Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Termagents and dead white males

Professor Lionel Tiger of Rutgers had an interesting op/ed in the WSJ discussing what he calls "Male Original Sin":

Male resentment of the self-righteous and automatic public support for women's interests and issues has been increasingly on the boil for some time. Civic celebrations of antipathy to men such as the Violence Against Women Act are finally generating specific and pointed responses by men fatigued, if still baffled, by the knee-jerk assumption that they suffer irredeemably from what I call Male Original Sin.

At my university as at countless others, one of the very first official greeting to students is a rape seminar predicated on the intrinsic danger males carry with them. And in family courts, the presumption of male behavioral malefaction has yielded heartbreakingly numerous cases in which men are charged with domestic violence to which courts overwhelmingly--often in brief hearings in which the male is not even present--issue temporary "restraining orders." These frequently segue into permanence, and award women the dwelling they've shared, financial support and the all-important privilege of custody--mothers gain custody in 66% of uncontested cases and 75% of contested ones. Less than a quarter of parents are awarded joint custody.

Tiger points out that women are now a substantive majority on US college campuses. Although there are almost one million more men between the ages of 18-24 than women in the US (15 million and 14.2 million, respectively), women comprise 57% of the nation's collegiate student body (see the table at bottom for a demographic breakdown).

The imbalance is strongest among blacks, which may be partly explained by recent psychometric analysis suggesting black women have an average IQ around 2.5 points higher than black men. Also, in many places there are a fewer black men than black women owing to the roughness of urban life, especially for those who internalize the pathological hip-hop culture. A much larger percentage of black men are incarcerated (3.2%) than white (.46%) or Hispanic (1.2%) males.

The trend towards female 'overrepresentation' is most trenchant among lower income families and is the most salient in liberal arts colleges. Engineering and computer sciences are still dominated by men (ratios of 5-to-1.1 and 3.5-1, respectively), and likely always will be (without genetic engineering) given male's consistently higher visuospatial reasoning and math scores on IQ and other aptitude tests.

The softening of the educational system favors women more than men. Rooted in hundreds of thousands of years of biology, men are more adventuresome and less risk-averse than women. They are also more competitive. The post-modern obsession with inclusiveness and acceptance is repulsing men and attracting women. Stories about Davy Crockett fighting valiantly to the death against swarthy invaders from the south are going to elate men more than didactic lecturing on how we must be tolerant of others and work to reconcile our differences through peaceful dialogue and compromise.

Think about it primordially. When all humans were hunters and gatherers (95% of our history as a species), men were the hunters. Going on long excursions to find game gave those who could recognize and recall terrain (to find their way back home) and accurately judge distance and angle (throwing spears, leaping from trees, etc) a distinct survival advantage. In the small clans that people lived in, fewer men were needed for successful propagation (a group with ten males and one female is not going to grow nearly as fast as one with one male and ten females), so men could afford to be more competitive. Men were also more expendable, shedding some light on why men's intelligence distribution is wider than that of women.

Women, on the other hand, were gatherers. Foraging through brush to find various nuts and berries required a different kind of intellect to learn how to distinguish the nourishing from the poisonous (memory as opposed to visuospatial reasoning). Like virtually all of mammalia, women were the primary rearers of offspring. In early communal societies, the women of the clan were in constant contact with other women and children, helping to explain their stronger interpersonal skills and greater desire for emotional bonds.

I am not overly concerned with this shift towards a greater proportion of females than males in the academic world. This may help close the gap between wage rates for men and women (currently women only bring in 77 cents for every dollar men make). However, this trend is likely to perpetuate itself--as women continue to make up more and more of the student body, schools are going to tailor the environment more toward them. This will make education less attractive for men. So long as talented men are not foregoing professions like law, medicine, engineering, architecture, science and accounting, the damage will be minimal (I'm skeptical of the value of most liberal arts degrees, which are easy to obtain and have minimal pragmatic use).

Still, this strikes me as a further argument for the publicly subsidized privatization of education, starting all the way back in kindergarten. Allow market forces to provide different learning environments focused on subject areas that children show a penchant for. Make college lectures on video tape or over the internet available to bright children who will be under-stimulated and become disinterested in education if left with the majority of the class. Conversely, for children who are less endowed, put them in classrooms with others on a similar plane so they do not become frustrated by poor performance relative to their peers.

Tiger also touches on how boys are more likely to be trouble makers:

While there remain grating sources of unfairness to women, the community is in the process of steadily creating a new legal and educational structure that generates new gender unfairness: 90% of the victims of Ritalin and similar drugs prescribed for schoolkids are boys; but even drugged they perform less well than girls. A 2005 study at Yale found nationally that even in prekindergarten boys are nearly five times as likely to be expelled as girls.

But that should not come as any surprise to those realistic about human nature. Men have higher testosterone levels, greater muscle mass, and are more competitive than women. Crime is overwhelmingly the work of men and men have been responsible for virtually all of humanity's wars. The genome is present at conception. Rambunctious urchins grow up to be rambunctious adults. Schools, again, could host more competitions (my fondest memories of grade school are the chess tournaments) and less group work to engage boys.

Tiger points out that breast cancer gets seven times as much in federal expenditures as does prostate cancer even though the number of deaths attributed to each is not near that disparate (40,000 to 30,000 respectively). And men are as much as 1000% more likely to commit suicide than women. Speculating, I imagine that men's appetite for risk leads more often to the all-or-nothing type of gambles that can leave one on the losing end in a state of hopelessly deep depression.

Perhaps what is most telling about Tiger's piece is how novel the information seems to most people. Indeed, his purpose in penning it appears to be to draw attention to the various struggles males face relative to females. We've heard for decades about inequalities between males and females, whites and minorities, and most especially between white males and everyone else. Yet when trends that favor females over males emerge, one has to turn not to the leftwing promoters of putative equality and fairness but to the callous, free-market, multicult right-leaning WSJ editorial board to hear about it.

No doubt there are many who revel in the struggles of men. It is, they might say, about time that this patriarchal society was shaken to its foundations. Do not be beguiled by the fib that the committed left is open to ideas and viewpoints spanning the entire political and ideological spectrum. All opinions are equal, but some opinions are more equal than others. This is most blatantly obvious in the academic realm, where one would assume the whole gamut of human thought would be welcomed.

Degrees ending in '-studies' (eg ethnic studies, women's studies, chicano studies, etc) often thinly veil their hostility towards traditional occidental culture, which is overwhelmingly the brainwork of white males. By mid-century, whites will no longer be a majority in the US, following the trend already established in Texas, New Mexico, California, and Hawaii. Should whites be concerned about this? Whites are currently a market-dominant majority, a position that is much more stable than that of market-dominant minorities (if Jews were 60% of Germany's population instead of less than 1% in addition to enjoying over three times the income of the average German, the Holocaust would have had a lot more trouble getting off the ground--racial demagogues like Louis Farrakhan are largely considered to be marginal fringe dwellers by most white Americans, but as the relative white population shrinks, so will that view of marginality). But this is a digression.

Heterosexual male white Catholics and WASPs are the two remaining demographic sets that can be bashed with impunity. Hispanics, blacks, women, Asians, Jews, and gays all have countless special interest groups that fight for their respective interests. You've likely heard of La Raza, the Millions More movement, NOW (National organization of Women), the Asian American Association, the Anti-defamation League, and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Alliance (all linked to above). Excepting the Asian American Association each of these groups get ample media attention and are well known, almost household names.

On the other hand, how many people have heard of the American Renaissance? It is a white nationalist group, headed by the perspicacious Jared Taylor, that has released ground-shaking reports on racial disparities in crime within the US. Taken from FBI and Census statistics, there is scarcely a way to repudiate the group's work, so the media predictably ignore Amren entirely. Instead, they push an impression that those concerned about demographic trends antithetical to whites are self-evidently neo-Nazis.

Similarly, how many organizations exist to fight specifically for the well-being of white males? None that I'm aware of (neo-Nazis are obviously not bettering the white situation and are so minute a portion of the population that they have no effect). There is certainly not anything to the magnitude of the other special interests. And probably for the better. People of Western European descent are the most universalistic in the world (contemporary leftwing liberals are difficult to find outside the ranks of affluent whites outside of academia, the media, and coastal US cities). Christianity is uniquely ecumenical in its scope. Creating yet another special interest group fighting for preferential treatment is not appealing, although we're probably going to trend that way as the ranks of blacks and Hispanics grow and their demands for preferential treatment like reparations and affirmative action become more forceful relative to Asians and whites.

At least the future will be interesting.

(Human biodiversity)


Anonymous said...

Are you glad your are a man or would you wish you were a woman?! Keep in mind women earn considerably less than men.

crush41 said...

Heh, I'm happy with who I am. But I've only seen one side of the coin firsthand.

Men have physical dominance, higher earnings, and stronger analytical abilities. But they also have to suffer a society that expects them to provide for women even as male and female wages converge. And they have that pesky sex drive that stultifies otherwise forthright men.

Women face social subjugation to some degree (reinforced biologically by 100,000 years of evolutionary history). Independence is generally more difficult due to lower wages. There's the primping to deal with that must be tedious--makeup, hair, shopping, etc. But if even moderately attractive they can nab wealth, companionship, or whatever a man might provide, quite easily.

Davout said...

"Crime is overwhelmingly the work of men and men have been responsible for virtually all of humanity's wars."

I disagree with the way the sentence above has been phrased:

The question is whether the principal variable wrt to crime and war is 'men' or something else, like 'despotic power' or 'IQ' or 'availability of marriageable women' and I would wager that 'men' is not the principal variable for either.

For this reason, 'men' in the sentence above should be qualified with 'a few'.