Manliness, Maleness, and Mannish Women
But on the positive side, I was basically on my back all day Sunday, which meant that I was able to engage in my lengthiest period of sustained reading in well over two years. Maybe I need to get sick more often.
In this case, it was the book Manliness by Harvey Mansfield (that's a coincidence -- I wasn't even thinking about the fact that it was father's day). This is a thoughtful, wonderfully entertaining, and very necessary book, which immediately highlights how corrupt the major book review services are -- you know, Publishers Weekly and all the rest. Like academia and the MSM, they've been taken over by leftist activists who do not tolerate dissent and give negative reviews to works that do not meet their standards for ideological purity. And there is no way a book in praise of manliness is going to be acceptable to the left, a philosophy which specifically excludes and even pathologizes the expression of healthy -- which is to say, higher -- manliness:
"Harvard government professor Mansfield delves into philosophy, literature and science to define manliness and to argue that it should have a place in an increasingly non-gender-specific society. Throughout, Mansfield clearly states his intentions, and though he may have convinced himself he accomplished his goals, readers will be skeptical.... murky questions and non-sequitur lines of logic continue throughout.... But Mansfield's theories on gender equality are likely to create the most conversation: 'women are the weaker sex,' 'women's bodies are made to attract and to please men,' and 'now that women are equal, they should be able to accept being told that they aren't, quite' all appear on the same page. Mansfield set out to write a provocative book, but ended up penning a juvenile screed."
So said the juvenile reviewer on whom the irony is lost.
Let's start with those three passages from the book, which were seemingly deliberately taken out of context in order to shock the sensibilities of the unmanly and politically correct reader. One of the most self-serving mamamyths of our time -- a myth that can only be promulgrated on our nerves because ovary-tower leftists control most of the feminine organs of disinformation insemination -- is that conservatives are somehow "anti-science" while liberals are "pro-science." In reality, the reverse is true.
Even with regard to the one issue most mentioned by the histrionic left -- embryo stem cell research -- the question is not over the research itself but government funding of it. But the left further confuses the issue by conflating stem cell research and embryo stem cell research and then simply stating that conservatives are "against stem cell research." The left is so intellectually dishonest it just makes you want to throw up. Unless that's a remnant of the virus.
One of the issues about which the left is most insistent is the teaching of Darwinian evolution as metaphysics or a sort of secular religion rather than just a scientific theory. "You can't teach children creationism! (their scary code-word for intelligent design). You have to teach Darwinian evolution! It's been proven! No scientist disagrees with it!"
Okay, deal. Darwin is God. And what does Darwinian evolution teach about male-female differences? Darwin, of course, reduced existence to 1) a struggle for life revolving around 2) the survival of the fittest. Thus, what we see as "manliness" -- which is to say, aggressiveness, risk-taking, and defending one's possessions, including women -- is in many respects the quintessence of both. That is, men who had these traits were much more successful both in surviving and getting their genes into the next generation than the men who didn't have these traits.
And there is no way feminists can duck the issue by whining, "it's not our fault, we don't want men to be this way!" Rather, thousands of years of sexual selection by their sisterly furbears means that the attributes of the men we see today were selected by women in the never-ending competition for access to female bodies. Men are the way they are because women wanted them -- needed them, is more like it -- to be that way: strong, aggressive, confident, courageous, and willing to risk danger to themselves to defend obviously weaker and more vulnerable woman and children. In Darwin's words, this selection process resulted in men being "more courageous, pugnacious and energetic than woman" and giving them "a more inventive genius."
Let's just pause right there for a second. If Mansfield has written a "juvenile screed," what would the girlish Publisher's Weekly reviewer make of Darwin's insensitive screed? Remember a few weeks ago, when that buffoonish caricature of a man, Christopher Matthews, tried to make the Republican candidates look foolish by asking if they believed in creationism or natural selection? I wish one candidate had said, "the latter, which is why it is scientifically proven that someone who is not a man is not fit to be president, whether it is Hillary Clinton or John Edwards."
Here is what relationships look like from a purely Darwinian standpoint: "Men have manliness so as to compete with other men; women use the manliness of men to protect themselves and their children. And if women consciously manipulate men for their purposes, men dominate women for theirs. A woman may look as if she is surrendering, but in truth she is indulging her relational aggression."
Likewise, marriage has nothing to do with such unscientific and fanciful notions as "love," but is a sort of complementarity of two opposed forms of aggression. Each sex is simply manipulating the other for selfish purposes. Actually, it's not even the person who is selfish, just his or her genes.
Yes, for you male Raccoons out there, listen closely. This will keep you out of a lot of trouble: what your nervous system mistakenly perceives as female pulchritude is just a trick of the genes. Don't be fooled. Women are neither attractive nor unattractive. Their "beauty" is actually female aggression -- passive aggression, if you will -- designed to make you want to pay attention to her. No, let's be honest: to shag her. But she has all the power! She arouses general male interest, but then she gets to choose from the pool of interested candidates! How fair is that?
It seems that if males were only males -- as opposed to men -- they would simply take what they want. Why would they care what a woman thinks? Because the decent ones are men, and a manly man realizes that women are weaker and that they could easily physically overcome them if they wanted to. An unmanly man acts on the impulse. But manliness is a virtue, not a result of genetic programming.
This raises an interesting point about sexual harassment laws. Obviously these laws are terribly unscientific, because they are essentially making it against the law for males to be males. They outlaw the wisdom of our genetic programming, and that can't be right, not if you believe that Darwin trumps the Bible. Our genes mandate that for a man to get a date and for the species to survive, men should be hitting on women all day long, if only for the practice. Anything less is to shirk one's genetic duty. (I remember back when I worked in the supermarket, a friend of mine would literally hit on every attractive women, including those who were seemingly way outside his league. I asked him why, and he said something to the effect that he was just playing the percentages, and that one in ten will say yes.)
This would have been another good answer to Matthew's question about "creationism": "Yes Chris, I'm passionately pro-science. One of the first things we need to do get rid of all these sexual harassment laws, because they just interfere with the wisdom of nature. Men are men. You can't make manhood against the law. What's next, making it a crime for baseball players to spit? You wanna start arresting people because they leave the toilet seat up?"
Or, if we don't get rid of sexual harassment laws, at least we have to be scientific about them and apply them equally to women. Since female beauty is a manipulative form of genetic aggression, then we must have strict dress codes for women in the workplace. No make up. No revealing clothing. Cover up the legs. No curves, no panty lines, none of those nasty tricks to make your eyes look bigger and more alluring -- none of that. You're just taking advantage of the scientifically proven male propensity to take that as an advertisement of sexual availability, and you know it. No woman who has already been claimed by another man would dress so provocatively in public.
Frankly, I don't see how we could work this out unless we followed the Islamic model of having women wear shapeless bags with eye holes cut out. But as we know from science, men can eroticize anything except Rosie O'Donnell, so to be on the safe side we should probably screen the eyes as well, so that women can see out but men cannot see in. This is the only way to protect female nature from male nature and vice versa. Men are sick and tired of being teased and titillated by these sexually aggressive women, and we need to have laws protecting us.
But of course, it's not like that. Since women are women and not men, they need laws protecting them from men, whereas men don't need laws protecting them from women. With respect to sexual differences, this is irony #872 that eludes radical feminists. Men can respect these laws because there is something in a man's higher nature that recognizes female weakness and vulnerability. In short, these laws nudge some of the more barbarous males in the direction of manliness, even if they're just pretending. The reverse doesn't accomplish much, for example teaching "assertiveness training" to women, the reason being that you are trying to teach women to be more like men, not women (who obviously have their own specifically female ways to be assertive and get what they want). Assertiveness training "presupposes that women have a defect in that department." If it takes root, it is not a natural extension of femininity, but something added to it.
Now, if maleness is a result of millions of years of genetic selection, how can radical feminists -- and leftists in general -- come along and try to create a new kind of man in the span of a single generation or two? If Darwinism is true, how could this be scientifically possible? Suddenly we are being asked to accept an equality of the sexes that has never been known before in all of human history. Are we sure we know what we are doing in ignoring the science of natural selection?
Since patriarchy is the universal norm in human history, it must be natural and inevitable. After all, if men dominate women, it is because they have genetically selected traits that make them able to do so. If women have been oppressed for millennia by men due to sexual differences and in accordance with their nature, how is it now possible for women to overthrow their oppressors? If men are what these these women think they are, why is there no organized movement among men to defend their patriarchy? Being that we are male oppressors, one would think that we would be fighting to the last man to defend our empire!
If all civilization has been based on patriarchy, but the patriarchs responsible for our Western civilization specifically created one in which their superior physical strength was not the ultimate authority, then perhaps this patriarchy wasn't so bad after all. The radical feminists are like Gandhi -- he didn't win anything, but was given it by a morally superior adversary.
You might say that Western manliness liberated women from their biology. That's if you're going to be scientific about it.
Of course, the realilty of our sexual differences is much more complex, nuanced, and sophisticated, but to explicate it you need to turn to patriarchical religion.
If any OC readers live in the Burbank, California area, please be on the lookout for Lisa's beloved chihuahua, Pinky, who escaped as a result of some incompetent dogsitters: