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.