Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

Vague accusations

A story in the news right now is that some anonymous women once accused presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexually harassing them. Herman Cain admits the existence of the past allegations and denies the allegations themselves.

My question is:  Does anyone really care? This allegation seems to me like a defective indictment that fails to allege an actual offense. It’s like, even if we assume that any of this were true, so what? So what if he did sexually harass some women? I don’t see much point in having good-looking women at your business if you can’t harass them every now and then. (But then, do we even know whether these anonymous women were attractive, and thus worth harassing?)

People keep talking about this story even though I suspect that most people do not even know what sexual harassment is. Broadly speaking, Wikipedia defines sexual harassment as “intimidation, bullying, or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors” (emphasis added). I highlight the conjunction “or” to emphasize that sexual harassment does not even necessarily include sexual solicitation. Notably, another website specifically points out that “[s]exual harassment isn’t limited to making inappropriate advances.” Rather, “harassment” can include just saying things that are “suggestive,” or making “lewd jokes,” or making “sexual gestures,” or communicating “sexual comments about appearance.” I would go out on a limb and declare that even if a person were married and did any of the aforementioned forms of harassment, it would still not actually be wrong.

As far as legality, who knows. Everything is a crime nowadays. For example, I had a bonfire at my house recently. According to Tennessee, that is illegal unless I first ask for permission from the government. Come get me, Sheriff Long!

But whatever. I guess it’s always cool when you can throw vague accusations against people without backing anything up. My whole life story.


Hope for society’s morals

I think it’s interesting how many people have come out to criticize the new movie Eat, Pray, Love. The criticisms have generally been the same — the movie unjustly glorifies a woman who leaves her husband and who gets into wacko Eastern religion. For example, the New York Post (H/T Wintery Knight) attacked the movie as follows:

The biggest problem . . . is that the female protagonist is a selfish woman trying to find personal enlightenment and happiness apart from the God of the Bible. Sadly, she jumps from man to man. Even worse, she eventually finds spiritual darkness in the false religion of Hinduism and pantheism, the belief that everyone is god or has a piece of god inside herself.

The editorial also specifically mentions the divorce issue:

She also comes to believe she has to forgive herself, not apologize to the people she’s harmed, especially her former husband, who seems to be a decent, sincere man. (emphasis added)

Additionally, my friend Kevin just sent me a separate review (spoilers and vulgarity within link) that identified the same basic concerns:

Gilbert [the main character] is a shallow, self-indulgent, and arrogant woman. This person is not going on a journey of self-discovery . . . . This person is abandoning her life. Instead of confronting her problems, instead of working through them, or processing whatever it is that makes her so inexplicably unhappy, she abandons them. And she abandons a husband who — at least as he’s characterized in the movie — is loving, charming, and more than adequate because she needs some more . . . “me time.”

. . . .

And for what? So she can find herself? Or so she can find a better man? It’s hard to tell from the movie, because this woman is as shallow, self-indulgent and arrogant at the end of the movie as she is in the beginning . . . . [T]he best I can gather from the film is that all she learned along her journey of self-discovery is that she can eat more pasta, speak better Italian, and meditate, which is to say: Spend more time with herself, because God knows why anyone else would want to spend time with her.

. . . .

#*&$ you, and your Buddhist Ayn Rand bull$&@# philosophy.

I hear Christian writers (e.g., The Thinking Housewife) make these sorts of arguments all the time, but it seems unusual to see such bitter criticism from secular publications. I find that second review particularly hope-inspiring, because given the coarse language used all over that website, it is clear that the writing is not geared toward a churchy audience. Hence, we find some evidence in film reviews like these that even the regular, secular society is getting fed up with the matriarchal divorce culture and the New Agey religious garbage that have so corroded our republic.

Another destructive aspect of promiscuity

There is an interesting discussion at The Thinking Housewife regarding the economics of promiscuity and marriage. Specifically, a man has commented that although he used to be socially conservative, he eventually became disillusioned with his principles after seeing the sexual immorality of others — and the implications of that immorality on his own marital prospects:

As I’ve intimated before I grew up in very conservative Christian environs, and was fully invested in that life until my mid-twenties. Over the course of time I saw church-going girls from solid, middle-class familes having children by young males from outside that environment. Of course these men, to stretch the term, were entirely unsuitable for either fatherhood or husbandry, so the girls ended up raising their children in their parents’ homes, often with no child support. I realized, as would any man with an IQ above room temperature, that each instance of this occurrance meant that one man out there in society would not get married, unless he consented to raise a stranger’s child.

Men clearly have an aversion to this.

When I have addressed this problem to older conservative Christians I have meet met with complete indifference, if not ridicule. Basically, “buck up, soldier, now fight the culture war”.

I find his point about single moms’ impact on the mating market rather interesting. Whereas you would normally expect social immorality to corrupt both sexes about equally — such that the balance of the marriagible individuals remained relatively undisturbed, even if the virtuous people were fewer in number — here this man is pointing out that women are actually taking themselves out of the market altogether. He is, of course, correct that most men will stay away from single mothers. Thus, what we basically have is a situation similar to China, where there are no longer enough women to go around!

Obviously, this problem does not excuse any individual man for failing to find some babe to marry through his individual efforts. But as a sociological phenomenon, the trend will surely be destructive.

What we can also see from this analysis is the classic truth that men have a significant interest in helping safeguard the moral purity of women. And when we see men getting excited about the possibility of promiscuity, we can automatically know that they are fools. Marriage is a remnant of the patriarchal system, and one that men are foolish to undermine merely for short-term pleasure.

The government’s natural oversight of marriage

I sometimes hear the silly libertarian argument that “The government just needs to get out of marriage.”

In the 1500s, a pestering theologian instituted something called the Marriage Ordinance in Geneva, which made “state registration and church consecration” a dual requirement of matrimony. We have yet to get over this mistake. But isn’t it about time we freed marriage from the state?

Right off the bat, of course, this argument simply raises questions rather than offering real answers. The main question involves what exactly it means to get the government out of marriage. As far as I’m aware, these libertarians usually argue that the government should still allow people to form enforceable contracts with each other — but that courts should adjudicate break-ups based solely on regular contract law, and not family law. At least, that is the position taken by the above author, only three paragraphs into the article:

Imagine if government had no interest in the definition of marriage. Individuals could commit to each other, head to the local priest or rabbi or shaman—or no one at all—and enter into contractual agreements, call their blissful union whatever they felt it should be called, and go about the business of their lives.

Here we see the absurdity of the position. What is family law regarding marriage, other than a default contractual agreement? The default contractual agreement is that you will live together, love only each other, and avoid the various grounds for divorce specified in the legal code — such as adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, or drug abuse. The default financial rules governing the partnership (generally) specify that all income earned by either spouse is owned equally by both spouses. The default penalty for breaching this contract is (depending on the specific state) generally somewhat lenient, but may include sanctions such as dissolution of the marriage, increased alimony payments, and a diminished share of the divided marital assets. Overall, it is a generic contractual agreement. It governs the financial partnership and various aspects of the partners’ personal lives in ways that the average voter expects in his marriage.

If any particular individual would prefer a different set of rules for his marriage, he is free to negotiate a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement still keeps the spouses under the general umbrella of the contractual institution described above, but it alters the terms of the contract in various ways. For example, the agreement might specify that the spouses will earn separate property rather than the joint ownership described above. Or they might severely restrict the possibility of alimony.

There tend to be some limits to prenuptial agreements, though. For example, you probably could contractually void the various grounds for divorce. If this limitation presents a problem for a rabid libertarian or any generic pervert, he of course remains free to create his own separate contract. For example, perhaps two men and one woman could all contractually unite with each other if they really wanted to “marry” each other outside of the law.

Given that the government enforces contracts and given that libertarians still advocate contractual unification of couples, their argument that the government should divorce itself from marriage seems rather laughable.

Various thoughts about women

Wintery Knight recently posted an article from the Weekly Standard describing the whorishness of today’s women.

[T]here’s currently a buyer’s market in women who are up for just about anything with the right kind of cad, what with delayed marriage (the average age for a woman’s first wedding is now 26, compared with 20 in 1960, according to the University of Virginia-based National Marriage Project’s latest report); reliable contraception; and advances in antibiotics (no more worries about what used to be called venereal disease). No-fault divorce, moreover, has pushed the marriage-dissolution rate up to between 40 and 50 percent and swelled the single-female population with “cougars” in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. On top of it all is the feminist-driven academic and journalistic culture celebrating that yesterday’s “loose” women are today’s “liberated” women, able to proudly “explore their sexuality” without “getting punished for their lust,” as the feminist writer Naomi Wolf put it in the Guardian in December.

Urban life, furthermore, turns out to imitate Sex and the City. A survey reported in the New York Daily News around the time of the film’s release revealed that the typical female resident of Manhattan, who marries later on average than almost every other woman in the country, has 20 sex partners during her lifetime. By way of contrast, the median number of lifetime sex partners for all U.S. women ages 15 to 44 is just 3.3, according to the Census Bureau’s latest statistical abstract.

Just 3.3 partners on average. Hmm, well I guess that number could be worse! Of course, the study’s age range (15-44) probably fails to include a good number of widows and divorcées who remarry.

Overall, I would agree with the basic sentiment of the post — essentially, that most “women” these days are hardly worthy of the term.

But regarding how to interact with these unwomanly women, I find a danger in some of the complaining. For example, Wintery laments that women typically only judge men based on the following list of somewhat superficial attributes:

  • Being tall
  • Being aloof and disinterested
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Well-dressed
  • Stylish shoes
  • A deep voice
  • Handsome face
  • Here I will come to the aid of women who care about these aforementioned factors. Most of these factors are actually natural and proper:

    Being tall — Signifies physical power

    Being aloof and disinterested — Signifies options

    Playing a musical instrument — Signifies intellect and depth of soul

    Being well-dressed — Signifies discipline and social awareness

    Stylish shoes — Probably the same as above, although as far as I can tell women don’t really care about this factor

    A deep voice — I’m not sure how much women care about this factor either, but it also signifies testosterone and power

    Handsome face — Signifies healthy genes

    The lament continues:

    Consider confidence. Confidence is something that women often say they want. The problem is that an attitude of confidence can be faked when it rests on nothing.

    This critique is absolutely true. But it is also absolutely true that a man without any confidence is still a boy. Confidence is not everything, certainly, but it is something. (Likewise, money is not everything, but it is something.)

    Overall, therefore, I see nothing wrong with this list except its incompleteness. A woman should also take into account a man’s moral character, for example, as well as his earning capacity. Moral character is particularly important if she wants a marriage to endure and wants to raise her children properly. But of course, while moral character is something, it is not everything!

    And so while I completely agree with condemning the sexual insanity of American culture, we must also maintain a realistic outlook and not attempt to create some bizarre “utopia” based on unnatural ideals. As mentioned above, we should not expect women to completely ignore their instincts. We should not expect them to be argued into love logically. A person wistfully dreaming about the day when women ignore their instincts is like a failed CEO crying at his desk over the fact that customers rejected his “brilliant” products. The products may have been brilliant and enlightened — but people will only pay money for products that they want.

    A lot of guys (particularly the intellectuals) whine that women fail to appreciate discussions about important matters. Whereas men might turn to the History Channel while bored (and actually learn something), a woman will instead turn to something pointless like TLC or The Bachelor. Anyone who has attempted discussing politics or religion or science with a woman has learned that these topics generally lead no where. There are a few women who enjoy discussing these matters logically, but not many.

    But just because a woman fails to appreciate important logical matters does not make her unvirtuous. It does not even make her useless. Women have their own qualities; affinity for important discussions simply is not one of them. Moreover, it is possible to be rather virtuous, yet also rather foolish. A relatively virtuous woman might foolishly marry a violent thug who beats her, leaves her, or winds up in prison. Although she made a dumb choice, she technically did nothing morally wrong. And if a nobler man managed to snag her instead, she would probably turn out to be a virtuous partner (although still unwise).

    Ultimately, while wisdom among women is useful, I think virtue is far more important. If a woman is unwise, it just means you cannot leave her in charge of very much without worrying about her dumb decisions. But if she is immoral, it means you absolutely cannot trust her whatsoever. (Think:  Audiotaped conversations, Legal fees, and Home DNA-hair-test kits.)

    And aside from dreaming that women will turn into manly intellectuals, a lot of dreamers also hope that women will suddenly respond well to the outdated flattery of “chivalry.” Personally, I think the whole “gentleman” idea is a bit ridiculous. This is 2010, not 1310. Chivalry arose during a time when the governments were weak and women did not pretend to be men. Women could actually get physically attacked because they were weaker. Nowadays, governments are strong, crime is low, both sexes can own guns, and women generally try to act as though they were men. It is human nature to hold in contempt those who give us unneeded and undeserved help and flattery. Therefore, desiring a return of chivalry in modern society is like dreaming for communism. It is unnatural and just doesn’t make any sense.

    Personally, I like to treat women with the same amount of respect with which I treat men. If I would open a door for a girl, I do it for guys as well! These women do not need any more affirmative action. Perhaps if a woman EARNS my continued respect and admiration by demonstrating friendliness AND virtue AND femininity, THEN I might consider treating her like a lady/princess — but not before.

    Now some of you might be asking, “Drew why are you posting about women? How full of yourself you are! Do you think you’re an expert or something?!” Of course not. In fact, I do not believe anyone can be an expert over today’s women — not in the modern climate. Women today are far too diverse, unpredictable, legally overempowered, and dangerous! But I still post about things that need to be said, regardless of whether I have mastered them. After all, this is the DREW BLOG, where you can always find 100% pure truth. Also, I am posting because the UT Federalist Society is having a feminism panel this Thursday and giving out high-quality pizza, but they wouldn’t let me be on the panel to give my own views about women. So there you have them, Kimmie!

    Bah, humbug

    Tomorrow, perhaps the most evil holiday in all Western culture comes upon us. I am referring, of course, not to Halloween or even to Labor Day, but rather to the diabolical holiday known as St. Valentine’s Day. This holiday negatively impacts coupled and single individuals alike.

    For the couples, the deleterious impacts are obvious. What used to be respectable men turn into spineless fools, heaping gifts upon their “lovers” in an effort to continue buying love. The businesses are the main ones imposing these values on us through their advertising. I lately heard that jackass from Lamon Jewelers, for example, describing how the “major leaguers” will buy their women expensive jewelry for Valentine’s Day while the chumps will only spend money on candy. But whereas the feminists typically love to demonize the evil corporations, not so in this case!

    I am not absolutely opposed to giving gifts and doing nice things, but I certainly despise this entitlement mentality. Seventy-five years ago, for example, engagement rings did not exist. Now, every would-be groom feels the need to blow thousands of dollars that could otherwise be put to better use. Similarly, whereas Valentine’s Day may have once been a fun holiday, the corporations and matriarchists have significantly corrupted it.

    And while the coupled males suffer from the coercion to offer entitlements, the singles suffer from being classified as second-class citizens. Although I haven’t actually notice it myself, I have heard that if you get on Facebook, you can observe a significant increase in the number of “relationships” being established during late January and early February. I do think it is possible for males to capitalize on this phenomenon by finding desperate women to date, but these pairings tend to be unstable. Men should remember that if they are single on Valentine’s Day, they are actually better off. We should not take our gifts for granted!

    Of course, there is at least one good thing about Valentine’s Day. That is, the day afterward, you can go to Wal-Mart and cheaply get lots of really good candy. I always thought the most romantic thing for Valentine’s Day would be to wait until the day after. Do you like chocolates, honey? Well, I just got you twice as many — because they were 50% off! Same goes for roses any everything else (except probably those stupid diamonds from that jackass jeweler). And you could avoid all the crowds at the restaurant. Things would even feel more individual and spontaneous and less herd-oriented — because no one else would be doing it!

    I met this chick recently who said that she hated the cliche nature of Valentine’s Day so much that if a guy ever proposed to her on Valentine’s Day, she would decline. Woman of my dreams.

    Love for sale

    There’s this real jackass in Knoxville who stars in his own radio commercials. He runs a jewelry store. I don’t care to mention his name or the name of his store. The basic gist of almost every commercial is, “Buy your woman some jewelry, like she deserves — so she will continue loving you.” Granted, most jewelry commercials convey about that same message, but this guy’s commercials stand out because he goes to special effort to make a fool out of himself. His tone of voice and his overall feminine persona dramatically help him in accomplishing this goal.

    What kind of sick society do we live in where men have an obligation to buy their wives numerous glitsy rocks in order to receive love?

    Of course, part of me wonders whether doing nice things like purchasing jewelry might be a wise move to reward a wife who has already demonstrated her devotion. That is, it might be smart to purchase jewelry as a non-obligatory reward. This situation seems grayer, and harder to argue against one way or the other. For example, many wives in the United States are unfaithful one way or another (Consider the divorce rate and the fact that women initiate about two thirds of these divorces).  If you have an exceptional wife who is loyal and ethical in such a perverse, promiscuous, and man-hating culture, it seems like such a situation might warrant some special honor for her virtue.

    Nonetheless, the critique against this idea would point out that wives should be devoted regardless of gifts. And as we learned in my behavioral economics class (see previous post), giving rewards can easily halt the happiness derived from performing an act. A lawyer may easily work many hours free for a pro bono case but quickly reject the idea of taking a charitable case that pays a small fee. If you start paying your wife to be loyal to you, that might actually start doing the opposite of what the commercials promise!

    Like I said, it’s a close call in these rare cases. The diminishing incentive described above does apply mainly to monetary rewards, for example. Gifts, particularly sentimental ones, tend not to create such a great disincentivizing effect. While the idea seems risky, it should not be entirely discounted.

    But while a non-obligatory reward might be theoretically permissable, such a reward must ultimately remain non-obligatory! If your wife starts thinking, I will only love him as long as he continues “rewarding” me with diamonds, then CONGRATULATIONS:  You’ve created a monster! So in the end, it seems to me like a risky move.

    Of course, these idiotic commercials attempt to convey the message that these gifts are obligatory. So you already know they’re straight from the devil.

    Spend money on the girl, and according to the commercials, she will make you happy. In the end, this message sounds a lot like advertising for prostitution. That applies to the national jewelry companies as well (Why the hell should every kiss begin with Kay?).  I don’t understand how anyone, woman or otherwise, could consider these commercials (or the gifts resulting from them) to be romantic in the slightest.

    Thank goodness I’ve finally gotten out of town — so I won’t have to hear this local chump keep going on through Christmas with his self-made commercials.