J Thomas on May 03, 2011, 08:15:31 pm
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what roles make men and women happiest?

The ones they choose for themselves.

l remember Benjamin Franklin wrote about visiting the Moravians (in North Carolina?). They sort of practiced arranged marriages. People could not marry unless the village elders told them to.

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I objected, if the matches are not made by the mutual choice of the parties, some of them may chance to be very unhappy. "And so they may, answered my informer, if you let the parties choose for themselves"; which, indeed, I could not deny.

I guess there are no guarantees. Since it's a lot of trouble and no gratitude if we work to prevent people from the pursuit of unhappiness, it's better to just let them choose for themselves unless it clearly hurts us.

But in general we still can't expect people to be happy with the roles they choose for themselves.

Aardvark on May 03, 2011, 08:45:13 pm
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Rorschach: #3 The "Age of Consent" in Japan is still 13 at the national level, but 18 in some cities. Women can marry in Japan at age 16, men at 18. The man is expected to provide for his wife. Rome had an age of consent at age 18, due to property laws.

Not sure about the male age of consent in ancient Rome (do you mean marriageable age?), but the female age of consent for having sex was 14. Rome, having few career choices for fertile women, produced a lot of Lolitas searching to snag the right husband. You probably know this, but for the benefit of any who don't and are interested, sex was rather wide open in ancient Rome. Having sex was much like fulfilling a bodily need, and there was no adultery between a married Roman woman and a non-freeborn man, or between her and someone she paid for sex. The main purpose of marriage was not romance, it was to have children, and fertile women were required to have three to fulfill their duty to Rome. Divorce for a man or woman was as easy as leaving, and quite a few important Romans were divorced in absentia, their wives finding new lovers as soon as their husbands were across the Tibur.

Rorschach on May 03, 2011, 09:56:48 pm
Well to be fair, the polis and the aristocrats who expected to join the senate had completely separate rules. There was a law, and it was likely enforced only for aristocratic men. The punishment was probably losing your political opportunities. *shrug* I found that in most cultures the property and inheritance rules directly influenced the marriage and sexual customs. In Ancient Egypt the oldest male controlled the wealth inherited through the eldest female daughter. When she marries off, her father in law now controls her father's estate. Because of this, many fathers encouraged their sons and daughters to marry each other so he could retain control. Having more sons probably increased his estate as well.

With regard to some aspects of Roman culture, I confess to being informed via this book, but she lists which aspects are fiction and which are educated guesses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_First_Man_in_Rome_(novel)

sam on May 03, 2011, 10:46:54 pm
We ("Whaddaya mean 'we,' Kemo Sabe?") are not "wholly rational creatures" on the subject of human sexuality right now, sure.  But does this mean that we're always gonna have to be bloody irrational damned fools about this aspect of our lives?

That is the way to bet.  Women are 100% irrational about love and sex and all of that, and men not much better.

More "conservative" cement-headed shortsightedness.  If the history of western civilization in particular seems to show anything, it's that radical departures from the time-tested verities are not only possible but - because such changes have produced improvements in people's material condition - they've become something of an expectation built into our (and I mean "our," no joke) sociocultural system. 

The current departure from the time tested verities seems to be producing massive failure to reproduce and near fifty percent fatherlessness, which is pretty much what it produced when tried by previous civilizations.

It is also disgenic, since intelligent far sighted single women get pregnant and abort, and stupid short sighted single women get pregnant, and have kids.

If a woman has sex with lots of different people, then when someone is considering marrying her, he faces the problem that she will probably feel dissatisfied, since the best male who is willing to bang her is apt to be considerably more attractive than the best male willing to stick around, hence he will be reluctant to expose his assets to her potential lawyers, reluctant to have children with her, and so forth.


Er, WTF? You might be susceptible to such insecurities, sam, but I'm not.  Neither are a helluva lot of other men who marry widows and divorcees. 

Projecting your neuroses on other folks, sam?

The massive increase in fatherlessness and massive decrease in marriage indicates men are refusing to get married, that males are in large part on strike.  It is rational for a man to marry a virgin, and a lot more rational when divorce laws favor women.  Thus a virgin shortage contributes to a husband and father shortage.

J Thomas on May 04, 2011, 08:11:13 am

Humans are the only species where the females have permanent breasts. All the talk of tribal selection, "bad boy" attraction, etc is either talking about "a society" or "a species". When we discuss attraction at the species level, pheromones and breasts are key topics. What is it about a woman that made her ability to hide her pregnancy better at selecting mates?

I read about this some years ago. The field may have advanced since then, but I can give the flavor of it.

As far as I know, the first theory about this went as follows: Our prehuman ancestors used to always have sex doggy-style. But as we evolved we found that face-to-face sex, missionary-style, created better pair-bonding because men looked at women's faces so it was more personal and less anonymous. But men needed the sexual stimulus of seeing women's buttocks so they could have sex, and by developing big breasts women provided the appearance of big buttocks even while facing men.

I am not kidding. I don't remember the name associated with this but it may have been Jared Diamond, or Robert Ardrey. And the idea might have been lifted from Freud.

There have been a large variety of later JustSo stories about why women have breasts. Here is the one I like best:

In life-threatening emergencies, sometimes rescuers have to decide who to help. Sometimes it makes sense to just help whoever is closest, but sometimes there's room to choose. I expect that modern firemen instinctively follow the same priorities that I imagine ancient or even prehumans did. First priority, pregnant women who are most burdened and least able to help themselves. Second, very small children whose mothers aren't available to help them. Third, women with very small children, who are burdened with the small children. Fourth, women who are lactating, whose children will need them. Fifth, older children. Sixth, adult women who can take care of themselves. Seventh, men.

Of course you rescue whoever you can, but when you have to choose, that's a pretty good approach. It's best for the tribe. Unless your tribe is too big and you need some people to die so it can get back down to the right size, you are better off if more people survive than less. If you are a man, the ones who matter least to you are other men who both are best able to survive and who are your direct competitors for your role in the tribe. But you rescue people if you can, whoever they are. And the ones who need the most help are pregnant women whether or not you are the father. It isn't just about saving your own unborn children, or being more attractive to multiple women. It's about saving your tribe.

And when there's an emergency pretty often it's in poor lighting.

By keeping breasts when they are not pregnant or nursing, women went from sixth place to somewhere between first and fourth place. It makes them more likely to be rescued. And of course it isn't like this was a conscious decision on their part, it would be a genetic change that perhaps got selected. Though during population bottlenecks any little oddity might get established by accident.

As far as I know, none of the theories about this have the slightest shred of data supporting them. It's all JustSo stories and nothing but JustSo stories. But it isn't completely universal among human women. Native women in the Amazon jungle are reputed to have deflatable breasts like the rest of the mammals. It's extremely unlikely that they spread to there before this trait developed in everybody else. More likely there is something about the Amazon which makes large breasts impractical. If someone were to find out what's different about that place and those people than the others, it might shed some sort of light on the question. It might at least be real data as opposed to what we have now.

spudit on May 04, 2011, 08:31:17 am
Damned close, J Thomas, right bunch and era.

It was Desmond Morris in The Naked Ape.

Two more definite facts.

Tits are just plain great, big, small, even droopy, love em all and yes, I yam still a pig.

Oink!
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SandySandfort on May 04, 2011, 09:17:14 am
[But men needed the sexual stimulus of seeing women's buttocks so they could have sex, and by developing big breasts women provided the appearance of big buttocks even while facing men.

I am not kidding. I don't remember the name associated with this but it may have been Jared Diamond, or Robert Ardrey. And the idea might have been lifted from Freud.

The Naked Ape, by zoologist, Desmond Morris

J Thomas on May 04, 2011, 09:18:48 am
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But it isn't completely universal among human women. Native women in the Amazon jungle are reputed to have deflatable breasts like the rest of the mammals. It's extremely unlikely that they spread to there before this trait developed in everybody else. More likely there is something about the Amazon which makes large breasts impractical. If someone were to find out what's different about that place and those people than the others, it might shed some sort of light on the question. It might at least be real data as opposed to what we have now.

I showed this to my wife. She said I was just channeling some sort of sexist anthropologist. "No, it's real." "Maybe they just aren't getting enough to eat. It isn't real. It's just sexist europeans who care about breast size. Everybody's breasts get bigger and smaller, it doesn't mean anything. You're just being racist."

I thought about it. Maybe it was just racist european anthropologists? They don't say that about women anywhere else. I looked at google photos. Among a gigantic pile of porn there were lots of photos of women from the amazon. A whole lot of them had normal breasts. Were they lactating? There were some adolescent girls and older women with just nipples, often standing beside women with full breasts and old women with very thin saggy breasts. I couldn't get it resolved. Was it only some amazon tribes, anyway?

I imagined anthropologists going back today to settle the issue. "We're here to study women's breast size." And they find the women are all Baptists now....

I'd accepted that story uncritically, probably because I saw it in World Book when I was a kid and they had a few photographs. Now I'm not completely sure.

Tucci78 on May 04, 2011, 11:00:42 am
I don't think that blind obedience to traditional values is productive. However, I think the past is a gold mine of sociological knowledge.

It's also not a goddam straitjacket.

Straw man. Nobody said it was.

Not goddam hardly any sort of "straw man" fallacy at all.  Robust among the social/traditionalist political "conservative" infestation is the tendency to evoke some sort of "Good Old Days" in aid of restoring conditions ante-whatever-in-hell-they-hate (whether or not they have objectively demonstrable good or sufficient reason for hating said whatever-in-hell might be sticking in their craw).

There's nothing wrong with seeking knowledge of past events as a guide to future action.  There's something profoundly wrong with forcing other people - by way of government fiat - into conditions which the nostalgia buff decides will restore some kind of Golden Age.  

We aren't so genetically different from those who lived in the Middle Ages, ancient Rome, Mesopotamia or Egypt.

Not altogether true. Those of us who directly descend from those ancient Dead White Guys are a helluva lot more resistant to a lot of infectious diseases than they were, chiefly because those among the populations of Europe in the "Middle Ages, ancient Rome, Mesopotamia [and] Egypt" who were genetically susceptible to such pathogens died or were otherwise rendered incapable of passing along their genes.  

Just to avoid "eurocentrism," didja ever consider the survival benefits of sickle trait?

We aren't so genetically different means we have some genetic differences. Obviously, I was speaking about genetic differences that have sociological meaning. Straw man again. I swear, you just like to throw up things to attack other people with, don't you?

Again, bullpuckey on your "straw man" yammer.  Should I have written, "for example," or didn't you catch the drift?  Genetic resistance to quickly-killing infectious diseases is a characteristic which can become prevalent in human populations fairly rapidly.  Note the European rebounds from epidemic infections with Yersina pestis and Treponema pallidum.  Response to selection pressures can and does change the prevailing genetic make-up of a population within a century or two.  

Add to that the effects of hybridization by way of exogamy, and speaking of us not being "so genetically different from those who lived in the Middle Ages, ancient Rome, Mesopotamia or Egypt" as to be incapable of being socioculturally (let alone praxeologically) way to hellangone different from those ancient Dead White Guys is at the same time an attempt to argue on the basis of genetic determinism and a denial of the fact that genetic drift renders the premise (not "so genetically different") damned tenuous.  

Fallacy of the single cause, too.  

Might as well argue that because our ancestors who lived in the ancient Roman Empire were genetically inclined to douse their food with fermented fish sauce - garum - we ought to be doing the same.

It can be instructive to compare societies. What worked, and why? Which societies were happiest, and which were strong and enduring? Which societies disintegrated through weakness and were held together under tyranny? And it can get PC perilous: what roles make men and women happiest?

The authoritarian assignment of "roles" to suit somebody else's ideas of what's supposed to make the assigned human being "happiest" is idiocy.  It might be well-meaning idiocy, but it's still pretty goddam dumb, don'tcha think?

Why don't you just say: "When I have the power to assign other people to the roles for which I think them best suited, I'm happy," and be done with it?
I speak of what the experience of the past might teach us about ourselves, and you try to twist that innocent message, the heart and soul of the science of Anthropology, into some sort of ... who knows ... a sociological attack? if it weren't so sad it'd be laughable.

The rest of your uttering contains much of the same irrational drivel. I weary of repeating myself, so I'll stop my analysis here.

What is this with you and the word "conservative" that has you raging mad? Why this dripping condescension in nearly every phrase, when I'm just trying to have a reasonable discussion? Is it possible for you to simply disagree and state your case without hurling insults about one's intelligence?

The coercive drive of the social/traditionalist "conservative" mindset tends reliably not only to be opposed to both individual rights (and the exercise thereof) as well as the discovery and exploitation of new resources and methods of doing things but also to a historical short-sightedness when it comes to defining whatever "Good Old Days" condition the particular "conservative" wishes to re-impose upon his fellow human beings.  

Do I need to pull from Hayek?  Well, might could be.  From "Why I Am Not a Conservative" (1960):  

"Personally, I find that the most objectionable feature of the conservative attitude is its propensity to reject well-substantiated new knowledge because it dislikes some of the consequences which seem to follow from it or, to put it bluntly, its obscurantism. I will not deny that scientists as much as others are given to fads and fashions and that we have much reason to be cautious in accepting the conclusions that they draw from their latest theories. But the reasons for our reluctance must themselves be rational and must be kept separate from our regret that the new theories upset our cherished beliefs."

Heck, your invocation of "Anthropology" as if the discipline was a hard science, and the findings and conclusions of the anthropologists were rigorously reasoned, without the errors of prejudice, and the perfect support for an enforced rigidity of human action is itself the very essence of irrationality.

It reads as an effort on the part of the neophobe to foreclose change.  The sine qua non of the traditionalist "conservative" mindset.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 11:30:53 am by Tucci78 »
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

Rorschach on May 04, 2011, 12:08:41 pm
The discussion regarding breasts several years ago went like this:
In most species, breasts indicate nursing
Nursing females are not fertile nor do they pursue mate selection (unless they are on welfare and have problems with their car. Jokes aside, this is about the norm for most species.)
Human males interested in nursing human females must provide more resources for the nursing female
Human females who attracted provider human males had higher survival rates for themselves and their children.
The duration of breasts after pregnancy increased, then became automatic.
Provider males became normal

Now that's not my argument, but some anthropologist was pretty proud of himself for coming up with it. Personally I think that since women can breastfeed w/o pregnancy it is probable that women retained breasts for survival of the species and not necessarily part of the mate selection process. On the other hand, permanent breasts among human females is #1 universal #2 abnormal #3 probably due to a combination of factors.

In Denmark women are free to pursue men without social stigma, and in France the typical coy/shy  routine of US/UK isn't done. Again, separate cultural arguments from biological.

Tucci78 on May 04, 2011, 12:31:21 pm
But it isn't completely universal among human women. Native women in the Amazon jungle are reputed to have deflatable breasts like the rest of the mammals. It's extremely unlikely that they spread to there before this trait developed in everybody else. More likely there is something about the Amazon which makes large breasts impractical. If someone were to find out what's different about that place and those people than the others, it might shed some sort of light on the question. It might at least be real data as opposed to what we have now.

I showed this to my wife. She said I was just channeling some sort of sexist anthropologist. "No, it's real." "Maybe they just aren't getting enough to eat. It isn't real. It's just sexist europeans who care about breast size. Everybody's breasts get bigger and smaller, it doesn't mean anything. You're just being racist."

I thought about it. Maybe it was just racist european anthropologists? They don't say that about women anywhere else. I looked at google photos. Among a gigantic pile of porn there were lots of photos of women from the amazon. A whole lot of them had normal breasts. Were they lactating? There were some adolescent girls and older women with just nipples, often standing beside women with full breasts and old women with very thin saggy breasts. I couldn't get it resolved. Was it only some amazon tribes, anyway?

I recall discussing the prevalence of steatopygia (the excessive accumulation of fat in the buttocks, not uncommonly creating an almost flat "shelf" configuration) among Black females with an anatomist, who reminded me that there are strong selection pressures imposed by climate among human populations.  

In tropical and semitropical climates, ambient temperatures are such that the central adiposity commonly seen among northern Europeans (and other folk living up near the Arctic Circle) is a damned bad way to store reserve calories.  The extra insulation provided by epiploic (omental) peritoneal fat deposits as well as subcutaneous adipose tissue around the torso works to the benefit of the individual in cold climates.  In parts of the world where ambient temperatures are high all year 'round?  Not hardly.  

The human breasts are by mass mostly fatty stromal tissue.  The actual parenchymal ("working") glandular mass isn't such of a much even when a woman is lactating.  Carried outside the chest, the breasts don't impose much heat retention effect, and as they expand, there's also expansion of radiative surface area.  

The same can be said for subcutaneous fat over the buttocks.  Remember, the human body generates heat as a byproduct of metabolism, and that heat has to be shed even in cold climates.  When toasting ourselves before a roaring fire on a winter day, we're still disposing of body heat; we're just using the fire to moderate the rate at which we're doing it.

In climates where the ambient temperatures range consistently well above that of the human body, and especially in conditions of relative humidity which makes the evaporation of perspiration just about useless as a heat-shedding mechanism, a predisposition to central adiposity can be a death sentence enforced by heat prostration.  

The normal condition of species Homo sapiens through most of its history is poverty and starvation.  Neither as hunter-gatherers nor as subsistence farmers have human beings ever been sure of access to nutrition at all times.  Food storage has always been iffy, particularly in those warm climates where there's no winter freezes to knock down insect populations.  

(As a counterpoint to Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel, I strongly recommend David Landes' 1998 book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor.)

Storing food energy as adipose tissue has been a survival strategy in the Animal Kingdom for millions of years.  But where to put it in order to optimize the secondary benefits and mitigate the disadvantages of body fat?

In hot climates, the buttocks (and in females, the breasts) work well as reservoir sites.  Buttock adiposity - steatopygea - keeps the weight close to the center of gravity, and as with the breasts, increase in the physical bulk of subcutaneous connective tissue in the buttocks is accompanied by increase in radiative skin surface area.  

The resorption of fat cell mass from the breasts in healthy adolescent and young adult females documented so vividly by photographs taken among the Amazon populations results in the "deflatable breasts" mentioned above.  This should be surprising?  There's a physiologic cost associated with keeping that mass when it's not needed.  The adipocytes remain, but their lipid contents are depleted, ready for replenishment as circumstances dictate.  

In other human populations, where access to calories is consistently above starvation level, the physiological response to intake is to build that adipose bulk and keep it up.  

The "lesson" of a million-plus years of human existence, after all, is that starvation is always right around the corner.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2011, 01:23:04 pm by Tucci78 »
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

mellyrn on May 04, 2011, 12:48:32 pm
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The resorption of fat cell mass from the breasts in healthy adolescent and young adult females documented so vividly by photographs taken among the Amazon populations results in the "deflatable breasts" mentioned above.

Had a friend years ago who was a personal trainer and bodybuilder.  She always said that her breasts were the first fat to be lost when she was prepping for a competition -- much to the dismay of her husband who would (semi-jokingly) complain, "Bring them back!  They're mine!"

J Thomas on May 04, 2011, 02:50:44 pm

I recall discussing the prevalence of steatopygia (the excessive accumulation of fat in the buttocks, not uncommonly creating an almost flat "shelf" configuration) among Black females with an anatomist, who reminded me that there are strong selection pressures imposed by climate among human populations.  

<snip quite reasonable physiological speculation>

Everything you say makes sense to me. It all fits together reasonably. I'm not at all clear that amazonian tribeswomen often had or have trouble getting enough calories, but the only first-person account I've read about that was from a woman who lived with the Yanomamo, who are supposed to be atypical. They worked hard planting, and then they'd get attacked and scattered and they'd go somewhere else and work hard planting. They seemed to have plenty of food, maybe partly because the population stayed small.

It makes sense and the pieces mostly fit together, and yet the important parts are inferred from the parts that have some data. If somebody wanted to deny it, they could easily use the strategies that get used to deny global warming etc.

Tucci78 on May 04, 2011, 03:13:21 pm
We ("Whaddaya mean 'we,' Kemo Sabe?") are not "wholly rational creatures" on the subject of human sexuality right now, sure.  But does this mean that we're always gonna have to be bloody irrational damned fools about this aspect of our lives?

That is the way to bet.  Women are 100% irrational about love and sex and all of that, and men not much better.

Interesting absolutely ghormlessly and cement-headedly unsupported assertion, that.  Not that I'm inclined to hold that "love and sex and all of that" are so drop-dead important that there's any real sense in the investment of much reasoned thought in one's limerences. 

The marriage contract, now, is another matter altogether.  Allocations of real and intellectual property rights, implicit and explicit powers of attorney, designation of responsibility and authority in the care of incompetent dependents - lotsa stuff there requiring forethought and lucid determinations before, during, and after the relationship exists. 

Sex?  Particularly when sexual contact is not necessarily generative of offspring (and such can be - and is - reliably prevented), sex is no more worthy of rational reflection than is a session in the sauna followed by a nice vigorous rub-down. 

More "conservative" cement-headed shortsightedness.  If the history of western civilization in particular seems to show anything, it's that radical departures from the time-tested verities are not only possible but - because such changes have produced improvements in people's material condition - they've become something of an expectation built into our (and I mean "our," no joke) sociocultural system.

The current departure from the time tested verities seems to be producing massive failure to reproduce and near fifty percent fatherlessness, which is pretty much what it produced when tried by previous civilizations.

It is also disgenic, since intelligent far sighted single women get pregnant and abort, and stupid short sighted single women get pregnant, and have kids.

The voluntary termination of pregnancy - by one practice or another - has been undertaken by human beings at least since the beginning of recorded history.  Some ways have worked better (and with less risk of injury to the woman involved) than have others, but the sentiment - "I do not want to bear this baby!" - has prevailed, almost certainly since the first human female realized that it was possible to electively rid herself of an undesired conceptus. 

Whether it's "dysgenic" or not is a matter for argument.  In conditions of material abundance - courtesy of our industrial civilization - "stupid short sighted single women" can get away with baking babies without ample familial support because the relative material prosperity produced by market facilitation of the division-of-labor economy provides them access to survival assets they wouldn't have in the more marginal conditions prevailing through most of the human species' history. 

Those "intelligent far sighted single women" of whom you speak - who don't seem to have been "intelligent" enough or "far sighted" enough to have avoided getting themselves enciente in the first place - will seek out the safest and least painful ways of dumping the contents of their uteri if abortion suits them.

With the ability to make that kind of choice unimpaired by violent aggressors meddling with them, a woman might well make the decision to expel an unwanted pregnancy for purely selfish reasons. 

Why not?  It's her body, her life.  She's the one who has to live with the consequences.  The "stupid short sighted single women" have very much the same option in most American states.  Why do they choose to bear their pregnancies to term in percentage terms greater than do the "intelligent far sighted single women" you'd like to use as human brood mares, sam?

Could it be that something other than the relative intelligence of the women involved is figuring into this "dysgenic" fixation of yours?  The way I see it, there's more of political economics coloring the decisions of these "single women" to seek abortion or to bring their pregnancies to term. 

Given government support - through all the mechanisms of socialist intervention under the guise of eleemosynary intent - the "stupid short sighted" single woman will more reliably tend to be satisfied with the curtailed opportunities of the "welfare mother" condition imposed by the politicians and the bureaucrats than will the "intelligent far sighted" female.

But what happens when the economy in which these women exist is not impaired by government action, as would be the case in the AnCap society depicted in Escape From Terra

Without either the secondary gain provided by "welfare mother" status in a socialist polity or the crippling predations of a government that imposes taxes, regulations, and other costs which deprive the individual of seven-eighths of the value of his/her productive effort (see http://tinyurl.com/3c34hh2), the "single women" with whom you concern yourself would have both less disincentive and greater ability to bear the costs of raising children themselves.

Each would make the decision for herself, and ceteris paribus it'd be those "intelligent far sighted single women" who would be most likely to engage in reproduction.  They'd have the greatest personal resources with which to make that choice. 

If a woman has sex with lots of different people, then when someone is considering marrying her, he faces the problem that she will probably feel dissatisfied, since the best male who is willing to bang her is apt to be considerably more attractive than the best male willing to stick around, hence he will be reluctant to expose his assets to her potential lawyers, reluctant to have children with her, and so forth.

Er, WTF? You might be susceptible to such insecurities, sam, but I'm not.  Neither are a helluva lot of other men who marry widows and divorcees. 

Projecting your neuroses on other folks, sam?

The massive increase in fatherlessness and massive decrease in marriage indicates men are refusing to get married, that males are in large part on strike.  It is rational for a man to marry a virgin, and a lot more rational when divorce laws favor women.  Thus a virgin shortage contributes to a husband and father shortage.

Tsk. And to what do you attribute the massive decrease in the percentage of households keeping milch cows, sam?

You observe that family law in these United States and most other Western polities penalize men for being men.  I've heard joking reference to the offense of "BWM" - "breathing while male" - but as with so many other jokes, it's got grounds in reality.  You're correct in stating that "divorce laws favor women" to the extent that they routinely impose terrible penalties upon men, not only as regards alimony but also in child custody and monetary support. 

But how the hell do "divorce laws" necessarily or preponderantly or even to any significant extent diminish the incentive to engage in the marriage contract among modern American males? 

What's that joke about how the incidence of second marriages among divorced men proves that while America is "the land of the free," it's still "the home of the brave"? 

Most American men do not engage themselves to or marry women who have had no sexual partners before encountering the males to whom they become espoused, and that's the kind of factual reality the denial of which I find so consistently among the social/traditionalist "conservative" crowd of bloody idiots. 

That female virginity before marriage should be prized as a kind of value - whether because it's a supposed guarantee that there's not a cuckoo in the nest or that the wife will be bereft of prior experience of partners the memories of whose swiving techniques impose an erection-wilting sense of inadequacy upon hubby - is neurotic in the extreme.

I'd say that the "conservative" suffers from mentally crippling unreasoned fears of personal inadequacy were it not for the fact that, upon reflection, the social/traditionalist "conservative" really is inadequate. 

He's so inadequate, in fact, that he can't figure out either the extent of his inadequacies or the reasons why he's a buncha bricks shy of the proverbial load.  All he's got is his perpetual sense of dread, and his desperate search for some irrelevancy upon which to focus his anxieties. 
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

sam on May 04, 2011, 03:37:20 pm
There's nothing wrong with seeking knowledge of past events as a guide to future action.  There's something profoundly wrong with forcing other people - by way of government fiat - into conditions which the nostalgia buff decides will restore some kind of Golden Age.

The most patriarchal of them all was the early Roman Republic, and the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century in England,  before 1830, was strikingly patriarchal.  There was no noticeable government fiat interfering with people's sex lives in either of those periods.  The rule in the early Roman Republic was that the husband could execute his wife or children, not that the state would execute them for him.

Patriarchy is what you get when fathers can use violence in family matters.  Our current system is what you get when the state uses violence to interfere in family matters, as, for example, a husband getting thrown out of his home by the state at the wife's request.  When the British government started legislating on sexual matters in the Victorian period, its big concern was to prevent husbands from oppressing wives. The ideology was pretty much the same stuff as today's campus feminists obsessing about rape on campus and date rape, a pro woman position somehow manifesting as something that looked very like an anti sex position, except that there was actual patriarchy to repeal, rather than imaginary patriarchy, except that the reforms were more plausibly reforms, the guilty were more plausibly guilty.  Today's feminists, from about 1890 on, make a big effort to be pro woman and pro sex at the same time, but in practice, they are frequently anti sex.  Before 1890, they were unembarrassed about being anti sex and suposedly pro woman.  When twentieth century feminists repealed antisex laws, they were repealing the first wave of feminist anti patriarchy legislation - and replacing it with new and supposedly improved feminist anti patriarchy legislation.

Before 1830 or so, the British theory was that only a female virgin could get married.  Divorcees were fallen women and could never remarry.  Men, however, could, and did, sleep with lots of fallen women.  Since a non virgin without a husband could not have a permanent relationship, a fallen woman would necessarily sleep with a great many men over time.   The Victorians tried to substitute the rule that both bride and groom should be virgins, and post victorian feminists with the rule that neither should be virgins.  Both systems, however, Victorian and post Victorian, were efforts by the state to roll back patriarchy, interventions by the state in people's sex lives and family lives.

Where the state really did not interfere in sexual activities nor the family, we frequently got extreme patriarchy.