Thursday, January 24, 2008

F. Roger Devlin again

Mr Devlin had written a very cogent article about Men, Women, Relationships and Sexual Utopia a while ago for The Occidental Quarterly.

Recently I got a MassMail from him with an article he wrote that was rejected from publication even by those chaps. Too controversial apparently.

All the same, for those among the the readers of this should-be-updated-more blog who enjoyed the his Sexual Utopia article, Ive got a link to his new one (File Name 'Shalit').

This time he reviews books of a female author, Wendy Shalit, who wants to turn back the clock on feminism - and amusingly enough, even among women like her who would like to get rid of todays depraved 'culture' - they have some amazingly large blind spots when it comes to their own behaviour, and their assumptions of mens behaviour and what the ultimate cure would be. The books reviewed are called Girls Gone Mild and A Return to Modesty.

A few excerpts...

A Return to Modesty was greeted with outrage from predictable quarters, such as pornographers and feminists. Baby-boomer reviewers accused her of “trying to turn back the clock,” the New York Observer printed a front-page caricature of her dressed as an SS officer, and she received death threats (p. 5)....

...The most interesting personal experience she relates involved an invitation, following on the success of her first book, to appear on a PBS program called “If Women Ruled the World.” While preparing to interview her, “the producer began to explain what he wanted me to say: that a certain second wave feminist had saved womankind and that I, as a young woman, was grateful to her.” When she expressed reservations about the woman’s ideas, “the producer began to get impatient: ‘What you’re saying,’ he sputtered, ‘isn’t in the script!’” (p. 19). In the end, she was not interviewed.


Here is my conjecture. It is an old observation that sexual morality is most strict among people of moderate means; looser behavior occurs among the very rich (because they can afford it) and the very poor (because they do not calculate the consequences). The worst possible situation arises when the poor become artificially “rich,” by their own standards, through welfare payments. Now, the elite white brats who pioneered the sexual revolution on campuses in the sixties were able to draw upon the capital laboriously built up by parents toughened in depression and war. Low-intelligence underclass blacks, at the opposite extreme, get their babies subsidized by taxpayers; they are actually rewarded for not having a male breadwinner. You will find even less sexual fidelity among them than among white college kids or the Hollywood glitterati. Shalit, however, did not plumb the social depths of the housing projects...

And the negative...

It is remarkable that a woman with such traditional ideas about marriage, modesty, and feminine decorum never condemns feminism per se. Instead, Shalit claims to have perceived a “fourth wave” of the movement characterized by the rejection of pornography and casual sex. This reviewer is not sanguine about the possibility of an eventual Nth feminist wave coming along to solve all the problems created by waves 1 through (N – 1). Shalit does better when she acknowledges that feminism has “become a sort of Rohrschach test: the word itself has become almost meaningless—and can refer to diametrically opposed ideas” (p. 208). The young self-described feminists she quotes do sound extremely confused. They say things like “I don’t think the first feminists wanted us to be more like men” (p. 218) and “feminism has always been about valuing home life” (p. 222). Some are simply using “feminist” to mean feminine (p. 121).


During their nubile years, many women are at least as concerned with turning male desire off (i.e., telling the 99% to drop dead) as with turning it on (getting Mr. Alpha to commit): they get more offers of attention than they have time to process. Cunning feminists, many of them lesbians, have exploited this circumstance to the hilt, convincing naive young women they are being “harassed.” Quietly observing the furor over so-called harassment during the past two decades, I wondered how these women could fail to realize that the men of whom they were complaining constituted their pool of potential husbands and that they could not afford to alienate all of them. Clearly, I overestimated their intelligence. And Wendy Shalit does not distinguish herself in this respect either; she uses the term “harassment” as freely and uncritically as any man-hating feminist could wish.

Once again, big article, but well worth the read.

UPDATE: All three articles are up. Probably best to read them in order of publication.
1)Sexual Utopia in Power

2)RotatingPolyandry - and its Enforcers

3) The Feminine Sexual Counter-Revolution and its Limitations (filename: Shalit.doc)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Don't worry about not updating enough. I like your style. There's too much noise on the internet as it is. Quality over quantity.

MensaRefugee said...

Nice to know peeps still read my blog.

Anonymous said...

Devlin's article is highly recommended to anyone who seeks to understand the modern dating scene. The highly controversial "seduction community" has arisen as a rational response to this situation, but more cooperative solutions are also a possibility.

Sexual utopia may be an impossibility, but the shortcomings Devlin points out can probably be fixed without turning back the clock on social progress.

MensaRefugee said...

The cooperative solutions you mention assume something along the lines of the old "good for the species" biology thoughts, as opposed to the selfish gene individual centered model.

Aka, dead wrong. You are asking women to be mature about their immaturity. A non-sequiter if there ever was one! With the qualification that there is a lot of variation with individual women.

There is no way the shortcomings can be addressed without removing the incentives of 'social progress'. AKA 'social progress' is what caused the mess in the first place!

You are simply calling for, as Devlin said, a nth feminist revolution to fix what revolutions 1 to n-1 caused.

Not complete, but the best short answer I can give.

P.S I upped his other articles as well, if anyone is interested

Anonymous said...

"The cooperative solutions you mention assume something along the lines of the old "good for the species" biology thoughts, as opposed to the selfish gene individual centered model."

Huh? This is a complete non-sequitur. Individual people pursue happiness/utility. Selfish genes are only relevant in the very long run, and in the long run we are all dead anyway.

"Aka, dead wrong. You are asking women to be mature about their immaturity. A non-sequitur if there ever was one!"

Actually, I'm speculating that women might find it possible to act more maturely while still satisfying what could be important determinants of relationship- and life-satisfaction.

There are many parallels to this in other contexts: people use condoms and other birth-control methods, eat artificially sweetened foods, and derive vicarious enjoyment from watching aggressive sports as a substitute for actual violence and ingroup/outgroup allegiances. By your argument, these admittedly strange behaviors are all "refuted" by the selfish gene model, as well as being a sign of immaturity!

Of course women might find it preferable to resist such temptations entirely, but Devlin himself seems pessimistic about such a radical choice becoming established. Generally speaking, human happiness is best pursued by rational balance and moderation, not extreme asceticism.

Mensarefugee said...

Youre the one assuming we can maintain 'social progess' which is just another way of saying 'let women do what they want' and some how fixing the shortcomings Devlin points out. Not I.

The only non-radical ideal I see is libertarianism - let anyone do whatever they want, fine. But let them pay the price themselves. This, sounds reasonable to moderate liberals in the first iteration, but looking further down the line - all sorts of secondary outcomes would accord - for instance, not letting women into higher education because it is a scare resource, which they waste more than men - is that maintaining 'social progress' to you?

I think if we are to not talk past each other - you would have to define 'social progress'.

MensaRefugee said...

Generally speaking, human happiness is best pursued by rational balance and moderation

The large point of Devlin's article(s) is women are only happy when following irrational instincts which break down (modern) society along the way.

The article you link to is saying "Ok, fine, I like men who treat me bad, but only guys who treat me good are good, so Ill teach guys who are good to act bad with me"

Thats just a logical progression. Its like saying "Okay honey, Im going to go out and sleep with other women, but Ill make sure I only have babies with you" is something that is acceptable to the female.

You are applying logic to instincts, doesnt work.

Anonymous said...

"just another way of saying 'let women do what they want' and some how fixing the shortcomings Devlin points out."

Pay attention, people "doing what they want" is not the same as following irrational impulses. Libertarianism does not imply libertinism or impulsiveness, let alone sheer irrationality.

"The large point of Devlin's article(s) is women are only happy when following irrational instincts which break down (modern) society along the way."

I'm not sure Devlin's position is as dismal as that. Nevertheless, it's well known that human instincts can be followed in highly non-trivial ways, and there's no reason to expect relationship instincts to be any different. Ignoring this weakens Devlin's point and promotes needless controversy.

Again, the clearest analogy is probably the human impulse for ingroup/outgroup aggression. This is one instinct which is unambiguously destructive to modern society: as Ludwig von Mises argues, such violence has been clearly and perhaps painfully forgone as incompatible with social cooperation. Notwithstanding this basic point, the resulting increase in wealth-creation has allowed us to tap into this impulse again as a source of happiness, as clearly shown by the popularity of professional teamsports. Most ironically, the international Olympics movement has overtly co-opted sports competitions as a source of social integration.

mensarefugee said...

Did you read all 3 by the way? They are up.

I dont see what the linked article says as working, because, well, why hasnt it happened yet?

Because women do not find it a viable solution. Nothing has held them back from it. Only an environmental change will change their reigning behaviour.

Also, to quote Devlin again "If the kitten didnt want me, I dont want the cat" (referring from males). Young girls dont care, as that is when they are in bloom, and have a lot more power in the sex wars. It wears off fast though, and men will remember and wont settle for a girl simply because, well, shes figured out how to fulfil her needs by training him like a dog.

Last post on this article from me really.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Thanks for the heads-up Mensa. Really, really good stuff. If I get my courage back up, I might post on gender again. Ha! Have a good one.

Anonymous said...

I read "Sexual Utopia in Power", and while most of what Devlin says is so obviously common sense, he is very wrong about one issue to which he returns frequently.

He maintains that because the sex ratio at birth is about 105 males per 100 females there "isn't a girl for every boy." Roger, that is true only if everyone married someone exactly the same age, and all children born survive to marriageable age. This is absurd.

Unfortunately, boys die at higher numbers (from lesser resistance to disease, crime, and other risky behavior) than girls among younger age groups, so that at sexual maturity, the numbers are a lot more evenly matched.

Furthermore, men typically marry women 2-3 years younger, so the marriage market depends not on sex ratio at birth, but on the relative numbers in each age cohort. This is why first-wave Baby Boom women faced a "man shortage" as their increasing numbers found fewer men slightly older. For later Baby Boom men the situation was reversed, as they faced a "marriage squeeze" in finding fewer younger women among the Baby Bust cohort.

MensaRefugee said...

I dunno one way or the other. Id guess youre right, males do die more - but we're talking nearly 5% here. And wont the death rate be somewhat higher in Primitive societies, Vs modern ones (then again this would assume 'nature' wanted a 1:1 Ratio at sexual maturity)

Only way to test it would be a country without Immigration or a recent war for which stats of the Male Female Ratio at Ages 18-25 are given (CIA WorldFactbook stupidly has only 18-65)

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