Wednesday, August 31, 2022

As Sweden Burns

While the Finnish Prime Minister was embarrassing herself by showing off her dance moves, neighboring Sweden has been preparing for new elections-- in a few weeks. The elections will be something of a referendum on the rule of the Social Democrat Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson. You know about Andersson: she’s a strong, empowered female political leader who has allowed criminals to have free reign in her country.

Truth be told, things are not going very well in Sweden. Thanks to an open borders immigration policy, the hapless and welcoming leaders of that once-great nation have turned the country into the rape capital of the Western world. The only nations in the world that have higher rape rates are Botswana and South Africa. And, of course, all manner of crime has been exploding over a once-peaceful  nation.

Do Swedish socialists care about women or even men? Not a whit. The result, as of now, is a resurgent right wing political party. It will also benefit more moderate political parties.

Peder Jensen, of the Gatestone Institute, offers an overview of the crime wave that has taken over the nation.

Things are so bad that the voters have noticed:

For the first time, crime tops the list of voters' most important concerns in the run-up to the elections. "It's going to be a very unique type of Swedish election with a very unusual issue at the top of the agenda," Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson, professor of political science at Gothenburg University, told newspaper Dagens Nyheter. Forty-one percent of those surveyed said that law and order are the most important issues in society, as well as the most important political issues.

Democratic socialists have ruled Sweden for eight years now:

The Social Democratic Party has headed the Swedish government since 2014. During these eight years, crime has continued growing to intolerable levels nationwide. Sweden has in recent years suffered attacks involving bombs, hand grenades or other explosive devices on a weekly basis, sometimes several times a week.

In November 2021, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven stepped down as party leader and PM, and Magdalena Andersson became Sweden's first female prime minister. In April 2022, several Swedish cities experienced violent riots and attacks against the police by Muslims when anti-Islamic activist Rasmus Paludan tried to burn copies of the Koran. Andersson then admitted that a lack of integration had contributed to gang violence, saying that there are "strong forces that are ready to go to great lengths to harm our society."

"Segregation has been allowed to go so far that Sweden now has parallel societies," Andersson said according to Aftonbladet. "We live in the same country but in completely different realities... Integration has been too poor while we have had large-scale migration. Society has also been too weak."

Good to see the strong, empowered prime minister offering a solution-- more integration for people who do not want to integrate. The problem was segregation, and perhaps even bigotry and racism. Does that sound like a familiar tune?

As it happens, native born Swedes are not contributing to the crime wave. Migrants are:

Even mainstream media outlets such as the BBC admit that Sweden has one of the highest rates of gun killings in Europe. An official Swedish government report published in 2021 stated that each year, four in every million inhabitants in Sweden die in shootings. The European average is 1.6 people per million inhabitants. Statistics reveal that 85% of suspects involved in fatal shootings in Sweden are either born abroad or come from an immigrant background.

Mass immigration has produced the crime wave. Note well, many of the migrants have the right to vote; thus, they have found a pathway to citizenship:

Sweden has in just two generations gone from being one of the safest countries in the world to being one of the most dangerous countries in Europe. During the same time, mass immigration has dramatically altered Sweden's population. 1.2 million of those eligible to vote in the elections in September 2022 were born outside Sweden -- about 200,000 more foreigners than in the previous election, in 2018. Nearly one in four first-time voters aged 18-21 was either born abroad or has two parents born abroad. In central Malmö, almost every second person eligible to vote for the first time has a foreign background.

Muslim migrants are becoming their own political force. They normally vote for the weak-kneed squishy socialists, but now they want their parties, the better to impose their values on the hapless Swedes:

Muslim immigrants in Sweden, as in other European countries, tend overwhelmingly to vote for the Social Democrats or other socialist or left-wing parties. However, they have now become so numerous and self-confident that they also create their own political parties. Mikail Yüksel, a Turkish-born Muslim, heads Partiet Nyans, which has a following in cities such as Malmö. Yüksel has argued that an artwork by the late Swedish artist Lars Vilks should be burned because it allegedly represents Islamophobia.

Basem Mahmoud is an imam operating in the heavily Muslim-dominated area of Rosengård in Malmö. He has called Jews "the offspring of pigs and apes," said he was "only quoting the Koran," and is looking forward to "the great battle" when all non-Muslims will be forced to submit themselves to Muslims. He has also defended the brutal murder of the French teacher Samuel Paty in 2020, who was beheaded by a Chechen Muslim after teaching students a class on freedom of expression.

In a sermon in February 2022, Mahmoud went on the attack against Swedish schools and social services and stated that Muslims are taking over the country. "Sweden is ours," he said. " It is ours, whether they [Swedes] like it or not. In ten to fifteen years, it is ours."

They are not talking about integrating or even assimilating into the local culture. They are proposing a hostile takeover of Swedish culture and even of the Swedish nation. The word invasion comes to mind. Does anyone recall the history of Islam in Western Europe?

And then there is the problem with criminal gangs. They are flourishing in Sweden:

An official police report from 2019 indicated that Stockholm alone has at least 50 different criminal gangs currently operating in the city. They are also getting more aggressive and violent. Scandinavian countries traditionally did not have strong organized crime groups comparable to the mafia found in southern Italy. Now Sweden has dozens of different groups or clans competing against one another for control over the local market of narcotics, protection money or other illegal activities. Some of them have even managed to create a criminal infrastructure, with ties to lawyers or bureaucrats. Nearly all of them have been imported to the country since the 1970s. Many of these criminals have an ethnic background from far more brutal and cynical societies in the Islamic world or Africa. Soft Scandinavian prisons do not deter them.

Swedes will need to have a severe wake-up call and a strong crack down on the criminals it has allowed to live in their country. Do they not care that their women are more likely to become rape victims?

Dare we say that this situation is a cautionary tale about the downside of open borders. And it is also a cautionary tale about the downside of having weak leadership and soft power.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Does True Love Cure?

It has long been an article of faith-- let’s not call it science-- that romantic love cures neurosis. Some even believe that falling in love and having a good love relationship are crucial to recovery from all sorts of emotional and mental distress.

The recent research, from Potsdam, Germany of all places, suggests otherwise. No one has quite connected it to Freudian theories about how libido is the instrument of treatment. So, I will make the connection.

First point, from researcher Eva Asselmann:

“Nearly everyone would intuitively agree that romantic relationships greatly affect how we feel,” said study author Eva Asselmann, a professor of differential and personality psychology at the Health and Medical University in Potsdam.

Presumably, when people fall in love they feel better. And yet, true love does not constitute an accomplishment or achievement. Therefore, the thrill tends to wear off.

Asselmann continues:

“Our study suggests that well-being changes due to major romantic relationship events (e.g., a marriage or breakup) are only transient. In the long run, they affect our well-being much less than one would intuitively assume. Other factors (e.g., how we behave and treat each other in everyday life) might be much more important for enduring happiness and satisfaction in and beyond romantic relationships. Targeted interventions could be useful to promote happiness beyond the first year of marriage or to screen for serious mental health impairments shortly after a breakup.”

I have highlighted the important phrase here. It’s not about falling in love but about how you behave in your everyday social interactions. Are you courteous and considerate or do you turn every encounter into psychodrama?

Apparently, socializing is more beneficial to your mental health than is true love with the One.

Think about it.

The Arab Spring Ends in Tunisia

Twelve years ago, when a fruit cart vendor set himself on fire in Tunis, Tunisia, he incited what was called the Arab Spring. The party line was that democracy was coming to the Middle East. For those who thought that liberal democracy would flower across the world, it was a heady moment indeed.

With the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in charge, the movement toward Middle East democracy was bound to fail. When New York Timesmen Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof camped out in downtown Cairo to breathe the air of the new democracy, you could be fairly confident that it would all go wrong.

Today’s story, from the Financial Times, might not be worth more than a footnote in the current civilizational clash between democracy and autocracy, but it is still worth at least one post.

The story is simple. Democracy has failed in Tunisia. It has not failed because people do not have a legal right to vote. It has not failed because of a rigged election. It has failed because democratically elected governments have not produced a functioning economy or good governance.

Democracy is not some gauzy ideal. It will be judged by the outcomes it produces in economic terms.

The Financial Times reports:

Protests over job shortages have been frequent in Tunisia since the uprising that overthrew dictator Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011. Rising unemployment and falling living standards have fuelled disillusionment with the country’s democratic experiment among many Tunisians. 

This, analysts say, explains the welcome received by Kais Saied, the populist president elected in 2019, who has since taken steps to increase his power through a new constitution voted in last month. 

Despite opposition warnings that it represented the final unravelling of Tunisia’s democracy, the charter was adopted by referendum on a turnout of 30 per cent amid widespread apathy. “The absence of development has everything to do with this moment [Saied’s restoration of one-man rule],” says Monica Marks, Tunisia specialist and assistant professor at New York University Abu Dhabi. “It is not the whole story, but it is the biggest part of it.”

Since 2011, a succession of weak coalition governments has failed to deliver the jobs, or the improvements to state services and economic prospects, that Tunisians expected under a new democratic era. People in long-neglected inland provinces and the poorer neighbourhoods of coastal cities remain marginalised, facing high unemployment.

As for economic growth since the Arab Spring, it has been dismal:

Economic growth averaged just 1.8 per cent between 2011 and 2020, when it shrank 9.3 per cent because of the pandemic. Unemployment is averaging at 16.8 per cent, rising to 38.5 per cent among the under-25s. The value of the dinar has halved against the dollar since 2011 and inflation is at its highest level for more than 20 years.

So, consider this a footnote, but one that we ought to take seriously. One understands that Financial Times columnist Janan Ganesh has been arguing that autocratic and authoritarian regimes will destroy each other, and that democracy is the inevitable wave of the future.

The history of Tunisia suggests otherwise.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Overcoming Pandemic Learning Loss

09 I have been reporting this story on this very blog from the onset, more than two years ago. I am not claiming any special acumen, but will note that anyone who took the issue seriously inevitably arrived at the same conclusion-- closing down schools, instituting remote learning was going to damage children’s developing minds and brains.

Eric Hanushek, of the Hoover Institution, reports on the damage done by school shutdowns in the Wall Street Journal:

By far the largest economic costs of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. will come from shortfalls in student learning from school closures, inferior hybrid and remote instruction, and the general disruption of normal schooling. The best estimates place learning losses at the equivalent of a year or more of schooling, resulting in 6% to 9% lower lifetime earnings for the average student and much more for disadvantaged students. The country as a whole will face a less well-prepared workforce, with enormous cumulative losses to GDP over the coming decades.

Primary and secondary schools are now struggling to return as much as possible to where they were in March 2020. But the learning losses will be permanent if we just restore the pre-existing schools. The biggest problem of education during the pandemic has been depriving students of the full abilities of their most effective teachers, and recovery from the damage of these years can only come from an expanded role for these teachers.

So, what can we do?

How, then, to deal with the profound learning losses that have occurred during the pandemic? Unfortunately, we do not yet have very good ways to improve the general effectiveness of teachers. A more compelling solution lies in keeping and rewarding the most effective teachers while getting rid of the least effective ones.

It sounds good to me. The best teachers should receive rewards that are commensurate with their contributions. Because, if the children who have suffered learning loss are consigned to classes led by ineffective teachers, they will be lost for life. 

Naturally, the teachers’ unions oppose such policies:

This prescription is energetically resisted by the teachers’ unions, who argue that such policies promote favoritism, drive out teachers even as we face shortages and distract from the need to improve salaries and benefits across the board. But reforms focused on teacher effectiveness have been implemented in several places, and the results show a clear path to improving the schools.

So, if we promote effective teaching, we will improve the already dismal prospects of America’s schoolchildren-- the ultimate victims of the school lockdowns. 

Good luck implementing that.

Overdosing Adolescents

I will spare you the details on this story, largely because I am not remotely qualified to examine them. And yet, this New York Times story ought to be a wake-up call for psychiatry. 

The gist is that psychiatrists have been prescribing a multitude of medications for adolescents. They are offering too many drugs, without knowing the long term effects, creating drug interactions they do not understand. It's better than dealing with the problems these children are experiencing:

Psychiatrists and other clinicians emphasize that psychiatric drugs, properly prescribed, can be vital in stabilizing adolescents and saving the lives of suicidal teens. But, these experts caution, such medications are too readily doled out, often as an easy alternative to therapy that families cannot afford or find, or aren’t interested in.

Let’s be serious here. Most of the therapy on offer today is not very effective. That is the ultimate scandal of more than a century’s worth of talk therapy.

I will note that the Times also reported that a form of cognitive therapy, called dialectical behavioral therapy, has been shown to be the most effective-- some would say, the only treatment for suicidal teens. I cannot tell you how readily it is available, but I suspect that it is the exception more than the rule.

The Times continues, exposing the irresponsible behavior of credentialed psychiatrists. It is reporting a study done by a journal called, Frontiers of Psychiatry. This means that within the profession alarm bells are ringing.

These drugs, generally intended for short-term use, are sometimes prescribed for years, even though they can have severe side effects — including psychotic episodes, suicidal behavior, weight gain and interference with reproductive development, according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry.

As for the science, what science? The drugs are not approved for young adolescents. No one knows what happens long term to the developing brain. Way to go, science.

Moreover, many psychiatric drugs commonly prescribed to adolescents are not approved for people under 18. And they are being prescribed in combinations that have not been studied for safety or for their long-term impact on the developing brain.

If you are interested in the details, I recommend the whole thing.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Conception Is a Given

Conception is a blessing, Prince Hamlet said, except as your daughter may conceive. Figure that one out. Surely, it tells us that for young women, conception is a curse, one that needs to be eliminated by abortion.

Importantly, within the confines of the national abortion conversation, conception is also a given.

True enough, Republicans are shooting themselves in the head over abortion rights. That is, the issue is working against them politically, and they do not seem to care. Dare we note that extreme positions never play well politically. No abortion ever … is not a winning program. Allowing abortion in the early stages of pregnancy will appeal to voters; banning it in the late stages-- with carefully drawn qualifications-- will also be a winning program. 

If you add up the number of women who have have abortions since Roe was decided, ask yourself how many of them are likely to vote for a party that considers them criminals. 

Some considerable part of the issue her involves the feminist life plan. Feminists have instructed women to defer family and pregnancy until their careers were established. They excoriated a Susan Patton, mother of a Princeton undergraduate, when she suggested, in a letter to the Daily Princetonian, that young women in college would do well to look for husbands and to stop fooling around. As we recall, feminists denounced Patton for being a horrid misogynist, for consigning women to childcare, and keeping them off the shop floor and the battlefield.

And then there was the brouhaha over Anne Marie Slaughter’s assertion that women cannot have it all. You recall that Slaughter was working in Hillary Clinton’s State Department when she decided that she needed to quit her job in order to be more of a presence in the life of her teenage son. After she absented herself from home life, the boy had been suspended from school, had started hanging around with the wrong crowd and had been picked up by the police.

So, Slaughter quit her job and returned home to care for her son. She wrote an article in The Atlantic, explaining that while she was willing to admit that some very few superhuman women could effectively have it all-- that is career and family-- she was not one of them. 

So, she was implying that the feminist plan, to defer childbearing until a career was well-established, was a lie, designed to dupe women into feminism. Since the formula could not work and since women would be the ones who would miss out, on work opportunities or childbearing, Slaughter suggested that it be retired, that we stop telling women that they can have it all.

Cue the feminist outrage. Apparently, feminists who had been insisting that women can have it all, suddenly decided that they had not necessarily promoted this illusion. And yet, promote it they did, to the point where they attacked mercilessly, any woman who had children when she was young, and who might have deferred her career advancement.

Moreover, as Helen Andrews points out in a brave and highly cogent lecture, it is not just the ambiance that tells women that they can have it all, but government agencies and the legal system have rejected any notion that motherhood matters. Any company that treats mothers differently, or that considers actual or potential motherhood in their assessment of workplace performance can easily be sued.

Certain feminists might want to disavow the notion of having it all, but the feminist program has promoted it relentlessly. And that is why abortion is important. If conception is a given, and if women can easily have children up to menopause, then aborting a pregnancy must be allowed-- especially when it grants career priority over motherhood.

Andrews points out that having it all is a basic lie, one upon which feminists have built their cult. 

The challenge of refuting the lie that women can have it all—that is, that they can prioritize career and family equally—lies in the fact that the trade-offs that make it impossible are hidden, not obvious, because mathematically it’s not something that should be impossible.

The situation is unrealistic, for numerous reasons that Andrews lists, but it is also unrealistic for the simple reason that as a woman gets older, finding a suitable mate becomes more difficult.

A 35 year old executive vice president fulfills the standard feminist predicates. Those predicates say that she will, for being more independent and autonomous, be a highly desirable mate for a forty year old man.

Obviously, this is a lie, as many women have found out the hard way. Successful male executives are not always completely besotted by women’s beauty, but they are far more interested in marrying women who want to be wives. As you know, for feminism, “wife” is a four-letter word. 

And, you ask how a certain class of women manages to run a home, bring up children and advance a career, the answer is, Andrews says-- maids. That is, household help:

But look more closely at those households, and almost invariably you’ll see that behind every woman who is balancing work and family, there is an army of low-paid labor, immigrant cleaning ladies, nannies who are paid cash under the table, Door Dash delivery men who deliver the meals that mom never had time to cook. It’s no coincidence that the vast increase in female workforce participation has coincided with the reappearance of something that the more egalitarian America of the early 20th century did not have, and that is a servant class.

But then, the feminist life plan assumes, irrationally, that a woman will find it just as easy to get pregnant at 35 as it would have been when she was 25. Andrews considers this a fundamental lie.

A woman cannot simply wake up at age 35 and decide she wants to have a family. Everyone says that the sexual revolution was brought about by the advent of the contraceptive pill, which was supposedly ushered in at an amazing new age of a new human experience thanks to science. But it actually changed a lot less than we think. We’ve gotten quite good at not having children when we don’t want to have them, but the science that gave us the pill has not made us very much better at making children arrive when we do.

She suggests, sensibly, that it is better for women to have their children when they are young and then to pursue better career opportunities when their children are grown. In other words, the choice is not between children and career. The choice concerns which comes first, childrearing or career. Clearly, the feminist life plan, importantly, does not see this as the choice. It sees later in life pregnancy as the only feministically correct path. It derides women who marry young.

Look at the Supreme Court—a perfect example. The first woman on the court, Sandra Day O’Connor, had three kids, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had two kids, and both of them had their kids quite young. I think the last one was at 32. Both of these women followed the life course of having kids young and then pursuing their career ambitions afterward. And apparently it worked. They wound up on the Court.

Thanks to feminism, millennials are turning out to be the most childless generation in American history. Andrews explains:

 Millennials are on track to be the most childless generation in American history. Projections have it that 25% of millennials will be childless. By comparison, for boomers it’s closer to one in nine. For millennials, it’s going to be closer to one in four. They’re also the least married modern generation. If you want to look at how married a generation is, you look at age 21 to 36. In 1965, 17% of that age block had never been married. In 2017, it was 57%, and that trend shows no sign of decreasing. In fact, 2014 was the year that the balance shifted and the majority of adults over 16 had never been married before that 36-year cutoff.

Nowadays women are rather cavalier in thinking that what with frozen eggs and IVF, they will easily have children whenever they want. The notion that reality is going to accommodate your desires is one of the great illusions that therapy has foisted on us:

Many young women today lack knowledge of basic facts of biology.

Consider the case of Nicole Shanahan, wife of Sergei Brin. She was smart and wealthy, a woman of means. And she was grievously misinformed about female fertility:

But now that she’s a wealthy woman, Nicole Shanahan has chosen to make one of her philanthropic causes female fertility research—or, as she calls it, reproductive longevity—because, as she told interviewers, when she started to think seriously about motherhood in her early 30s it was “eye-opening to me that there are biological factors that would impede that dream.” She had assumed she could simply freeze her eggs and then come back to them when she needed them. She didn’t understand that IVF does not work like magic, that it was possible to, as she did, go through several rounds and end up with nothing. Eventually she and Sergey were able to have a child, thankfully, but imagine a woman that brilliant and accomplished lacking this basic knowledge.

The situation is just as grave when it comes to female physicians, people who presumably know everything there is to know about the issue. Given the long and arduous training that they undergo, many female physicians do not even try to have families until they are in their mid-thirties. But, they have bought the feminist lie, that it is not going to be a problem:

From the byline in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this letter writer wrote, “As a reproductive endocrinologist, I have seen countless 40-something female physicians seeking fertility treatment only to be genuinely shocked that their peak egg number and quality,” that is their peak fertility, “has long since passed. Often the only viable treatment at that point is using donor eggs from a much younger woman.” Family planning, to the extent that it is taught in our schools, focuses entirely on the prevention of undesired pregnancy. There is apparently no reliable time in any American’s life, including our physicians, when they are taught the basic limitations on how to become pregnant.

Why are these facts not common knowledge? Andrews explains that feminism has been working long and hard to ensure that women do not know about the realities of their own fertility. Feminism does not merely recommend deferral; it insists that this is the only way to live:

 Well, one reason is the deliberate suppression of the truth by feminists. In 2002, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine bought some ad space in movie theaters and on buses here in Washington, a ton of PSAs. These PSAs were entirely innocuous, they said things like, for example, “Advancing age decreases your ability to have children. For more information, see the website of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.” NOW, the Natural Organization of Women, organized a campaign and had those PSAs pulled because “they sent a negative message to women who might want to delay or skip childbearing in favor of career pursuits.”

Besides, it is illegal to publicize the facts, that is, the science:

So why haven’t elder generations been fulfilling their responsibility to impart that wisdom to younger people, especially younger women? Obviously in part because it’s socially taboo, but also because in many contexts it is illegal to do so. As you may know, if you’ve ever hired somebody for a position at your organization, it is illegal to ask a woman in a job interview if she is pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant. If you are mentoring a female employee at your company and you tell her that your personal advice is that she should have kids before she gets too old, even if that means putting a pause on her career, that remark can get you into trouble. If that woman is ever passed over for a promotion, she could turn around and sue the company for sexual discrimination and use your remark as evidence.

Consider a Supreme case from five decades ago:

It was a Supreme Court case named Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corporation (1971), which involved a company that had a policy of not employing women with preschool-aged children. The Court found it was a violation of the Civil Rights Act because the company did not also have a policy against employing fathers with preschool-aged children. The idea that mothers and fathers of young children have different responsibilities was dismissed by the Court as an outdated stereotype. In other words, we live in a regime where agreeing that women can have it all is legally mandatory. You cannot express dissent from it or operate your private business by a different set of assumptions.

So, it is illegal to follow the science. Ideology trumps all, and, by now, dare we say, older women, professionally accomplished and seeking mates, are not at all happy about competing against younger, more fertile women.

Thus, older women have done their best to keep these younger women on the sidelines. They do not want the competition. And they are more than happy when such younger women, when they do connect with older men, do not allow a mere pregnancy to stand in the way of their careers.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

A Slut Laments

Sometimes the tide turns slowly. Sometimes it seems to be happening all at once. Apparently, the tide is now turning against what is called sex-positive feminism. 

I have on this blog been stating clearly for many years now that this has been a very bad idea. It is certainly bad for women-- why else would feminists promote it. But it is not especially good for men to be taught to disrespect women systematically. I would add that Camille Paglia, long a proponent of the sexual revolution has also turned against it. 

After Louise Perry’s book The Sexual Revolution Is Terrible for Women, we now have the Substack of one Bridget Phetasy, a woman who used to write for Playboy, among other publications, and who now crosses another taboo by labeling her past sex positive experiences as-- slutty.

She entitled her essay: “I Regret Being a Slut.”

Apparently, the feminist dimwits who declared that it was all a social construction and that women would cease being sluts if everyone ceased calling them sluts were wrong. Human behavior has a rational basis. Women’s sexual behavior was not concocted by the patriarchy to deprive women of orgasms. It was designed to benefit women.

Phetasy writes:

I’m grateful for the ability to control my reproductive cycle and make my own money. But that freedom has come at a price. The dark side of the sexual revolution is that even though it liberated women—unyoking sex from consequences has primarily benefited men.

So, what is it like to be a slut? As the old line goes: How does it feel? It turns out that, for those women who have not drunk the feminist Kool-Aid, it does not feel very good:

But if I’m honest with myself, of the dozens of men I’ve been with (at least the ones I remember), I can only think of a handful I don’t regret. The rest I would put in the category of “casual,” which I would define as sex that is either meaningless or mediocre (or both). If I get really honest with myself, I’d say most of these usually drunken encounters left me feeling empty and demoralized. And worthless.

The aftershocks were terrible, indeed:

I wouldn’t have said that at the time, though. At the time, I would have told you I was “liberated” even while I tried to drink away the sick feeling of rejection when my most recent hook-up didn’t call me back. At the time, I would have said one-night stands made me feel “emboldened.” But in reality, I was using sex like a drug; trying unsuccessfully to fill a hole inside me with men. (Pun intended.)

I know regretting most of my sexual encounters is not something a sex-positive feminist who used to write a column for Playboy is supposed to admit. And for years, I didn’t. Let me be clear, being a “slut” and sleeping with a lot of men is not the only behavior I regret. Even more damaging was what I told myself in order to justify the fact that I was disposable to these men: I told myself I didn’t care.

In other words, sex positive feminism taught her to deny her feelings. It taught her that when she felt disposable, there was something wrong with her. A liberated woman should seize her pleasure where she could, and should ignore the after shocks.

Besides, feminists told her that having sex with a multitude of men who did not care for her and who would never have made a commitment to her was-- hold your breath-- empowering. In short, it would make her feel like a real man. Is this what feminism is about?

I didn’t care when a man ghosted me. I didn’t care when he left in the middle of the night or hinted that he wanted me to leave. The walks of shame. The blackouts. The anxiety.

The lie I told myself for decades was: I’m not in pain—I’m empowered.

In order to remain a feminist in good standing, Phetasy would contort her psyche, to the point where it was no longer hers. She was acting out a role in a historical drama, one that was devised by feminists and other leftists, in order to advance the revolutionary cause. Or some such.

So, thanks to feminism, Phetasy could ignore the message she was feeling on her walks of shame and could declare herself a proud slut, not to mention-- here’s the word again-- empowered:

I doubled down on being a proud slut and internalized the biggest and most damaging lie: that loveless sex is empowering. I basked in the girl-power glow of that delusion for decades, weaponizing my sexuality while convincing myself I was full of the divine feminine.

I was full of shit.

I told myself that because I could seduce a man, I was powerful. But as Perry says in her book, “...women can all too easily fail to recognize that being desired is not the same thing as being held in high esteem.” Deep down inside, I knew that to be the case. But as a defense mechanism, I crafted a man-eater persona. My mantras were rigid.

Better yet, strong empowered sex-positive feminists fell into roles that I described yesterday. They were not going to be wives, so they settled for concubine, mistress and courtesan.

Phetasy explains, adding the moment when she recognized that, from the point of view of one of her hookups, she was not even there:

A lifetime of allowing myself to be the other woman, taken for granted or treated like a doormat under the false pretense of being “empowered” came to a head one night with the arrival of a text message from an on-again, off-again lover.

“Goodnight baby I love you,” it said. Quickly followed by, “Wrong person.”

She said that it was like hitting rock bottom:

Rock bottom doesn’t always look like losing everything or ending up in jail. Sometimes it can be that sick feeling in your gut when you know, emotionally, you’re done. I wanted to be able to have meaningless sex like a guy, but it didn’t work. (After years of writing for Playboy, I’ve learned it doesn’t work for a lot of men either.) For years, I tried, unsuccessfully, not to “catch the feels” (even that expression is so telling about the way emotions are viewed regarding relationships, as if they’re a cold or the flu or some kind of sickness you need to get over).

Having sex like a guy-- was that the standard for sex positive feminists? Denying who and what you were in order to affirm that male sexuality was always better-- was that what it meant to be empowered?

Friday, August 26, 2022

Women Chasing Their Bliss

For those of us who are wondering why men and women cannot get along any more, Australian columnist Jana Hocking has the answer. To her mind, we have advanced civilizationally to the point where traditional relationships are dead. 

Hocking thrills to the notion of non-traditional relationships, without noting that the Western world has always offered people other than marital relationships. 

What she means, because she does not quite dare to say what she means, is that traditional marriage has been sundered by the feminist revolution. She does not quite say it, but she ought to have said it, but women no longer want to be wives. They find the role constricting. They prefer to follow, even to chase after their bliss. 

In Hocking’s stories women cheat on their husbands and partners with impunity. They even have agreements that allow them to cheat ethically, whatever that means. They exchange partners, toss off old partners, embrace new arrangements without a second thought about the consequences, for children, no less.

Given that broken and especially fatherless homes are a significant causal factor in childhood mental illness, she ought to have been slightly more circumspect about running after her bliss.

Dare I mention, in Hocking’s world, women’s experiments in bliss chasing always work out well. 

In any event, Hocking declares that traditional relationships are dead. 

Controversial opinion: There is not one single couple in this entire world who is in a “normal” relationship.

Seriously, take a good look at your friendship groups. Sure, John and Sarah seem pretty normal, but dig a little deeper and they’ve had their own fair share of drama or kinky interests.

After I wrote about the surge in singletons asking for ethical non-monogamous (ENM) relationships on dating apps these days, my DMs were inundated with “normal”-looking people telling me about their own experiences being in ethically non-monogamous relationships. We’re talking teachers, doctors, builders …

Let’s define some of our terms here. In the first place the singletons who are looking for permission to cheat-- and who call it ethical-- are not looking for commitment. They might, after a time, if they are women, start complaining about the absence of commitment in their lives, but such is life.

Dare I mention, yet again, that Hocking has no interest whatever in what these types of relationships produce in terms of social disharmony and family chaos.

As for the obvious point, the institution of marriage has always been rather flexible. Adultery has been common practice in Western civilization, and even in some others. Women who did not want the burdens of being wives, always had the option of being mistresses, courtesans, concubines and tarts. 

Since most marriages from the beginning of recorded time have been arranged, it should not surprise us that the marital estate also left room for adultery. You might say that adultery was the province of males, but, truth be told, women had their own ways of cheating with impunity.

During the Middle Ages, at the time of the Crusades, European wives who had been abandoned when their husbands rode off to the Holy Land developed something called courtly love, a systematic ritualized seduction of younger boys by older women. After all, women were in charge if their manors when their husbands went off on the crusades, and the only males who were still around were boys-- chimney sweeps, gardeners, game keepers, cooks and stable boys.

So these women pronounced these boys to be troubadours and created a form of seduction which, in truth, became the basis for courtship leading to marriage. In principle, and according to the relevant texts, these seductions were never consummated, but only the most naive believe that the troubadours were telling the whole truth about their practices.

As you probably know, before the Protestant Reformation, courtship did not lead to marriage. It produced adultery. And yet, when Luther and his followers were excommunicated from the Church and from society, they wanted to marry. Since they had no property, no power, no social standing, they found the default position, and married for love. Love marriage is an invention that we owe to Protestantism. Roman Catholic countries have always been far more lenient about adultery.

In truth, this modified marital institution was practiced by the Puritans who came to settle the place we now call the United States. Puritans were opposed to adultery because they wanted marriage to be based on love, not on an arrangement.

Better yet, love marriage favored women because it ultimately gave them a free choice of a spouse. Before the Reformation and the Puritan revolution, such a free choice was largely not allowed.

And yet, in all these circumstances, marriage as an institution was defended as the foundation of social order. Divorce was either forbidden or discouraged. Nowadays women no longer care about social order or stability. They no longer seem to care about the circumstances in which they are raising their children. 

As you no doubt know, among the most important factors in a child’s good mental health is the participation in family dinners. If there are no families, there can be no family dinners.

Women now do what they want when they want with whom they want, and damn the consequences. If they had given the matter any thought at all, they would have recognized that the practice ignoring commitments and vows and traditional defined roles also applies to men. 

Besides, women who do not want to be wives, and who are asserting same with their behavior, will probably have more difficulty becoming wives. Duh.

And the result of women chasing after their bliss has been a raft of divorced women with children, women who never learned that you cannot be hot forever. Female hotness is an asset, but it is a diminishing asset. Even with Botox and all manner of cosmetic enhancements, they are not really fooling anyone, except perhaps themselves.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The CEO Cried

The generation that needed therapy pets to get through college has now joined the workforce. And given their understanding that the good life is the therapeutic life they have started bringing their private lives and their personal feelings into the workplace. It feels like the next great thing, so Times reporter Emma Goldberg takes a stab at making some sense of it. Goldberg is one of the better young writers out there, so we take her analysis seriously. 

She is fair and balanced, and she remarks that sharing too much creates problems. If all things private are allowed into the workplace, how long will it be before people will decide that they go to work to get dates or that they should be exposing their private parts to their colleagues. 

Of course, this has already been happening, far too much. Now we have teary eyed CEOs, professing their vulnerability because they read in a book by a dopey thinker, by the name of Brene Brown, a purveyor of psychobabble and girltalk, that great leaders show their vulnerability. 

At a time when the issue is wrapped in confusion, let’s state a few obvious points. Great leaders do not display their vulnerability. They do not throw raves at the prime minister’s residence. They do not share their doubts and do not make decisions based on empathy. Did Gen. Eisenhower share his doubts about his troops, or did he show confidence in their ability carry out their missions?

One exception needs to be noted-- when a leader has failed, he ought to resign in disgrace. He will then manifest shame and do the appropriate thing-- to give up his leadership. Once he displays his shame, he can no longer lead.

As for those leaders, like Bill Clinton, who share their feelings promiscuously, they are not leading the nation. They are seducing people into voting for them and into ignoring their serial derelictions. In that case, it matters less whether the plan or the policy will succeed than whether or not you love the leader, whether you feel his pain, empathetically.

So, your pathos has no business in the workplace. Keep it to yourself. Sharing your pathos makes you pathetic, of course. You should do so especially if you want anyone to respect you.

If you do not command respect you will never be able to lead. If you do not have confidence in your project, why will those you entrust with executing it have any confidence in it? And if they do not have confidence in it, they will surely perform less well.

Consider a case that Goldberg recounts:

If you had told Ryan Caldbeck, in his first-ever job, that he would one day be crying to a room full of his employees, he might have simply told you — with the bluster characteristic of any corporate striver — that you were wrong.

But somewhere in between tumultuous markets and shifting national conversations on mental health, Mr. Caldbeck’s perspective changed. In 2016, he laid off roughly 15 percent of his 45-person team at the financial technology company CircleUp, and broke down in tears. Now, he said, he shares his feelings with colleagues more openly. He also sometimes wrestles to find the line between buttoned-up executive reticence and oversharing.

“There was a time when I went into work, and in a meeting we were going around the room saying how was your weekend, and I said, ‘Oh, I got in a difficult fight with my wife,’” said Mr. Caldbeck, 43, who was previously CircleUp’s chief executive. “Everyone’s mouth dropped. I realized I went too far. That wasn’t appropriate. That’s not how to show vulnerability at work.”

Fair enough, this is pathetic. When you cry over laying people off, what that means is that you yourself have failed and that you yourself refuse to take any responsibility for your failure.

As for sharing some information from your marriage, betraying a marital confidence, you do not need to be very smart or very adult to know not to do so. And then, why would anyone ever confide in you or trust you? And how will your wife react when she discovers that you have spoken about your intimate interactions with her?

Somehow or other, a specifically feminine quality, vulnerability, has become the rage in business schools. Obviously, this means that more women are taking these courses, but it also means that the American business world has lost touch with what made it great.

Now they have a new skill to learn: the art of being vulnerable. Emotional intelligence has landed atop the lists of best-selling management guides, like “Dare to Lead,” by Brené Brown, whose books on vulnerability have sold well over a million copies. At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the most popular elective course, for years, has been Interpersonal Dynamics, more commonly referred to as “Touchy Feely.”

Evidently, this does not make us optimistic about the future. Consider that the same dimwitted executives who are hiring Brene Brown to teach them how to be vulnerable are also hiring a manifest idiot named Ibram X. Kendi to explain how racist they are:

“People in business are socialized to leave their feelings in the parking lot,” said Carole Robin, co-author of “Connect,” who used to teach “Touchy Feely.” “There’s a generation of leaders now — the ones that might be the really up-and-coming leaders of the future — who have discovered that actually it’s almost impossible to really inspire people in the absence of feelings.”

There is obviously a downside of this oversharing. Goldberg explains that it is a violation of privacy and that, by the rules of reciprocity, when someone exposes himself to you, you will naturally feel inclined to expose yourself to him-- whether you like it or not.

They’re humans, with emotions, which they’re sharing on Twitter, in memoirs and in all-staff meetings. But their employees aren’t always benefiting from the results of all that sharing. And, in some cases, they’re feeling pressured to respond to their bosses by giving up their own privacy.

Goldberg continues on this point:

But many workers have pointed out that when those emotional conversations go too far, they can create pressure to share what people would rather keep private.

“In the old regime, it used to be that strength came from putting your emotions to the side,” said Hitendra Wadhwa, a professor at Columbia Business School who teaches about personal leadership. He added that those previous misconceptions had given way to new ones: “There are those struggling with the misunderstanding that strength comes from ‘if I’m feeling this right now, I just have to express it.’”

Nancy Rothbard, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who has studied emotions in the workplace, said her research pointed to a growing expectation that people bring their “full selves” to work, prompted by technologies that blur the lines between work and life.

The best part is that managers, thinking that this is the next great thing, are doing what most people do not want them to do.

 Surveys indicate that people tend to prefer segmenting their professional and personal lives instead of integrating them. But often they don’t feel they have the option.

The result is, you teach people to complain. And yet, complaining undermines group cohesion and wastes time and effort. So, we have a new generation of whiners entering the business world. Watch out below.