On the concept of balance

balanceI was reading an article earlier where the core theme was balance between duties and choices. For instance, a labor union can strike, however then they are not being paid, an a factory owner can refuse to give into the demands of the union but then he is not making any money. In this case, you have a carrot for both parties in that if they come to an agreement they can both get paid, and a stick in the form of that they are both losing money by not coming to an agreement. These types of checks and balances are what keeps every structure in working condition because they promote stability and moderation over instability and excess. Democratic countries are often built with “majority” clauses, and/or multiple branches of government, which does slow things down, but also ensures that there is wide support and that it does not devolve into majority tyranny. Take the draft in the United States of America, every man has to register for selective service within 6 months of turning 18, in exchange they get the right to vote. This means that every man who votes for hawkish and interventionist foreign policy knows that this means that he risks being sent off to war if there is a draft. This has the effect of somewhat limiting the willingness to go to war, and encourages voting for a policy that relies on both diplomacy and force, not pure force. In the same way, if I forgot to lock my door, the insurance company can refuse to pay if I get robbed, because through my actions I placed an unnecessary and excessive risk on them. Continue reading

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Gendernomics: Fraud and Intangible assets

balance sheetSo, in the early 1900s, the lives of your average homo sapiens sapiens was fairly similar to how it had been for the preceding thousand or more years. Yes, technology had made it so that rather than work the fields, people worked in factories, rather than live spread out in rural areas and many had started moving to cities where more jobs could be found. Still, most human beings were living similar cycles to their parents of childhood, and then adulthood.

The average marriage and child-birth happened in the early twenties, for many women even earlier. They were married to their husband, who was the head of the household and the main wage earner. Taking care of a house was a full-time job, where floors had to be scrubbed by hand, in some cases using sand or other materials. Water had to be picked up at public pumps or springs, then carried back to the house and heated over a wood stove, which, made chopping and carrying wood a major prerequisite for being able to heat water, and cook food. Clothes were cleaned either in a river, or by heating up enough water to clean them by hand.

So, a stay at home mother, had much work to do in the house in the early 1900s. The father on the other hand, most likely worked 6 to 7 days per week, up to 12 – 15 hours pr day, to put food on the table. This was similar to both rural and urban families. The male children from the age when they were able to contribute either worked in factories, selling papers or working the fields. The female children started helping their mother out in the house from an early age preparing food and cleaning.

Prior to the industrial revolution, and the growth of factories, most rural boys grew up working with their father, possibly grandfather, uncles, and other men in the fields. This acted both as male bonding, but also as the education of the young boys in the ways of men. The girls would be assisting their mothers in the house, bonding and learning how to become a good wife. Continue reading

How gays and transsexuals will bury feminism

contradictionSince I first heard that “gender is a social construct” I’ve done some light reading on the topic to see what the actual science is, but no definitive answer has been given. Biological sex is a fact and well defined in literature on biology. Gender is defined as “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex” [6] as biology defines sex as being binary and follows purely physical traits. Gender on the other hand, is not strictly defined as being purely about the physical, as it includes behavioral and psychological traits that have social influences, and culture which is an entirely social phenomenon.

In our societies we have legislation that does deign some behaviors unlawful. We punish unlawful behavior with legal sanctions such as prison or fines. Whether or not a behavior is in truth unlawful depends both on the behavior and the subject context. For instance, someone can be declared not competent to stand trial, as a result of among other things mental illness. In this case, we are saying that the behavior was unlawful, yet the personal biological/medical circumstances of the person who committed the crime, are such that it cannot be punished.

We could say that our justice system is based on people being actors, that are able to tell lawful behavior from unlawful. Thus, we create axiom 1: Able to tell lawful behavior from unlawful behavior.

Secondly, we have to consider which behaviors could be deemed unlawful. Can something that is biological be illegal? This goes towards the human construct of government and by extension law, versus the reality of biology. Of course, we have cases of genetics such as the warrior genes, that may make someone more likely to be violent, however as long as they can tell lawful from unlawful behavior, this is not a recognized legal defense.

So from this we can create 2 principles for making something illegal:

A) People have to be able to tell what is legal and what is not legal. (Competency)

B) One cannot legislate against biology.

The basic argument presented to make homosexuality no longer unlawful behavior was as follows:

Premise 1: You cannot make something biological illegal.

Premise 2: Homosexuality is biological

Conclusion:Therefore, you cannot make homosexuality illegal.

This is a logically valid argument. Premise 1 is widely accepted in legal circles, both in terms of principles but also in terms of practice. Premise 2 is contested, but the science is starting to come in on the topic. What homosexuality is, is the attraction to someone sharing your biological sex. If homosexuality is genetic/biological then it follows that who you are attracted to is hardwired in your brain. In terms of economics we could argue that what sex you are attracted to is the “need” and your preferences in a partner is the “want”. In the same way that need is “thirst” but your preference for a drink is Miller Lite.

Feminism has long claimed that there is no such thing as male or female brains. That despite the differing hormonal cocktails we receive throughout pregnancy and life, in addition to differing chromosomes this does not influence the functionality of the brain. [1] [2] [3] Which brings an interesting contradiction. If there is no such thing as male or female brains, then how can someone be born as “the wrong gender”? After all, trans is rapidly becoming the new gay, and the basic premise of trans is “being born as male and identifying as female” or “being born as female and identifying as male“.

If I put this in the form of a syllogism:

Premise 1: Gender is a social construct

Premise 2: People can be born as the wrong gender

Conclusion: Therefore, people can be born as the wrong social construct.

This is a logically valid argument, but the conclusion does not make sense. If you are born as something, then it is biological, this follows from the fact that social construct cannot come into play until you exist within a social group. Secondly, if gender is a social construct, then you are not born as a gender, you develop into it as a result of social interaction. If I restructure the syllogism:

Premise 1: Sex is biological.

Premise 2: People can be born with the wrong sex.

Conclusion: Therefore, trans is biological.

This argument works in terms of validity. Premise 1 is uncontroversial, however, there is little proof for premise 2.

Our self-perception must come from the brain, as it is the only organ in our body that has the capability to process information in the manner required to construct your self-image.

The trouble really arrives when you try to keep all these 3 positions in your mind at once.

The conclusion to the homosexuality-principle “What sex you are attracted to” is biological.

The conclusion to the transgender-principle “What sex you identify as” is biological.

The conclusion to the feminist-principle “There are no biological sex differences in the brain”. 

I outlined the reason why there is an incentive to make both homosexuality and transgender biological from the perspective of advocates for both groups. If something is biologically contingent, then discrimination against it, would be violating basic human rights as it puts it in the same category as race.

Feminism on the other hand has a very strong incentive to make everything related to gender a social construct, because if it is not, then the convergent evolution of similar gender-roles within a disparate group of cultures indicates the superiority from an evolutionary perspective of the current status quo. Furthermore, rather than the oppressive thumb of the patriarchy oppressing the feminine sex for all of history, the current status is a result of individual choice on an aggregate level over a long period of time.

After all, if gender roles are the result of biology which drives choices made by men and women, then it follows that working to “make things equal” is undermining the very choices made by both women and men in the first place. This is where concepts such as “internalized patriarchy” become very insulting to women, by implying that a woman who has made choices that do not fit within the permitted choices outlined by feminism, is not doing so because she is in fact a strong, independent woman, but because she is brainwashed. To construct yet another syllogism:

Premise 1: You are attracted to a sex.

Premise 2: You identify as a sex.

Premise 3: There is no such thing as biological sex.

Premise 4: Sex is a social construct

Conclusion A: Therefore, the sex you are attracted to is a social construct. (From 1, 3, 4)

Conclusion B:  Therefore, the sex you identify as is a social construct (from 2, 3, 4)

The questionable premises here are 3 and 4 in terms of soundness, but the argument is valid. If I restructure as:

Premise 1: You are attracted to a sex

Premise 2: You identify as a sex

Premise 3: Sex is biological

Conclusion: Therefore, the sex you are attracted to, and the sex you identify as are biological

I don’t think a single one of those premises are hotly contested in science, and the argument is valid.

The takeaway from this diatribe is that feminism in it’s rush to stay relevant through intersectionality, has become a religion where the basic premises end up in a form of Kettle Logic where the whole system of thought falls apart because it is built on contradictory premises. I’ll demonstrate why:

If sex is biological, then it follows that certain behaviors are biological as well. Such as women being more inclined by nature to take care of children. If women are more inclined by nature to take care of children, it follows that behaviors that would result in more successful child-rearing would be selected for by evolution.

From a perspective of mathematics:

If you have 2 women, one has an 80% chance of successfully raising a child to reproductive age, the other 50%.

Both women are identical in every other way.

They become capable of pregnancy at 16, and become unable to have children by age 45. (29 reproductive years) At 1 child pr year, this is a total of 29 children, out of which the 50% mom will raise 14 – 15, and the 80% mom will raise 23 – 24. In one generation, mom-80% had 12 daughters who inherit her gene for successful child-rearing, and mom-50% had 7. In generation 2, the 12 go on to have a total of 278 children, 139 of which inherit her successful gene. In the second generation mom-50% has 7 daughters who have 101 daughters inhering her gene. Over a few hundred this compounds to the point where the 80% gene is in most of the female population.

Some would be inclined to dismiss this argument as “biological determinism” but that isn’t really the case. The core premise of evolution by natural selection is that organisms that adapt the best to their circumstances survive and reproduce, whereas organisms that do not adapt, die out. For something to be deterministic, it would indicate having no choice in how your life played out. In essence, by knowing someone’s genetics, we would be able to tell exactly how their life will play out. The argument is that over the span of hundreds of generations, certain behaviors and the genes that influence them have been much more successful in the survive and reproduce game than other genes. Therefore, these genes are now present in a very high proportion of the population, and therefore lead to successful behaviors being widespread within a population.

The “biological determinism” accusation is frequently a false dichotomy where arguments from biology is pitted against the debunked “Blank slate” hypothesis.

Conclusion/summary

The core of this essay, is that you cannot on one end argue that gender is a social construct, while holding the position that both what gender you are attracted to, and what gender you perceive yourself as are biological. This becomes a contradiction. Gender is by definition the manifestation of behaviors, cultural or psychological traits associated with one sex.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/04/male-female-brains-same-but-people-all-different

[2]http://www.businessinsider.com/gender-brain-differences-2015-11

[3] http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Essentialism

[4] http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/how-male-female-brains-differ

[5] http://www.amazon.com/The-Blank-Slate-Modern-Denial/dp/0142003344

[6] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gender

Fun with fallacies 17: Feminism will fix all your PROBLEMS!!

Nirvana fallacyThe Nirvana fallacy, is the fallacy of rejecting solutions to a problem because another solution may be better. It effect it creates a false dichotomy between a real world solution and a theoretical solution that may be better.  It’s closely related to a concept named the “perfect solution fallacy” where the non-perfect solution is argued against on the basis that it will not solve every single aspect of the problem. The Perfect solution fallacy on the other hand, is an example of black and white thinking, where complexity is overlooked.

So, when MHRA (Men’s human rights activists) argue that there needs to be advocacy groups for the rights of men and boys, and feminists counter with that feminism is the perfect solution (and that they will get to male suicide rates, divorce rape and imbalanced family courts once they are done with the important things like women being able to walk around naked at 3am without fear), they are committing a perfect solution fallacy.

On the other hand, when MHRA groups argue that there needs to be help for male victims of domestic violence, help lines for suicidal men, and such things, and feminists argue that domestic violence and male suicide is a result of Patriarchy, which won’t be fixed by setting up the equal support system for men that women already have, they are committing the Nirvana fallacy.

The goal of either, is to dismiss practical solutions, either on the grounds that the solution is not perfect. A great example is that “we have helmet laws, yet people still die in motorcycle accidents, thus helmet laws do not work” alternatively “Come on baby, condoms are only effective in like 70% of cases… let me hit it bareback”

How do you spot when someone is engaging in this fallacy? There are 2 major questions you can ask yourself:

  1. Does their argument against your solution seem to be highly theoretical, with no seeming connection to reality?
  2. Does their argument against your solution, seem like they are doing the equivalent to arguing that you should not put a piece of plywood over a broken window, because then you can’t look out for a few days?

 

Female privilege

female privilegeI realize that some readers may laugh at the concept of women being able to have privilege given that systems of oppression governed by male privilege has spent millennia holding the woman down. However, the concept of systems of oppression is in itself a questionable thesis. There is no doubt that social systems such as legislation can act as a tool of oppression, for instance in the case of the Nuremberg Laws or Jim Crow laws, however the argument that systems act in an oppressive manner if they are not designed by a diversity of skin color or sex is inherently flawed.

The reasoning behind this statement is that the goal of a law within the Western legal system, be it based on common law or Civil law, is to remove such influences from the law itself, in effect rendering it neutral in terms of gender, race, religion or other characteristics. This is why Lady Justice is often depicted as wearing a blindfold.

The argument for these characteristics having a stronger influence on legislation is therefore, an argument that the law should discriminate based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or any other chosen characteristic. This was an element of the law until quite recently, and is a feature of among others feudalism. To give an example, the law in France used to apply in one way to the citizenry and one way to the Aristocracy.

What is privilege?

Some examples I’ve gleamed from reading around is that “straight white male, CIS privilege” manifests in an individuals interactions with societal systems such as government, private industry, interpersonal non-work groups and so on. For instance, the fact that white people use just as many drugs as black people [1] , but black people are more prone to go to jail [2] may be a symptom of “White privilege“, according to this logic.

Not satisfied with this, I found a list of 30 signs of male privilege [3], now I’m not going to quote them all just a few:

5. If you are never promoted, it isn’t because of your sex

8. A decision to hire you won’t be based on whether or not the employer assumes you will be having children in the near future

These fall into a category I’ve themed “Opportunity“, that because of your gender, or race or class, you will not be denied opportunity to achieve what you set your mind to, these are things that are legislated against in various laws, under the umbrella of equal opportunity legislation.

16. Balance a career and a family without being called selfish for not staying at home (or being constantly pressured to stay at home)

25. If you don’t spend much time on your appearance, you won’t have to worry about about being criticized at work or in social situations

These fall into the category of “Freedom from judgment based on choice/action“, in that they are not objective in terms of cause and effect. For instance, in the case of 25, the criticism could be because you are a female that does not spend much time on her appearance, but it could also be because you have a peer group that is excessively focused on appearance.

So, from that data, we can boil down privilege to 2 categories:

  1. Benefits in terms of opportunity.
  2. Benefits in terms of freedom from judgment/consequences from action.

This conclusion is supported by additional research and sources for male and white privilege [4] [5][6] While the research is nowhere near what I would conduct for a proper literature review for research that has to stand up to peer review it is sufficient for a blog.

So lets explore these two types of privilege in order.

Benefits in terms of opportunity

The argument here is that males (especially straight, white males) garner a benefit as a result of being male. This is somewhat embodied in the following quote [4]

My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.

According to a recent study, this is no longer true in STEM fields, where women are now twice as likely to be hired as equally qualified males. [7] A recent Guardian article found that women are more likely to be hired right out of University [8] than males.

If we break down the argument made in the male privilege section on opportunity and the concept of systems (which feminists love) then it follows that if a system is granting men more than their fair share of opportunity, then this should be across the board, it should not be situational. What do I mean by this? A system cannot be unsystematic, if it grants men benefits, then it should do so in every case, not in selected cases.

Words like “institutionalized” and “Systemic” at their root imply that it will be everywhere. If there is an institutionalized system that discriminates against women, then it should be omnipresent. Therefore, women should not have any advantages in opportunity, which the studies do in fact show they have. Now this is only the U.S. when we take a look at Europe where quotas are being implemented at light speed [9] this further adds to an advantage of opportunity and here is why. If there are 100 board seats to fill, and you know that 30 are earmarked for women, then it follows that the other 70 can be filled with men, women, or a mix of the two. So in theory, having all 100 of them being women is fine.

Secondly, education. The bastion of conservative and libertarian politics and theories. Women are earning more degrees than men in the US [10] and in Europe [10]. I also found that several European countries and the US are using affirmative action or similar programs with the end result being that less qualified females beat out their better qualified male counterparts. [12][13] If anything this is causing unequal opportunity created from a misconception that women are covertly oppressed, so one must seek to counteract this overtly.

Benefits in terms of freedom from judgment/consequences from action.

The argument here is that males in general, and straight, white, CIS males in particular gain a benefit in that they are judged less, are held less accountable for their actions and protected from the effects of those actions to a degree larger than other people.

This is somewhat embodied in the quotes:

Walk alone at night without the fear of being raped or otherwise harmed” [3]
 Which is blatantly untrue. If the writer had done his research, he would have ended the sentence with raped, and been right. Now he just looks silly when confronted with statistics from the Bureau of Justice [14] that shows that men overwhelmingly are the victims of crime and thus have even more of a reason to be fearful of walking alone at night. Men overwhelmingly are the victims of violent crime, including assault
If you choose to have children, you will praised for caring for your children, instead of being expected to be the full-time caretaker
This is assuming you even get that choice. As I’ve written about before, female reproductive rights are much better than rights for men, to the point where a woman can commit statutory rape and still get child support.
So, are men held less accountable for their actions than women in the western world? In what area?
If we look at conviction for crimes, men suffer harsher sentences for the same crime [15]. Is this what we would expect in what is supposedly a culture filled with systemic and institutionalized anti-woman sentiments and that according to feminists is a rape culture?
The value put on a person
I’ve dealt with the two former points, but as I was writing the part on freedom from consequences/judgment, I started to think of another aspect that had to be covered. A society that treats men better, I.E. a society with institutionalized sexism and misogyny, would it not follow that such a society would value men at a higher rate?
After all, we take better care of things we value, invest more in them and generally seek to maintain them do we not? This brought an interesting angle from an economic perspective. As more women than men are graduating college, it follows that more is being invested into their education assuming gender parity in intelligence.
If we assume that our society would seek to keep the more valued gender for longer, then the striking “death gap” [16] or as they call it “health gap” or “life expectancy gap” brings more questions than it answers. [17]
How about workplace deaths or the fact that men overwhelmingly are expected to put their life on the line to defend nations under attack? [18]

Conclusions

This has been a somewhat depressing post to write. There is a lot of tragedy in the numbers that I’ve quoted, but my conclusion isn’t where I wanted it to be, because there are two options:

  1. There is no patriarchy, in fact the western world consistently put benefits and entitlements for women into legislation, and work to make women have more opportunities for their level of ability and less consequences for their poor actions.
  2. There is a patriarchy but it is an extremely incompetent and stupid patriarchy that in its quest to oppress women, kill off men, punish men harder, somehow make men die sooner, and get less invested in them.

Sources:

[1] http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/quicktables/quickconfig.do?34481-0001_all

[2] http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/p12ac.pdf

[3] http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/11/30-examples-of-male-privilege/

[4] http://www.as.utexas.edu/~cmcasey/diversity/male_privilege.pdf

[5] http://ted.coe.wayne.edu/ele3600/mcintosh.html

[6] http://maleprivilege.tumblr.com/

[7] http://www.pnas.org/content/112/17/5360.abstract

[8] http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jul/23/women-graduates-find-more-jobs-while-men-win-higher-pay

[9] http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/03/economist-explains-14

[10]http://www.statista.com/statistics/185157/number-of-bachelor-degrees-by-gender-since-1950/

[11] http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Tertiary_education_statistics

[12] http://ideas.time.com/2013/06/17/affirmative-action-has-helped-white-women-more-than-anyone/

[13]http://chronicle.com/blogs/brainstorm/the-death-of-affirmative-action-part-i/44860

[14] http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv14.pdf

[15] https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2144002

[16] http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/mars-vs-venus-the-gender-gap-in-health

[17] http://ocw.jhsph.edu/courses/socialbehavioralaspectspublichealth/pdfs/unit2gender.pdf

[18] http://www.avoiceformen.com/the-facts-about-men-and-boys/

[19]http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv14.pdf

[20] https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

Marxist theory and Feminism

165_Communist_leadersThe whole foundation of Marxism is conflict, the struggle between the exploited and the exploiters. To give a short summary of Marxist class struggle, his argument is that workers (Proletariat) produce goods that a capital owner (Bourgeois) sells to the market. However, the capital owner does not pay the workers the full value of goods produced, he pays them less than the full value and then appropriates the surplus to himself.

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