“…Christian women, at least the ones I know, are far more likely to claim that their decisions are based on direct conversations they have with God. They tell me that they literally speak to God and he speaks back – either in the form of “whispers” or direct conversation that they literally hear. I almost never hear Christian men claim this sort of thing.”
I’ve been watching the culture wars with great interest for many years now. I’ve watched as social conservatives have lost every single battle. It’s been clearly obvious that the social conservative arguments are more sensible and more coherent but it hasn’t done them any good at all.
The mistake social conservatives have made is to think that if their arguments are true, and prudent, and properly thought-out, and logical that they will automatically prevail. It doesn’t work that way. The argument that will prevail is not the one based on truth and experience and common sense. The argument that will prevail is the one that is most emotionally satisfying.
This gets back to my post of a couple of days ago about emotional intelligence versus rational intelligence. If you want to get your message across to women you have to rely on emotion. But then that’s also true in the case of a very large proportion of men.
This is especially true in the case of political disputes, which tend to be complex. Arguments about social engineering and “social justice” are particularly complex because it’s necessary to weigh up not only the costs and benefits for the individual but also those for society as a whole, and to consider long-term as well as short-term effects, and to consider indirect as well as direct effects. This is all very complicated and confusing so most people will go for the argument that has been most skillfully presented and that feels true emotionally.
Social conservatives (and economic conservatives also) have had difficulty making their arguments emotionally attractive. The arguments of social radicals and SJWs sound wonderful on an emotional levels – they’re all about love, and caring and sharing, and equality and fairness. Their arguments are also progressive (we know their arguments are progressive because they keep telling that they are) and who doesn’t want to be seen as progressive?
There are two further factors that explain the dismal outcome of the culture wars to date. These are factors that can effectively cripple any political or social campaign. The first is to be made to look mean and nasty. The media has had extraordinary success in making conservatives appear to be a bunch of bad old meanies. In fact of course many economic conservatives really are mean and nasty and social conservatives have never realised that it would be wise to distance themselves a little from the economic conservatives. Portraying social conservatives as nasty hate-filled bigots has been an effective weapon used against us in the culture wars.
The second weakness of social conservatives has been just as deadly. Our enemies have consistently managed to make us look ridiculous. Mockery is one of the most potent of all political weapons.
So what can we do about all this? In truth, not much. It would have been nice if social conservatives had learnt to fight effectively 40 years ago but they didn’t. Now the SJWs have complete control of the megaphone. Even so, if we’re hoping to continue the fight we have to learn to fight to win. We need to find ways to make our arguments effective on an emotional level, and to avoid reliance on rational arguments which tend to make us look cold and heartless.
It’s a losing strategy to oppose immigration on rational grounds. You’ll simply be portrayed as an evil racist, Literally Hitler in fact. You have to find ways to make immigration sound unfriendly and threatening and to make opposing immigration sound humane and enlightened. You can’t fight social issues on rational grounds because that makes you an evil misogynist. You have to find ways to make traditional values, like marriage and motherhood, sound emotionally appealing and to make the feminist obsession with careerism sound depressing and empty. You have to find ways to make heterosexuality (otherwise known as normal sexuality) seem exciting and appealing.
One thing the alt-right has realised is the importance of mockery. It’s been their biggest single contribution and it’s by no means negligible. The alt-right has also had some success in making the idea of being right-wing seem cool and glamorous. Social conservatives need to take note.
I have no idea whether the ideas I’ve suggested would work. But one thing I’m sure of. They couldn’t possibly fail more completely than the strategies used to date.
The latest post at Oz Conservative, Male dominion, magical women, is extremely interesting and there have been a couple of interesting comments as well. It’s one of those posts that makes you think about an issue in an entirely new way.
There’s firstly the issue of whether women who conform to the traditional Christian virtues deserve to be considered to be “the crowning achievement of divine creation,” something that Mark quite rightly has some doubts about. He also mentions the extraordinary female attachment to bizarre beliefs in things like the Tarot and various forms of fortune telling. These are things that 99 percent of men would regard as laughable and nonsensical superstitions but a frightening number of women believe in such superstitions. What is really worrying is that extremely intelligent women are still quite capable of believing in stuff like astrology.
It’s another example of the profound difference between male intelligence and female intelligence. Men have the ability, to a large degree, to separate belief from emotion. Men tend to believe in objective truth, and they believe in weighing up evidence. Women believe in emotional truth. If it feels true then it is true. Of course this is a generalisation. But generalisations can be very useful things as long as you remember that they are generalisations and I think that this particular generalisation is both useful and mostly accurate. Certainly my own experience of women suggests that women do not perceive truth the way men do.
I’m not suggesting that women are dishonest in this regard. It’s just the way they’re wired. They find it exceptionally difficult to make non-emotional judgments. Of course if society was still organised on the basis of traditional sex roles this would not matter, since in their proper domestic sphere emotional intelligence is a major asset. It becomes a problem when women take on roles for which they are unsuited, such as political leadership, where their emotional intelligence is almost certainly going to lead to disaster.
A commenter named Bruce added something that had never occurred to me before but which may well be very very important. He said that
I think that this may explain a great deal about the current disastrous state of Christianity in the West. It seems quite possible that the female experience of religion is entirely and radically different from the male experience. For women religion may well be purely an emotional thing. That could be why women seem to be unworried by the widespread acceptance of heresy by Christian churches – women simply don’t care about theology or doctrine at all. Men will often choose a religion, or reject one, because there is a key point of doctrine that they simply cannot accept. It seems likely that for women what matters is whether a particular religion or a particular denomination seems to them to be emotionally true. Which means that as long as they get the emotional buzz they’ll accept any heresy.
This is certainly a very powerful reason to oppose the ordination of women and to oppose vigorously the appointment of women to any position of authority within the Church. Women are unlikely to oppose heresies or abominations like homosexual marriage because it simply doesn’t matter to them if such things are explicitly forbidden by scripture or by the historical teachings of the church. What matters are feelings.
A church dominated by women is inevitably going to drift towards heresy and doctrinal incoherence but it’s also going to drift towards New Age-y wallowing in superstitious wishful thinking or equally dangerous fatalism. Christianity cannot survive in any meaningful form unless men take back their proper leadership role. With women in charge Christianity is likely to do much more harm than good.
There are many reasons why nationalism went out of fashion in the latter part of the 20th century. One of the reasons, not usually considered, is that nationalism is in fact rather artificial. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that nationalism in practice has often been rather artificial.
The boundaries of most nation states as they exist today reflect historical accidents, military conquest, the whims of statesmen and the vagaries of long-ago dynastic politics. Most nation states are not organic ethnostates. Some European nations are true ethnostates. Poland for example, although that’s largely the result of some brutal ethnic cleansing after the Second World War. More typical are countries like Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom – different and not always compatible ethnicities forced together for reasons that may have made sense centuries ago. The Swiss had their reasons and due to their federal system their country has succeeded. The United Kingdom has been less happy. The Welsh, the Cornish, the Irish and the Scots were all incorporated, very unwillingly, into an English-dominated state. As for Belgium, no-one really remembers why anybody thought Belgium was a good idea.
Even nations like Germany and Italy were (before they chose to commit suicide) not quite the straightforward ethnostates they seemed to be. To make those countries work strong regional identities had to be crushed. Prior to unification Germans had a sense of German-ness but Bavarians also had a sense of Bavarian-ness and Swabians had a sense of Swabian-ness. Northern and southern Italians retain some degree of regional identity, hence the push for independence for northern Italy.
The strongest ties of identity that we have tend to be local. Regional ties can be strong also. National ties can be more problematic. If a nation isn’t an ethnostate then there’s nothing really substantial to unite the population. Attempts to construct nationalism on the basis of “shared values” or “civic nationalism” have been dismal failures. There aren’t any shared values any more, and there never were.
It’s a particular problem for artificial nations like Australia, Canada and the United States. Australia really has no sense of national identity at all. One was perhaps starting to emerge in the first half of the 20th century but the tidal wave of American culture that engulfed us after the Second World War put an end to that. We don’t have regional identities either. The US does seem at one time to have had strong regional identities but they have been fairly relentlessly crushed by the monolithic trash culture of Hollywood, social media and pop music.
Nationalism is certainly preferable to globalism, but perhaps it’s not a complete answer. Whether regionalism or localism would be any more successful in resisting globalism is of course another matter.
The process of dismantling censorship began during the late 1950s. It gathered stream during the 1960s and by the beginning of the 70s it seemed like most of the barriers had come down. There was resistance but at the time it didn’t seem likely to be all that disastrous. It was a classic example of the workings of the slippery slope.
In 1967, President Johnson established the National Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. The commission came to the conclusion that pornography was pretty much harmless. Given the amount of pornography around at the time, and the type, this conclusion might well have been quite reasonable. I’m inclined to think that girlie magazines and similar material really were pretty harmless. The trouble is that old slippery slope. The commission could not have predicted the explosion of hardcore porn in the US from the early 70s onwards, the rise of home video at the end of the 70s and the later advent of the internet, all of which changed not only the type of pornography that was around but much more crucially led to dramatic increases in both the quantity and the ease of access.
While I admit that pornography today is a problem I’m actually much more concerned by the ways in which porn has seeped into the mainstream popular culture. The relaxation of censorship allowed pop culture to become incredibly sexualised. While you still have to make a conscious effort to seek out pornography pop culture is inescapable. This has consequences when it comes to children. The average 13-year-old girl is very very unlikely to go looking for internet porn but she is going to be exposed to pop music, to popular movies, to TV, to the social media culture. All of which are awash with sexuality, mostly of a fairly unhealthy variety. Take your daughter to a Disney movie and she’ll be exposed to homosexual imagery, and this in a movie clearly aimed at children.
It’s not so much the explicit content that is the problem, it’s the attitudes. Young women are being encouraged not just to behave sexually like men, to behave sexually like homosexual men. As explained in a recent horrifying post at The Knight and Drummer Teen Vogue is encouraging your teenage daughter to explore the wonderful world of anal sex. Sexual perversion is being normalised and while porn has played a part in this it’s the mainstream pop culture that is doing the greatest harm.
I do have some sympathy with the idea that maybe censorship should not have been relaxed anywhere near as much as it was but any attempt to reintroduce meaningful censorship will be futile unless it targets that mainstream popular culture.
We are constantly told how men enjoy male privilege and how that’s a terribly evil thing. Men who hold conservative beliefs usually disagree although it’s depressing to note that these days most “conservative” men respond to the charge with groveling apologies. Those men who have not yet been completely emasculated do disagree but they almost invariably commit major errors in the way in which they do so. They make major concessions to feminist arguments right from the outset, accepting the pernicious doctrines of gender equality. Sad to say even some traditionalist men make this mistake. It’s interesting to note that women who reject feminism are often less inclined to make these sweeping concessions.
The fact is that male privilege is a good thing. It’s a very good thing. It’s an essential component of any traditionalist value system, although male privilege is not what most people think it is.
Men and women both have certain duties, certain responsibilities, certain rights and certain privileges and these reflect their differing social roles.
Men have always had a duty to protect women. They have always accepted this responsibility, often at great danger to themselves, often at the cost of their own lives. They still do so. Women used to understand this but today most women seem scarcely even aware of such a basic reality.
Men have also always had a duty to provide for women. Men did not go to work for fun. Unlike female work, which all too often involves nothing more than drinking coffee and talking, male work tends to involve actual work. You often get your hands dirty, sometimes you get injured, sometimes you even get killed. Women do not often get injured in workplace accidents, mainly since they’re unlikely to suffer anything worse than a paper cut.
Historically women often made a direct economic contribution but it was a secondary contribution. A woman’s duty lay mostly in the domestic sphere, playing a nurturing role to both her husband and her children. This was an equally vital task, but it was very different from the tasks assigned to men.
This setup worked because it was not based solely on duty. It was an interlocking system of duties and privileges. Men took on the dangerous and often exhausting task of protecting and providing for their women, as well as the tasks of leadership in the society. In return they received certain privileges. They were entitled to exercise authority. Women kept house for them, reared their children and provided them with emotional support. This emotional support (and this will enrage feminists) included sex. This was male privilege.
Women took on the tasks of child-rearing, keeping house and providing emotional support to their men. In return women got certain privileges. As well as the direct advantages of protection and financial support they got to be treated with courtesy and respect and they got a very high social status. They were entitled to be treated as ladies. That was female privilege.
Women still expect to receive female privilege but in the long run society is unsustainable without male privilege as well. Male privilege is a necessary condition for having civilisation.
Anyone who believes in traditionalism has to face the reality that the prospects for traditionalism are not good. The fact that there are large numbers of people who identify as “conservatives” is no help at all given that the overwhelming majority of these people are simply right-wing liberals. They accept the liberal program pretty much in its entirety. The fact that there are still reasonable numbers of people who identify as Christians is no help either since most modern Christians accept the liberal program to a horrifyingly large degree.
Of course there is always the chance that a major crisis will trigger a collapse of the current order but given that traditionalists have no established support base from which to work there’s no guarantee that even a collapse of the existing order will usher in a traditionalist revival.
So what do we do if a full-scale traditionalist revival proves to be impossible? Is any compromise possible?
We’ve learnt from bitter experience that compromise with liberals is dangerous. It’s a concept that liberals generally speaking do not believe in. Any attempt by traditionalists to compromise with liberals would have to be made from a position of strength, and traditionalists would need to display an implacable determination to stake out positions of principle and defend them.
What kind of compromise could be possible anyway? If you’re a full-blown traditionalist you realise that the rot set in in the 18th century with the Enlightenment. A return to a pre-Enlightenment society seems like a very remote possibility. What about a return to the 1950s? that would be OK wouldn’t it?
The 50s weren’t too bad. Christian churches were still Christian. The congregations were mostly actual Christians and there were even actual Christians to be found in the hierarchies. Marriage was still fairly healthy. Most people got married and most people made a real effort to make their marriages work. There was plenty of pre-marital sex but that’s to a large extent exactly what it was – couples who were intending to get married jumping the gun. Lamentable but not disastrous. Divorce was still fairly unusual. Mothers actually raised their children. And those children were still being raised in a moderately satisfactory way. Schools were not vehicles for homosexual propaganda. Traditional sex roles still existed after a fashion. A woman could admit to being a housewife without being sneered at. Multiculturalism had not been invented. Homosexuals enjoyed a fair degree of de facto toleration as long as they were discreet, and as long as they refrained from proselytising and kept away from children. Children in the 50s had not been sexualised. Crime rates were low. People still believed they could trust the police, and even more surprisingly in most cases they could.
The trouble with a restoration of the 50s is that under the surface there were forces eating away the foundations of society. The process of weeding out believes in believers in traditional values had already begun in the universities, the media and the entertainment industries and anti-traditionalist were slowly gaining a foothold in the churches. There were two further dangerous anti-traditionalist forces – democracy and capitalism. Democracy isn’t something that has suddenly become broken. It was a bad idea from the outset and representative democracy was never workable. Voters make bad decisions and the whole process is largely a sham anyway.
Capitalism is another problem. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the view that capitalism should be destroyed. I think it should be controlled. Rigidly controlled. Difficult, but not necessarily impossible.
So the 50s could never be restored in their entirety because the society of the 50s was a society already programmed for self-destruction. A society with many of the good features of that decade might be possible but mechanisms would need to be found to prevent cultural infiltration, democracy and capitalism from doing their work of destruction.
It’s probably not a likely scenario but perhaps it does no harm to toss ideas around.
A commenter at Oz Conservative recently stated, “Liberals can only mount their progressive tyranny on non-liberals through the power of the state.” I’m not sure I agree with this, not completely anyway.
The current dominant ideology, a combination of globalism and liberalism, has gained its ascendancy mostly through gaining control of the culture. This process began early in the 20th century. By the 1960s liberal leftists were firmly in control of the worlds of art and literature. They controlled Hollywood, and most of the world of entertainment. They controlled most of the news media. They controlled the universities. They had thoroughly infiltrated most of the churches. They were well on the way to controlling the culture. Their cultural control is now total.
In most cases they did not advance their agenda through direct political means. They did not control the power of the state. They have certainly been able to force the state to enforce their agenda but this has been a fairly recent thing. In every case the coercive power of the state has only been used to compel obedience to cultural changes that have already taken place.
Homosexuality had already been culturally normalised before legislation was passed to make homosexual acts legal. Marriage had already been undermined before divorce laws were relaxed to the point of making marriage nothing more than a temporary sexual arrangement. Feminists had already gained acceptance of most of their program before feminism started to be legally enforced by the state.
The use of the judiciary to accelerate the rate of social change is a recent phenomenon and it has only been made possible by liberal domination of the culture (both high culture and popular culture).
Liberals haven’t actually needed the power of the state to push their agenda. Nor have they needed to win election victories. As long as their control of the culture remains total they can rest assured that the power of the state can and will be used to reinforce their victories. Those victories are however always won by cultural battles, not political battles. Politics is downstream of culture.
It logically follows that liberalism cannot be defeated by conventional political means. Liberalism can only be defeated by wresting control of the culture away from them. That can only be achieved by a more powerful, more attractive, more dynamic, cultural force. At this point in time such a cultural force does not exist. Until it does liberalism will remain in the driver’s seat.