The moral superiority of masculine groups over feminine groups


In short, one Pankhurst is an exception, but a thousand Pankhursts are a nightmare, a Bacchic orgie, a Witches Sabbath.  For in all legends men have thought of women as sublime separately but horrible in a herd.  –G. K. Chesterton

Why is the political mobilization of women always in the service of evil?  “Women’s issues” nearly all boil down to adult sexual freedom at the expense of children and society (easy divorce, abortion, normalized promiscuity, coercively subsidized contraception) and “women’s organizations” nearly all promote these things.  It is easy to say that women are just another wedge minority, dupes of liberals, communists, and capitalist employers who want to use them as a weapon against traditional society.  It is even easier to note that, since nature has allotted the consequences of sex more heavily on the female sex, that they would have more incentive to embrace the call of consequence-free sex.  However, sexual choices always do have consequences, either in the cost of childcare or the cost of depopulation, and the only real question is who will pay for them.  Monogamy redistributed some of the cost from the mother to the father, but it requires sexual restraint and role differentiation to work, while feminism offers sexual anarchy with costs distributed to society as a whole.  Patriarchy constrained mothers but also conferred upon them a particular status and socially-validated sense of purpose.  And indeed society cannot do one without the other.  The funny thing is that so many women publicly support feminism while privately wanting the sort of life a monogamous culture provides.

Both sexes have their temptations, but a priori one would have expected sexual libertinism to appeal more to men.  Feminists claim that during patriarchal ages, society was organized for the selfish pleasures of men.  However, the men of these times actually enjoined strenuous demands on each other:  chastity (especially under Christianity–the most patriarchal of religions), provision for one’s family, courage in combat for one’s home and country.  The feminists insinuate that this was all hypocrisy, that male fornicators were secretly accepted and admired, and so forth.  But why bother with the pretense when men already controlled everything?  Anyway, human nature being what it is, men in patriarchal ages often failed to live up to the standards set by their brothers.  However, it is indisputable that when men rule each other, they impose stern expectations on each other.  Compare this to the modern age of women who refuse to accept any standards for members of their sex, seen most shockingly in their “slut-walks” and their defense of even the most frivolous female-initiated divorce.  Ironically, while loudly demanding that women have a right to self-fulfillment–however anti-socially pursued–without being judged by anyone,  many of these same women privately make many sacrifices for their family and friends.  In a sort of reverse hypocrisy, they fail to live down to their own lack of standards.  In short, the important difference between sexes here is not personal morality, but aggregate morality.  Masculine virtue “scales up”, while feminine virtue doesn’t.

All of this is understandable given male and female psychological differences, for which we have strong experimental, neurological, and everyday evidence.  Men, having on average a more objective focus, will tend to form groups dedicated to achieving some external task or embodying some external standard.  An organization that didn’t do this would seem pointless to a man.  He wants clear duties, something to feel proud about achieving or ashamed of failing to achieve.  He doesn’t object to clear rules and chains of command; he welcomes them so long as they seem intelligibly connected to the group’s goal.  Women, being on average more empathic and relationally focused, will tend to form groups dedicated to affirming their members.  Thus, a collective of women will be driven to destroy all standards that might impinge on the self-esteem of any of its members, even if most of the women actually satisfy the standard.  Lacking a group-transcending ideal on which to ground hierarchy, female-dominated groups will be ideologically egalitarian.

Groups dominated by feminine psychology can also be quite tyrannical.  In such groups, the primary social virtue is compassion rather than commitment to an abstract ideal of justice.  However, compassion provides no rational grounds for resolving disputes, because one can always put oneself in the place of either party and empathize with her.  Thus, the collective will always support the party that the women find most appealing or can most easily identify with.  Thus we have university sexual harassment policies, which have established a two-tier set of regulations for attractive and unattractive men (because the legality of an act depends on whether or not it is “wanted” and, whether accepted or not, sexual advances are always more welcome coming from an attractive person).  This is unjustifiable by any standard of justice, but who is ever inclined to empathize with unattractive men?  In feminist states we also see the growth of formally neutral laws that are applied with brazen partiality.  For example, some European countries make it a crime to “insult” any religion, but this is only applied to protect Muslims–who are seen as exotic and sexy–while the entire Western propaganda machine continues to demonize Catholics without scruple, because after all we are just a bunch of old, ugly white guys.  Leftism itself is largely an exercise in mentally dividing the world into innocent victims and dehumanized oppressors.  Leftist Manichaeism flows not from the common (and prototypically masculine) tendency to identify non-group members as the enemy; rather, it flows from the intrinsic partiality–the intrinsic injustice–of untethered compassion.  Rather than deciding what is right, we just pick certain groups of people to always feel sorry for.

35 Responses

  1. Leftist Manichaeism flows not from the common (and prototypically masculine) tendency to identify non-group members as the enemy; rather, it flows from the intrinsic partiality–the intrinsic injustice–of untethered compassion.

    I don’t know about that. Leftists have historically had little issue identifying non-group members based on class distinctions as the enemy at least this was the case with the old Left. In fact it is hard to not to admire the unorthodox Leftists like Georges Sorel (who also apparently ran in French monarchist circles) who expounded ethics like “violence as redemptive.” Reactionaries could sure use someone like that more than a “patriarch” like Mitt Romney.

    Conservatives and Catholics have suffered greatly as a result of the rise feminism but I truly believe the greatest tragedy was for the old Left. Feminists have done to the Left what libertarians have done to the Right. They both employ an absolutist sense of rights, they essentially (as you mention) spread the costs of individual autonomy on the society at large (corporations get bailed out, feminist get subsidized contraception) both engage in a lot of in your face street theater. I find the effects of their movements paradoxical as well. Libertarians and feminists always whine despite all the air time they get that they have not obtained their goals yet who could deny that these two movements have indelibly shifted and formed the terms of debate in this country? Also it is hard as an outsider to watch these groups gripe, sure they may not always get what they want but they typically get it and in the Right’s case, libertarians get priority over social issues, and in the Left’s case feminists take priority over blue (mostly male) workers.

  2. I should have added that MRAs are so far up the creek when they only blame the state for causing all of these social problems. The blame lies squarely on capitalism.

  3. Hardly I can add something to this very intelligent and clarifying post. Specially the last remark. and the feminist aim to spread the costs. I follow you from time ago. Thank you for your ever inspiring and profound thinking. I like the way that you use old and new arguments and your lack of political correctness.

    It is also interesting the very different time orientation of men and women. Men are naturally oriented toward the short and very long term, for the generations to come, while woman are oriented exclusively to the medium term. Bad surprises paralyze them. They don’t care about what will happen to his society after his death, specially if they are childless.

    Men enjoy to confront short term risks, we forget about ordinary but (according with my woman) important things to do the next week. In the other side, we think about the future of our football club and our Nation. And we die in battle for our country (or for the socialist revolution). We enjoy abstract discussions like this. Often, we will never will have a direct benefit of it, but we don´t care, because we enjoy it.

    Evolutionary psychologists say that these differences are a result of female mobility among male groups and the need of males to create a solid and collaborative society to outcompete other male groups and other natural menaces for generations, so for example, a childless man which create a religion of philosophy or military organization that maintain a strong society for generations will have millions of descendants from their brothers, uncles, nephews and his taste for very long yield activities such is religion, morals, military skills will be shared by these descendants.

    While women had very little control over his society. In the past, they probably will moved to other tribal group to be married. She only control his familly and is averse to risks, so the risky short term and pointless long term things are delegated to the men. In her interest is to adopt successful habits of his new society as quickly and uncritically as possible by imitating everything powerful and successful men and woman. So his focus is “what is in fashion now” No matter if these habits are good or bad in the long term. At last, neither she, neither their daughters will be there to suffer the consequences. That is why 90% of the advertising in TV is devoted to sell women products, since advertising of new products by I´m-sucessful-and-use-this-you-must-too strategies increases revenues much more quicky when targeting women than men.

    I´m catholic and evolutionist in the sense admitted by the Church. I think that we need a Saint Thomas Aquinas that synthesize evolution and the Faith to back common sense and Tradition, and to fight back liberals in their own headquarters using their own weapons.

  4. I am so tired of articles like this one. The manosphere is full of articles like these. Stop blaming women. Women need discipline and men aren’t providing it, and this is men’s fault. When will modern men wake up to their own faults: failing to cooperate with each other, stupidly giving women the vote, and generally being inactive/passive? Maybe reading Matthew 7:1-6 would help.

    To see what I mean, here is the story behind the picture at the top of this article:

    These women are begging for discipline. If the men had been Muslims or Orthodox Jews, they would have provided it by hitting back until the women behaved. Trying to argue logically with hysterical women is just lunacy.

  5. Hi Franklin,

    I hope this doesn’t mean I’ve started writing articles just like a bunch of other peoples’. If so, I really should find another hobby. As you know, the manosphere and I don’t get along well, but I’ve started to wonder if I’ve judged them too harshly. If we’re going to have patriarchy back, the image of women as morally superior and perfectly independent beings must be smashed. No king ever harbored such illusions about his subjects. Despite their one-sidedness, manosphere writers do a pretty good job of highlighting modern female selfishness and–what’s much more important–moral blindness. From the standpoint of the community as a whole, it’s much more important that people officially accept the rules than privately follow them. And this is where women seem to be strikingly inferior.

  6. I think that identifying enemies via social classes is more an example of Leftist unjust compassion than regular outgroup hostility. After all, the communist leaders weren’t themselves workers.

  7. I read your article more carefully and I agree that you are saying something different, but I disagree with what you say. For example:

    “Compare this to the modern age of women who refuse to accept any standards for members of their sex, seen most shockingly in their “slut-walks” and their defense of even the most frivolous female-initiated divorce.”

    Women ALWAYS accept whatever standards are imposed on them. Their slut-walks and frivolous divorces are the modern standards for women. When religion set the standards for society, women followed religion. Now Hollywood sets the standard for society, and women follow that standard far better than men do.

    “Thus, a collective of women will be driven to destroy all standards that might impinge on the self-esteem of any of its members, even if most of the women actually satisfy the standard.”

    No because what determines self-esteem in women is how well they meet societal expectations. The problem with giving women political power is that they are unstable and can easily fall for some fashion about what is acceptable, and so they destabilize society if whatever is their joint mood at the moment can be legally imposed as a societal standard.

    “Lacking a group-transcending ideal on which to ground hierarchy, female-dominated groups will be ideologically egalitarian.”

    Nothing destroys equality faster than giving women power. They will support a safety net for women, but otherwise income inequality will increase as women prevent social mobility by imposing every social standard as a bureaucratic law.

    I consider the manosphere worse than feminism. While they do point out the immorality of modern women, their solution is for men to match that immorality which simply means the end of civilization.

    Decent men need to forget about mainstream culture and its useless women, and instead focus on bettering themselves and forming coherent groups/tribes, probably centered around religion. When groups of men become strong through cooperation and morality, women will admire them and voluntarily submit to them, and that would solve the problem.

  8. I certainly didn’t read this as a “blame women” post. To advise someone that he will get wet if he walks out in the rain is not to rail bitterly against the rain.

  9. Interesting. We now have two hypotheses, both consistent with female psychology. Is female empathy at the expense of fixed standards pushing society toward Leftist, or is female conformism locking society more rigidly into an already-established Leftist consensus, or are both happening? What test would discriminate between these hypotheses?

  10. Unfortunately we can’t conduct controlled experiments for questions like these. But I think raising a daughter is enough to do the trick. Bonald, do you have a daughter?

  11. More and more lately, I think terms like New Left and Neoconservative are deeply misleading. There is nothing recognizably leftist about the current left. They could not care less about workers. There is nothing recognizably rightist about the Neoconservatives. They could not care less about Western civilization. The Tea Party types are entirely lost to some crazy, nihilistic belief system.

    As for the mannosphere, the PUAs are very often insightful while the MRAs are completely useless. They are by, for, and of the girly men.

  12. Yes, but she’s only three and not yet actively part of any large groups.

  13. Haven’t made up my mind completely on monarchy or patriarchy yet but I would consider myself favoring some form of libertarianism, anarchism, monarchy, or oligarchy. I am definitely a bonafied anti-feminist. There’s too much contradiction to take any of them seriously and the only reason they give as to why I don’t take any of them seriously is because they’re all women. I used to be a feminist though.

  14. I think you are are thinking in a right direction but not quite fully there. I would propose looking at it this way. Modern people think the major difference in life is between altruism and selfishness. Modernity forgets that there seems to be a different kind of difference as well: being focused on an external goal, be that selfish or altruistic, or being focused on ourselves in a way that is not necessarily selfish, but self-absorbed, self-centric, basically narcissistic. I don’t know what is the best term for this. But for example the narcissist can be altruistic, but he does not actually care about helping others, but more focused on looking and more importantly feeling caring and good.

    Anyway, modernity, liberalism = narcissism, although I am not sure this is the best term.

    And on the other hand, masculine men are less narcissisti than unmasculine men, and men less than women.

    Female narcissism is something we usually simply have to learn to deal with even in the case of good, loving, loyal conservative women, we just accept that even they NEED us to tell them repeatedly that they are pretty, not fat and being good at wife and mom things etc. etc. they just need this reassurance.

    Feminism = liberalism + women.

    So feminism brings a narcissistic ideology to a group of people who lean towards it anyway. It combines the narcissistic tendencies of both.

    Compare it with anti-racism. Yes, it is also full of narcissistic posturers with their “I hate hate” buttons. But sometimes it is sensible – sometimes it is just average dads of minority races saying they just want a decent job to support their families, that is all. Anti-racism has the narcissism input from liberalism, but not from women.

    BTW if you or anyone here generally agree with my approach of narcissism, PLEASE recommend me pre-modern sources that deal with this OR online articles that review those sources! I am not sure if I am writing in an established tradition of common sense psychology here or just making stuff up on my own, please help in this!

  15. Dear Bonald,

    I was intrigued by your essay on the moral characteristics of female-predominant groups. I have looked around to find other research on this topic but of course found that it has not been adequately investigated except in evolutionary psychology (which has its won problems and strengths like any other discipline)… In my research on the history of spirit possession cults and phenomena I too observed a female predominance among ecstatic and violent possession cults but could not understand why this was the case. It still mystifies me to some extent. I also observed that when polities included strong monarchies there was a diminution in the violent and amoral characteristics of these cults so perhaps you are correct to link morality of female coalitions with presence/absence of monarchical and patriarchal cultural institutions. See my: McNamara, P. (2011). Spirit possession and history: History, psychology, and neurobiology. Westford, CT: ABC-CLIO. And McNamara, P. (2009). The neuroscience of religious experience. New York: Cambridge University Press.

  16. Bonald, do I understand correctly that your thesis (or one of your theses) is something like this?

    “All-male groups successfully promote chastity much more than all-female groups.”

    Because if so,I’m rather dumbfounded to think where you can be getting this conclusion, as an empirical matter.

    Here are a couple of points:

    There is no reason to believe that fraternities promote chastity much more than sororities. Obviously, both fraternities and sororities used to be much better than they are now, but there seems to be no reason to think that, either when things were much better or now, when both fraternities and sororities on secular campuses promote sexual license and drunken debauchery, the fraternities promote chastity much more than the sororities do. Fraternities now are notoriously debauched.

    Soldiers and sailors: When the military was an all-male (or at least heavily segregated) organization, it was nonetheless the case that soldiers had a reputation for sexual license when they could get in contact with women. The same even more for sailors (whether military or merchant marine). Hence the phrase “a girl in every port.”

    English male-only public schools were widely known as places where a lot of homosexual activity took place between older and younger boys. This despite an atmosphere that involved lots of challenge, sports, and discipline. There is no reason that I know of for believing that all-male schools have historically successfully encouraged chastity among those attending them much more than all-female public schools.

    Of course we can find examples of both all-male and all-female groups that have been truly dedicated to chastity–good, traditional orders of monks and nuns, for example. And of course we can find examples of female groups that promote sexual license and can choose to parallel them with all-male groups that are dedicated to chastity. But that seems like cherry picking.

    I know of no evidence whatsoever that gives good support to the above thesis as an empirical matter. While I, of course, strongly agree that men and women are different and would even to some extent, allowing exceptions, agree that men tend to be “more objective” than women, it simply does not follow from this as a deductive inference that all-male groups will promote chastity much more than all-female groups. Indeed, one of the other easily observed differences between men and women is that male libido tends to be higher, especially in young males, because of their high levels of testosterone. And thank God for testosterone. I’m not saying that as a criticism of men. Testosterone is something that helps them to defend their women and children. But it also tends to give them a high sexual urge, and this is why non-Christian men today, unconstrained by old-fashioned or Christian sexual mores, tend to see nothing wrong with sexual libertinism, including pornography use. This also gives us reason to doubt, in the absence of strong evidence for it, the above thesis.

    But perhaps I have misunderstood you.

  17. Hi Lydia,

    Your summary of my position is fair, but I would prefer to put it that male-dominated groups are more inclined to impose standards, whereas female-dominated groups are more inclined to attack them.

    You point to some interesting counterexamples, but the question is whether we are seeing a weak moral ethos due to aggregate high individual immorality or a collective spirit that actually attacks the morals of its individuals. Here I think it is striking that, despite the high sex drive of young men and the evident debauchery of many fraternities, I have never heard of a fraternity actively campaigning to overthrow the sexual mores of the community in which it is embedded. Many will quietly not follow it, and the fraternity house will subtly undermine the morals of its members by treating this as a normal, expected thing, but the jump from immorality to antimorality is not made. This seems to be the specialty of women’s groups, even though individually women have lower sex drives and probably gain less from libertinism.

    This is what I think needs explaining. Despite higher male sex drive, the overthrow of chastity is a “women’s issue”, and women have very successfully mobilized themselves for it.

  18. Would you count the following as an example of anti-morality by a combo of men’s and women’s groups?

    A friend tells the anecdote of being on a secular (I believe, though God knows it may have been ostensibly “Catholic”) university campus and praying in the chapel. He was constantly distracted, however, by the fact that there was some sort of fraternity-sorority party going on. In this party, the frat men yelled at the top of their lungs certain sexual acts that they wanted the women to perform, and the women yelled back agreement to do so.

    I myself think that definitely counts as anti-morality.

    I also hardly think a truly debauched fraternity which regularly holds orgy-like parties on its premises, is merely “quietly” or “subtly” undermining sexual mores. Words like “quiet” and “subtle,” even aside from the above story, just don’t seem the best characterization of fraternity culture on secular campuses.

    Another example: Male gang culture and the glorification of having many “baby mommas.” Related: Secular black rap.

    On an individual level, there have been quite a few leading male thinkers and writers who have led the sexual revolution. Indeed, it was originally most led by men, as far as I know. In a book called “Representative Men” there is a chapter about young men bringing their girlfriends in the 50’s to soirees at the apartment of Gershon Legman (you can google him), who was a kind of guru of the early push for the sexual revolution. He would help the boys seduce their girls by lecturing them on free love. Bertrand Russell seems to be another good example, and, since you’ve now said that “the overthrow of chastity is a women’s issue,” these seem to be counterexamples to that as well.

    It seems to me that you are straining to find ways of maintaining something like your original thesis. Remember that “standards” need not _at all_ be sexual standards. Witness sports teams, where “standards” may be standards of physical fitness and skill, while football players are not at all held to any high moral standard by their fellow players. Far from it.

  19. Let me add that I think there’s a tendency in some corners of the reactionary right to accept feminists’ version of social history and merely to reverse the moral poles in evaluating that history. So, if feminist professors tell us that sexual libertinism is liberating and empowering for women, some are inclined to *agree* with this and therefore to blame women for sexual libertinism.

    I would say that, since we know that feminists have a completely messed up view of human nature, and since we know that they write history about as objectively as a Soviet propagandist, we should be very wary of letting them set up the terms of the problem or its history.

    The existence of undeniably demonic lesbo-feminist groups like the one in this video isn’t an argument that sexual libertinism is a female issue!

  20. Not all feminists have believed that sexual libertinism is liberating and empowering for women. Remember Christabel Pankhurst’s cry of “Votes for women and chastity for men”? And Andrea Dworkin stated that sexual intercourse by definition was coercive and degrading to women.

    I consider myself a sort of feminist, albeit one who is consistently pro-life (anti-abortion, anti-death penalty, anti-war) and who believes that both men and women should abstain from sex before and outside marriage, and should not use contraception within or outside marriage. I think that sexual libertinism is disgusting and ends up being a prison for whoever indulges in it, whether in the short term or the long term. However, my distaste for sexual libertinism is based more on my Catholicism than on my feminism.

  21. I certainly agree that there are various strands of both historical and academic feminism, including the anti-sex strand and the anti-heterosexual-sex strand (which isn’t therefore anti-sex per se). But there is at least one strand that glorifies sexual license. That was all that I was acknowledging. And I was warning against taking those feminists’ word for it that the encouragement of sexual license is a “women’s issue,” therefrom concluding that anti-morality is distinctively feminine. This just isn’t true, historically or empirically. There are so many examples one could give of architects and active promoters of the sexual revolution and sexual license who have been male–in writing, literature, music, by example, in every possible way.

    And current anecdotal reports of the atmosphere and the peer pressure in the public schools definitely indicate that men and boys are pushing anti-morality upon one another.

  22. I often wonder what happens when two feminists disagree with each other. There are so many varieties that the whole “feminist movement” can be written off as one of those individualist “organizations”.

  23. I expect you’re right that this is probably the reactionary’s temptation (and the one to which I am subject), just like when the liberals say “You guys are X!”, we like to say “Yes, and X is a good thing!”. Among mainstream conservatives, the temptation is to pretend that official victim groups aren’t really in the pocket of the Left, because then they’d have to admit that they disagree with blacks, Mexicans, Jews, or women, meaning the sainted victim group in question is wrong. Now, in the case of, say, blacks and Jews, this is just delusional. In the case of women, it’s very unclear. They lean Left, but not overwhelmingly like other Democratic clients. Certain subsets don’t lean Left at all, e.g. married, religiously observant women. And women are well-represented on the reactionary right. This is all a matter of individual belief, not group dynamics.

    But I just don’t buy the claim that feminism speaking for women is entirely an illusion. There must be something to give it credibility. There must be some reason why aggressive hostility to the virtue of chastity (as opposed to run-of-the-mill libertinism) is flown under the feminine banner. One thing that gives feminism credibility is the visibility of women’s groups. When something has a name like “National Organization of Women”, you can be pretty sure it’s not going to be a bastion of traditional morality.

    So here’s another, perhaps clearer, way of stating my hypothesis: women’s groups will on average be more Leftist in belief (nihilistic on sex, punitive on “offensiveness”) than individual women (unless nearly all women are active in women’s groups).

  24. That’s a very different thesis. 🙂

    And it also doesn’t prima facie involve a contrast with men, but perhaps you’re proposing some kind of comparison of ratios or differences, something like “Women’s groups lean left on sexual issues in comparison to the number of individual women who lean left on sexual issues, and this comparison is more skewed than a parallel comparison between men’s groups and individual males.”

    Here I think you’re very strongly going to come up against a time and place question. Do you mean *in 2013 in America* or do you mean throughout human history? The latter is highly, highly dubious. Consider the bizarre fact that attempted enforcement of chastity, even by what I would consider vicious means such as mutilation of small girls, has been highly promoted by women among themselves in non-Western cultures. I don’t necessarily mean that as a compliment to women, considering the means in question! But we can go with less radical examples. I’m not one to say that the feminist movement has been “hijacked,” but it certainly does appear to be the case that some high-profile, long-ago feminist leaders were strongly pro-life and pro-chastity. They were “left” for their day in that they were pushing for the vote for women, but not sexual nihilists or promoters of hedonism by a long shot. Heck, they were usually very concerned with helping the stability of the family by opposing alcoholism.

    Then we have monks and nuns. _Now_ you have a lot of very messed-up orders, both male and female, but there have also been very good female orders throughout history. Your new thesis here would lead us to expect that joining a nunnery historically made an individual Catholic woman more likely to become a sexual nihilist than if she had stayed out of the nunnery, because of the anti-chastity effect of female group dynamics! I’m sure there are convents where that is true _now_, but it definitely hasn’t been true as a general rule throughout human history.

    A lot also depends on your definition of a “group,” and this is true nowadays as well as historically. For example, would you say that a nearly all-male or all-male faculty in some department at a university counts as a group? How about the all-male employee roster of some legal firm? What about the Supreme Court? (Look at how peer pressure has worked on John Roberts.) Again, what about gangs? What about boys making fun of other boys at school if they still have their “V-card”? There are lots of male groups that drag their members into nihilism, license, and the official promotion of nihilism and license by group dynamics, peer pressure, etc.

    Perhaps the problem here is that you are focusing mostly on *official political or cultural-action groups* in contemporary America. Now, of course, there it is undeniably true that they are more likely to have leftist beliefs than any parallel male groups (if there are any parallel male groups–they’re pretty hard to find). But there isn’t any good reason to think that that is a representative sample of “female groups” as opposed to “male groups” generally. After all, given the feminist assumptions among *male and female* members of our current elite, the very act of forming an official “men’s group” for politics or cultural action is considered a culturally right-wing act! Which more or less guarantees that if you can find any such group it will be in some sense right wing.

    I say “in some sense,” because the secular manosphere, which I gather you have some questions about, is from all I’ve heard of it and the little I’ve seen definitely not urging its members to virtue. I mention that in passing merely to point out that “in some sense right-wing” doesn’t necessarily mean “promoting chastity.”

  25. I would also argue that the jump from “empathic” to “sexual nihilism” is unjustified, as is the jump from “hard-edged and objective” to “chastity and virtue.” I can think of several modern movements that appeal to males because they employ a kind of tough-guy, would-be-objective rhetoric in the service of a Hobbesian morality. Think eugenics and pick-up artistry, to name just two. Or think of the arrogance of someone like Richard Dawkins.

    Empathy conjoined with 21st century Western sexual mores will, of course, give you a big mess, but that isn’t saying much.

    By themselves, both an ability to think through logically from premise to conclusion and an ability to empathize with others are neutral human abilities, which can be either used rightly or abused.

    Rightly channeled, female empathy can give us saintly mothers and sisters weeping over the wayward and bringing them back to the fold by love.

    Wrongly channeled, male focus and objectivity can give us mere means-end rationality without a moral compass, exemplified in, e.g., Richard Feynman using his smarts to get girls to sleep with him and then bragging about it in print. (You will find the stories in his otherwise charming autobiographical books.)

    So it’s a very, very weak argument from “women are more empathic and men are more objective” to “women are more open to sexual licentiousness and nihilism than men.”

  26. “Your new thesis here would lead us to expect that joining a nunnery historically made an individual Catholic woman more likely to become a sexual nihilist than if she had stayed out of the nunnery, because of the anti-chastity effect of female group dynamics!”

    With this example, at least, there is not much historical evidence to go by. Historically, I would not label Catholic nunneries as “women’s groups” as they subjected themselves to the authority of their local Ordinary and also to the Pope. The fact that modern female religious orders tend to argue against chastity (often making availability of abortion and contraception pet issues) and at the same time refuse to submit to any male hierarchy seems to turn this example into something that favors Bonald’s thesis rather than something that challenges it.

  27. Bucky, my whole point concerned the difference between “now” and “historically.” Of course there are crazy nuns’ groups now. (And I’m afraid some crazy priest’s groups, too.) But my point was that if you get an historical perspective, some sort of difference between female and male groups of the kind his thesis would lead us to expect does not emerge. Especially given that his new thesis concerns individual women as opposed to female groups. Again, it just isn’t _historically_ true that joining an all-female atmosphere in a nunnery created some kind of special risk of turning a woman into a sexual nihilist.

    Of course, joining a feminist order of nuns now will do that. Tell me something else I didn’t know. I’m afraid becoming a Jesuit may cause some harm to a man as well.

  28. Well, almost. Sexual libertinism is an issue of women and alpha males, and generally not an issue of beta males i.e. the majority. This is because hypergamous, quality-not-quantity type of female instincts resulting in assymetrical amounts of temptation.

    Women are not very much tempted by beta males, but with an alpha the temptation can be very, very strong. For men the temptation level is large the same, the difference is the alpha male gets a lot of chance, the beta male does not so can easier accept monogamy as a good enough outcome, better than being lonely.

  29. Yes, now that I think of it Dawkins looks exactly like the quasi-intellectual type of the wannabee alpha male who focuses on picking easy fights and humiliating opponents and basking in the glory rained on him by fans rather a honest search for answers. A prize fighter kind of approach.

    On the other hand. Look I don’t know how life is America, I was never over there. But I wasted a lot of time on Reddit and the chorus screaming “empathy!” when everything from homosexuality to slut walks to welfare was discussed was really deafening. 90% of the time welfare was for example defended by empathic, rather than utilitarian arguments.

    It’s crazy. I am mostly pro-capitalist (well, distributist-capitalist, distrust big business) and yet I can construct a better (unemotional, utilitarian) argument for socialistic policies than 90% of left-liberal American Redditors. To me it was very clear for these people it was not about actually fixing things but about appearing caring and nice. I mean, they were probably majority men but clearly not masculine thinking me.

    Or look at this. A logical, unempathic, utilitarian anti-racist would focus on stuff like umemployment rates amongst blacks. Yet many American Liberals focus on slurs instead. White people, who are not themselves insulted by this, get absolutely ballistic when they hear the “n-word”, it is almost a physical reaction, hyperventillating and all that. Is that kind of focus not a sign of more empathy than utilitarianism? Or like, more wanna-see-empathic kind of narcissism than utilitarianism?

  30. Yeah, I think I probably agree with everything you just said. A kind of debased, super-stereotypical, feminized niceness is indeed the hallmark of the left in the U.S. and even of a lot of muddled moderates. By the same token, I can think of some contemporary reactionary movements that demonstrate a debased, stereotyped masculinity. Neither of these tells us much of anything about women in general or men in general or the “superiority of masculine groups over feminine groups.”

  31. Perhaps the gangsta and gangsta-rap example would be more palatable, and I think it’s a good example of a debasement of masculinity, applied in masculine groups, encouraging anti-morality among group members, and including sex.

    Re. something Bonald said above about the NOW. To say that the NOW is left-wing is like saying that the Communist Party is Communist. It’s a tautology. NOW is left-wing (including being pro-abortion, etc.) because that is its raison d’etre and always has been from its founding, not because something intrinsic to “feminine group dynamics” causes feminine groups to become left-wing and sexually nihilistic.

  32. “Bucky, my whole point concerned the difference between “now” and “historically.” Of course there are crazy nuns’ groups now.”

    But now there are not only crazy nuns’ groups, but also orthodox and beautifully feminine nuns’ groups just as there were pretty much exclusively in the past. The notable thing that all of the crazy nuns’ groups have in common is defiance of the Pope and/or their Ordinary. The notable thing that the orthodox female orders of today and the past had in common is their subordination to the will of the Pope and their Ordinary. Why are there not insubordinate orders (those that refuse any male authority over them) who are also fighting for traditional morality, especially as regarding chastity?

    This is not replicated in a similar fashion among men’s religious orders. While they are notably not as good as they were in the past, their corporate activity doesn’t usually create more harm than produce fruitcake, cheese and beer. This is to be distinguished from individual men among some of these orders such as the Jesuits. The Jesuits have produced some real stinkers as of late, but the harm is actually done by individual men such as Schillebeeckx or Kung, not “Monks on the Bus” or the male equivalent of the LCWR.

    To me it appears that it is not good that man should be alone, but it is generally a safer prospect for women.

  33. Hi Lydia,

    First, let me apologize for not responding for a few days. I’ve been traveling and unable to reply to comments, but it was rude nonetheless.

    I’m really glad you’ve brought up the example of gangsta-rap, because it really is a better parallel to feminism than anything I used in my original post. Comparing male group immoralism to female group immoralism is a fairer test. I still see some pretty obvious differences. While rap does encourage some evils, rappers don’t seem driven to crush all disapproval of those evils. We never see “gangstas” desecrating churches and demanding the Catholic Church lose its tax exemption for the Church’s moralistic opposition to rape and cop-killing. This hysterical reaction to the possibility of disapproval does strike me as a distinctly feminine deformation, and it is part of the reason I’d say that feminism is worse than rap.

  34. Also, you’re quite right that I’ve been sloppy about exactly what my thesis is. I seem to have thrown out several claims, with varying degrees of explicitness and argumentation behind each one. (I readily grant that I haven’t put forward *really* strong arguments for any of them.)

    1) Group madness driven by untethered empathy is generally more noxious than group madness driven by hostility to outgroups or amoral pursuit of power or profit.
    2) The former madness is more likely to play on feminine sensibilities; the latter ones are more masculine.
    3) Empathy unconstrained by an abstract concept of justice leads to tyrannical Leftism.
    4) Although individual variations are large, on average women are more inclined than men to be hostile in principle to standards of chastity and fidelity. (Note: not more inclined to be personally unchaste and not more inclined to be opposed to chastity for self-interested reasons; “altruistic sexual nihilism”, like that of lesbians marching for the right to abortions they’ll personally never need.)
    5) Female groups will be even more hostile to these standards than females as individuals, because of positive feedback in group interaction.

    All very questionable but plausible, and interesting if true.

  35. I saw this linked online earlier, wrote most of this comment, then realized it was an old post. I’ll leave my remarks nonetheless.

    This is a very interesting post; although I am quite unpersuaded by several of the points made within it, I think you have some crucial points of insight within it (I’ve commented on related issues here). Your most potent insight, I think, is that, as male groups tend to have a more external and objective focus of community and an implicit ‘code’, they scale far better than women’s groups. I really don’t think that it follows as straightforwardly from this that male groups are more moral and female groups are more prone to pathology.

    Men are more inclined to ‘self-transcendence’, in the sense of losing or sacrificing themselves in the service of something greater, some greater cause, principle, code, or collective. In this (principally male) instinct lies humanity’s greatest potential for evil. Men who would never dream of killing in self-interest can kill millions for a cause. We should retain a healthy suspicion of male society. We may rightly see some problematic dynamics in female society, but there is a plank to be removed from our own eyes.

    The danger for women is found more in the focusing character of empathy, its prejudicial connection to particular persons, which can distort reason and undermine principle. This instinct causes problem, especially in an age of social media, which provides a platform for the scaling of more typical female modes of society (even though the dynamics of female society do not scale so well).

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