feminism – root cause or consequence?

Feminism is without a doubt the worst plague ever to afflict the human race but was feminism a root cause of the evils that followed or merely a consequence of other social changes?

By the time second wave feminism made its appearance in the 1960s a number of crucial social changes had already occurred. The first and the most disastrous (possibly the single most disastrous event in human history) was the introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1961. That irrevocably turned sex into a recreational activity rather than a part of the sacrament of marriage. It made sex all about short-term pleasure. From that point on traditional marriage was doomed.

While in theory divorce was still difficult in many places it was clear that there was a trend towards making it easier in practice. And from about the 1920s onwards divorce had gradually become more socially acceptable. Divorce means marriage being transformed from a sacred unbreakable bond into a short-term arrangement to be terminated when it becomes inconvenient.

Women moved into the workforce in increasing numbers in the first half of the 20th century. That was not necessarily a problem. Women had always worked. But work was something women did until they got married. By the 50s it was becoming more socially acceptable for married women to work. This was a very unfortunate trend.

Even more disastrous was the expansion of higher education for women after the Second World War. In fact the expansion of higher education in general was a calamity. A university education is something that only a small proportion of the population (maybe 5%) will benefit from. For most people it is actually a bad thing. For all but a very tiny handful of women it is a disaster.

And of course the 20th century saw a continuation of the decline of Christianity. Without religion there is no basis for morality. Without morality there is only power (for the elites) and pleasure (for the masses).

These changes did not come about as a result of second wave feminism. These changes preceded second wave feminism, and in fact were largely responsible for making that horror possible. By the time the feminists got going western society had already started to lose its way.

There was also the Sexual Revolution, which was mostly a result of the contraceptive pill. The Sexual Revolution was of course very bad for women. Sexual liberation does not work fir women. They’re not wired that way. It simply makes women self-hating and miserable and chronically emotionally dissatisfied.

Men made the mistake of thinking the Sexual Revolution was going to be great for them. It would mean lots more sex. In fact it meant lots more sex for a very small number of men.

This is a large part of the explanation for the failure of men to stop feminism in its tracks at a time when that was still possible. Men were inclined to think that feminism was like the Sexual Revolution – they would end up getting more sex. Mostly they didn’t get the extra sex and what they did get was an ongoing nightmare. By the time the realities became apparent it was too late.

Feminism was largely a symptom of a society entering the terminal stages of decadence. It appeared at the same time as other symptoms like the drug culture and the worship of homosexuality. Maybe feminism could have been stopped but it would have required a willingness to confront other much more basic societal failings.

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The Phoney Victory: The World War 2 Illusion

Peter Hitchens has been threatening for some time to write a book on the Second World War. The Phoney Victory: The World War 2 Illusion is as provocative and unsettling as you would expect.

I’ve read a great deal on this subject so much of what he has to say comes as no great revelation to me but Hitchens does make a couple of important points that I hadn’t come across before.

The first is that World War One not only left Britain broke, she has never actually paid for that war. Britain ran up enormous debts to the United States which have never been paid. In fact no payments at all have been made since 1934.

The second point is his claim that far from being a doddering old fool who cravenly tried to avoid war Chamberlain was actually a doddering an old fool who actually sought war and was determined to get it. Hitchen’s contention is that the infamous and disastrous Polish Guarantee of 1939 (a guarantee that Britain shamefully never intended actually to honour) was a cynical and dishonest ploy to bring about war.

The details of the Poles’ own cynicism and folly are certainly not new to me but Hitchens’ demolition of the myth of Plucky Little Poland will doubtless come as a shock to many readers.

The third crucial point is that the Second World War was actually two separate wars. The first war began when the British and the French declared war on Germany in September 1939 and ended less than a year later with the total defeat of Britain and France. They were not merely defeated. They were destroyed forever as Great Powers. Henceforth both countries were minor powers of no consequence.

The second war was fought and won by the Soviet Union with some assistance from the United States. Britain played no significant rôle.

The intention of the book was to demolish the many myths that make up the average Briton’s understanding of the Second World War. As Hitchens explains it has long been common knowledge among historians that most of the official story of the war was a collection of myths but these myths are remarkably persistent.

One of the myths at which the author takes aim is the one that surrounds U.S. policy before and during the war. He makes the point that there was nothing particularly immoral about U.S. policy. It put America’s interests first. Britain’s interests were not considered at all. Of course no government has any obligation to consider the interests of foreign states. The problem was that people in Britain, including many who should have known better, convinced themselves that the Americans really did see them as cousins. In fact the U.S. regarded Britain as a troublesome rival that ideally should be stripped of its power and its empire. But the propaganda of the time stressed the fantasy that Britain and America were two branches of the same family and that propaganda is still believed today.

Hitchens doesn’t claim to have undertaken any original research. As he explains, everything in the book has been well known to professional historians for decades. Well known to professional historians but unknown to the general public. The war’s dirty little secrets have been hidden in plain sight. More seriously, the myths surrounding the Second World War are still being used by politicians and the media to manipulate the public into acquiescing in dangerous and futile foreign policy adventures.

The most upsetting parts of the book for many people will be the chapters dealing with the Battle of Britain and the strategic bombing of Germany. Of all WW2 myths none is more sacred than the Battle of Britain myth but Hitchens points out that it really was largely a myth. Hitler never had the slightest intention of attempting an invasion of Britain.

On the bombing offensive Hitchens pulls no punches. It was barbarism, pure and simple. And it was not even effective barbarism.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Winston Churchill emerges as a man not only entirely lacking in honour and decency but equally lacking in good sense.

Perhaps just upsetting will be the account of the ethnic cleansing of millions of Germans from eastern Europe in 1945, which cost the lives of between half a million and one-and-a-half million people, the vast majority of them women and children. It was a tragedy but it was no accident. It was a deliberately planned and entirely unnecessary act of savagery.

The most important point which is made again and again is that you cannot use one evil to excuse another. You cannot even use a great evil to excuse a slightly lesser evil. Evil is evil. The fact that Britain’s leaders were willing to commit acts of unequivocal evil is in Hitchen’s view part of the reason for Britain’s postwar moral decline (and the evils committed by the other victorious allies have also doubtless contributed to their moral decline as well). It is not just the acceptance of evil that has been the problem, but the stubborn refusal to acknowledge the lies and the deceptions.

What makes it all worse is that the final victory was, for Britain, no victory at all. Poland was not saved. The British Empire was lost. Britain was reduced to the status of a third-rate power and an American vassal. The country was bankrupted. The world was not made safe for democracy. Postwar Britain looked more like a defeated nation than a victor.

The book will doubtless will be greeted with howls of outrage. It is important to note that Hitchens deserves no pleasure from demolishing these myths. It is an unpleasant but necessary task since these very same myths continue to be the basis for British foreign policy.

A book that I recommend very highly indeed.

the succession of western civilisations

When we talk about the problems facing the world today we find ourselves talking about the fate of western civilisation. I do it myself frequently. In actual fact there is no such thing as western civilisation. There have been a series of western civilisations, differing from each other very markedly indeed.

Even if we accept that there has ever been at any time a single European civilisation we still have to accept that the history of European civilisation is the history one civilisation succeeding another.

There was Bronze Age European civilisation (the Myceneans, the Minoans etc). They left some impressive ruins but we have little direct knowledge of them. The Minoans for example were literate but their written language has never been deciphered.

These civilisations were followed by the Classical Civilisation of the Greeks and Romans. In western Europe that collapsed entirely in the middle of the first millennium AD. 

Eventually a new civilisation took its place, the Medieval Civilisation. For at least two hundred years we have been taught to worship the Classical Civilisation and despise Medieval Civilisation. Quite wrongly. Medieval Civilisation was in many ways more advanced and more dynamic than Classical Civilisation.

Then came the catastrophe of the Reformation, followed by the even greater catastrophe of the Enlightenment. There was no sharp break, as there had been when the Western Roman Empire collapsed, but there is no question that the European civilisation of the ancien régime on the eve of the French Revolution was an entirely different civilisation compared to the Medieval Civilisation that had produced Dante and Chartres Cathedral. Despite cataclysms like the French Revolution that version of modern European Civilisation was still more or less intact in 1914. It has now gone forever. We now have what might be called postmodern European Civilisation.

Of course all civilisations change over time. The point I am making is that in the case of European civilisation the changes have been so profound and so far-reaching as to represent the replacement of one civilisation by another.

Whilst all civilisations do change most are based on the principle that while change can be beneficial stability is also very desirable. The Medieval Civilisation is the only European Civilisation that really valued stability. It was not in reality a stable civilisation but there was at least an appreciation of the notion that change was often a very bad thing indeed. The European Civilisations that followed the Medieval have not valued stability at all. In fact you could say of Postmodern European Civilisation (and of Modern European Civilisation as well) that it is a process rather than a thing. It is a process whereby everything that has been proven to work and to produce good results is trashed in favour of something new that may or may not work. European civilisation is a constant search for novelty. It’s the sort of civilisation that might be produced by a society of precocious infants, constantly hurling their old toys out of the pram whilst crying for new ones.

So the problem with wanting to save European Civilisation is that any European Civilisation worth saving no longer exists. A civilisation that bases itself upon crude materialism, even cruder hedonism, a celebration of sexual degeneracy, the joyful trampling into the dust of the family, naked greed and the embrace of a variety of scientific, pseudoscientific and totally non-scientific superstitions is not a civilisation that I would consider to be worth saving.

Which means that the kind of conservatism that is based on the belief that we need to apply the brakes is worse than useless. If we are to have a civilisation that is worth saving we will first have to create one. That might mean hoping that what currently goes by the name of European Civilisation does not survive.

pop culture time capsules, The F.B.I. (1965)

I have a great fondness for the pop culture of the past. This includes vintage television which is in fact one of the great loves.

Once you become red-pilled though you find that vintage pop culture can be a little disturbing. For one thing, you can’t avoid noticing the propaganda. And the liberal propaganda was always there in television, going right back to the 50s.

At times watching old TV shows can also be an oddly melancholic experience. That’s what I’m finding at the moment with The F.B.I., or more specifically with the first season of that series. The F.B.I. was an immensely popular series which aired from 1965 to 1974. It’s the fact that the first season originated in 1965 that gives it a real poignancy. 1965 was a very very pivotal year. Everything was about to change. Pop culture can offer us a fascinating window into the past and can sometimes be more illuminating than official history.

The 1965 season of The F.B.I. shows us an America that is peaceful, prosperous, united and confident. What’s interesting is that this is a crime series, so it actually has an agenda to show us the darker side of society. Which it does. It makes no attempt to deny that problems exist. However the overwhelming feeling that the show conveys is that these problems are entirely manageable. They are challenges that can be, and will be, met and overcome.

There’s the challenge of organised crime but the Bureau is already giving that top priority. There’s communist subversion but in this series the communists are mostly paid agents of foreign governments and mostly they’re involved in sabotage. In those happy days of 1965 no-one had considered the possibility that society might be much more effectively undermined by subversives taking control of the education system and the media. Erskine, the older of the two F.B.I. agents featured in the series, actually wants his daughter to stay in college rather than get married. It’s difficult to think of a more wrong-headed notion but in 1965 college still seemed like a good idea.

Drugs are mentioned but are seen as purely a law enforcement problem and as another challenge that can be met. Vietnam gets mentioned in passing but there’s no sense that it’s going to prove to be an historical watershed. The horrors of feminism and militant LGBT activism weren’t even on the horizon. Pornography was seen as a threat but a threat that could be largely eliminated by vigorous law enforcement. The idea that within a few years a policy of complete surrender on this subject would be adopted and the country flooded with pornography would have been considered crazy talk in 1965.

There’s one episode in which a cab driver decides to become an F.B.I. informant. I don’t mean that he’s a reluctant witness who is persuaded to come forward. He volunteers to be an active informant, seeking out information to pass on to the Bureau. And he does this because he thinks it’s his duty as a citizen. Even two or three years later I don’t think such a decision could have been presented in such an unironic way. In fact that’s one of the notable things about the 1965 season of The F.B.I. – it is totally lacking in irony. Which I think is wonderful.

America in 1965 is not exactly portrayed as being complacent, merely very confident. Democracy seemed to be working. The political and economic system as a whole seemed to be delivering the goods. Technological progress appeared to be limitless and entirely a good thing.

By 1974, when this series ended its run, the society depicted in the first season had pretty much ceased to exist. And it was a disaster that, apparently, was entirely unexpected.

The series is politically incorrect, and often delightfully so, but in those innocent times no-one knew that political correctness was going to become a thing. The F.B.I. is extremely good but watching it  really is desperately sad at times.

Orwell reconsidered

I’ve been reading a collection of George Orwell’s essays and it’s been a slightly disturbing experience. If you’re accustomed to thinking of Orwell as a remarkably prescient and perceptive writer with a knack for penetrating to the heart of the matter it can even be a shocking experience.

The truth is that Orwell did not have quite the brilliant mind that w’ve been led to believe. He was quite good at pointing out the fallacies in other people’s thinking but he was prone to making exactly the same mistakes himself. He points out that most people believe atrocity stories when the atrocities are allegedly carried out by people of whom they disapprove, and tend to disbelieve atrocity stories when those atrocities are alleged to have been committed by people of whom they approve. This is true and it’s very important. And then in the same essay he assures us that we should believe all the stories of Fascist atrocities in the Spanish Civil War because, after all, the Fascists are bad people. They’re people of whom Orwell disapproves.

Orwell had a knack for being wrong, or at least for being partly right but mostly wrong. He believed that the first year of the war had conclusively demonstrated the failure of capitalism. Britain could not hope to survive unless it adopted full-scale socialism. Without socialism Orwell was convinced that defeat was inevitable. He was of course partly correct. Britain (and the United States) did adopt a form of War Socialism, and it is quite likely that victory would have been impossible otherwise. What Orwell failed to anticipate was that once the war was won the ruling class would reinstate capitalism. He also failed to anticipate the way in which the working class would be bought off with the expansion of the welfare state which eliminated any desire on the part of the working class for the kind of full-scale socialism that Orwell craved.

Let’s be quite clear about this. For all his opposition to national socialism and Soviet communism Orwell was most certainly not a moderate leftist. He was a hardcore socialist. Orwell’s vision of the ideal future was pretty much full-on communism. On the other hand Orwell seemed to disapprove of all the established leftist groupings. He despised the Labour Party. He despised the English communists. He particularly loathed what he called the pansy left. He talks about a kind of democratic socialism which really is pure fantasy. The kind of socialism that Orwell wanted was never going to be brought about by the ballot box. Orwell’s beliefs were doubtless since but hopelessly unrealistic.

Orwell also suffered from a crippling case of colonial guilt. He had been, briefly, a colonial policeman in Burma. It was a career for which he was ludicrously unsuited and it turned him into a rabid but somewhat irrational anti-imperialist. He was convinced that Britain’s prosperity was based entirely on the exploitation of the huddled masses of India and Britain’s other colonial outposts.

All of this of course just shows that Orwell was human and was as much a prey to intellectual prejudices and emotional misjudgments as anyone else. His belief in socialism doesn’t bother me but it does seem to me that his ideas as to how it could be implemented were hopelessly naïve. His dislike of imperialism also doesn’t bother me although he does take it to an unrealistic extreme. The European colonial empires may have been a disastrous mistake but to see them as having not even the slightest positive element is I think going too far.

Orwell had a somewhat unique perspective. Intellectual circles in Britain in the 30s and 40s were fairly overwhelmingly dominated by leftism but Orwell was a kind of contrarian communist who managed to remain entirely independent of all the established leftist groupings. For this reason alone his essays are worth reading.

The First World War and the death of empires

It is now exactly a hundred years since the guns stopped firing in the First World War. I don’t propose to discuss the rights and wrongs of the war since there is little to be said on that subject that hasn’t already been said.

I do want to take about one of the most evil of all the evil results of the war.

The war destroyed four great empires – the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. I’m sure that none of those empires could have been described as perfect but they were all significantly better than what replaced them.

The destruction of the German Empire led to the chaos of the Weimar Republic and then to Hitler.

The destruction of the Russian Empire paved the way for the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917. The Russian Empire was autocratic and authoritarian certainly but it was not especially brutal. It was also an empire that was booming. Contrary to popularly held views the collapse of the Tsarist empire was by no means inevitable. In fact in 1914 there was every reason to think that it had a bright future in front of it. The war brought Lenin to power. Without the war Lenin would have lived out his days as just another failed revolutionary in exile. He would hardly have qualified even as a footnote to history.

The destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire led to some extraordinarily ill-advised territorial reorganisations which were always going to end up leading to further war.

And most of the horrors that have been visited upon the Middle East in the last century can be said to be due to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

The First World War changed everything and remarkably it changed almost everything in extraordinarily disastrous ways. It’s difficult to think of a single good thing that came out of that war.

That’s the trouble with wars. They set in motion events that are entirely unpredictable and are often the exact opposite of the result that had been hoped for. What they destroy can never be rebuilt. They kindle a fatal desire for political and social experimentation. They encourage the entirely pernicious desire to change things.

Most wars would have been better not fought. That applies particularly strongly to the First World War.

conservatives and history

It is a curious fact that conservatives (I mean mainstream political conservatives rather than social conservatives) have never conserved anything and have never seriously tried to do so. The explanation is of course that mainstream conservatives are in fact liberals. Their entire worldview is liberal to the core. But how is it that these conservatives have never been troubled by the contradictions inherent in being liberals who call themselves conservatives?

Perhaps part of the explanation is the Whig view of history which has reigned unchallenged (particularly in the Anglosphere) for centuries. The Whig view of history is that the whole of history is an inevitable progression towards the Promised Land in which society will be organised entirely upon pure liberal lines. Its only challenger has been Marxist history but the Marxist approach to history is merely a variation on the Whig approach. To Marxist historians the endpoint of history is a society organised upon pure Marxist lines but the process is identical. History is inevitable, history is progressive, the trend is always towards a better and more virtuous world, change is good because change is always for the better (because old things and old ways are always bad), the good guys (the liberals) always triumph in the end.

In other times and places quite different views of history have prevailed. Cyclical views of history seemed to have predominated in the ancient world and in the East. The Christian view of history, that it is the unfolding of God’s plan, was at one time immensely influential. For the past couple of hundred years cyclical views of history have been very much on the fringe whilst the Christian view of history is now held only by extremist Christian heretics such as dispensationalists. Mainstream Christians accept the fundamentally anti-Christian Whig view of history.

It’s inherent in the Whig view that everything that happens in history will always turn out in the long run to be liberal and progressive and good and in accordance with Whig principles, because it’s in the very nature of history that liberalism must be the winning side. Liberalism is on the right side of history.

So naturally the outcome of historical conflicts, whether military or political, must tend to contribute to the defeat of those on the Wrong Side Of History. This means that the winners of any military or political conflict must be the good guys. Conservatives tend to believe this, and in fact most of us believe it because for several centuries we have been thoroughly indoctrinated in the Whig approach to history. It’s interesting that this even applies to obviously disastrous wars like the First World War. No matter how appalled we may be by that exercise in butchery most of us still feel that somehow the Germans must have been the bad guys, simply because they lost.  The fact that they lost is enough to prove that they were in the wrong.

This is an attitude that is unconsciously adhered to by most people in the Anglosphere. Victory in war is proof that one is on the Right Side of History. Mainstream conservatives do not question this because to do so would be to question the rightness and the inevitable triumph of liberalism.

This also applies to victory in political struggles. While it may seem obvious that the Sexual Revolution that began in the 60s was a catastrophe in every way and is something that needs to be undone if society is to survive very very few mainstream conservatives would dare to think such a thing, much less say it. It’s the same with the triumphs of feminism and the homosexual lobby. Mainstream conservatives are unwilling to adopt a radically critical stance towards such matters because the very fact that those who pushed the Sexual Revolution and feminism and the homosexual agenda succeeded proves that they were on the Right Side of History. Clearly those cataclysmic social changes were Meant To Be.

The irony is that conservatives end up being totally opposed to the idea of conserving anything because the only way to be on the Right Side of History is to be favour of constant change.