October 31, 2011

"The Better Angels of Our Nature" by Steven Pinker

My long review of Pinker's important book on "Why Violence Has Declined" is now up at The American Conservative website.

An excerpt:
Encouraging as all this is, Better Angels can be a frustrating read, in part because of the limitations of Pinker’s numbers-driven methodology, his Blue State Triumphalist biases, and his sprawling subject. It would have been helpful for him to have distinguished between, at one pole, disorganized violence committed by, say, your local mugger and, at the other, organized violence committed by, say, the Manhattan Project. Ironically, the Los Alamos physicists exemplified the virtues to which Pinker admiringly attributes the decline in violence, such as rationality, cosmopolitanism, and Enlightenment humanism. Yet those traits helped make those men horrifyingly lethal. 
Sure, many examples of violence fall into the gray area between a carjacker and Niels Bohr. Yet drawing this distinction points out that the opposite extremes of violence might not trend in the same direction at the same time. That crime has been falling for the last few years in the U.S. at the same time as war is becoming less common around the world is hardly proof that the two tendencies are, as Pinker argues, causally connected. 
Why should disorganized violence fall in the long run? Because the disorganized are largely losers. As the Big Lebowski tells Jeff Bridges’s long-haired The Dude, “Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. … The bums will always lose.” 
Not always. But they usually lose. 
So what happened in the mid-1960s that we had to start locking our cars and houses? Why did Watts and then so many other inner cities explode into rape and pillage? 
This is a dangerous issue for Pinker, one he handles creatively. He praises the “Rights Revolutions” of the 1960s for reducing domestic death and destruction, but his graphs don’t actually show much evidence for that. His basic marker, the homicide rate, hit bottom in America in 1957 and started shooting up again about the time the 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed. A few years later, women’s lib legalized the abortion of tens of millions of fetuses. ... 
(Impressively, Pinker acknowledges this objection to his paean to the pacific powers of feminism. He argues in response that, in the long view, abortion replaced infanticide. Okay, but when I was conceived in 1958, I was in far less danger of being exposed on a mountainside than anyone conceived in the 1970s was of being aborted. A better argument is Pinker’s last one: abortion has been in modest decline for the last two decades.) 
Black and feminist leaders object forcefully to mention of any side effects of their ascents to power. Brilliantly, Pinker, who still wears his hair like Roger Daltrey of The Who, sidesteps these landmines by blaming the high crime rate of 1965-1995 on his own kind: the damn, dirty hippies.

Read the whole thing there
If you think I'm kidding about Pinker's maneuver, here's the cover of The Who Sell Out, to which Pinker, a big Who fan, gives the caption "Fig. 3-17. Flouting conventions of cleanliness and propriety in the 1960s" to argue that the 1960s represented a temporary blip in the Civilizing Process. He explains:
"Throwing away your wristwatch or bathing in baked beans is, of course, a far cry from committing actual violence. The 1960s were supposed to be the era of peace and love, and so they were in some respects. But the glorification of dissoluteness shaded into an indulgence of violence and then into violence itself. At the end of every concert, The Who famously smashed their instruments to smithereens, which could be dismissed as harmless theater were it not for the fact that drummer Keith Moon also destroyed dozens of hotel rooms; partly deafened Pete Townshend by detonating his drums on stage; beat up his wife, girlfriend, and daughter; threatened to injure the hands of a keyboardist of the Faces for dating his ex-wife; and accidentally killed his bodyguard by running over him with his car before dying himself in 1978 of the customary drug overdose. ... When rock music burst onto the scene i the 1950s, politicians and clergymen villified it for corrupting morals and encouraging lawlessness ... Do we now have to -- gulp -- admit that they were right? ... there are plausible causal arrows from the decivilizing mindset to the facilitation of actual violence."

No doubt to some extent, and I've probably made the same argument myself, but did the damn, dirty hippies really commit all that much violence, especially relative to, say, African-Americans? Were The Who all that big in Watts? The elephant in the room is Pinker's sainted Rights Revolution, specifically the Civil Rights Revolution, which triumphed in 1964, yet was immediately followed by black rioting from the fall of 1964 through 1968 and a long rise in urban crime.

What was the driving force?

We have the testimony of countless leaders of Rights Revolutions that they were inspired by the Civil Rights Revolution. That was the rhetoric of Gay Lib following the Stonewall riot of 1969. Gay Lib then led to hundreds of thousands of deaths from AIDS -- not exactly violence, but certainly disorder and death.

In summary, read my whole review there. I'll be revisiting Pinker's book on my blog in the future because I have an enormous number of notes that I couldn't fit into my 3,000 word review (is there any bigger topic than violence?), but to hold a good discussion, I need readers to get up to the baseline.

156 comments:

Anonymous said...

Once again, this lull in violence is only temporary. When beta males wake from their porn and video game induced haze and realize what a bad deal they've received, there'll be hell to pay.

This soft-harem system where a few alphas monopolize all the (young, attractive, valuable) women can't last forever. Modern females don't understand the levels of violence a beta male with nothing to lose is capable of.

As a commenter at OneSTDV's blog put it:

I just understand that women are intellectually stunted quasi-children, beautiful and innocent. That child-like innocence, lack of self-reflection and naivete is what endears us to them. I did not intend malice with my above past, I just realize that the female power of self-delusion is a mighty force to reckon with on this Earth.

Just stating what men have Known for thousands of years across virtually every culture.

Women, lacking high-level, abstract thinking faculties are closer to children than to an adult male. In fact, referring to a developed woman as an adult is highly misleading.

The founders of Western Civ, The Greeks and Romans, knew this to be true and legally classified grown females as children. Even the Founders of the American Republic knew that women did not possess the faculties to vote, let alone exercise control of the Government. The idea of women in positions of command would be as alien to them as an African in the Whitehouse. Give women the vote and political power or jobs outside the home and what results is 21st Century America. This is what we get when females are allowed to run riot with their bullet-proof self-delusions.

So yes, women are intellectually stunted quasi-children, as men across all times before the modern have well known and taken as obvious fact. It's only we modern men, shielded by the dulling comforts of 21st Century Western life who have had the leisure to ignore such a basic natural fact.


http://onestdv.blogspot.com/2011/10/eminem-and-tim-tebow-white-idols-in.html

Anonymous said...

Instead of the Sailer Strategy, how about the Grand Middle Strategy.

SS focuses on white unity, but this doesn't work. Rich whites, middle whites, and poor whites don't see eye to eye nor do they have the same agenda and anxieties.
Rich whites are not afraid of the minorities. They are rich and safe. And they win more favors and wealth by spouting PC cliches.
Middle class whites don't feel easy about racial issues, especially those centered on white power. Poor white are uneducated trash.

The best way forth for the GOP is to be the party of the Grand Middle. There is need for such a party. Democratic Party is the party of superrich urban creative class and minorities(blacks and illegals). Middle class people feel left out.
GOP panders to the superrich and is always for Wall Street. Middle class peole feel left out.

People ranging from moderate rich to working class feel squeezed by superrich globalists and underclass welfare leechers(and criminals). Dems are not attractive to the middle cuz they are so into globalism, elitism, pandering to underclass-ism, and fringe-ism.
GOP lost the middle class by pandering to the superrich and white trash evangelical dummies.

If GOP becomes the party of the moderate rich to the working class, it can win against the Democratic Party of superrich elites and underclass bloodsuckers. Working class people do not resent small businessmen making 250,000 a yr. They resent Wall Street CEO's pulling in many millions a year by all sorts of dirty tricks.

By being for the grand middle, the GOP would essentially be for white middle class, but it would also gain from Hsipanic and Asian middle class. It would not be labeled as 'racist'.
White middle class must drop the illusion that superrich whites are on their side. Maybe long ago when wasps ruled, but no so anymore.

Anonymous said...

A few years later, women’s lib legalized the abortion of tens of millions of fetuses.

For the last time, Steve, millions of those fetuses would have grown up to be inner city thugs. Abortion is a eugenic practice.

When will you paleos get it that abortion is good for America. Without it, the NAM population would be far greater than it currently is.

Curvaceous Carbon-Based Lifeform said...

This soft-harem system where a few alphas monopolize all the (young, attractive, valuable)

I see. Only young, attractive, slim girls are valuable, right? What about the rest of us White women whose bodies don't adhere to modern patriarchal standards? Are we just just thrown aside as no longer having any worth?

Yes, I'm getting on in years, and yes, I lean to the heavy side, but that doesn't devalue me as human being, especially seeing I'm a conservative, family-orientated matriarch.

I'm sick of you roissy fanboys bringing your warped standards of beauty to the HBD sphere. And just so you Game loser know, a true, conservative White man would take a woman like me over some young Asian skinny rake any day. Frankly, I think that men who chase young girls have pedophilic tendencies.

So please, go back to roissy's blog and let the mature adults have an intelligent conversation.

Anonymous said...

Pinker is certainly sharp but he strikes me as more of a glib dilettante than a careful, deep thinker (at least in his pop books).


i think what one of my mentors said about another famous intellectual applies to my experience with pinker:


"some of these are areas I happen to have worked on fairly extensively myself, and I know that Foucault's scholarship is just not trustworthy here, so I don't trust it, without independent investigation, in areas that I don't know"


kind of a fruit of the poisoned tree situation--even when i see something interesting in pinker's work i assume he's messed it up.




full disclosure, i think the same thing--smart but overconfident and shallow--about the man considered by many to be the apotheosis of the modern conservative intellectual, richard posner.

Curvaceous Carbon-Based Lifeform said...

And for the first commenter (the roissy fanboy), a study shows that women reach their peak in their 30s and don't begin to decline (slowly) until their 40s.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/women_shealth/7897060/Women-are-at-their-most-beautiful-at-31.html

--JSM

Henry Canaday said...

Oddly enough, by far the best book I ever read on The Middle Ages, and the only one that made the transition from the fall of Rome to the Renaissance seem like an intelligible progression of ideas and institutions, was by another Canadian-born Jewish guy, Norman Cantor. He credits the Church with a huge role in civilizing barbarians and in constructing Western legal standards, while noting the spasms of anti-Jewish and other religious violence.

Cantor even had a simple definition of medieval civilization, as "the absorption by western Europe of certain ways of life, ideas and religious attitudes that had prevailed for many centuries in the Mediterranean world." When you are an extraordinarily good historian, you can simplify and remain accurate.

See how easy it is? said...

Steve, can you get rid of the 'anonymous' commenting option? I don't get why all these guys just don't pick a random handle.

Anonymous said...

"A few years later, women’s lib legalized the abortion of tens of millions of fetuses."

"For the last time, Steve, millions of those fetuses would have grown up to be inner city thugs. Abortion is a eugenic practice."

True, but abortion is still a form of violence. It's like warmaking(by Allies) ended warmaking(by Axis) in WWII. And abortive violence may have reduced street violence. So, sometimes, it takes violence to end violence.

One could even say violence drops with the rise in threat of violence. After the fall of Hussein and Gaddafi, third world leaders gotta think twice.

One hole in Pinker's theory is this: suppose Nazis had won and achieved everything they wished. Suppose Europe was dominated by Germans, Russians were exterminated, and German settled in the vast territories of the East. It would have been horribly evil and bloody for awhile(and ghastly in my opinion, which is why I hate neo-nazis), but it might well have paved a future of a 1000 yr peaceful civilization.
Homogeneity makes for more peace. Also, with Nazi domination of Europe, there would have been no non-white immigration into Europe. More reason for peace and unity and cultural continuity.

If there woulda been more violence, it might ahve been future wars between Nazi Empire vs Japanese empre or Nazi Empre vs American Empire. But in Europe-Russia itself, things would have been more peaceful under the 1000 yr reich.

Pinker makes the case that goodness = peace, and evil = violence.
But consider this: suppose in the 19th century, white Americans had used massive violence to either kill or blacks or send them all back to Africa. One could say this was an evil evil evil act. But US would have far less racial/social violence today.

So, 'evil' can lead to much peace too. At any rate, even good guys have to use evil to be rid of evil--but what is 'evil' changes from culture to culture.

Georgia Resident said...

"Poor white are uneducated trash."

You know, the "white trash" trope gets old after a while. And since it's literally the only insult against a class of people that doesn't ruin your career (if you're a public figure) or get you weird looks from acquaintances in everyday life, it's overused to an extreme.

Negroes and Mexicans who haven't obtained a college degree hardly ever get called "trash" (certainly not in public), but any white male who lacks the magic piece of paper is automatically trash.
There are, in fact, people who don't obtain college degrees because they don't have particularly great economic resources at their disposal,don't want to be mired in debt, and are better suited to vocational occupations anyway.

It's not their fault that mass immigration is driving down their wages the most. Perhaps if the upper middle class SWPLs got the same competition and wage depression from foreign workers that poor whites suffer from Mexican immigration and outsourcing, they wouldn't be so apt to refer to their less advantaged brethren as "trash".

No wonder we "don't see eye to eye" with upper and middle class whites, when they describe us in terms that they rarely use to describe negroes who act far worse.

Steve Sailer said...

"Steve, can you get rid of the 'anonymous' commenting option?"

No. Last time I checked, it wasn't an option in Blogger.

Steve Sailer said...

I would encourage commenters to pick names, even if at random.

Anonymous said...

In WWII, Czechs didn't put up much of a resistance to Germans. Poles did. Far fewer Czechs died than Poles did, i.e. things were much more peaceful for Czechs than for Poles.
This raises a question? What is better? Peace by collaborating with or acquiesing to evil OR violence by resistance to evil?
If peace = good and violence = evil, what do we do when the forces of 'evil' are more likely to produce peace? Most Eastern Europeans didn't rise up against the dreaded Soviets during the Cold War. One might say they were cowards who collaborated with an evil system, but they did mostly live under peaceful orders.

Anonymous said...

There's a contradiction in Pinker's thinking. He says the rise of the Leviathan state tamed what had been brutish men. So, the rise of the formidable elites that kept the mobs in place was a good thing in Europe.
But Pinker attacks such social controls in the Deep South when white folks kept blacks in their place.
If it took centuries of Levianthanism to tame white people into civilized folks--who could finally appreciate the rule of law, obey rules, and limit their own freedoms--, couldn't one argue that blacks also needed to undergo a period of intensive social training before they could be ready to live as truly law-abiding and free peoples?

Steve Sailer said...

Dear Henry:

Thanks.

Whiskey said...

Women are not children. With the proper incentives they can make choices that either harm or help Western civilization. It is up to society to structure the incentives properly (along with those for Alpha males and Beta males). Incentives matter.

No, women are not their most beautiful in their thirties. A female delusion like Twilight (ordinary girl fought over by commitment hungry Alphas). Women in their late teens to early twenties are their most beautiful. And yes men are now moving to treat women as disposable objects based solely on youth/beauty, as men are treated as studs or duds. Again, incentives matter. A bunch of opt-out guys don't care about anyone else.

Sexual marketplace incentives matter for personal violence. As Theodore Dalrymple noted about 1950's Britain (but lacked the intellectual courage to say outright that female preferences drive incentive behavior), kids played in the local side streets with unlocked doors in houses. Today White Chav Britain is a Hogarthian hell-hole. In the same way Obama's first book has elderly residents of that housing project reminiscing on how even in segregation life was better because it was less violent.

Whiskey said...

Look at Black culture. I would argue not the rights revolutions but sexual marketplace incentives and competition made life more violent. Black artists like Marvin Gaye went from crooning tender love songs to "Let's Get it On." Reflecting a constant, unmediated sexual marketplace competition, based not on "tender love song" type provider indicators (stability, faithfulness, for lifelong provider/companionship) but bad boy driven sexiness, marked by transient hookups.

A better marker in my view would be the illegitimacy rates (since women can always find a husband if that is what they want, faithful men are not that hard to find even among the current Black community). THAT indicates preference shift responding to outside incentives (welfare, rising female income, collapse of extended family and social pressures).

Hispanic, Black, Asian, and White women all live in the same culture, nation, and economy, but have wildly different reproductive strategies that are shaped by and shape their society. Hispanic girls as Steve notes have kids in their teens and keep having them. About 50% of all pregnancies among Blacks end in Abortions. Asian women generally wait until marriage for kids, and Whites are cut by class, Charles Murray noting that White Working Class women are 40% births illegitimate, Upper Class about 4%.

Anonymous said...

Pinker may be perfectly honest in his presentation and use of statistics, but experience indicates that when ststistics seem to confirm the liberal world view a bit too well, it's a good idea to look at the actual statistics. Remember what happened a few years ago, with that book that proported to "prove" via historical records that very few Americans had owned guns in colonial times. Clayton Cramer took an actual look at the records in question, and demolished the book's whole thesis, since it turned out that the records were very, well, "selectively" utilized. Has anyone done anything similar with regard to Pinker? I'd be willing to bet that murder records from the 12th century are a bit spotty and ambiguous, to say the least.

And yes, peace is an absolute good for liberals, except when it isn't...

Tschafer

Veracitor said...

Steve, do you think Confucianism did as much to improve behaviour in China (and nearby) as Christianity did for Europe?

Other notes:

1. My dad taught me the car-headlight thing too. I recently passed it on to my child.

2. If 100 graphs will only cut sales by 1024, then Barabási was wrong by a factor of ten (2^10=1024, 2^100=about a nonillion.

3. Johnny "Walk the Line" Cash guest-starred in a fairly good Columbo episode about a husband whose wife drove him to murder her.

Anonymous said...

"Negroes and Mexicans who haven't obtained a college degree hardly ever get called "trash" (certainly not in public), but any white male who lacks the magic piece of paper is automatically trash."

I have not-so-nice names for blacks and Hispanics too. But I'm not talking about all poor whites or whites without college degrees. I've lived amongst white trash, and believe me, some of them are really really trash. They can be funny in a Beavis and Butthead sort of way, and I'll take white trash over black trash anyday, but man oh man, some of them neo-peckerwoods are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Does Pinker make the connection that rock n roll was feared by white folks cuz it was 'n' music?

Anonymous said...

An odd thing.
While it's true that 60s youth-rock culture did celebrate mindless violence and hedonistic mayhem, that may have been the reason why 60s radicals were, in the end, less dangerous than earlier radicals. If Lenin and Trotsky had been into flower power, drugs, rock n roll, and orgies, I don't think they woulda had much time for revolution-plotting.
And if Hitler and his cronies had been black metal skinheads, they might have been just street thugs with no energy left to actually organize and lead a revolution.

Look at Bill Ayers. He was a violent man with crazy ideas. But read David Horowitz's DESTRUCTIVE GENERATION, and people like him and Bernadine Dohrne were a riot. They were too busy tripping and having orgies to lead any kind of revolution. They were clowns.

The Internationale is one helluva song to unite and lead the working class. But John Lennon's 'Woman is the N of the World'?

Anonymous said...

No wonder Pete Seeger wanted to take an axe to electric Dylan. He knew it would derail the revolution.

Anonymous said...

Curvaceous Carbon-Based Lifeform writes that "a true, conservative White man would take a [fat, overage--summarized from CCBL's first grafs] woman like me over some young Asian skinny rake any day."

And a true communist leader would serve the people rather than exploit them.

However, actual conservative white men (I write from empirical knowledge) would much rather have a sexy young Asian woman than some hostile, gray-haired, blubbery "matriarch" any day.

NLF or Neanderthal Liberation Front said...

Another bit of oddity:

Prior to rap, black music/culture was less crazy than white music/culture. Most soul music was fun, dance-oriented, and happy-happy. Marvin Gaye, Motown, Otis Redding, Girl Groups, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Five, etc. In the 70s, I recall most black music was like Earth, Wind, and Fire.

The most violent black music star was Jimi Hendrix--musically at least--, but he was atypical; he played a kind of funky version of 'white rock' and his biggest fans were whites.

White rock was far more violent. Led Zeppelin turned blues into Wagnerian excesses. Who smashed the stage. Stones could be nasty. Jim Morrison was a pop Nietzschean. Then came punk and metal, etc.

Yet, the black community, whose music was less rebellious and violent, was more violent than the white community.
It's like reggae is a mellow-sounding music, but Jamaica has been one helluva violent hellhole.

So, while Pinker is right about the disturbing release of anarchic energy in the 60s, white rock doesn't necessarily correlate to social violence.

Anonymous said...

Suppose whites hadn't sailed around the world and imposed their values, systems, rules, and power over other peoples. Suppose Europeans had remained in Europe. Would the world be less or more violent?

Anonymous said...

How does Pinker's work compare with Fukuyama's END OF HISTORY? Both books seem to be optimistic and argue that mankind as a whole have arrived at certain obvious truths as to what is good, preferable, do-able, and
should-able.

For Fuku, it's the liberal democratic model. For Pinker, it's... liberal globalism?

Anonymous said...

Curvaceous Carbon-Based Lifeform again: "a study shows that women reach their peak in their 30s and don't begin to decline (slowly) until their 40s."

Uh-huh. That's why all the lads' magazines are filled with photos of women in their early 30's.

CCBL, by writing such obvious tripe you make yourself seem ridiculous, which is even worse than bitter. No sane person could have failed to notice (as everyone in the world has noticed for all recorded history) that women "reach their peaks" by a couple of years after menarche and go downhill at an accelerating pace after age 24 or the second baby, whichever comes first.

Women in their forties and fifties make good grandmothers, though.

Fred said...

"For the last time, Steve, millions of those fetuses would have grown up to be inner city thugs. Abortion is a eugenic practice."

The fetuses aborted is only part of the equation. You'd also have to take into account the additional children born because unprotected, premarital sex became more common, as a result of the legalization of abortion. So there's some number X of fetuses aborted by underclass women, and there's some number Y of additional children borne by underclass women because they felt freer to have premarital sex with legalized abortion but didn't end up getting the abortion for some reason (the most likely one being they didn't realize they were pregnant until it was too late for a legal abortion).

Was X > Y?

Get Off My Lawn! said...

Quoting from Steve's review:

At a public festivity to celebrate the coronation of Czar Nicholas II, a rumor suddenly spread through the throngs that there wouldn’t be enough free beer and sausages for everybody. In the subsequent stampede, 1,389 people were trampled to death. Stuff like that used to happen all the time. (In Russia, it still does, if not as catastrophically.)

Russia, and, even more, China, have long histories of catastrophic disasters killing thousands of peasants.

The thing is, a lot more Westerners used to die in disasters, too. For example, this has nothing to do with violence per se, but the toll from hurricanes has declined tremendously. Many fewer people die in fires; in fact, there are fewer fires generally. And one form of violent death - automobile accidents - have fallen steadily on a per capital basis for 40 years.

My point is that we don't just live in a society that is safer from deliberate violence; we live in a society that is generally very safe.

I also have the impression, and wonder if others share it, that we are kinder and gentler than we used to be. I don't mean individuals - I mean society as a whole seems more humane and sympathetic the plight of others than it used to be. This is especially true in Western countries.

Of course, another POV is that all this safety and kindness has made as soft as a jelly roll, ripe for plucking by a more violent, crueler people.

Fred said...

"Okay, but when I was conceived in 1958, I was in far less danger of being exposed on a mountainside than anyone conceived in the 1970s was of being aborted."

That was brilliant. In a just world, you'd be making Michael Lewis money.

Anonymous said...

I think Christianity was important for the rise of peace in Europe, but not so much Christianity itself or alone but in collaboration with other forces. A purely Christian order would have destroyed the West. How can any civlization save itself by 'turn the other cheek' and 'be poor'?

It was the use of Christianity as one of the pillars of society in checks and balances with the military and economic order. And later with the secular order of rationalist thought with the revival of classic texts.

We need a term for this trinity of religion, economics, and military. Including the rise of classical thought, maybe it should be called the quadnity.

Truth said...

"I'm sick of you roissy fanboys bringing your warped standards of beauty to the HBD sphere. And just so you Game loser know, a true, conservative White man would take a woman like me over some young Asian skinny rake any day..."

What's the big deal, Huni? The Brothers like a little meat on their Skirt's bones.

Anonymous said...

It must be said much of the violence unleashed by 60s rock tended to be more self-destructive than other-destructive. Many rock stars ended up dying through excess. It is a kind of messiness or violence, but it's not social violence. Even Kurt Cobain was more self-destructive than other-destructive.
To be sure, self-destructiveness can lead to other-destructiveness, even if indirectly. Parents who use drugs and make a mess of their own lives do a bad job of raising their kids.

Paul Mendez said...

Taken as a whole, the first 20 comments on this post have got to be the most off-topic collection of comments I've ever seen on iSteve!

Anonymous said...

Can Islam be 'creatively' saved? Can it be culturalized?

Think of Jews. Most Jews are not religious and don't believe in the Torah. But they maintain a cultural sense of Jewishness that goes back 1000s of yrs: moralism, special-people-ism, intellectualism, middlemanism, etc.

Think of Chinese. Most Chinese no longer read stuff like Analects of Confucius and other classic Chinese texts, but Chinese are still Chinesey: Middle kingdom pride, reverence of past, familism, respect for education, middlemanism, etc. Though they don't study Confucius, they study modern knowledge with Confucian attitude.

Can the same thing be done with Islam? What are the positive attributes of Islam? Can they be creatively secularized into a mindset, attitude, and modern values?
If one can be Rabbinical without studying the Torah(Pinker is a secular rabbi), and if one can be Confucian without studying Confucius(all those Chinese kids headed for UCLA are like their ancestors who studied for state exams), then maybe a new kind of secular Muslim can be created.
Suppose we were to secularize notions such as jihad into modern secular terms. Jihad in terms of business, scientific discoveries, and cultural achievement.

Also, Islam has one advantage over Christianity in being more reasonable about morality. Christian morality is really for saints, and it makes hypocrites of most Christians.
Islam morality is for man. It doesn't say one should be a saint or oh so good and pure. It says one should be reasonably good. It doesn't say 'turn the other cheek'; it says 'kill if you must but don't go about chopping heads off for the fun of it'.
So, a creative person should be able to distill the positive ideas and attitudes and values in Islam and formulate a new way to be Islam in spirit without being a Muslim who necessarily believes in the old religion.

A coslim, or cosmopolitan Muslim.

K(yle) said...

Prior to rap, black music/culture was less crazy than white music/culture.

You are just listing black musicians listened to by white people. You might attempt to prove your erroneous point better if you actually did some research into what black people listened to instead.

Paul Mendez said...

Europe had a 99-year run of relative peace from 1815 to 1914. So Pinker might be jumping the gun just a bit.

Anonymous said...

"You are just listing black musicians listened to by white people. You might attempt to prove your erroneous point better if you actually did some research into what black people listened to instead."

Like who? James Brown? He was a wild man but he was about dancing and making love.

Paul Mendez said...

My dad taught me the car-headlight thing too. I recently passed it on to my child.

Last time I tried the car-headlight thing, the owner saw me and came within seconds of kicking my ass for messing with his car!

Anonymous said...

From your full article:

“'There is a theorem in publishing that each graph halves a book’s audience.' With over 100 quantitative graphs, Better Angels will presumably sell about 1/1024th of a copy."

Well, as you once mentioned, you didn't go to Cal Tech.

Anonymous said...

"Pinker is certainly sharp but he strikes me as more of a glib dilettante than a careful, deep thinker (at least in his pop books)."

Yep. He's pink, not red.

Josh G. said...

So what happened in the mid-1960s that we had to start locking our cars and houses? Why did Watts and then so many other inner cities explode into rape and pillage?

The fact that environmental lead levels, especially in urban environments, reached all-time highs in the 1960s and 1970s is often overlooked. Many people don't realize just how much of an impact lead has on human behavior. It really can make people a lot stupider and more violent than they would be otherwise.

Anonymous said...

People used to leave car keys in cars? Wow.

This reminds me of a culture shock in my youth.
I was a city kid and used to all sorts of crime. My skateboard was stolen by some black kid. I got knocked off my bike which was stolen by some bald headed Hispanic punk.
The general understanding was anything that can be stolen will be stolen.

I visited my friend in the suburbs for sleepover and I see kids piling their bikes outside a store without locking them to buy stuff and play videogames. I couldn't believe my eyes. Only a nut would have done what they did in my city neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

"For the last time, Steve, millions of those fetuses would have grown up to be inner city thugs. Abortion is a eugenic practice."

Wonder how many babies are conceived and not aborted due to welfare checks?

Anonymous said...

One reason for less violence seems to be it's-all-taken-ism.
We know which lands belong to which peoples, so there's less to fight about.

But suppose mankind discovers a pristine as-yet-undiscovered and unhabited continent(the size of Australia)rich in all sorts of natural resources--gold, diamond, oil, etc--in the middle of the Pacific.
What would happen?
Would US try to hog it all? Or will it share it with EU? Will China and Russia demand equal shares? What about Brazil and India? How will rest of mankind fel about it?
It's possible that through international laws, some sort of peaceful solution will come about.

But suppose an expedition of Indians or Russians found the continent first and claimed the whole thing for their own nation? Then what?

Anonymous said...

One reason why war is less likely is because of the information revolution. More people have seen the real face of violence through documentaries or movies like Platoon and Schindler's List.
And since the media aren't controlled or monopolized by a small elite or dictator as in the past, it's more difficult to emotionally and physically mobilize large numbers of men for war. Also, thanks to more POVS, more people today know that reality isn't as simple as us vs them. During WWI, Britons and Americans were led to believe in the evil Hun who killed babies. But most people don't go for such vilification of the enemy. Compare American depiction of Germans and Japanese in WWII with American media treatment of Muslims after 9/11.

Anonymous said...

If Pinker identified the reasons for the reduction of violence in the last many centuries, what should be identified as the likely reasons for the return of massive violence in the future?
History never remains the same or only moves in one direction.

Anonymous said...

Wars unifying a people of common race/culture seem to have a permanent effect--even after the ruling elites fall. Japan had been divided along various clans, and they fought many bloody wars. Tokugawas united Japan and held sway for something like 250 yrs. But even after the Tokus fell, Japan remained as one nation.

Chinese went through a warlord period and then fought a bloody civil war between communists and KMT. But even if communist party were to lose power, China will remain China, one nation.

But look at the Soviet Union. A mighty empire of diverse peoples united by war whereby the Russian Core dominated over non-Russian peoples. But once the Soviet regime fell apart, the whole empire fell apart.
Timeless lesson: Political/ideological unity isn't as longlasting as racial/cultural unity.

Things may be more complicated in the US. Though Stalin moved populations all over the place, communism mostly forbade people from moving around, and so most people remained rooted in their regions. Thus, once the Soviet empire fell, secession of various natioanlities were doable.
But with Brazil and US, where diverse peoples are dispersed all over, that kind of breakup-of-empire scenario is less likely. The South is as black as white. SW still has lots of whites. And though Hsipanics are growing more dominant, there are lots of other groups too.

Anonymous said...

One reason why war is less likely is because of the information revolution.
that's why all but small corners of the blogsphere are hootin and hollerin over Ghadaffi's death?

Actually information could make war more likely too, buttercup

Anonymous said...

"Pinker is certainly sharp but he strikes me as more of a glib dilettante than a careful, deep thinker (at least in his pop books)."

If Pinker seems all that sharp perhaps its because he travels in a rather dull crowd. A "glib dilettante" to be sure; but at least give him credit for being the first "academic" (that I know of) to properly lampoon Malcolm Gladwell. Not a major achievement, rather like a Pest Control agent trapping a mouse, still its something.

Anonymous said...

If we want social peace, young males must respect older men. Thus, older men need to be worthy of respect and young boys need to be raised in a culture of respect.

Did the Great White Man lose the respect of younger males cuz they were unworthy of respect or because the new media brought up kids to be louts?

Marlowe said...

Prof. Pinker has long presented (at least since HOW THE MIND WORKS) his youthful, 60s, romantic anarchistic self as an object of ridicule to his readers in order to demonstrate how he has matured into the sophisticated, realistic liberal of today.

Anonymous said...

Compare American depiction of Germans and Japanese in WWII with American media treatment of Muslims after 9/11.
that's because they save all their vilification for white males.

helene edwards said...

On the car thing, I seem to remember that with domestic cars made before around 1966, you couldn't lock them from the outside simply by pushing the knob down. Either the door wouldn't close or the thing would just pop back up. After that point, the pushed-down knob stayed down and the car locked. So that's one reason you couldn't help out the guy who'd left his lights on. Of course, maybe that change itself resulted from the demand for more security, I don't know.

Bubba Joe said...

Great review, but one of the crappiest comment threads I've ever seen here.

Not that it worries me but ... said...

Hey Steve, you pointed out that Blogger doesn't give the option of preventing 'anonymous' comments.

Yep, but it does give you the option of refusing to approve them.

FelixM said...

Anonymous asked whether Islamic culture can be secularized.

The more pressing question is what's at the culture's centre. And I suggest that it's tribalism and a disrespect for/indifference to rationality. Not a good look for accommodating to modernity.

Anon adds that Islam has the advantage over Christianity in being more reasonable about morality.

A superficial view. The predominant Islamic theology bases morality on Allah's absolute will, rejecting the notion of a "natural law" that can be reached by reasonable people.

And, yes, these memes are not logically essential to Islam. But historically they've characterized Islamic societies and it's difficult to see how this could change.

Anonymous said...

I can't think of a more charming, harmless ode to youthful innocence than The Who Sell Out, the Who's best record. This dude must be a twit to use this record as a case study for 60's counterculture violence.

Munch said...

"I see. Only young, attractive, slim girls are valuable, right? What about the rest of us White women whose bodies don't adhere to modern patriarchal standards? Are we just just thrown aside as no longer having any worth?"

What are you talking about? There is no "valuable" without a person doing the valuing. Old, fat women are not valued by men who can do better. They have worth as human beings but in the sexual market, they may be found lacking by many. You seem not to be satisfied by the abstract value afforded you as a human being but want to be desired as a sexual object.

Many men get little interest from women because they are not strong.

They could say "do I not have value as a human being?" They do. But as sex partners women prefer stronger men and act on their preferences.

So, unattractive women and weak men have value. Just not to the opposite sex.

jack strocchi said...

I am sympathetic to New Testament Christianity, but its hard to see the connection between NT and the decline of violence over the nineties and noughties. That period saw a marked decline in the profession of Christian faith.

My money is on the rise of feminism and financialism, which is tightly correlated with the decline in inter-personal and inter-political violence. Alpha-males can more easily and quickly acquire higher status through making money and not war. And Alpha-females are less inclined to issue large broods, which reduces the surplus of angry young men in the next generation.

Anonymous said...

Should Pinker's book be called, 'We Jews took over the West--and the entire global community--so we might as well start defending it--in a way.'?

For much of modern history, Jews took a very critical view of Western expansion and accused white gentiles of 'racism', imperialism, genocide, classism, and whatever-else-ism. During this period, most of the West was stil controlled by goy elites. So, Jews naturally felt hostile to the white-goy-order.
But this Western Empire has fallen onto the laps of the Jewish elites. So, for Jews to continue to bitch about global world order created by Western expansion might be counter-productive. If what the West did was soooooo evil, why are Jews now the main controllers and benefactors of it?
Since Jews now own it, maybe it makes sense for Jews to justify how 'it wasn't all bad but actually did much for world peace'.

Anonymous said...

Aristocracy or the military class thought in terms of honor and pride through victory(or dignified defeat). The bourgeoisie or business class thought in terms of profit and respectability through negotiation and bargaining.
So, when elite controls of power went from the military class to the business class, the world probably became more negotiation-minded than confrontation-minded. From the fist to the handshake.

Now, what about the intellectual class? It seems there were two kinds of intellectuals in traditional or religious society. The priestly types who tended to be conservative. They stuck to dogma and rituals and often served the elites. But there was also the prophet types who insisted that man must live by the word of God(or higher truth or justice) than use the word of God for benefit of power-elites. In India, the Brahmin priestly class was conservative. But guru-eccentrics like Buddha were revolutionary. The rabbis under Herod were conservative. But men like John the Batptist and Jesus were prophetic than priestly.
In the modern age, Marx was the greatest prophet. He was not an establishment intellectual but outsider-prophet-intellectual.

Priestly-intellectuals can do damage to society by corruption; they may invoke God or truth or dogma for their own interests or to serve their masters. The Russian Orthodox Church, being so close to the Tsar, ignored the pleas and suffering of the people.
But prophet-intellectuals can do damage too. Though they might open people's minds to 'what must be done', they can be self-righteous, fiery, radical, and call for utopian violence. And what Marx unleashed was indeed horrible.

But the rich and powerful need an intellectual/priestly class to justify their rule. And idealists and the people(especially in bad times)want prophets to preach the new gospel/vision and show them the new path.
In the modern world, it could be the priestly and the prophetic merged to the point where men like Karl Marx are no longer really possible. Since mostly 'leftist' intellectuals--rather than conservative priestly types--run the ivory towers of modern society, there's less incentive for them to call for the total destruction of the status quo. If Marx were alive today, he'd probably be a well-paid and well-respected academic at some college or thinktank. As such, he might be less into a REAL revolution.

slumber_j said...

The Woody Hayes Chair in National Securities Studies is my new favorite thing ever. Thanks for drawing my attention to that.

The point about "win-win" is interesting too, and something I've thought about some. Ever since I took a Game Theory course from Thomas Schelling in college, I've long assumed that a lot (maybe even most?) of the people who deploy that expression don't know that they're indicating non-zero-sum games.

Not that it's that hard a notion to grasp, which it's not. But yeah: I'd agree that if you grasp it even on the most superficial level, you're smarter than you would have been if you hadn't.

Anonymous said...

"One reason why war is less likely is because of the information revolution."

"that's why all but small corners of the blogsphere are hootin and hollerin over Ghadaffi's death?
Actually information could make war more likely too"

But not all wars are alike. The rebellion was a war against the thuggish violence of Gaddafi under which Libyans lived for a long long time.
It was not war for the sake of war but to make Libya into a more decent place in the future.
Of course, Libya is gonna go through hard times(and there is always the possibility of things getting worse), but Libyans stood up cuz they got the information(from Tunisia and Egypt) that Arabs could fight for freedom and be free. Their violence was against the violence of Gaddafi. With Gaddafi gone and IF Libyans build a saner society according to the wishes of the people, there will be less violence in the future.

Anonymous said...

There is the violence of having too little. And the violence of having too much--like the Vancouver riots. And the London riots were done by kids with full bellies. They weren't hungry but wanted free plasma TV and just to have fun smashing stuff.

People who have little can sometimes be less violent, sometimes more violent. Not having much, they may actually appreciate stuff like social order, food, and property. They don't take anything for granted, and as such, can have a strong sense of morality.
People who have a lot can become bored, decadent, spoiled, and etc--like the elite Roman citizens who were into orgy-porgies and stuff.

Of course, people with absolutely nothing can be driven to desperation and do violent and inhuman acts for just a crust of bread.
I'd rather be around spoiled violent people with full bellies than empty-bellied violent people who will kill for a loaf of bread. I mean London Riots were awful, but not many people died. But in food riots with literally starving people, thousands can be trampled to death.

Even so, people with too much stuff take things for granted, and they have little appreciation of the good things in life. The thugs in London may not have been rich, but they lived in a society that offered free medicine, free education, free whole bunch of stuff. But they just scoffed at all that stuff and acted like louts. If they were really hungry, they might have been more serious about life and more grateful of the benefits of civilization. But they are like well-fed and pampered children who throw tantrums and demand more 'rights'.

Anonymous said...

"I can't think of a more charming, harmless ode to youthful innocence than The Who Sell Out, the Who's best record. This dude must be a twit to use this record as a case study for 60's counterculture violence."

The 'innocence' was a coy put-on. The Who Sell Out is a totally cynical work--with the exception of 'Our Love Is/Was'. Great album but sardonically pranksterish through and through. As Mods, the Who were outwardly neatly dressed and even dandy-ish, but let's remember Mod culture really revolved around pills, anarchy, rebellion, excess, and fights(with Teddy Boys).

Steve Sailer said...

Re: regarding the extreme randomness of this comments thread ... Yeah, Pinker's book does that to people. I wrote a few hundred comments in the margin of the galleys, and picking out a couple of dozen to make a semi-coherent review out of was a lot of work.

candid observer said...

Far be it from me not to add to the randomness.

One of the signs, to me, of the sort of thinker Pinker has become, is his frankly bizarre views on HBD as it applies to IQ.

He has argued forcefully that women are, very likely, less capable at the very high ranges of mathematical and scientific talent required for the most outstanding contributions.

On the other hand, he has claimed that he is not in any way convinced that various races exhibit different distributions on IQ based importantly on genetic differences.

Nothing could be more obvious that this has things exactly backwards. Any serious student of the subject realizes early and often that the differentials between races on IQ are far more difficult to attribute dominantly to environment than any differential between the genders.

Even Jensen, who could not argue more compellingly for the racial differences, has been very reluctant to draw like distinctions between the genders. It's not that he believes they simply don't exist; it's just that he thinks the evidence is not nearly so overwhelming.

I personally attribute Pinker's strange move to intellectual cowardice, not to a sincere belief that the evidence for racial differences is unconvincing.

But, if it's cowardice, or if it's some intellectual limitation, it definitely leads one to believe that one is not seeing an honest, intelligent, and coherent case being laid out when Pinker addresses a large issue with many "side effects" -- and violence among human beings across history is a VERY large issue with vast side effects.

Anonymous said...

One of the signs, to me, of the sort of thinker Pinker has become, is his frankly bizarre views on HBD as it applies to IQ.

You have to realize that discussing IQ and race is still the intellectual equivalent of a politician going after Social Security. Anyone who discusses it is immediately and irrevocably labeled a "racist". If you are a "racist" then you will be a target of constant university attacks from students, 3rd rate academics, and the media. The university administrators will stand idly by and tacitly endorse attacks on your character. And because of your new found label you are no longer taken seriously, period.

So to endorse this idea means you go from someone people will listen to, to someone people feel free to never listen or take seriously because, well you are "racist" and has Steve pointed out this is the modern equivalent of being a leper. So, I can agree with you that Pinker is ignoring the elephant in the living room, but seriously why would he cripple his career? One man can't take on the entire culture. Look what happened to Bernard Davis, Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray, Arthur Jensen, Vincent Sarich etc.... Two of those guys taught at Harvard, for example, and if anything the university climate for discussing this topic is less open then it was in the 1960's or the 1970's

ben tillman said...

On the car thing, I seem to remember that with domestic cars made before around 1966, you couldn't lock them from the outside simply by pushing the knob down. Either the door wouldn't close or the thing would just pop back up. After that point, the pushed-down knob stayed down and the car locked.

That practice continued for decades after 1966, though it was only Ford or GM (can't remember which) that was doing it in '80s/'90s.

Remnant said...

"is there any bigger topic than violence?"

Probabaly not. William Vollman subtitled his seven-volume, 3,300 page meditation on violence "SOME THOUGHTS on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means".

Does Pinker cite you in the book, Steve?

Anonymous said...

"I personally attribute Pinker's strange move to intellectual cowardice, not to a sincere belief that the evidence for racial differences is unconvincing.

"But, if it's cowardice, or if it's some intellectual limitation, it definitely leads one to believe that one is not seeing an honest, intelligent, and coherent case being laid out when Pinker addresses a large issue with many "side effects" -- and violence among human beings across history is a VERY large issue with vast side effects."

I agree.

TGGP said...

To the first anonymous commenter, bare branches theory is dead wrong. The Chinese bachelors are not causing loads of violence, precisely because their situation is the opposite of the inner city (where women outnumber men).

Violence is a big subject. I recommend Randall Collins' "Violence: A Microsociological Theory" for the more immediate (not big social causes) aspects of violence.

NLF said...

There's something funny about Pinker's thesis, and it's the way he defines VIOLENCE. Let us assume that what he says is true. Mankind generally is less violent now than he was before. And mankind had been progressively growing less violent with the passage of time. And let us assume that many of the historical and cultural reasons he provides are valid. But did much of the violence really disappear from Earth... or was it directed at something else? Maybe violence is like energy in the law of physics. You can change its form and channel it elsewhere, but you cannot get rid of the sum of it.

The problem with Pinker's thesis is he limits violence to the activity among mankind. But why should this be the case? Why is it only violence when it is man-on-man? What about man-on-nature? Could it be man-on-man violence decreased with the increase of man-on-nature violence? Isn't hunting a form of violence? An animal struck with spears would think so. And though plants don't feel pain, isn't it violence when we harvest plants or chop down trees? Isn't clearing an entire forest a kind of violence? And even if life isn't killed, isn't mining a form of violence? I mean when entire mountains are blown up for minerals, it's a kind of violence--and animals and plants may be destroyed in the process too.

Anonymous said...

"So, I can agree with you that Pinker is ignoring the elephant in the living room, but seriously why would he cripple his career? One man can't take on the entire culture. Look what happened to Bernard Davis, Richard Herrnstein, Charles Murray, Arthur Jensen, Vincent Sarich etc.... Two of those guys taught at Harvard, for example, and if anything the university climate for discussing this topic is less open then it was in the 1960's or the 1970's"

So, how do you think the media and the academy would respond if say, men such as these were to write a book together or appear on a panel together or offer a lecture series together in which they shared similar findings or even offer such views in a piece with all their names on it?

Anonymous said...

It was with man's increased violence against nature that man was able to produce more goods, foods, and stuff for mankind. With plenty to eat, trade, and enjoy, man was able to become less violent with one another. But this was made possible cuz man's violence against nature increased.
Suppose there are two primitive tribes who fish for food. But they have crude ways of fishing, and so they don't have much to eat. So, there's likely to be more competition between the tribes for fishing holes and etc. They would be violent to one another--like bears are while competing for salmon fishing ground--to have more fish for their own tribe. But suppose both tribes are provided with a modern fishing vessel that can catch a ton of fish. They'd more than enough to eat and have some left over to export/trade. There would be less need for the tribes to fight one another. BUT, this peace among the tribes has been made possible by greater violence against the fish. Prior to attaining modern vessels, suppose each tribe had been able to catch 100 fish a week. With the vessel, they can catch a 1,000 a day. Now, one might say it aint no violence to catch fish. But ask the damn fish. They aint enjoying it. They struggle when they're dragged onto the ship and gutted with knives. So, increased violence against fishdom made for reduced violence amongst man. So, reduction of violence among man had to be brought about with increased violence against fish. For one form of violence to go down, another kind had to go up. It's like if you lower taxes on one thing, you have to raise taxes on something else to balance the budget.

NLF said...

Same goes for animal husbandry and modern industrial killing.
Primitive folks had to hunt for food. They might stalk an animal for days and then finally bring it down. Since it was difficult to attain food this way, there was a lot of conflict among various tribes. Each tribe wanted more access to animals. So, tribes might fight over hunting grounds and etc. But mass industrial killing of animals filled our stomachs, and so we don't fight for food. If it takes a primitive tribe maybe a week to kill a zebra, an modern slaughterhouse can kill 1000s of cows, 1000s of pigs, 1000s of lambs, and 10,000 of chickens a day. How is this not a form of violence? Just ask the pigs if it's any fun to be dragged and knocked in the head. Ask the cow if it's fun to be airgunned and have their skulls crushed. Look at the chickens in the movie BARAKA. It is chickencaust.

NLF said...

And we need not to compare modern society with primitives. Even 100 yrs ago, many farmers struggled to raise a few cows and plow their ground. Many didn't have modern harvesting combine equipments and tractors and the like. So, the amount of violence they did to animal and plants was limited.
But modern agriculture is done with massive machines that can harvest huge acres of fields in no time. Now, it might sound silly to call the harvesting of wheat or corn 'violence', but it is indeed a form of violence. We don't see it as violence cuz we just think of it as food. But suppose I lay waste to an entire prairie. People would call that violence. Agriculture seems all peaceful and rustic, but it is man's violence on nature. First off, the original natural inhabitants--and its animals and flora--hand to be all removed. It is man's genocide against the 'undesirable' plants and animals. The huge farmlands of America had once been inhabited by bears, eagles, bisons, cougars, wolves, etc. They were all wiped out. Violence. Man also continues to kill animals that threaten their farmland. If a farmer were to see wolves or cougars on his farm, he would shoot them or call animal control which will do much the same thing. Also, pesticides and stuff like that do violence against insects and birds.

Anonymous said...

Now, agriculture and modern animal-raising is what might be called 'prodestruction'--or production-destruction. Primitive man generally don't plant things or raise animals. Primitive man take from plants that are already there. They pick and gather. If they need wood, they chop down a tree but don't think to grow more trees. If they want meat, they hunt animals but don't raise animals. They destroy animals and plants that are already there and wait for nature to replenish the supply. This is not a very efficient form of violence.
But advanced man has agriculture and animal-raising, developed by man as a form of recyclable violence. Via agriculture, man destroyed(or cut down and harvested)the crops, but he also planted new round of crops(to destroy or harvest)next year. Violence was made more efficient, massive, repetitious, and regular. And via animal-raising, advanced man not only destroyed a cow or pig but raised new generations of cows and pigs to destroy. Thus, there was an endless cycle of animals to destroy. This increased the scale of violence against animals. Primitive man could be awful cruel, but he was not efficient in killing animals. Every time he needed to kill animals, he had to go hunting. But advanced man could just go on killing and killng and killing cuz he made sure that animals had babies before they died. So, even if the farmer killed the mother-cow, its baby cows were growing up to be killed too. So, there was an endless supply of animals to kill--or do violence against.

candid observer said...

"So to endorse this idea means you go from someone people will listen to, to someone people feel free to never listen or take seriously because, well you are "racist" and has Steve pointed out this is the modern equivalent of being a leper."

Pinker has tenure.

And there are a thousand ways one can address the issue of whether IQ distribution differences across races is dominantly based on genetics. What one does NOT have to say is this, as Pinker told Skeptic magazine:

"If our society did not divide people by race then the question of racial differences would be too scientifically boring for anyone to bother with. Races are biologically superficial, and they tie in to no real theory of how we evolved, so there is no coherent explanation as to why races should differ biologically."

Simply consider how much obfuscation and outright falsehood is compressed into that brief passage.

And consider the many academics who signed onto the letter supporting the respectability of the science in The Bell Curve:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mainstream_Science_on_Intelligence

Can one seriously argue that none of these distinguished academics were ever listened to again?

Look, Pinker veers into obfuscation and falsehood because, while he seeks the "edginess" of speaking taboo truths, he simply is too much in love with popular and critical acclaim to go where truth takes him. My guess is that he wrote his latest book with a far more palatable -- almost Jared Diamond like -- "moral" quite purposefully: he is desperate to win one of the major book awards.

Excuse me if I don't find this behavior quite as admirable as, say, that of Arthur Jensen.

When the truth of HBD finally outs -- and it will -- it will not be the cowards like Stephen Pinker who will be hailed as heroes of science. It will instead be those like Arthur Jensen, and those who signed that letter.

NLF said...

And this reached new level of efficiency and violence with the assembly line method of slaughtering innovated in places like the Chicago stockyard. This massively heightened violence against pigs and cows made greater peace possible for man. With more food for everyone, there was less need for man to fight over bread and meat. Even during bad times, even poor people could be provided with a can of spam or some such. But why? Because man found efficient ways to increase violence against ever greater number of cows, pigs, lamb, chicken, and etc.

And just look at the modern fishing industry all over the world. It is a form of massive violence against fishdom, but it keeps 100s of millions of Europeans, Japanese, Chinese, Hindus, and etc all well fed with tuna, bass, perch, and etc.

All this violence may not register as violence to us cuz we choose not to see it. I mean who wants to see depressing videos of pigs being marched to death. Also, we found ways to 'hide' much of this massive violence. Slaughterhouses are situated far from most big towns and cities. So, it happens away from view. Also, fast food restaurants use all sorts of cartoony images that present animals as if they're happy to be eaten by us. A chicken joint will have a smiling cartoon chicken on its advertising poster. Also, since only 2% of Americans work in agriculture, few of us have firsthand experience with the bloody business of killing animals. Also, we fool ourselves that animals are killed 'humanely'. Now, it may well be true that animals in slaughterhouses are killed more humanely than by primitive spear chuckers or cruel Chinese who like to torture animals. But, the scale of violence on the industrial scale is awesome in the modern slaughter house. Animals are assembled and killed so fast that they might as well be parts on an assembly line. An cow that was alive could, in 10 minutes, be chopped up into so many pieces and packaged and shipped off all over. And this happens on a huge scale every day of the year in all of the modern world. Such level of super violence made our bellies fuller and thus 'more human' and 'less violent'. But at the cost of massive violence against nature, plants, and animals on an unprecedented industrial scale.

We take pride on how humane we are to dogs and cats--and how 'humanlike' and kind our dogs and cats are. But how is this possible? Cuz there's plenty of food not only for us but for dogs and cats.. and why? Because of all the cows, pigs, fish, chicken, and etc we kill on a massive scale. Our dogs and cats may not hunt for food and may be loving devoted animals, but it's because they eat what we eat. Dogs and cats can be peaceful and loving cuz their bellies are full due to the massive violence against cows, pigs, fish, chicken, lamb, corn, soybean, etc.

NLF said...

Also, we may say roads increased communication and understanding among man, but roads are also a violence against nature. Much of nature has to be cleared to build roads. Trees are chopped, ridges are blown up between mountains, and etc. And then, whole bunch of animals get killed on the road: raccoons, squirrels, possums, birds, rabbits, deer, etc. And though we may enjoy camping, the fact is camp grounds have to be made accessible to cars and must be cleared of dangerous animals. So, our peace is bought with violence against nature again.

And then, there is indirect violence. We suck out oil from the ground, and the whole process of extraction and refining cause all sorts of pollution. Also, we love plastic products, but all that junk end up in the seas, and birds and turtles swallow that stuff and get sick. Oil tankers bring oil to us, but there are oil spills. And even without oil spills, there's bound to some kind of damage when so many ships go back and forth in the ocean.
And there is all the pollution we spew into the air, and that may be contributing to global warming, which is a kind of violence against nature too.
And on and on. So, it's rather too easy for Pinker to congratulate man for his reduction in violence. I would say man-to-man violence has been reduced at the cost of great increases of man-on-nature violence and through the prodestruction of agriculture and animal-raising.

Charlesz Martel said...

The trick with the car locks worked as follows:

If you pushed the lock down and wanted to close the door with the door remaining locked, you held in the button on the exterior door handle. If you didn't, it would automatically unlock when the door closed. This was to prevent you from locking the keys in the car. The extra effort involved in pressing the button while closing the door actually worked very well. Of course, it was much, much easier to break into your car back then, too. Most cars could be entered with a coat hangar, and the lock on the door had a flared end so it was easy to get a loop of coat-hanger wire around it. Auto shops sold (maybe they still do) "anti-theft locks" which were basically non-flared lock handles- you unscrewed the old ones and put on the new ones. These required a tight grip to unlock, and were much harder to unlock with a coat hanger. Slim Jims used to be sold in many places - in some states they still are, in others, they're considered burglary tools, and possession by a non-locksmith is illegal. And don't get me started about how easy hot-wiring used to be compared to now. Yes, we really did leave keys in cars and cars unlocked at work, and in many cases, at home.

People who haven't lived in high-crime majority NAM neighborhoods have no idea of the multicultural diverse paradises they're missing out on. I've had guns put in my face. employees have had physical fights with armed robbers (and won, hurting them badly). Trying to explain this to New York acquaintances over drinks at an Upper East Side boite is basically pointless- they are literally incapable of that level of abstraction.

A friend of mine used to live in Selma, Alabama- a city famous for its' role in the creation of the racial utopia we all enjoy today. After having her camera stolen from her car while she was at a convenience store, and her kid's bicycle stolen despite being chained to the brick wall at the Selma Y, the final straw was the stealing of her barbecue grill from her front porch- while it had food and hot coals in it!

Maya said...

"This soft-harem system where a few alphas monopolize all the (young, attractive, valuable) women can't last forever. Modern females don't understand the levels of violence a beta male with nothing to lose is capable of."

Ah yes! Have you thought about what will happen when the fat homely chicks put down the ice cream and turn off Gray's Anatomy? Why, there will be HELL to pay! There they were, pleasuring their taste buds, waiting for a dreamy doctor to sweep them off their feet, or to be the sexy, exciting girl pursued by every tall executive in the big city. Meanwhile, the good looking, interesting men ignore them, and the ice cream is getting more expensive! The system where all the attractive, confident, successful , valuable men are only interested in young, beautiful, pleasant women has got to end!!! Women have known for thousands of years that it's the duty of every desirable man to service ALL the women and to chase away those other annoying male-like creatures. Otherwise, you have no idea what monumental acts of destruction a fatty with a bitchy attitude, approaching middle age is capable of.

On a side note... The loser male movement and the fat acceptance movement really are a match made in heaven. The losers (who misuse the term "beta") dream of a system which would entitle them to an attractive woman. The militant fat acceptance girls want to bring about a world order that would reeducate everyone into finding them attractive (and in some cases- young). Someone needs to throw a singles party and invite both camps. The FA feminazis could reeducate the losers and pair up with them.Everyone will be happy!

Anonymous # 1138 said...

OpenID is easy to use, but as long as Sailer's not enforcing it, meh, why bother

About Pinker: he's usually quite fair to his critics on either side, at least by the modern standard of celebrity academics. He also anticipates objections to his arguments, problem being that he gives these Spocky rebuttals to any critique from a pre-statistics moral-philosophy viewpoint.

Statistical analysis in social science can be very, very helpful (e.g. the availability heuristic) and I do love Pinker's neuropsych work. But if there's such a thing as a fully rationalized Aldous Huxleyan end-of-history society where morality's obsolete, it's useless to those of us in this millennium. Recently hearing a radio interview for Pinker's book I was reminded of a Neil Postman passage I copied out long ago:
___Many of our psychologists, sociologists, economists and other latter-day cabalists will have numbers to tell them the truth or they will have nothing. Can you imagine, for example, a modern economist articulating truths about our standard of living by reciting a poem? Or by telling what happened to him during a late-night walk through East St. Louis? Or by offering a series of proverbs and parables, beginning with the saying about a rich man, a camel, and the eye of a needle? The first would be regarded as irrelevant, the second merely anecdotal, the last childish.___

Maya said...

"What's the big deal, Huni? The Brothers like a little meat on their Skirt's bones."

No, no, no, Truth! Hands off! Black men don't have any problems finding mates, so you need to have some compassion and share. I need ideas for the match making party I'm organizing. How about inviting the bitter plump chicks in their 30s and 40s to a Sex and the City pajamas marathon? The cowardly virgins could be lured in with a Porn&Chicken club membership. When everyone arrives, I'll apologize endlessly about the DVD player being broken and put a large tub of Cheetos in the middle of the convention center. The ladies will look younger and prettier with each gallon of vodka consumed by the gentlemen. The bullshit femenazi rhetoric will disappear, as the ladies feel ogled by (sorta) masculine eyes for the very first time. Will the two camps realize that they deserve each other and not an iota more? Will the x-large pajama/sweat pants come off? Will it be the end of this particular brand of internet whining? There is only one way to find out.

sexually frustrated said...

Is it possible to order the 7-volume set of Bill Vollmann's book? My local e-tailers are all pushing this 608 page thing, hardly sufficient for the violence philosophizing I crave. I can't even order it from that irritating SWPL publisher's web site (oh, Miranda July has a new one out too)

btw Deep Springs announced it is going to admit girls now.

Bernard Lewis did that one better said...

I took the "goyish kopf" remark as a mild joke at the expense of a famously patrician fellow Jew, who'd never write anything so indelicate. All that proves is that he's no Lenny Bruce, but who knows what he really thinks about the materialist conception of history; often sounds as if he's just tweaking people for the hell of it. From the passing mention the Battle of the Milvian Bridge gets you'd imagine it was the 4th century equivalent of Kristallnacht.

Anonymous said...

I visited my friend in the suburbs for sleepover and I see kids piling their bikes outside a store without locking them to buy stuff and play videogames. I couldn't believe my eyes. Only a nut would have done what they did in my city neighborhood.

That's how it was where I grew up too. Only in our case the video arcade was up two flights of stairs, so you couldn't even see your bike. I always felt uneasy about leaving it unlocked but I didn't want to be "the geek who locks his bike up" so I'd just dump it there with the others. This went on for three or fours years and it was never stolen.

When I came to America I had my bike stolen the second day after I bought it. Thing is, I chained it up in right out in the open and a black kid still stole it (according to witnesses).

Silver

Anonymous said...

CCBL, while sitting here in Starbucks this morning I've seen 2 white girls with mulatto babies, and they were both heavier than me, so don't worry about finding a brother to take care of you.

Anonymous said...

One reason that we'll never likely see again mass warfare such as WW1, WW2 is that the typical European family has less than one son and heir.
Basically this means that the days of 'cannon fodder' wars are over - basically any nations that indulge in that style of warfare will go extinct, so I'll expect nations going down that road towards all out warfare to capitulate sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

"I can't think of a more charming, harmless ode to youthful innocence than The Who Sell Out, the Who's best record. This dude must be a twit to use this record as a case study for 60's counterculture violence."

The 'innocence' was a coy put-on. The Who Sell Out is a totally cynical work--with the exception of 'Our Love Is/Was'. Great album but sardonically pranksterish through and through. As Mods, the Who were outwardly neatly dressed and even dandy-ish, but let's remember Mod culture really revolved around pills, anarchy, rebellion, excess, and fights(with Teddy Boys).

Put on, it was, and of course, the fake commercials are parodies, but I honestly don't see anything venomous in the record. "Tatoo" even sends up youth rebellion. One thing that I've not seen commented much about Pete Townsend is the sheer beta-ness of many of his songs, particularly regarding the theme of the insecure unmasculine male: "Tatoo", "I'm a Boy", "Substitute", etc.

Anonymous said...

So what happened in the mid-1960s that we had to start locking our cars and houses? Why did Watts and then so many other inner cities explode into rape and pillage?

Possibly for different reasons. The main reason I have to lock my house and car is petty-thieving drug addicts, so I guess the rise of the drug culture in the 60s and 70s is to blame. I could speculate on what caused American blacks to riot just as the civil-rights movement achieved total victory... but, frankly, I'm bored by that shit.

Cennbeorc

Anonymous said...

All this talk about Keith Moon and alpha males today.....

Well Keith Moon was the real deal.A hyper alpha 'big top bollocks' male.Perhaps lacking in physical prowess Moon more than made up with it in terms of sheer berzeker not-give-damn fearless male egotism.He was the kid in school we all wanted to know and all secretly admired, the kid who actually had the balls set fir to the building, set off the fire alarms, flood ot the toilets etc, the kid who lived life at the peak, the edge and who was mad, bad and dangerous to know.You only hoped that some of the reflected glory rubbed off on you by association.
Gaddafi had a bit of the same personality about him, but unfortunately this was tempered by soppy pretensions to intelleculiasm and world revolution.Moon was the real deal - pure unadulterated male power and ego running at Taz-like hurricane speed and not giving a sh*t.

NOTA said...

Get Off My Lawn:

It might, except the safety culture is associated with inventing stuff like nuclear weapons and missile carrying drones. I have no doubt that the average Afghan man is much, much tougher than the average American man, for example. This turns out to have limited importance given the differences in wealth and technology.

Jeff said...

Definition of Blue State Triumphalism: A chauvinistic cheerleader attitude favoring a subset of Americans who are a coalition of ethnic groups, identity groups and interest groups led largely by Jews. Their political vehicle is the Democratic Party. Their leading news organ is the New York Times. Their geographic base is in the light yellow regions shown on this map. The coalition is held together with government subidies and will fragment if payments are withheld.

http://www.valpo.edu/geomet/pics/geo200/culture/culture_areas.gif

Anonymous said...

Well, back to Pinker's book.

As I've written before Pinker like many 'social scientists' bends his evidence to support his preconceived ideas and prejudices, rather basing his work strictly on the evidence available.
As a side-note a great many economists are guilty of this (basically they are peddling political ideologies), and this no doubt was a major contributor to the present economic catastrophe we're all suffering from right now ('new economy', 'great moderation' etc) and which none of these economists can see a route out of.
Back to Pinker.My real issue with Pinker is this.The time elapsed since the greatest, most destructive paroxysm of industrialized violence ever known is only 66 years.A mere eye blink in a human history spanning countless millenia.First hand witnesses to what happened are still alive today - Pinker should chat with them.
It is instructive to note what actually happened in WW".We saw industrialized, efficient to the nth degree slaughter of human beings in death factories to rival the Chicago stock-yards.We saw the devlopment of the atomic bomb and the will to use themWe saw the deliberate bombing of cities in order to kill their inhabitants.We saw starvation and death on a mammoth scale in Russia, to name but a few examples.I'm pretty damned sure that if not exhausted the Germans had the will to fight a goodfew yeras further - and to unleash anything, yes anything they had (atomic, biogical, chemical)at their enemies.It goes without saying that the very last Eurpean Jew would have been killed.
I don't know if Pinker has had a sheltered life, but I wonder does he know waht human beings aare capable of when cornered and desperate?, when 'aliens' have killed their loved ones? Has ever seen a real display of fury and rage in his entire life? - if he has he could not have written such a nonsensical book.
Way back in 1900, the intellectuals and jurists of the day thought that European man (who basically ran the world in those days), thought that the world had reached a triumph of civilsation, gentle manners and progress to outdo the Pax Romana.With the art, literature and music of the time, not to mention the scientists, philosophers and moralists they really thought they were the pinnacle and perfection of progress and everything would be lovely afterwards.

How wrong they were.

NOTA said...

Maya:

I believe there is an existing protocol to achieve just what you are describing. They just need to serve plenty of alcohol at their events.

Truth said...

"No, no, no, Truth! Hands off! Black men don't have any problems finding mates, so you need to have some compassion and share."

LOL, hey babe, just bringing up options...

Per your party; I don't think you want Chicken and Porn, the bruthas would definitely crash, and then they'd get the Indifference boost in their sex appeal by ignoring the big white girls.

No, what you want is a Grand Theft Auto / Final Fantasy video game competition, paired with something the betas know about that they can prattle on about endlessly...like local microbrews. Play World Music all night long in the background, hold a TED conference and have Roissy as keynote speaker.

Kylie said...

"'This soft-harem system where a few alphas monopolize all the (young, attractive, valuable)'

I see. Only young, attractive, slim girls are valuable, right?"


CCBL, the commenter you quoted didn't say that. I'm no scientist but I suspect that biologically speaking, since "young, attractive, slim" are prime indicators that girls are fertile and can bear children without too much difficulty (apparently, there are lots more high-risk pregnancies now due to the obesity epidemic), yes, such girls are valuable from an evolutionary or biological standpoint.

"What about the rest of us White women whose bodies don't adhere to modern patriarchal standards? Are we just just thrown aside as no longer having any worth?"

No, not as long as we can baby-sit and gather nuts and other edibles. There is a niche for older women, aunts, grandmothers, etc.

"Yes, I'm getting on in years, and yes, I lean to the heavy side, but that doesn't devalue me as human being, especially seeing I'm a conservative, family-orientated matriarch."

No, but it does devalue you as a potential mate and mother, capable of producing healthy offspring.

"I'm sick of you roissy fanboys bringing your warped standards of beauty to the HBD sphere. And just so you Game loser know, a true, conservative White man would take a woman like me over some young Asian skinny rake any day."

What you call "warped standards of beauty" are really just markers of reproductive ability and thus valid from a biological POV, whether you like it or not.

"Frankly, I think that men who chase young girls have pedophilic tendencies."

I believe the "young girls" referred to in this discussion are those in their late teens or early 20s, hardly likely targets of a pedophile.

"So please, go back to roissy's blog and let the mature adults have an intelligent conversation."

There's nothing mature about taking things too personally, which I think it's fair to say you have done here.

Your defensiveness is just silly. You're blaming men for discussing biological realities. If you want to put the blame where it belongs, try Mother Nature.

I'm 56 and though I'm told I look much younger than that, even so, I don't look youthful. I'm height/weight proportionate, which helps, but my days of being sexually attractive in the sense referred to here are literally decades past. So what? I cheerfully gather acorns and dandelion stems to help feed my extended family (and earn my keep).

May I suggest you keep up your diaper-changing skills and refresh your memory re the differences between edible mushrooms and poisonous toadstools?

Anonymous said...

Uh-huh. That's why all the lads' magazines are filled with photos of women in their early 30's.


Kim Kardashian is 31.

Q said...

The Chinese bachelors are not causing loads of violence, precisely because their situation is the opposite of the inner city (where women outnumber men).


I'd guess the fact that they are Chinese and not "inner city" has more than a little to do with it.

Q said...

actual conservative white men (I write from empirical knowledge) would much rather have a sexy young Asian woman than some hostile, gray-haired, blubbery "matriarch" any day.



Sadly for the lard-butted "conservative" white men, sexy young Asian women find them to be rather gross and repulsive.

White Americans as a whole are a pretty obese bunch. (Not that non-whites are any better, but that's a different subject) So I always find it fascinating to see these comments in which people with a BMI of 30 complain about how fat other people are.

Charlotte said...

"Now, it may well be true that animals in slaughterhouses are killed more humanely than by primitive spear chuckers or cruel Chinese who like to torture animals. But, the scale of violence on the industrial scale is awesome in the modern slaughter house. Animals are assembled and killed so fast that they might as well be parts on an assembly line. An cow that was alive could, in 10 minutes, be chopped up into so many pieces and packaged and shipped off all over. And this happens on a huge scale every day of the year in all of the modern world. Such level of super violence made our bellies fuller and thus 'more human' and 'less violent'. But at the cost of massive violence against nature, plants, and animals on an unprecedented industrial scale."

One anthropologist opined that the whole pastoral/agricultural culture did make people more callous. After all, the hunter killed only sometimes,irregularly, and the animal had a chance. It was battle of sorts.
Animals penned up, in herd, raised for slaughter with no hope of escape or of receiving the respect of the killer--that's different. Not a vegetarian (at least not at the moment) and I do think some people need meat; however, the mechanicalness of it, the heartlessness, is deeply disturbing. And then the waste--an animal grazing one day (if it was lucky and not penned up unable to move) is in a hundred parts the next, served up in somebody's lunch. Weird. And then, to see meat wasted, not even eaten and at least giving nourishment. The anima slaughtered and its body thrown in the garbage because the human didn't like it well done or with ketchup.
The more I think about it, the less I can deal this whole carnivore thing. If you do, eat it and be grateful. An animal died horribly probably, to give you your hamburger.
But then of course our cats and dogs are carnivores and they will always need meat. But they at least have no choice.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..."And since the media aren't controlled or monopolized by a small elite or.."

HA HA HA! That was a good one. Do you have any others?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said..."And since the media aren't controlled or monopolized by a small elite or.."

"HA HA HA! That was a good one. Do you have any others?"

Yeah, yeah, I know that the media is disproportionately dominated by the liberal and neocon Jewish elite, but it still offers more variety of information than if Nazis, commies, or Hussein controlled all of it.

And not everyone working for the media isa mindless drone. Lots of jouranlists did tell us the grim news coming out of Iraq, and they weren't jailed.

During the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, people who didn't go along with the program could be locked up. And there was far more naked silencing of dissenting opinions. PC gets people fired but generally not put behind bars, at least not in the US.
Things really changed with the coverage of the Vietnam War. Raw images entered the living room.

Svigor said...

Cantor even had a simple definition of medieval civilization, as "the absorption by western Europe of certain ways of life, ideas and religious attitudes that had prevailed for many centuries in the Mediterranean world." When you are an extraordinarily good historian, you can simplify and remain accurate.

Funny, that's almost exactly my recent conclusion after doing a good bit of reading on the medieval period. If you replaced "Mediterranean world" with "Rome" you'd have my conclusions almost exactly.

So you don't have to be an extraordinarily good historian for that one.

Steve Sailer said...

"One thing that I've not seen commented much about Pete Townsend is the sheer beta-ness of many of his songs, particularly regarding the theme of the insecure unmasculine male: "Tatoo", "I'm a Boy", "

Yeah, but he had the world's loudest guitar. That was part of the appeal of the Who: this bright, sensitive guy who looks like he would get pushed around a lot taking out his frustrations via 140 decibels of windmill powerchording.

general hilarity said...

"Women are beautiful and innocent. That child-like innocence, lack of self-reflection and naivete is what endears us to them."

Really? May have helped Lizzie Borden get off, but not Marie Antoinette or Hypatia.

Still, I knew there was a reason I collect Victorian Valentine Day cards rather than Pokemons.

Anonymous said...

"If our society did not divide people by race then the question of racial differences would be too scientifically boring for anyone to bother with."

That makes absolutely no sense. First, it's more the case that racial differences divide society than society divide people by race--at least since the 60s.
Also, the reason why society is divided along racial lones must mean race is an obvious factor to many people.
And hypotheticals such as this has nothing to do with reality.

All said and done, Pinker is Jewish first and foremost. He knows it's to the advantage of Jews to pretend to be anti-racist, and so he plays the game.

jg said...

"So I always find it fascinating to see these comments in which people with a BMI of 30 complain about how fat other people are."

How do you know? While I personally have never addressed that topic, I'm just now working in a metro office with a mostly youngish crowd (hundreds), and almost the only overweighters are a few of the older people.

NLF or Neanderthal Liberation Front said...

"Races are biologically superficial, and they tie in to no real theory of how we evolved, so there is no coherent explanation as to why races should differ biologically."

My head hurts. Evolution is impossible without the reality of races. Race is central to evolution. Before a species evolves into another species, it must first evolve into a different races of itself. This is such a no-brainer that I don't knnow why people still say 'race is not a scientific concept.'

Could proto-man have instantly evolved into modern man? Of course not. The still-somewhat-ape-like proto-man had to evolve into a different racial variations of itself before it eventually turned into a different species altogether that beame modern man.

No species can evolve into another species without first evolving into different racial variations of its original self. If race is non-scientific or negligible, I would like to hear people like Pinker explain how one species can evolve into another species.

Anonymous said...

"One thing that I've not seen commented much about Pete Townsend is the sheer beta-ness of many of his songs, particularly regarding the theme of the insecure unmasculine male: "Tatoo", "I'm a Boy",

I think it's called being 'English'. He came of an age when proper manners still mattered. And so, there's the clash beween the English self and the rocking self. But you can also find it in the music of Kinks and other English acts.
And the Beatles: "I'm a Loser", "Fool in the Hill", "Girl".
And the Stones too at times: "As Tears Go By".

Anonymous said...

"One thing that I've not seen commented much about Pete Townsend is the sheer beta-ness of many of his songs, particularly regarding the theme of the insecure unmasculine male: "Tatoo", "I'm a Boy"

Maybe every alpha is really a closet-beta. Everyone surely has anxieties and doubts. The trick with alphas could be they just hide it better.
Also, even the biggest alphas were once children, and all children are naturally betas-in-relation-to-adults.
So, some of Townshend songs are not so much about beta-malehood as coming-of-age-hood. They're about boys growing up and finding out about sex, masculinity, and etc.
"I'm a Boy" is about a kid who's raised like a girl trying to assert his boyhood to eventually blossom into manhood. To the extent that the kid rebels against his mother(an adult figure) and insists on being a boy, it is not beta-male-ish.
And PICTURES OF LILY is about a boy discovering the joys of Boing! He gets more and more sexually assertive, to the point where his father hits him.
In the mid 60s, Townshend was still in his early 20s and much of his reference about his youth when he tried to go from boyhood to manhood.
And given the effete and mannered nature of traditional English society, maybe "I'm a Boy" is also about becoming more American.

Townshend seems to have been more obsessed with childhood than most other rock stars. Tommy was about a deaf and blind kid. Quadrophenia, if not quite about childhood, harked back to the mod yrs. Townshend did more looking back than most other rock stars. I think he even got in trouble with a bit of child pornography.

Anonymous said...

Could the appeal of hip hop be that it's both savage and mechanical? I can't think of a musical form that is at once so animal-like and machine-like. It's like animal instincts calibrated into a musical engine. It's wild but goes pumpity pump like pistons. It is animachine-like.

Charlotte said...

"CCBL, the commenter you quoted didn't say that. I'm no scientist but I suspect that biologically speaking, since "young, attractive, slim" are prime indicators that girls are fertile and can bear children without too much difficulty (apparently, there are lots more high-risk pregnancies now due to the obesity epidemic), yes, such girls are valuable from an evolutionary or biological standpoint."

I don't care so much about Mr. Anonymous's fetish for the slim and the stupid (most cultures preferred plumpness because babies feed on women before & after birth); its his penchant for the childlike that creeped me out. At her best 2 yrs after menarch? Best for what? Roman Polanski?

And I suspect that Mr. Anonymous is well past his own first blush.

As long as he keeps this in fantasy mode, it's his business. But this kind of mentality is why little girls are still being married off in places like Yemen, with results disastrous to "fertility."
As Pete Townshend once sang: "keep your hands off those kids!"

That said, I could never be with a man I didn't fancy seriously. And women prefer "young" as well, in their fantasies. Just not quite as young.

Anonymous said...

In any given highschool, the kind of kids who are drawn to arts, culture, theater, and music are not jocks. In fact, most tough guys don't go for creative expression. So, most of culture is dominated by people who were considered 'geeks', 'nerds', 'losers', and 'dorks' in highschool. And lots of fairies too.

Same goes for rock music. Most people who wanted to be rock stars were not highschool studs but gimps and wimps. If you got all the girls and fun in higschool, why would you bother with creativity? You got what you want.
So, frustrated dorks tend to go into song-writing. Since they can't get girls, they sing about getting girls. It's like Brian Wilson wasn't much of a stud in school. Neither was Dylan.

But if most arts and culture are haven for dorks in their whiny dorkdom, rock culture is about the charismatic rock star. And this is where things get interesting. Dorks wanna become rock stars, but once they make it and are revered by hot girls and jocks who attend the concerts, they must think, 'wait, these are the kind of girls who never gave me a chance and these are the kinds of guys who used to treat me as a loser'. It must feel weird. Once a dork but now lording over 'popular kids' who think you're cool. The dork-king or dorking. There must an element of revenge of the nerds among many rock stars. The uncool kids turning into icons of cooldom.

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose Townshend has some forgotten Jewish ancestry? He always struck me as looking Jewish; and he's very smart.

Anonymous said...

Roger Waters and John Lennon also had Jewish noses.

Anonymous said...

As Pete Townshend once sang: "keep your hands off those kids!"

The same Pete Townsend who was arrested for child pornography?

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous who's using his laptop in a Starbucks, are you really that much of a pretentious cliche?

Anonymous said...

"Ironically, the Los Alamos physicists exemplified the virtues to which Pinker admiringly attributes the decline in violence, such as rationality, cosmopolitanism, and Enlightenment humanism. Yet those traits helped make those men horrifyingly lethal."

I fail to see any logical correlation between being cosmopolitan, enlightened and rational and wanting to blow up the World. Quite the contrary. It is usually people with provincial and ethnocentric tendencies who start quarrels and want to destroy others. Now there is a strong correlation between being cosmopolitan and being highly intelligent, which also correlates with the ability to create enormously powerful weapons. In fact, the invention of the thermonuclear bomb was done to stop wars. And it worked, didn't it? There hasn't been any war between two major powers since World War II, except by using proxies, like in the Vietnman war. No, it is people of a conservative, provincial and ethnocentric bent that are responsible for all the violence in the World, and not the libbbertarians and cosmopolitans. We see nationalists blowing up things and killing people every day. When have we seen cosmopolitans and liberatarians killing people? Never.

Anonymous said...

"To the anonymous who's using his laptop in a Starbucks, are you really that much of a pretentious cliche?"

Which anonymous?
You remind me of a some guy at a Dead concert who said, 'hey, you in the tie-dye!!'

Truth said...

"What you call "warped standards of beauty" are really just markers of reproductive ability and thus valid from a biological POV, whether you like it or not."

I believe the "young girls" referred to in this discussion are those in their late teens or early 20s, hardly likely targets of a pedophile.

"So please, go back to roissy's blog and let the mature adults have an intelligent conversation."

There's nothing mature about taking things too personally, which I think it's fair to say you have done here.

Your defensiveness is just silly. You're blaming men for discussing biological realities. If you want to put the blame where it belongs, try Mother Nature."

Dman, Kylie pulled out the pitchforks and the torches, and got Row-OSSS-eeee on they azz!

But seriously Kylie, are you the one to be lobbing, 'taking it personally is immature' grenades? You still take it personally that Michelle Obama is first lady rather than you.

Kylie said...

"I don't care so much about Mr. Anonymous's fetish for the slim and the stupid (most cultures preferred plumpness because babies feed on women before & after birth);"

I understood that "slim" was being used to mean "not obese". I've read contemporaneous descriptions of women in Victorian and Edwardian times as "slim" or "slender" but their photos reveal they were also definitely curvy. They just weren't obese.

And he didn't mention a preference for "stupid", that was your own snide inference.

"its his penchant for the childlike that creeped me out. At her best 2 yrs after menarch? Best for what? Roman Polanski?"

Anonymous's references to "childlike" women are all in the context of their intellectual development (or lack thereof). He mentions childlike as "intellectually stunted", as a "lack of self-reflection and naivete" and "lacking high-level abstract thinking faculties". Nowhere does he mention barely pubescent physical appearance or the onset of menarche. That's your own inference. And there's no need to mention Roman Polanski in this context. That's a really cheap dig, the sort of thing I expect to see at HuffPo rather than iSteve's.

"And I suspect that Mr. Anonymous is well past his own first blush."

Very possibly true but irrelevant. The subject was the attractiveness of young women--and, as you seem unable to realize, in the context of biological or evolutionary criteria; in other words, as the potential mates of men and mothers capable of producing healthy offspring.

"As long as he keeps this in fantasy mode, it's his business."

No, it's his business anyway. As I've already demonstrated by referring to what he wrote, as opposed to what you apparently thought he wrote, he is referring to young women who are not intellectually well-developed, not child brides with barely budding breasts.

"But this kind of mentality is why little girls are still being married off in places like Yemen, with results disastrous to 'fertility'."

No, it's not. See the preceding paragraph.


"As Pete Townshend once sang: 'keep your hands off those kids"

Now there's a real creep. Once again, you only cheapen and weaken your argument against Anonymous (and whoever he quoted from OneSTDV's blog) when you mention someone like Townshend, who's been cautioned for visiting a website featuring child pornography while rebutting someone who refers approvingly to intellectually undeveloped young women.

Anonymous said...

"I fail to see any logical correlation between being cosmopolitan, enlightened and rational and wanting to blow up the World. Quite the contrary. It is usually people with provincial and ethnocentric tendencies who start quarrels and want to destroy others."

You're half-right. Conservative or right-wing people tend to see the world in terms of 'us vs them'. But it was globalist America that came to conservative Japan's shores, not the other way around. For centuries, provincial Japan minded its own business. To be sure, Hideoyoshi tried to invade China in the 16th century but mainly because he thought that if he didn't, Europeans would.

Also, cosmopolitanism was made possible only thru the guns of imperialism. The non-white world preferred to remain isolated and mind its own business. It was European imperialists who conquered the world and created a new culture and trading system where one could travel around the world and be 'cosmopolitan'. But for the world to be open to cosmopolitans, it had to be pried open by force. For places like Cairo, Bombay, and Shanghai to be cosmopolitan places for Western traders and travelers, the local conservative powers had to be quelled and forced to accept the new order imposed by the 'cosmopolitan' West.

So, cosmopolitanism didn't spring spontaneously all over the world but was imposed by Western imperialist-cosmopolitans on isolated, provincial, and conservative 'peoples of color'.
This issue is further complicated by the fact that what was considered 'leftist' in the past may now be considered 'rightist'.

And remember, conservative Germany under Bismarck didn't care for overseas empires. It was the far more liberal Brits who had voyaged around the world and conquered territories and created new empires like America, Canada, Australia, and etc. And the isolated provincial and conservative natives of such lands were forced to accept the new 'cosmopolitan' order.
Cosmopolitanism may seem peaceful today but the methods that were employed to create a global system that facilitated cosmopolitanism was anything but peaceful. It may have been worth it, but the process was violent and bloody.

And remember that Hellenistic cosmopolitanism was made possible through the great conquests of the multi-culturalist Alexander the Great. Egyptians, who were more conservative than the Greeks, tended to be less ambitious about 'world conqeust'.

But I'll say this. Though most provincial conservative types wanna keep to themselves and mind their own business--as opposed to liberal/leftist idealists and globalists who wanna unite(often thru violence) all of mankind under one value system--, there is nothing more brutal than rightwing expansionism. They conquer to enslave and/or exterminate. Leftist expansionists may kill many people and be ruthless; but their ideal of univeralism(Christianity, liberalism, communism, Islam, etc)at the very least offers conquered people a chance to rise up and thrive in the new order.

But then, some empires have been both leftist and rightist. Spanish imperialists were Christians who hoped to convert South American natives into the brotherhood under Christ. But they also saw the natives as darkies to exploit. Russian communists were much the same--preaching universal brotherhood but practicing Great Russian chauvinism.

Svigor said...

"Poor white are uneducated trash."

You know, the "white trash" trope gets old after a while. And since it's literally the only insult against a class of people that doesn't ruin your career (if you're a public figure) or get you weird looks from acquaintances in everyday life, it's overused to an extreme.


Yes, and un-ironic use of the term is a pretty stark marker of herd status; people who think for themselves over a long enough time line are increasingly likely not to use it.

It's understandable, because of our racist "anti-racist" culture, but not really excusable, since men have an obligation to own their morality (there's really no excuse for people who pretend to be passionately "anti-racist" or "race blind" or "egalitarian" who continue to permit or perpetuate practices that are racist against their own kind - it's rank hypocrisy and cowardice).

Svigor said...

NLF, the word you're grasping for is "speciation."

Anonymous said...

Do you suppose Townshend has some forgotten Jewish ancestry? He always struck me as looking Jewish; and he's very smart.



I wish I thought this was a joke, and perhaps it is, but it's exactly the sort of goofy gibberish which so many none-too-bright IQ worshipers come out with.

Svigor said...

I fail to see any logical correlation between being cosmopolitan, enlightened and rational and wanting to blow up the World. Quite the contrary. It is usually people with provincial and ethnocentric tendencies who start quarrels and want to destroy others. Now there is a strong correlation between being cosmopolitan and being highly intelligent, which also correlates with the ability to create enormously powerful weapons.

It might make you cry to acknowledge that cosmopolitanism and ethnocentrism are linked, but there it is. If you drew me a map of cosmopolitanism and ethnocentrism, the two would largely overlap, radiating outward from western Asia (AKA "the near east").

Anybody who thinks individualistic self-abnegating groups dominate trade hubs, for instance (or go on long existing, period, amid many other groups), please raise your hand for the dunce cap.

elvisd said...

"Yeah, but he had the world's loudest guitar. That was part of the appeal of the Who: this bright, sensitive guy who looks like he would get pushed around a lot taking out his frustrations via 140 decibels of windmill powerchording."


When my dad saw him on the first American tour in '67 they played in a -get this- roller rink in Biloxi. He said it was just devastating. His ears rung for two days. No one had ever seen Marshall amps.

ATBOTL said...

"I see. Only young, attractive, slim girls are valuable, right? What about the rest of us White women whose bodies don't adhere to modern patriarchal standards? Are we just just thrown aside as no longer having any worth?"

Valuable in a biological sense. Your proving Steve's theory that women can't discuss sex related issues without demanding that they personally be considered more attractive.

Anonymous said...

As Pete Townshend once sang: "keep your hands off those kids!"

The same Pete Townsend who was arrested for child pornography?

I guess he thought the Kids Are Alright.

Svigor said...

You're half-right. Conservative or right-wing people tend to see the world in terms of 'us vs them'.

Oh please. Ever heard of identity politics? "Who-whom"? Get some leftoids talking about rednecks and red-staters, or just plain old conservatives, and come back and tell me about "us vs. them." Their whole coalition is based on "us vs. them" while working furiously to shame "them" out of thinking in terms of "us."

I wonder what percentage of the anonymii just stumble in from the street and think their usual schtick is going to fly here.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 3:52 PM

I think you are confusing imperialism with cosmopolitanism.

Cosmopolitanism is more along the lines of libertarianism, of universal standards for the treatment of all people regardless of the country they are born into, the gender or sexual orientation they have have or race. Cosmopolitanism uses the criteria of Humanism to determine the relationships between people, acknowledging that separating people by race and nationality is ultimately irrational, as nations are arbitrary geographical constructs, and races, even if there are differences between them in traits such as intelligence and industriousness, are still nothing more than amalgamations of individuals. Cosmopolitanism springs forward from acknowledging the irrationality of both nationalism and ethnocentrism, and it derivates from libertarianism which sees the individual human and his/her rights as the basis to which all government and social organizations must submit to.

Imperialism was not about spreading individual rights and ending nationalism, racism, sexism, etc; it was about profiteering on the part of the burgeoise classes of Europe and the emerging American burgeoise. The capitalists who subsidized missions of conquest throughout the World couldn't care less about ending the oppression of women, or gays, or ending national borders so that people would start treating each other as human beings. They cared about ending national borders because these borders were an impediment for them to profit. Simple as that. They were only "cosmopolitan" in the sense of wanting a single global market to profit without having local politicians creating annoying laws to stop them from doing whatever they want.

But you are right that globalist rich men, who only care about profiteering, have been using the excuses of ending religious, ethnic and sexist oppression as scapegoats to invade countries that are closed to their businesses. It just so happpens that societies that recognize the value of the individual human being also recognize the free market system because the free market system springs forth from the principle of individual freedom, so the globalist rich men promote these ideals as proxies to create a one global market where they can profit without anything to stop them.

But this does not mean that the cosmopolitan ideals are wrong. They are in fact much more rational than the alternative. I would much rather live in a World where people are judged as individuals rather than pidgeonholed into arbitrary criterias such as the nation you were born, or cruel criteria such as race, that brands you(like cattle) into a category that you can never escape from. And ask yourself: are wars to spread cosmopolitanism so bad? If one conservative society practiced slavery and an international, cosmopolitan force invaded and destroyed this custom imposing humanistic and individualistic values in it's place, wouldn't that be a good thing? Japan's traditional society, where warriors could decapitate social inferiors with impunity, was destroyed by cosmopolitan invaders, and now the Japanese are much wealthier and live longer than before, and they no longer have to fear losing their heads. Cosmopolitanism for the win!

Anonymous said...

"Oh please. Ever heard of identity politics?"

ID politics is often non-white rightism allied with white leftism.

Q said...

"So I always find it fascinating to see these comments in which people with a BMI of 30 complain about how fat other people are."

How do you know?


Because I know the data on male (and female) body sizes and shapes.

And because I know that young, thin, good looking guys don't spend their time on blogs complaining about how darned unattractive women are. They're too busy with all the attractive women.

Beta = guy who is not particularity good looking.

Alpha = guy who is quite good looking.

Maya said...

"At her best 2 yrs after menarch? Best for what? Roman Polanski?"

Hey, the esteemed gentleman wants to be the one who buys his girlfriend's very first bra for her. It could be seen as romantic. You just need to accept that middle school girls are considered sexy by the type of guys whom all women SHOULD find attractive or they'll grow a pair... or something. Besides, being there before the first hint of hair in the armpits makes it possible for the grown man to teach the girlfriend how to shave when the need arises. Sadly, these kinds of pairings are rare because, shockingly, these highly respectable, only-confident-on-the-internet men are invisible to all women, even the 12-13 year olds.

history repeats, this time on TV! said...

"During WWI, Britons and Americans were led to believe in the evil Hun who killed babies. But most people don't go for such vilification of the enemy."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu8CCJTJCQk

Kylie said...

"'"I see. Only young, attractive, slim girls are valuable, right? What about the rest of us White women whose bodies don't adhere to modern patriarchal standards? Are we just just thrown aside as no longer having any worth?'

Valuable in a biological sense. Your[sic] proving Steve's theory that women can't discuss sex related issues without demanding that they personally be considered more attractive."


Well said.

I'd like to think my own remarks in this thread disprove Steve's theory. But my ability as a woman to regard and discuss a topic impersonally even though it could be said to affect me personally is quite rare.

Nevertheless I was surprised to see two seemingly intelligent female commenters (who are one and the same, for all I know), so quickly dissolve into a puddle of accusations, snide inferences, defensivness and insults simply because the physical charms of young women were lauded in a biological context.

Very embarrassing for me. Or would be, if I took it personally.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte:

One anthropologist opined that the whole pastoral/agricultural culture did make people more callous

Very true.

Try living with parents who grew up on a farm.

Anonymous said...

Suppose we were to secularize notions such as jihad into modern secular terms. Jihad in terms of business, scientific discoveries, and cultural achievement.

Islam, specifically Jihad, does not sublimate easily.

Also, Islam has one advantage over Christianity in being more reasonable about morality. Christian morality is really for saints, and it makes hypocrites of most Christians.

The same can be said about most non-Christian religions, and even "easygoing" Catholicism vs. "robotic" Protestantism.

Anonymous said...

One gripe I still have about The Who is they can't pronounce Armenia correctly.

Anonymous said...

"Kim Kardashian is 31."

Kim Kardashian is the darling of magazines for women (like People or National Enquirer), not those for men (well, if there were any actual men's magazines left, now that the Internet has made them obsolete).

Yeesh.

Oh, on the menarche thing, I apologize to Steve (who has asked guests to avert the problem) but there is more than one Anonymous posting here (I'm too shy even to choose a handle).

I forgot that the age of menarche has been falling rapidly and age 12+2=14 does seem rather chicken-baitish against 14+2=16 which was the norm when I started paying attention. However, the menarche+2years rule described things well for centuries and up until very, very recently so I don't feel ashamed of restating it, even if it may need updating now.

As for "plumpness," in ages past men did like "plump" women, but not because obese women (there's a real difference, and too many American women (a majority of Black American women) are obese now, not plump) are more fertile. In fact obese women are less fertile.

Anyway, men appreciated "plumpness" in the past because it was a sign of wealth. In the Malthusian era (which means "for each country, all times before and for a while after the Industrial Revolution visits said country") most women were skinny because most were too poor to get much food, and that meant they were, indeed, less attractive mates, since skinny women are also less fertile.

The ideal for fertility is "medium sized" (which was called "plump" in the Malthusian era because skinny was normal), neither skinny (too skinny and ovulation stops) nor fat (too fat and ova don't get fertilized (probably due to hormonal problems) and pregnancies suffer complications).

The other ideal for pregnancy is young (once mature at 17-19 years). The statistics are compelling: to quote a typical study, the "perinatal mortality rate" nearly triples from age 17-19 to 39. And unlike the hysterically-funny assertion that women are more attractive in their 30's, studies of pregnancy complications all agree that increasing age (from the later teens onward) means more trouble.

If you believe that men are looking for fertility, then you had better acknowledge that they're looking for youth and avoiding obesity.

Anonymous said...

Arrgh! Left out the link for obesity causing pregnancy complications!

Here it is: http://www.ajcn.org/content/71/5/1242S.full

Maya said...

"Nevertheless I was surprised to see two seemingly intelligent female commenters (who are one and the same, for all I know), so quickly dissolve into a puddle of accusations, snide inferences, defensivness and insults simply because the physical charms of young women were lauded in a biological context. "

Kylie,
I don't think you were referring to me, but my last comment was uncalled for. I didn't realize that it wasn't a male commenter who made the "two years after menarche" remark, but a female commenter interpreting what the male commenter might have meant. My judgement has been clouded lately by my environment, and I'm seeing assholes who are into barely pubescent girls everywhere, along with crack whores, pedophiles and pimping mothers. That's because they are everywhere around my residence and place of work, and it's still shocking for me. Around half of our middle school girls are STD-ridden or pregnant. Some of them are very recent former students of mine (I teach at an elementary school during the school year), and I see them out with their boyfriends who look to be in their thirties. These men make out publicly with girls in training bras and grind their bodies against them for all to see. I've lived in many places, and I know that men naturally care about sex a great deal (as do women, actually), but I've never seen them act like amoral animals before. I am absolutely sure that, even with all consequences removed, no one I've ever dated would express an interest in an 11 year old, and neither would my father nor my brother (who is into all kinds of kink). What the hell is wrong with this place? Is every American inner city like this? Can anything be done for these people or are they just lost causes?

Maya said...

"I forgot that the age of menarche has been falling rapidly and age 12+2=14 does seem rather chicken-baitish against 14+2=16 which was the norm when I started paying attention. However, the menarche+2years rule described things well for centuries and up until very, very recently so I don't feel ashamed of restating it, even if it may need updating now."

When DID you start paying attention? The average age for menarche in America hasn't been at 14 for almost a century. Almost all the girls at the school where I teach go through the changes by 5th grade (at 10). Also, everyone in my family (including myself, my mother, sister and cousins) went through the changes at ten years of age as well. The wikipedia article that claims 12 as the average age in America is outdated and doesn't reflect the experience of the doctors that I've encountered. Do you see how 10+2=12 could seem a bit unsettling to an unsuspecting reader? But, I agree that if you find a sexually developed girl attractive, you shouldn't feel ashamed.


"If you believe that men are looking for fertility, then you had better acknowledge that they're looking for youth and avoiding obesity."

I am absolutely certain that men are attracted to women who became sexually mature as recently as possible and who have all the markings of good health, body fat composition being a very important one. So it is, and so it always will be. Another indisputable truth is that the men who deserve to mate with these biologically valuable women do so. The biologically valuable have no trouble finding each other, especially in our free society. Those who feel slighted by the choices of the opposite sex need to accept that they simply don't measure up, and should lower their standards. I hear someone's throwing a party for the less desirable singles. It only costs $50 to attend... Spread the word. That's all.

Kylie said...

"Kylie,
I don't think you were referring to me, but my last comment was uncalled for."


Yes, it was.

"I didn't realize that it wasn't a male commenter who made the 'two years after menarche' remark, but a female commenter interpreting what the male commenter might have meant."

I would have accepted your apology if you had offered one. But perhaps such an apology would have been better delivered to the presumably male commenter you jumped all over in what I--without any apology whatsoever--think of as typical female fashion.

Charlotte said...

"As Pete Townshend once sang: 'keep your hands off those kids"

"Now there's a real creep. Once again, you only cheapen and weaken your argument against Anonymous (and whoever he quoted from OneSTDV's blog)"

Once again? I don't think I've disputed with Anonymous before, whoever he is.
But then--maybe I have.

"Keep your hands off those kids" was a line from the Who rock opera Tommy, as I recall in reference to opressive teachers. To me, it fit. "Cheapen and weaken" my argument? I don't have an argument.
I have opinions. And from what I can see here, my opinions are no weirder (or ruder) than any others...and I really mean that.

Maya said...

Aw Kylie...

It's rather difficult to individually address a person who goes under a common group name whose very point is to avoid being individually addressed. Meanwhile, right after I answered you, someone claiming to be one of the previous Anonymous commenters interested in women (I think it was a he because he's not up to date on female development) confirmed that he did, in fact, think that the "2 years after menarche" is when a human female becomes ripe for the picking. I happen to find that view disgusting when I see it applied in real life and consider the men who subscribe to this view to be primitive and low functioning. However, the Anonymous indicated that he does prefer his women to be sexually mature, so I consider him mildly uninformed.

As for me acting in typical female fashion... Well, I'm a female in perfect hormonal health. I'd think that you'd be able to relate to someone fulfilling general gender expectations since you've been a tad emotional there. Demanding apologies for oneself and one's favorite pet causes after experiencing feelings of disproportionate sensitivity does seem to be a personality trait more prevalent in women. It's rare overall, thank God, or maybe I've just been lucky.

On a side note, I'm fascinated by strong feelings of animosity towards a certain gender. Having grown up with obnoxious feminazism all around me, I've had time to work out what these people are all about. Demanding to be found attractive, demanding success and shaming those around them to cover up their own personal failures is pretty self explanatory. Roissy and his male losers are pretty much the same thing as the feminazis- blaming others for their own personal shortcomings. Simple enough. What I don't get, are people who seem to have a vendetta against their own gender. I've assumed that these types of people are merely trying to score points with the opposite gender in hopes of getting sex, but I think there's something else at play there as well. Why do some men passionately support feminazis? Why do you have so much bitterness towards women, Kylie? Can you name more than 5 that you respect? Sure, most women are dumb as bottle corks, but so are most men. Or do you find the majority of men to be intelligent and capable of making well thought out decisions? If so, I'd like to visit this place where, at least, half of the population is worthy of respect and admiration. Do you think you might have been affected by one of those reasons from pop psychology like an abusive mother, bullying in middle school and traumatic rivalry for a mate? For some reason, it seems unlikely in your case. That's why I'm completely sincere in my curiosity regarding your views on gender. You mentioned being in your 50s. Surely, you've encountered a fair share of both genders at various levels of respectability.

Kylie said...

"Aw, Kylie...Demanding apologies for oneself and one's favorite pet causes after experiencing feelings of disproportionate sensitivity does seem to be a personality trait more prevalent in women. It's rare overall, thank God, or maybe I've just been lucky."

True but irrelevant. Nowhere in this thread did I demand or even request an apology from you or anyone else.

You're doing it again.

And no, I'm not demanding you apologize now.

"That's why I'm completely sincere in my curiosity regarding your views on gender. You mentioned being in your 50s. Surely, you've encountered a fair share of both genders at various levels of respectability."

Yes, I'm old enough to have seen a lot--or at least, a lot more than I saw when I was young.

Thanks for your sincere interest but I don't really know what you mean by my "views on gender". Like most other people, I value intelligence, beauty, character, wit and yes, charm and sex appeal wherever I find them in people of either gender and over the age of consent.

"Sure, most women are dumb as bottle corks, but so are most men."

Again, true but irrelevant. Still, it's nice to know that we can agree on something, isn't it?

I wasn't really responding to any of the women in this thread. I don't expect to change any woman's opinion, here or elsewhere. (My mother raised lunatics, not fools.) But I didn't think the willful misrepresentations and misinterpretations expressed in this thread should stand unrebutted. It's really just that simple, probably because I myself am an extremely simple person.

I have responded very sharply to some male posters at iSteve's but only now, when I take issue with female posters are my background, "issues", views etc. called into question. That kind of thing is why I responded here in the first place.

Kylie said...

"Once again? I don't think I've disputed with Anonymous before, whoever he is.
But then--maybe I have."


Sorry, Charlotte, I should have been clearer. I meant that you disputed Anonymous several times in one comment.

"'Keep your hands off those kids' was a line from the Who rock opera Tommy, as I recall in reference to opressive teachers. To me, it fit."

Yes, I recognize the allusion, not sure how it fits but I'll take your word for it that it does.

"'Cheapen and weaken' my argument? I don't have an argument."

I meant "argument" as simply the putting forth of one's POV or opinions.

"I have opinions. And from what I can see here, my opinions are no weirder (or ruder) than any others...and I really mean that."

No argument there.

Maya said...

"Thanks for your sincere interest but I don't really know what you mean by my "views on gender". Like most other people, I value intelligence, beauty, character, wit and yes, charm and sex appeal wherever I find them in people of either gender and over the age of consent. "

Okay, that satisfies my curiosity. Thank you.

"I have responded very sharply to some male posters at iSteve's but only now, when I take issue with female posters are my background, "issues", views etc. called into question. That kind of thing is why I responded here in the first place."

I didn't see your sharp replies to male posters, but I recalled you mentioning that you weren't a typical woman in some context or other. Coupled with your posts on this thread, I thought you might be someone who could shed some light on the subject that interests me. I didn't mean to call your background into question as much as to ask you direct questions about your background in hopes that you'd satisfy my shameless curiosity, if that makes any sense. Then, i took your response at face value.

"But I didn't think the willful misrepresentations and misinterpretations expressed in this thread should stand unrebutted. "

So, you were just standing up for a group of silly idiots that was outnumbered and bullied by a larger group of silly idiots? If you ever need a job and live near a city... Obviously, I know nothing about you, and I've already read you wrong once, but it seems that this was hardly worth your time. Nobody was being misinterpreted. Some clown was waxing philosophical on a subject he is very unlikely to apply in real life, and he got jumped by some whiners who are very unlikely to ever suffer from attracting the gaze of the predator and succumbing to his charms. Steve wrote a thoughtful piece, and the comment thread was opened by a loser who expressed high expectations for women while revealing himself to be too pathetic to ever attract one. He was responded to by a whiner who tried to shame him while revealing herself to be insecure, unattractive and desperate. Then, they were both mocked by the third idiot (me), as I revealed myself to be someone who is immature, hasn't had a life since September started and desperately needs contact with the outside world in between grading tests and coloring poster boards. And then, it went on from there. As an added bonus, it was all completely off topic. So, you see, there's really no side here worth standing up for, just mental midgets playing dodge ball. Sorry Steve...

Charlotte said...

"I didn't see your sharp replies to male posters,"

Maya, Kylie replys sharply to men also. Some of the backandforths on this blog get quite testy, as we've seen here. Thanks for the personal insights about your work with young people. I could not manage that. I'd rather take pills and die than repeat my own adolescence.

btw, I AM NOT BEING DEFENSIVE OR TEMPERMENTAL OR FEMALEY!!!@ (cue--laugh track pls) --
being a slim lady (well, sometimes you can't always lose exactly where you want) and at that certain age when, according to the French, a woman is at her best; best thing since French toast.

j mct said...

I second the recommendation of Cantor's book on the Middle Ages though I think Pinker would learn far more from it than SS.

The really interesting thing about all this is about the human propensity to believe myth's. Christianity requires one to believe some things that could be wrong, but nothing that is 'Napoleon beat Wellington at Waterloo' wrong, while Pinker's religion evidently does, like the Western thought that lot's of violence is a bad thing comes from the Enlightenment. I seriously doubt that Pinker can be 'enlightened' about this though, it's a myth his religion requires him to believe in.