Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's Your Anxiety Quotient?

Nearly everyone agrees that totalitarian cultures do not produce great art. An artist working for a communist or fascist dictatorship will invariably produce propaganda that looks like, but does not attain to the stature of, art.

The same is not true of artists who have worked under the patronage of the Catholic Church or Italian princes. Since these institutions are responsible for many of the greatest works of art in the Western world, they are, on this score, anything but repressive.

If totalitarian government makes bad art, does it also make people stupid? If you are being forced to toe the party line, if you are too afraid to question party orthodoxy, does that diminish your mental capacities?

Here, the question seems less clear. In the twentieth century many great thinkers have been lured by despots. Think of Martin Heidegger’s love affair with Naziism or the many European philosophers who plighted their mental troth to Marx, Stalin, and Mao.

Did their adherence to an ideology compromise their work? It may be true that a philosopher who admires Hitler might still say something interesting about Heraclitus, but once he gets involved in politically charged issues, one suspects that his mind will buckle under the weight to conform.

Again, the same does not seem to apply to theologians working under the auspices of the Catholic Church. Medieval Catholic theology is one of the greatest intellectual productions in the Western world. And it does involve considerable and substantive differences of opinion.

All that to introduce an article by one Taylor Clark. Without any doubt, Clark is not a great thinker. Even as a journalist who writes about matters psychological, he is simply mediocre. He is not nearly as good as Jonah Lehrer or Benedict Carey.

As opposed to those writers, Clark maintains a distinct bias toward feminist ideology. But, has his embrace of the feminist party line compromised his mental capacities? For today, that is the question. Link here.

You know the feminist party line: gender differences are not innate, but are socially constructed. Given what happened to the unfortunate Larry Summers when he dared opine that gender was not a social construct, we all understand why Clark would not want to run afoul of the feminist matriarchy.

As it happens, good feminists do not really believe in objective facts. This has help them to distort scientific research, the better to fulfill their ideological expectations.

As a good feminist, Clark is worried about the anxiety gap. By all rational measures, women have a higher anxiety quotient than men. Clark does not use the term anxiety quotient-- I bear the responsibility for that-- but he is at the ready to attack any measure that suggests that men and women are not identical.

One suspects that Clark is trotting out his own anxiety in a vague attempt to close the anxiety gap. After all, the gap can be closed by women becoming less anxious or by men becoming more anxious.

In his words: “Women, according to countless studies, are twice as prone to anxiety as men. When pollsters call women up, they always confess to far higher levels of worry than men about everything from crime to the economy. Psychologists diagnose women with anxiety disorders two times as often as men, and research confirms—perhaps unsurprisingly—that women are significantly more inclined toward negative emotion, self-criticism, and endless rumination about problems. From statistics like these, some have even leapt to the Larry Summers-esque claim that women are simply built to be much more nervous than men—an idea that has outraged many women inside (and outside) the psychology community.”

Actually, it’s feminists, not scientists, who have been the most outraged. That might lead us to ask how much scientific research has been skewed in order to placate chronically outraged feminists?

Mustering a level of confidence and arrogance that we often find among the brainwashed, Clark asserts what his feminist minders want him to assert. Gender, vis-à-vis the anxiety gap, is a social construct.

In his words: “While women are indeed more fretful than men on average right now, this difference is mostly the result of a cultural setup—one in which major social and parenting biases lead to girls becoming needlessly nervous adults. In reality, the idea that women are ‘naturally’ twice as anxious as men is nothing more than a pernicious illusion.”

Pernicious to whom, exactly?

Clark does not answer this question, even though it is, as we shall see, salient.

Apparently, researchers have observed that little boys are, if anything, slightly more anxious than little girls. They have also seen that the situation changes markedly after the children reach puberty.

Does this suggest that the anxiety gap has something to do with biological, not social, realities?

Yes, and no. Clark and his team of crack researchers conclude that it’s not about puberty per se, but about the way parents react to puberty. In case you didn‘t know, it’s all in the discourse.

In Clark’s words: “Well, one answer is that as a flood of adolescent hormones sends these boys' and girls' emotions into overdrive, the difference in their upbringings finally catches up with them. After all, whether parents intend to or not, they usually treat the emotional outbursts of girls far differently than those of boys.”

Now the fault lies in the fact that parents treat male and female children differently. One has a right to be somewhat surprised. After all, haven’t all of these parents received a full dose of feminist indoctrination? Don’t they know that it is heresy to treat boys and girls differently.

This line of argument also suggests that we should not trust parents to bring  up their children, but rather, that we should put all of our trust in ideological zealots who pretend to be scientists.

As Clark sees it, parents tend to tell anxious boys to suck it up; then, they try to shelter their pubescent daughters from life’s challenges. This apparently explains why girls have a higher AQ than boys, and why women have a higher AQ than men.

Let’s all take a deep breath and do a little reality check. When boys and girls reach adolescence, their bodies change in very different ways. Where boys and girls were roughly equal in size and strength before puberty, after it, for reasons that have nothing to do with the patriarchy or  parental bias, boys become bigger, stronger, and more aggressive.

This is the natural consequence of ginned-up testosterone production.

Some of that new aggression is directed toward other boys, through team sports, video games, and even gang activity. But some of it will be directed toward girls. Even when it is not directed toward girls, girls tend to feel threatened in its presence. Because they are not as strong....

Is it crazy to teach girls that, by virtue of puberty, they have become more vulnerable to male aggression and male predatory tendencies?

Why ignore the fact that a heightened AQ is adaptive? It allows girls to avoid potentially dangerous encounters with boys and men.

Girls have more anxiety because they have more to be anxious about. Being more vulnerable, and recognizing that they are more vulnerable, they are more anxious. It's not that complicated.

A woman walking home late at night is likely to be more anxious, thus, more on her guard, than a man. Is there anything strange about that? Would you prefer that she be less anxious and more reckless in her behavior?

If she is your daughter, I would wager that you would have a strong opinion on the matter, and not because you are a dupe of the patriarchy.

We should note that if you think that girls’ high AQ has nothing to do with anything real, then you are saying that all girls and women have been subjected to mind control.

Clark’s argument is profoundly disrespectful to women and to their feelings.

In short, there is no real mystery. If you are smart enough to reject feminist dogma, you will have no problem  understanding why girls might be more anxious than boys and why it is not necessarily such a bad thing.

It is not a difficult point; it is almost too obvious to mention. Yet, Taylor Clark, good feminist that he is, misses it completely. You've heard it before, perhaps not often enough, but: Beware male feminists!

Feminism claims that women are as strong, as tough, and as aggressive as men. For this reason they do not need anyone‘s protection. The old ethic that makes men protectors of women is outmoded and detrimental. It‘s sole purpose is to make women feel weak.

Once girls discover that they are fated to be smaller, weaker, and less aggressive, they will also discover that men are not allowed to claim to protect them. This gives them even more reason to be anxious.

You might believe that no one is really dumb enough to believe that, from adolescence forward, the biological differences between men and women should not have emotional consequences.

You would be wrong.

While it is implicit in Clark’s feminist analysis, it is explicit in television crime dramas.

The next time you are watching an episode from one of the Law and Order shows, or any other television crime drama, you will notice that whenever there is a violent altercation, even an actual fight, between a female police officer and a larger male criminal, the female police officer almost always wins.

I often wonder how stupid the shows’ producers think we are. If you are not smart enough to recognize propaganda when you see it, the shows leave you with the impression that women need not be more anxious than men because they are just as strong as men. If that is true, then it is fine and good for a woman to act as a man would act in any and all circumstances.

A woman would therefore have a choice. She can either listen to her anxiety and heed its message, or she can take unnecessary risks because feminism has told her that she is just as strong as a man. If she then gets hurt, she can feel that she has martyred herself for the cause.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When I was 40 I began working out with a judo club that happened to be training the #1 female heavyweight contender. She had recently defeated the reigning world champion and went on to represent the U.S. in the olympics.

Lifting weights and training were her only activities. This 25 year-old was at the top of her game.

As a child I had trained in judo from 10-21, and was too busy to train anymore. At 40 I was in poor condition, and just looking for a challenging way to exercise.
The guys running the club had me compete with her during one practice. I was concerned that I might lose to her because losing to a girl would be a little humiliating-and she had me by 80 lbs.

The match came and I aggressively went after a quick win. In fact I was so aggressive that the owners said things like "jeez, she's a girl, why don't you back off a little." Now I even felt worse than if the match had been lost.

My strength was vastly beyond this champion, although I had only average strength. Now, whenever I see a police show in which a women stops to take on an attacking male I have to yell at the TV, "RUN!" The choreographed dance/fight scenes are definitely sending the wrong message for real life situations.