Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Stone Age of Aquarius

Melvin Konner has some impressive credentials. He is a professor of neuroscience and anthropology at Emory University. He has won grants and awards.

And yet, he is not immune to trendy cultural thought. Today, he takes to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to proclaim the advent of a New Age where women would run everything. It’s the new feminist version of the Age of Aquarius.

Konner does not call it the Age of Aquarius, but he might as well have. His vision of the future has very little to do with reality. It does not even consider what has happened in communities where women have been in charge.

As a scientist he should know better than to traffic in fictions.

Konner begins on a less-than-prescient note:

Hillary Clinton seems to be preparing to run for president, and the former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina may yet enter the race on the Republican side. Whoever wins the White House in 2016, today it seems easily possible that within the next decade, the U.S. will follow Britain, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, India, Israel, Thailand, Norway and dozens of other countries in electing a woman to our most powerful office.

One hates to say it, but Carly Fiorina is a vanity candidate. And this is not the week you want to be touting the civic virtue and all-around superiority of Hillary Clinton.

If you think that the world will be better with Hillary Clinton in charge, consider her track record. Not merely her efforts to cover up the predations of her horndog husband but the skill, or lack of same with which she conducted foreign policy in the first term of the Obama administration.

Anyone who believes that the Age of Aquarius will arrive with the Hillary administration has blinded himself to even recent history. How well did Hillary deal with the Arab Spring? Remember the Russian reset?

Ask the people of Libya what they think of the Hillary-led Libya policy? Let’s not forget that Libya policy was run by a band of women, Hillary and Samantha Power and Susan Rice and perhaps even Valerie Jarett. And let’s not ignore the fact that the people who were in charge of the Benghazi consulate belonged to Hillary’s State Department, a department that conspicuously put many women in charge.

Since reality belies his Aquarian vision, Konner is obliged to rely on what he calls “research.” While I am more than happy to accept the value of research, one should not ignore the fact that the real world is place to test your policies than a laboratory filled with college students answering test questions.

Anyway, Konner notes:

Research has found that women are superior to men in most ways that will count in the future, and it isn’t just a matter of culture or upbringing—although both play their roles. It is also biology and the aspects of thought and feeling shaped by biology. It is because of chromosomes, genes, hormones and brain circuits.

It’s always nice to cloak your ideological biases with the mantle of science.

Konner explains that, with women in charge of everything, there will be no more wars:

All wars are boyish. People point to Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir as evidence that women, too, can be warlike. But these women were perched atop all-male hierarchies confronting other hypermasculine political pyramids, and they were masculinized as they fought their way to the top.

There is every reason to think that a future national hierarchy staffed and led by women who no longer have to imitate men, dealing with other nations similarly transformed, would be less likely to go to war. But that’s not all. Sex scandals, financial corruption and violence are all overwhelmingly male.

At least, it’s amusing to think that the Hillary administration will rescue us from sex scandals, financial corruption and violence.

This is embarrassing. Besides, where does Konner think that the displaced men are going to go? What does he imagine that the nation’s enemies are going to do when they see the national hierarchy staffed by people who are supposedly averse to military conflict?

If ISIS and the other bands of Islamist terrorists believe that the West has gone soft, they will ratchet up their terrorism. They might be right and they might be wrong, but if they are persuaded that victory over the decadent and soft West will eventually be theirs they will never stop fighting.

Truth be told, in the crucible of reality, we already have communities that are largely run by women. Inner city American communities have been notably directed and managed by strong women. These women run families made up of children from different males. The situation corresponds rather well to what J. J. Bachofen called “das mutterrecht,” a primal matriarchy.

It turns out that males who do not grow up with fathers manage still to have sufficient testosterone to go out and do some very nasty things. They form marauding bands of criminals and wreak havoc on their communities.

In a world run by women, what does Konner think that men are going to do with themselves… sit home and knit?

Of course, Konner understands the biochemistry that underlies these male behaviors:

Testosterone goes to the brain in late prenatal life and prepares the hypothalamus and amygdala for a lifetime of physical aggression and a kind of sexual drive that is detached from affection and throws caution to the winds. (I know, not all men, but way too many.) By contrast, almost all women, protected from that hormonal assault, have brains that take care of business without this kind of distracting and destructive delirium.

He does not, however, believe that these biochemical imbalances are dispositive. He labors under the illusion that technology will level the playing field:

But the most important factor has been technology, which has made men’s physical strength and martial prowess increasingly obsolete. Male muscle has been replaced to a large extent by machines and robots. Today, women operate fighter jets and attack helicopters, deploying more lethal force than any Roman gladiator or Shogun warrior could dream of.

True enough, some few exceptional women can do Army Ranger training. No women have yet to complete Navy Seal training. Unless Konner believes that a military force of women led by women will be effective—and if you think so, try it out—then he is trafficking in an illusion.

The incidence of war does not depend merely on testosterone levels. It depends on the prospect of success against a weaker enemy. Few people fight to lose.

Besides, while women are out fighting wars and running the world, who is going to bring up their children? In Konner’s world, generations of children will be brought up without mothers. Do you imagine that very many women would voluntarily neglect their children or hand over childrearing to their husbands?

Do you think that these children will grow up to be responsible members of the community? Or will they grow up to become gang bangers, thugs and outlaws?

As for the advantage women gain by their ability to use advanced weapons, the fact that they are not inclined to use them makes that ability more bluff than reality.

But, men will still be stronger than women. The men who will no longer be masters of the marketplace or the arena or the battlefield might very well decide to show their women who is strongest at home.

In Konner’s Age of Aquarius, one can expect more domestic violence and more physical abuse and even more rape.

Do you prefer men fighting against men or men fighting against women? Research or no research, we should know by now that when men have been stripped of their male pride, they unfortunately often abandon their wives and children. Again, we see this in America’s inner cities.

Truth be told, Konner wants us to return to the Stone Age, or its rough equivalent.

Examine his vision of the Age of Aquarius:

Perhaps it is time for us to consider returning to the hunter-gatherer rules that prevailed for 90% of human history: women and men working at their jobs, sharing, talking, listening and tending children. Men didn’t strongly dominate because they couldn’t; women’s voices were always there, speaking truth to male power every night around the fire. There was violence, and it was mainly male, but it was mostly random, accident more than ideology.

Again, he is wrong. In a hunter gatherer world, men would naturally dominate because they are physically stronger. There would be no technology to even the playing field. You don’t think that men would sit around getting in touch with their maternal instincts?

In a family or community where women were speaking truth to power every night around the campfire, men might not like what they are hearing. And you might recall that life expectancy in the Stone Age was not very long.

Absurdly and inexcusably, Konner fails to mention all of the good things that men have contributed to the world. His brain has been so completely addled by feminist ideology that he does not balance the good with the bad.

But then, how can he call himself a neuroscientist? Isn’t the hallmark of cognitive therapy the ability to balance the good against the bad, the positive against the negative.

Konner sees only the negative in post-Stone Age men and sees only the positive in women’s contributions to civilization.

And he might have asked himself why the human species evolved beyond the Stone Age level of social organization? It beats nostalgia.

But, let’s not call it science. Konner's vision merely counts as the kind of illusion fostered by feminists and other radical leftists, one that well-meaning souls want to foist on the rest of us.

In the end it spells ruin. That’s why cultural evolution left in the dust ages ago.


Ares Olympus said...

Yes, Konner's case would have been stronger had he picked Sarah Palin as proof of the ascendancy of women.

Can you believe 41 year old Sarah Palin ran a marathon faster than 20 year old Paul Ryan?!

You can't go wrong with the Momma Grizzly!

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Academics and "neuroscientists" wonder why we cannot take them seriously? It all makes for interesting reading (in the fantasy genre), but people like Konner are blatantly ideological, living in this detached intellectosphere. He seems like a frontman for some sentimental boy band -- a crooner who soothes the ladies with phony stories of exotic travels and love of the sacred feminine... so he can get laid, all the while whispering sweet nothings.

Knonner is whispering sweet nothings here. Whether he's getting laid because if this self-evident nonsense is another matter, unless he's trawling at Emory bars at 2:00 AM, where the remaining intoxicated women will believe anything.

Since Konner likes to peddle in stereotypes and what're "majority of men" do, let's have at it, and discuss the other dimensions of the feminine personae he chooses to leave out...

"Research has found that women are superior to men in most ways that will count in the future..."

Sure, especially since the majority if women are logical and like to build things. I'm sure all the female plumbers, electricians, carpenters, engineers, chemists, etc, will be lining up to fill those jobs. They're justs drawn to them, like mosquitoes to a lightbulb. Yeesh, who's going to build the infrastructure? Who invented the machines that liberated women from the home? Which women can afford to have nannies?

Creativity is what will matter in the America of the future... if we can maintain our very economic strength, and the only (until now) benefit of our educational system and our economic culture. Enterprise, creativity and invention require taking risks. Women are risk-averse. True creativity comes from breaking things apart and spurning conformity. Women are normative. Invention requires mechanical manipulation and/or symbol reconfiguration. Women are good at manipulating objects and utilizing symbols, to be sure, but they are far less creative in the endeavors which generate something new entirely. And please don't counter with the idea of "fast followers."

"By contrast, almost all women, protected from that hormonal assault, have brains that take care of business without this kind of distracting and destructive delirium."

Ummmm,.. ever heard about the effects of estrogen? Women are averse to violence? Depends on what kind. Ever seen what happens to a woman who gets ahead or falls behind? Just because there are no visible bumps and bruises doesn't mean social violence is not in play. Women are mean and manipulative... sometimes to the point of brutality, and with a startling ruthlessness. As my wife likes to say, "Be wary of women with agendas." Men perform well I'm subordinating themselves to teams, while women want to be the center of attention.

There are so many silly fallacies cited here. If you want to find the negative in something or someone (like men or a man), no doubt you'll find it. But Konner is looking at all the stereotypical downside of the male persona and seeing what he wants to see. Sure, Angela Merkel was a chemist, Sheryl Sandberg is COO of a huge company, etc. And yes, women can and do fly attack helicopters, which are high-tech machines. But what happens when a woman gets captured by the enemy? Will she be treated as a normal POW? If yes, why? If no, why not? What do you think ISIS would do with a captured female pilot? I doubt she'd be burned alive, she'd be "married" to some ISIS warrior and used for conjugal purposes..

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Finally, stories like that of Konner's seem to forget that we're the same as Roman farmers, we just have an electrical grid. We do not appreciate what we have, how it came to be, or why it is important. It's an inheritance we take for granted, as we ridicule our ancestors for their barbarity. I think women are lovely and amazing as they are. But this fantastic notion that women en masse are equally capable of all things and do not have parts of their inner spirit that are any less barbarous, low, and destructive is poppycock, wishful thinking and... willfully delusional

dfordoom said...

Does he have any idea just how incredibly violent hunter-gatherer societies are?

Ares Olympus said...

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD, while we're making fun of male feminists, we should look at some data that looks bad for men.

Specifically the economists recent asked "Why girls do better at school than boys?"
Why are girls performing better at school than their male classmates?

First, girls read more than boys. Reading proficiency is the basis upon which all other learning is built. When boys don’t do well at reading, their performance in other school subjects suffers too.

Second, girls spend more time on homework.

Third, peer pressure plays a role. A lot of boys decide early on that they are just too cool for school which means they’re more likely to be rowdy in class.

And we're also looking at a 60 year decline in male labor force participation. All Men Women

So if we need to do some "social engineering", we're going to need some sympathy from the feminists.

The key fact I remember is there are more male geniuses and more male idiots, something about the cost of "male development" being focused on risks, so God or Nature is apparently willing to throw away more men, and society follows by locking them up.

I don't remember what the feminist solution is to the U.S. incarcination rate. What will the women do when half of the men are locked up? Are they going to want to put their hard earned tax dollars to pay for men to lift weights and have gay sex all day?

Something has got to give.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

I'm reminded that an unprecedented violation of human rights is ostensibly committed for the cause of female equality. Clearly, women are equally capable of violence, and may be more susceptible to narcissistic indulgence. It may also be an ingenious conspiracy by a minority of men and women to abort their competing interests through a pacifist, voluntary reduction.

Perhaps we should wait for women and men to pass their reproductive/formative years before judging them by their ability to realize internal, external, and mutual consistency in their orientations and expressions.

Generational liberalism is degenerative. Classical liberalism without moral temperance is crude. Unstructured liberalism engenders chaos and violence.

Dennis said...


Now who is it who enforces female genital mutilation as a rite of passage into adulthood? Now who is it we see not taking responsibility for their bodies vice requiring men to know exactly what is in their minds when intoxicated? Now who bullies young girls in K-12 and beyond? Now who kills literally millions of unwanted babies? Now who suffers most of the migraines?
Here is a thought we could stop using everything men have created, innovated and developed.
Men create rules and hierarchies even when fighting among themselves and at war. Women do not. I remember a show during the 60's called "The Battle of the Sexes" in which women constantly beat men at physical endeavors. In a race a man had to start a half mile back from where the woman started and still almost won. It was much like the world of "Harrison Bergeron" where no one was allowed to be better than anyone else. Those with skills and abilities were handicapped by some means or another.
Konner's is the drivel of a pseudo intellectual pajama boy.

tljhound said...

The author doesn't understand the past or the present so he can't have even a clue about the future.

Academics who believe and teach fantasy beget more fairytale believers and teachers. The world was screwed up enough before the Left was allowed possession of our children's minds.

Anonymous said...

we have a medical services department which had 5 women who were at each others throats so much that the patients complained. Finally had to hire a guy to just sit in the common area to quell and the backbiting.
In my time in medicine, 35 years, I may have seen 1 female MD work as hard as a man.
This guy has obviously never been married and divorced if he things women can run things better.

Dennis said...

Just to prove a point that Konner in his wildest imagination would never fathom.
If one does what are considered "manly" chores one gets far more sex. If one does "womanly" chores then one gets less sex.
I suspect IAC is correct in that Konner has fallen for the line that males doing female tasks get laid, but alas it is not true.

Sam L. said...

"Why are girls performing better at school than their male classmates?

First, girls read more than boys. Reading proficiency is the basis upon which all other learning is built. When boys don’t do well at reading, their performance in other school subjects suffers too.

Second, girls spend more time on homework.

Third, peer pressure plays a role. A lot of boys decide early on that they are just too cool for school which means they’re more likely to be rowdy in class."

Boys and girls learn differently, have different interests. Boys need to be active, and are prevented. Boys don't like the same kinds of books as girls, but have to read those books. I doubt boys decide they're too cool for school, but that school is antithetical to them. said...

I remember Camile Paglia saying something llike, "if women ran the world there would be no wars, but we would still be living in grass huts."

Sam L. said...