numbers myself, since most of the citations are government data which is easy to get, but I have to run in about 5mins; these reviews will have to do for now. Regardless, the body of research is fairly large and conclusive.)
It would be great if we could eat all we wanted, fuck whoever we wanted, sleep all day and only work or socialize when it was deeply personally fulfilling. But that is not our world. Without structure and rules, often very strict rules, civilization collapses and we revert to savage animalistic behavior.
The ease of divorce and the huge number of out of wedlock births today is causing generations of children to grow up into criminals and deadbeats, and that is a simple statistical fact. Regardless of the moral value you place on personal liberty, you have to acknowledge that the cost of continuing this way is that tens of millions of people will live less pleasant and shorter lives as a result. I consider that to be an unacceptable trade, and that is why I support policies which will rejuvenate the traditional family.
The original poster commented on out of wedlock births and divorce, you commented on children of single parent homes. Correlated maybe but not the same thing.
Also comparing children in single parent homes to children in two parents homes is not the best comparison. The correct comparison is whether or not children who grow up in single parent households would have turned out better had their parents not been able to divorce (due to the absence of no-fault divorce). Its possible that the situations that cause people to divorce (currently) would have had even worse effects on children had the parents not been able to divorce. Obviously this is a more difficult test to conduct, but its the one that matters.
Only about 15-30% of divorces split up so-called “high conflict” marriages; these are situations where the kids do benefit from a split and includes things like domestic partner terrorism or sexual abuse. The rest are “low conflict” marriages which are not easily distinguishable from happy marriages; since both marriage and raising children decrease happiness, it makes sense that people would leave their responsibilities behind when given social and legal justification, much less the massive financial incentive women have (unsurprisingly, women initiate most divorces).
Giving the option to dissolve an abusive marriage is something even the medieval Catholic church thought was reasonable; hurting your children or spouse is a breach of the marriage contract, pure and simple. But no fault divorce makes the institution entirely unsustainable and thus creates a childcare disaster.
(And before you say it, spousal and child abuse is actually higher among cohabiting partners than in marriages. Not to mention that kids need stability like fish need water, at least if you’re not trying to raise a nation of thugs.)
I haven’t looked into it thoroughly enough to vouch for the validity of the studies suggesting that marriage and child-rearing reduce happiness – but if we were to assume that those findings are robust, it seems almost obvious to me that creating disincentives for abandoning them is the wrong approach.
Maybe it’s just the mind projection fallacy at work, but I tend to assume that “creating a stable, low-crime society” is just a means toward a terminal goal that sounds something like “increasing overall human happiness/flourishing.” If that’s not the end goal, it might make sense to prop up institutions that make people less happy. So, what is the goal?
Hmm so you think that all non-abusive marriages that end in divorce are similar to happy marriages and that the children would be better off if the parents didn’t (were unable to) divorce? That’s somewhat plausible I guess, although not exactly conclusive.
I don’t think this issue is nearly as one-sided as you seem to think it is. Almost all social policy consists of tradeoffs. I’m am willing to acknowledge that in some cases the existence of no-fault divorce is bad for the children involved, but there are also cases in which it is good for the children involved (its plausible that the effect is a net negative on children), and there are certainly cases when it is good for the partners involved (1). Are some people hurt by no fault divorce? Yes. Are some people hurt by the lack of no fault divorce? Of course. Having to testify in court to get out of an abusive marriage (particularly verbally abusive) is horrifying to deal with especially when it is difficult to prove. So the question is which tradeoffs we are willing to live with.
Given that the problem is not no fault divorce per se but divorce itself, then the goal should be to prevent salvageable marriages from ending in divorce. There are ways of doing that other than making it impossible.
Did you follow either of my links?
The 15-30% figure for “High Conflict” marriages wasn’t pulled out of the ether, it’s a number that has been repeatedly established through psychological studies. The fact that these are typically abusive marriages, in one way or another, accounts for the gains in women’s suicide and domestic violence rates following the introduction of unilateral divorce; making it easier to dissolve all marriages helps the 15-30% in bad marriages even as it hurts the other 70-85% of healthy ones.
The key here is that eliminating no-fault divorce does not mean that divorce is gone totally, just that proper cause needs to be demonstrated. An abusive marriage is something society has no interest in maintaining, and there’s no obvious reason why just because past courts have overlooked abuse that future ones must as well.
The gains your citation shows could be at least partially retained without having to throw away the more than two thirds of would-be-divorces which aren’t abusive, simply by using abuse as the discriminating factor in whether a divorce is legal. There’s no need for a tradeoff if both goods can be captured without either of their evils.
Yes I followed the links why?
“gains in women’s suicide and domestic violence rates following the introduction of unilateral divorce; making it easier to dissolve all marriages helps the 15-30% in bad marriages even as it hurts the other 70-85% of healthy ones.”
Did you mean reduction in women’s suicide and domestic violence or are you disputing that the data is accurate?
“There’s no need for a tradeoff if both goods can be captured without either of their evils.”
Since we already had fault divorce before no-fault divorce and there were gains (and losses) with the introduction of no fault divorce clearly there _are_ going to be tradeoffs. You think the tradeoffs favor fault divorce by a wide margin, I am less sure.
As Katie said, trying fix marriages by making divorce a legal nightmare is not obviously the best solution to the problem. How about trying to make marriages healthier? Or addressing the causes of divorce. Eliminating no fault divorce is hardly the only option, and it comes at a cost.
Scott’s most recent post has brought to my attention an article that seriously challenges the idea that removing no fault divorce will solve the problems you bring up.
No fault divorce was not a major factor in increasing the divorce rate, and the laws were brought about in part due to shifting cultural attitudes (the reverse effect is small).
@ Crimsonwool RE: Objections against my statements regarding sexual incompatibility
I wasn’t arguing for more sex before marriage exactly. At least, I understand that does not directly follow from what I said. I only agued that sexual imcompatibiliy was a real and serious problem.
I think the conclusion I have to draw from the data you posted about sexual experience lessening the satisfaction of marriage is that most modern marriages only make sense to people in a state of ignorance.
It doesn’t necessarily follow that what ever my pet social theory is correct. It could be just as likely that sex and relationships are too much of a hassle and they aren’t worth it for most people, as that we should structure relationships in a a more communal polyamory, as we should do something completely different. All I’m saying is: when you’re in a hole stop digging. And forcing people to stay in an unhappy marriage their whole lives just seems like more worthless excavation to me.
My real point of view is that, if we don’t want to force people into sexually incompaitible marriages, this means more time before marriage, which means more sex before marriage no matter what you do, and there isn’t much we can do about it with out serious thought.
In reply to assertion that people sometimes marry because they had sex with someone who was a good lay: this makes no sense in a society where sex is more freely available outside of marriage. This might happen, but the incentives sure as hell look like they point the opposite way, where people, when sex is not freely available outside of marriage, are more likely to marry for sex than when it is not.
Marriages aren’t going to be unhappy your whole life, unless your partner is a sociopath or something. The fact that you are unhappy for a subset of the period of your marriage just means it’s working. If you were never going to be unhappy for any substantial period of time in your marriage, there’d be no need to have you swear an oath to one another to stick by each other through thick and thin.
You’re acting like the idea that marriage is not all bliss is something that completely undermines marriage, which is only true if you accept the idea that marriage is supposed to be all bliss. This is obviously untrue, as the most prominent and venerable marital vows explicitly define marriage as being something that will persist through non-blissful conditions. Evaluating marriage on whether or not it maintains a persistent positive emotional affect is like evaluating a car based on whether or not it can run without ever refueling: expecting the impossible and getting mad when it fails to arrive.
My point was more, “good sex blocks out my ability to notice the giant red flags” than “I want to get married to have good sex.”
I understand that. I don’t think most people divorce for trivial reasons. I do really feel like most people are fucked up, one way or another, and that the fuck ups result into massively unhealthy relationships.
There seems to be this weird impasse where we are talking right by each other. You seemed worried that instead of marriage garnering you a guaranteed family member to take you through the rough times, that your spouse will leave you the second you get cancer because divorce is easy. I mostly think this isn’t a thing, just like stranger rape, compared to other types of rape is an almost non thing.
We keep saying stuff like some relationships are founded on really shitty grounds, as to be not so much nonfixable as to have no concievable good function, once the hormone wear off, for children or for any one else. We keep saying sometimes your husband rapes your kids, and a good mother shouldn’t tolerate that. And the reactionaries keep ignoring it, acting as if it’s a non thing.
To me, the fact of the prevelence of divorce suggests the latter is true. Is it fair to say you feel the same about the former? How would we test such a thing?
Remember, this isn’t to suggest that the former literally never happens. Shotgun weddings still happen, all over the world. Weekend marriages, with Las Vegas weddings and Reno divorces are a thing, I just don’t thing they’re the primary root of most divorce.
If you just want to remove the perceived economic incentives women have for divorce, that seems relatively reasonable. I’m not sure they really exist for husbands who are not extremely wealthy, given how hard it is to raise a family in the US on a single paycheck. But it’s way more amenable to the mainstream political sphere than all this slut talk.
As for the bit on good lays, that sounds much less insane, but it doesn’t enter into my experience, and still doesn’t seem like a major concern in a society where sexual relationships are seen as
separate from marriage. And certainly, a lot of stimuli can cause a person to ignore red flags. I really can’t imagine that these incentives face the other way.
You’re going to have to do better than this.
See my comment with links to stuff on “Low Conflict” v “High Conflict” marriages; psychologists agree that divorce due to abuse or incompatibility makes up less than a third of divorces, and that the remainder are essentially dealing with the same stresses all married people do. Hell, even 65% of divorcees “wish[ed] their partner had tried harder to save the marriage” which would be an odd statement to say the least if directed towards an abuser or a rapist.
As for financial incentives, college educated women are the ones who initiate divorce 90% of the time and can expect to gain custody of the kids (and thus the average ~$6,500/month in child support) 82% of the time (source for custody data: http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf). That’s on top of alimony/maintenance where the man is very likely to be the higher earner who has to pay out, and other awards such as splitting of pensions / houses / cars / debts which will again favor the spouse (wife) with lower income and savings. Compare that to the relatively $15-30K upfront cost of a divorce attorney and you see why it’s such a profitable industry.
The fact that they diorced is enough evidence for me that the relationships are not the same. The truth is relationships involve people, and people are different from one another. I’ve said it before in different ways: if you married a woman who is unserious enough about the marriage that she leaves you over what you see to be petty problems, then you’ve already made a mistake, and it’ll haunt you, one way or another, whatever the other intensives are. Don’t marry those women. Judging character is hard, I know, but we’re all in the same boat.
I also have to call bullshit on the financial numbers. Most men don’t pursue a custody, which is a major obfuscator. And most people don’t make that much. Or even half that much. It’s literally impossible to get.
If yoou want to have this argument it needs to be a seperate argument. Marriage is a trap for men in modern times is something I’m about a million times more sympathetic to than any thing else out of reactionary thought, but my reccomendation is pretty wildly different: Most people shouldn’t get married. Especially under 30. And most people definitely should be making kids.
and thus the average ~$6,500/month in child support
Huh? It looks like the median earnings for someone with a masters degree is $1300 per week or $4619 per month (source: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm). You’d expect the median man with a masters to earn a bit more than that, but still probably less that $6500. Are you suggesting that men are paying their entire pre-tax income out in child support?
Oops, sorry for commenting twice.
and thus the average ~$6,500/month in child support
Huh? It looks like the median earnings for someone with a masters degree is $1300 per week or $4619 per month (source: http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm). You’d expect the median man with a masters to earn a bit more than that, but still probably less that $6500. Are you suggesting that men are paying their entire pre-tax income out in child support?
Good catch, that was per year not per month.
Good catch, that was per year not per month. The census website is hard to read sideways, and my phone is uncooperative with rotating pdfs.
I’m willing to grant that the cost of divorce is underestimated on the left, but perhaps it would be more efficient to learn and teach what makes people easy and enjoyable to live with rather than focus on slut-shaming, even though the latter has strong short-term emotional satisfactions associated with it.
I’m assuming that at least some marriages are ground down by bad cognitive and emotional habits rather than by deep incompatibility or settled cruelty.
It would be interesting to live in a world where PSAs included such messages as “People aren’t telepathic” and “You shouldn’t start by assuming bad motivations”.
Slut shaming alone is indeed a poor solution to our divorce rates, but that’s because sluttiness is a symptom of a greater disease. In terms of actually making a difference in restoring sexual morality, policy changes like reinstating sodomy and adultery laws, eliminating no-fault divorce and aid to unwed mothers, and cracking down on what was once known as “clandestine marriage” would all be much more effective than mere talk could hope for.
If you want to compensate for a market failure, you need to de-externalize the cost of poor decision-making to society; that applies to the sexual marketplace as much as any other. I personally see a top-down pigouvian tax / criminalization scheme as being more likely to work, but I’m open to other people’s suggestions.
In a spirit of experimentation, can you come up with any ideas about making stable marriage more attractive rather than marriage-damaging behavior more expensive?
If I were Emperor, I’d be tempted to set a limit on the cost and complexity of weddings. (Yes, I know, totally unenforceable. I’m fantasizing.) I suspect that there are people who have serious doubts about getting married, but they’re too aware that arrangements have already been made for the catering. In the real world, people like that probably aren’t emotionally steady enough for marriage, but what can you do?
Congrats on getting abandoned or backstabbed by all your queer associates who started off thinking: “Wow, such bravery, such libertarianism!” Like, I dunno Rachel Haywire is almost a walking, talking violation of some of your hare-brained “laws”. And she’s one of the VERY few women who hanged out with your neo-reactionary croud and had something nice to way.
Okay, but then… Why don’t we personally take a walk around the dumpsters and abandoned places of your local area, so that I force you to pick up and bury every fetus and dead infant found there, at gunpoint? Wouldn’t that be a proper way for a ruler to face the consequences of their edicts?
All in all, you seem to live in a bizzare and dark fantasy world.
Ironic that someone who presumably supports abortion is playing the “dead baby” card. Maybe we can make two piles, dumpster v clinic, see whose is larger? I’d bury mine with a backhoe but you’ll probably want something closer to a Tunnel Boring Machine for yours.
But seriously, you need to step up your trolling game if you want to make it to the big-leagues. I had a guy send me a picture of a blood-splattered screaming child in a debate about moral relativism; theoretical dumpster babies aren’t particularly shocking.
My dead babies are lawfully disposed of in well-equipped clinics, their mother anasthetized, observed closely by professionals and given some means to deal with the experience;s inveitable trauma. Yours are dropped to rot by sickly, panicked young women, most likely already thinking of where their next shelter/meal/etc is coming from.
Here’s just a couple damn stories of the dragon teeth you’ve sown. YOU have sown them. YOU.
I wish an utter pathetic, gutless coward like you could stare these women in the eye and repreat to them what you’ve just told me.
Next comment like this will earn you a temporary ban from this blog’s comment section if I can figure out how to ban people.
See, this is much better!
Links to genuinely gross stories, much more provocative personal attacks, more rage; that’s the kind of game you need to be a real capital-T Troll.
Keep it up, I think you could even be a namefag on /b/ someday if you keep practicing and learn how to triforce.
It’s fun to watch people ignore the consequences of their proposed policy. Keep it up, Moss Piglet. Show us how open minded you really are.
Next comment like this will earn you a temporary ban from this blog’s comment section if I can figure out how to ban people.
I’m actually pretty relieved that someone seems to be angry about the beliefs of the reactionaries. A reactionary society would be really very unpleasant for me, and for most other modern woman, as we’d all be considered sluts! It’s pretty unpleasant to read.
I would find it easier to sympathise with reactionaries if they’d admit that their policies have downsides. They could say “it is really sad we’ll have to ostracise slutty women in our proposed society, but unfortunately it’s worth it in terms of overall happiness.” I really don’t like that they seem to see ostracising sluts as a fun upside, not a downside. I found it quite comforting to see someone angrily pointing out one of the other downsides of their policies.
So why the hell focus on it? There’s a difference between ‘X is bad in itself’, ‘X leads to Y which is bad’, and ‘X is caused by Z, which also causes Y which is bad, and the overall effects of Z are bad on the net’, but oftentimes I’m not sure which one you guys mean.
I’d agree or (lean towards agreeing) to those (provided the one about unwed mothers is reversible, i.e. if someone marries the father of her three-year-old child then from this month on she will get as much aid as if they had been married ever since the child was conceived), except sodomy — WTH? I can’t see how two men spending half an hour having sex has any worse externalities than the two men spending the half hour staring at a wall — I mean, sure, homosexuality reduces the supply of straight people of your gender, but so does asexuality, do you want to ban it too?
(Also, you should use the money you save from stopping aid to unwed mothers to subsidize long-acting reversible contraception such as IUDs and (when it becomes available) RISUG; otherwise what you’re doing is akin to ban safety belts to encourage drivers to be more cautious.)
Is that still a thing (on a scale large enough to be worth worrying about)? (Not a rhetorical question.)
Would you mind explaining the particular insanity of *wanting* sodomy laws to me?
I am really really suspicious of this “We can solve problems by teaching people that causing problems is bad” strategy.
It reminds me too much of the good intentions behind DARE: “Instead of punishing drug use, let’s just teach people why drugs are bad!” Good idea, but we find that DARE actually somehow increases kids’ drug use.
Or diversity training (again, don’t use heavy-handed policies to fight racism, just inform people that racism is bad) and how it actually increases incidents of discrimination.
The problem with education is that it’s a very easy and free stand-in for any policy you don’t like. Oppose abortion? Just say “Instead of allowing abortion, we should educate women on the need to avoid unsafe sex”. Oppose gun control? Just say “Instead of having gun control, we should educate people on the need to use guns safely.”
Given how hard it is to make marriage work, I think in this case it’s even more of a do-nothing than elsewhere.
I think the anti-littering campaign of my childhood is still having an effect on me, but I’ll grant that isn’t much evidence.
Efforts to oppose smoking have paid off, but iI grant it took laws as well as propaganda.
DARE included lying about drugs– both the level of risk, and completing neglecting that people like drugs. It should be possible to make truth-based PSAs about the consequences of assuming people are telepathic. No guarantee, but I haven’t heard of anything like that being tried.
Cites on diversity training increasing incidents of discrimination?
Doesn’t sex education work pretty well? I believe teenagers who’ve been told about contraception at school are more likely to use it. Is that actually wrong?
I think it’s interesting that reactionaries will respond to statistics about whether married people are happier than unmarried people with ‘marriage isn’t about the spouses’ happiness’ but have no qualms using statistics about whether breadwinners are happier than homemakers. It sounds like marriage isn’t about the spouses’ happiness but work is about the employees’ happiness.
It also seems to me like (to a zeroth approximation) people who oppose no-fault divorce are OK with at-will employment (i.e., right-wingers) and vice versa (i.e., left-wingers). Sure, the differences in bargaining power are different for the two, but…
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1) Again echoing others: 1100s rural Austria and contemporary educated progressivism are not the only two available value systems. I realize that some of the more radical reactionaries actually favor something like the former, but a more moderate version of their thesis is really much more plausible: as someone else already noted, the values of 1950s suburban America are quite plausibly better suited for poor people than contemporary progressivism. More narrowly, Catholicism and other forms of conservative Christianity would probably be quite good for them. More narrowly still, we could just strive to inculcate particular helpful norms, e.g., against out-of-wedlock childbirth. What if we put the same effort into discouraging out-of-wedlock childbirth among the lower class that we did into discouraging dropping out of high school among the lower class? This phenomenon is a largely lower class phenomenon and has serious consequences for them, as documented for example in this study: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/marriage-americas-greatest-weapon-against-child-poverty
Inculcating these values doesn’t necessarily mean we need to “put a king in charge.” We could, for example, have family-friendly government economic policies, stop discriminating against religious employers and charities (see the contraception mandate in the ACA) thus reducing religion’s effectiveness in society, and (individually, as upper class people) move to lower-class neighborhoods and model stable families for them.
2) I don’t find the lead theory terribly persuasive. IIRC, Steve Sailer crunched the numbers for various counties and found little correlation between lead and crime when race was controlled for, or when only whites were present. Moreover, the proposed mechanism (lowering IQ) doesn’t explain the increase in black crime in the 1960s. As far as I know, black IQs have been increasing or at least not decreasing for the past century, so it doesn’t seem that lead could be causing greater black crime by lowering black IQs.
3) There’s good data on liberal bias in academia in at least some areas that doesn’t fit well with your narrative. See especially Jonathan Haidt’s page on liberal bias on social psychology — http://people.stern.nyu.edu/jhaidt/postpartisan.html — and Lee Jussim’s anecdotes — http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rabble-rouser/201310/liberal-bias-in-social-psychology-personal-experience-ii .
3) Oh yes, also see the witch-hunts against politically incorrect academics documented by hbd* chick:
As an academic myself, I’m extremely concerned by these. No, I don’t think we live in the free speech equivalent of Soviet Russia. Things aren’t that bad. But I would not (and probably could not) publish an article in my field expressing the views I express anonymously in discussions like this. And that’s a problem.
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